Aero position hoods vs drops?

Evening all,

When doing my workouts at sweet spot it recommends using my aero position to get used to this. I’ve seen a lot of pro riders like pressing into the hoods with forearms flat across the bars. I’m currently trying this for 1 minute on 1 minute off, it becomes really hard to hold this position but I’m slowly getting used to it. Is this position more aero than using the drops?

I’m a lot more comfortable in the drops than on the hoods laid out.

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I’m looking for the related video, but for the same upper body position, hands on hoods with bent arms is faster than hands in drops.

It boils down to the forearms more vertical in the wind is more drag, which is slower.

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It has been shown in multiple tests that using the hoods with bent elbows is more aero than the drops as the arms are straighter and offer a larger area to the wind on the drops. I did a road bike tt in March and rode the whole way with my hands on the hoods with my forearms directly behind on the bars. Riding “puppy paws” as they call it where you just rest your forearms either side of the stem is quicker still as you are effectively just on non existent aero bars…but it should be reserved for the pros on closed roads as you have no control over the bike if you hit a pot hole…in fact in my tt it said in the rules that anyone seen doing it would be DQ’d!

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Thanks for the Info. So if it is more aero can I do anything off the bike to help the progress into this position?

Cheers chad I’ll take a look at this :+1:

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  1. Planks for the pure core.
  2. Rear arm extensions with a hand weight, pure triceps.
  3. Short planks (on knees or elevated, with support on hands and arms bent around 90*), to replicate the support with your hands on the hoods & bars. Gets core and triceps.
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Thanks chad I’ll give these a go hopefully see some
Improvement over the months.

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Yep core strength - I do lots of planks and side planks to avoid lower back pain on my tt bike anyhow and it helps on a road bike as well…especially now I am over 50! - also - just practice - it is something you can add to your training both on the trainer and especially outside. Just add a few minutes in this position on a ride and then add time. Especially outside where you can practice bike handling etc in the position

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Thanks for that I’ll carry on with the routine and get doing some tricep and core exercises.

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You may also try rotating bars a fraction down, this way bar can offer some wrist support, especially if you tuck elbows in. But it depends on what current setup is.

I did this recently. Game changer. Still not as comfy as being in the drops, but way, way better for aero on the hoods. That said, it makes hands on the hoods position less comfortable on the trainer, anyway.

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So rotate the hoods down a little will make the position easier to hold? The main issue is my triceps give out before anything sure my hands ache after longer periods in this position but a quick change to the drops sorts this problem in seconds. How far down would make a difference?

It depends on the handlebar shape and reach. Idea is to try rest wrists on the bar bend, this should share the load that triceps take. To aid this a bit more, shifters tops can slightly be turned inwards (levers kinda start looking outwardish). As mentioned, may not help much while on trainer, but I find it helps outdoors. Rotating bars makes shifters levers easier to reach while on drops and rotating shifters makes levers a little easier to push. Rotating bars can also make it easier to sprint and climb on hoods as this naturally shifts the body a little forward. Worth marking former positions before making adjustments.

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Right I get you. Thanks for that Info. I’ve got a recovery ride tomorrow going to keep it the same for that and then maybe have a play about while the bike is on the trainer next week. Great info though!

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Aero hoods definitely fastest if you can hold it. Cycling Weekly did an aero bike comparison a couple years back. The test was actually comparing frames, but showed on all the bikes were fastest in the aero hoods position.

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Some good information that. Nice to see it makes a difference. Wasn’t expecting that much but good to see. Started my core exercises yesterday so hopefully I’ll be able to do 45kmh soon :joy:

I think riding a long time hunched over on the hoods is a bit of a fantasy. Sure, the guy on the front of the break sometimes rides on the hoods or lays on the tops to optimize the aero effect. Then as soon as he rotates he goes to the drops. It’s not practical to ride hunched over on the hoods the entire race. Climbing, hoods or tops, yes. But the majority of the time the vast majority of the peloton rides in the drops. So sure get used to doing 1-2 minutes aero in the hoods. The majority of the time ride the drops.

Classic photo of Amstel Gold. 1 guy on the front on the hoods, every other rider in the drops.

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the video your looking for is here I think by Bike radar 3 years back:

Conclusion: hoods with L bent elbow is fastest but you get fatigued faster if you’re not used to the position. Second best position is the drops with bent elbows.

hope it helps.

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So it seems from your photos that the leading rider in a break is doing his turn on the front using the hoods position and everyone drafting is using the drops. So essentially for me as a weekend warrior riding the hoods aero for a few minutes is ideal but drops for longer periods would give the most benefits?

No, not even close. All those pics are from scenes when the heat is on and guys are going hard (especially the Amstel Gold pic). That is not representative of how the peloton rides in general.

ETA - riding in the drops is also often about having better control of the bike…especially when the heat is on. You are going flat out, trying to stay on wheels, etc. You have much better control in case of wheel overlap with a lower center of gravity.

Also, look at the Amstel Gold pic again…Kwiatkowski’s chest is MUCH more closed that everyone else riding in the drops. His overall position is much lower and is more aero than everyone else.

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