For context this is specfically for racing distances less than 100km.

Are there any considerations for having a deeper/longer drop on your handlebars besides comfort and fit? Should you go as low as you're comfortable?

During indoor training (Trainerroad) they mention getting used to being in your drops minutes at a time. I'm comfortable spending 10+ minutes near FTP in my drops. Should I consider deeper drops for those aero gains? Thanks!

  • 1
    The answer is complex. It depends on your body geometry (arm, torso, upper leg, and lower leg lengths), your flexibility, the seat height, the stem height, the top tube length, and I've probably left something out. You can just give it a try and risk injury, but my recommendation is to get a specialist bike fit done with a race coach.
    – andy256
    Dec 7, 2016 at 0:20
  • 3
    You can also fake it for testing by swapping spacers on your steerer tube to move the whole stem up and down. Move a spacer from under to over the stem, see whether having the drops lower makes a difference. Of course, this also lowers the tops and hoods... but it's cheap and easy.
    – Móż
    Dec 7, 2016 at 3:38
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    I see couple of people have given answers. The thing to watch for is a) do your knees hit your chest (they do for me if my drops are too low) b) can you breathe properly when down so low (since your belly is compressed, you can't use your diaphragm much), c) does your back cope with the amount of stretch, and d) are your hamstrings and knees happy.
    – andy256
    Dec 7, 2016 at 4:09
  • @Móż Thanks Moz thats helpful and an easy way to test the waters without paying for new parts or much work on my part.
    – ELion
    Dec 8, 2016 at 17:40
  • Good things to look into after I try that out @andy256 I did go for a 1-2 hour fit when I got my bike but I just want to make sure I'm not shooting myself in the foot!
    – ELion
    Dec 8, 2016 at 17:43

2 Answers 2


To add to Andy's comment, there are so many factors at play that you won't know if a deeper drop gives you any aero gain at all without something like a wind tunnel.

Changing the position may or may not give you a second or two over 100k, but you also have to consider your power output may or may not be less in the "new" position, which could negate any aero gains. If say that's worth considering, to get to your question.

Moreover, I think comfort is a bigger consideration. If you're not comfortable in the new deep drop position your power output will almost certainly be less over any significant distance.

Try it before the race over a shorter distance on a route you ride regularly and compare. Or, get on the rollers with your new bars and have someone watch/record you. Is your back straight? If so that's good. Are your hips/pelvis rocking more? If so that's bad.

To summarize, you're not going to know if it's more aero outright but you can weigh and compare the symptoms/boons of a new position and make an informed decision if it will make you faster.

  • It's true that comfort is more important than minor aero gains, but I have to be sure where aero gains end and discomfort begins! I'll be using what you Moz and Andy mentioned to try lowering the bars slightly and seeing whether or not that pays off, and if any weird kinks develop. Also I have a power meter so I'll be able to test if it actually helps at all in the real world! (When the roads thaw)
    – ELion
    Dec 8, 2016 at 17:52

Most racers ride on the hoods most of the time, and only use the drops for sprinting. When they do use the drops in non-sprint situations, it's never for long.

Some bikes (like CX or commuter bikes) have shallower drop bars, because in those applications there's no point in sacrificing comfort and handling for maximum aero efficiency.

It sounds like you would do fine with "deeper" drop bars. But before changing them, think about lowering your stem instead, to give yourself a more aero position overall.

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