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  1. #1
    Senior Member geeklpc1985's Avatar
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    What is more comfortable flat bar or road bars? I'm updating my Marin Novato, and need some help.

    Thanks,
    GEEK
    Last edited by geeklpc1985; 03-15-05 at 01:37 PM.
    Super Geek
    2004 Martin Novato: 10613 miles, Ride in Peace (DOD: 12/05/06)
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  2. #2
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    For me, flat bars are ok for an hour or two but my hands seem to feel very uncomfortable stuck in the limited positions they offer (even with bar ends) when I'm riding all day. I honestly would find it torture to tour with flat bars. But that's just me. You'll hear different from others, I'm sure.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  3. #3
    Slow and unsteady
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    I don't like drop bars. Give me flat bars with bar-ends (or something similar like a Brahma bar).

    But I didn't find that out until I had tried both for awhile.

  4. #4
    1. e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Avatar
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    Drop bars. Ditto to what Blackberry said. I need hand positions, and they provide me plenty. Just have to have them high enough so that I'm not putting massive torso weight on my wrists and thenar areas.

    Sheldon Brown has a rather hilarious, ingenious, and functional Surly with both droppers and flat bars (and a Rohloff, and dual disc/cantilever brakes...that guy is excellent).

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/s...off/index.html
    Last edited by Alekhine; 03-13-05 at 08:56 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member madhouse's Avatar
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    I bought a flat bar road bike for commuting and found that I need/want more hand posisitons. I also wanted a way to get out of the wind more when needed. I put a clip-on aero bar along with bar ends... It looks rather hideous, but is very effective. I think I would be happier with drops though, and am planning to put some on this summer.

  6. #6
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Can't you pop some inline brake levers on your drop bars, then bring the drop bar a little higher and towards you a little so you can essentially use them like a flat bar if you want.
    You can get the same hand positions with a flatbar and bar ends. But believe me, the first time you hit a 20 mile section of headwind, you'd be very glad you have your drops.

  7. #7
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Flat bars seem more comfortable for short trips and rides up to maybe 2 hours. After that the extra hand positions on the drop bars provide more comfort. One does not have to have drop bars very, very low. With a taller stem you can somewhat have your cake and eat it. You can be up high like straight bars on the tops and still get low for headwinds and speed. This is very comfortable on long tours or rides.
    As slvoid says even if you only going 20 or even 10 miles in a headwind, you will love the drops.

  8. #8
    aspiring wannabe hoogie's Avatar
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    flat bars for me ...

    I used to have drop bars on my trek 520 and also more recently on my Thorn Nomad, but after swapping them for flat bars I find these more comfortable ...

    pics of my Thorn Nomad and its development ...

    everyone has their own taste and opinion in this ...
    thought for today: "Does my ass look fast on this bike?"

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    I bought a Trek 520 last year and planned to go with the drop bars. I tried to make it work and tried some more but I never got comfortable with them. I finally switched to the flat bars and I am much happier. I plan to add some bar-ends this year.

  10. #10
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Drop bars here, it is a personal preference...like leather saddle or... I just got done switching my Giant Excursion over to drop bars from flat bars, much nicer for me to ride on the road now. Part of it may be what you started out riding. I rode drop bars on the road for over 15 years before I ever got my first flat bar bike. Rode cyclo-cross too with the drop bars.

    Aaron

  11. #11
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    I've had no end of problems converting from drops to flat bars re setting-up and now numb hands. Now I have ditched the rubber grips as I think that they, being solid, tend to transmit road vibrations to the hands. So now have copied my usual way with drops ie foam grips covered with cork tape extending all the way up the barends and providing I hope sufficient hand positions. I think I'll thicken them a little at the transition of bars to barends with more tape. Here's hoping!
    Last edited by onbike 1939; 03-14-05 at 06:46 AM. Reason: trying to add attach.

  12. #12
    Senior Member royalflash's Avatar
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    I would go for a flat bar- you can get quite a lot of different hand positions with wide aerobar and also achieve a reasonable aerodynamic shape if you stretch out on them. Personally I don't really like drop bars.
    only the dead have seen the end of mass motorized stupidity

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  13. #13
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Has anyone used a "butterfly" -style handlebar? Are they any good?

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Flats for me. No problem doing big distances. Specialized Large grips, set of bar ends which I have not used much and a pair of cycling gloves.
    Just could not warm to drop bars - at my stage in life I don't use the drops that much anyway.

  15. #15
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    I have a bike with a drop bar, and it is okay for a short while, but after that, the place between the index finger and the thumb is sore from riding on the hoods. I don't use the drops much, and I don't use the top part much either, so it is like there is only one position for me, and it is is an uncomfortable one for me. I won't be buying any more drop bars.

    Who makes that butterfly bar?
    Last edited by ScituateJohn; 03-14-05 at 10:13 AM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoogie
    flat bars for me ...

