Getting used to the drops...

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Schoie81
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Getting used to the drops...

Postby Schoie81 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 15:14 pm

As some of you will probably know, I moved from MTBs to Road bikes this summer. The low riding position took a bit of getting used to for me, and that's only on the hoods. Having got used to that, and having recently been told that I'll find braking easier and/or better if I'm riding on the drops, I'm starting to try and ride the drops more often, but this position is really taking some getting used to. So, should I just persevere with it and it'll become more 'normal' the more I do it, or should I look at changing something - the stem maybe? Its currently angled down - would it be worth flipping it so i'm not quite so low on the drops, and then when I'm used to that, flip it back again? Or will this negatively affect me when I'm riding on the hoods?

I also find that riding in the drops, my thighs hit my stomach/chest. Is this normal? Or is this a)due to my huge 'Greipel-esque' quads (one can dream...), or b) (more likely) my beer belly... Could it mean my saddle is a bit low, so my knees are coming too high at the top of the pedal stroke?
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t4tomo
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby t4tomo » Mon Sep 30, 2013 15:21 pm

stick up a photo of the bike. Be easier to see whether the saddle to bar drop is unusually large or whether it is just a flexibility / beer belly issue.

Its a random set of advise yopu get on here anyway but will be lesss random if we can see what we are advising on.

Flipping stem and or positioning of spacers under vs over stem might well help.

i don't find it a massive differnce between riding on the tops / hoods vs riding one of my MTBs - width of bars aside.
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Schoie81
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby Schoie81 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 15:33 pm

OK, will try!

I've got quite a few spacers under the stem already (that's how it came - i've just left them as they were because its comfortable so didn't want to meddle too much!!

I don't feel a massive difference between the MTB and roadie on the tops, but it felt odd at first on the hoods - seems normal now though, and will probably feel odd when I get back on the MTB - the poor girl hasn't turned a wheel for months...
"I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"

700c
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby 700c » Mon Sep 30, 2013 15:46 pm

A bike fit is probably the best place to start - it would be difficult to advise on how to adjust over the internet, your saddle could well be too low, not sure

That said, the lower position does get easier with time. The feeling of descending on the drops,.particularly with a long seat post, as I have, is a little unnerving but practice, practice..

diamonddog
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby diamonddog » Mon Sep 30, 2013 15:55 pm

Don't feel compelled to use the drops just because they are there. I use mine as and when necessary on fast descents etc but that is because I want to, more often than not I descend on the hoods and find it is easy to get an aero position with no problems braking. Having said that I don't have the 'b' option on your list. :)
Just stick with it and as mentioned post a pic of you on the bike.

keef66
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby keef66 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 09:54 am

What kind of bars do you have at the moment? On some there's quite a difference between the hoods and the drops. I've just bought some compact drops (Deda RHM01) and find riding in the drops more comfortable / sustainable now.

Saddle height should really be set first before you start messing with the bars. Very roughly, with your heel on the pedal your leg should be nearly straight when at the bottom of the pedal stroke. That way there'll be enough of a bend when you're pedalling with the ball of your foot over the pedal axle.

Schoie81
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby Schoie81 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:59 am

Diamonddog - I don't feel I need to use the drops, but when i switched from MTB to a road bike, I bought a bike with drops so it was as different as possible to the MTB, otherwise there seemed minimal point to it. Therefore I figure I at least ought to try and get used to use them, so I can ride on them if I feel inclined. I'm happy on the drops, as as you say, I get down low on the hoods anyway. To be fair to myself - three years ago I had an impressive beer belly which had taken a few years to nurture - since I started running and cycling, there isn't much of it left nowadays - so option b was probably being a little unkind to myself....

Keef - I'm not sure what kind of bars they are - standard Giant Defy bars - Giant Sport 26.0 ?? I think my saddle height is ok - its certainly caused me no trouble so far and i've worked myself up to 40+mile rides now with this setup. When clipped in, my leg is slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke - I don't think it can be far out if its not right..

