What is the point of drop bars?

  • This topic has 64 replies, 30 voices, and was last updated 4 years ago by  aP.
Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 65 total)
  • What is the point of drop bars?
  • Mrs MTG rides a Kona Big Unit 29er with a Rohloff hub.
    She wants something a bit better suited to long distance road rides, but still with some off road ability, so started thinking of a cross bike with rack mounts.
    She likes the Rohloff, so I suggested that as they go for ยฃ600 or so second hand, it would be a lot cheaper to put some thinner tyres on the Kona than build another complete bike.

    Anyway, the conversation turned to the difference between a cross bike and a mountain bike.
    It’s very rare to see anyone riding a cross bike on the drops. Even on a touring bike, most riders just use the tops and hoods.
    It seems to me the only time anyone uses the drops is when they need more pressure on the brake levers, in which case they’s be better off with flat bars with bar ends and maybe a set of aero bars as well, which would give them a bigger choice of brake levers, shifters and grips anyway.
    Is there any real advantage to drop bars, or is it just tradition?

    DrP
    Member

    It’s bat-shite mental going down a techy descent on the drops…
    That sold it for me!

    DrP

    Premier Icon jamiep
    Subscriber

    I ride mostly on the drops. Racier position for putting the power down and also feeling more stable when it is rough

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu
    Subscriber

    I always ride in the drops.
    Far more control.

    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjPPEeMEpL4&list=UU3vr8oRWTHW2HXam0w-yU8Q[/video]

    I’ve never understood either. The drops aren’t even more aerodynamic (http://road.cc/content/news/133598-want-ride-faster-hunker-down-hoods).

    Never understood why hybrids seem to be considered uncool either, despite being almost identical apart from bar shape.

    TheBrick
    Member

    I ride in the drops all the time on the road. Variety of positions. What I understand less is how few people with hybrids have cut their bars down. Even small men and women, wide off road fine but massively wide bars on road are horrid but most people don’t seem to adjust this part of their bike.

    kazafaza
    Member

    DrP +1!

    Well, that’s Midge bars so slightly different to your everyday CX bars but generally speaking I’ll just confirm what others wrote so far: more control with steering and breaking. But it’s like with most things – if you don’t know, just try it yourself and see how it plays with you as other folks’ opinion might be biased or screwed ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Merry cycling!

    aP
    Member

    Drops for descending and monster headwinds.

    Premier Icon oliverracing
    Subscriber

    for me it’s bike dependent, on my monstercross I use the drops on anything remotely technical, cross bike it really depends how I’m feeling. on the road bike I ride on the hoods most of the time, but when I want a bit more control I use the drops.

    Premier Icon Nipper99
    Member

    Much nicer off road imo on my Gryphon and Peregrine and on my CX. Depends which bars – i have Ragly Luxy bars on the Singulars and a pair of Soma Junebugs on my cx. Very comfy with lots of variety in hand positions and being locked into the drops feels very secure off road – all the above are flared bars.

    wilburt
    Member

    I’m not sure if the question is about road or off road but drops IMO are pretty much essential for maintaining a good average on the road or even in a sprint the benefit is very noticeable. There also much more stable on techy descents.

    For touring there will be times you want to get out of the wind and just cover miles and drops will be an advantage.

    oldgit
    Member

    Long drags, headwinds, long descents, racing. Not reading the link up there, I just know it makes a difference, even crossing a football pitch during a windy cx race.

    Poor fit, too low or just plain not used to it probably more of an issue. Like slamming the stem and not having Sagans core strength to work down there.

    MrSmith
    Member

    Never understood why hybrids seem to be considered uncool either

    Because they suggest ponderous commuting/touring/sensible clothes/librarians/map reading/warm brown beer/hairy legs/trailquests/panniers/bells/mudgaurds not the speed, grace, style and epic suffering of road racing

    3 different hand positions .

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Subscriber

    Techie singletrack, flowing singletrack, hard hacks, road, headwinds, sprints, whoooshing, downhill fast, downhill slow, gravel, all done on the drops.
    Bout the only thing on the hoods is rolling, long roll outs, road rolling, wide singletrack rolling..

    But for just touring and the occasional headwind I’d go for midge bars or flatties..

    Doesn’t help that because I’m not your wife, it’s what she wants that matters.

    Premier Icon ceepers
    Subscriber

    For me, it’s the slight level of awkwardness that descending on the drops off-road gives that adds to the fun. It’s the Impractically of a cross bike off-road compared to an mtb and the added challenge that makes it fun and different.

