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drop handlebars suck

Old 12-16-04, 08:31 AM
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drop handlebars suck

I couldnt stand it any more - the drop bars had to go from my new Lemond Alpe d´Huez (bought in November). I tried but every time that I rode the bike even just looking at those nasty drop handlebars set my carpal tunnel syndrome off big time and I couldn´t feel my hands for days afterwards. I also didn´t like being so far from the brakes in traffic.

So after deep consideration I have ditched the drop bars and the nice shiny Ultegra STI shifters (sob) and fitted a Syntace Stratos 200 time trial bar with long rubber grips (to dampen the vibration) and Dura Ace SL-BS77 bar end shifters. I have also ordered the Salsa cyclocross brake levers but they havent arrived yet.

There is no going back now as the STI´s are up on ebay (though they have only got to 5 euros yet with about 3 days to go)

what do you guys think of this set up -any suggestions for improvements?
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Old 12-16-04, 08:39 AM
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Not having carble tunnel, I can' t realy relate. But, if the TT bars work thats great! Seeing as you have way more hand possitions on drop bars, I am not sure if they will, but I guess you will find out. In traffic, I ride on the hoods with a finger on the brakes. Works for me. I hope your settup works for you.
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Old 12-16-04, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by royalflash
I couldnt stand it any more - the drop bars had to go from my new Lemond Alpe d´Huez (bought in November). I tried but every time that I rode the bike even just looking at those nasty drop handlebars set my carpal tunnel syndrome off big time and I couldn´t feel my hands for days afterwards. I also didn´t like being so far from the brakes in traffic.

So after deep consideration I have ditched the drop bars and the nice shiny Ultegra STI shifters (sob) and fitted a Syntace Stratos 200 time trial bar with long rubber grips (to dampen the vibration) and Dura Ace SL-BS77 bar end shifters. I have also ordered the Salsa cyclocross brake levers but they havent arrived yet.

There is no going back now as the STI´s are up on ebay (though they have only got to 5 euros yet with about 3 days to go)

what do you guys think of this set up -any suggestions for improvements?
Why didn't you just get a cofort bike? I thinks the shifters way out there are just silly, combined with the cross levers.But I've seen sillyer.
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Old 12-16-04, 08:46 AM
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I used to get carpal tunnel when I was doing a lot of grinding work, and switching to drops and more of an upright position was what helped it.
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Old 12-16-04, 08:47 AM
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Suggestion: get a tricycle and ride with no hands...
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Old 12-16-04, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by sydney
Why didn't you just get a cofort bike? I thinks the shifters way out there are just silly, combined with the cross levers.But I've seen sillyer.
hmm- I thought it looked OK but I may alter the set up later. I thought of getting a set of Paul components thumbies and mount the barcons near the stem and then put these brake levers in the bar ends instead, Trouble is thumbies are not easy to get in Germany. I emailed Paul and got no reply yet so it could be a long process getting my hands on them.
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Old 12-16-04, 08:58 AM
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I am also a large rider, and sometimes suffer from carpal tunnel problems. When I got my first road bike this autumn, the LBS fitted me in a position where the stem is not lower than the seat. I find that the drops cause me much less trouble than the "riser" handlebars I used to use sitting nearly upright on my comfort bike. My back is not quite horizontal, so I'm not applying as much weight to my hands as I would have otherwise. Also, the risers only had one position to hold on with - definitely bad news for someone with repetitive motion syndrome.
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Old 12-16-04, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ChuckM
I am also a large rider, and sometimes suffer from carpal tunnel problems. When I got my first road bike this autumn, the LBS fitted me in a position where the stem is not lower than the seat. I find that the drops cause me much less trouble than the "riser" handlebars I used to use sitting nearly upright on my comfort bike. My back is not quite horizontal, so I'm not applying as much weight to my hands as I would have otherwise. Also, the risers only had one position to hold on with - definitely bad news for someone with repetitive motion syndrome.
I just found that the position of riding on the hoods with the hood pressing in to the middle of my palm was really bad for setting off my carpal tunnel. Up until using drop handle bars I had never had carpal tunnel that I really noticed. It is not surprising that this position is bad for the carpal nerve because if you look at the anatomical diagrams of the hand that is where the carpal nerve runs (right up the middle of the hand).

It has just been my experience that having the bar running more across my hand is more comfortable. I also don´t think that the tape is any substitute for a rubber grip particularly when the bike has no front suspension to even out the bumps.
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Old 12-16-04, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by matanza
Suggestion: get a tricycle and ride with no hands...
the Lemond is my weekend speed (and bling bling) bike -tricycles and comfort bikes are totally unsuitable for this purpose
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Old 12-16-04, 09:14 AM
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Also, run a search on carpal tunnel, pay attention to where the relevant nerves are and don't put as much pressure on them when you ride. It may take time to change your habitual hand positions. ALSO, get some gloves with padding on the palms. I use technical work gloves made for guys who run piledrivers and other vibrating machinery,("Youngstown" brand,) they're just as expensive as cycling gloves, look exactly like mountain gloves and work very well. I hope this helps you.
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Old 12-16-04, 09:20 AM
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I couldnt ride with those but if it works,more power to ya.
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Old 12-16-04, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by krispistoferson
Also, run a search on carpal tunnel, pay attention to where the relevant nerves are and don't put as much pressure on them when you ride. It may take time to change your habitual hand positions. ALSO, get some gloves with padding on the palms. I use technical work gloves made for guys who run piledrivers and other vibrating machinery,("Youngstown" brand,) they're just as expensive as cycling gloves, look exactly like mountain gloves and work very well. I hope this helps you.
thanks for the tips- I tried lost of things suggested on the forum and they helped a lot - I inverted the stem and wore 2 pairs of gel gloves among other things. The numbness was greatly reduced but it was always there.
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Old 12-16-04, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by galen_52657
Seeing as you have way more hand possitions on drop bars, I am not sure if they will, but I guess you will find out. In traffic, I ride on the hoods with a finger on the brakes. Works for me. I hope your settup works for you.
I never really felt that I had way more hand positions. I could either have my hands on the hoods (where I couldnt exert enough pressure on the brake lever for my liking) or in the drops and any other hand positions were just minor variations on these themes.

