Difference between straight & curved handle bars

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by eilgra26, Oct 8, 2006.

  1. eilgra26

    eilgra26 New Member

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    Hello, I am considering buying my first new racing bike purely for fitness. I would like to know, apart from a variation in cost, what is the main difference between straight and curved handle bars, and if i did manage to join up with other riders with curved handle bars would i be able to keep up. Thanks for your impending response.
     
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  2. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    If you are planing to join a group, then drop (curved) bars are mandatory. Flat bars are fine for commuting, better for the lower back and visability, the shifters are cheaper too. Keeping up, most shops have beginners group rides so join one of those.
     
  3. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    Why is it mandatory?
     
  4. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    Safety, if you see a MTB (FB/Hybrid) ride they are all in a line, no side by side, the flat bars get caught up in the bunches. Drop bars allow you to ride shoulder to shoulder. :)
     
  5. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    Are there data to proof the safety issue? How would flat bars catch each other? I'd think that the drop in a drop bar has more chances of acting as a hook to collect other bars.
     
  6. DMF

    DMF New Member

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    I vote for drop bars because they give you more hand and riding positions.

    Beware of flat bar "road bikes" that are usually hybrids - bikes that do nothing well.
     
  7. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    You can't say that! "Well" depends on the specific riding situation for the individual. A rider who has to beat traffic, riding on city roads but want's it done fast would be very well served by a road bike frame/fork with a flat bar. After trialing both styles, the safety factor of flat bar is confirmed. As for the comfort of drop bar with its additional hand positions, that's also true.
     
  8. eilgra26

    eilgra26 New Member

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    Thanks George for your input. I think Ill go with the `drop` handle bars. Does anyone know anything about Apollo bikes. The one i`m looking at is called ~Volare`and is about $700. Would this be good value to start with and what is their resale like if I decide to get a bit more serious?
     
  9. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    Felt is better, my GF has a Felt F-100, her other BF :rolleyes: has a new OCR3 Giant, we chose that over the Apollo.
     
  10. DMF

    DMF New Member

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    You don't read sogood. ;)

    I didn't say that all flat-bar road bikes are bad. I said that "hybrids" are bad. They try to be road bikes and off-road bikes and don't do either well. Commuters (e.g.) are (often) flat-bar bikes that work just dandy for their designed purpose.
     
  11. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    No, you said...
    As I read it, the "nothing well" is consistent with your "beware" claim. Which relates back to "flat bar road bike". :p
     
  12. DMF

    DMF New Member

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  13. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    I have ridden in many group rides with a mix of flat bar and drop bar bikes. I have no problems keeping up with beginner and C level rides when I am on a hybrid. The only danger is from the fools who alllow their front wheel to cross the rear wheel in front of them.

    Aero bars are a concern in group rides, not so much because the bar sticks out, but because the rider has less control over the bike in the aero position. Flat bars do not stick out any farther or cause any more problems when riding in a pack than the drop bar would.
    I still prefer drop bars for any ride over about 20 miles because of the hand position choices.
     
  14. PearlJamFan

    PearlJamFan New Member

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    I find this thread fascinating. I have a Giant OCR road bike, Specialized Rockhopper mtb and a pretty old Marin hybrid bike and they are all excellent for their specific use. Whilst the Giant is fast and very smooth the Marin hybrid would definetly be my bike of choice if you're just going for fitness and recreational rides. When I go for training rides with a colleague from work, I ride the Giant and she rides a hybrid and she keeps up with me all the way without issue. Maybe she's just far fitter than I am :( .

    Bottom line is I love my curved handlebars but for general around town use I'd go for flat handlebars everytime. This is all just personal preferences though...
     
  15. pixelmill

    pixelmill New Member

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    If you come close in a bunch you roll out the shoulder to "bump" the other rider away - just like the TDF sprints - but a million times more slow motion.

    I have seen some riders go in bunches with flat bars - but they are *hell* riders...
     
  16. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    Call me slow, but I can't quite picture what you are describing and how the safety of the bunch is influenced by one or more flat bar riders, nor how "hell" riders relates to this? :confused:
     
  17. pixelmill

    pixelmill New Member

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    The point is that you are less likely to get "tangled" with your hands rolling to the outside of the bars - via your arms in a drop bar position. The arm forms a netural barrier that stalls contact between riders, and good riders will often use this in a close bunnch sprint, for instance - to bump off riders next to them. For the less experienced - it still provides some safety - especially if you are ridning with your hands on the hoods or better still the drops. You'll naturally drop the shoulder to avoid contact - so its a lot safer.

    If you are upright, with your hands spalying out to flat bars - the *first* thing that connects with another rider is the edge of the handlebar - which is dangerous.

    By hell riders - I was describing riders who are - to all intents and purposes - very experienced - who may ride a road bike with a flat bar - but they are the sort of riders who can keep up 40+kmh for three hours happily, have ridden with fast bunches for about 15 years, and could probably do so on a BMX if pressed. So they have great fitness, road experience and bike handling skills, and can get away with a flat bar bike.

    For the first question - which was [I presumed] from the point of view of wanting to know why people prefer drop bars for people in groups - its not a "road riding" cult - it's a safety issue. I have a flat bar bike - I don't ride it in a bunch. I know people who happily tour on hybrids / flat bar bikes - and sometimes in groups - but its a different style of riding to road riders who train in bunches. Bicycles cover a gamut of styles of riding and experiences - which is great.
     
  18. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    Ok, I know what you are talking about now. That elbowing obviously make sense in terms of avoiding hardware contacts. But if we just go back to first principle a bit and see how this explanation pans out.

    Put your arms out with a 20-30 deg riding angle in the elbow. Now pronate/supinate your forearms while holding the angle in your elbow so that you can simulate the handhold of over the hood (drop bar) and handhold of a flat bar position. Guess what, the outward protrusion of the elbow is actually more accentuated. And in real life looking at a lot of flat bar riders from the front, they all ride as if they are keen to scoop up some more air b/n their arms and chest. So I am continue to be a bit sceptical of this explanation as the only reason. And then there are those flat bar riders who narrow down their bars.

    After some riding in bunches and seeing the culture. I get the feeling that there's a high level of conformity pressure in the roadie culture. Riding a flat bar road bike amongst them is almost a sacrilege.

    At present, the only valid reasons I can appreciate are,

    1) Comfort (extra hand positions) for long rides
    2) Performance (aerodynamics)
    3) Efficiency (aero, posture)

    As for safety, I have to say that I remain unconvinced.
     
  19. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    I agree with you. Crashes I have seen have either been because some idiot allowed his front wheel to overlap the rear wheel of the cyclist in front of him or someone lost traction on a turn. I have never seen a crash caused by bars touching. Even when I ride my flat bar bike, my shoulders and elbowes are farther out than the ends of my bars. I am equally safe (but about 3 mph slower) on my flat bar bike as I am on my drop bar bike.
     
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