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Old 08-06-11, 07:57 PM   #1
McCallum
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Flat bar road bike vs Hybrid

This may have been asked and answered; if so give me the link. What is the difference between to two. I asked about a FBRB at one of the local shops and when they pointed the one they had out my wife exclaimed "Oh, it looks like your hybrid!" It did; I have bar ends on mine (better design IMHO) and without taking it down that was about the extent of the looking. The floor lady (whom I think was the owner; first time in this shop) said that the major difference is that a FBRB has Road bike gear 52 tooth on a RB and 42 tooth on a hybrid. So master(s) enlighten weedhooper please.
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Old 08-06-11, 08:24 PM   #2
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I don't know if there is an official definition, but a flat bar road bike has all road components except for a flat bar.. so road crank, road brakes (not linear pull or v-brakes), road RD and FD, shifters with road cable pull (which both Shimano and SRAM make). No suspension fork, no springy seat post.

A hybrid is a blend of components, but typically has an MTB drive train.
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Old 08-06-11, 08:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by McCallum View Post
This may have been asked and answered; if so give me the link. What is the difference between to two. I asked about a FBRB at one of the local shops and when they pointed the one they had out my wife exclaimed "Oh, it looks like your hybrid!" It did; I have bar ends on mine (better design IMHO) and without taking it down that was about the extent of the looking. The floor lady (whom I think was the owner; first time in this shop) said that the major difference is that a FBRB has Road bike gear 52 tooth on a RB and 42 tooth on a hybrid. So master(s) enlighten weedhooper please.
There you go. Buy a road bike and replace the handlebars. Voila! FBRB.
If you really wanna get froggy, add drop bar ends to your flat bar...

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Old 08-07-11, 11:10 AM   #4
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OK, that makes sense! I think I will stick with my hybrids; unless I can fun into a cheap in good shape used Road bike!
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Old 08-07-11, 03:23 PM   #5
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I wonder if people riding flatbar road bikes have ridden dropbars enough to form a credible opinion. Six or more hand positions versus one (maybe two)...
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Old 08-07-11, 03:33 PM   #6
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I wonder if people riding flatbar road bikes have ridden dropbars enough to form a credible opinion. Six or more hand positions versus one (maybe two)...
So are you saying that the only "credible opinion" is that drops are superior to flats? I ride essentially a flat bar road bike, routinely use three different hand positions, all of which turn my wrist in a different orientation and change where the pressure point is on my hand. Your description of six on drops is the highest number I have heard ascribed to them, five being more common, but the bulk of them keep your wrist in the same position, and all of them place load between thumb and forefinger.

Drops are a wonderful thing, but to each his own. I don't mean to sound snippy, but it seems that most people think flat bar riders do so out of ignorance. Which in turn seems ignorant.
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Old 08-07-11, 04:27 PM   #7
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No, that's not what I meant. Most people that have tried both do prefer dropbars for longer distances, but I am sure it is nowhere near 100%.

I have this impression from here, friends and family, and people in bike shops that flatbars are accessible and usable by all, and that dropbars are unapproachable or require a lot of skill to use. (They don't take a lot of skill at all, of course, but it does take a little while to become proficient with them and enjoy using them.)

The five (whoops! Lol) positions I use are: top center, top corners, shallow above/on the hoods, fully on the hoods, and in the drops.

Last edited by ColinL; 08-07-11 at 04:34 PM. Reason: counting.
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Old 08-07-11, 06:05 PM   #8
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I am glad I didn't offend, because that wasn't my intent. It is absolutely a pet peeve of mine, because every time a new person shows up at the group ride, they ask about my flat bars and explain the advantages of drops. Rubbed raw is probably an understatement on my part.. lol.

I know you ride both, and you and I seem to post in many of the same threads, so I realize you know pros and cons of both. Is the Litespeed a CC purchase? I oggled it there for a while but in the end decided to stay loyal to my flats. Glad they sold out of my size to remove temptation. Now the Wilier calls me... resistance may be futile.
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Old 08-07-11, 06:43 PM   #9
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Yep, I got my bike Litespeed last month from Competitive Cyclist. The Wilier is a great deall, too!

I borrowed a road bike and found out on my own the I preferred drops. I wouldn't try to ride a MTB trail with them, though.
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Old 08-07-11, 07:09 PM   #10
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I wonder if people riding flatbar road bikes have ridden dropbars enough to form a credible opinion. Six or more hand positions versus one (maybe two)...
You mean like a whole month?

