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Drops V Straights? and some touring advice...

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Drops V Straights? and some touring advice...

Old 07-17-15, 10:54 AM
  #26  
checoles
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Originally Posted by LlamaBikes View Post
What frame is it? Or is it custom and not built yet? Usually I'd go with what the builder of the frame had in mind when designing the frame.
it's a Flat bar road bike but it looks like it should have drop bars? its an old Marin frame but it might of been altered/changed.
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Old 07-17-15, 10:56 AM
  #27  
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Also, cheers for the advice boys and girls lots of things to think about and try out!
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Old 07-17-15, 08:41 PM
  #28  
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Since you're used to both flat & drop bars, I'd research what handlebar the Marin originally had & go with that. Some people use a handlebar style other than original, to me that can mess up the handling feel a bit. I put drops (& road stem) on an 80's mtb & it made handling feel a bit twitchy. Aero bars are a great addition whether flat or drop. Even more than the aero advantage they can help arm/shoulder muscles relax during long mileage days. Of course w/aero bars one would want to avoid a saddle with nose that tilts up a lot or a leather saddle w/excess sway.
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Old 07-17-15, 08:54 PM
  #29  
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I'm a big fan of straight bars with just a bit of rise and sweep with Ergon GP3 bar ends. I haven't done long tours but I have done some long days (8+ hours on the saddle) and the GP3s are comfortable and give me plenty of options for hand positions. The GP5 offers even greater range of hand positions. I actually prefer them to drops for touring or endurance riding.
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Old 07-18-15, 11:24 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by GravelMN View Post
I'm a big fan of straight bars with just a bit of rise and sweep with Ergon GP3 bar ends. I haven't done long tours but I have done some long days (8+ hours on the saddle) and the GP3s are comfortable and give me plenty of options for hand positions. The GP5 offers even greater range of hand positions. I actually prefer them to drops for touring or endurance riding.
Fair enough but OTOH I imagine that drop bars (using drops) would give a more vertical arm position than flat-bar bar-ends. Thus, perhaps, drop bars might cause less strain on tricep etc muscles. Also, drop bars can help keep the elbows tucked in which is a minor if not insignificant aero help.
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Old 07-19-15, 06:05 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Fair enough but OTOH I imagine that drop bars (using drops) would give a more vertical arm position than flat-bar bar-ends. Thus, perhaps, drop bars might cause less strain on tricep etc muscles. Also, drop bars can help keep the elbows tucked in which is a minor if not insignificant aero help.
I've got nothing against drops. I have them on my endurance road bike and like them. Even on my road bike I spend 90+% of the time on the hoods or the tops, positions which can be virtually duplicated on a flat bar with good bar ends. Even when I'm in the drops, I don't lock my elbows straight to support my weight, the elbows are always bent. If your core is strong, you shouldn't be supporting much of your weight on your hands. As far as aero, you can get your hands on the bar ends, bend your elbows and tuck them in and get very nearly the same aerodynamics as with drop bars. Watching the TdF you will see a lot of pros stay on the hoods even in some very aero positions. Specialized did a wind tunnel test comparing riding in the drops to keeping the forearms horizontal from the hoods and while the drops did win out, it was by a negligible margin for a recreational rider and not even a difference worth considering for touring. Some people assume that flat bar means a WIDE bar, but they can easily be cut to approximate the width you would have on the hoods of a drop bar.

IMHO, the OP should decide what he finds most comfortable and go with it. Either drops for flats will work fine for touring so it boils down to personal preference. The biggest consideration might be getting the best cockpit dimensions taking into account top tube length, stem, steering geometry, etc.

Last edited by GravelMN; 07-19-15 at 06:09 AM.
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Old 07-19-15, 07:04 AM
  #32  
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I think that you go with what is comfortable for YOU. It is more about comfortable hand positions than number of hand positions. Trekking bars have a lot of hand positions, but none are even close to the comfort of the on the hoods position with drop bars. So for me drop bars are the way to go. Flats with ergons is OK but not as nice IMO.

