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  1. #1
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    From drop bar road commuter, to flat bar city?

    So, I'm at a turning point in my life. I spent a few years commuting solely by bike, a fixed gear steel road bike, and a nineties aluminum road bike. haven't had a flat bar bike since I was a kid. I've loved the road drop bars the entire time and something with flats never crossed my mind.

    Well, early this year I broke my knee with no health insurance, needless to say it's been a long road to even pedal a bike, still not commuting yet, and not sure if/when I can.

    I work at a giant dealer, and can get a pro deal on any giant bike, however I just really can't see dropping the cash on a new road bike. even before my injury I never really understood people buying these new, expensive bikes so geared towards speed, yet so limited on options. like buying a Ferrari to commute... but now I'm even less inclined towards speed and more towards comfort...

    I simply don't know how well I will like flat bars after a month or so commuting. I specifically have the new giant seek 1 in mind, which has a really cool look, and rides really nice in the parking lot... alfine 8 speed hub, hydraulic disks, 700x50 tires lol. I just really like this bike, but I know old me would never have contemplated purchasing it....

    stuck on that or the defy, commuterized with a rack and fenders. or possibly even the tcx slr2, which is probably way too racy for my current abilities.

    I know we have a lot of guys in here that do both, and even more that swear by one or the other. I'm just curious if anyone has made the switch or has helpful advice, lol. not really asking advice on the bikes, was just venting there.

    thanks.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Trekking figure 8 bend are my favorite , now.. takes any MTB lever & mechanical or hydraulic brake .

    fore and aft grip, rather than Up down of drops.

    my favorite"grip" is laying an open palm on the sides and back.. casual ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 11-25-13 at 10:10 PM.

  3. #3
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    i just did the opposite switch.

    i logged about 3000km commuting on a flat bar MTB with a slight rise.

    now I have a single speed with track drops.

    i hide in the hoods most of the time but on the top when there's traffic around.

    to be honest, i notice the difference in geometry more than the bars themselves. the power goes to the ground much more on the ss than with the MTB.

    a flat bar bike is a good way to ease back into it, as well.
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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  4. #4
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    I have both... And now always grab the drop bar bike. I know it's almost repetitive, but the lack of grip positions on the flat bar get old after about 5 miles. Anything less, and it's not an issue... I like the drops because I can tuck in nicely at speed (and yes, I can feel like my favorite sprinter or TDF rider...). Get what feels good...
    "I had this baby hand made in Tuscany, from titanium blessed by the pope. It weighs less than a fart, and costs more than a divorce..."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erwin8r View Post
    I have both... And now always grab the drop bar bike. I know it's almost repetitive, but the lack of grip positions on the flat bar get old after about 5 miles. Anything less, and it's not an issue... I like the drops because I can tuck in nicely at speed (and yes, I can feel like my favorite sprinter or TDF rider...). Get what feels good...
    that's my main concern, hand positions. I know I can get bar ends and things like that for more options. also my work commute is sub three miles one way, just about anywhere in town is four miles or less... so I know it could be done. I just don't know how happy I'd be with it.

    especially if my knee recovery goes well and allows me to do more distance or sporty rides. because then I know I'd want drops and more bike.

    there are a couple of other in between bikes I'm really eyeing, that my lbs coworkers make fun of me for. the revolt looks okay for a nice wet weather commuter/adventure/swap on slicks for longer road rides. but they think of anything not racy and specific road/cross/mountain etc as a grandpa bike.

  6. #6
    Senior Member blakcloud's Avatar
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    I am a die hard flat bar commuter and I never need alternate hand positions. Mountain bikers go out on epic rides for hours and you never hear those guys say " I wish I had drop bars for more hand positions".

    The Seek is a great bike and if you end up hating it, sell it. It won't be hard you work at a shop. Flat bars aren't for everyone but for commuting they can be great. Now a flat bar Defy would be something.

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    there are frame design alterations , a choice. flat bar longer top tube, some hybrids .

    vs, shorter , road , due to the hoods of the brakes being further ahead of the saddle..
    as described a popular hand hold position.
    on the front of bars that are bent forward, then down.

    Giant the only brand the shop sells?. most bike shops have several brands , to provide variety.

    though the company being quite Giant may make them too,
    but following the design requirements of the company contracting their manufacturing services.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 11-21-13 at 11:11 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Trekking figure 8 bend are my favorite , now.. takes any MTB lever & mechanical or hydraulic brake .

    fore and aft grip, rather than Up down of drops.
    No. 1 on the trekking bars esp. for commuting. I've been riding drops for a long time and switched to flats mainly for commuting in bad weather. The trekking by far is my favorite.