The TT bar also has two basic hand positions so I dont really feel that I am losing out here.

But I guess I will have to try it out and see how it goes.
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Old 12-16-04, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by royalflash
I never really felt that I had way more hand positions. I could either have my hands on the hoods (where I couldnt exert enough pressure on the brake lever for my liking) or in the drops and any other hand positions were just minor variations on these themes.
There's also the tops. For me that's a very comfotrable position.
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Old 12-16-04, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by royalflash
I just found that the position of riding on the hoods with the hood pressing in to the middle of my palm was really bad for setting off my carpal tunnel.
I would think that would be your problem. When I ride on the hoods, my thumbs are on the inside, and my palms on the outside, not unlike pistol grips, with the backs of my hands facing outward. The grip you describe sounds like what you'd do if you were intentionally trying to simulate carpal tunnel syndrome. It also would explain why you feel you don't have ready access to shifters and brakes.
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Old 12-16-04, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by royalflash
I never really felt that I had way more hand positions.
Interesting... I find on my 8-bend Easton EC90 bar that I have at least five basic hand positions with several possible grip and location variations.
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Old 12-16-04, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Laggard
There's also the tops. For me that's a very comfotrable position.

Exactly....

I have 5 hand possitions on drop bars:

Bar tops/flats for climbing, cruising, chilling

Hoods (Thumb over hood) with elbow slightly bent for fast cruising, climbing, urban riding

Hoods (Index and middle finger split over hood) with elbows bent, head down low for fast riding on flats

Drops @ ergo flat for descending, fast riding on flats

'Hooks' (end of drop) - same use as drops but for a change of hand possition
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Old 12-16-04, 10:13 AM
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Old 12-16-04, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by khuon
Interesting... I find on my 8-bend Easton EC90 bar that I have at least five basic hand positions with several possible grip and location variations.
If you label every inch of the bar then you can get quite a lot of hand positions.

I am sure you are right and the number of theoretical positions is greater with a drop bar but if some of them are uncomfortable and far away from the brake levers (that one right near the stem (1) doesnt look to practical and the two in the drops ( 4 and 5) look like quite similar to me) -I dont see that as being such a great thing

Based on the principle that everone else on the forum (and the pro-peloton) has drop bars on their road bikes I must be wrong but they just dont seem that hot to me.
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Old 12-16-04, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by royalflash
If you label every inch of the bar then you can get quite a lot of hand positions.

I am sure you are right and the number of theoretical positions is greater with a drop bar but if some of them are uncomfortable and far away from the brake levers (that one right near the stem (1) doesnt look to practical and the two in the drops ( 4 and 5) look like quite similar to me) -I dont see that as being such a great thing

Based on the principle that everone else on the forum (and the pro-peloton) has drop bars on their road bikes I must be wrong but they just dont seem that hot to me.
Position #1 works really well to put me in an upright position and I will often use it for parts of a climb or just casually cruising along. Being away from the brake levers isn't really that big an issue... especially during climbs. And I wouldn't ride that position during situations where I would need to cover my brakes. Position #4 is actually quite different than #5. #4 puts me in a much more bent over and aero position while #5 is a lower cruising position but my forearms are more vertical in position #5 than they are in #4. If you look at the side-profile of my bars, you can see why.



Also, I'm not saying your setup is bad. If it works for you then who am I to argue?
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Old 12-16-04, 10:38 AM
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Hmm....I don't see why you guys are giving him a hard time. If it works better for him, then that's cool with me.
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Old 12-16-04, 11:07 AM
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Are you going to fit any brakes on that bike?!
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Old 12-16-04, 11:14 AM
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I like it! I too have thought about a set up like that. To me drop bars are not as comfortable as a flat bar with bar ends. I also don't buy this hand position crap. Your hands are either horizontal or vertical, drops just put you down a few inches for more aerodynamics, but your hands are still vertical. I would onder if you could put STI's on those bars. Would it work if you placed them somewhere on the bend at the end.
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Old 12-16-04, 11:33 AM
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I had ultegra 9 STI's on a profile bullhorn bar for a while. I did it because I was too cheap to get the correct aero levers and shifters for my timetrial bike. In my opinion it kinda sucked. It was difficult/awkward for me to shift. Your mileage however may vary.

have fun-
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Old 12-16-04, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jim wallace
I like it! I too have thought about a set up like that. To me drop bars are not as comfortable as a flat bar with bar ends. I also don't buy this hand position crap. Your hands are either horizontal or vertical, drops just put you down a few inches for more aerodynamics, but your hands are still vertical. I would onder if you could put STI's on those bars. Would it work if you placed them somewhere on the bend at the end.
I thought of that and it is possible but there was not much brake clearance and it did not look very nice (even sillier ) also I couldnt get the brakes on the sides that I wanted. Also I didnt really like the Ultegra STI´s from a maintenance point of view. I like to work on my on bike and they seem quite overly complex and difficult to work on. You cant fully dissasemble them for example.

So I decided to do it properly and get rid of the STI´s.
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