Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Drops

I very rarely use them
The drops I mean.
I prefer to ride on the tops or the corners.
Sometimes the hoods, mostly when I'm braking.
The drops though, I avoid sort of like eating liver.
I'll do it if I have to.
So I keep up a weekly search of drop bars, which is harder than you might think for I need them to fit a 26.0 clamp and because it's getting sort of rare, not many different bars are available.
I mean I keep seeing the same ole stuff.
I currently run some older Ritchey Biomax bars with an ergo bend for the reach is short and the drop is shallow.
I was going to try some Deda 215 shallow drop bars until I found this:

According to the seller, 3T Ergo Power Due bars with a TDF bend.
New old stock(NOS).
The reach is 77mm and the drop around 135.
They also had these other bars with a "Gimondi" bend:

I think those bars look cool!
Really old school.
I've read that the bars are bent that way to create arm clearance for sprinting or climbing while out of the saddle.
I like to ride on the corners though and the reach and drop were a bit more than the TDF bars.
So anyways, the problem I had with the Ritchey bars were that when setting the tops parallel to the ground, the drops were at a weird angle.
I like the tops even with the ground; it feels sort of funny if they start to bend downwards.
Here's what my old drops used to look like:

It's really strange for every time I look at them, the drops, they look really comfortable, like that angle would be easy on the wrists.
I mean if I hold out my hands in front of me and imagine being in the drops, I seems like I'd like that angle.
I don't.
Now lemme just say here that working on these traditional set ups are a pain.
I mean every time you want to change something out, you have to take every thing off and re-mount.
I'm getting pretty good at pulling a handle bar through a stem.
So anyways, I wanted less angle in the drops but I couldn't get it with the Ritcheys without angling the tops downwards.
Hence the new bars with the traditional bends:

You can see when the tops are even, the 3Ts have a slightly flatter drop position.
It's even more obvious once you get them mounted:

There's another good thing about that Planet Bike Comfort Gel tape, you can keep reusing it.
Anyways, the drops aren't flat or anything and the angle is still sort of severe, but they feel better than the Ritcheys.
I think that ergo hump that makes me drop my elbows, so much so it gets difficult to lift my head.
Besides, these traditional bars look better and say it with me: image is everything.
It also helps that they are made in Italy.
Don't you know.
Still, Italians being pesky Italians, the 3T bars are double grooved, front and back so I hope it doesn't compromise comfort on the tops.
Hopefully I can take the Celeste Devil out for a spin soon and tweak them some.
They did feel great going up and down my hill, but I've learned that going in circles in front of Flat Tire Central means nothing, you gotta get em out on the road to really see how they work out.
The drops felt pretty good and at least I could see foward and I wasn't just looking at my front tire.
While the reach is about the same as the Ritcheys, for some odd reason, the controls feel like they are closer, sort of cramped.
Interesting how sometimes millimeters can make a large difference.
I may have to move the seat back a bit or change out the stem and put back the 80mm one.
That means taking everything apart and putting it back together.
The other bad thing about owning these older bicycles is that parts are getting harder and harder to find as companies move away from 25.4 and 26.0 stuff.
So I guess the deal is that when you find something that works, you go out and get two of em, which if everything works out I plan to do, and even if stuff doesn't work well, you still hold on to them for you never know if you can find one again.
So I'll be hanging on to those Ritcheys, for you never know.
Next on the most wanted list are Cinelli bars for they have an even shorter reach.
This way, I can use normal sized stems, not the midget ones I've got now.
Boy, the extra road bars are stacking up!
I guess that's the price you have to pay for looks uh, I mean comfort.
Now I'm ready to go out and tackle some 600k brevets like Mr. Oak of Big Oak Bikes fame.
Okay, not really.

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