Flat Bar Road Bikes



bevo44

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Dec 10, 2003
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What are everyone's opinions on flat-bar road bikes. It seems like most manufacturers offer one or two bikes with this option, so who is buying them. (e.g. Lemond Wayzata, Trek 1000/1200, Schwinn SuperSport, Bianchi Strada, Cannondale Road Warrior)

I ride for recreation/fitness (100 mi. / week), and I kinda like the concept. I'd like to know what others' experiences are with these bikes. Likes / Dislikes? etc...

Thanks.
 

boudreaux

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Oct 16, 2003
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Originally posted by bevo44
What are everyone's opinions on flat-bar road bikes. It seems like most manufacturers offer one or two bikes with this option, so who is buying them. (e.g. Lemond Wayzata, Trek 1000/1200, Schwinn SuperSport, Bianchi Strada, Cannondale Road Warrior)

I ride for recreation/fitness (100 mi. / week), and I kinda like the concept. I'd like to know what others' experiences are with these bikes. Likes / Dislikes? etc...

Thanks.
Maybe they are good if you can deal with flat bars and a non aero position. Not much more than a bastardized hybrid. There are also models from several makers that use drop bars with a higher position, if that is what you are really after.
 

edd

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Jul 8, 2003
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Originally posted by bevo44
What are everyone's opinions on flat-bar road bikes. It seems like most manufacturers offer one or two bikes with this option, so who is buying them. (e.g. Lemond Wayzata, Trek 1000/1200, Schwinn SuperSport, Bianchi Strada, Cannondale Road Warrior)

I ride for recreation/fitness (100 mi. / week), and I kinda like the concept. I'd like to know what others' experiences are with these bikes. Likes / Dislikes? etc...

Thanks.

If you are a weekend mountain biker and commute on a road bike week days, the flat bar thing maybe just a preference and it is a little better in negotiating heavy traffic, some bike courier types like to be fast as well, hence the hyper-hybrid.
 

lumpy

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Oct 22, 2003
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Originally posted by edd
If you are a weekend mountain biker and commute on a road bike week days, the flat bar thing maybe just a preference and it is a little better in negotiating heavy traffic, some bike courier types like to be fast as well, hence the hyper-hybrid.

hyper-hybrid ....... I like that!
Thats' what I did with my Cannondale road bike. I changed to flat bars with bar ends and rapidfire shifters and I LOVE it! Sure I'm not as aero as I could be but I don't care. I'm more comfy and it's a great riding bike.

tim
 

edd

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Jul 8, 2003
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Originally posted by lumpy
hyper-hybrid ....... I like that!
Thats' what I did with my Cannondale road bike. I changed to flat bars with bar ends and rapidfire shifters and I LOVE it! Sure I'm not as aero as I could be but I don't care. I'm more comfy and it's a great riding bike.

tim

I have a custom built hyper-hybrid, for inner city commuting, it's about 20yrs old and no good for long rides as it has a very short wheel base, high ground clearence, and a fairly up right riding position and it is heavy 11kg. Has a top gear of 52 x 14 which is pretty slow.

The good bit, is it is bomb proof, do stairs 1 metre jumps and can "U" turn in less then two metres.

Probably going to buy a Kestral Talon this year.... for long fast rides.
 

Blackberry

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Jan 8, 2004
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I ride for recreation/fitness (100 mi. / week), and I kinda like the concept. I'd like to know what others' experiences are with these bikes. Likes / Dislikes? etc...

Thanks. [/B][/QUOTE]

I've got a Cannondale Bad Boy Ultra, which uses a mountain bike frame and road wheels. If you pick up a set of mountain bike wheels with disk brakes, you can switch it to a MTB whenever you want to hit the rough stuff.

At first I didn't like it as a road bike, in part because of the limited hand positions. Bar ends helped some as did time in the saddle. One advantage/disadvantage depending on your viewpoint is that you're likely to have a more upright riding position. Many normal people (the kind that don't spend hours hanging around on cyclingforums.com) find that position to be comfortable and you can actually look around and enjoy the landscape as you glide across it. In fact, I see more and more people using flat bar bikes on multi-day tours.

On the other hand, if you're aim is to be a hammerhead or a Lance Armstrong wannabe, your speed may suffer with flat bars.
 

tacomee

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Nov 17, 2003
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I'd say 90% of riders like flat bars better than drops. Of course this forum is stilted with drop users (racer types).

