Drop bars were made popular on road bikes, which were meant for speed and on-road driving. However, these types of bars have migrated to other bicycles such as the gravel bike (aka adventure bike) as well. You might be wondering why drop bars are installed onto a bike not meant for exclusively on-road riding, so let’s talk through that.
Gravel bikes utilize drop bars for many of the same reasons as road bikes! They offer a much better center of gravity, allowing for better maneuvering. These types of bars are also much more comfortable for longer rides and give you considerably more speed when you need it.
Remember, gravel bikes are meant for on-road, and off-road riding, so these drop bars give a lot of credence to their on-road riding, while the ridged frame and more relaxed geometry gives it off-road prowess and additional comfort.
1. Drop bars put you in a more aerodynamic position
Most gravel bikes have drop bars like these ones, which put the rider in a more aerodynamic position.
Gravel bikes are intended to be utilized in almost all situations, making it a great solution for those that want to do a bunch of different riding, but only want one bicycle in their quiver.
Being in the more aerodynamic position that drop bars provide allows the air to flow around your body, instead of hitting it right on.
This means you have less wind resistance and gives you greater speed with less effort.
If you are someone that uses their bicycle for commuting, this can mean the difference between showing up to work sweating or showing up well rested.
2. Better center of gravity for easy maneuvering
Drop bars also offer more control and stability than flat bars, making them ideal for riding on technical terrain. So if you’re looking for a gravel bike that will help you go fast and ride confidently on rough roads, look for one with drop bars.
Essentially, drop bars are putting your hands down below where flat bars would allow for. This lowers the center of gravity, making it more difficult for you to lose control when going around corners quickly, or riding over loose gravel.
3. You are much more comfortable
Lastly, drop bars are simply more comfortable for long rides. They allow you to change your hand position frequently, which helps to reduce fatigue.
So if you’re planning on tackling some long gravel rides, drop bars will help you to stay comfortable in the saddle.
Should you get flat bars, or drop bars for your gravel bike?
When it comes to gravel bikes, one of the most important choices you’ll have to make is deciding between flat bars like this one and the drop bars we have talked about in this article. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the option that best suits your riding style.
Drop bars are usually more comfortable for long rides, and they provide a wider range of hand positions. However, they can be more difficult to control on technical terrain, and they don’t offer as much aerodynamic benefit as drop bars.
Flat bars, on the other hand, offer better control on technical terrain and are considerably better for keeping your balance at slower speeds.
However, flat bars can be less comfortable for long rides, and they can limit your hand positions. Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your riding style.
If you are going to be spending more time on “gravel”, then you should probably opt for flat bar gravel bikes, however, if you are spending more time on the road or smoother backroads, then a drop bar will offer the best options for you.
So what does a drop handlebar entail?
A drop handlebar is a type of bicycle handlebar that features a downward curvature towards the rider. This design allows for a more aerodynamic position and greater control while riding.
Drop handlebars are commonly found on racing bikes and road bikes, but they can also be used on other types of bicycles such as touring bikes, gravel bikes (as discussed in this article), and cyclocross bikes.
While drop handlebars offer many benefits, they can also be less comfortable for some riders and can be more difficult to grip when climbing hills.
Frequently Asked Questions
Gravel bikes have shorter stems to provide better handling. The short stem keeps the gravel bike more stable, making it easier to control on loose surfaces. It also improves the gravel bike’s ability to change directions quickly, which is essential for negotiating tight turns on singletrack trails. In addition, the short stem lowers the gravel bike’s center of gravity, making it more resistant to tipping over in technical terrain. Ultimately, the shorter stem provides gravel riders with better handling and greater control, both of which are essential for safely navigating off-road trails.
Handlebars that are too wide can make it difficult to maneuver the bike, while bars that are too narrow can cause discomfort on long rides. The best gravel bikes have handlebars that are roughly 44-46 centimeters wide. This provides a balance between control and comfort, and helps to reduce fatigue on longer rides. When choosing gravel bike handlebars, it is important to consider both your riding style and the type of terrain you’ll be riding on. By selecting the right width for your handlebars, you can ensure a more enjoyable and efficient ride.
Drop bars are installed on gravel bikes for many of the same reasons as they are on road bikes. They offer a more aerodynamic position, better control, and greater comfort for long rides.
Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your riding style, where you are riding your gravel bike, and even what styling you like for your adventure bike.
If you are looking for a gravel bike to take on long rides and want the most comfortable option possible, drop bars are probably the best choice for you. However, if you’re looking to ride more technical terrain or want a more stylish adventure bike, flat bars might be the better option.