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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 02-07-10, 10:56 AM   #1
nubcake
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Anyone use flat bars for brevet's?

I am looking for a new set up for my road bike handlebar wise. I am very tempted to switch over to a flat bar. I am running a flat bar on my SS cross bike and have done up to 7 hour rides on it with no real hand fatigue or discomfort at all yet my geared cross bike (also my road and long distance bike) I can do the same exact ride in the same amount of time and my the end my hands are tired and I tend to have issues with hand numbness as well. When on my drop bar bike I always find myself riding on the flats, I think it might have something to do with the angle of my hand while in the drops feels.

I also like the idea that it would be much easier to run an 11-34 cassette on the rear as well which would be nice for a couple tours I have planned later in the year.

If anyone has tried this and could let me know what worked and didn't that would be great.

Thanks
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Old 02-07-10, 12:32 PM   #2
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I have moved from flat bars to trekking bars. This project is going on this weekend and is still not completed yet but this is where I am at so far

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Old 02-07-10, 12:32 PM   #3
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I say if you don't have hand problems, then go for it.

But the setup of the road bike may be shifting your weight forward and putting more weight on your hands, whereas the ss cross bike is a little more upright. And using the flat bar on the road bike frame position may put more pressure on your hand and you may get the same soreness.

I personnally don't use flat bar except on my hybrid and mtb, both of which I hardly ever ride. I like drops for the multiple hand positions and I only use the drops when trying to hammer or cutting head winds.
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Old 02-07-10, 02:07 PM   #4
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I also like the idea that it would be much easier to run an 11-34 cassette on the rear as well which would be nice for a couple tours I have planned later in the year.
Go ahead and use flat bars if that is what you're comfortable with. However, the ability to run an 11-34 cassette on the rear will be as easy with flat bars as with road bars - road shifters will operate a mountain rear derailleur just as well as a road rear derailleur, and just as well as MTB shifters will. The only restriction would be to use 9-speed road shifters, which are becoming rarer; or, you could use a 10-speed shifter if you've got enough money to afford a 10-speed 11-34 cassette. If you want a crankset with MTB gearing, then the shifting will be simpler with flat bars than with drop bars, but otherwise shifting shouldn't really factor into your decision.
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Old 02-07-10, 04:49 PM   #5
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I am planning a 130 mile ride in June that I will be doing on a hybrid. In my research everything was coming back to Trekking Bars as to the advice I was given. I went and purchased them along with a few other goodies. The other thing I discovered was jell pads for under the wrap to add cushion to the bars. I will start commuting again in another month and I am excited to try them out.






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Old 02-07-10, 07:40 PM   #6
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I've been out on quite a few brevets, and honestly I've never seen anyone ride one with flat bars, or even trekking bars for that matter. It is almost exclusively all some form of drop bar. Comfort is key, so you should ride what you are comfortable with, but consider most 200k brevets will span at least 8-9 hours, unless you are super fast... possibly longer. The main advantage of properly setup drop bars is that they give your hands multiple positions, and also offer multiple rider positions. Not all drop bars are the same, it usually takes multiple attempts to get the right bar, and then to have it setup properly for your riding style, grip angle, ect. Maybe you need to get your handlebars up higher, or maybe you ride a frame that is too small for you (more common than you think)? How do you feel about riding flat bars into a 15-20mph headwind for 20 miles? Personally, the thought of riding a flat bar for 8-10 hours has my wrists screaming.

You can run a shimano mountain cassette/shifter with drop bars as well, easily as can be with bar end shifters, or use a 9sp brifter and you're all set, lots of the rando guys around here have 9sp brifters and a mountain cassette in the back. Or consider some sort of compact triple or trekking triple (26-36-48) if you are looking for more "sensible" gearing.
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Old 02-07-10, 07:50 PM   #7
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I've been out on quite a few brevets, and honestly I've never seen anyone ride one with flat bars, or even trekking bars for that matter..

this guy did a 300k that i organized last year - finished with the front group.






he's racing the tour divide this year.

ride what works. ride what fits. if a flat bar does it, great.

i loved the 'mary' bar on my fixed gear cross bike. never did a brevet - but plenty of 30-60-80-100 mile rides on it.
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Old 02-07-10, 07:54 PM   #8
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I'm not a fan of flat bars, but I'll speak to the 11 - 34 cassette you mentioned: Go for it, on flat or drop bars. I have an 11 - 32 on my brevet bike to tackle the hills, and I wouldn't switch for anything. I use bar-end shifters and a long cage Deore rear derailleur to handle the larger span cassette. Matched to a 34/48 compact up front, I can sit back and spin instead of having to stand and pump on the steep hills.
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Old 02-07-10, 08:06 PM   #9
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If you go to a straight flat bar you are going to limit the available hand potions from several to just one. Riding with your hands on the tops of the drop bars is the same position as they would be in on the flat bars. I don't see what you'd be gaining? If your hands are fatigued from riding in the drops, maybe your drop bars are not in the proper position? Your hand numbness tells me you need to get fitted properly on your bike. A properly fitted bike should be extremely comfortable for long distances.
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Old 02-07-10, 08:15 PM   #10
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this guy did a 300k that i organized last year - finished with the front group.
I definitely didn't mean any slight to folks riding with flat bars, as I said comfort is all that matters and if it works for ya then you should roll with it. I just got to thinking about the several dozen or so brevets I've done in the last few years and couldn't think of a single time I saw anyone ride one with a flat bar setup. Then I got to thinking if I'd actually seen anyone on anything other than drop bars, and yes... last weekend someone rode the 200k on bullhorns (fixed gear).