    On road, there are definite aero advantages, descending it gives better braking control (off-road too)

    Premier Icon brant
    Subscriber

    I’m a big fan of moustache bars. But they are far too odd looking to ever catch on.

    mtbel
    Member

    “the point” seems fairly well covered already so rather than simply repeat what’s been said I’d like to ask. What is the point of stupid angled drops like SinglespeedStu’s and Kazafaza’s when all road brake levers and Sti’s were designed to be ergonomic when positioned on the vertical plane not 45 degrees off?

    Agled drops makes for Elbows out and better control on difficult downhills, at the expense of aero position which is i suppose why they are a compromise not usually seen on road bikes. They sort of are on some cross bikes, even my wife’s giant cx bike has a bif of flare on the drops. Have you tried them btw?

    samuri
    Member

    Going down steep, rocky descents, definitely. The first time you try descending a fast, rocky road on the hoods you’ll understand completely.

    On the road, more stable, more power on the brakes. Nice to drop out of the wind a bit sometimes.

    scotroutes
    Member

    Woodchippers on my tourer/cross bike too. They make a huge difference on rough descents and I can live with the fact that they are slightly less aerodynamic as I’m unlikely to notice at touring/off-road speeds.

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/oE4xXC]P1010496[/url] by ScotRoutes, on Flickr
    [url=https://flic.kr/p/oE5GtF]DSC_0139[/url] by ScotRoutes, on Flickr

    FWIW, the STIs work perfectly in that configuration

    mtbel
    Member

    Yes, I’ve tried them.

    Horrible and pointless were my conclusions.

    but I find riding elbows out on standard road drops and hoods just fine.

    Rorschach
    Member

    Good reading here and here

    brakes
    Member

    comfort is another one.
    more hand positions and therefore body positions are better for upper body fatigue.
    there’s more flex in the drops than on the hoods or flats too so if you’re offroad banging along a bridleway or hard gravely track the drops take away some of the vibrations.

    Premier Icon oliverracing
    Subscriber

    scotroutes – out of interest what size bag have you got of the front there?

    scotroutes
    Member

    oliver payne wrote:

    scotroutes – out of interest what size bag have you got of the front there?

    That’s a 13L Alpkit Airlock Xtra in a Revelate Harness with the Revelate Front pocket too.

    TheBrick
    Member

    but I find riding elbows out on standard road drops and hoods just fine

    If your elbows out on a road bike the fit is quit off, initial thoughts are it sounds too short.

    Premier Icon oliverracing
    Subscriber

    ok cool, I’m still undecided between the 13l and 20l with my woodchippers

    scotroutes
    Member

    I don’t think you’ll get any more width than the 13L offers though you may get more depth/drop. Alpkit are currently selling some off (seconds with some strap issues). https://www.alpkit.com/products/airlok-xtra-factory-seconds

    mtbel
    Member

    Thanks rorschach. A good read.

    I always understood the extra leverage bit but:

    Elbows in rather than out? a less than ideal position for absorbing anything rough.

    I have broad shoulders and chest but prefer 42s so naturally ride elbows out on the hoods and drops even on the road. (I do bring them in when aero matters)

    mtbel
    Member

    The Brick – I do like a short roadbike. But no. it’s definitely not too short.

    Premier Icon somafunk
    Subscriber

    Balvenie whisky corks as bar end plugs?, nice touch ๐Ÿ˜€

    scotroutes
    Member

    somafunk wrote:

    Balvenie whisky corks as bar end plugs?, nice touch

    Aye, but that meant having to drink two bottles of Balvenie ๐Ÿ™„ ๐Ÿ˜†

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Subscriber

    Even on a touring bike, most riders just use the tops and hoods.

    Yup, total dorks. Part of me dies every time I see stis/bars pointed at the sky.

    Any roadie who knows what they are doing will have their bike set up to use all the positions comfortably, many newcomers don’t know how.

    brakes
    Member

    to be fair many newcomers and occasional cyclists haven’t ridden/ don’t ride often enough to find the position comfortable so don’t bother with it. it’s not about speed and times for everyone.

    ChunkyMTB
    Member

    I think most people that moan about riding in the drops are not very flexible and possibly a bit tubby ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    Or more than likely just have a badly fitting bike….

    Oh and what Al said.

    Flame away.

    mtbel
    Member

    me too al… me too ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

    Check this noob dork, probably a mountainbiker.

    got any examples of what you’re actually talking about?

    Premier Icon Nipper99
    Member

    Proper flared Luxy bars – all works fine with STIs in the drops and on the hoods ๐Ÿ˜€


    december 003 by jamesanderson2010, on Flickr

    oldgit
    Member

    You’re a bunch of wrong’uns.

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