Drops or flats

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by vbc, 19 Sep 2007.

  1. NickM

    NickM Veteran

    For long-distance touring, if you are considering a new bike you owe it to yourself to try a recumbent. They are the logical choice for any kind of road cycling where comfort is a high priority.
  2. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

    I haven't ridden one so I don't know but they always look low to the ground to me and I spend a lot of my time touring looking at the scenery etc. which is easier from a conventional height.
  3. Cycling Naturalist

    Cycling Naturalist Legendary Member

    I spend about 95% of the time on the tops, but find a drop handlebar invaluable for being able to change positions on longer runs.
  4. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    Whilst recumbents do have their advocates, there are plenty of people in the long distance cycling community who still find the traditional wedgie to be the best choice for them. And this is not necessarily due to ignorance. Lots of us have tried out various options but, as all bikes types are a compromise, found the traditional diamond frame offered the best trade off for covering high mileages.

    However amongst these high mileage diamond frame riders, very few choose to go with flat bars. You would have thought that if they offered definite comfort advantages they would have been seized upon by those who prioritise comfort above all else. In fact the opposite is true; the drop handlebars remain overwhelmingly the most common bar choice on events like PBP because for most people, they are more comfortable.

    But not all drop bars are equal: For instance, I find the randonneur ones really uncomfortable despite them being recommended by all sorts of 'experts'. Also the bars are only one part of the total 'bike fit' and often the cause of discomfort is attributed to the style of bike in general, rather than a particular part of the set up.

    Finally it's a myth that 'more upright' is more comfortable. It is one of those 'obvious truisms' that have been encouraged by the bike manufactures because it stops them fighting against 'facts' that are 'self evident'.
  5. NickM

    NickM Veteran

    There is much more variety in recumbent designs than in uprights; the type generally known as a "highracer", of which the Challenge Seiran and Nazca Pioneer are typical, should allow you to see over most hedges...
  6. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    Matter of preference i suppose, not a matter of fact.
    Although I can change gear ok when holding the bar ends.
  7. mcd

    mcd Well-Known Member

    Are you suggesting touring on a penny farthing? :biggrin:

    The problem I found with Flat bars and Drops was that after a long day the only bit of scenery I was looking at was the bit of road 5m in front. Some recumbents offer a better veiw than others. I did LEJOG last year on a recumbent that placed my head in a natural level position, at the same height as if I was in a car. I'm sure there were walls & hedges I couldn't see over, but I had such a good view ahead (even when tired) it wasn't a problem.

    When was the last time you were going along a quiet road and you looked up at the trees & sky passing over head?
  8. NickM

    NickM Veteran

    Fair enough... but without at least trying a recumbent, you'll never know.
  9. asterix

    asterix Comrade Member

    Limoges or York
    No recumbents round here. It's all hills, mostly up hills..
  10. Abitrary

    Abitrary New Member

    I'm tempted by butterfly bars, but putting some cyclo cross brakes on the sides. Jesus, I just felt a little shiver thinking about it
  11. stevew

    stevew Well-Known Member

    Flats with bar ends for me too
  12. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Meanwood, Leeds
    Still don't want one. :ohmy:
  13. orbiter

    orbiter Well-Known Member

    It's odd that nobody has mentioned using the most comfortable touring bar of all - the 'butterfly', which gives four/five hand positions with a very adjustable angle. They are virtually standard on German touring bikes because of their versatility & comfort

    I've toured with all three and settled on Modolo Yuma butterfly bars years ago. See Trekking Bars at http://www.modolo.it/

    Bar-ends are normally angled upward because it suits the natural wrist angle, so anatomically are better than drop hoods. Flat bars and drop 'tops' impart any shock directly to the hands/wrists/arms, which is partly absorbed by drops when riding on the hoods.

    Wrist-angle and transmitted shock seem to me to be the main factors affecting handlebar comfort.

    Butterly bars, like bar-ends can be angled any where from vertical to horizontal to give the most comfortable wrist angle for any rider with at least four hand positions. The most-used left-right section (with the controls) is furthest from the stem, so minimises shock.

    Drops were designed for road-racing.
    Flats were designed for off-road control.
    Butterflies were designed for touring.

    Simple :rolleyes::biggrin::biggrin:
  14. Cycling Naturalist

    Cycling Naturalist Legendary Member

    Doesn't the entry level Dawes have something like that?
  15. greenmark

    greenmark Veteran

    Hong Kong
    Flat bars with bar ends and aero bars. Looks daft but works.

    The aero bars are particularly useful when you want to shift from using your hands to using your elbows.
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