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Drop Bar Pain

scoobaru11scoobaru11 Posts: 30
Hi all, I've been cycling for the past couple of years on MTBs having a dedicated Trek for roadwork. Now I've made the jump to a full on Road Racer having sold my Trek and am finding the drop bars a real pain. Both in comfort for my hands and braking.

I expected to suffer with some change and having to adapt to a different position but I'm thinking of converting my drops to a flat bar as this really doesn't suit me but I love the speed.


My main question is currently I have Campagnlo gears and brakes. Can any shifters be used or do they have to be type specific?

Thanks :-)
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Posts

  • Mikey41Mikey41 Posts: 690
    What specific issue are you having with the drops? It is a very different riding position, but if it's all set up correctly then you should not find it overly uncomfortable.
    Giant Defy 2 (2012)
    Giant Defy Advanced 2 (2013)
    Giant Revel 1 Ltd (2013)
    Strava
  • mattvmattv Posts: 992
    Ask in the local shop you (hopefully) bought it from for advice. Go in the week when it's quiet and be friendly. Buy a few useful bits too. Mention you have some discomfort. Also ask about a bike fitting service. Converting Campag to flat bar is very difficult. Not even sure it's possible.
  • GizmodoGizmodo Posts: 1,928
    Where are your hands most of the time, on the hoods, near the stem or on the drops? Discomfort is more likely your hand position or the bike fit. A well fitted, relaxed geometry road bike should offer a more comfortable riding position than a MTB because you can move your hands around. If you are having trouble with braking again bar angles and brake lever adjustment are the cure.
  • scoobaru11scoobaru11 Posts: 30
    I bought the bike from eBay and adjusted the saddle and post to fit me. Main problem is hands are almost always on the flat bar or hoods. Riding on the drop is not for me. I cannot get comfy at all in that position.
    I rode 41miles on Sunday and 26 today, although today's ride was more fettled my hands were still not comfy on the drops.
  • Mikey41Mikey41 Posts: 690
    To be fair I don't spend a lot of time in the drops, I use them mainly for descents where hard braking may be involved, so it's only for a few minutes at a time.
    Giant Defy 2 (2012)
    Giant Defy Advanced 2 (2013)
    Giant Revel 1 Ltd (2013)
    Strava
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,147
    I've a got a fair drop bar-saddle so do spend most of time on hoods/tops saving drops for headwinds or embarrassing mopeds...

    With modern bikes people do favour the hoods even the pros
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Stick with what's comfortable for you - expect it to take a while to get comfortable with the new riding position and you can progressively work on getting lower over time as you improve flexibility / strengthen your core, wrists and neck muscles. Flipping your stem / fitting a riser stem could help by raising the bars a touch too. With integrated brake/gear shifters, the optimum position is typically riding on the hoods where you'll be spending 90% of your time - even for racing I only ride on the drops when really drilling-it/sprinting/steep descents. Some windtunnel tests have shown that riding on the hoods with flat forearms is more aero than riding on the drops with forearms exposed
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,028
    took me ages to get my head round the drops... might as well have been something to hang flower basket on. then one day it clicked after several months and i now spend most of my time down there. its worth persisting with as the position is a better one for riding, less wind resistance and feels more stable (IMO). not something to get overfussed about and im sure you wont be a worse rider for rarely if ever using them but they are there for a purpose. my bike is a spesh roubaix btw so quite an upright sportive kind of a bike anyway
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    Mikey23 wrote:
    took me ages to get my head round the drops... might as well have been something to hang flower basket on. then one day it clicked after several months and i now spend most of my time down there. its worth persisting with as the position is a better one for riding, less wind resistance and feels more stable (IMO). not something to get overfussed about and im sure you wont be a worse rider for rarely if ever using them but they are there for a purpose. my bike is a spesh roubaix btw so quite an upright sportive kind of a bike anyway

    That's the thing about the drops for me, everyone says it's much more stable, I find the complete opposite, when I'm down in the drops I feel like I'm about to wobble over at any moment, which means descending on the drops is out of the question! I don't know if it's a fit or experience issue.
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,147
    Mikey23 wrote:
    took me ages to get my head round the drops... might as well have been something to hang flower basket on. then one day it clicked after several months and i now spend most of my time down there. its worth persisting with as the position is a better one for riding, less wind resistance and feels more stable (IMO). not something to get overfussed about and im sure you wont be a worse rider for rarely if ever using them but they are there for a purpose. my bike is a spesh roubaix btw so quite an upright sportive kind of a bike anyway

    That's the thing about the drops for me, everyone says it's much more stable, I find the complete opposite, when I'm down in the drops I feel like I'm about to wobble over at any moment, which means descending on the drops is out of the question! I don't know if it's a fit or experience issue.

