The pro’s and con’s of setting up a bike in “pro position” has come up in discussions a few times lately, and most recently when I was teaching some fitting workshops for Fit Kit Systems in the Philadelphia area.
Some of the workshop participants were sharing their observations of riders who live in the area where Bicycling Magazine is published. Apparently it is a breech of cycling etiquette in that area if your bike is not set up to look “pro”, meaning a long flat stem (which must be angled down, not up), and a super deep drop from saddle to bars. It’s all about how the bike looks, not how comfortable and enjoyable it is to ride. Hence the observation of one cyclist who rides hanging onto the top of his bars with his finger tips, as his body protests at reaching the hoods. The drops may as well be on another planet. The desire for a pro position is not restricted to Pennslyvania either. You can find riders aspiring to a pro position from one side of the country to the other, and that includes here in Utah.
It may be cool to have your bike look “pro”, but if you aren’t a pro, then this is set up is highly unlikely to be a good fit, for reasons of comfort and safety. You want to have the brakes and gears in easy reach, and not wear out your neck flexors trying to look ahead. A pro rider is highly adapted to this position from riding 5 hours a day 6 days a week, and enjoying the personal attention of massage and physical therapy specialists. If that is not you, then a pro position is probably not for your either. Get your bike set up for you, not the spring classics, disregard the disapproving glances of any etiquette police and you will ride further and faster with far fewer aches and pains.