Classic Bend road bars

Just flipping thru YouTube and the 99 and 2000 TDF popped up. Looking at all the riders, it seems that the classic bend bars of years ago have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Looking at these riders on their bikes though, they look just as aero as todays riders……and just as fast.


Possibly more than you think still do, but i think availability has decreased a bit especially in recent years for those wanting aero handlebars.

Heres a few pics of pro’s with traditional drop handlebars, definitely more than this and possibly all of Jumbo Vismas s5s for the tdf last year had traditional drop bars.

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Bottom of the drops is about the same, compact bars just move the hoods position lower as that is now the primary hand location

I used shallow drop round bars until about five years ago. Modern levers sit better on modern curve bars.

Most of those guys are on variable radius bars, by the way – it’s what allows the hood position on modern levers. Only the Ineos guy in front is on truly round bars maybe. You’d have to see the ramps up close.

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I remember you being on classics for a long time, but agree. The longer hoods now don’t fit them as well. Classic Campy used to be the ones that felt the best to me or DuraAce Nine speed

its the ramp – classic bend bars, you have to mount the hoods stupid high, or live with this little valley that can cause some wrist soreness.

yeah – I used Deda round bars forever, then 3T Rotundos, then gave in and got on the compact curve bend. Modern bars for modern levers.


All those guys are riding bars with flat ramps and round hooks – look at how their levers facilitate a hood tuck and their wrists are at a neutral angle on the hoods.

Those ramps aren’t like old Deda 215s, for example.

I’m sure that a lot of this is a symptom/result of much different fitting bikes these days… Largely as a result of a much lower stack height in the front end of the bikes. Additionally, I think many riders opt to set their “hoods” position a bit lower to get the aero gains, but offer a more sustainable position than the drops, and spend a majority of their time there. Three decades ago, it seems that a majority of the day’s race was spent in the drops.

@RobertK Yea, I ran Deda and Ritchey Classics for a long time. Now I’m on a pair of Zipp.

@jessereeves But go back and watch some of those races around 99-2004, those guys were still laying over the hoods like now, and I would even wager that they were just as, if not more aero.


Oh sorry, I thought you meant the drop shape, which is also less popular. That part of how it dips down before the hoods seems to have been less popular with the turn of the century and strong minority of by mid 2000s.

You can let us know why if you were riding at the point :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: but speculating with you, maybe it’s to do with bike geometry/ fit changes. 56cm bikes arent 56cm seattube, 56cm toptube anymore and seats are much further foward. So maybe the change of angles means a slightly different hand position at the hoods.
Or maybe a couple of strong guys started to have bars with flatter tops and it was purely just a fashion change. They also seemed to hold the tops near the stem more often too, so maybe it wasnt actually that comfortable.

Bars in similar fashion might make a comeback though with the puppy paws ruling. Might make it easier to hold your upper wrist on the bars without such a tight wrist angle. Similar to Wellens thickening his bars earlier in the year.

No, compact bars have shallower drops, hence the reason they are compact. The hood position, if anything, is likely higher on modern bars because they are built around flatter tops / transitions to the hoods.

A big part of this was the result of integrated headsets….once they were developed, the HT lengths remained largely the same, but you lost the added stack heights of the headset cups. This also helped lead to the prevalence of compact bars.