    More weight over the front which gives normally a stable feeling in the drops, if your not happy in the drops and maybe holding on with a death grip? Probably does feel wobbly. This is more feel and trust than science/physics.
  • scoobaru11scoobaru11 Posts: 30
    Thanks for all the replies guys. I'm going out tomorrow for a 50 and will try to focus on hoods in the main and drops on downhill runs and see how I get on. :-)
  • andrewjosephandrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    might be better to try the drops when on the flat first if you can. get comfortable with them before you try descending.

    you are aware you can rotate the bars to get a better fit? you can also move the shifters/brakes themselves up and down on the bars, and you can buy/make shims that put the levers closer to your fingers.

    i do 90% of my riding in the drops, but i have a relaxed touring bike, short reach/drop (compact) bars and shifters designed for smaller hands. i basically have the same setup as my wife and i'm much more comfortable for it.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • scoobaru11scoobaru11 Posts: 30
    I am aware but didn't want to change everything at once. I've focused on the pedal post and saddle so far. Will take my tools with me and adjust the bars if I have to.
  • andrewjosephandrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    pedal post?
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • andrewjosephandrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    re: the original question.

    as far as i am aware campag don't make straight bar shifters. i also don't think any other make is compatible with campag, so changing to a straight bar will mean a whole new groupset: brake levers, shifters, derailers, brakes.

    i'm not sure if the chainset and cassette will need changing, i think they will as cassette may not be compatible with new rear mech, or even the hub. so may need new crankset and chain as well.

    a very expensive upgrade.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,147
    re: the original question.

    as far as i am aware campag don't make straight bar shifters. i also don't think any other make is compatible with campag, so changing to a straight bar will mean a whole new groupset: brake levers, shifters, derailers, brakes.

    i'm not sure if the chainset and cassette will need changing, i think they will as cassette may not be compatible with new rear mech, or even the hub. so may need new crankset and chain as well.

    a very expensive upgrade.

    remarkably they do make flat bar shifters! but yes still a very pricey upgrade
  • scoobaru11scoobaru11 Posts: 30
    Well the 50 turned into 32 thanks to a flat :roll:

    Raised the bars upwards a bit which helped but I believe I need a shorter stem. The bars are an inch too far. I've ordered a new stem so hopefully all will be well ;-)
  • gloomyandygloomyandy Posts: 520
    If you have too much weight on your hands, you may find (bizarrely) that moving your saddle further back helps. See some of Steve Hogg's posts on this:
    http://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/blo ... oad-bikes/
  • scoobaru11scoobaru11 Posts: 30
    I have read quite a few pages which leaf me to thinking I'm trying to stretch too far. New stem will arrive Monday or Tuesday so I'll soon find out.
  • Mark AlexanderMark Alexander Posts: 2,277
    Yes, the hoods/shifters are specific to Campag. Shimano/SRAM are compatible though. As for the comfort, make sure when on the drops that your arms are slightly bent so as to absorb the bumps just like with MTB. It could just be a case of building up your core now that you have a more bent over position.
    http://twitter.com/mgalex
    www.ogmorevalleywheelers.co.uk

    10TT 24:36 25TT: 57:59 50TT: 2:08:11, 100TT: 4:30:05 12hr 204.... unfinished business
  • kingrollokingrollo Posts: 3,147
    Sounds like a fit problem to me.

    Bike fits are expensive these days - perhaps if you posted a picture of yourself (on the bike |!) on here folks could advise. ?????
  • Personally I think a flat bar with bar-ends make for much more comfort & stability.

    It seems to me that for the amount of time that most people spend on the drops it's not worth them being there in the first place, yet, they seem to be the biggest factor in "proper road bike" waffle!! I find them useless if I'm being honest, with the only benefit being a tiny amount of aero gain & even this is then countered to a certain degree with comfort issues. I think a much better bar could be developed to the traditional shape. :wink:
    B'TWIN Triban 5A
    Ridgeback MX6
  • shortcutsshortcuts Posts: 366
    Personally I think a flat bar with bar-ends make for much more comfort & stability.

