Seeking some general advice. All views appreciated.


New Member
Hi there, just after some generalised advice on a few choice subject matters.

First off I think it's worth noting I work in a Bike-Shop, and have been here roughly since last September. I'm not as knowledgeable as my fellow co-workers, as they've either been in the trade for many a year, or are just -extremely- passionate about the sport. Not to say I'm not passionate, I'm just new to the industry is all.

A friend of mine has invited me to do the Coast to Coast (Whitehaven to Sunderland) ride with him and his family this year and I've gladly accepted. We'll be doing a route that's a mix of about.. 70% On-Road and 30% Off-road. We go out practically every Sunday for training rides ranging anywhere from 15-30 Miles. That sort of thing. I'm currently doing those training rides on a Genesis Latitude 20 which yes, I know, is a Mountain Bike and not suited for Road-Use in the slightest.

I'm looking to a buy a new bike however, one that I can do the Coast to Coast on and then after, enjoy some long rides on for recreational purposes and general enjoyment. I've been looking at the Croix Der Fer range, but I'm ever so slightly put off by Dropped-Handlebars. I have to say, I find dropped-handlebars really uncomfortable to ride with. After a while of riding with them, my lower back starts to hurt a bit. However my co-workers keep saying it's because of things like; Once the bike and the bars have been adjusted for your height and such it'll be comfortable, that I've only ever ridden flat-handlebars and the likes. Now I put the question to you, lovely people of CycleChat.

Is it worth trying to acclimatize myself to Dropped-Handlebars? Or should I seek other options? And if so, can anyone suggest any bikes that would be worthwhile buying for what I need?

Cheers! ^_^
Last edited:

jack smith

Über Member
Look at cyclocross bikes then you arent limited to the road and you can take it on the c2c paths whitehaven to sunderland has some very gravely parts which are no good for a road bike especially the parts past my place , youll find if you get the bike fitted properly you womt have aches and pains, whats your budget?


Über Member
I think if you get a properly fitted bike you'll find it quite comfortable, the thing with drops is there are many variations on hand position so on longer rides you can move them more and reduce stress on wrists etc.

Gravel / cyclecross bikes are probably the way to go. Not too expensive and highly versatile, certainly going to be my next purchase. As to which that depends on budget and specific requirements.


Last of the Summer Winos
Drops do take some getting used to. Most (but not all) people find they are more comfortable than flat bars once they've got used to the new position.
I'd be very tempted with something like the Planet-X Kaffenback - a classic steel multi-purpose bike with disk brakes and plenty of clearance for decent sized tyres/mudguards etc (and available in both drop and flat bar versions)


Drops are, in my opinion, a 'good thing' - you get more hand positions, you get to be more aerodynamic (which is good if you're in a headwind) and you get the most comfortable position of all, which is riding in the hoods (in my opinion). I'm so taken with drops that I have them on my bike that used to be flat bar.

The thing is though, in the 80s when I first got a bike with drops (it was called a 'racer' then) fashions were a little less extreme - it was not the done thing to have a foot or more of seat-post sticking out for a start (you can blame those mountain bikers for that to some extent) and we also had quill stems, which meant you could easily raise the handlebars.

Now of course we have ahead stems, and you can't do much about raising the handlebar height without an ugly extender. And the mountain-bike influenced 'mile of seatpost' look has been reinforced by the marketing departments telling us that what we need for our bikes - which by and large we don't race - is for them to look as much like racing bikes as possible, so many of them have impossibly small tyre clearances and handlebars slammed right down which, combined with that mile of seatpost means the height difference between your arse and your elbow is much greater than ever it was. This seems to be the case even on bikes which have no business looking like a racing bike.

I rode drop bars exclusively for a decade before my bike was stolen and I didn't ride again for 15 years - and when I tried them again on my converted bike I immediately got sore wrists because of the height difference mentioned. Now I've got a stem raiser (for my bike has a quill stem, so it's easy to raise the bars) it's perfectly comfortable again.

So, in summary, you should seek out a bike where you can get the bars roughly level with the saddle when the saddle is at the height you want it. Unless you really are going to race it, in which case aerodynamic efficiency trumps comfort - but if you just want to ride it, get one that's a compromise between efficiency and comfort.