At the least you will need a different stem if not a different frame if switching between drops and flats.

You mentioned probably going with bar end shifters. If you have used them and like them ignore the following...
I have found them not especially convenient, easy to bump with a knee, often bumped out of gear when parked. If I want simple I actually like down tube shifters just fine, but have and like STI brifters on some of my bikes. I have done long tours (coast to coast) on both STI and down tube shifters and was very happy with both. I tried bar ends and did not care for them.

My point isn't to bash bar ends, but merely to point out that you may want to try them for a while if you can before deciding you want them on your bike for a long tour. Some people love them and some don't. I am not a fan.
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Old 07-19-15, 07:16 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by GravelMN View Post
I spend 90+% of the time on the hoods or the tops, positions which can be virtually duplicated on a flat bar with good bar ends.
Glad that works for you. I have never found that I could completely duplicate the comfort of the hoods with bar ends.

Originally Posted by GravelMN View Post
Even when I'm in the drops, I don't lock my elbows straight to support my weight, the elbows are always bent. If your core is strong, you shouldn't be supporting much of your weight on your hands.
A very good point that is often overlooked. I am amazed how often I see riders with their elbows locked and theirs upper body all tense, looking like they are pushing the bar away. It looks horribly uncomfortable. Good comfort IMO requires bent elbows, relaxed shoulders, relaxed hands (fingers draped loosely over the bars). As you mention, that requires decent core strength.

Originally Posted by GravelMN View Post
IMHO, the OP should decide what he finds most comfortable and go with it. Either drops for flats will work fine for touring so it boils down to personal preference. The biggest consideration might be getting the best cockpit dimensions taking into account top tube length, stem, steering geometry, etc.
Absolutely.
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Old 07-19-15, 10:54 AM
  #34  
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I have drop bars on my LHT, but my bars, at the moment, are about an inch above the seat. I move them from time to time, they were level with the seat, but for the commuting I have been doing, I like them slightly above. I am able to do that without adding a ton of spacers because I have a fairly large frame for me, bought purposely. I can use all positions on the bars comfortably.

If I didn't have drop bars, I would go with trekking bars. I toy with switching over to them from time to time, but really have no need and the cost to change wouldn't be worth it. Of course I still feel the itch to do something different. I just wouldn't want straight bars for touring myself.
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Old 07-19-15, 12:06 PM
  #35  
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the derailleur bikes had drop bars, bar end shifters, now, having a R'off, its grip shift works best on a Trekking Bar.


