Flat vs Drop Bars
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  1. #1
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    Flat vs Drop Bars

    I've been thinking of switching to drop bars. Currently my bike has flat mountain bars. I love how the mtn thumb shifters are second nature to me, but, I'm not sure that the biggest cause of my tendonitis (tennis elbow) is these bars; it first started when I did a ride with an extremely long twisty downhill.

    So, whaddaya think? Would I be more comfortable with drops?
    It's all fun and games until someone ends up in a cone.

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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapdragen
    I've been thinking of switching to drop bars. Currently my bike has flat mountain bars. I love how the mtn thumb shifters are second nature to me, but, I'm not sure that the biggest cause of my tendonitis (tennis elbow) is these bars; it first started when I did a ride with an extremely long twisty downhill.

    So, whaddaya think? Would I be more comfortable with drops?
    I can't imagine riding with flat bars. I am constantly moving my hands around to stay comforatble. Get drops with Campy Ergo shifters and you will love them.

  3. #3
    Adorable Furry Hombre
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapdragen
    I've been thinking of switching to drop bars. Currently my bike has flat mountain bars. I love how the mtn thumb shifters are second nature to me, but, I'm not sure that the biggest cause of my tendonitis (tennis elbow) is these bars; it first started when I did a ride with an extremely long twisty downhill.

    So, whaddaya think? Would I be more comfortable with drops?
    Switch to drops-they have a lot more hand positions. FWIW, I've heard stories of people who had hand/finger numbness issues on flat bars (w/Body Geometry grips). Of course there's a myriad of designs, and tape, gel pads, etc... to make it easier on the hands

    I'll join vol245 in plugging Campy
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  4. #4

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    You didn't say what kind of bike but switching can turn into a major project. The shifters that you say you love so much are one of the things that will probably hav to be changed.

    It'd be cheaper to try a tennis elbow brace before making a lot of changes to your bicycle.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spoke Wrench
    You didn't say what kind of bike but switching can turn into a major project. The shifters that you say you love so much are one of the things that will probably hav to be changed.

    It'd be cheaper to try a tennis elbow brace before making a lot of changes to your bicycle.
    It's a Terry Classic - same components now as the Madeline by Terry. Yeah, I figured I'd have to replace the shifters, brake levers and possibly the brakes (currently have V-Brakes)

    Elbow brace didn't help, in fact I'm in the middle of 6 weeks of PT - very frustrating.
    It's all fun and games until someone ends up in a cone.

    Don't make me go all honey badger on your ass

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapdragen
    It's a Terry Classic - same components now as the Madeline by Terry. Yeah, I figured I'd have to replace the shifters, brake levers and possibly the brakes (currently have V-Brakes).
    You might also have a problem with the front derailleur and/or crankset. Shimano mountain front derailleurs don't like to take orders from road style shifters (rear derailleurs work fine). The V brake issue is commonly solved by using Travel Agents.

    Good luck.

  7. #7
    BS the DC
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapdragen
    It's a Terry Classic - same components now as the Madeline by Terry. Yeah, I figured I'd have to replace the shifters, brake levers and possibly the brakes (currently have V-Brakes)

    Elbow brace didn't help, in fact I'm in the middle of 6 weeks of PT - very frustrating.
    I wouldn't expect drop bars to fix your elbow. If you aren't getting better, you might need to reconsider your diagnosis. The last person I thought had tennis elbow but wasn't responding to PT ended up having olecrenon bursitis. Three visits later, with the appropriate treatment and she was all better. In certainly not saying that's your problem, but you might want to look elsewhere if you aren't getting better.
    "The team wasn't just riders. It was the mechanics, masseurs, chefs, soigneurs, and doctors. But the most important man on the team may have been the chiropractor."

    - Lance Armstrong, Every Second Counts

  8. #8
    huvia ja hyötyä
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    Bull horn?