Its not a massive contact between knee/thigh and stomach/chest - its not like it really hinders my pedaling, just curious if its normal.

Will try and get someone to take the pics of me on my steed and upload them.
"I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"

diamonddog
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby diamonddog » Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:11 pm

Schoie81 wrote:Diamonddog - I don't feel I need to use the drops, but when i switched from MTB to a road bike, I bought a bike with drops so it was as different as possible to the MTB, otherwise there seemed minimal point to it. Therefore I figure I at least ought to try and get used to use them, so I can ride on them if I feel inclined. I'm happy on the drops, as as you say, I get down low on the hoods anyway. To be fair to myself - three years ago I had an impressive beer belly which had taken a few years to nurture - since I started running and cycling, there isn't much of it left nowadays - so option b was probably being a little unkind to myself....

Will try and get someone to take the pics of me on my steed and upload them.


Just keep on using the drops on quieter roads to build up your confidence, you will get used to them eventually. I also came from MTB but with a very long lay off and just sort of fell into using the drops without really thinking about it, at first I found it alien how light and responsive the road bike was compared to a MTB.

Well done on the lack of beer belly :) knock that off the list.

earth
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby earth » Thu Oct 03, 2013 14:18 pm

Do you have a good range of movement? Can you bend at the waist and touch your toes while standing? If you cannot, I do not know what you should do to improve, maybe just stretching or something. But I think this is an important factor.

diamonddog
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby diamonddog » Thu Oct 03, 2013 14:43 pm

earth wrote:Do you have a good range of movement? Can you bend at the waist and touch your toes while standing? If you cannot, I do not know what you should do to improve, maybe just stretching or something. But I think this is an important factor.

TBH in my opinion touching his toes is not really relevant, I am very skinny and have never been able to touch mine as I have tight hamstrings and longer leg to body ratio but it has never stopped me doing a wide range of sports. I agree that if there is a bit of belly in the way then that can be a restricting factor in mobility.

ChrisAOnABike
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Thu Oct 03, 2013 14:53 pm

I've had my road bike for a year now, and I still can't say I'm really comfortable in the drops, but I am getting there and I'm sure it's just a question of perseverance.

Initially, I felt very uncomfortable descending in the drops but I made myself do it and now I like it (better braking, more aero).

I still find that my triceps ache if I'm in the drops for any length of time, but that's improving gradually too. I can manage about half a mile now.

And yesterday, I got out of the saddle in the drops for the second time - the first time had felt scary and awkward, the second time a lot less so.

Obviously I can't say anything about your fit on the bike, but the awkwardness does go away with practice in IMVLE.
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Escher303
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby Escher303 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 15:22 pm

If you do want to use the drops then there are two things you want to be able to do: feel confident and comfortable. When I first started cycling I was neither, my bike had a tall headtube and quite a few spacers under the stem. I got more confident by just practicing. First on the flat, then fast around corners, then downhill, just building up as I gained confidence. But I would get backache after a while every time. I fixed that by stretching for 15 minutes after most rides. After a year or so of regularly stretching (hamstrings especially) I can now ride in the drops all day and on a new bike with quite an extreme saddle to bar drop, slammed stem and quite high saddle. I have to ride my other bike with a tall headtube with no spacers now and a -17 degree stem to get it even close to the position on my other bike. So if you aren't comfortable physically in the drops then after ride, regular stretching will definitely help. As I became more flexible I gradually took out the spacers one at a time, until I could buy an ex-pro bike and feel comfortable riding it even in the drops despite, what some might say, the extreme position. I never could have done that without the regular stretching, and I'm no spring chicken!

earth
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby earth » Thu Oct 03, 2013 15:29 pm

diamonddog wrote:
earth wrote:Do you have a good range of movement? Can you bend at the waist and touch your toes while standing? If you cannot, I do not know what you should do to improve, maybe just stretching or something. But I think this is an important factor.

