An Introduction to Drop Handlebar Basics

Whether you are new to the sport or have been riding for a while, learning the fundamentals of cycling and bike handling are an important key to improving performance and becoming more comfortable on the bike.

While most riders quickly find a certain position that is the most comfortable, knowing and using all three positions on drop handlebars is an important skill. Knowing when and how to use these positions will help you to be safer, pedal faster, and become more comfortable on the bike, no matter what the situation or conditions.

More: Cycling in the Wind: Beginner Basics

Here are the three basic handlebar positions for drop handlebars and when to use them.

The Tops

Most novice cyclists or those new to road bikes will find this position to be the most comfortable because it puts you in the most upright position. But because of the lack of control over the bike and the distance that the hands have to travel to the brakes, it is not always the best choice. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of the position.

  • Least aerodynamic
  • Good long, steady climbing position
  • Upright posture opens up the diaphragm, allowing you to take deeper breaths and consume more oxygen
  • Tilts the hips back, which allows you to recruit more of the gluteal muscles (which are among the largest and strongest in the body) and helps to increase power on climbs
  • Should only be used when riding slow or on climbs because of the inability to brake if needed
  • Shouldn't be used when riding in heavy traffic or on group rides

More: Basic Skills for Group Riding

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