Long Distance Riding Part 3: Drop Bar vs Flat Bars YOU choose

Long Distance Riding Part 3: Drop Bar vs Flat Bars YOU choose

The Monster Cross vs Cross Country Bike Experiment.

At Olsen HQ we wanted to develop bikes that are versatile. We have developed bikes that can change and adapt with the riding that you do. The Karapoti is a good example of this. It is a tried and tested XC 29er geometry which can be built up as Drop or Flat Bar.


Last weekend we did a 72mile training ride.
We set up an experiment with 2x Karapoti bikes being built with the same components:
• Both Bikes were the same size, so we could swap and compare notes.
• Both weighed sub 11Kg.
• Gates CDX Single Speed Belt-Drive with a 39:22T ratio.
• BB7 MTB brakes.
• Lauf 50-60mm short suspension forks.

Drops vs Flat Bars - This was Monster Cross vs Cross Country Experiment:

I have not ridden this end of the SDW for a while and had forgot how rough and fast the SDW is. Some really fun sketchy gravel downhill sections, with chalk ruts included. We lost water bottles and inner tubes bouncing of our bikes. I was not comfortable riding Drops on the downhill sections, however this is a skill I need to learn. Drops had the advantage of hand comfort – being able to change positions – hoods or drops. Flat bars had the advantage of being able to lean back off the saddle and let rip. This is not the point when riding long distances. It is not about risking a crash to save some time. BB7 brakes are really tuneable and can be adjusted on the trail, for the best pinch point. Overall on the SDW, I think drops have the advantage and I will probably play with this set up.


The 70mile there and back SDW RIDE:
Conditions were mixed – we had heavy rain for the previous week, however the SDW is mostly dry hard packed chalk. We planned to meet some friends part way and planned to ride 60miles for 6hours, however we were averaging 12mph. Our friends ended up being late so we ended up riding 72miles over 6hours.  On the way out, like last weeks blog we were feeling fresh. On the way back we had a slight tail wind and the sun was beating down. Coming down through Washington and Chanctonbury Ring was a blast.

At Steyning we stopped for a quick coffee facing Truleigh Hill. This is the 60mile point and the point where we started to suffer. We took some food on at the Devils Dyke Pub. I pegged it home, pushing up the Pyecomb hill and climbed the others. I listened to my body, fuelled myself and keeping hydrated. I could tell I was close to an empty tank.

72miles was a good test for both bike and body. We are ready to do the 100mile SDW – looking for a weather window and putting what we learnt into action.