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Question about Road bike :- Why breaks are away from hands?


I met with an accident as I could not stop my bike on time. It was not completely my mistake. But if I was able to stop the bike on time then I might have avoided the accident.

Well, I am not blaming the design of road bike. It was my third day to ride my road bike & I am quite sure that it is a matter of time to get well-versed with the breaks.

Is there any scientific reasons which explains why the breaks of road bikes are bit away from hands? As per my experience you can break in two positions. One where you can break from top (which is weak) and one you can take your hands to the dropped part of handle bars, get a good grip & then break. This works pretty fine. However in quick situations it may not be possible for a beginner to move hands so fast & apply on breaks.

Could any one explain me the logic behind such design?

Thank you,


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What I think might be the reason (it's my personal thought, I couln't find any specific explanation on the web) :-

On a road bike the dropped handlebars are used to achieve maximum speed, also maintaining stability and cutting the air that comes in the way...

In short the place where the brakes are fit in a road bike is used to do the above mentioned actions or we can say the above mentioned actions can be done if we use the area of the handlebar where the brakes are fit...

Hence I feel that the brakes are provided at the place where maximum speed can be achieved (or is to be achieved) so when you are riding at high speeds please keep your hands on the dropped part of the handlebars...when riding at low speeds we can use one hand to brake from the dropped part of the handlebars...

Well, rather I am compelled to keep my hands on drop handle bars when there are more occasions of using breaks. For example, in traffic or while doing downhills. When I am speeding then I don't think I need to keep my hands on dropped handle bars as occasions of using breaks are less frequent.

You didn't say where you were riding. Road bikes are not really designed for potholed streets congested with cars, buses, autorickshaws, motorcyclists, cattle and pedestrians with a death-wish. That aside, the only way to cope is to ride defensively and hone your reflexes. I would guess that it's preferable to ride in the drops and switch to the 'straight' bar only when you get a clearish stretch of road.

PS: I am an MTB-er who would like to buy a road bike someday. But I'm not too enthused about riding it on the streets of Bombay.

I was riding on a slope. A slope which connects NH4 to Mumbai - Pune express highway. I had a fall on that slope only.

don't let your speed increase too much...if possible hold the break for a long time to keep the speed in would never have a fall then down a slope...

more speed = more unstability...

I've been riding road bikes since last 7-8 years and never had a fall like that...

Agreed but that still doesn't answer my question :)

I thought you were riding in the city. You should keep your hands on the drops when negotiating a slope - and if it's downhill it allows greater control; and helps to scrub speed more effectively. It may be technically possible to devise a system of braking that will be equally effective from the hood as well as the drops, but my guess is that it will add complexity (and thereby add to the weight AND the cost of the bike). That said, if you're uncomfortable riding in the drops you may want to tweak the handlebar v/s seat height - or improve your fitness levels. My stomach gets in the way if I use a drop bar, for instance, so I'll need to work on this. :)

I love dropped handle bars. And it is common sense that I should hold my hands near breaks while negotiating downhills. But since it was my third day or due to some other reason like the SUV over took me & suddenly stopped in front of me over slope & I couldn't shift my hands towards the break asap etc etc. I met with an accident....

I purchased a road bike as I was bored with flat handle bars. And road bike is only going to suit my personality, taste & interests! so there is no question of being uncomfortable with road bikes. It's a matter of time to get used to dropped handle bars & some people are compelled to learn through experiences!! can't help :)

But yes, I will definitely have to show my structure to experts & get their opinions. I am definitely not going to make a fuss about design and I am repeatedly saying that it is just a matter of time to get used to the design. But anyways, thanks.

I have two road bikes and both I have re fitted things as per my reach, i don't agree about the same. if  you have any ride plans towards Vashi update me, we can see if we can Shift your fittings for your seating type.

Inderjit, I will bounce back soon. Will definitely let you know when I am coming to Vashi side. 21 or 22 Jan tentatively I will come to Vashi.

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