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  1. #1
    Junior Member ash0's Avatar
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    new bike opinion?

    I currently ride a Schwinn comfort bike. Its a fun bike but I feel like I sit too upright and I'm always straggling behind my husband on his Fuji Absolute. I'm looking for something faster with a little better position (but not too aggressive - I'm much too uncoordinated for dropbars) and I'm thinking a flat bar is probably the way to go. What do you think of the Diamondback Insight or the Fuji Absolute 2.1? Performance Bikes has the 2013's of these for just under $400. We ride paved paths of about 15 miles a couple of times per week, but would like to increase both distance and frequency.

    Fuji Absolute 2.1 Flat Bar Road Bike - 2013 - Fitness Bikes

    Diamondback Insight Flat Bar Bike - Performance Exclusive - Fitness Bikes

    Also, I'm looking at this Specialized Vita on CraigsList.
    https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bik/4421175463.html

    I think its a 2011 and they're asking $350. If this is the better bike, what do you think I should offer?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ash0 View Post
    I currently ride a Schwinn comfort bike. Its a fun bike but I feel like I sit too upright and I'm always straggling behind my husband on his Fuji Absolute. I'm looking for something faster with a little better position (but not too aggressive - I'm much too uncoordinated for dropbars) and I'm thinking a flat bar is probably the way to go. What do you think of the Diamondback Insight or the Fuji Absolute 2.1?
    Those bikes are perfectly fine, but I don't see why you want to avoid drop bars, or why you feel they need more coordination. Drop bars can be set up in a less aggressive position, just tend to pick the "endurance" line of road bikes and use the stem flipped up. You can keep them even with the saddle or even a little higher. The drop bar offers a lot more hand positions which is just good for comfort as your distances increase, keeps your hands from going numb and offers options on how aero you want to get on different portions of the ride. When your fitness & flexibility improves and rides start getting really long, at some point you might flip the stem down or take out a few spacers. Or not, it's personal preference.

    The flat bar bikes are a bit cheaper, but one can always go for a used drop-bar bike.

  3. #3
    Junior Member ash0's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply. Every drop bar I've ridden (a ten speed in college 20 years ago and a couple more recently at the bike store) seemed too low and narrow, and left me feeling insecure. Maybe I need to ride a few more and try some different heights. Hand numbness is actually my husband's biggest complaint about his absolute.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ash0 View Post
    Thanks for the reply. Every drop bar I've ridden (a ten speed in college 20 years ago and a couple more recently at the bike store) seemed too low and narrow, and left me feeling insecure. Maybe I need to ride a few more and try some different heights. Hand numbness is actually my husband's biggest complaint about his absolute.
    If you are looking to eventually increase distance, I strongly recommend avoiding the flat bar bikes. As was said above, even with bar ends, you just don't have many hand positions and you will be fighting numbness all the time if you start upping your distance. The reason they all feel low and twitchy to you is that they are different than what you are used to riding. I felt exactly the same way going from a mountain bike to a road bike. The whole front end felt twitchy and shaky for the first 2-3 rides and then I got used to it and I have never had a second thought about it since then. You can use stem adjustments to put the bar where you need it, and by riding on the tops, the hoods, and the drops, you will have a wide variety of hand positions to choose from.

  5. #5
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum.

    My wife did exactly what you are talking about doing. She started on a Trek Navigator (Read: Sherman Tank).

    So Mrs. PhotoJoe surpised me last night

    She said it was more comfortable than the recliner in front of the TV. It was comfy alright. Shocks up front. Shock on the seat post. Springs in the seat. And the seat was wider than a horse-saddle. She loved it....until she didn't. Early on, I planted the seed in her mind that when the day came to upgrade, we'd be able to do longer rides, it would weigh less, etc., but never pushed. One day, while she was riding along (and I was once again coasting beside her ) she asked how much a new bike would cost. GOTCHA!!!

    Off we went to test ride bikes. She does NOT want a drop bar bike. She has confidence issues on a bike to start with, and is more comfortable with a flat bar bike. After riding quite a few, she ended up with a Cannondale Quick. SHE LOVES IT! I will agree that a drop-bar bike give you far more hand positions for comfort, and they can be setup to not be so low as to make you uncfomfortable, but you have to be comfortable with your choice...or you won't ride the bike.

    Since we got her the Quick, she's done the Tour de Cure and Tour de Fuzz metric centuries as well as quite a few other "adventure" rides in addition to our MUP rides. She would have never done these other rides on the old bike.

    The bottom line is ride as many as you can. In the post I referenced above, someone says the Vita was the most comfortable. Mrs. PJ disagreed. FOR HER, it was the Quick. Some LOVE the Trek. When you ride everything you can, it's amazing how one just might "speak to you". And the bike that is the most comfortable is the bike you'll ride more!

