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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not comfortable in the drops when I'm riding. I find it harder to breath when in that position and that means I'm unable to hold that position very long.

I've been watching some tapes of the Tour while riding my trainer and it seems that the pro's will hold this position forever even when sitting up some ride with hand at the bottom of the drop with a straight arm.

At one point I was (6' 1") 275lbs and figured it was just my fat getting in the way, but now I've lost 65+lbs and although there is still fat to loose I'm thinking it might be something else.

I can imagine that if I'm looking to race or just race the clock to track my progress its going to be a useful skill. Do I just need to ride in the drops more to get use to the position? or are there any tips in how to get more comfortable?
 

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I don’t spend a lot of time in the drops, but you may want to look at the position of your back.
If you’re hunched over and your back is curved, this may be binding up you midsection.
Try an push your butt back and rotate the top of your hips forward to flatten your back out.
 

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lots of factors at play here, but the immediate solution is simple: raise your handlebars.

over the longer term, belly fat is part of it, crank length/saddle height might be a factor, general flexibility is usually a factor, and core strength is important too.
 

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Flexibility plays a huge roll. As you ride more, you will get more flexible and more used to being on the bike. Eventually, riding in the drops will become more comfortable.

Work on your hamstring and lower back flexibility - there are stretches designed specifically for those areas.
 

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If you aren't comfortable in the drops, don't ride in the drops. You don't have to emulate the pros. About the only time I ride in the drops is when I am descending. And that's only because I get more aero and I get better leverage on the brakes. The rest of the time I'm on the hoods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Okay, I'm curious, when you guys suggest raising the bars "slightly" what are we talking?

When I'm on the seat and I put the pedals horizontal I can remove my hands from the hoods and hold that position fairly well. The bike is also just a mismatch of parts so I'm sure its not fitted completely right.

Would raising the bar a cm or 2 make a huge difference? (I could probably do this by flipping the stem)
 

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Raising the handlebar will help, but by riding more ( also by riding on the drops more ) and strengthening your core and stretching will help even more.
The first year when I was riding I think I spent less than 5 % on the drops, now after riding for over 10 years I go to drops every time when speed goes above 20-21 mph. It becomes more natural to ride on drops after a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
mohair_chair said:
If you aren't comfortable in the drops, don't ride in the drops. You don't have to emulate the pros. About the only time I ride in the drops is when I am descending. And that's only because I get more aero and I get better leverage on the brakes. The rest of the time I'm on the hoods.
It true I don't need to be like the pros, overall I'm fine riding on the hoods, but if I don't use the drops I'm really not using all the different hand positions.

I'm going to take a look and see if I can raise the bars easily and I'll also try riding more in the drops. I'm already working on doing some core work, but that was really to help with being comfortable during century rides and the like.
 

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Turt99 said:
It true I don't need to be like the pros, overall I'm fine riding on the hoods, but if I don't use the drops I'm really not using all the different hand positions.
So what? Who says you have to use all the different hand positions. If you are fine riding on the hoods, ride on the hoods. It's all about your comfort, not checking off hand positions on a list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
mohair_chair said:
So what? Who says you have to use all the different hand positions. If you are fine riding on the hoods, ride on the hoods. It's all about your comfort, not checking off hand positions on a list.
My point was that if I'm not using all the available hand positions then

- I'm not using all of the bar and therefore I might as well cut the lower part off because it is wasted weight.

- if I limit my hand positions to the hoods, then I don't have the option to switch to the drops to give myself a break and change position.
 

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Turt99 said:
Okay, I'm curious, when you guys suggest raising the bars "slightly" what are we talking?

When I'm on the seat and I put the pedals horizontal I can remove my hands from the hoods and hold that position fairly well. The bike is also just a mismatch of parts so I'm sure its not fitted completely right.

Would raising the bar a cm or 2 make a huge difference? (I could probably do this by flipping the stem)
2cm could make a noticeable difference. Doing it by flipping the stem will also shorten the horizontal reach slightly, which will also help. I'd say try it.
 

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Getting a 17 degree stem will raise your bars about 2" froma normal 6 or 7 degree stem. If you are middle aged, less than perfectly fit, or both, a 17 degree stem can be much more useful. BTW, I'm 48 years old, overweight, but I still use the drops- to lift my bike into the back of my truck.
 

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Turt99 said:
Okay, I'm curious, when you guys suggest raising the bars "slightly" what are we talking?
I don't know about "slightly," but when I bought my Atlantis, I gritted my teeth and built it up the way Rivendell suggested, with the bars level with the saddle. I didn't expect to like it, but it was so comfortable I raised the bars on a couple of my other bikes, too.
Drop bars were invented to allow a comfortable cruising position on the tops or the hoods, with the option of using the drops when you wanted to get aero. Over the decades, we've lowered them so that in some cases the hoods are where the drops used to be. Jack them up. I don't think you'll be sorry.
FWIW, even though I'm comfortable on the drops now, I don't use them much unless I'm riding into a stiff wind. Nothing wrong with cruising along comfortably on the bike.
 

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Here's what I'd do. Pick a route with a 2-4 mile section of flat road. When you hit that section get into the drops and stay there for 1 mile. Keep doing that every time you ride the route (and ride it often) until 1 mile in the drops becomes comfortable. Then go for 2 miles. Then 3, etc. Once you're up to 3 or 4 miles its pretty much second nature.
 

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Don't raise the bars so you can ride in the drops. Ride on the hoods. If you want to get more aero you can grab the top of the shifters and rest your arms on the top of the bars. This is like a pseudo drop position but a little higher.
 

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I would get a pair of compact handlebars. I bought some last year and have been in the drops way more than I was in my 20's. If you've got a thick rib cage, you will never be comfy in deep drop bars unless you've got the bars up really high. If you don't like the compact bars, you'll be able to dump them on ebay cause they are a hot comodity these days. You might need a longer stem cause most compact bars are shorter in drop and reach though.
 

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I was uncomfortable in the drops until a faced a 30mph headwind. Then I got very familiar with them by necessity. I'm used to them now, they're no longer uncomfortable.
 

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I am not sure how much you've tried it or been riding lately but it sounds like a fair deal of miles. I started riding again about 3 months ago and at first I hated the drops and it wasn't comfortable for me at all. I got my shoes and pedals and my pro fit from my local shop. Found out I was riding with a stem around 120 I now ride an 80. I now ride entire crit races all out in the drops with little notice of it. Could be a reach issue.
 
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