Do you know when to ride in the drops on your road or gravel bike?
Sounds simple, but I find many riders avoiding riding in the drops altogether or forcing themselves into them at the wrong moments.
First let’s look at the advantages of the drops:
1. A more secure hand position.
2. Brings your chest closer to the ground, thus improves your center of gravity.
3. Slightly more aerodynamic than the tops of the handlebars.
Now let’s match these advantages with actual real-world scenarios to create a guide for you on when to use them.
1. Rough terrain. Bumps and holes in the roads can shake your hands loose off of the handlebar. Shifting to the drops gives you a safe grip when the road gets bumpy without having to increase your grip pressure.
2. Downhills and corners. The key to safe, yet quick, descending is putting your center of gravity low on the bike. This helps you find a position in the correct place on the bike that gives you confidence from stability. Simply going into the drops puts your body in a lower, more stable position on downhills and in corners.
3. High speed riding, sprinting, and or when there is a strong headwind. Anytime your drag is higher from speed or wind, lower your body on the bike by going into the drops to become more aerodynamic.