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Want to find out more about drop bars vs flat bars.

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Want to find out more about drop bars vs flat bars.

Old 12-26-11, 08:40 PM
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FastRod
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Want to find out more about drop bars vs flat bars.

I know that dropbars give you a more aerodynamic position which means a lot faster, but compared to flatbars is there really a difference? I think the difference is really insignificent for some reason. Compare a same bike with the same components and everything and the only thing is just the handle bars? Anyone's got any facts to prove there is a significant position? I run a low flat bar set up that allows me to bend down in an aero-ish condition.

Most people also spend most of their time on the hoods. I want to hear out from you guys how much the significent advantage is. Like can you get 3km/h extra? something like that. Personal experience is greatly excepted =D.

Cheers,
Rodger
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Old 12-26-11, 08:42 PM
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Drop bars have more hand position options.
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Old 12-26-11, 08:46 PM
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True, so if you can deal with the discomfort there isn't much of a significent difference?
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Old 12-26-11, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by GP View Post
Drop bars have more hand position options.
+1. Also, to use drops efficiently, you must be able to adopt an aero position with all your body, not only the hands.
There's no fixed speed gain, but it's most noticeable at higher speeds - I'd say over 35-40 kph.
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Old 12-26-11, 08:55 PM
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I did some tests on a recovery ride a while back around a 7.4km loop riding at a constant 180W. The results were:
Tops - 29.7 kph
Hoods - 30.9 kph
Drops - 31.3 kph

On another day riding at 270W I found:
Hoods - 35.1 kph
Drops - 35.8 kph
Didn't test riding on the tops.
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Old 12-26-11, 09:05 PM
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I think there's a good reason every road bike comes standard with drop bars.

A few factors come to mind.
Having multiple positions is helpful for comfort on a long ride.
Dropping down into the drops in a headwind makes a significant difference even for a non-racer.
I prefer road shifters/brifters made for drop bars over the flat bar type shifters.
I prefer the orientation of the bars being parallel to the axis of the bike to be more ergonomic (hoods and drops position). On flat bars you have to rotate your wrists 90 degrees.

If, for some reason, you prefer flat bars, I would recommend the bar ends that give you a 90 degree bar to grip for an extra option.
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Old 12-26-11, 09:10 PM
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All the reasons above, plus the fact that drops just look so much more SEXY.

On a more serious note, drops naturally will make you more aerodynamic by getting you low, which reduces drag and increase speed. I prefer drops simply because, as GP stated, it gives you a lot more positions.

Last edited by Reeses; 12-26-11 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 12-26-11, 09:14 PM
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https://www.analyticcycling.com/RiderAeroStudy.html

D
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o
p
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Plot of riding on the drops vs riding on the tops of the bars. There is less drag riding on the drops.
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Old 12-26-11, 09:27 PM
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You would need a very long stem to get the forward reach of the hood position with a flat bar as it would have to equal the stem reach plus the bars built in reach. With out it even with flat bars at the same height you would be too scrunched up and not get the flat back needed for a decent riding position. And if you did get your flat bar that far forward, you would be unable to slide your hands back for climbing as many people do. And then when speeds rise on descents and aerodynamics take a greater role you can improve your position further by going to the drops if you have them.

Theoretically with flat bars you can come close to one position of a drop bar, but the whole point of drop bars is to give you a fairly useful position for all phases of riding and give you access to your controls from as many positions as possible.

One other thing to consider is bar width. Even if you get them set as low as a drop bar many flat bars are wider and having your arms tucked inside your torso is a big part of having a aero position. Hence TT bars.
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Old 12-27-11, 12:07 AM
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Drop handlebars are for multiple posture/hand positions when riding long distances and for assuming a more aggressive riding position when speed is a requirement.

That's it!

- Slim
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Old 12-27-11, 01:02 AM
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Using drop bars prevents ridicule from other roadies - only reason you need.
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Old 12-27-11, 01:44 AM
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good article
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Old 12-27-11, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by FastRod View Post
True, so if you can deal with the discomfort there isn't much of a significent difference?
This is a common misperception among folks who haven't tried drop bars. They're not uncomfortable. There's a huge amount of position variation among riders using drops, based mainly on individual riders' flexibility. But even with older guys like me with relatively upright positions, there's a real aerodynamic advantage to drop bars. Riders with more flexibility have an increased advantage.

I did my first metric century on a hybrid, with the last ten miles into a stiff headwind. I switched to a road bike with drop bars the next week and never looked back. A hundred miles is no big deal on a standard road bike.
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Old 12-27-11, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by FastRod View Post
I know that dropbars give you a more aerodynamic position which means a lot faster, but compared to flatbars is there really a difference? I think the difference is really insignificent for some reason. Compare a same bike with the same components and everything and the only thing is just the handle bars? Anyone's got any facts to prove there is a significant position? I run a low flat bar set up that allows me to bend down in an aero-ish condition.

Most people also spend most of their time on the hoods. I want to hear out from you guys how much the significent advantage is. Like can you get 3km/h extra? something like that. Personal experience is greatly excepted =D.