I rode drop bars for 14 years. In the 1970s and most of the 80s they dominated the market. There wasn't a whole lot of options.
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Old 08-07-11, 08:39 PM   #11
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In '87, I built my Lotus with drops and downtube shifters, and can remember drooling over the "new" Shimano SIS downtube shifters (7 speed?). That was my third bike with drops. So I guess I could consider myself properly informed in choosing flat bars today.
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Old 08-08-11, 12:33 AM   #12
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I don't know if there is an official definition, but a flat bar road bike has all road components except for a flat bar.. so road crank, road brakes (not linear pull or v-brakes), road RD and FD, shifters with road cable pull (which both Shimano and SRAM make). No suspension fork, no springy seat post.

A hybrid is a blend of components, but typically has an MTB drive train.
So what does that make mine? My drivetrain is a mix of road and MTB - rear derailleur is Sora, rear casette is a road 9, front crank is a road triple (largest chainring ~50 teeth), but front derailleur and shifters are Deore. Hybrid? Flat bar road bike?

Doesn't really matter to me, though - all I know is it rides great and is awesome for long distance rides as well as for commuting.
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Old 08-08-11, 07:26 AM   #13
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You mean like a whole month?

I rode drop bars for 14 years. In the 1970s and most of the 80s they dominated the market. There wasn't a whole lot of options.
Not taking the flamebait.

I've ridden mountainbikes since I was 12, and dirtbikes since I was 5. I know all about flatbars. I started riding road bikes with drop bars last year, borrowing one now and then. Finally, I bought my own.

The fact that people initially liked riding big knobs on the street, and still do it despite the emergence of hybrids, tells me that a lot of people are drawn to flatbars for a variety of reasons.
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Old 11-15-14, 04:08 AM   #14
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I wonder if people riding flatbar road bikes have ridden dropbars enough to form a credible opinion. Six or more hand positions versus one (maybe two)...
I would expect most have if they are considering one. Still, one only needs one position - the right one for them.
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Old 11-15-14, 04:53 AM   #15
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I don't know what to call my trusty Soma.



She be a mix of roadbike, mtb, tourer, cx bike. As for drops, done plenty of brevets with them really don't like them. Give me my bullhorns any day.
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Old 11-15-14, 06:04 AM   #16
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I bought a used Novara Express XX that falls right in the middle of this debate. Cantis and an MTB drivetrain, but more road-like chainring sizes. At the end of the day, I still call it FBRB because it will only accept up to a 28mm tire with proper clearance. In my mind, when it takes at least 35mm which I consider the minimum for trails/offroad, it then can be considered a hybrid.
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Old 11-15-14, 07:02 AM   #17
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I bought a Hybrid with flatbars, for physical reasons.......... after 30 years on drops, and before that, 30 years on "regular bikes". It was either that, or give up riding ---------- I love Hybrids and flatbars................. I guess I could say that I have spent more years off of drops, and on regular bars. LOL
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Old 11-15-14, 12:26 PM   #18
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I had a Cannondale CAAD 8 road bike. It was a very sweet bike, but I really didn't like drops - they hurt my hands. So I had the drop bar replaced with a flat bar. The bike was much better for my hands but I discovered something I hadn't thought about before hand. A road bike has a shorter wheelbase and is, by design more "twitchy" which makes it less stable. While the bike was quick and climbed well, it struggled in the wind and fast downhills. It made me too concerned about holding it steady. Then I got a hybrid (Giant Escape 1) and found it to perform well and it was much more stable which made it more efficient. So a hybrid is not the same as a flatbar road bike.
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Old 11-15-14, 01:01 PM   #19
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I've owned both. Started out with a road bike, switched to flat bars for better control and leverage in tight urban riding situations. Added aero bars so i could still get aero.

Bought a Trek fx frame for a song and switched all the road bike stuff (except drive line), and flat bars over to the fx. This is my current ride.

The biggest difference is the lack of cornering clearance on the hybrid frame. The road bike frame had a higher bottom bracket placement. I lose 10 yards in every corner to the full road bike guys during club rides. Also my biggest chain ring is smaller than the one on an average road bike. Thus i have to spin much faster to hold the same road speed.
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Old 11-15-14, 04:19 PM   #20
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