    What about "bull horn" style bars? (like triathlon or time trial bars without the parts that you lean on). I think they would give you a few different hand positions. I guess if you choose carefully, you could use either Mountain bike style brake and gear levers or Shimano road bike levers.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    What about "bull horn" style bars? (like triathlon or time trial bars without the parts that you lean on). I think they would give you a few different hand positions. I guess if you choose carefully, you could use either Mountain bike style brake and gear levers or Shimano road bike levers.
    yup.. bull horns. not very roadish but at your condition, feeling , might be the most comforble option. if you go that route.. and since levers and derrailleurs will start fighting w/ each other, why not stay singlespeed for a while? singlespeeedin will have you alternate different muscle groups and that maybe less straining on your elbow than a steady rhythm
    www.flaviocolker.com.br
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  10. #10
    huvia ja hyötyä
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    Quote Originally Posted by colker1
    ... levers and derrailleurs will start fighting w/ each other...
    Sorry, I did not get it: why would levers and deraileurs start fighting each other, if you are able to use the same levers and deraileurs as in the old setup?

    Just to be clear, I was thinking of a bar like this: http://www.bontrager.com/Road/Compon...ebars/5710.php

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    Sorry, I did not get it: why would levers and deraileurs start fighting each other, if you are able to use the same levers and deraileurs as in the old setup?

    Just to be clear, I was thinking of a bar like this: http://www.bontrager.com/Road/Compon...ebars/5710.php
    Wrong bar diameter. Her MTB shifters won't fit. - TF
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  12. #12
    Hoopy Frood
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    On-One

    If you want to keep you MTB shifters but desire more hand positions, check out some of the bars available from On-One. They offer the Mary, Midge, and Mungo bars in 25.4" diameter (standard MTB) although the Midge bars widen at the ends to accomodate road shifters.

    You could use bar-end shifters instead of STI - running in fricton mode (or indexed, if you're lucky), these will operate MTB front and rear derailleurs.

    http://www.on-one.co.uk/products/mary.shtml

    http://www.on-one.co.uk/products/mungo.shtml

    http://www.on-one.co.uk/products/midge.shtml

    If you want to blow some serious cash, get an H-Bar from Jeff Jones:

    http://www.jonesbikes.com/hbar/default.asp

    - khill

  13. #13
    huvia ja hyötyä
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    cheap and easy

    You could try putting bar ends on your flat bar.

    That would at least give you one or two new ways to hold onto your bar and you would not need to change other components, maybe just move your shifters and brake levers a bit. They might also give you a feel whether you want to go and make more changes. A drop bar has possibilities for a longer and lower riding position and bar ends would be a small step in that direction. (Then you will just have to be very careful if you ride narrow trails between bushes)

  14. #14
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    I don't think anyone has mentioned yet that the drop bars will change the "cockpit" fit on your bike. Your position with hands on the drops or on the hoods will leave you more stretched out unless you compensate by switching your stem to be shorter. You may not even be able to use drop bars if your stem is already relatively short.

    I would suggest just trying out some simple barends to create an additional hand position. You could also get "moustache" type bars or some other variant of a flat bar if you want to go further.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for all the suggestions. Just to clear up a couple things - I have XT shifters and rear derailleur, but an Ultegra triple with a 105 front derailleur. I switched out the short barends for longer Profile ends, so I do have the hand postion options. (see pict ) I will check out the different bar suggestions, tho I think bullhorns are very close to what I have now. I've got lots of time to figure this out - doc is keeping me off the bike.
    Last edited by snapdragen; 09-18-2009 at 08:59 PM.
    It's all fun and games until someone ends up in a cone.

    Don't make me go all honey badger on your ass

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapdragen
    Thanks for all the suggestions. Just to clear up a couple things - I have XT shifters and rear derailleur, but an Ultegra triple with a 105 front derailleur. I switched out the short barends for longer Profile ends, so I do have the hand postion options. (see pict ) I will check out the different bar suggestions, tho I think bullhorns are very close to what I have now. I've got lots of time to figure this out - doc is keeping me off the bike.
    you can't have drop bars if your stem is that short. you will shorten your stem by 1.5cm when switching from flat to drops.
    www.flaviocolker.com.br
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