MAMILS/ Middle aged +, what is your bar drop

samsbike
samsbike Posts: 942
edited June 2013 in Road general
I am trying to work out what the bar drop should be. I have seen a number of cyclists with their bars horizontal to their seats and a whole lot more with a lot more bar drop (although these riders are much younger).

My current drop is about 5cm but I struggle to ride on the drops and must confess to looking enviously at those riding with higher bars.

What should I be looking at to work out the bar drop?

I have checked out Steve Hogg's excellent site but I am not sure it answers the question if I am simply commuting.

thanks

Comments

  • alihisgreat
    alihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    You'll feel when its too low because your pelvis will rotate forwards to compensate for lack of flexibility putting extra pressure on your undercarriage.
  • JayKosta
    JayKosta Posts: 635
    The vast majority of my riding is with my hands on the brake hoods, or near the stem.
    So having the bar height and tilt, and hood placement for those positions is most important.

    Make your adjustments and setting on what WORKS best for you - don't try to force yourself into a position that is uncomfortable or tiring.

    Also be careful of 'advice' (including mine, of course...) from sources who might only have experience with young athletes, etc.

    Jay Kosta
    Endwell NY USA
  • Barteos
    Barteos Posts: 657
    I'd ignore completely other peoples' setups. Everyone has different flexibility and limitations.
    Lots of guys slam their stems coz it looks cool but they're neither faster or comfortable.

    Get a bike fit.

    P.S. If you hardly use drops than either chop them off or rise the bars :wink:
  • thegreatdivide
    thegreatdivide Posts: 5,803
    Does middle aged mean a healthy girth and a bad back squeezed into a Sky kit? ;-)
  • Pituophis
    Pituophis Posts: 1,025
    JayKosta wrote:
    The vast majority of my riding is with my hands on the brake hoods, or near the stem.
    So having the bar height and tilt, and hood placement for those positions is most important.

    Make your adjustments and setting on what WORKS best for you - don't try to force yourself into a position that is uncomfortable or tiring.

    Also be careful of 'advice' (including mine, of course...) from sources who might only have experience with young athletes, etc.

    Jay Kosta
    Endwell NY USA

    This sounds good to me!
    I have my stem flipped so that the bar is just slightly bellow seat hight, and I am getting supple enough to ride in the drops for longer and longer periods now.( I'm almost ready to flip my stem back :shock: :roll: )
    As Jay says, it's all about what suits you, and I'm sure even us oldies will adapt to a more "correct roadie" position given a bit of time.
    If we don't, does it really matter? :wink:
  • jgsi
    jgsi Posts: 5,062
    Mine is pretty drastic I suppose, but then again I aint no commuter and it has taken me 5 seasons to get things sorted..
    I do spend probably 80% in the drops when at work.
    yhFYd2J.jpg

    But basically, if you have no need to do it, then don't do it... I shall probably be a physical arthritic wreck when I am 90.
  • gloomyandy
    gloomyandy Posts: 520
    I bet if you asked this question over on the ctc forum you would get a very different result to what you will get here!

    Personally I have about a 5cm drop, but I'm not very tall and not very flexible. I have had shoulder problems for years probably caused by many years of a combination of being sat at a desk using a computer, and rock climbing. I don't have a very aero position on the bike, but I can ride for 100 miles plus without too much discomfort, though I'm sure the position does nothing for my 10 mile tt time!
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,235
    About 12 cm
    left the forum March 2023
  • Stedman
    Stedman Posts: 377
    5cm drop is a completely irrelevant measurement as it is about the angle that you ride. If you look at the set up between taller riders and shorter riders, you will see that there is a greater difference in seat vs handlebar height.
  • Escher303
    Escher303 Posts: 342
    How long is a piece of string? Everyone is different. My drop is about 15cm. When I first started riding a couple of years ago it was much, much less but I stretch a lot to help avoid injury and am now much more comfortable riding with a large drop and in the drops than the other way around. Sat up gives me backache, stretched out low doesn't. But that's just me, just ride whatever feels the most comfortable.
  • clickrumble
    clickrumble Posts: 304
    Agree that you should adjust to what you feel is comfortable, I am middle age+ I suppose technically, though I only feel midle age. I have a slight drop, about 3 cm. I have flipped the stem on one of my bikes to achieve this. When I tried going lower I got aching wrists from the extra weight on them and neck ache from trying to keep looking forwards.
  • Bozman
    Bozman Posts: 2,518
    Two house bricks and a course of compo
  • themekon
    themekon Posts: 197
    Before the sloping top tube even the professional tour riders didn't have much bar drop. Check out some photos of pro riders in the 60s,through to the 80s. Most riders only had a few inches of seat post showing.
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    bike fit
  • Coach H
    Coach H Posts: 1,092
    3cm for me due to proportianally short arm to long torso.