  9. #9
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    IMO, dropbars are primarily for long distance riding and racing (speed). Flatbars are great for urban commuting and short errands. The more upright position allows you the advantage of viewing a wider range of traffic. I personally believe that most casual roadies spend more than 70% of the time on the hoods anyways.

    I would think that, if you're healing and recuperating, then a nice, comfortable, new Seek hybrid, would be exactly what the doctor has already ordered for you!

  10. #10
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blakcloud View Post
    I am a die hard flat bar commuter and I never need alternate hand positions. Mountain bikers go out on epic rides for hours and you never hear those guys say " I wish I had drop bars for more hand positions".
    Maybe you don't, but "dirt drop" bars are becoming more and more of a thing.
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  11. #11
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blakcloud View Post
    I am a die hard flat bar commuter and I never need alternate hand positions. Mountain bikers go out on epic rides for hours and you never hear those guys say " I wish I had drop bars for more hand positions".

    The Seek is a great bike and if you end up hating it, sell it. It won't be hard you work at a shop. Flat bars aren't for everyone but for commuting they can be great. Now a flat bar Defy would be something.

    BTV Woods by mbeganyi, on Flickr

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by blakcloud View Post
    I am a die hard flat bar commuter and I never need alternate hand positions. Mountain bikers go out on epic rides for hours and you never hear those guys say " I wish I had drop bars for more hand positions".

    The Seek is a great bike and if you end up hating it, sell it. It won't be hard you work at a shop. Flat bars aren't for everyone but for commuting they can be great. Now a flat bar Defy would be something.
    Yeah, these drop bar guys are a big bunch of pusses, aren't they! "5 minutes with no other hand positions and I'm dying!" Hahaha! What a freaking cream puff!

    Hell, I've done more hard, epic days on my flat bar MTB than I can remember, and back before the days of front shocks; my flat bar commuter has more drop than most of these Fredly drop bar commuters!

    This notion that flat bar = upright and drop bar = aero has to stop; it's all about picking the right frame and doing the right setup.

    Really guys, the irrational carping is unbecoming of real cyclists.

    Here's my flat bar commuter/ute. Great for hauling trailers, stoplight sprints, and 20 mile rides to parties carrying several bottles of Champagne (grower only, of course). Also great for quickly efficiently riding around town and to go to work:

    Last edited by chaadster; 11-22-13 at 08:40 AM.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erwin8r View Post
    I have both...
    Well...surely this?! I mean, the o.p. works in an LBS for crying out loud. I have six rideable bikes with every kind of grip except Trekking (shudder) and one project in hiatus, and do not have an LBS affiliation. The o.p. should have both platforms (at least) on the go, and should be the one telling the rest of us about the merits of n+1 as a way of life. JMHO.

    H

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by blakcloud View Post
    I am a die hard flat bar commuter and I never need alternate hand positions. Mountain bikers go out on epic rides for hours and you never hear those guys say " I wish I had drop bars for more hand positions".
    i ride centuries on flat bars without any discomfort. any aero disadvantage is fairly minimal since i have the core strength to adopt a nice tuck and my flat bar is cut and slammed.
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlTheKiller View Post
    I specifically have the new giant seek 1 in mind, which has a really cool look, and rides really nice in the parking lot... alfine 8 speed hub, hydraulic disks, 700x50 tires lol. I just really like this bike, but I know old me would never have contemplated purchasing it....

    stuck on that or the defy, commuterized with a rack and fenders. or possibly even the tcx slr2, which is probably way too racy for my current abilities.
    the giant seek is a commuterized mtb. imo, the geometry is not really designed for riding efficiently on tarmac. i'd only buy that bike if i planned to spend alot of time on gravel, dirt, or really bad roads.

    the tcx slr2 is a leisure road/cx bike designed for efficient commuting on tarmac. it would cost you ~200 bucks to convert it to a flat bar:

    easton ec70 flat bar -- $60. (get it cut -- they are way to wide for commuting now.)
    tiagra 4600 10 speed shifters -- $90-100. (the ultegra-level r770s are still available on ebay for $100).
    tektro brake levers -- $20.
    cables -- $20.

    keep the brifters and drop bar and you can switch back if your abilities improve. i convert one of my flat bar commuters to a tourer just by swapping the stem and bars.
    Last edited by spare_wheel; 11-22-13 at 09:02 AM.
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    This notion that flat bar = upright and drop bar = aero has to stop; it's all about picking the right frame and doing the right setup.
    I can agree with this... somewhat. Yes you can get 'aero' with a flatbar setup but for those who need it... and I apparently do, there is still something to be said for having variety of hand position. You have two, and the one that you will use most of the time is quite hard on the carpal tunnel for many of us. Wimps? Maybe. I'd rather cop to being a ***** than being disabled. Also, it must be observed... your stable... are all of those bikes flat-bar? Do you not ride drops, ever? Fess up, is the tough talk just to score points off of us metro-sexuals?

