Riding in the drops

I have noticed recently when out riding recently how few people I actually see in the drops. I do actually use mine quite a lot especially when riding on the flat and I always use them on decents. Just wondering how much time people on here ride on the drops ?

Just a thought really

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Always when charging downhill. Not much elsewhere. Sometimes when riding high tempo.
I think modern bar shapes and hood shapes are one of the reasons why people are mostly using the hoods now.

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Modern bars are a lot more compact than old ones with deep drops so you’d think more people would use the drops now.

I also use the drops on the flat and descents, it’s a nice change of position and I appreciate the greater control.

IMO not ever using the drops may mean a poor set up on the bike as it’s too uncomfortable for the rider to use them.

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Yes, they are more compact, but i was mostly thinking about the ergonomics of the bar/hood interface. Much nicer on new shifter/bars than 20 year old ones. At least thats what i feel.

Use the drops on descents. On fast flat stretches I tend to ride on the hoods trying to get forearms close to 90 degrees, but occasionally the drops just to change position.

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Almost always in the hoods for me….more comfortable and more aero. For most people, getting in the drops pits vertical cylinders in the air, which is awful for aero. Flat forearms on the hoods tests better.

I’ll use my drops if I am in tight quarters and need to protect my space or on descents for great control. Past that, I hardly ever touch them.

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It is usually for one of two reasons:

  1. People buy “race geometry” bikes and can’t get the handlebars as high as they really need them, rendering the drops more or less useless because they can barely reach them.
  2. People who can make race geometry work and follow the science know that it is faster to have your hands on the hoods with the forearm parallel to the ground compared to being in the drops, hence avoiding the drops most of the time.

I use mine often because I ride a bike with a tall enough headtube that allows me to reach the drops comfortably, but I don’t think this factors into most people’s bike buying decision these days.

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I ride in the drops on descents. On fast flats I will either use the aero-hoods position or in the drops, I can ride much longer in the for than in the aero-hoods position.

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More than 1 bike fitter has written on this topic; when I have a bit more time later, I’ll see if I can find the article. It’s largely a function of increasingly aggressive geometry, and the idea of the aero hoods position.

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Flat forearms on the hoods are more aero, but requires more focus to maintain. I can and do spend a great deal of time in the drops pretty comfortably, actually forearms flat in the hoods not so much.

When it’s uphill, I typically get on the hoods. It’s just more comfortable that way when climbing.

Descending, drops, no question.

I see lots of people ignoring the drops but I can’t really tell why. I suspect bike fit issues, not necessarily originating from handlebar height even. If I would set my saddle straight instead of tilted down a bit, drops would become uncomfortable after a while, for instance.

I wouldn’t say that bike geometries have actually gotten any more aggressive (if anything the whole gravel and endurance bike genre comes with really tall front ends but people still don’t use the drops), but the average rider might be a bit older and heavier.

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Pretty much only going downhill. In the hoods with the forearms parallel to the ground has been shown to be more aero and is more comfortable than the drops.

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That was my exact thought why I thought I should make this post so many people just ignore them today. With some people saying the drops are more compact now then in the past they should be easier to use.

I get the aero position with the forearms parallel to the floor but I have not come across anyone doing that yet, not yet anyway. When I am in the drops although arms are not parallel to the floor if I really tuck up I can get them 65-80.

Drops when climbing…impossible :joy:

Yeah, what people above said. On descents, in a tight bunch, on the flats for variety, and additionally for fast corners. I’ve also noticed that few people spend much time on the tops while climbing. It used to be my default climbing position, but for some reason I’ve found myself doing it less and less.

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Riding a stem slammed is a big cause of not riding drops imo, you can do it but usually you need to ride saddle forward ALOT ie Valverde, this evening i rode and put a spacer under the stem and was just more comfortable in all positions, really…so am happy now tho I ride a long stem.

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I think it’s worth acknowledging that, as hoods ergonomics and knowledge of aerodynamics have improved, many people (including pros) have adopted what I call a “hoods-first” fit. Most pros spend most of their time in the hoods too, only entering the drops for chaotic moments, descents or sprints.

One advantage of the “hoods-first” fit is that your hoods+straight arm position is more aero. Great for casually riding in the peloton and easy access to the brakes. See this clip of Caleb Ewan for an extreme example: On-bike cam: Breathtaking Caleb Ewan lead-out at Giro d'Italia - YouTube

Another is that your drops are lower and thus better suited to descending and sprinting.

The big one IMO is that you now have 2 “aero” positions to choose from. One is the hoods + bent elbow position. This takes a heavy toll on your elbows/triceps but is proven to be the most efficient. The second one is to maintain the same torso angle but straighten your arms and use the drops. This allows you to get much of the aero advantage of the hoods+bent elbows position but without the arm fatigue.

That being said, there’s a big difference between a “hoods first” fit and a “hoods only” fit.

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On descents, and also (obviously) out of the saddle when climbing, when I’m pretending to be Pantani. For a few seconds anyway… til I remember he wasn’t a slow, 6’3” English guy,

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Yes, for racing there’s no real “use case” for spending a lot of time in the drops. Drops are less aero and less fatiguing than aero hoods, but if you are in a group you can hold aero hoods while it’s your turn. If you are doing a TT or triathlon where you’re pushing the air solo, you are on aerobars if you want to be any good at it.

Basically drops become something for descending, sprinting, cornering and variety.

I spend a good deal of time in the drops but I ride long distances solo a lot on a road bike which I simply enjoy but which just doesn’t fit any mainstream racing format. It doesn’t even fit what most people do - if group rides are your main weekend event, there’s simply no need to spend significant amount of time in the drops.

I really like riding in the drops. I’d say about 20% of outdoor rides I’m in the drops, and of course 100% of descents and fast corners. It’s comfortable for quite a while. For all intervals on the indoor trainer I ride in the drops, the hoods or tops are for the recovery. Occasionally ride arms flat on the hoods for the variation but not if it’s a rough road or if there’s traffic about.

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I never use the drops, not on descents, corners or anywhere else–and, my bikes are perfectly set up, handlebar height “correct” and all. Why don’t I use drops? Three basic reasons.

First, I grew up riding flat bar bikes, and habits actually form (what becomes our “intuitive” feel for certain things) in youth that we carry with us the rest of our lives.

Second, I’m not a racer, have no interest in “KOMs”, Strava or any other competitive ratings, and ride road bikes simply because I like them–they’re light, quick, comfortable–perfect for the roads in my area.

Third, I’m old enough to be retired, and ride in an upright position–easier for the body, especially the neck, for the long (60+ miles) Sunday rides–you’ll understand better when you approach my age (and I do ride a lot, an average of 30 miles a day, almost every single day of the year–missed just 10 days so far this year).

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Makes perfect sense. Do you not feel in better control down tricky descents and over bumpy surfaces in the drops, though? (honest q, not a troll or a knock).

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