    If I rode with a 15cm drop I would be beyound horizontal!

    (Looks very 'un-pro' though :mrgreen: )
    Coach H. (Dont ask me for training advice - 'It's not about the bike')
  • foggymike
    foggymike Posts: 862
    I'm early 40's and am very comfy at 13cm drop but can put my palms flat on the floor keeping my legs straight and can ride on my drops for 3 or 4 hours no problem (they're not these fashionable shallow drop bars either!)

    As above it's very personal and will change if you work at it even a little bit, but as you are commuting the most important thing is that you can ride comfortably for as long as you need to.

    Saddle shape and angle can impact on what you find comfortable too. I was reading recently that Fizik suggest their more curved saddles for those with stiffer backs as they rotate the pelvis to get in the drops and need a curved shape to support that without squashing their wedding tackle/cutting off blood flow. More flexible spines will just lean forwards without needing to rotate the pelvis so a flatter saddle works best. This certainly matches with my experience and could be worth considering depending on what way you find it uncomfortable when using the drops.
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    10.5 cm. I ride mostly in the drops and hoods. I'm not overweight though.
  • Paul E
    Paul E Posts: 2,052
    I'm the same as some above, it's more comfy lower, long arms and legs and short torso means a smallish frame and a small head tube with a horizontal top tube (old alu trek), not quite middle aged (38) but have always been flexible and stretch all the time still.
  • StillGoing
    StillGoing Posts: 5,211
    Get a proper fit done and not an in bike store one. My bike was originally set up by the LBS and I could hardly ride in the drops. Logic says raise the bars. Went for a fitting with Mike at Bike Dynamics and ended up with the seat raised and further back, and the bars dropped to just one 5mm spacer and a 94mm drop. I can now spend all day in the drops. Oh and I'm in my 50's.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • Paul E
    Paul E Posts: 2,052
    philthy3 wrote:
    Get a proper fit done and not an in bike store one. My bike was originally set up by the LBS and I could hardly ride in the drops. Logic says raise the bars. Went for a fitting with Mike at Bike Dynamics and ended up with the seat raised and further back, and the bars dropped to just one 5mm spacer and a 94mm drop. I can now spend all day in the drops. Oh and I'm in my 50's.

    Exactly what I found with seat and bars, you end up being scrunched up which is as uncomfortable as being over stretched, on the drops my arms still have a slight bend in them
  • cyberknight
    cyberknight Posts: 1,238
    Stedman wrote:
    5cm drop is a completely irrelevant measurement as it is about the angle that you ride. If you look at the set up between taller riders and shorter riders, you will see that there is a greater difference in seat vs handlebar height.
    +1
    I am 5 foot 6" and my drop is only about 6 cm to the top of the stem, torso and arm length i think also contribute as well as flexibility and core strength.I tend to look at body angle rather than total drop as i tend to ride with my forearms flat from the hoods rather than the default angle but it works for me .
    My reach from saddle tip to hoods is 62 cm with a seat height of 69.5 cm from bb and a 3.5 cm setback.Mid 40`s ...
    FCN 3/5/9
  • StillGoing
    StillGoing Posts: 5,211
    I'm 5' 6" and still have a 94mm drop. Flexibility with me is limited due to injuries including issues with the lower back and left hip. Proper set up is all important.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.