RadDogRoadWarrior

Greetings,

I rode for 30 years including BMX racing and 5 years as a messenger in San Francisco (hence my name). However, I have been away from bikes for 20 years and am out of touch with technological developments.

I just picked up a carbon fiber 105 road bike, and an entry level gravel bike (primarily for my son) but I ride it too.

I found some amazing dirt tracks and gravel around my master planned community...20 miles worth!

Hence I am thinking of building a dedicated gravel bike. I want speed and do not planning anything to rough or technical, primarily dirt and rocks. I want as small a tire as possible, however I am 220 lbs.   

I will be doing 3 one hour fitness rides per week (I am a competitive bodybuilder and spend 8-10 hours in the gym per week) at a fast pace (keeping my heart rate up around 80% of VO2 Max). I will not be racing. I have zero interest in riding from the drops and do not want to have to reach down in order to stop. I ride the hoods, which leads to my question: Why does modern shifting from the hoods suck, even with all the technological advancements?

I heard about "1 finger shifting" but on my road bike 1 finger shifting from the hoods is terrible. Is this because my road bike has traditional calipers? Will the shifting be more responsive if I have Hydraulic disc brakes?

I ask because a want to go with drop bars, not flat bars. But I also want good breaking, and I don't want to spend 20 feet rolling while I shift my hands to my drops, I want strong breaking from the hoods.

 

Thanks.

 

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smoothmoose
Yes - hydraulic disc brakes will make a big difference as well as setting up the lever position and reach in the right place.  I heard Shimano GRX has the best ergonomics - I've only tried a sample in the shop and didn't ride it, but it felt good.  Also you need the right hand position/technique.  Below is what I use.  Pinkie hook is for added stability when descending technical terrain, otherwise optional.
[NDT8m0r] 
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RadDogRoadWarrior

Awesome post! I will use the Pinkie hook" technique, that will give me much more leverage.

Instead of one finger on the brake I will use two.

 

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smoothmoose

Awesome post! I will use the Pinkie hook" technique, that will give me much more leverage.

Instead of one finger on the brake I will use two.



Depending on your setup 1x or 2x, I find 1 finger braking works fine on the front brakes.  For the rear brake, right lever, I find I use 2 fingers more often, maybe for a little bit stronger pull, but also moving the middle finger onto the brake lever avoids having the shift lever mash against it when I pull the brakes.
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RadDogRoadWarrior

So you are saying to use the middle finger when appropriate 🙂

That has been my motto for decades, LOL.

 

 

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breadfreak
Modern brake levers for drop handlebars strike a compromise between the hoods and the drops positions.  In the hoods your ability to brake and to hold on to the bars over rough terrain is badly hampered no matter what technique you use.  If you have no intention of riding in the drops, you don't need to live with this — why not go for a bullhorn bar, or a very swept back moustache type?  Either of these options can even be set up with drop-bar levers if compatibility with brakes and derailers is your concern.
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shiggy
Braking or shifting?

if you never use the drops, don’t use dropbars. Mtb controls will serve you better.
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RadDogRoadWarrior

shiggy wrote:
Braking or shifting?

if you never use the drops, don’t use dropbars. Mtb controls will serve you better.

This is for my dedicated road bike. I prefer riding on the hoods to all other hand positions. The pinkie hook technique will give me what I need on the street. I am very comfortable there. If/when I build a dedicated gravel bike I am going to go with bullhorn or swept back design.

I just purchased a flat bar bike w/ MTB controls for my son, but I will be riding this bike also.

 

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Skldmark
Braking from the hoods, because of the high weight distribution, limits braking performance severely. From the hoods the rear wheel gets “light” and starts to skid and come around or, even better, rise straight up and send you over the bars. You’re shortest stopping distance is achieved by using maximum front brake (hence, you better be in the right position), with just enough rear brake to avoid skidding the rear tire.
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RadDogRoadWarrior

breadfreak wrote:
Modern brake levers for drop handlebars strike a compromise between the hoods and the drops positions.  In the hoods your ability to brake and to hold on to the bars over rough terrain is badly hampered no matter what technique you use.  If you have no intention of riding in the drops, you don't need to live with this — why not go for a bullhorn bar, or a very swept back moustache type?  Either of these options can even be set up with drop-bar levers if compatibility with brakes and derailers is your concern.

I think that the mustache type bars will work well. As I said, I am going with the hoods for my road bike, and will ride my sons MTB/flatbar set up. When I save enough for the dedicated gravel bike I will probably look for some aftermarket mustache type bars. You can use drop bar road style brakes/brifters on the mustache, yes?

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breadfreak

 

You can use drop bar road style brakes/brifters on the mustache, yes?



Yup, make a Google search for "moustache handlebar bicycle" and you'll see loads of examples (you have to include "bicycle" because you want pictures of moustache handlebars not handlebar moustaches!).  Levers for drop bars follow the curve of the drop, a moustache bar has this curve too, it's just parallel to the ground.  Bullhorn bars usually have a little upward kink at the end which can serve the same purpose although it looks funny. 
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RadDogRoadWarrior
Yes, I have seen pictures of these, thanks.
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