Drop Bars - or any Bars - and Your Wrists

Discussion in 'Health' started by Runs with Scissors, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Addict

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    First and foremost, I'm loving the new Kona Sutra LTD - a dirt-drop do it all machine!

    However, I have noticed that riding it in dirt, where you have to get into the drops and manage the brakes, is really, really hard on the wrists.

    Any suggestions on fixes from the knowledgeable IMTB crowd out there in the electronic world???
     
  2. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS
    Don't ride the drops. Ride the hoods. With hydro brakes you can get away with it.

    I watched a couple of CX races, and the majority of racers were on the hoods while descending.
     
  3. Rumpled

    Rumpled Member

    Location:
    OC
    Name:
    Jim Martin
    Current Bike:
    2003 Giant Rainier
    Faster CX racers spend more time in the drops. It's faster, more aero and such.
    The rest of us schlubs spend 99% of our time on the hoods.
    I actually find it easier to brake from the hoods, even with canti's. No problem with enough braking power. I probably need shorter drops.
     
  4. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    My canti brakes were worthless. I used standard road bars and had to be in the drops to get any power, but I didn't like being so low and weight forward so I got cheater levers. I don't know if you can run them with hydro brakes, but they helped me have a higher position (so I could see ahead) and let me put my weight back on drop-offs.

    Still, a rigid fork on a rough descent is hard on the wrists. I switched to carbon and that helped a bit.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Addict

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    Maybe all I have to do is slow down and remember I don't have suspension. :eek:

    I find it very difficult to ride a descent on dirt on the hoods. On asphalt, no problemo and I prefer it. I can do it on the hoods on dirt, but at the price of going really slow. I don't want to be bucked off the hoods because that would, well, suck.
     
    pperrelle, Cornholio, kioti and 5 others like this.
  6. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    IMHO the trick with a drop bar MTB is to have the bars high, so that the drop position is at the same place your hands would be on a MTB. On the drop bars, the only place your hands should be on trails should be in the drops. If you're on the hoods or on the cross bar, you have less control and it's too easy to be bucked off. One of the best benefits of the drop position, is that your hands can pretty much not be pulled off the bars. In fact you can keep your hands much more relaxed and really loose, which in turn lets you absorb shock more. Your hands are also at a natural resting position. Look down at your hands by your side when standing. See how they are parallel to your body, not palms down like on a straight bar. Much more natural and ergonomic.
    This advice is for singletrack, technical or otherwise. Fire roads are not as imperative for control, but to avoid fatigue you still want your bars higher than a road position. Tops should be at saddle height at a minimum.

    More advice from the preeminent expert on the subject: http://g-tedproductions.blogspot.com/2011/10/drop-bar-mountain-bike-tips-updated.html

    Here is a photo I made up to show what it should look like:

    4576760855_b1e4b84b67_o.jpg

    tl;dr mountain drops need to be high.
     
  7. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    Hmm.. seems like if you take those hands by your side and raise your arms straight out to make a T; then rotate your arms forward in a modified superman, your palms will face down. Hence the ergonomics of a flat bar.. or the tops of a drop bar. Which is where this former roadie's hands (and my cx bike hands) were most of the time. Straight in front for relaxed climbing in the saddle, on the hoods for out-of-the saddle climbing/shifting/descending/braking, and in the drops predominantly for aero position into the wind or max speed.

    I guess I don't understand this concept of getting "bucked" off the tops or hoods.. I agree that the hand position can/should be higher for an off-road bike. Aerodynamics aren't the factor they are on the road. But however the bars are set up, the hands should be in a comfortable position (without being unduly weighted) when in place. If they're on the tops and the front wheel bounces off a bump-- a palms down position controls it. Having the seat a bit lower can also allow your legs to mitigate a reverse jackhammer effect by the rear wheel and through the saddle. The bike basically floats beneath your hands and feet in rough terrain.

    Just my experience, YMMV. :thumbsup:
     
  8. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    It's not the biggest deal about drops, but they let your arms be more relaxed over time. I'd say that in the T example, you don't ride with arms straight out in front. If your arms are in a more relaxed position, bent at the elbow and lower down, you should feel tension across the muscles as you're twisting them. The at-rest position is still with hands parallel. That's not necessarily a big deal, although over time my anecdotal evidence is that my arms get a lot more fatigued with a straight bar. The other related benefit of drops is that they give you so many more positions, that it lets different muscles work and keeps any one group from over-working.

    The drop position is a big deal though, and where you want to be if on a MTB. If your hands are on the hoods, you are only relying on hand strength to hold you there. Your whole body weight is pushing forward, into thin air! With straight MTB bars, the bar is in front of your hand, so your the bar is supporting your weight. So the top of a drop bar is better, there just aren't controls there and it's usually narrow, so no leverage. The drops have the best of all world: You have plenty of leverage, controls are at your finger tips, and there's next to no way your hands are going to slip/get thrown off. It's really a fantastic feeling.

    I ran a drop-bar MTB and loved it, but rode my hard tail more on the trails, and rode my road plus bike everywhere else, so it was not getting used. For me, the only down side was that even with high bars, my neck was still getting tired on long bits of aggressive singletrack. I need a more sit up and beg position on bikes, and couldn't quite get it dialed in for the dirt. I regret selling it, as it was pretty unique. I actually want to sell my road plus at some point, and buy something that will fit 29ers again. Just want it to be lighter weight tubing and more road friendly.

