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Hi there. So, I was taught to set up my cross bike to favor the hoods nearly all the time for racing and it has worked fine. However, I find I can corner and ride much more aggressively if I stay in the drops. I prefer to ride this way. I also find that it is tough to really weight the front of the bike from the hoods while seated.
So, any ideas on whether it'd be better to try and setup my bike differently or should I simply ride the drops.
Thanks so much for any input.

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Kind of tough to throw out some advise without seeing you ride. It could be a body position thing with not getting your sternum close enough to the top tube through corners... are you comfortable switching between the hoods and drops? You shouldn't need to rely on being in the drops to properly weight the front wheel through corners... so it might also just be a bike fit thing? Post a pic.
Thanks for your post. As I was typing the question a dim light came on regarding fit and body position on the bike. Your post cohnfirmed the thought I was having - I am going to have someone look at my fit on the bike to see if the problem lies there somewhere. Thanks for your effort.
Hey Joe, personally I favor the drops in CX and crits or when the situation is aggressive. A CX race is an aggressive venture and I don't feel that I have the bike control if I am on the hoods. Sometimes I will move up on the hoods but my back still has the same curve.

And also, I have raced with you a bunch. And hey, how is it that you sometimes do 3 CX races in a day?! I have tried 2 a few times and I always get shelled on the 2nd.

Looking forward to this next season, Royce
Hi there Royce and thanks for your input. 3 races in a day. Hmmm. Those days are over. Long story short is that I'd never done any racing before but had enjoyed seeing how far I could ride my bike, so when I thought I'd try cross the idea of riding for 30 minutes or an hour seemed so short. I didn't ride hard enough when I started by I'm trying to learn to ride harder. We'll see.

Thanks for your tips on the drops.

What catagory are you racing next season? I can't decide.

I know your name well but can't remember if we've met.
Bike-fit is key in so many ways -- this too, apparently. I can't recommend a professional fitting enough.

I think whichever position you choose should optimize your performance, but you should also consider your level of bike handling ability. I find it much easier to "lead with my head" from riding on the hoods and can really whip the bike around that way. But on flats/pavement/straightaways I'm never on the hoods.

It's funny that my road bike is kinda the opposite for me. My body want's me to be riding in the drops but my brain wants me to be on the hoods so I can see things better and not crash into them. When I talk to other riders about bike-fit, this comes up alot...
Thanks. Hmmm. Lead with the head. Yup, that is what I feel comfy with. Head and shoulders. But, I find when I ride like that I'm not seated but standing. I wonder if sliding my saddle forward would allow me to do this while seated and on the hoods. I'll need to experiment.

Thanks for the tips.
If I'm in shape and going fast, I race in the drops. I can dismount and remout from the drops just as smooth as on the tops.
like others said, bike fit, setup, and riding style is key. your hoods could be where others' drops are key. but in general, getting you center of gravity lower in corners is good for handling and front tire traction. but for steep drops, sometimes it's actually better to get your weight back, and this is where being on the tops (and having inline levers) can actually help you get your weight back, avoid endoing, etc.

get a good bike fit and explain to the fitter what feels good now, what your riding style is, and what hand position you prefer and she can set up the bike in a way that accommodates all of that. good luck!
Thanks for the tips. I am going to look for a fitter and also try to setup my hoods pretty low, like drops. I find cornering to be an issue multiple times in every race, where-as I can only think of one race where there is two steep drops, so I think I'll set myself up for corners and grin and bear on the seldom drops... Thanks!
I don't know where you live, but finding someone who knows how to actually set up a cross bike may be difficult. You might read this article and see if you can make some changes from there. Otherwise, I would say you should do what's comfortable. I know guys who race crits on the hoods the whole race. I could never do that. I am in the drops a ton. I think a lot is personal preference.
Thank you Chris. I'll check out the link you sent. I've been doing a lot of experimenting lately. Several of the tips have been very helpful. Again, thanks!


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