    H

  17. #17
    Senior Member megalowmatt's Avatar
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    It may not feel right going from drop bars to flat and it will change the "fit" in terms of reach. I guess it won't matter too much if the OP was always riding the tops but no stem is going to make up for the amount of reach lost going from hood riding on drop bars to flat bars. Just my opinion, though.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    I can agree with this... somewhat. Yes you can get 'aero' with a flatbar setup but for those who need it... and I apparently do, there is still something to be said for having variety of hand position. You have two, and the one that you will use most of the time is quite hard on the carpal tunnel for many of us. Wimps? Maybe. I'd rather cop to being a ***** than being disabled. Also, it must be observed... your stable... are all of those bikes flat-bar? Do you not ride drops, ever? Fess up, is the tough talk just to score points off of us metro-sexuals?

    H
    Ha! Okay, fair enough! Yes, I do ride drops, of course, and I like them just fine; my position, outrageously as it was made, is not that drop bars stink, only that flat bars don't stink. Granted, I don't really like a flat bar without bar ends, though I do have one bike so equipped, because I do appreciate multiple hand positions too (which by the way, a flat bar with bar ends offers in triplicate at a minimum, and more depending on bend type and length. May favorite is the intermediate, palms spanning end of bar and lower extension of bar end).

    As for those with physical disabilities, well, they are outliers, that's all. Doesn't change anything about the capabilities of bar design and setup.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

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    Quote Originally Posted by megalowmatt View Post
    It may not feel right going from drop bars to flat and it will change the "fit" in terms of reach. I guess it won't matter too much if the OP was always riding the tops but no stem is going to make up for the amount of reach lost going from hood riding on drop bars to flat bars. Just my opinion, though.
    If you're just looking at reach as a line is space, then yes, a longer stem would do it, but it's unwise to look at reach that way, because it will change fit since the hand position is different. Adding bar ends, however, replicates hood position and reach pretty nicely (again, proper setup to achieve that is key).
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    As for those with physical disabilities, well, they are outliers, that's all. Doesn't change anything about the capabilities of bar design and setup.
    You misunderstand. I am not referring to any pre-existing conditions. I am referring to the debilitating conditions that might be brought on by gamely (manly) trying to work with a setup that is causing discomfort (injury?).

    H

  21. #21
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Figure out how much it would cost you to do a conversion on that Seek and you can always put narrower tires on it if you feel that your knee could handle a bit harsher ride to gain a wee bit of speed.

    Sometimes our bodies simply can't handle or refuse to do what our egos want...
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
    Community guidelines

  22. #22
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    Try a flat bar with some sweep + bar ends for more hand positions.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
    Try a flat bar with some sweep + bar ends for more hand positions.
    a pursuit bar is another possible option. once could even buy a road bike and have the shop saw off the drops...i know this is sacrilege but why carry weight you don't use.
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

  24. #24
    Ghost Ryding 24/7 Ghost Ryder's Avatar
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    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...0/14810/66190/
    Answer to the Defy flat bar ^ It called the escape.

    Quote Originally Posted by blakcloud View Post
    I am a die hard flat bar commuter and I never need alternate hand positions. Mountain bikers go out on epic rides for hours and you never hear those guys say " I wish I had drop bars for more hand positions".

    The Seek is a great bike and if you end up hating it, sell it. It won't be hard you work at a shop. Flat bars aren't for everyone but for commuting they can be great. Now a flat bar Defy would be something.
    Epic MTB runs are ok with flat bars because of the suspension.
    Giant Defy Dura Ace : Rip/Hammer-Specialized Allez Ultegra/105 : Recovery/Spinner-Specialized Allez Red : Trainer-Kona Major(Rad) Jake : Down & Dirty

  25. #25
    Senior Member CrankyOne's Avatar
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    I have drop (Scott Addict and others), flat (Marin), and upright (Workcycles OPA). The OPA is my go-to bike for everything less than 10 miles and the others get less and less use every year. Since you're sitting completely upright there is no issue with hand positions as with a flat bar. Extremely comfortable and convenient bike to ride. Not a Giant though.

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