drops or hoods

ARob Posts: 143
edited July 2008 in Road beginners
at what speed is it more efficient to ride on the drops than the hoods?

feels like around 21 mph or so subjectively but is there any science out there on this?


  • IMO I would have thought it is always more efficient to ride on the drops (except for climbing steep hills) because the aerodynamics are better. I tend to only use drops for descents or if I have to cane it.
  • Nuggs
    Nuggs Posts: 1,804
    From an aerodynamic point-of-view (obviously less relevant on the hills), it's always more efficient to ride on the drops. However, it can get a bit uncomfortable...
  • bill57
    bill57 Posts: 454
    Both answers to your question are correct .... however, I think what you're experiencing and asking about is that the difference between hoods and drops is much more noticeable at higher speeds. This is because the power required to overcome the air resistance increases with the cube of the velocity, so where it might not make a great difference at, say 12mph, the difference will be considerable at 25mph. This also explains why we all reach a point at which we simply cannot go any faster!
  • idaviesmoore
    idaviesmoore Posts: 557
    I'm a triathlete and do use tribars. However, I've trained myself to ride in drops over the last 10 years and now it feels the most comfortable apart from v. steep climbs. Interestingly enough over a 10 mile time trial I hardly notice any benefit using tri bars over drops. But when the distance increases the tribars do make the differance.
    'How can an opinion be bullsh1t?' High Fidelity
  • bill57
    bill57 Posts: 454
    I think we're much more conditioned to using the hoods nowadays - with ergonomic design, they've become a very comfortable way to ride, which was not always the case.
    But I also think that, with the changes in frame geometry, and in particular the adoption of longer seatposts, there is a tendency to set the bars too low. With bars properly positioned, you have three positions to suit different riding conditions, but if they're too low, chances are the drops will seldom be used as they're too uncomfortable.
  • salsarider79
    salsarider79 Posts: 828
    Handlebar position is all a matter of trial and error, try different set-ups and go for a ride, I ride singlespeed so anything after 17mph is easiest on the drops. You need all the effiency you can get sometimes...
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