TBH in my opinion touching his toes is not really relevant, I am very skinny and have never been able to touch mine as I have tight hamstrings and longer leg to body ratio but it has never stopped me doing a wide range of sports. I agree that if there is a bit of belly in the way then that can be a restricting factor in mobility.



What I mean is some people cannot bend from the waist, instead they bend from the back. That must get uncomfortable after a while.

Schoie81
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby Schoie81 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 15:31 pm

Thanks guys - its what Chris says, just feel awkward and uneasy. I don't think my balance is particularly great - I feel a little unsteady on the bike but a lot lot better than the first time I went out on the road bike. I don't find I get back ache, I don't feel particularly uncomfortable in the drops, just a little vunerable and a feeling that i'm always about to fall over. I guess its the sensitive steering which doesn't help - every slight move results in a change of direction.

Still not got around to the photo. And for information - i'm about 0.5 - 1 inch off being able to touch my toes!!

I guess it seems its just a case of getting used to it - as with most things. Just want to have the bike set up to make it as easy to get used to as possible.
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diamonddog
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby diamonddog » Thu Oct 03, 2013 15:32 pm

earth wrote:
diamonddog wrote:
earth wrote:Do you have a good range of movement? Can you bend at the waist and touch your toes while standing? If you cannot, I do not know what you should do to improve, maybe just stretching or something. But I think this is an important factor.

TBH in my opinion touching his toes is not really relevant, I am very skinny and have never been able to touch mine as I have tight hamstrings and longer leg to body ratio but it has never stopped me doing a wide range of sports. I agree that if there is a bit of belly in the way then that can be a restricting factor in mobility.



What I mean is some people cannot bend from the waist, instead they bend from the back. That must get uncomfortable after a while.

I bet it does but I'm not gonna try it. :)

diamonddog
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby diamonddog » Thu Oct 03, 2013 15:34 pm

Schoie81 wrote:Thanks guys - its what Chris says, just feel awkward and uneasy. I don't think my balance is particularly great - I feel a little unsteady on the bike but a lot lot better than the first time I went out on the road bike. I don't find I get back ache, I don't feel particularly uncomfortable in the drops, just a little vunerable and a feeling that i'm always about to fall over. I guess its the sensitive steering which doesn't help - every slight move results in a change of direction.

Still not got around to the photo. And for information - i'm about 0.5 - 1 inch off being able to touch my toes!!

I guess it seems its just a case of getting used to it - as with most things. Just want to have the bike set up to make it as easy to get used to as possible.

Keep at it mate it will happen :) .

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arran77
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby arran77 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 15:50 pm

Just a case of persevering with them really and using them as and when appropriate :D
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ChrisAOnABike
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Thu Oct 03, 2013 16:04 pm

arran77 wrote:Just a case of persevering with them really and using them as and when appropriate :D


Yes, but unless you persevere at other times too, I doubt any time will really feel appropriate.
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Mikey23
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby Mikey23 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 18:16 pm

I've shared this before but ... Took me about a year to be competent and confident riding a bike. Never used the drops as it scared me stiff. Then one day it just felt right and natural and off I went. Now I use them about 50/50 with the hoods and I feel more in control. No need to rush but it is a skill worth mastering so as others have said persevere

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arran77
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Re: Getting used to the drops...

Postby arran77 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 18:23 pm

ChrisAOnABike wrote:
arran77 wrote:Just a case of persevering with them really and using them as and when appropriate :D


Yes, but unless you persevere at other times too, I doubt any time will really feel appropriate.


Maybe it's just me then but I use the drops very little, the majority of the time I ride on the hoods, I think sometimes people feel they should be in he drops more because its what the pros do, that's what I was trying to suggest by saying when appropriate :)
"Arran, you are like the Tony Benn of smut. You have never diluted your depravity and always stand by your beliefs. You have my respect sir and your wife my pity" :lol:

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