Which handlebars should I use flats or drops?

Which handlebars should I use flats or drops?

I have arthritis in my left thumb. Riding either of my flat-bar bicycles, I develop a bad pain in my thumb joint. I also have a drop-bar tourer and get little pain when riding this bike. Converting my flat-bar bikes to drops seems expensive. One suggestion I have had from a bike shop is to try bullhorn bars. The other alternative is to buy another bike

Peter Hunt

Try a pair of bullhorn bars and see how you get on. If they cure your problem, then it’s job done at much less cost than
a new bike. If not, then you should find converting to a dropped handlebar more
cost-effective than buying a new bike.

Without knowing the existing spec it is hard to give specifics, but the major expenses are likely to be the handlebar, brake levers, and shifters. Down-tube or bar-end shifters make inexpensive alternatives to dual-control levers, while low-cost drop-bar brake levers are available for linear pull, cantilever, sidepull, and mechanical disc brakes.

Richard Hallett

​​​Cycle’s Technical Editor

Q&A     Technical

This Q&A was published in 'Cycle' the magazine for members of Cycling UK. To contact the experts, email your technical, health, legal or policy questions to editor@cyclinguk.org or write to Cycle Q&A, PO Box 313, Scarborough, YO12 6WZ

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