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Very basic hands positioning question(8 posts)

Very basic hands positioning questionsnuz
Aug 29, 2002 8:53 AM
I wish the road bike message board had a beginners section like the mountainbike board.I haven't been on a roadbike (cross) frame in over 20 years. I had a 10 speed sears roadbike when I was young. Since then its been all bmx and mountainbiking. I recently purchased a cross bike. When I want to go fast or really hard I have no problem getting down in the standard racing position with my hand near the brakes or the bottom part of the bar. However, I would also at times, like to ride with my hands on the upper part of the bar a few inches on each side of the stem. I guess because I'd like to sit up straighter at times. Being a mountain biker I"m used to at least a finger within reach of the brake lever.

So I guess I have two questions. My old 10 spped bike had brake levers at the center of the handlebar, so I could stop quickly when in the upward position. Do riders still use these? My second question is, are most of you riding with your hand near the brake at all times in a fairly agressive position, rather than keeping your hands higher (or more centered) on the bar?

Again I apologize for asking such a simple question. I just don't know anyone who rides a road bike.
re: Very basic hands positioning questionrbb
Aug 29, 2002 9:12 AM
hey, good to hear that you got yourself a cross bike! About the brake lever question- the levers you are thinking of very cheap and entry level-hence being on Sears&Roebuck specials- try top mount brake levers made specifically for cross racing. you can find a nice selection of them at:
They'd be able to help you. Enjoy!

re: Perfect. Will check out frogglegs. Thanks (nm)snuz
Aug 29, 2002 11:11 AM
More thoughts...Steve_O
Aug 30, 2002 5:07 AM
I also been thinking about adding the additional set of brake levers on the top of the bars (ala-Frog Legs).

Right now I am on the hoods for a lot of offroad riding. I can shift and brake from the hoods with the only downside being that it is not always the most comfortable position. The hoods do get a little sketchy in really rough stuff and that is when I go to the drops... With more ride time off road I find that I can switch back and forth with little thought or effort.

However, even with all this said, I can see why racers go for the added levers...

Steve-O (Not sure where I'm going with this thread... just spewing thoughts!)
More thoughts...atpjunkie
Aug 30, 2002 10:39 PM
you'll get more comfortable in the drops, but yes top levers make it nice for descending. You will find you lose much braking leverage from the hoods vs. the drops, what takes 2-3 fingers from the hoods takes 1 -2 from the drops with less effort.
More thoughts...mackgoo
Aug 31, 2002 1:21 PM
If you get the top levers I think you'll find you spend most of your time up there. That's what I found.
More thoughts...OffRoadTourer
Sep 2, 2002 5:04 AM
The first time I rode my cross bike off-road I took it down the steepest hardest trail nearby that I ride on my MTB. I just wanted to find its limit.
Sure I went a little slower on the downhill (after leaving my MTBing buddies for dead on the climbs), but to my surprise I made it down in the drops (that flat, bottom bit of the bar you refer to) without the need for top mount levers.
The key (as with MTBing) is getting behind your saddle to the extreme (as in stomach or chest on saddle).
Having said that I'm still getting top mount levers (hurry up US air mail!!) so I've got brakes at hand at all times, but technique is the big issue.
those funky brake levers you hadweiwentg
Sep 3, 2002 10:45 AM
were called 'suicide levers', apparently for good reason (something about insufficient power).