Cheers,
Rodger
Other guys explained some of the reasons. But you answered your own question. You have a low flat bar which is reasonably aerodynamic. But...you don't have a bail out or higher position. Drops offer both upright and aero. That said, will give you my take. I ride and enjoy both. You will generally get a polarized view...one or the other. Not me. I see the virtues of each. On my 29er...some even run drops on 29ers and mtbs...I run a flat bar with Ergon grips and Cane Creek bar ends. Love the ergos and in fact more comfortable 'to me' than the Campy hoods of my road bike. But, I will always own a road bike too as I like variety and I like the drops for competing and the tops for just spinning along.
A lucky man owns both bikes and rides often.
PS: biggest reason for disdain of drop bars by those that abandon them after trying? Bar is set too low which is common. No reason why a drop bar can't be positioned at the same height as the saddle with the proper frame selection which transforms the comfort and then you have the variety of hand positions as well. A byproduct therefore is the drops become comfortable to use and you spend more time there...which is the basis btw of 'dirt drops'...a high drop bar on a mtb.

Last edited by Campag4life; 12-27-11 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 12-27-11, 07:09 AM
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I found it pretty hard to sprint properly on flat bars.
it's like the position of the hands causes more leverage from the elbows and that swings the steerer more than necessary.
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Old 12-27-11, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by FastRod View Post
True, so if you can deal with the discomfort there isn't much of a significent difference?
My road bike w/ drop bars is more comfortable than my mtn bike with flat bars.
As mentioned: more hand positions. Also, flat bars put my wrists at an awkward angle. I bent the bars in a bit to help.
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Old 12-27-11, 07:57 AM
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Also, most bikes designed for flat bars are set up for an upright position which is even worse with respect to both air resistance AND pedaling efficiency, so I think there is a difference even between a "flat bar" setup and riding the tops of the drops.

If you don't believe me, try this little experiment.

Sit in a chair with your bodly flexed forward as if you are riding a road bike...and stand up.

Now try the same thing with your body mostly straight, as if riding a "comfort" flat bar bike.

See the difference?!?
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Old 12-27-11, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by FastRod View Post
True, so if you can deal with the discomfort there isn't much of a significent difference?
I've had more discomfort with flat bars after 30-40 minutes or so. Thus, and therefore, and forthwith, if more comfort over greater distances equals more speed, then yup, drop bars help me go faster.
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Old 12-27-11, 09:20 AM
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My drop bars are faster because all my flat bars are attached to bikes that are 10-lbs heavier and have knobby tires. If you aren't concerned with small differences in speed enough to buy an actual road bike, you won't care much about the small speed difference that would come from using a drop bar. For a typical commute, it isn't as if having drop bars on your bike means you can sleep in significantly later or anything like that.
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Old 12-27-11, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by AEO View Post
I found it pretty hard to sprint properly on flat bars.
it's like the position of the hands causes more leverage from the elbows and that swings the steerer more than necessary.
Standing up on flat bars feels really weird, bar ends help a lot with this (and give you more hand positions)
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Old 12-27-11, 09:34 AM
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I find flat bars uncomfortable for riding any length of time, even with bar ends providing another had position. For road riding short distances, long distances, and touring, I only use drop bars.
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Old 12-27-11, 09:45 AM
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I ride a flat bar bike set up entirely for road riding. The bars are cut down narrow, there is 5" of drop from the seat to the bars. Its aluminum, with carbon rear triangle frame. I ride with road guys, and they all tell me how much faster I would be with a carbon drop bar road bike. They tell me how much more comfortable I would be with more hand positions (even though I regularly use three or four on my flats).

So I drank the Kool-aid, and bought a BMC SL02, carbon frame, full 105, from CC after seeing the other thread that ran for quite some time on the SR02 (aluminum). It was a nice bike, but was no faster, no more comfortable, and no more hand positions than my flats. And honestly, the compact crank 105 10 speed drive train was not remotely as crisp as my X9 standard crank 9 speed set up. Everyone promised me speed gains, and I saw nothing. I liked it much better in head winds.

I may not have given it enough time, but I sent it back. It got me going on an N-1 kick, and now I have one bike.. with flat bars.

And as to the folks who can't stand up with flat bars,.... ? Why?
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Old 12-27-11, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by AEO View Post
I found it pretty hard to sprint properly on flat bars.
it's like the position of the hands causes more leverage from the elbows and that swings the steerer more than necessary.
this
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Old 12-27-11, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by GP View Post
Drop bars have more hand position options.
and this
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Old 12-27-11, 10:04 AM
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RollCNY: I think I might know the answer to your question, I was reading a training guide and apparently ( in theory ) not sure it has been tested, Your legs are conditioned to the kind of position you ride. So technically ur legs are conditioned to perform in an upright position and you pedal more efficiently compared to that in a dropped. However, you can swap over but at first you will notice a perform deficiency. Same goes for any swap between aero,drops and flats.I assumed you have recently just swapped bikes.

For the rest of you, I created this article because I was really interested between the too. I've been riding flat bar since I was 3 and have thought of buying a road bike but the drop bars are iffy to me and was really interested in the difference. I guess you kind of get use to it after a long time. Plus I believe what is said above has to do with the feel of each rider.

I got my own theory about the climbing up hills part. I had to lower the stem myself as I found it too high and I wanted to be more aero dynamic as a cheaper alternative, when I stood up and sprinted. I got the same feeling on my friends road bike, like I was grounded to the ground. I assume have your weight on the handle bars due to forcing ur back to straighten out causes the wheel not to lift of the ground. I believe the height between the stem and headset has to do something with the feel too. Not sure, just a wacky theory.
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