"Flat Bar" Road Bikes: What's The Point?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Russell, May 15, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Russell

    Russell Guest

    OK, I've got a question/comment. Maybe I'm just too opinionated, but what is the point of these flat
    bar road bikes, a.k.a fitness bikes? I guess they are for people that want a fast street bike, but
    are "afraid" of the drop style bars?

    I have run across some folks that have pretty much been sold on the concept of a flat bar road bike,
    and won't even test ride an "old fashioned" drop bar road bike. I can't seem to convince them that
    riding a traditional road bike on the top of the drops really won't be that much different than the
    positioning of a flat bar, PLUS you have the options of the other three/four/five other ways you can
    hold them. Drop bars just seem so superior in my mind. Am I missing something, or are people as
    crazy as I think they are?
     
    Tags:


  2. Ed Chait

    Ed Chait Guest

    "Russell" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > OK, I've got a question/comment. Maybe I'm just too opinionated, but what is the point of these
    > flat bar road bikes, a.k.a fitness bikes? I guess they are for people that want a fast street
    > bike, but are "afraid" of the drop style bars?
    >
    > I have run across some folks that have pretty much been sold on the concept of a flat bar road
    > bike, and won't even test ride an "old fashioned" drop bar road bike. I can't seem to convince
    > them that riding a traditional road bike on the top of the drops really won't be that much
    > different than the positioning of a flat bar, PLUS you have the options of the other
    > three/four/five other ways you can hold them. Drop bars just seem so superior in my mind. Am I
    > missing something, or are people as crazy as I think they are?

    You're missing something.

    The riding position on flat bar road bikes is not generally the same as on drop bar road bikes.

    Not only is the bar different, but the stem length and rise is usually different also, so the riding
    position on flat bar bikes is generally more upright than on bikes with drop bars.

    Now, some people may prefer a flat bar road bike without even knowing about this difference in
    riding position, but that still doesn't make them crazy. It's just a personal preference.

    I like both.

    Ed Chait
     
  3. Amerigo

    Amerigo Guest

    "Russell" <[email protected]> ha scritto nel messaggio
    news:[email protected]...
    > OK, I've got a question/comment. Maybe I'm just too opinionated, but what is the point of these
    > flat bar road bikes, a.k.a fitness bikes? I guess they are for people that want a fast street
    > bike, but are "afraid" of the drop style bars?
    >
    it is much more difficult to brake using drop style bars
     
  4. Dirk Feeken

    Dirk Feeken Guest

    "Russell" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > OK, I've got a question/comment. Maybe I'm just too opinionated, but what is the point of these
    > flat bar road bikes, a.k.a fitness bikes? I guess they are for people that want a fast street
    > bike, but are "afraid" of the drop style bars? [...] Drop bars just seem so superior in my mind.
    > Am I missing something, or are people as crazy as I think they are?

    It's 100% fashion and marketing. The bicycle industry needs a new type of bike every few years.

    Dirk
     
  5. trek-<< Maybe I'm just too opinionated, but what is the point of these flat bar road bikes, a.k.a
    fitness bikes?

    Upright positioning, hands on the controls, via rapidfire/brake controls, easy to ride, why not??

    If they like it and ride it lots, that's the point-yes??

    << but are "afraid" of the drop style bars?

    Drop bars on an upright position make no sense. Like drop bars on a mountain bike...

    << Am I missing something, or are people as crazy as I think they are?

    Heaven forbid that you would give them what they want...

    Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
    (303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
     
  6. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Russell" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > OK, I've got a question/comment. Maybe I'm just too opinionated,

    Yes, you are.

    > Am I missing something, or are people as crazy as I think they are?

    You're missing a lot.
     
  7. jan

    jan Guest

    Qui si parla Campagnolo wrote:
    > trek-<< Maybe I'm just too opinionated, but what is the point of these flat bar road bikes, a.k.a
    > fitness bikes?
    >
    > Upright positioning, hands on the controls, via rapidfire/brake controls, easy to ride, why not??
    >
    > If they like it and ride it lots, that's the point-yes??

    The fitness bikes have a low position. Not to mix with relaxed-style bikes of yesteryear.

    It's a gimmick on a fitness bike, sensible on more upright leisure bikes.

    The only plus (compared with rediculously low-positioned drop bars) is easier braking.

    Jan Lindström
     
  8. Tbgibb

    Tbgibb Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, "amerigo" <[email protected]> writes:

    >it is much more difficult to brake using drop style bars

    How so?

    I find it easier as my hands are usually resting on the hoods with my fingers loosley wrapped around
    the brake levers.