    BTW, one day when her hands were going numb, she asked how to get different hand positions. I told her that a drop-bar bike would give that to her and let it drop. I'm quietly saving for her next bike because the timer is ticking!
    Last edited by PhotoJoe; 04-14-14 at 07:01 PM.
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  6. #6
    Senior Member jc650's Avatar
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    I would try a few more road bikes before I wrote them off. In my case the drop bars offer so many different hand positions and can be set up so many ways that its really no comparison. I think the width of the tires would make me more insecure than the handlebars. My hands go numb a lot quicker on my mountain bike with bar ends than either of my road bikes. Even without riding in the drops the ability to have so many hand and body positions is really nice. Like other people have posted, drop bar bikes can be positioned very relaxed if need be. Good luck.

  7. #7
    Junior Member ash0's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for all the great advice. I think I'm going to keep riding the Schwinn Voyageur for now (trying to think of it as a "calorie burner" rather than a "heavy beast"), get some more riding time in and test ride as many bikes as possible. I'm setting a goal of increasing my frequency, distance and general fitness and flexibility. By the time I reach my goal, I should be in a little better shape and hope to have ridden enough different bikes (and handlebars) to really know what feels good.

    On test rides this week, one thing that really surprised me is the different feel with various tire widths and knobbiness. I rode a fuji with 28mm tires with less tread and it felt so easy and smooth, but when I hit some loose rock on a curve riding my own bike yesterday I was glad it has the knobbier 38's.

    BTW, I have learned that a trip to the bike store to take test rides can be a really fun and free afternoon date - if you remember to leave your wallet at home. Why is there always some thing that you "need" there?

  8. #8
    Senior Member raqball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txags92 View Post
    If you are looking to eventually increase distance, I strongly recommend avoiding the flat bar bikes.
    Huh??????

    I have a flat bar and do 40 miles a day.. Once a month I do a 60-70 miles ride and a few times a year I do a century ride...



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by raqball View Post
    Huh??????

    I have a flat bar and do 40 miles a day.. Once a month I do a 60-70 miles ride and a few times a year I do a century ride...
    Of the 4 people I know who started out riding flat bar road bikes, 3 had severe hand numbness problems when they increased their ride distances above about 40-50 miles per day. One got a severe case of cyclist's palsy that took weeks to go away after a century ride. All 3 immediately stopped having the hand issues when they switched to drop bar bikes. If you can find enough positions on yours to not have any issues, good for you; but my experience has been that 3 out of 4 had problems with not enough hand positions on the flat bar bike on longer rides.

  10. #10
    Senior Member raqball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txags92 View Post
    Of the 4 people I know who started out riding flat bar road bikes, 3 had severe hand numbness problems when they increased their ride distances above about 40-50 miles per day. One got a severe case of cyclist's palsy that took weeks to go away after a century ride. All 3 immediately stopped having the hand issues when they switched to drop bar bikes. If you can find enough positions on yours to not have any issues, good for you; but my experience has been that 3 out of 4 had problems with not enough hand positions on the flat bar bike on longer rides.
    Fair enough..

    I can't ride drop bars (and I've tried to adjust them to silly looking angels) because I have a bad back and after about 30 miles my back starts killing me..

    Flat bars have plenty of room to move around on. I am constantly shifting my hands from side to side and when in cruise mode, I often just rest them on the front part of the bar extensions..

    When I started out on flat bars years ago I would get numbing in my left hand but I have not had the issue in years now and flat bars are all I ride..

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by raqball View Post
    Fair enough..

    I can't ride drop bars (and I've tried to adjust them to silly looking angels) because I have a bad back and after about 30 miles my back starts killing me..
    That bar position in your picture doesn't look particularly upright. It looks like you are running more saddle to bar drop than I am! When you say "adjust them to silly looking angles", do you mean rotating the bar? What you should have been doing is trying different stem rise angles and length; surely a drop bar can be set up to achieve the identical back angle as you are using now on your flat bar bike.

    Flat bars have plenty of room to move around on. I am constantly shifting my hands from side to side and when in cruise mode, I often just rest them on the front part of the bar extensions..
    I really prefer my hands to be in a neutral position most of the time rather than the pronated position on the flat part of the bar. Bar ends achieve that on a flat bar, but on my MTB, on the bar ends I always felt my body and arms were being spread super-wide and catching a lot of air and slowing me down. On a drop bar the hoods and the forward bend behind the hoods get the most use for me.

    When I started out on flat bars years ago I would get numbing in my left hand but I have not had the issue in years now and flat bars are all I ride..
    Great it works for you, but the vast majority of longer distance road cyclists are using drop bars for good reason.

