Drop Handlebar Positions – Using The Drops, Hoods, Hooks, And Flats

Dropbars were invented to make riding a bike more comfortable and efficient, and that is why racers worldwide still use dropbars and train on them day after day.

Here are some racers explaining exactly how to use drop handlebars, and how the different positions make it easier to go faster while expending less energy.

If You’re Having Trouble

A lot of people simply can’t get used to leaning over to reach the bars and feel very uncomfortable. The fear of falling off a bike is very real. If you are having a similar type of problem you should first try to tweak how you’re sitting before making the change to flat ones.

One of the benefits of using a bike with drop bars is you can change your hands and body easily to meet your specific comfort level. Don’t be afraid to experiment, even the most seasoned cyclists do.

There Are No Rules

You can hold the tops, the hoods or beneath the hoods as you like. Many people keep their hands at the top during a regular ride and then only lower them later when they are descending, sprinting or facing a headwind.

While it may take some getting used to, drop handlebars offer the most versatility and flexibility for bikers.

The Different Positions

There are four different spots for the hands that Cadence Foundation wants you to be aware of when you’re riding.

You can keep your hands on “the tops” or the bars, which provides a relaxed ride. Most bikers use this position when they are taking a leisurely ride, but you’ll have to move your hands to reach the shifters or the brakes. For that reason you should use when you are comfortable with the road you’re traveling on and don’t expect any rough conditions in front of you.

The second handle bar grip is on “the hoods“, which offers a somewhat upright body slot. A lot of bike riders use this position for the majority of their rides since it is comfortable and the shifters and breaks can easily be reached without having to move your hands.

The third grip, with hands under “the hoods”, is the one that many find very uncomfortable at first. This is an aerodynamic position for the body and that is why you’ll see most athletes using it. This is considered the second most aggressive location for when you need speed and accuracy.

And finally there are “the drops“. Similar to the hooks but lower down the radius of the handle bars so that the brakes are out of reach of the fingers without moving your hand. Your palms should be at or near parallel to the ground. This is your most aggressive and aerodynamic position, but also the most intimidating for new riders as well. Even seasoned bikers shy from it, especially when in a tight group.

If you find that you really can’t get used to drop bars, you can definitely switch over to flat. After all, at the end of the day, the important thing is for you to enjoy cycling and to get all of the benefits out of it that you can.