Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Drops pt. IV

Okay, here we go again.
I got to admit this is getting a bit tiring, even for me.
Well, not really for it's me that has to live what ever the hell I'm doing.
So what I have been doing is scouring the interwebz, looking at all sorts of bicycles, well bicycles with drops, seeing how other folks position their bars.
I mean I'm sort of new to this whole drop bar thing and I'm sure I'm missing something or perhaps there's some theory on this whole thing I haven't thought of.
Priority one has got to be comfort.
Also control.
I mean you have to be able to reach the controls in a reasonable amount of time and with little effort.
To be honest, one of the things I didn't like about drop bars was the position of the brake levers.
Then after thinking about it, when I rode flat bars I was mainly on the bar ends so I had to change hand positions anyways.
Now reaching for them hoods is sort of second nature.
About them hoods.
If you, the reader, have been following along at home, you know that I mount the hoods so that the tops of the bars are parallel to the ground.
In other words, there is no transitioning angles from the tops to the hoods.
Like so:

Well for the past couple of days or so, I been looking at those bars and how they are mounted.
The drops feel better, but I felt like something was wrong.
After looking at hundreds of drop bar bikes, I saw something that opened up my eyeballs.
First of all, let's add some lines:

Unfortunately, I forgot to take before and after pictures, and these picture were taken with the bicycle on the ground and on a stand so the the top tube is not quite even.
So I made a line that follows the top of the stem.
The tops of the bars are even as are the hoods.
Look at the drops though, they are in front of the tops.
In other words, they are in front of where the bars connect to the stem, so being in the drops is an extension forwards and down.
In this position, it was better than the ergo bars I had, but I still felt like I was reaching for the levers when in the drops.
When looking at all them other bikes, I noticed that on some of them the drops were often right below the bar/stem intersection, so that being in the drops was just a well, drop down.
So I rotated the bars back:

Okay, this isn't rocket science so the angles of the lines may be a little off, but good enough for comparison.
See how the drops have been rotated back.
The hoods are still even with the stem, though now they sit a little lower, and it looks like they are closer.
Now the levers feel more natural when in the drops and I don't feel so stretched out.
The negative is that now the corners don't feel right. I'm missing a big chunk of bar where I used to rest my palms.
Doesn't bother me a whole lot and over all, it feels a bit more comfortable all around.
Sort of.
Now the whole cockpit is a lot smaller to the point of looking a bit funky. I mean the bar ends are awfully close now, poking in behind the head tube.
Looking down it all looks very strange.
I may switch out stems and send the tops back out a bit, actually the tops felt the best with the 90mm stem.
It may seem like I'm going backwards, giving up top positions for the drops, a hand position I'm rarely in, but it's also about the hoods and being comfortable there too.
Now I'm thinking of positioning the drops almost parallel to the ground, and changing out to one size larger stem.
In fact I'll probably do that when I get home tonight.
Oh, then we'll see what happens if I ever get my hands on some Cinelli bars.
Boy, this is the kind of stuff that keeps me awake at night.
I mean it sort of is like rocket science.
If you know what I mean.


Anonymous said...

I used to ride horses and fidgeting with one length of stirrup and then the other was maddening. It was my biggest bug-bear. Your thoughts on the handlebars (which is beyond my range of knowledge!) reminds me of this time!

Pick a quill, any quill said...

One must do what one must do, but yes it is a PITA.
I hope you are safe and well amongst the craziness.

Trevor Woodford said...

My head is hurting just reading this stuff....goodness knows what your head must be like...!!


almost got it said...

All part of the search for cycling zen.