Why don't people have their drops at a useable height?

Twilkes

Veteran
I read and hear a lot about people who never or rarely use their drops, staying on the hoods. Surely one of the advantages of drop bars is the change in position? To me it feels much more solid when in the drops, my hands are 'hooked in' and I have access to gears and brakes, what's not to like?

Would a lot of cyclists benefit from raising their drops to get more use out of them, possibly combined with bending their elbows more? Lots of straight-armed riders out there (including me although I'm new to drops and working on it).
 

derrick

The Glue that binds us together.
People ride what they are comfatable on. I ride mostly on the hoods. On the drops if I am pushing it. Or just fancy a change. On the drops is not the most aero position to be in. If your happy on your bike it makes no difference where you hold your bars.
 
OP
Twilkes

Twilkes

Veteran
I read the research about hoods with horizontal forearms being more aero than drops, but iirc they compared it to a straight-arm drops position which had a higher torso position so not really the same test. That was my thinking, get a horizontal forearm position in the drops, leaving a more relaxed position higher up on the hoods, although I'm not quite there yet.

edit: I'm probably pushing for speed more than some cyclists so that may be why, I understand comfort is the main thing for longer rides no matter what your target speed is, and not everyone cares about going as fast as they can. :smile:
 
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PaulSB

Legendary Member
I ride on the drops if I'm pushing in to a headwind to get back on the group or a wheel.

I'll also use the drops when descending as I like to get as low as possible to lower my centre of gravity. I feel this gives me greater stability. When using rim brakes I want to be able to hold the whole lever, makes no difference with disc brakes.
 
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OP
Twilkes

Twilkes

Veteran
Descending and cornering are improved with the lower centre of gravity on the drops. Another reason pros might have their drops lower than their standard hoods position is because they then have a lower position for sprinting/riding out of the saddle, which are two things I never really do, so that might be another reason to have my drops slightly higher and to use them more.

I read this a while ago and the article and comments give a lot of different viewpoints:

http://inrng.com/2013/01/cycling-position-change/
 

Paulus

Started young, and still going.
Location
Barnet,
I only ride on the drops occasionally. But there is at least 3 other positions to be had from a drop bar setup.
 

12boy

Über Member
Location
Casper WY USA
I haven't ridden drops for years because they are too uncomfortable and the position makes it a strain to look ahead. While I find the palm down position of flat bars also uncomfortable for longer rides, there are many other bars that provide the "shaking hand" position I prefer. Bull horns, moustache bars, North Road bars do that and there are also swept back bars that split the difference between flat bars and the 3 mentioned earlier. Drop bars and the ones I've mentioned provide multiple hand positions which are great for longer rides. Most bikes seem to have head tubes set up so a fistful or so of stem will result in the drop position of drop bars being way below the saddle. To get those drops to a position I could use, say 1 or 2 inches below the saddle, would require a high stem, which in turn places the flat bar part pretty high. Another factor to consider is bar width, with wider bars being less aero and providing more control than narrow ones. I do think it's a good idea to try different types of bars than only drops and flat bars.
 

Aravis

Here for the ride.
Location
Gloucester
With drop bars the positions I use the most are the tops and the shoulders. In the latter position my hands are relaxed, wrists are turned slightly outwards with fingers slightly spread and resting on the hoods. I'll go to the hoods when I want to cover the brakes and change gear, and the drops for full braking control, but I don't stay there for any length of time. At least I don't think I do; the fact that I don't know what proportion of my time I spend in each position, and am generally unaware of moving, suggests that however unorthodox this method may be, it's working well.

I know my top tube is a bit on the long side at 60cm, which is perhaps putting the shoulders in my sweet spot rather than the hoods. I feel sure a bike fitter would tell me this, not that they will get the chance. I also have my bars tilted further forwards than most I see, making the hoods a more crouched position than might normally be the case. But if I raised the hoods significantly it would bend my wrists backwards when riding on the shoulders, which wouldn't be so comfortable.

I've tried butterfly bars, which were a qualified success. But whilst the variety of positions was great, my hands and wrists couldn't forget where they're used to going and I was always having to think. Of course, in time they might become the most natural thing in the world. :unsure:
 
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