Handlebars on road bikes are flat or dropped? What are the tradeoffs between the two styles?

Your decision may be based on your perceived comfort on the bike. But comfort can come not only from your position on the bike, but your ability to vary that position.

If you can’t make up your mind which is best for you, this quick animated video may give you food for thought.

  1. Trish Payne says:

    awesome! Thanks.

  2. Saunterre Irish says:

    Very helpful. First time I’ve seen a more detailed explanation as to the different ways dropped handlebars can be adjusted to accommodate a rider who prefers a more upright position.

  3. Gail says:

    This is interesting. I ride a Terry with a flat bar and bar ends so I have an adequate number of hand positions but I have often wondered whether I’d get more power and/or efficiency out of a bike with drop bars. For example, might the tighter angle cause your core to engage better? Might it reduce inefficient upper body movement? Do you have any thoughts on this?

  4. Deborah Dickstein says:

    i agree 125 % with Greorgina’s explanation. I put flat bars on my road bike with the idea that this would be better for my back and neck problems. But I hated them: I couldn’t change position and my hands fell asleep. So I went back to drop bars but added major spacers to raise the handlebars, plus a much shorter stem to bring them back closer to the saddle. The handlebars are higher and farther back than most riders would have, but it absolutely works for me. I can ride flexed from the hips with a flatter back (a curved back gives me back pain)and flexed elbows to absorb shock, and never get neck or shoulder problems from having to lift my head to see where I’m going. I change my hand position constantly and am comfortable all the time. Probably my position wouldn’t be efficient for a racer, but as a recreational rider who wants to do 75 to 100-mile days without pain, it’s great!

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