If you're not racing and logging a 100 miles week, you should do just fine with a moderately priced flat bar bike. What are you riding now? Unlike starter road bikes with drop bars, there is a lot of differance between flat bar bikes. Some have road bike drivetrains (Fuji and Bianchi) some have mountian bike drivetrains (Specialized) You have lots of choices!

I personally ride with a pretty straight up position and like flat bars. I ride mostly in heavy traffic, so I'm not in the old school stay low and hammer set anymore.

I'm not totally judgemental about any style of riding, but beware of hardcore roadies who happen to think that their riding style makes them true cyclists and everyone else on a pretender. You're free to ride any way you want to!
 

stevek

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Sep 27, 2003
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I use time trial bars with barends in the ends and regular brakes pointing forward. my hands like them better. for some reason it tends to kink my back more. even though with measurements the setup is shorter overall.
 

xc_gumby

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Dec 24, 2003
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Its a real euro thing - the flat bars. I noticed plenty of it over there in July last year.

Shimano have a groupo now for flat bars - basically (from what I can tell) Deore LX shifter/levers designed to work with a road calipers. To break up the possible hand positions, some MTB bar ends might help and/or spinaces for a more TT position.

I think in the end, the MTB idea is a good one if you're into MTB & don't want to buy a road bike. But I reckon road frame with flat bars - road calipers & road forks is a better set-up for general commute.
 

blah blah

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Dec 30, 2003
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Originally posted by bevo44
What are everyone's opinions on flat-bar road bikes. It seems like most manufacturers offer one or two bikes with this option, so who is buying them. (e.g. Lemond Wayzata, Trek 1000/1200, Schwinn SuperSport, Bianchi Strada, Cannondale Road Warrior)

I ride for recreation/fitness (100 mi. / week), and I kinda like the concept. I'd like to know what others' experiences are with these bikes. Likes / Dislikes? etc...

Thanks.

I bought my wife a 2004 Specialized Sirrus and she loves it. She went from a cheapo Sears mountain bike and loves the skinny tires and the bigger gears of the Sirrus so she can go faster. I'm thinking of getting one for myself. If you are in the market for a flat bar road bike, I would recommend this one. It has road bike parts unlike others. It has a sora rear der. and a front der. that is designed specifically for hybrids. It uses v-brakes that are smaller than the mountain bike variety so it has excellent stopping power.

My LBS had both the Sirrus and the Strada in stock, but my wife (and I) perferred the looks of the Sirrus better. The tube diameter on the Strada's frame is a lot skinnier than the Sirrus.

I've heard that the flat bar road bikes get uncofortable on rides over say 50 miles. So if you do less than that in one ride, it should be fine.
 

boudreaux

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Oct 16, 2003
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Originally posted by tacomee
I'd say 90% of riders like flat bars better than drops. Of course this forum is stilted with drop users (racer types).



I'm not totally judgemental about any style of riding, but beware of hardcore roadies who happen to think that their riding style makes them true cyclists and everyone else on a pretender. You're free to ride any way you want to!
Yeah, that is why Wally-mart sells so many Huffys.
 

tacomee

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Nov 17, 2003
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Hey boudreax, you heard the news, flat bars are getting hot in Europe! Better get ready for a costly upgrade to stay in that 1% of super cyclists who need to stay completely trendy. Me and the moderately priced bike crowd are planning spending our money doing something else.... like vacationing and actually riding bikes!

Back to flat bar bikes-- the whole idea about your hands getting tired after 50 miles is not true for everybody, maybe even of a very few people. The more upright you are, the less weight is on your hands and back. Of course this makes you less aerodynamic, so there's trade offs either way. Plenty of folks have ridden very long distances both ways. Ride however you want. Test ride, rent and barrow different bikes-- see what you like.

Two advantages of riding more upright are, 1) better visiablity 2) It's easier to get off the saddle to clime hills and sprint short distances. This is why bike messagers almost always go with flat bars-- and often fixed gears to boot!

I rode a Surris last year and could have swore it had a Deore drivetrain. Maybe I had a different model? It was a pretty cool bike and it costs less then $600 I think? I'd bet most riders would get their money out of rather quicky-- I'd own one.
 

bevo44

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Dec 10, 2003
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Thanks to everybody for the input. I hadn't ridden in several years (since bike was stolen and never replaced), and so started with a blank slate deciding what to buy last summer.

