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Where on the handlebars should one's hands be usually?(12 posts)

Where on the handlebars should one's hands be usually?Tim
Sep 2, 2001 4:52 PM
I know you should be in the drops if you're sprinting, and be on the hoods if you're climbing, so where should you be the other 80 percent or so of the time? Meaning, in normal conditions, on a flat, using moderate energy?......what do you guys usually do?
re: Where on the handlebars should one's hands be usually?Jim
Sep 2, 2001 4:57 PM
What are the drops?
re: Where on the handlebars should one's hands be usually?greekly
Sep 2, 2001 5:07 PM
if the bike is properly sized you should be able to ride on the hoods most of the time. that's where you would have the most control. for a hand position change I will ride open palmed just behind the hoods on the corner or the top of the bar
re: Where on the handlebars should one's hands be usually?mackgoo
Sep 2, 2001 5:29 PM
Lately I've been staying in the drops. Been sorta an ego thing. Standing up and climbing in the drops is sort of cool.
But really unless certain circumstances warrant it, such as riding against a head wind, then I would want to be down low in the drops, I would think however many positions you can get you would share equally. I don't feel there is any more or less control in any position, except for spinning up a hill on the cross bar as then you have a certain reaction tome to get to the brakes.
re: Where on the handlebars should one's hands be usually?tom c
Sep 2, 2001 7:34 PM
It depends on the wind. On the drops into, on the hoods with a tailwind. Crosswinds, well you have to look at the computer. Sometimes as much as a half mile an hour difference can be had with a change in body position.
re: Where on the handlebars should one's hands be usually?GregJ
Sep 2, 2001 7:53 PM
Tops of the bars for slow speed and long climbing and easy cruising.
Drops for sprinting and hard efforts on the flats.
Hoods for general fast riding, or on shallow climbs, standing while climbing. I rarely use the drops while climbing and only occasionally to crest a hill or sprint to a hilltop. You should be able to change your position by changing the bend of your arms as well as where your hands are placed. For descending I use either the drops if I need to brake or corner a lot and hoods for straight smoother stuff. Tops for an aero tuck.
No hard set rules, but....shmoo
Sep 2, 2001 7:55 PM
...I would guess most people spend most of their time in the hoods. The drop style bar used on road bikes is really a thing of genius. There are so many hand positions and variations. For a little bit of a back stretch on long rides, you can modify your normal in-the-hoods position from time to time by placing your hands higher on the hoods - grasping the tops of the hoods instead of the bases. Competitive sprinting, as in a field sprint at the end of a race, is usually done in the drops, as you say, but general plain old sprinting, like catching up to a group in a club ride or accelerating after a turn are often done in the hoods. As far as climbing goes, experiment with any hand position you can thing of. I tend to use the top of the bar while seated and the hoods while climbing out of the saddle. Climbing out of the saddle in the drops, ala Pentani, can be effective too (although, I don't know if there is any advantage to using this technique over normal hoods). Do what's comfortable.
No hard set rules, but....nestorl
Sep 3, 2001 6:32 AM
climbing on the drops, although a bit uncomfortable if you are not used to it, lowers your heart rate. being on the drops puts your upper body on a more horizontal plane and thus helps reduce hrt/min. Try it on a trainer during control conditions. Place tons of books under the front wheel to simulate climbing. Then stand up for a few minutes and notice your heart rate, then put your hand on the hoods and see how you can keep your same speed and cadance but your heart rate drops, :-). Of course, this does not really help me when I am going 3 miles/hour :-). Cheers.
Don't know about that one, nestorl.shmoo
Sep 3, 2001 9:18 AM
Seated or standing? I can't say conclusively that it isn't true, because I don't have any data one way or the other, as I don't wear a heart monitor. But it would seem that, if it were true, the entire peleton would be doing it. Obviously, they don't. I see it done only occasionally, and then only in relatively short duration attacks against the hill. Sustained climbs, especially seated, where heart rate really matters, are just about always done in the hoods or tops. I think the breathing is a little more restricted in the drops as well, which actually should raise heart rate. Anyway, I do short out of the saddle hill attacks in the drops all the time. Again, I don't know if it's any better - just different.

Anybody else out there experience a heart rate drop while climbing in the drops?
re: Where on the handlebars should one's hands be usually?Elefantino
Sep 3, 2001 7:18 AM
Whatever hand position is comfortable, don't stay in it for more than a few minutes. Even if you have the blobbiest gel gloves in the world, you'll find that your hands can get numb. That's nerve compression. So move 'em around ... tops, hoods, drops. And have fun.
re: Where on the handlebars should one's hands be usually?Tig
Sep 3, 2001 11:17 AM
Most people hold onto the brake hoods. Don't copy anyone! Experiment to see what works best for you. It changes for different conditions like climbing, head/cross/tail winds, if you are in a group (need to be near the brakes), if pulling a paceline, etc.

I rest my hands differently than most others. When going hard and fast or pulling a paceline, I actually rest my forearms on the top bar and twist my wrists out (looks like opposing upside down "L"'s from above)and let my hands rest on the hoods. It is something wierd that I just kinda picked up during breakaways in mass start races where aerobars are illegal. It puts my body in an aero position, flat back and all. I doubt most people would be comfy with it though.

I also ride with my hands on the top bar when riding bigger gears or climbing. I bend my elbows to get into a more aero position and push myself against the back of the seat. This saddle position uses my larger muscle groups for cranking the bigger gears. I'm not a masher anymore though. I like to climb in a lower gear spinning higher cadience. I was happy to see that Lance started doing it this year. I didn't copy him... it was just out of my change to a more spinning style that started in May.

I used to ride the drops more when I raced, especially in a crit. The steering control is great and it's nice to use out of corners when accelerating out of the saddle. Otherwise I only use the drops when sprinting. To each his own.
re: Where on the handlebars should one's hands be usually?VictorChan
Sep 3, 2001 12:17 PM
The hood. I usually rest my wrists on the hood/handle bar area and my thumbs and fingers on the break cap, like holding a gun. Very comfortable in that position. I only use the drop during a somewhat steep slop and I want to gain some speed.