Can You Put Drop Bars on a Mountain Bike? (Do’s & Don’ts!)

Are you looking for a way to help you speed up your mountain bike? Drop bars bring your head closer to your torso and make your body more aerodynamic.

So, can you put drop bars on a mountain bike if your MB doesn’t come with them? Are there any considerations to take care of? Keep reading to find the answers to your questions.

Can you Put Drop Bars on a Mountain Bike?

You can replace your mountain bike’s handlebars and install drop bars to make your MB more comfortable and a little faster. These drop bars offer several benefits, but they also come with some drawbacks.

Why Should You Add Drop Bars to Your Mountain Bike?

Drop bars are a great option to consider if you want to enjoy easier uphill and downhill rides. These handlebars have a sophisticated design that offers several benefits.

Offer Different Hand Positions

With drop bars, you can place your hands in three positions, on the bars themselves, in the drop, and on the hoods. Having your hands on the hoods or the bars allows for a more natural hand position, reducing fatigue during long rides.

Less Resistance

The dropped design of the drop bars reduces resistance and drag, allowing your body to become more aerodynamic. In addition, the crouching position makes you more efficient while pedaling, increasing your speed.

As your body is closer to the front, it will resemble the bike’s frame, providing less resistance. Reducing direct friction with the air will make your rides more comfortable.

More efficient

When you’re cycling up a hill, you need to shift your body to a forward position. By keeping your head close to your torso, you’ll exert less effort, so you can climb hills faster and easier. In addition, this position gives you more leverage, so every stroke results in more speed and power.

As you go up a hill, you need more power. Keeping your spine straight will improve your lung capacity and allow you to pedal more efficiently.

This also happens when you’re riding against the wind or speeding downhill. The more aerodynamic position gives you more power and energy. The flat bars will make your MB a lot slower. Moreover, this position will allow you to tackle the brakes using your index finger.

More Versatile

Having drop bars on your MB will provide you with more options. It can perform like a road bike or a commute bike. You can enjoy the best performance when the road changes from gravel to a sidewalk.

So, if you can’t decide whether you prefer gravel or dirt and have a budget for only one bike, this option will make your MB more compatible with different riding situations.

Suitable for Narrow Paths

Drop handlebars are about 17 inches wide, while flat bars are usually 23 inches wide. This means that having drop bars on your mountain bike will make it fit into narrow spaces easily. This will come in handy when you’re trying to squeeze your bike onto a narrow trail and can also make storage easier.

Covering More Distance

Drop bars allow you to change your body’s position several times during a single ride. While you find the best and most comfortable position by altering your grip, you can cover longer distances while putting less strain on your muscles.

Firmer Grip

The drop position gives you a better grip while you’re pedaling. As a result, your hands won’t slip, and you’ll feel safer while riding your mountain bike.

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Put Drop Bars on Your Mountain Bike

There are some drawbacks to putting drop bars on your mountain bike, so you need to consider them before installing them.

Lack of Stability

Having wide bars provides more stability on rugged trails and at slower speeds. This means that controlling your MB can be a little challenging. However, if having a mountain bike that can fit into narrow spots is more important, then you should go for drop bars.

Less Space

The drop bars give you less space to fit your handlebar bag. Most bags come designed to fit under flat bars. Although you might be able to fit one under your drop bars, you’ll have a smaller capacity.

Compatibility

If you have a longer torso, the drop handlebars’ position might not be comfortable. Also, leaning forward can put its toll on your back during longer rides, and you’ll have to adjust the stem and stack height.

You’ll have to ensure that your new drop bars are compatible with the brakes and shifters. So, you might have to make some adjustments to ensure everything works perfectly.

What to Consider When You’re Choosing Drop Bars?

Before thinking about installing drop bars on your MB, there are a few things that you need to consider.

Material

Drop bars are either made of carbon or aluminum alloy. Yet, some manufacturers offer titanium ones, which are more expensive. In general, stiffer materials have low damping abilities. Aluminum handlebars will have better-damping abilities, so your rides will be more fun.

If weight is your main concern, then you should go for carbon handlebars because they’re lighter than aluminum bars of the same thickness. Nevertheless, they’re less durable.

Shape

Not all drop bars are equal. They have different specifications regarding the reach, width, and drop. So, you might want to compare different models and ensure they fit your MB before buying them.

Reach and Drop

The reach and the drop are two factors that affect how comfortable your drop bars will be. For example, a deep drop means you’ll have to lean forward to have a good grip.

If the reach is too long, you’ll have to stretch your body to the front. Eventually, you’ll feel uncomfortable sitting on the saddle and putting more pressure on your shoulders and arms.

You might be able to overcome these two issues by lowering the saddle. But you need to make sure that your MB will be comfortable.

About The Author