I ended up buying a Schwinn Supersport GS ($650) over Cannondale Road Warrior, and have been really happy, but it's strange the reaction I got from some. A couple salesmen thumbed their nose at the whole idea of flat-bar road bikes, and others gave good lipservice but I could just tell they didn't really know anything about the bikes. But once I decided I really wanted to look at the Schwinn, nobody within 200 miles had them in stock -- and in Chicago the biggest Schwinn dealer in the country had them pre-sold before delivery. A strange dichotomy.

Anyway, I agree with most all that has been said. I'm not gonna race with it, and poorer aerodynamics are no big deal when I usually ride solo, and will rarely go over 50 miles. I did add some barends, but I thought the makeup of this bike was a great value, and it's been a perfect fit so far.
 

edd

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Jul 8, 2003
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I have a custom hybrid, built 20 years ago with bull horn bars with end shifter pointing backwards. Is a bit like narrow flat bars with bar ends all in one. They are set fairly high so I have good head swivel in traffic, it was purpose built to commute. The hand wrist angle is a bit better then with flat bars, you can keep your elbows in and tuck down for good aerodynamics. I've seen a few road bikes set up like this too. When I ask it is usually a bad back issue.

Before I built this hybrid I rode a mountain bike with slicks... as hybrid bikes were not invented yet. I found the wide flat bars were a bit of a worry in heavy traffic, I needed, wanted to tuck my elbows in but still wanted to sit up a little more then you might with standard drops.
 

tacomee

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Nov 17, 2003
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Hey Ed, were did you get your bullhorns from? A really old bike or did you make them yourself out an old 10 speed drop bar flipped upside down, then ground down and bent?

If anybody has an old vintage RD bike in the basement, It's a lot of fun to make a set of custom *bull horns* for it. Heck, don't stop there, try wheel building with an internal gear hub, eliminate the frount derailuer or some other radical *cafe racer* modifications. It's really fun and you can learn a lot about fixing bikes without messing with your exspensive bike.
 

bwilkes

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Jul 21, 2003
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I've used flat bars with end bars for the last three years, they don't have a many hand positions and get uncomfortable after a few hours. I don't care who uses what, it's my ride and I want the comfort. My next bike will have drops with doulbe brake levers and cushion wrap.
 

edd

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Jul 8, 2003
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Originally posted by tacomee
Hey Ed, were did you get your bullhorns from? A really old bike or did you make them yourself out an old 10 speed drop bar flipped upside down, then ground down and bent?

If anybody has an old vintage RD bike in the basement, It's a lot of fun to make a set of custom *bull horns* for it. Heck, don't stop there, try wheel building with an internal gear hub, eliminate the frount derailuer or some other radical *cafe racer* modifications. It's really fun and you can learn a lot about fixing bikes without messing with your exspensive bike.

20 years ago, I'm not sure, I think they were real bullhorns, but I chopped them anyway as the hand grip was too far in front of the head set. The whole bike is a real trip in radical ideas of the time (1984) if you want I'll email you a jpeg.
 

bevo44

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Dec 10, 2003
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Does anyone else have any comments?

Please forgive my posting to my own tread - just wanted to get topic back to the front page. lol
 

edd

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Jul 8, 2003
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Originally posted by bevo44
Does anyone else have any comments?

Please forgive my posting to my own tread - just wanted to get topic back to the front page. lol

In summary:

wide flat bars give greater mechanical advantage over any force that tries to effect the direction of the front wheel.. so they give more secure control over uneven ground, ie: mountain bikes

Some people cut down their flat bars for commuting because of heavy traffic proximity issues.

Drop bars give you a greater variety of hand positions and if you want too you can use an inverted stem to raise the bars to be more upright for commuting. Drop bars come in different widths

Bull horn bars are like flat bars with bar ends and can be set at what ever height you like.. (as with all bar types ) These are usually set very low and used in conjunction with aero extensions. However I’ve seen them on commuter bikes, set high with the end shifters set above the brakes. They look quite cool and provide that more upright position which for me is more comfortable in heavy traffic conditions.

Bull horns is what is on my commuter bike and I changed from flat bars to get my elbows in ( car wing mirrors etc.) but I could have just as easily cut down some flat bars and I would have almost achieve the same result.

I’d put drops on my tourer but I’d set them a little higher then what I would if it was a racing bike.

The whole aero argument, like the height argument, is arbitrary. You can change the height of any bar. And you can tuck into a low frontal area no matter what bars you have. If they are really wide so your hands are outside your body then there may be an argument regarding reduced aerodynamics.. it hardly matters unless you are racing, Then everything matters.