    It seems to me that for the amount of time that most people spend on the drops it's not worth them being there in the first place, yet, they seem to be the biggest factor in "proper road bike" waffle!! I find them useless if I'm being honest, with the only benefit being a tiny amount of aero gain & even this is then countered to a certain degree with comfort issues. I think a much better bar could be developed to the traditional shape. :wink:
    Agree with you there. My back won't take to drops and I don't care much for the "proper road bike" waffle either :roll:
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Personally I think a flat bar with bar-ends make for much more comfort & stability.

    It seems to me that for the amount of time that most people spend on the drops it's not worth them being there in the first place, yet, they seem to be the biggest factor in "proper road bike" waffle!! I find them useless if I'm being honest, with the only benefit being a tiny amount of aero gain & even this is then countered to a certain degree with comfort issues. I think a much better bar could be developed to the traditional shape. :wink:

    Even if you only need drops 1% of the time they're still worth having. The standard position is the hoods, which is a similar position to bar ends on flat bars. But with the hoods position your brake and gear levers are right where you need them, unlike with flat bars and bar ends where you need to move from the bar ends any time you want to brake or change gears.

    Your comfort issues are down to poor bike fit, not drop bars.

    I'd be interested to know what this better shape bar is (and please don't suggest anything silly like the On One Midge bar).
    More problems but still living....
  • amaferanga wrote:
    Personally I think a flat bar with bar-ends make for much more comfort & stability.

    It seems to me that for the amount of time that most people spend on the drops it's not worth them being there in the first place, yet, they seem to be the biggest factor in "proper road bike" waffle!! I find them useless if I'm being honest, with the only benefit being a tiny amount of aero gain & even this is then countered to a certain degree with comfort issues. I think a much better bar could be developed to the traditional shape. :wink:

    Even if you only need drops 1% of the time they're still worth having. The standard position is the hoods, which is a similar position to bar ends on flat bars. But with the hoods position your brake and gear levers are right where you need them, unlike with flat bars and bar ends where you need to move from the bar ends any time you want to brake or change gears.

    Your comfort issues are down to poor bike fit, not drop bars.

    I'd be interested to know what this better shape bar is (and please don't suggest anything silly like the On One Midge bar).


    I do have one in mind, however, it would be difficult to share it, unless I drew it & scanned I suppose.
    B'TWIN Triban 5A
    Ridgeback MX6
  • shortcutsshortcuts Posts: 366
    Butterfly bars?? Comments?

    mdch.jpg

    This is not my bike. Simply a picture from t'interweb. Comments and views welcome though.
  • PituophisPituophis Posts: 1,025
    I have to say, when I made the switch from mtb to road, I found riding in the drops very uncomfortable, and more than a little unnerving. I didn't think I could or would ever ride in this position. :shock:
    More than 8 months down the line though and I now find that I am slowly adapting to use the position more and more, especially descending or battling with a head wind.
    I didn't make a specific effort to learn how to do it, it just seems to have developed naturally as I have become a little more supple.
    Couldn't stay in that position for miles on end yet, but you never know!

    I did actually find that a shorter stem was a real benefit to me personally (first frame was initially too big- got a shorter stem as a quick partial fix, but found I preferred the shorter stem when I got the correct sized frame later! Crazy eh :roll: )
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    shortcuts wrote:
    Butterfly bars?? Comments?

    mdch.jpg

    This is not my bike. Simply a picture from t'interweb. Comments and views welcome though.

    For touring or bimbling around these are good, but daft for a road bike.
    More problems but still living....
  • Pituophis wrote:
    I have to say, when I made the switch from mtb to road, I found riding in the drops very uncomfortable, and more than a little unnerving. I didn't think I could or would ever ride in this position. :shock:
    More than 8 months down the line though and I now find that I am slowly adapting to use the position more and more, especially descending or battling with a head wind.
    I didn't make a specific effort to learn how to do it, it just seems to have developed naturally as I have become a little more supple.
    Couldn't stay in that position for miles on end yet, but you never know!

    I did actually find that a shorter stem was a real benefit to me personally (first frame was initially too big- got a shorter stem as a quick partial fix, but found I preferred the shorter stem when I got the correct sized frame later! Crazy eh :roll: )

    This does seem to be a common story. What always springs to my mind is that surely, a correct position shouldn't take months on end just to adapt to if it was the right one to begin with??
    B'TWIN Triban 5A
    Ridgeback MX6
  • PituophisPituophis Posts: 1,025
    This does seem to be a common story. What always springs to my mind is that surely, a correct position shouldn't take months on end just to adapt to if it was the right one to begin with??

    I put it down to my age :roll:
    As I said, the original frame was too big which wouldn't have helped. I still found it "challenging" on the new one to begin with though :oops:
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