There are always Butterfly Bars or just put some Ergon grips on flat bars to alleviate stress and give you more positions. Both options relatively cheap to replace/amend flat bars. Drops aren't for everyone so try some options and get a comfortable solution for your needs. Good luck. Gez

Elswick Cotterpin

Über Member
South Wales
I only ever owned one very old Raleigh mountain bike and have no experience on newer ones, it was great for tootling along and riding through potholes, almost bombproof, but not much fun at all for covering any kind of distance. It was old and heavy, newer styles are doubtless lighter and faster, but it wasn't just the bike; the flat bars really didn't work for me. Sitting almost upright with the wind head-on, I didn't enjoy that at all.

I tried flat bars again last year on my old Dawes touring bike, didn't work for the same reason; too upright. With drops you are a little more aerodynamic, less wind resistance, more hand positions as mentioned before. Some people seem perfectly happy with flat bars, they may suit you better than drops, but working in a bike shop it shouldn't be too difficult for you 'try out' a few bikes with drop bars just to see how you get on with them.

I've got the CX bike bug myself, it's infectious apparently and I'm hoping to buy one later in the year; the problem then will be deciding which one to get; so many useful looking bikes, decisions, decisions.

Borrow a drop bar bike and try it, see if you like it, if not, use your Genesis as the other poster suggested, swap out the tyres for something faster rolling, get bar-ends... (do they still sell those??)

And good luck for the C2C.


Über Member
Guess working in a bike shop you should be able to ride customers bikes to test repairs/services.

The thing I find with drops is because by default your hands are at the widest point it becomes easy to know what gaps you can make. But yes definitely try them.

I'm looking at getting a Kinesis Tripster ATR or something similar as titanium should last longer


Über Member
I've done 70-80 milers on a 29er with knobblies, if you got some intermediate tyres then it would be easily do able. Up your training a little and it would be more enjoyable.
I've just switched to a road bike and am getting used to drop bars, I had a proper bike fit done and I think it was worth it. Its really comfortable compared to the mtb, more hand positions and no issues with back pain etc.
A nice CX or flat bar hybrid might be another alternative but personally I think if you really don't like drop bars then save your money and upgrade the MTB a bit.


also available in orange
You could stick with your current bike, if it's comfortable and just up your mileage as part of your training. You might want to change your tyres to something more suited to touring on the road - Schwalbe Marathons, perhaps? You could then fit a bar bag and a rear rack to transport your gear. That should be fine for mileage up to 60-70 miles a day.
This. But if you're after a drop bar bike, the Croix de Fer would be absolutely ideal for the C2C. Stick some solid road tyres, maybe some semi slicks and some luggage carrying bits and you'd be set. FWIW, if you do buy one, give yourself a couple of months to get it set up the way you want it. You don't want to do a multi-day tour on a bike you don't know.


shadow master

Well-Known Member
I think a cyclcross bike would be great for the c2c,and you'd soon warm to the ride position....not so keen on the Croix de fer,bit of a lead sled and not good value either...sora at £850! And microshift gear levers on some Merida 500 with 22 speed 105, discs,alloy frame,carbon forks,thru axle,conti tyres is amazing for £999 and weighs 22.5lbs!


also available in orange
I think a cyclcross bike would be great for the c2c,and you'd soon warm to the ride position....not so keen on the Croix de fer,bit of a lead sled and not good value either...sora at £850! And microshift gear levers on some Merida 500 with 22 speed 105, discs,alloy frame,carbon forks,thru axle,conti tyres is amazing for £999 and weighs 22.5lbs!
If it's good enough for Vin Cox, it's good enough for anyone :smile:. And his Croix was running an Afline hub!



Über Member
Liverpool, UK
Having ridden the C2C from Ilfracombe to Plymouth on a Merida MTB, I will say, it's doable on a Mountainbike, so why change, unless you really want a new bike?

I admittedly ride on the road anyway, so have slick tyres to have less rolling resistance, however they put up with the gravelly bits on the trails without major problems, and I still managed to keep up with some folk riding road bikes etc.

Only buy another bike if it suits and you can afford it! Otherwise, enjoy the ride!

Oh, I will admit, I now have two bikes, a Merida MTB and a Genesis Croix de Fer, which I intend on using the latter to do another C2C Ilfracombe to Plym and hopefully the TPT.
Top Bottom