drop bar bikes and access to brakes...

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by Maz, 26 Nov 2007.

  1. Maz

    Maz Legendary Member

    If you've got a drop bar bike and you hold the hoods, can you get good pressure on the brakes if you need to brake sharply?

    I've only ridden a drop bar bike once so don't know. I'm asking because I'd like to get one for my commute, part of which is urban, with kids running across rds outside schools etc I need to brake sharpish if need be.

    Guess it also depends on what type of brakes you have.
  2. Membrane

    Membrane New Member

    Drop bar bikes almost always use cantilever brakes, the stopping power of good canti's isn't as good as good linear pull or disc brakes. You only get maximum leverage out of the drop bar brake levers if you are "in the drops", leverage will be less with your hands on the hoods.

    The question of whether this provides you with enough stopping power for city commutes will be answered differently by different people, and it may also vary depending on other variables like for example weather or quality of road surface.
  3. Personally, I can.

    Some people can't though. It helps if you have big hands. It also depends a bit on what shape your handlebars are (drops come in many patterns), where exactly on the bars the brake levers are put, and, as you say, on how good the brakes are in the first place and how well set-up.

    So that's an "it depends". I have big, hard hands, and I can pull quite hard enough from the hoods on the Ergopower levers on my randonneur handlebars to lock up my cantilever brakes.

    If you find you need more braking power than you can get on your hoods, you always have the option of riding the dodgy stretches (the ones with kids running across roads) on the drops.
  4. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    Never had a problem myself but I guess it's more about having good anticipation anyway, I can't remember the last time I had to do an emergency stop and my commute is along the Mile End road into the City of London and back!
  5. walker

    walker New Member

    Bromley, Kent
    the only time I've ever had to use the brakes to a degree is coming down a hill at 45mph heading towards a hidden cross-roads. I would say that the brakes on a road bike are far from good enough for a commute. As long as you look after your brakes and make sure your pads are well within there lifespan you shouldn't have any problems
  6. OP

    Maz Legendary Member

    Thank you most kindly for your replies.
  7. RedBike

    RedBike New Member

    Beside the road
    I would of said most drop bar bikes use duel pivot brakes. Which, if set up correctly, are more than powerful enough to stop you quickly.
  8. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    'far from good enough'?

    is that what you meant to post?

    planning to commute on drops soon and I'm interested, I make the odd semi emergency stop
  9. OP

    Maz Legendary Member

    I have the same doubt.
  10. mondobongo

    mondobongo Über Member

    I have no problem braking for junctions/lights on the hoods, never had the need to do a full slam on the anchors IMO you would need to be on the drops for stopping quickly in a slam on moment.
  11. RedBike

    RedBike New Member

    Beside the road
    There's nothing wrong with the brakes on drop bar bikes!

    However, some designs are better than others. For example my dura-ace duel pivot (drop bar) brakes are noticeably better (even in the wet) than the cable discs I have on my mountain bike.
  12. I should have added that my tiny missus has pretty much the same setup as me. She always moves to the drops on a long descent or if she thinks she might have to stop, because she can't get decent stopping power from the hoods. (She's 4'11", with commensurately petite hands. We're thinking about getting hold of the the scaled-down levers that Islabikes fit)

    But she's never failed to stop. It's just a matter of getting used to your kit.
  13. On a long descent, where you might be braking repeatedly and a lot, I'd want to be on the drops, but I'd also want to be there because it's a more stable lower CofG position.

    On the flat or short downhils though, on the hoods I can brake hard enough to lock the wheels.
  14. Jacomus-rides-Gen

    Jacomus-rides-Gen New Member

    Guildford / London
    If some sales cretin trys to put you off by saying "drop bars have limited forward visibility, they aren't good for commuting" what they mean is "most POBs don't believe me when I say they are just as good, if not better than flat bars for commuting."

    Same with brakes - roadbike brakes are excellent, end of story.

    Braking from in the drops gives the most power, so I ride in the drops when I think it is likely I will need the full power range - i.e. when filtering, approaching dangerous sections etc.

    I have once had to emergency stop when on the hoods, and fear gave me strength enough to get the bike up onto the front wheel, so I would add to what the others have said - they are fine.
  15. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran


    drops is exactly where you don't want to be when filtering and/or approaching dangerous sections though surely?

    (that's a genuine question, I don't know)
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