    Tom Gibb <[email protected]
     
  9. > I have run across some folks that have pretty much been sold on the concept of a flat bar road
    > bike, and won't even test ride an "old fashioned" drop bar road bike. I can't seem to convince
    > them that riding a traditional road bike on the top of the drops really won't be that much
    > different than the positioning of a flat bar, PLUS you have the options of the other
    > three/four/five other ways you can hold them. Drop bars just seem so superior in my mind. Am I
    > missing something, or are people as crazy as I think they are?

    I've ridden a traditional road bike for the past 30 years…until a year ago. I realized I was riding
    less and hurting more. My biggest problem was hand numbness. So, I decided to go out and try one of
    those (ugh) straight handle bar hybrid bikes. I bought a cheap one ($400.) It was not easy
    emotionally because my road bike is a 531 tubed, all Campy classic that I love. But I wanted to ride
    and I wanted to give the hybrid a chance without spending too much. Yes, I immediately felt more
    wind resistance and yes, I cannot go as fast for the same effort, but I'm comfortable and I'm riding
    15 to 20 miles almost every day. I did add curved bar ends that are pointed forward almost
    horizontally. These provide many hand positions. One of these hand positions is similar to riding on
    the hoods. The bar ends are the most important feature that makes the straight bar work for me.

    I'm not oblivious to the advantages of traditional road bars. I know of road bikes made by Rivendell
    and others that are designed for more up-right positioning with drop bars. I'm looking forward to
    riding one of those. Now, I am more confident that I can tell if a bike is working for me during a
    test ride of a few hours. I would agree with the O.P. that folks who do not try drop bars are
    missing out on the chance for a good fit. They also are missing out if they do not find a good lbs
    that can provide advise on fit and kind of bike for their intended use. But, several other riders I
    know of and I have made the straight bar choice thoughtfully, understanding the gains and losses
    involved. So, regarding the O.P.'s question, bikes are like shoes, one size doesn't fit all; one
    style doesn't suit all, and yes, people are crazy.

    Steve Shapiro
     
  10. Buckaroo

    Buckaroo Guest

    I had a road bike built ($1400) with all 105 road gearing but went with a riser bar and really like
    it. I do put in the miles but I don't race so not a problem. Also have some short bar ends and
    therefor I have lots more hand positions than your drop bar. When you think about it most of the
    roadies that I see are on the hoods most all the time anyway. I do agree that for many hills, wind,
    etc that drops are superior (if you are in shape) but for the majority of pleasure riders you can't
    beat a flat bar. The real problem I see is that you shouldn't buy a cheap hybrid bike just to get
    the flat bars. Buy a good frame with good components and add a flat bar. I know that the tradition
    of drops are strong, but I think that over time only riders that actually race and need the speed
    will be using drops.... jmho
     
  11. On Fri, 16 May 2003 04:06:39 -0400, amerigo wrote:

    > "Russell" <[email protected]> ha scritto nel messaggio
    > news:[email protected]...
    >> OK, I've got a question/comment. Maybe I'm just too opinionated, but what is the point of these
    >> flat bar road bikes, a.k.a fitness bikes? I guess they are for people that want a fast street
    >> bike, but are "afraid" of the drop style bars?
    >>
    > it is much more difficult to brake using drop style bars

    That's simply untrue.
     
  12. Harris

    Harris Guest

    "Russell" wrote:

    > OK, I've got a question/comment. Maybe I'm just too opinionated, but what is the point of these
    > flat bar road bikes, a.k.a fitness bikes? I guess they are for people that want a fast street
    > bike, but are "afraid" of the drop style bars?

    > Drop bars just seem so superior in my mind. Am I missing something, or are people as crazy as I
    > think they are?

    Well, few people use the drops anyway these days . So they're not getting much benefit from them. I
    know a couple of people who have switched to straight bars and love them. They use the bar ends as
    an alternate hand position. Hey, it's not my thing, but to each his own.

    Art Harris
     
  13. Kevin

    Kevin Guest

    I bought my wife a left-over '93 Cannondale road bike when we first started dating. She hardly
    ever used it - she preferred her Mt. Bike even on the road. It turns out she has very small hands
    and could not reach the brake levers. I converted the Cannondale to a straight bar and now she
    loves to ride it.

    Not everyone who rides a road bike wants/needs to race.

