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Drop bars?

Old 06-30-22, 10:08 PM
  #26  
MarcusT
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From my observations in Europe, one can usually tell from the bars. If the bars are flat, they're mainland European, if the bars are dropped, they are N. American or British.
However, gravel bikes have created a tangent. I suppose we'll have to wait a few years to sort that one out.
A large target area for viewing tourers is the Alpe Adria bike route from Salzburg, Austria to Grado, Italy. Maybe the most populated touring bike route in Europe. There are numerous videos, which can give one a general idea of the bar situation
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Old 06-30-22, 11:58 PM
  #27  
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It might have been me who originally uttered the statement which gave rise to this thread. The distinction was a bit different however. Originally I was of the opinion that drop bar touring is an anglican thing whereas flat or straight bars was mainland european. Of course it is not as simple or black and white. Then again one would be hard pressed to find a drop bar touring bike from the larger mainland european bike brands.

One can only guess why the distinction exists, but I would speculate it relates to the more relaxed approach regarding cycling in general in mainland european countries as opposed to the british isles and north america. But the reasons can lie elsewhere as well.

Personally I'm ardent for the drop bar. I've tried the flat, the north road, the denham, albatross, wide gravel drop bar and I keep coming back to the shoulder width drop bar. I have however found that a 12 degree gravel flare is a significant improvement so I've swapped that to all my drop bikes. The benefits of a drop bar bike are well know as there's more hand positions, etc. But they are also more stable at speed as they allow for a better rider weight distribution over the wheels meaning more grip for the front tire. They are also the best bar shape for aligning arms and hands in the most relaxed position meaning they have the potential for least neck and shoulder issues. All of the aforementioned benefits require however that the bike used is sized correctly ie. short enough reach.

Of course they're not great for tough or loose offroad but for that there is the common flat bar.

I've found that the denham bar and its ilk combine the worst of the flat bar without any of the benefits of the drop. You usually want your most efficient position to be the one where you can reach the levers and grind away the kilometers. Or to put it in other terms, you want your longest position to be your best overall position. With the denham bar that's the wide position. If you size frame and stem reach for that position it means the long bullhorn position meant for headwinds etc. is way too long and uncomfortable and thus unusable. If you size reach for the bullhorns your brake position is too short and unstable.
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Old 07-01-22, 05:27 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
From my observations in Europe, one can usually tell from the bars. If the bars are flat, they're mainland European, if the bars are dropped, they are N. American or British.
Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
It might have been me who originally uttered the statement which gave rise to this thread. The distinction was a bit different however. Originally I was of the opinion that drop bar touring is an anglican thing whereas flat or straight bars was mainland european. Of course it is not as simple or black and white. Then again one would be hard pressed to find a drop bar touring bike from the larger mainland european bike brands.
That is a distinction I have never been incilned to make, but probably a good and significant one. Just my ignorance maybe, but I have tended to lump Brits and mainland Europeans all together in thinking about this as all just Europeans.

Oh and fwiw, while some choices may come close nothing I have tried quite matches the hoods position on a good drop bar. Bar ends and other clamp on accesories may try. Bull horn or other bars as well, but they are just not the same IME.
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Old 07-03-22, 08:58 PM
  #29  
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Dumber than "clipless" pedals?
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Old 07-09-22, 08:41 AM
  #30  
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Personal choice, whatever works. I am a drop bar fan but did a two day tour and borrowed some Jones H Bar and they were very comfortable. Just ordered my new bike, a Gunnar Rock TourII and I am planning on ordering a set of Velo Orange crazy bars for it.
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Old 07-11-22, 05:19 AM
  #31  
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Strictly USA rider here, but after 40 some years using drop bars exclusively, I switched to Rivendell Bosco Bars for touring. After 10 years, I have no regrets and love the variety of riding positions the bars provide.
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Old 07-12-22, 07:23 PM
  #32  
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I've toured quite a bit in Europe but don't have a clear recollection - tons of roadies, tons of utilitarian bikes, relatively few touring bikes.

1. AFAIK, until recently, mainland retailers weren't selling touring bikes. The closer design other than boutique was called trekking, my understanding being that it wasn't a road bike nor a mountain bike. I don't know what trekking was referring to exactly, it would take a local to explain. But it certainly wasn't bikes meant for Mongolia.
2. Décathlon, probably the largest sport equipment retsiler in Europe, doesn't sell "vélo de tourisme" on its (French) site. No trekking either. Some odd categories including "long distance". (Flat bars)
3. Bike24 and Rosebikes (German online retailers) have recently dropped the trekking category. Rosebikes lists only 2 models of touring bikes (drop bars). Whereas bike24 has literally hundreds of touring variants (all flat bars as far as my eye can see).

4. More to the core - I got into touring a few years ago, when the LHT was the undisputed mid-range reference. I didn't want to use thumbies or some other workaround popular at the time. So I went butterfly (now flat with backsweep). Rapid fire shifters on a 3x10 mountain group are, for me, excellent. Even if brifters could be made to work on an XT groupset I wouldn't switch.

But the industry is moving forward with interesting 1x12 groups. Being content with my setup I didn't look into this enough to really understand the implications but I am under the impression that they are for MTB setups, i.e. flat bars.

Trying to coerce a MTB groupset to work with dropbars might be where the cultural difference occurs.
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