I couldn't even begin to think about spending 300k on a flat bar bike. My wrists would never be the same, more power to the homie rocking them in VT.
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Old 02-07-10, 08:19 PM   #11
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I have had a fit done before and had it double checked from another person I trust after a few months. I have terrible flexibility and issues with disc degeneration and a herniated disc as well.

Oddly enough on my SS cross bike which is very comfortable to me it has more handlebar to saddle drop than my drop bar bike (which is about level with the saddle)

Part of the difficulty in finding an 11-34 cassette is I am running sram and their shifters are only compatible with their XX 10 spd mountain groupo which is big big $$$ (think $300 cassette)

I am also wondering if it is because I am at home on a mountain bike more than any other bike, to me that set up just feels right and I figured if I run a little narrower bars than my mountain bike I really wouldn't be open to any more wind than a drop bar set up anyways, especially since I never ride in the drops for more than about a minute before I get uncomfortable.

Another part of the discomfort is I do alot of longer mixed terrain rides on my geared cross bike as well and sometimes they involve 30 mins or so of descending double track and fire roads and my hands start to cramp from having to squeeze the brakes for so long.

I know multiple hand positions is the big selling point for drop bars but what is the point if you never use the other hand positions anyways. Plus I did plan on running the ergon grips with their smaller bar end to give me another hand position anyways (I love the ergons on my mountain bike)

Anyone else have some experience with this set up? I might have to just give it a shot and hold off on selling my drop bar goodies for a month or so to see if I really like it.
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Old 02-07-10, 08:42 PM   #12
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Anyone else have some experience with this set up? I might have to just give it a shot and hold off on selling my drop bar goodies for a month or so to see if I really like it.
You could certainly do this. I think you should go back to your friend who fitted you and tell him about your numb hands. That shouldn't happen, period. There is something wrong.
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Old 02-08-10, 07:16 AM   #13
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.. last weekend someone rode the 200k on bullhorns (fixed gear).
bullhorns are alot like riding on the hoods...
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Old 02-08-10, 04:35 PM   #14
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bullhorns are alot like riding on the hoods...
I have an old scott mtn. bike handlebar that has the integrate bar ends (similar to bullhorns) and have done some long distance rides using them. They were a little wide on the ends so I felt like a parachute when I was going into a headwind. I learned pretty quickly to move my hands in towards the stem in those situations. You should try it or you will never find out if it works!
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Old 02-11-10, 01:51 PM   #15
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I am planning a 130 mile ride in June
Are you using those platform pedals?
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Old 02-11-10, 02:16 PM   #16
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You could certainly do this. I think you should go back to your friend who fitted you and tell him about your numb hands. That shouldn't happen, period. There is something wrong.
I'll add that when I had a riser bar on my hybrid, I'd get numb after 5-7 miles. I switched it to North Roads bars, and that helped a lot, but I still didn't like sitting that upright (the numbness moved from hands to butt!), and now that I've switched it to drops, I might get some aching in the webbing between thumb and finger, but haven't gotten numb in thousands of miles.
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Old 02-11-10, 10:08 PM   #17
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[QUOTE=Timber_8;10373855]I am planning a 130 mile ride in June that I will be doing on a hybrid. In my research everything was coming back to Trekking Bars as to the advice I was given. I went and purchased them along with a few other goodies. The other thing I discovered was jell pads for under the wrap to add cushion to the bars. I will start commuting again in another month and I am excited to try them out.




Well, I have a 7000zx with those trekking bars, and let me warn you that's alot of mass once you get over 50 miles .. you might be rethinking that advice you've received. My other distance bikes have drops, and on balance they seems to be the best compromise.
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Old 02-12-10, 08:16 AM   #18
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well, we shall see soon enough. The parts show up today and hopefully I will get a chance to install them after work and give it a shot this weekend. I will be posting how it goes for sure.

thanks for the advise guys
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Old 02-14-10, 02:18 AM   #19
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Got the swap finished up and I am very happy with the results so far. My longest ride on this specific set up has only been about 3 hours but for those 3 hours it felt great. I am really enjoying having an 11-34 cassette on the rear as well, makes it much easier for a spinner like myself to settle into a good rhythm even on the long steep climbs.
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Old 02-28-10, 08:45 AM   #20
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Finally did my first 200k on the new set up and in case anyone is curious about how it worked out for me it was super comfortable, I had no hand pain at all and felt like for me there were plenty of hand positions. Was also surprised that I didn't feel like I was catching any more wind than I did with my flat bar set up and yesterday had lots of riding through these valleys that acted like wind tunnels because of how windy it was that day.

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Old 02-28-10, 11:51 AM   #21
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Well, I have a 7000zx with those trekking bars, and let me warn you that's alot of mass once you get over 50 miles .. you might be rethinking that advice you've received. My other distance bikes have drops, and on balance they seems to be the best compromise.
Maybe, we will see, I am not exactly sure what you mean by a lot of mass. personally I can't stand riding in drops, This is the bike I have and use everyday. I am sure I will be fine, so far I have no regrets & find the bike quite comfortable

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