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  1. #1
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    Anyone else feel awkward on drop bars...switch to flats?

    I have 700mm flat bars on my mtb and commuter bike and 44cm Salsa Cowbell drops on my cross bike.

    The drops are fine and dandy until it is time to corner or grind up a hill then I just find myself wishing I had the flats again.

    Anyone else have this experience? I measured bikes and with a 110 stem on the crosser I could get the same cockpit position as the mtb...wheels in my mind turning...

    Wondering if I just keep riding the drops I will get used to them or just go ahead and put some flat bars on to make all three bikes feel the same.

    Yes, this would make it a hybrid. I'm okay with that.

  2. #2
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    I only use the drops when I'm trying to go fast or hide from the wind. My hands are usually on the hoods.

  3. #3
    AZ
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    Spend 85% of the time on the hoods myself.

  4. #4
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    Spend 100% on the hoods.

    I could never get comfortable in the drops. Maybe it's the gut? ;-)

  5. #5
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    Get in those drops

    That's what works for me. The wider grip gives you more control and stability like your MTB bars, not to mention better braking and shifting. I have the Cowbells too and love them. The shallow drop, mild flair and smooth transition are just perfect. The key for me was getting them set-up higher, just about even with my seat height. This past weekend I was in the drops the whole race, and it was a pretty technical course with lots of single track.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Anyone else feel awkward on drop bars...switch to flats?-img_5678.jpg  


  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    They're a tool. They're a tool that I like a lot for 'cross, so here are some suggestions that will help you feel more comfortable on them. If you play with them for a little longer and can't make it work, do whatever does.

    To me, there are a few jobs that drops are particularly good at. Sprinting, big efforts in the saddle, and descending spring to mind. So, practice some balanced sprints from the drops, try what happens when you develop max power spinning while in the drops, and do some descents that way.

    I think a lot of people put their handle bars too low. I think that tendency can be worse with road bikes.
    SLAM THAT STEM
    It can be even more worser-er with 'cross bikes because people sometimes insist on setting them up the same as their pavement-going road bikes. I don't know about you, but my back is not happy if I ride my 'cross bike with as much drop as I have on my road bike. It's also not very useful - if it hurts too much to use the drops when I should be in them and cranking out lots of power on a straightaway or something, then what are they there for?

    So, proper setup is crucial. I experimented with putting the handlebars on my 'cross bike high enough to make the drops the primary position, and found that to be kind of crappy. They're now roughly midway between a drops-primary position and where I put my road bars to ride on the hoods. It feels a little funny riding road, but I think I get good use out of the drops when I'm doing 'cross, and the hoods are in a position that works a lot better for me on singletrack or a particularly bumpy section of a 'cross course than when they matched my road bike.

    Obviously, your mileage may vary. But remember - there's a reason stems come in a bunch of sizes and angles and steer tubes are usually cut to use a spacer stack.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
    Team NFI
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    Tried flat bars once on a cross bike.. never again.
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    Depression...can eat a sack of manure and die.

  8. #8
    jrm
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    Yes, but

    noticed a reduction in performance. More wind resistance on the flats and climbing suffered.

    Like others i spend most of my time in the hoods and my bar set up reflects this. If you want to use the drops more you need to bring the bar up say level with your saddle.

    You might try a different bar? maybe a midge. i love the cowbell.
    Wreck the malls with cows on Harleys

  9. #9
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    Never been a roadie and I ride pretty wide MTB flat bars, so when I got a cross bike I was all up on the hoods at the start. The drops reminded me of being 8 and trying to ride my older bros' 10 speed that was 4 sizes too big. Nevertheless after a few weeks, once I got comfortable on the bike, I started using the drops from time to time for a change-up. Slowly I've become more comfortable there and I see certain advantages (mostly those already listed). So give it some time.

    I have 46cm bars, which seem to be the widest they come and I'm pretty happy about that. I'm also considering the Salsa Bell Lap bars because I think the flared sides will give a little better comfort.
    My other bike is a /7.

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I killed my drop bars at my last race. Oops. Gives me an excuse to try something new, though. I have 40cm FSA compacts on my road bike. They're a little too narrow at the hood, because I didn't understand how the flare would effect that position. So the 'cross bike will get them in a 42cm, with a round top section.

    It's a pretty sweet bend shape for 'cross. The ramps are shorter and shallower, so between that and a little flare, there's a ton of forearm clearance around the drops. Great for getting out of the saddle and hammering, and a lot of flexibility for a good position for efforts in the saddle.

    "Anatomic" bends suck. I'm not sorry I'll be seeing that handle bar go.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
    251
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    I am far more confident and have more control on my CX bike in the drops on technical terrain. I find that the lower had position is better, and it's easier to brake. As mentioned earlier, you may want to check your bar height. Out of curiosity, how do you find braking performance from the hoods? I can't imagine it's good.