    I used to have drop bars on my trek 520 and also more recently on my Thorn Nomad, but after swapping them for flat bars I find these more comfortable ...

    pics of my Thorn Nomad and its development ...

    everyone has their own taste and opinion in this ...
    I noticed your handlebars were probably lower than 2 inches (from the saddle) when you had the drops. You could never get comfortable on drops that low and this could have been your problem.
    Last edited by Dahon.Steve; 03-16-05 at 08:58 AM.

  17. #17
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScituateJohn
    Who makes that butterfly bar?
    That particular one was from the German web store Roseversand. I don't know the manufacturer. Here's the Nashbar version.

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  18. #18
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    I'm currently trying out a set of modified "Trekking" bars (similar to the butterfly bars above) that I got on sale form Nashbar for $12.00. So far I think this set-up is great. Another option to throw into the mix. Here are some pictures of how I modified the bars and the finished product.
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/journ..._id=17715&v=3v

  19. #19
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    I'm curious.

    Since I have used nothing but drop bars since I graduated from my balloon tire bike 4/1 2 decades ago (and 80,000+ miles ago -- would have been more but for military service and a total lack of roads at one point in our living situation) ago, I was wondering what it is about drop bars that people don't like or can't get used to.
    Last edited by sakarias; 03-14-05 at 07:39 PM.
    Mike Sakarias
    Juneau Alaska

  20. #20
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geeklpc1985
    What is more comfortable flat bar or toad bars?
    I prefer toad bars because they are softer than flat bars and the eat flies and mosquitos in camp.

  21. #21
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    I prefer toad bars because they are softer than flat bars and the eat flies and mosquitos in camp.
    I'll have what he's having!

  22. #22
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha
    Has anyone used a "butterfly" -style handlebar? Are they any good?

    --J
    Tried 'em for a week on a rental bike in the UK. Riding 35-60 miles per day. I liked them quite a bit and thought they'd be superb for touring.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  23. #23
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sakarias
    I'm curious.

    Since I have used nothing but drop bars since I graduated from my balloon tire bike 4/1 2 decades ago (and 80,000+ miles ago -- would have been more but for military service and a total lack of roads at one point in our living situation) ago, I was wondering what it is about drop bars that people don't like or can't get used to.
    I think many people get road bikes that are fitted improrperly and/or poorly set up. When their hands hurt and they can't reach the drops, they blame the bars.

    Incidentally, flat bars are often seen as the =only= alternative to drop bars for more upright riding when there are other options that give the multiple hand positions of drop bars and the upright posture of flat bars. Flat bars really seem to me to be the worst of all worlds for distance riding, but some people manage with them.

  24. #24
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfspeed
    I think many people get road bikes that are fitted improrperly and/or poorly set up. When their hands hurt and they can't reach the drops, they blame the bars.

    Incidentally, flat bars are often seen as the =only= alternative to drop bars for more upright riding when there are other options that give the multiple hand positions of drop bars and the upright posture of flat bars. Flat bars really seem to me to be the worst of all worlds for distance riding, but some people manage with them.
    This is an excellent point. A lot of people convert to straight bars when all they need is a higher or shorter stem. On my touring bikes, I have the top of the drop bars even with seat. I can sit way up this way, and still get lower on the drops when needed. This is the best of both worlds. Many new touring bikes I see are like this or close to it.

    A racer wants to get his back flat and parallel with the ground for aerodynamics. It also takes a long time to adjust your body to this position. Not for me on a century. But I want those drops too. And the hoods for climbing. They work like bar ends for climbing, you are more forward.

    Flat bars give you better control off road, that's what they were designed for.

  25. #25
    Senior Member royalflash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sakarias
    I'm curious.

    Since I have used nothing but drop bars since I graduated from my balloon tire bike 4/1 2 decades ago (and 80,000+ miles ago -- would have been more but for military service and a total lack of roads at one point in our living situation) ago, I was wondering what it is about drop bars that people don't like or can't get used to.
    Its just personal preference and you will probably think that I am talking rubbish but In my case I didnt like having the brakes in such an inaccessible position. It seemed that the only way for me to get a decent pressure on the brakes was to ride in the drops. Since most riders spend most time on the hoods/tops it just didn┤t make any sense to me. Trying to swap to the drops to brake in an emergency is quite awkward. This is compounded by the fact that the brakes are positioned (due to having them reachable both from the hoods and the drops) in such a compromise position that they are not easy to reach from the drops.

    I also don┤t like the feeling of lack of control with drop bars.

    Riding on the hoods gave me Carpal tunnel and this is something I have never experienced with flat bars.

    The thin bar tape didnt help much with preventing vibration.

    I also was distinctly unimpressed by the Ultegra STI shifters.

    Halfspeed is correct that some of the above points may be due to incorrect fitting but the end result made me give up on them.
    only the dead have seen the end of mass motorized stupidity

    Plato

    (well if he was alive today he would have written it)

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