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Being new to road bikes (but quite enjoying my recently acquired Giant Defy carbon) I'm finding adapting to the drop bars and subsequent riding position interesting. I spend most of my time on the hoods or "sitting up" holding the horizontal section of the bars (when I'm not in imminent need of lunging for the brakes or shifting) and while the aerodynamic difference _is_ noticeable when slipping down to the drops, I feel far less controllable there and my back doesn't love it. Even using the hoods "properly" (i.e. bent elbows... low position) is less than supremely comfy, and I was thus wondering....
Is it sacrilegous or indeed demonstrably biomechanically bad to tilt one's bars back/up a bit??
There is certainly no reason sacrilegious or otherwise not to have the bars in a position that is comfortable for you.
However if you do rotate the bar upwards to make for more comfortable riding on the hoods, then when getting down in the drops it will be more difficult to reach the brake and shift levers.
Rotating the front of the bars downwards on the other hand will make riding in the drops more comfortable.
Most riders simply make a compromise between the two and you do get used to it.
However from my point of view I do like to have the bar in such a position that when riding in the drops the levers are easily accessible as for some reason I seem to cop a head wind more often than not, and then riding in the drops and getting down low certainly helps.
Something to keep in my mind. In the drops, your weight is lower and more over the front wheel. This can improve control, especially down hills, and is a good reason to train yourself to use the drops more.
2010 Charge Plug, 2011 Genesis Equilibrium 20, 2012 Felt F75, 2013 Giant TCR Advanced SL
Maybe you need different (shallower) handlebars. 3T Ergonova are good - http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... 5e993d6e56 (you can get carbon ones too but they are $250>)
There is nothing wrong with changing the tilt of your bars for your comfort as others have said. I did it with mine and I only tilted them back by a degree or so to make it easier for me to brake when on the hoods. Yes it means braking and gear changes are harder when in the drops, but unless you are racing, you seldom need to worry.
Perhaps tilt the bars back for now till you get used to the way the road frame is and your back starts accepting the new position. Once you are more confident and you use the drops more often, tilt them to normal and see how you go.
2011 Kona Dew Plus (commuter)
2012 Focus Cayo 2.0 (road)
Don't just accept the position of the shifters on the bars as gospel. Tune it. OK, so it'll cost you a roll of bar tape and a few laps around the block, but its worth it. You might find leaving the bar rotation as is but moving the shifters up a bit will work. You may well find a combined bar/shifter rotation that works well in any hand position.
MY RIDES: My Velospace Profile
What Jim said...
It is cheaper and more effective in the long run to bin the stock bar tape and re-adjust bar and shifter position to suit your specific preferences rather than take the LBS/Giant's 'it suits most people' position. Use electrical tape and pieces of Wettex or similar dish cloth as a bar tape surrogate until you get the positioning sussed.
Ours is not to reason why...merely to point and giggle
Both familyguy and silentbutdeadly are pointing you the right way. I'll probably get corrected on this, but even if the following is a strawman that provokes debate, you will gain.
I have found that it is best to first get the top of the bars as they curve around towards the hoods pretty close to horizontal with the ground - not the drops. In my experience the only people who have the drops horizontal are those setting up fixies for photos because they think it looks nicer.
You are aiming for 4 or 5 positions on the bars:
on the top either side of the stem
on the side curve but not touching the hoods
on the hoods
on the front of the drops when descending and trying to go as fast as possible
on the bottom of the drops when you are trying to emulate Cav.
The right position for the hoods will not be pointing up at 45 degrees, but above being straight out the front. You will find that a 2mm change will make the difference for braking either on the hoods or the front of the drops a pain and unsafe or quite comfortable. You will also find that most times if you rush to put the expensive tape on, one will be higher than the other. take the time to look at the bike sideways from a distance away, and turn it round to check both sides!
I either use the el cheapo $3 tape off ebay from HK or none for a week or more before settling and finishing the job.
Best of luck...
Last edited by wqlava1 on Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2014 goal 52000m
If when you are sitting and just using the hoods with slightly bent elbows you are still finding it a bit uncomfortable then it is time to raise the bars until you work on your core / flexibility ... Not tilt them back.
Is your stem at the top of the steerer?... If it is then you need a stem with a more upward angle. Strain on the lower back will only get worse if you push it in an uncomfortable position.
I was surprised no-one else previously had suggested raising the bars and/or shortening the stem.
If its possible with the stem that is already on the bike try flipping it to raise the bars and/or it may be possible to juggle the spacers on the steerer tube. When I started on a roady I bought a shorter stem, installedit so it angled up. As my back and core strengthened I flipped it the other way and I'm now using the original stem in the low position.
06' Giant TCR C1
08' Colnago CLX
07' Apollo Swift
VW Jetta Diesel 5.5l/100km
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