Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Northern Nevada
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Well, the straight bars are easy--several companies are making road bikes with mountain-style controls, including flat bars and grip shifters. My wife got hers at REI. Once you're used to drop bars, though, they do offer several hand positions to ease the strain of long rides, and if they're set up properly (about level with the saddle), you still have the option of riding on the tops, similar to flat bars.
One problem with swapping wheels to go from a geared bike to a fixie is chain tension. With a freewheel (more likely a cassette, these days), the derailleur takes up slack in the chain, but when you run a fixed gear, the chain has to be snug. You can run a derailleur as a chain tensioner with a singlespeed freewheel, but I can't quite envision a fixie system where that would work.
When you're shopping, consider looking for a bike that has room for largish tires, at least 28mm and preferably 32 to 35. You don't have to use them if you'd rather run 23s, but on city streets you may change your mind after a few weeks, and it's nice to have the option.