  12. #12
    Senior Member raqball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephtu View Post
    That bar position in your picture doesn't look particularly upright. It looks like you are running more saddle to bar drop than I am! When you say "adjust them to silly looking angles", do you mean rotating the bar? What you should have been doing is trying different stem rise angles and length; surely a drop bar can be set up to achieve the identical back angle as you are using now on your flat bar bike.
    It's been a while since I messed with drop bars. My LBS did try many of the things you mentioned but my back never survived past 30 miles without a lot of pain..

    on my MTB, on the bar ends I always felt my body and arms were being spread super-wide and catching a lot of air and slowing me down. On a drop bar the hoods and the forward bend behind the hoods get the most use for me.
    I am not interested in speed.. I am 49-years old and at this point in my life I cycle for the enjoyment and fitness of it..

    If my average speed at the end of my flat rides is 16mph I am happy.. When I do my routes with lots of climbs if I come in at 14mph I am thrilled..

    A large portion of my rides are in the city bike lanes. Depending on my route for the day, about half my mileage is in the city. Lots of start and stop and lots of shifting involved..

  13. #13
    Senior Member MikeRides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txags92 View Post
    Of the 4 people I know who started out riding flat bar road bikes, 3 had severe hand numbness problems when they increased their ride distances above about 40-50 miles per day. One got a severe case of cyclist's palsy that took weeks to go away after a century ride. All 3 immediately stopped having the hand issues when they switched to drop bar bikes. If you can find enough positions on yours to not have any issues, good for you; but my experience has been that 3 out of 4 had problems with not enough hand positions on the flat bar bike on longer rides.
    Everyone's different, or perhaps I'm an exception
    I ride a flat bar bike (a hybrid actually) a minimum of 40 miles a day, up and down hills, 3-4 times a week and never had hand numbness. Heck I don't even have a need for bar ends on my bike. I had a set on my old bike, I think I used once or twice. The only thing I consider drop bar or even bar ends to an extent, is that they make it easier for you to tuck in when pedaling through wind.

    Just because you believe they're uncomfortable to you and four people you know, doesn't mean they won't work for the OP.
    The OP should go to their LBS to test ride as many bikes as possible to see what he/she is comfortable with.
    "Just ride it until the wheels fall off!"

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeRides View Post
    Everyone's different, or perhaps I'm an exception
    I ride a flat bar bike (a hybrid actually) a minimum of 40 miles a day, up and down hills, 3-4 times a week and never had hand numbness. Heck I don't even have a need for bar ends on my bike. I had a set on my old bike, I think I used once or twice. The only thing I consider drop bar or even bar ends to an extent, is that they make it easier for you to tuck in when pedaling through wind.

    Just because you believe they're uncomfortable to you and four people you know, doesn't mean they won't work for the OP.
    The OP should go to their LBS to test ride as many bikes as possible to see what he/she is comfortable with.
    The OP asked for opinions. I gave her mine. Now you have given her yours. She has a wealth of information to choose from and can make up her own mind about whether she believes it will be an issue for her. I could easily turn your post around and say "Just because you believe that a flat bar road bike is comfortable to you doesn't mean it will work the same way for the OP". Instead of bickering about who should be entitled to give an opinion to the OP and whether she should listen to one opinion or another, how about I just post my experience and recommendation and you post your own experience and recommendation? Yes, the OP should test ride as many bikes as possible. But if she test rides a flat bar road bike around the parking lot at the shop, she will never have any idea whether the lack of hand positions could cause her problems on longer distance rides. Now that I have posted about my experience, she is aware of the issue and can make an informed decision and maybe try a longer test ride or two to see how it works for her. If she still finds that a flat bar bike is what she wants, great! If not, and I was helpful in directing her another way, also great!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Black wallnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeRides View Post
    Everyone's different, or perhaps I'm an exception
    I ride a flat bar bike (a hybrid actually) a minimum of 40 miles a day, up and down hills, 3-4 times a week and never had hand numbness. Heck I don't even have a need for bar ends on my bike. I had a set on my old bike, I think I used once or twice. The only thing I consider drop bar or even bar ends to an extent, is that they make it easier for you to tuck in when pedaling through wind.

    Just because you believe they're uncomfortable to you and four people you know, doesn't mean they won't work for the OP.
    The OP should go to their LBS to test ride as many bikes as possible to see what he/she is comfortable with.
    Good points. In defense of the other posters most people prefer drop bars, myself being one of those. I started my adult riding on a Schwinn flatbarish hybrid. Putting plenty of miles on it in the first two years to include my first metric century. It did take some getting used to a road bike with drop bars but once I did the change was well worth it. I still enjoy the Schwinn and can get it moving to over 20 mph, taking more effort than my road and cx bikes but it can be done.
    Last edited by Black wallnut; 04-17-14 at 02:24 PM.


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