    Here's my Singular Gryphon... really cool bike!
    22925053350_fa94364b92_b.jpg
     
  9. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    ^^I notice you've got cheater levers on your drop bars, which is what I preferred for descending on my cx bike. I mounted them away from the stem so the heels of my hands were near the brake hoods, so there was plenty of lateral control (for me), and the hand position was braced with thumb under the bar, palms on top and both supported by the brake levers out front. It was solid and still allowed all the various hand positions provided by drop bars to lessen fatigue.

    The deal breaker for me was poor performance from canti brakes, which were the only option at the time. Had I stayed with it I would've gone hydro and tried the cow chipper or other drop bar options. But based on personal ergonomics.. I liked the cheater levers enough to consider throwing some on my road bike, even though I knew my roadie friends would disown me.
     
  10. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    All my drop-bar bikes have them! I ride up there most of the time, and they are great!!! Moving them outboard would be a good idea, but I like having all the space up there. They're more for casually stopping, so not that big a deal.

    I ran BB7 and they were fine IMHO. Other than being spongy feeling, I have no problems with cable disc brakes. That's what I have on my Salsa right now, and am very happy with.

    I tried the Woodchipper and DID NOT LIKE it at all. Good concept, but not for me. Cowchipper bar bar though... wow! That's my go-to, and what is in the pic above. That is a GREAT bar!!!

    I'm actually looking for a road bike that can fit a 29X2 tire, as opposed to an 'adventure' bike-packing bike that's over-built and stretched out. Salsa Cutthroat is out there, but still kinda' bike-packy.
     
  11. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    Umm.. all this typing is making my wrists sore. ;)

    @Runs with Scissors, can you raise your bars?
     
  12. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS
    They are already pretty high.
     
  13. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    I see what you mean.
    Drop 'em!
     
  14. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
  15. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Yeah, I'm out of answers. My wrists were always fine, it's my neck that ends up unhappy with lower bars.
     
    Runs with Scissors likes this.
  16. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Addict

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    My neck feels it unless I remember not to look too far ahead. With the bar setup pretty much matching exactly the recommendations in the article you linked, it may just be riding more to toughen up the wrists, since they're not used to this. Thanks for all the input everyone!
     
    Cyclotourist likes this.
  17. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Really liking your Sutra, Mark. I'm looking for a road bike that'll fit fat tires, and this is on the short list. I don't need a bikepacking or touring bike, just a road bike, which complicates things as most similar bikes have real long wheelbases and over-built everything.
     
    Runs with Scissors likes this.
  18. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Addict

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    The Path in Tustin has a 54cm Sutra LTD on sale...$1,699.:thumbsup: They do run on the larger side for the claimed size.
     
  19. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Thanks for the heads up! I would need one of their 56cm models. Probably just frame/fork.

    It looks like the new models went back to quick release front vs. thru axle... do not like!
     
  20. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Addict

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    Jenson had the frameset, which is where I got it. Looks like they're out of them now. But according to Kona...

    upload_2018-1-7_17-49-13.png

    Mine is the 2018 and has thru axles front and rear.
     
  21. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Ahhh, it must be the 2017s that have the QR I was looking at: http://2017.konaworld.com/sutra_ltd.cfm
    I guess that whole "2017" in the URL would be the giveway on that... derp.
     
  22. OTHRider

    OTHRider Member

    Name:
    Duke
    Current Bike:
    '14 Giant TCX SLR2 Cross Bike
    I've never had the "bucked off" sensation while on my MTB. I have had it happen way too many times with drop bars. For any single bump, it usually isn't an issue. But come down washboards or repeated and unevenly spaced bumps at speed and you've got to be the Hulk to hang on.

    I tried my desert racing buddy's recommendation - go fast enough to just touch the tops of the bumps - and that hurt too. I'm not really sure why I find drop bars so fun...
     
    Cyclotourist, Grego, kioti and 2 others like this.
  23. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Addict

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    Because of all the weird looks you get on dirt. :thumbsup:
     
  24. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Runs with Scissors likes this.
  25. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    Having ridden a cross bike on many of the dirt roads and trails here in OC.. I gotta say I'm a fan of the genre, but would seriously look to a lightweight suspension fork to ease the pain of brake bumps, rock gardens, ruts and OHV damage. I mean, I've been on road centuries (Santa Maria comes to mind) where a suspension fork would've been appreciated.

    Otherwise, to quote @Tom the Bomb, "Ballzzzz, baby!"
     
  26. pperrelle

    pperrelle Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Carlsbad
    Name:
    Paul
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley V3, Ibis Tranny
    I just picked up one of these for the gravel bike. It's set up too soft for my weight, but the first ride impressions were very positive. It made rolling over the rough stuff very smooth. I'm running Maxxis Rambler 40's at 35 pounds. I'm going to change the elastomers and do another test ride.

    https://redshiftsports.com/shockstop-suspension-stem
     
  27. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    This belongs on the PCE thread! No Softride with this stem!!!

    SM1504.jpg
     
  28. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Addict

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    There's also this...

    upload_2018-1-12_14-13-5.png
     
    Tom the Bomb likes this.