classic drop vs anatomical drop
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  1. #1
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    classic drop vs anatomical drop

    I've pretty much always used what came with my bikes and I'm currently using bontrager anatomical drop bars. In order to get level to the hoods I have to tilt the bar up a bit which makes the flat section of the drops a bit awkward for my hands and makes the brake levers more difficult to reach from the drops and hoods as they tilt away from the bike. Do classic drop bars make more sense and if they do, why are there so many anatomical/ergo shaped bars and so few classics?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by sheldon
    I've pretty much always used what came with my bikes and I'm currently using bontrager anatomical drop bars. In order to get level to the hoods I have to tilt the bar up a bit which makes the flat section of the drops a bit awkward for my hands and makes the brake levers more difficult to reach from the drops and hoods as they tilt away from the bike. Do classic drop bars make more sense and if they do, why are there so many anatomical/ergo shaped bars and so few classics?
    There are different sorts of anatomical bars. There are the kinds with flats, and there are the kinds with the variable radius in the drops. My anatomics have always been the latter, and they accomodate better, IMO, a wider range of brifter placement.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheldon
    I've pretty much always used what came with my bikes and I'm currently using bontrager anatomical drop bars. In order to get level to the hoods I have to tilt the bar up a bit which makes the flat section of the drops a bit awkward for my hands and makes the brake levers more difficult to reach from the drops and hoods as they tilt away from the bike. Do classic drop bars make more sense and if they do, why are there so many anatomical/ergo shaped bars and so few classics?
    Like Forrest mentions, I prefer the elliptical to anatomic drops, and generally to classics - though not all of 'em are right to my tastes. Classic bends, while my favorite in a lot of ways, tend to pinch my (largish) hands when in the drops - sort of like meeting someone with a too-firm handshake. The elliticals help with that somewhat.

    But I'm gonna let my retro-grouch self show - the 'level to the hoods' thing that's all the current rage isn't all it's cracked up to be, IMO. With a classic bend and the hoods down the bend a bit as they're supposed to be, you end up with a wider variety of useful positions. Of course, that's also a design plan that excludes the current thinking that the vertical distance between bar top and saddle is somehow proportional to one's manhood. It fascinates me that everyone gets all puffy about how much drop they ride - while FSA can't keep their new silly-shallow drop bars in stock.

    FWIW, classic bends are lousy if you hope to acheive a flat to the hoods setup. But since it's a pretty lousy way to set up a bike, that makes sense.
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  4. #4

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    If you want it flat, you have to go anatomical. Try the Bontrager Flat Tops....

    I am now using a Deda Phazer and it might be the best of both worlds....google it for pics...

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    I'm assuming trying to acheive that flat run from the bars to the hoods is desirable as it doesn't put pressure on the part of the hand between the thumb and second finger when on the hoods. I'm getting the sense that it's all a compromise between hood comfort, drop comfort and being able to reach the levers. Are the Easton ec-90 slx3 and the Fsa compact bars examples of what some of you are calling variable radius bars? They look interesting, round like the classics without that flat drop section that forces one to keep one position in the drops.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheldon
    I'm assuming trying to acheive that flat run from the bars to the hoods is desirable as it doesn't put pressure on the part of the hand between the thumb and second finger when on the hoods. I'm getting the sense that it's all a compromise between hood comfort, drop comfort and being able to reach the levers. Are the Easton ec-90 slx3 and the Fsa compact bars examples of what some of you are calling variable radius bars? They look interesting, round like the classics without that flat drop section that forces one to keep one position in the drops.
    That's how I see it. Eyeball the Reynolds bars, too.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forrest Root
    There are different sorts of anatomical bars. There are the kinds with flats, and there are the kinds with the variable radius in the drops. My anatomics have always been the latter, and they accomodate better, IMO, a wider range of brifter placement.
    +1.
    I have the first kind, and I plan to switch. OK on top and the hoods, but not so great in the drops. You have only one place to put your hands with the non-variable radius in the drops.

  8. #8
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    I get lost in the descriptions, variable radius and all. However, the classic bend bars don't fit my hands in the drops. The bars bend in ways that my hands don't.
    If you rotate the bars it is likely you will have to move the shifters in one way or another. If you don't either the reach will move too far away, or it will become difficult to reach the levers (especially if your hands are smaller.) Shimano has started making a WSD shifter, from what I understand if that is the case, or you can glue a shim in the gap between the shifter and the lever to make the stretch from the bars to the lever smaller.
    Not all bars are created equal, it may take some experimenting to find the right on. Luckily bike stores are full of combinations to try.

  9. #9
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    classic bars look sweet, thats all that matters.
    I ride ritchey classics with the hoods down a little bit, and the bottoms about 15 deg up from vertical.
    I like it alot. Alot better than anatomics. atmo.

  10. #10
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    I think classic or subtle anatomical are making a pretty strong comeback. Even Trek seems to have abandoned the severe anatomical (ie: with flat spots on the drops) across the board in their 2008 road bikes.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by danl1
    FWIW, classic bends are lousy if you hope to acheive a flat to the hoods setup. But since it's a pretty lousy way to set up a bike, that makes sense.
    please explain why this a bad way to set up a bike.
    it seems to me that comfort should be the main factor.
    that being said, I don't care for the flat to flat transition myself.

  12. #12
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    It's all about comfort and fit

    in the various positions and, as you just discovered, lots of folks think their setup is the best, and it probably is for them.

    Lately, pros have been moving their lever placement up the bars. This is a pro thing and relates to how pros ride, e.g. long periods in the peleton with hands on the tops and how pro bikes are set up - big drop from saddle to bar tops. Guess what, even pros need comfort too so they push the levers up a little and use the drops less frequently (during those high output times). They don't spend all day in the drops.

