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Riding in a lower position uses your muscles differently. When you sit straight up you mainly use your quadriceps. A lower position shifts work toward our powerful gluts and hamstrings. You can generate more power in the drops though the amount of oxygen you can uptake is generally the limiting factor for how much work you can do on a bicycle rather than muscular strength.
Most cyclists spend most of the time on the brake hoods moving their hands to the tops when they want to sit up a bit and to the drops when they want to get lower. With the popularity of brifters cyclists spend even more time on the hoods than they used to.
Definitely doublecheck with your local bike shop on the "fit" of the bike and discuss your discomfort with them to see what they might recommend.
One of the great things I like about road bikes is the versatility of positions one can assume.
For starters, I would suggest holding the handlebars near the stem as this approximates that position that you already use on your hybrid.
Using the hoods (those humps close to the ends of the handlebar) quickly became my "go to" position.
I never EVER thought I would make much use of the drops, but every now & then I'd try 'em, especially whenever there was a strong headwind or I was swooping down a hill and wanted to go faster and FASTER! :-)
Now, I've come to a point where DROPS have become my "go to" position...except when in a lot of traffic or dealing with intersections. I find my pedaling seems more powerful in that position.
Also, another trick I've found very helpful both in terms of dealing with discomfort with hands and butt is to shift position on a regular basis.
Take your feedback from the LBS and experiment. I think in time you'll find what works best for you.
Edited by: DDOORN at: 4/18/2012 (10:24)
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If you are having to stretch and reach, your bike is not fit properly. Unless you intend to race, I suggest you go for comfort and get a professional fit.
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First off I'd have your position checked by a competent knowledgeable cyclist. Many people ride road bikes with the handlebars too darned low. A low stretched position is great for power and aerodynamics but it is something most people have to work toward. Back when I raced bikes I was very comfortable with my handlebars 4" below my saddle. Now I ride with it 1" below my saddle and sometimes I feel like I'd like them even higher.
After checking to make sure your position on the bike isn't way off you should work on flexibility and core muscle strength to get more comfortable on your bike.
Hey folks. I have a trek 7.1, and am thinking of going to the Trek 1.1 in the next few weeks now that 25+ miles is my daily routine. The one thing I cant get over though is the posture required. Right now, I have side handlebars on my trek, which gets me in a VERY comfortable sit position that I can spend hours in. The Trek 1.1, and all over road bikes, have you in a hunched over tucked position, which I understand is great for speed and wind cutting, but it seems like a very abnormal and uncomfortable position for me to ride in. My back strains and my groin KILLS from the pressure of the seat. To top it off, I strain to get at the break handles and gear shifters with it being such a foreign position to ride in.
Obviously, you adjust, but it just feels completely unnatural to me.
Any suggestions on solutions, possible adjustments, etc? Can I ride the 1.1 in a position thats a little more upright. Im aware of sacrificing the wind resistance, but I'm not running any races.
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