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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 01-24-08, 04:05 PM   #1
lordconqueror
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Flatbar 'Cross Bikes

Who here has raced a flat bar 'cross bike before? It seems like it would be alot cheaper to do, and I don't really race competitively (I think the highest I placed in 12 races was 39/72), so I can't see there being too much of a performance disadvantage. Thanks!
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Old 01-24-08, 04:45 PM   #2
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I plan to set my new Rob Roy up with a flat bar and mini-v brakes. Hopefully I will not be mistaken for a fixed-gear freestyler.
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Old 01-24-08, 05:42 PM   #3
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It is done. I don't know what would make it cheaper than using drop bars, though.

Seems like most of them as use flat bars are also singlespeeders. Maybe there's some sort of affinity between SS 29ers and the SS cross. Also, there is sometimes an incompatibility between mtn shifters and road drive train, so most people just stick with road bars.

Thomas Frischknecht nabbed a second place in the 1997 World Championships using flat bars. UCI subsequently banned the use of flat bars in cross, but they are fine for almost all local races (provided you leave the bar-ends at home). [But I've read stories about overzealous butthead organizers doing weird things this year, so be sure to check.]

A lot of guys spend 95% of the time in the drops, so why not just use flat bars and have better control of the brakes? If you grab the left drop when you shoulder the bike, you have to figure out a different place to grab, no biggy.
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Old 01-24-08, 06:01 PM   #4
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It is done. I don't know what would make it cheaper than using drop bars, though.
probably the lack of inexpensive STI shifters. Even Sora is expensive if you're building something up.

bar ends would do the trick though.

flat bars opens up the possibility of racing on a $400 hybrid.
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Old 01-24-08, 08:21 PM   #5
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flat bars opens up the possibility of racing on a $400 hybrid.
Truth be told, you can buy a vintage rigid mountain bike on eBay for $200 or less, throw some smaller tires on, and be pretty damned competitive.

But I don't think that's what the OP meant.

If you want a light bike that you can throw on your shoulder, it won't come with flat bars.
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Old 01-25-08, 08:39 AM   #6
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If you want a light bike that you can throw on your shoulder, it won't come with flat bars.
not true. towards the end of college i rode a fuji absolute that was one of the lightest bikes i've owned to this day. it had slicks, but also v brakes and clearance for fat tires and would have served me quite well in a race.

what it comes down to is preference. it's not too hard to piece together an affordable bike with either flat or road bars. if you choose flat bars, you are quite likely to find a reasonably specced sub $500 new bike that will do everything you need it to do. these bikes are sometimes marketed as "flat bar road bikes" (although watch out for calipers if you want to run fat tires) or "hybrids" but they're really just cross bikes with flat bars.

the advantages to having and using road drops are many and well documented, but some people prefer flat bars. and they're lucky to have a great selection of affordable bikes as long as they don't get too hung up on marketing.
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Old 01-25-08, 08:50 AM   #7
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i saw a guy racing fixed on a flatbar Surly Steamroller last season. he finished in the top 15, as i recall.
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Old 01-25-08, 11:03 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by lordconqueror View Post
Who here has raced a flat bar 'cross bike before? It seems like it would be alot cheaper to do, and I don't really race competitively (I think the highest I placed in 12 races was 39/72), so I can't see there being too much of a performance disadvantage. Thanks!
I once placed 2nd in the Bs with a flat bar Cannondale hardtail MTB. It's the motor.
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Old 01-25-08, 01:28 PM   #9
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I once placed 2nd in the Bs with a flat bar Cannondale hardtail MTB. It's the motor.
+1, race performance is about the engine and experience, so (OP) I would try some flatbar dismounts/remounts and see how it goes.
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Old 01-25-08, 04:46 PM   #10
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Well, after reading thru all of this, and studying the completed cyclocross auctions on ebay right now, I have opted against trying to build a flatbar rig up. It seems that overall a complete bike is cheaper than a frame by itself by the time you add up the price of all the components. I really only have a front wheel and a fork right now to put into a build for next fall, so it would save me alot of time, too, just to smack down the $500 or so that a 'cross bike seems to be going for.
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Old 01-26-08, 06:12 PM   #11
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I raced a $400 trekking hybrid this year. It was fun. I did have trouble with other things, but the bars were not one of them. In fact, I was able to use v-brakes, so I could slow down really well. I would say buying a full bike used or on sale would be a better value option. My Raleigh is super light, steel and $500
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