the open palm hand rest is most comfortable.
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Old 07-19-15, 12:55 PM
  #36  
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Drops are more racey while flats give you more control. Depends on what you're going for. I like them both but if you do do flats, try to get something with a 30 or 45 degree angle to put our wrists at a more neutral position. Can't go wrong with either
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Old 07-19-15, 03:41 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by max5480 View Post
Drops are more racey while flats give you more control.
I had plenty control on and especially off road (including technical trails) with drops on my 29er.
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Old 07-19-15, 05:46 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by max5480 View Post
Drops are more racey while flats give you more control. Depends on what you're going for. I like them both but if you do do flats, try to get something with a 30 or 45 degree angle to put our wrists at a more neutral position. Can't go wrong with either
This is not really true though.
You get more straight line control with drop bars, and you get massively more control for cornering with drop bars. Straight bar just cannot compare. Also a drop bar allows for better power transfer control when that is needed. It's also more relaxed, and allows for more hand positions / torso positions (even more important than hand positions)
Climbing is easier as is sprinting, as is descending.
The only place a straight bar has better control is when the bike/steering needs torquing, ie. technical mountain biking.
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Old 07-20-15, 11:12 AM
  #39  
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@mijome07 @elcruxio
We're talking in touring specific situation here, not technical mountain biking or high speed cornering. I agree about the better straight line control with drops, hence referring to them as more racy. I don't know how you can argue this considering all bike racers use drop bars and the majority of riders who need better control use flats (mountain bikers, bmx bikers, trials, urban fixed gear riders, etc). Also drops are usually narrower than flats and so flats have more control especially under heavy touring load. Sure, a lot of factors are at play here, but condensed, these are my findings.
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Old 07-20-15, 11:51 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by max5480 View Post
@mijome07 @elcruxio
We're talking in touring specific situation here, not technical mountain biking or high speed cornering. I agree about the better straight line control with drops, hence referring to them as more racy. I don't know how you can argue this considering all bike racers use drop bars and the majority of riders who need better control use flats (mountain bikers, bmx bikers, trials, urban fixed gear riders, etc). Also drops are usually narrower than flats and so flats have more control especially under heavy touring load. Sure, a lot of factors are at play here, but condensed, these are my findings.
Ok, if you ride down a mountain at 50mph, would you rather take a straight bar or a drop bar?
I'd take the drop bar every time. Cornering is better as the drops are more forward and lower than a straight bar reasonably can be. Due to this
1) weight distribution is better as you have more weight on the front wheel
2) center of gravity is lower as the bar lets you take a lower hold comfortably
3) as the bar is more forward it also slows down the steering which actually is quite preferrable in higher speeds, and also when touring, in slower speeds. I'd rather take a slow steering bike that's a bit lazy but descends like a missile, than a twitchy straight bar that feels unsafe at higher speeds.

I have a 29er with 750mm bar
I also have a road hybrid with 600mm bar
And I have a roadbike with a 440mm road bar. The road bike is by far the best handling road machine. It's actually also the best on gravel if I put wider tires on it.
For this reason the hybrid is getting a drop bar conversion and the 29er may or may not turn into a gravel grinder / bike expedition bike with a moustache handlebar as if the surface isn't technical rocky / rooty terrain torque isn't needed, hence no need for a wide straight bar.
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Old 07-20-15, 12:07 PM
  #41  
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@elcruxio

Your argument is moot:
https://youtu.be/sXTE9Y1EFHY?t=50s
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Old 07-20-15, 12:12 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by max5480 View Post
So your argument for straight bar is a situation where the bar shape is not relevant?
Also what was that before about this all being about touring and not mtb'ing (or tarmac DH wheelieing)
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Old 07-20-15, 12:20 PM
  #43  
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You got me there!
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Old 07-20-15, 04:22 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by checoles View Post
Stuck in a rut. Got bikes set up with both drops and straights, and love them both. Problem is, I'm in the middle of building a tourer and got stuck on what bars to have. I've never ridden more than 100 miles in one go, and never cycled more than 2-3 days in a row, and I plan to go about cycling for 5-7 days as a sort of "beginners tour". If I go drops, I'll be using bar-end shifters, not "brifters". If I go risers, I'm not sure what grips I'd go for, as I've only ever ridden with standard hand grips, so I'm not sure where to go in terms of good ergo grips. I plan to be riding Englands Way of the Roses, 170 miles each way, but it does go across some pretty mad hills and inclines. I think I'm loaded for such a trip. My list includes -

Bike (obviously)
2 x Large Waterproof Drybag Panniers
1 man tent
Compact Sleeping bag
Camping mat
Bungie straps
Compact LED camping lamp
Handlebar Bag with Map Holder
Camping packeted food
Waterproof Pouches
Inflatable pillow

Thats all I've got to so far. Thinking about a Cycling Sat-Nav but I don't know what to do for charging? Anyway, any adivce for a first timer doing it alone would be greatly appreciated

Cheers, Che
I was using Salsa Bell lap Cyclo-Cross Handlebars and I gone to Flat Mtn Handlebars on
my Surly LHT 26in 52cm 2008 and I am thinking of going to Trekking (Butterfly) Handlesbars






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