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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's the proper position, if there is one, to orient drop handlebars?

My bars have a pretty long dead straight section at the bottom end sections. I set them so this straight section is parallel with the ground.

I just looked at some pictures on the web and in every picture this last bottom section was tilted somewhat down towards the ground. Now that I think about it, that would probably be a better angle to be able to pull on them than what I have now.

I usually ride with my hands on top, sometimes with my hands on top of the levers, and rarely in the drops. My hands are comfortable with the bar in it's current position, but I didn't try it with my hands in the drops, so basically that means I didn't try it.
 

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It used to be that the most common position was to have the drops parallel to the ground. Now days, most people run them so the bar is tilted up somewhat. However, these days, there are several different bar shapes [traditional, anatomic, etc], and this makes having a rule of thumb somewhat difficult. My advice is to leave you bar untaped for a few rides, with just enough electrical tape to hold the cables in place, and experiment with bar tilt and brake lever position. From there, it's all up to you. I also rarely ride in the drops, so I shoot for the optimum position for riding on the hoods. Everytime you change the tilt of your bars, it will also change your hand position for riding on the hoods, so sometimes a lot of fine adjustments must be made bedore you find your "sweet spot". Look at pics in catalogs and magazines for a rough starting point and go from there. But don't try to copy the position of the pros, unless you are rail thin and are comfortable for long periods of time with a flat back and low aero position. Most of us will never be able to ride in the same position they do. My drops are actually about the same height as most pro's tops. But that's OK, nobody has even mistaken me for a pro anyway.
 

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Every little counts...
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First, tilt the bar so that they fit best in the drops. Second, move the levers on the bars so that they feel best.
 

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You anticipated the answer.

What's the proper position, if there is one, to orient drop handlebars?
There isn't one, for at least 3 reasons

1. different people have different riding positions and styles

2. with the advent of anatomic shapes, bar shape now varies considerably.

3. lever hoods, and how people grip them, also vary, and they work differently on different bars. So how you orient the bars is affected by the lever position as well as the angle of the drops

If you rarely ride in the drops, it doesn't matter too much. If you're comfortable now in the positions you most often ride in, then you're in good shape, I'd say. If you want to tinker with it, Spunout properly describes the order of adjustments.
 

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Anti-Hero
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To elaborate on what Spunout said...

Do this before wrapping your bars- clamp the shifters on the bars just in the general area where you think they'll go. Then, ride around on the drops. Adjust the tilt until it feels "right" to you. After that's set, ride around on the hoods. Adjust their height until they feel "right" to you. Secure cables to the bar w/electrical tape. Wrap bars w/some other color besides black.
 

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duh...
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cyclust said:
It used to be that the most common position was to have the drops parallel to the ground. Now days, most people run them so the bar is tilted up somewhat. However, these days, there are several different bar shapes [traditional, anatomic, etc], and this makes having a rule of thumb somewhat difficult. My advice is to leave you bar untaped for a few rides, with just enough electrical tape to hold the cables in place, and experiment with bar tilt and brake lever position. From there, it's all up to you. I also rarely ride in the drops, so I shoot for the optimum position for riding on the hoods. Everytime you change the tilt of your bars, it will also change your hand position for riding on the hoods, so sometimes a lot of fine adjustments must be made bedore you find your "sweet spot". Look at pics in catalogs and magazines for a rough starting point and go from there. But don't try to copy the position of the pros, unless you are rail thin and are comfortable for long periods of time with a flat back and low aero position. Most of us will never be able to ride in the same position they do. My drops are actually about the same height as most pro's tops. But that's OK, nobody has even mistaken me for a pro anyway.


actually, usta be w/ end of drops pointing somewhere b/w rear hub and brake... all bets were off when anatomics came along, cuz the anatomic portion sorta mimic'ed that angle
 

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Höchstgeschwindigkeit
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I buy the bar that allows me a perfectly straight transition to the hoods and find the drop and reach that fits me. With my current bar I get at least 3 different hand positions in the drops and three or four on top. I have the 3T Ergosums.
 

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Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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As long as you don't put too much pressure on your hands due to your body weight while in the drops... it's perfect.
 