    It could be that your bike fit makes this lever placement good for you. For example, if you have longer legs than average for your height, your saddle will be high to accommodate your leg length and you will have a larger drop from saddle to bar top. The compromise with this fitting is that it is difficult to reach the brakes from the drops.

    As others have posted, a more traditional placement of the levers allows braking from the drops as well as the tops and would probably optimise your fit if your leg length were average for your height or if you are flexible.

    As to anatomical vs. traditional vs. eliptical drops, I think this is largely an issue of hand comfort. I have larger hands and don't find anatomical bars to be comfortable. YMMV.

    Lastly, some bars are shallow drop, others are average or deep. This is a fit issue and is related to your flexibility and intended use of the bike. Generally, shallow drop bars allow you to spend more time in the drops, in comfort. OTOH, if you're young and flexible and/or have longer arms, an average or deeper drop may give you an aerodynamic benefit w/o sacrificing comfort.

    I have different bikes with different setups for different purposes. The more the bike is intended for long distances, the less radical the fit (shallow drop bars with less drop from saddle to tops.) The club ride (ex-racing) bike has 11 cm drop to the tops while the long distance bike has only 6 cm drop and shallow drop bars. I can ride that baby in the drops for hours.

    Hope this helps......
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by danl1
    the 'level to the hoods' thing that's all the current rage isn't all it's cracked up to be... FWIW, classic bends are lousy if you hope to acheive a flat to the hoods setup. But since it's a pretty lousy way to set up a bike, that makes sense.
    I just changed from deda newton anatomics to the newton deep drop bars, and have a very flat transition from the bars to the hoods, so yes, it is possible with classic curve bars. Old style brake levers had much more curved hoods, but the newer style ergo and sti levers have a different, flatter hood shape, that lends itself well to a flat transition. Personally, I prefer the flat transition, as it leaves my wrists at a more natural feeling angle.

  14. #14
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    Classics all the way

    I went through 3-4 different anatomic bars before moving exclusively to classic bars. There are several big advantages that I see with classic bend bars:

    • Closer to the levers when in the drops. Many anatomic bars seem to skew the fingers at a 4:00 / 5:00 angle when you really need to be at 3:00 angle to reach the levers.
    • Classic bars usually have a nice long straight section to rest on when in the drops. This is great for decending straight sections of road when you can tuck and go without grabbing the brakes.
    "Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand." -- Jim Burlant

  15. #15
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    Sheldon - Being the tightwad that I am, if I were you, I would first move my lever mounts up the radius a cm or 2 and rotate the bars back down. There are a ton of options for fitting doing only these 2 things. If/then that floats not your boat, go spend hundreds of $$$ on different bars. ps I like anatomicals. Especially chicks.
    Escalate. Always escalate.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the recommendations...as far as bringing the shifters up a bit, I tried that, it made for a slightly more comfortable flat ramp to the hoods...but then the brake levers tilted further away from the bike making braking in the hoods more difficult and in the drops next to impossible. I have short stubby fingers (come to think of it, my whole body is short and stumpy) so anything that moves the brake levers further away solves one problem and creates another. I'm intrigued with these new-fangled variable radius bars that may be the best of both worlds (damn you, hannah montana). At age 55, I need easy reach to the brake levers and a shallow drop when I want to wallow in the drops. I've been looking at the Easton ec90 slx3 and the Fsa compact bars...I really would prefer to steer clear of carbon because of the cost but I may have no choice unless someone makes something similar in aluminum.

  17. #17
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    Check out the Nitto Noodles that Riv carries. Flat ramp to the brakes, and flat / shallow drops in a kind-of classic bend. I like 'em.
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by danl1
    Like Forrest mentions, I prefer the elliptical to anatomic drops, and generally to classics - though not all of 'em are right to my tastes. Classic bends, while my favorite in a lot of ways, tend to pinch my (largish) hands when in the drops - sort of like meeting someone with a too-firm handshake. The elliticals help with that somewhat.

    But I'm gonna let my retro-grouch self show - the 'level to the hoods' thing that's all the current rage isn't all it's cracked up to be, IMO. With a classic bend and the hoods down the bend a bit as they're supposed to be, you end up with a wider variety of useful positions. Of course, that's also a design plan that excludes the current thinking that the vertical distance between bar top and saddle is somehow proportional to one's manhood. It fascinates me that everyone gets all puffy about how much drop they ride - while FSA can't keep their new silly-shallow drop bars in stock.

    FWIW, classic bends are lousy if you hope to acheive a flat to the hoods setup. But since it's a pretty lousy way to set up a bike, that makes sense.
    You can disagree with the 'flat to bars' approach with hood placement all you want, I'm going to continue to ride it because in my opinion, that set up keeps Tops, Drops and hoods in close proximity to my bike fit and allows for all of them to be comfortable and productive. Futhermore, if you ride with the hoods lower on the bar, you can't pistol grip your hoods, therefore, you'll be supporting your upper body incorrectly.

    When gripping the hoods, if you're not resting your hands on the pad on your glove that is located along the heel and outside to pinky, then you're not gripping the hoods correctly in the standard position.

    I'm riding Bontragers Variable Radius bar and I found it to be a good blend between classic and new. Futhermore, the recent bars on Treks with the squared off corners weren't a success due to wrist bang while riding out of the saddle and in the drops. Bike tilt would equal wrist bang.

  19. #19
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    I dont tend to use the drops much in racing or training and dont really notice the diferrence. My training bike has traditional and race bike anotomic.

  20. #20
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    Does anyone know of a bar similar to the FSA Omega or Bontrager VR in a 26.0 clamp size? I'm now using Deda 215's, but am interested in something with the shape and drop of the above two bars.

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