I don’t have any hand pain/numbness issues in general, so by and large, I can change handlebar type and height with impunity. If anything, changes provide for variety and different riding experiences. I love mustache bars for off-road and Jitensha bars for city riding, but I don’t like riding either for longer than 40 miles or so. Drops always seem to work and facilitate harder efforts. Albatross bars offer multiple hand positions, too. For a 7-day tour, I took out the Protovelo, which was wearing Albatross bars that I like to use for commuting. The Protovelo has a long top tube, and it ideally fits swept-back bars. In previous builds, even with an 8cm stem, I found the reach with drop bars feeling too far out there.
Riding with a buddy on the tour, I’d have to keep up, and drops seemed necessary. I pushed the saddle forward on the seatpost, set the bars even with the saddle, and took a test ride around the neighborhood. All felt well, although its difficult to see what it would be like over 80 miles. Low and behold, the bike felt perfect. I used my favorite drop bar – the Nitto 135 “Randonneur” in 45cm at the ends. I had multiple hand positions, the ability to cruise downhill in the hooks, and I could pedal hard to catch up to Dustin.
Albatross bars would have been fun if I was alone and took fewer miles per day. But I’m sure glad I left them at home for this adventure.