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cyclust said:
It used to be that the most common position was to have the drops parallel to the ground.
Not sure about that. I started bike meching in the 70's. I learned to point the drops at the rear brake. A ruler along the bottom edge was supposed to touch the tip of the brake lever.

That's still a decent starting place and it's always good to ride the bike a few times before taping the bars to decide if you like it.
 

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android said:
Not sure about that. I started bike meching in the 70's. I learned to point the drops at the rear brake. A ruler along the bottom edge was supposed to touch the tip of the brake lever.

That's still a decent starting place and it's always good to ride the bike a few times before taping the bars to decide if you like it.
I think yer a little confused...

FWI remember, you aimed the flat part of the drops at your rear QR. Got you a nice, comfy hand position when you was hammerin.

You also useta put a flat edge on the bottom of that bottom flat section and put the bottom of yer brake lever so it hit that flat edge. I modified that for me, and started using a 6mm wrench between the flat edge and the bottom of my levers. Got em 'just right' for me.

Nowadays? Ask the manufacturer. Some of the bars come with destructions (K-Wings, etc) to tell you how to mount em for the most comfort.

HTH

M
 

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MShaw said:
I think yer a little confused...

FWI remember, you aimed the flat part of the drops at your rear QR. Got you a nice, comfy hand position when you was hammerin.

You also useta put a flat edge on the bottom of that bottom flat section and put the bottom of yer brake lever so it hit that flat edge.
Yeah, so same rule of thumb for lever position, pointing drops at QR would be rolled up even a little more, so a bigger angle relative to horizontal. Certainly not horizontal.

Anyway, that was the general rule of thumb for setting up stuff to go on the sales floor.
 

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I agree with various advice, but the bottom line is start with one of the guidelines that makes sense to you, ride and modify. It takes a little tinkering.

As for tapin vs. leaving tape off until you're happy w/ adjustment, I don't think riding w/o tape gives you a good idea if you're really happy with the position. If you use tape that is cheap enough to not care too much about (i.e. $3-5 house brand or close out tapes), and it's the kind with minimal stickiness, it's easy enough to set the bars, remove and replace tape when tinkering, etc. Then when you got it set, you can put on new tape w/o thinking you've wasted a $20 item. A couple of years ago, I bought a few rolls of some really cheap foam tape from Performance or something for just that purpose (bar changing and adjusting on my and my daughter's road bikes). It has been on and off many times and still works just fine. It has very little stickiness and comes off w/o any damage. It turns out it is very comfortable too, so I just continued using it. From appearances very similar if not identical to some Deda tape I just bought from PBK to replace it.

Actually, I've been very happy with some of the cheaper "house brand" tapes and only buy name brands when it's on close-out type sales. But YMMV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Hi,

Thanks for the comments and suggestions.

I finally got around to testing the dropped riding position. I realized I do need to point the drops down a little to get them where I would maximize comfort and control in that position. And I don't think pointing them downward will make a difference to how they feel with my hands on the tops anyway. Might affect riding in the hoods.

I'll try pointing them at the rear brake pads for starters. I'm not sure what some people meant by the "QR." What is that?

I also found that when I rode in the drops, the brake levers were too far away for me to reach without moving my hands. That didn't seem good. The times I'm most likely to be in the drops is when I'm going the fastest. I think I'll need to lower the levers unless rotating the bar alone alleviates that. I check that guideline about using a straightedge to the bottom of the levers.

The brake cables on my old Peugeot exit straight up out of the tops of the hoods and loop around in the air so they don't run along the handlebars. I'll probably just ride with gloves while making adjustments at first. Then maybe I'll try the cheap tape job after that to make sure everything is optimal before I put the cork tape on.
 

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n00bsauce
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Everyone has their own preference. There is no one right answer. I set my bars up so that the end of the bar points at the rear hub. This should leave the top of the bars fairly level. I mount my levers so that the level part of the bar tops carries over into the base of the hoods. This is what's comfortable for me. YMMV.
 

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n00bsauce
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QR = quick release or hub, same difference.
 

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true, pointing them further downward than this will result in promoting an undesirable "straight arm" riding position, and awkward wrist angle.


FatTireFred said:
actually, usta be w/ end of drops pointing somewhere b/w rear hub and brake...
 
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