    Also, I my 29er has a 640mm riser and my hardtail has a 620mm flat bar, so I'm not always riding on drops.
    Dave
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  12. #12
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    The brakes on my 'cross bike aren't very good in the best of circumstances. In a race, they suck. I get a little better power from the drops, but nothing to write home about.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    After a little experimenting the flat bar just sucked on this bike, felt all wrong.

    Cowbells are back on and after flipping the stem to a positive rise and some fiddling feels pretty dang good.

  14. #14
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    If you're racing your cross bike, then drops are probably advantageous for most courses.

    That being said, now that I primarily ride my cross bike for fun and for putting together long rides, I have a flat bar and even some came creek ergo bar ends. Super comfortable, multiple hand positions, I can climb like mad with them. Not to mention I can descend way better than in drops with road levers.

    To each his own. Do what makes the most sense for your own riding style. No harm in trying something out...

  15. #15
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    Let me just qualify this by saying I am by no means an expert. This was my first season racing cross. I have been riding road bikes for 5-6 years and mountain biking for 1 year (I hardly ever touch the road bike anymore). I spend most of my time in the drops when I am racing. It lets me get my center of balance lower to get through the tight and twisty sections. It also give more stability with fast descents and with out of the saddle efforts. Set up is probably key in getting them where you want/need them as is using a relatively shallow.drop. I see most people spending most of their time on the hoods, but I feel I have way more control in the drops.

  16. #16
    jrm
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    Hoods ->~>~>Brakes

    Im using full v brakes with the CC V levers. Theres alot of power / modulation
    Wreck the malls with cows on Harleys

  17. #17
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    I switched from the Woodchipper to an original Jones bar on my Kocmo bike.

    If you angle it down enough you have a choice of hand positions that comes in the neighbourhood of a shallow dropbar.
    Ridin ridin ridin..... raw ti!

  18. #18
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    I like to get rad on whatever bike I'm riding... I just can't ride drops, maybe with a pro-fit or something. I'm running vintage Nitto Flat bars on my SSCX bike and I love them... Like some other I find myself in the hoods 100% of the time when I ride drops. From BMX to MTB, fixed and commuting I just prefer flat/riser bars. For a long time I thought that made me less of a true cyclist, but now I've realized it's the riding that makes you a cyclist.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny K View Post
    I have 700mm flat bars on my mtb and commuter bike and 44cm Salsa Cowbell drops on my cross bike.

    The drops are fine and dandy until it is time to corner or grind up a hill then I just find myself wishing I had the flats again.

    Anyone else have this experience? I measured bikes and with a 110 stem on the crosser I could get the same cockpit position as the mtb...wheels in my mind turning...

    Wondering if I just keep riding the drops I will get used to them or just go ahead and put some flat bars on to make all three bikes feel the same.

    Yes, this would make it a hybrid. I'm okay with that.
    No. I feel awkward on straight bars.
    mtbtires.com
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  20. #20
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    Drop bars have always felt awkward to me on technical terrain. I put flat bars on my CX bike for yesterdays race and although they did not feel quite right, they still felt much better than drop bars to me. The course had a lot of steep, downhill switchbacks and I was glad I had the flat bars.

  21. #21
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    I rode 6 miles of single track yesterday and I would say I was in the drops about 75% of the time. I feel way more stable on the steep descents. In the drops I can point the bike wherever and it goes.

  22. #22
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    Cross and road frames got a shorter tt than mtb, as the bar & stem reach is longer than a mtb setup.
    If you have a cross/road sized frame, riding with a flat bar would normally have short overall reach and not a good idea.

  23. #23
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    Cross and road frames got a shorter tt than mtb, as the bar & stem reach is longer than a mtb setup.
    If you have a cross/road sized frame, riding with a flat bar would normally have short overall reach and not a good idea.
    I do run a longer stem to make it work and I am a farther forward than I am on my MTB. I am not as far forward as I am when I am on the hoods on drop bars.

  24. #24
    Don't be a sheep
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    When I first started racing cross I spent the bulk of my racing time in the drops. After watching the World Cup pros I noticed they spend very little time in the drops, only on step techy stuff and mostly it appears because of better braking. I also noticed they have a pretty upright position on the bike, rolling their levers up pretty high. I replicated that high lever style and with the addition of mini-v's I never get into the drops anymore. Riding more upright on the hood gives me better field of vision and centers my weight in the bike better.
    "Do not touch the trim"

  25. #25
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rivet View Post
    When I first started racing cross I spent the bulk of my racing time in the drops. After watching the World Cup pros I noticed they spend very little time in the drops, only on step techy stuff and mostly it appears because of better braking. I also noticed they have a pretty upright position on the bike, rolling their levers up pretty high. I replicated that high lever style and with the addition of mini-v's I never get into the drops anymore. Riding more upright on the hood gives me better field of vision and centers my weight in the bike better.
    A higher stem solves both issues.
    mtbtires.com
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