    [email protected] (Russell) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > OK, I've got a question/comment. Maybe I'm just too opinionated, but what is the point of these
    > flat bar road bikes, a.k.a fitness bikes? I guess they are for people that want a fast street
    > bike, but are "afraid" of the drop style bars?
    >
    > I have run across some folks that have pretty much been sold on the concept of a flat bar road
    > bike, and won't even test ride an "old fashioned" drop bar road bike. I can't seem to convince
    > them that riding a traditional road bike on the top of the drops really won't be that much
    > different than the positioning of a flat bar, PLUS you have the options of the other
    > three/four/five other ways you can hold them. Drop bars just seem so superior in my mind. Am I
    > missing something, or are people as crazy as I think they are?
     
  14. Russell Yim

    Russell Yim Guest

    >You're missing something.

    >The riding position on flat bar road bikes is not generally the same as on drop bar road bikes. Not
    >only is the bar different, but the stem length and rise is usually different also, so the riding
    >position on flat bar bikes is generally more upright than on bikes with drop bars.

    Of course, that's a vague generality these days, as there are sooo many brands and bike models
    available in the marketplace...there are definitely upright-and-short drop-bar road bikes, and
    bent-over-and-long flat-bar road bikes.

    >Now, some people may prefer a flat bar road bike without even knowing about this difference in
    >riding position, but that still doesn't make them crazy. It's just a personal preference.

    Sigh...yeah, I know that. Sometimes my personal prejudices get in the way of giving people what they
    want (or what marketing has told them what they want!) Actually, I give them what they want, but
    wonder if they will truly enjoy their new bike...or use it for a little while, and then put it in
    storage for 10 or so years.
     
  15. Russell Yim

    Russell Yim Guest

    >it is much more difficult to brake using drop style bars

    I will grant you that the brakes are "easier" to use on a flat bar, but they are by no means
    "difficult" to use on a drop bar.
     
  16. Russell Yim

    Russell Yim Guest

    >It's 100% fashion and marketing. The bicycle industry needs a new type of bike every few years.

    That's kinda what I was thinking.
     
  17. Russell Yim

    Russell Yim Guest

    >If they like it and ride it lots, that's the >point-yes??

    Yes, of course. But if they don't ride it lots, then we in the industry haven't done a very good
    job. Yes, we've sold a bike at low margin, but did the customer become a cyclist, and buy all the
    high margin goodies that go along with the bike?

    >Drop bars on an upright position make no sense. Like drop bars on a mountain bike...

    But isn't the reason why people gravitate towards road bikes is the ease of pedaling, and the speed,
    and the longer distances that one can ride? If that's the case, wouldn't you say a drop bar is a
    better choice?

    Personally, if someone wants to buy an flat-bar road bike I will let them, but not without me
    ranting and raving about why they should at least try a traditional drop-bar bike! If they still opt
    for the flat-bar, I will beg them to at least get some bar ends.

    >Heaven forbid that you would give them what they want...

    As I've said, I *will* give them what they want, but I'd rather give them what they "need."
     
  18. Russell Yim

    Russell Yim Guest

    >Well, few people use the drops anyway these days . So they're not getting much benefit from them.

    Truth be told, *I* rarely use the drop portion.. But I like the fact that with a drop bar, I can
    hold them near the stem palms down, further out palms down, around the upper curve palms up or down,
    on top of the hoods in a couple of different ways, AND on ocassion, on the dropped portion, again,
    in a couple of different places.

    >I know a couple of people who have switched to straight bars and love them. They use the bar ends
    >as an alternate hand position.

    Again, perhaps one of my prejudices, but a flat-bar road bike should *always* have bar-ends. I think
    one hand position is just too restrictive.

    >Hey, it's not my thing, but to each his own.

    Of course.
     
  19. Ed Chait

    Ed Chait Guest

    "Russell Yim" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > >It's 100% fashion and marketing. The bicycle industry needs a new type of bike every few years.
    >
    > That's kinda what I was thinking.
    >

    People have been converting drop bar road bikes to flat bars for a long time now in order to achieve
    the position and fit they want. It only makes sense that these bikes are now being produced by
    manufacturers.

    What surprises me is that they took so long to figure this out, when the demand has been
    there for ages.

    The bike industry is an icon of fashion driven marketing, but I don't think flat bar road bikes are
    an example of this. It's a valid product, with a valid demand proven by do-it-yourself conversions.

    Ed Chait
     
  20. Amerigo

    Amerigo Guest

    "Russell Yim" <[email protected]> ha scritto nel messaggio
    news:[email protected]...
    > >it is much more difficult to brake using drop style bars
    >
    > I will grant you that the brakes are "easier" to use on a flat bar, but they are by no means
    > "difficult" to use on a drop bar.
    >

    if you put the hands on the flat part of the drop bar, it takes more time
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Loading...