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drop down handlebars a pain

funkydisciplefunkydisciple Posts: 65
edited November 2011 in Road beginners

I've had my road bike for a couple of months and i never get in to that aerodynamic position where i'm holding on to the bottom part of the handle bar. i'm always holding the top and i always have difficult braking. my question is can a drop down handle bar be replaced with a normal handle bar that you see on a hybrid/mountain bike???


  • GizmodoGizmodo Posts: 1,928
    Yes, but you will also need to change the gear shifters and brake levers to suit the new bars. Road levers that are vertical and do both are no good for a horizontal bar.

    The question is, why don't you use the drops? Is it a case of not feeling comfortable or not having the confidence to move your hands down?
  • Omar LittleOmar Little Posts: 2,010
    I'd try and tweak your position a bit before changing handlebars - for most people riding with drop bars feels considerably more comfortable than riding on flat bars due to the different positions you can use. Are you using the hoods or just holding the flat bit of the bar and drops?
  • SalsaSalsa Posts: 753
    I've converted a couple of bikes from drops to flats & it's a pretty easy & cheap job.
    You just need the bars, a set of gear shifters matched to your rear mech, a set of bmx levers & some new grips. Selling your bars & shifters will pay for those parts easily.
  • lifeformlifeform Posts: 126
    Why or how do you find them uncomfortable?

    There's no specified point which you must hold the drops at - which is the major bonus of drops over flats; you can move your hands around until you're comfortable.

    Don't forget you can alter the angle of the drops if you're finding the body angle uncomfortable. It could be a saddle position issue if this is the case - essentially being on the drops is a more natural position than being on the flats, so both should be equally easy.

    That said, I find my gloves play a big part, presumably due to the gel padding - one pair I have are only comfortable on the drops, another pair feel best on the hoods, and one of the long fingered pair are comfy wherever I end up.
  • It took me a little while to get used to drops and needed some tweaking. I have small hands for a fella so I needed some shims to bring the levers closer to the drops. I found my wrists and thumbs needed to strengthen a bit due to extra load on them whilst braking, particularly when going downhill :shock:

    Like others have said, once you have the position on the bike right and made any adjustments required there are many positions for your hands that help to relieve any aches etc.

    If you do decide its not for you, personally i'd sell the whole bike and use the proceeds towards a proper hyrbrid.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    edited October 2011
    Drop bar fit problems include:
    Bars too low: raise the stem or replace stem with a higher rise version.
    Bars too far: change to shorter stem
    Bars too deep. If the hoods and tops are comfy but not the drops, change to a shallow drop style bar.
    Bars too wide: change to a narrower/smaller bar size.

    You can also :
    change to position of the brakes on the bars up/down and around.
    change the rotation of the bars in the stem

    Check out your whole riding position from pedals->saddle->bars. The link is a guide for non-competative riders. Racers have lots of guides but they use more aggressive positions. Tourists generally fit drop bars in a much higher, shorter position.

    You can fit flat bars but you lose a variety of handholds and the actual riding position can be as deep or shallow as you choose.
  • antflyantfly Posts: 3,276
    You don't need to spend $400 on shallow drop bars, FSA have them for about 30 quid.
    Smarter than the average bear.
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,445
    MichaelW's advice is good, look at the position of the bars, their angle, and the position of the brake/shifter units on the bars.
    i'm always holding the top and i always have difficult braking
    Something must be wrong here, with modern groupsets you should be able to brake perfectly well from the top of the bars, with your hands on top of the hoods of the levers. Many or most people use this position most of the time and only move their hands to the bottom of the bars (the drops) when they need to be more aero (e.g. into a headwind) or when descending or sprinting. Is the problem that you are not comfortable riding with your hands on top of the hoods or that you can't apply enough force when you pull the brakes from that position? What brand and type of shifters do you have?

    Honestly, drop handlebars take a bit of getting used to at first, but it's worth it!
  • I'm one of those people with short fingers so I had to make quite a few changes to make drop bar brake/shift levers work for me.

    I had to swap out the stock handlebars on my road bike to a new one with shallow drops, then I had to use shims to make my Shimano Ultegra levers closer to the handlebar so I can reach it. ... spid=57427

    And even then, I don't feel 100% comfortable using it. Drop bars and brifters aren't for everyone; some people simply prefer MTB-style shift and brake levers and there's nothing wrong with that.

    As pointed out previously, it's an easy swap to go to a straight bar (need to buy a straight bar, straight bar shifters that will work with your existing derailleurs, and MTB-style short-pull brake levers that will work with caliper-type brakes).

    If you want MTB-style shifters and brake levers, but also want more hand positions than a flat bar can provide, a set of Trekking Bars might be a good alternative. 4611601608_66d7c8abbf_z.jpg
  • Having only been riding a few months myelf I've found the same problem. The position of riding on the drops just didn't seem natural. I've been pounding the sessions on the turbo-trainer and have forced myself to do it on the drops. Has helped enormously and is starting to feel like second nature to me.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Before you ditch your drop bars and shifters my advise would be to persevere through a period of adaptation - this will require both stretching and the need to develop your core body strength to maintain the position for long periods. If you have any aspiration for riding fast or for long durations, then switching to flat bars is a backward step IMO that you may regret in the future. The only caveat is if you have a pre-existing condition/injury that limits your range of movement. If still uncertain, get a bike-fit done - it'll be cheaper than needlessly swapping parts.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • What I didn't know until I got my bike fit was that I had very low flexability in the vertebrae in the small of my back. Took my 9 months to build the core strength and flexability to use the drops at all but the benefits of having several hand positions make it worth it.

    As Monty and SkyBlue say, stick with it, with practice it will come.
  • Having only been riding a few months myelf I've found the same problem. The position of riding on the drops just didn't seem natural. I've been pounding the sessions on the turbo-trainer and have forced myself to do it on the drops. Has helped enormously and is starting to feel like second nature to me.

    +1. Took a long time for me to get confident on drops. I also practised getting on & off the drops while out on the road but on quiet lanes as it used to make me wobble a bit at first. Another thing - I'm quite chubby and tummies can be an impediment to comfortable drops use - dont know if this applies to you. Applies quite a few kilos less to me now too and its definately easier thinner! But I also need to adjust my brakes so I can reach them better from the drops - which I only tend to use into headwinds, away from traffic and when I'm going steady & dont need to change gear / speed very much.
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