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"Fitness" bike for a safer commute? Thoughts on drop and flat bars

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"Fitness" bike for a safer commute? Thoughts on drop and flat bars

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Old 06-28-18, 08:04 AM
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Mrarf
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"Fitness" bike for a safer commute? Thoughts on drop and flat bars

Hey guys,

This is my first post on the forums. Decided to make an account because I'm kinda lost at the moment.

Here's my story: I'm not a hardcore cyclist. I mostly commute (4-15km) and bigger rides on the weekend (50km - 100km). Started commuting in 2015, with an old Alfameq frame, ditched the suspesion forks and was using a cheap rigid alumnium fork, 26", some nice gears, shimano acera, shimano v-brakes. A nice bike with a ****ty handlebar - got into a nasty crash at almost 50kph on a urban descend.

After that I bought a Rockhopper 2017 and started using it as a commuter (in 1 year did only 2 trails, and pretty basic ones on dirty roads, no roots or stones). But you know, it's not the best feeling to commute on a MTB with huge suspension forks and all that.

Recently a friend was selling a Trek 370 Racing with nice componentes (claris and tiagra) and I bought it for daily use. The thing is, I'm not sure I'll get used to drop bars around the city.
I feel I dont have the same reflex and response of a flat bar (breaking, steering and everything). Not all roads here are smooth, most are kinda rough, and drivers do dumb stuff quite often.

So in 1 month I had my first crash on the Trek (!!!). I'm not blaming the bike or the drops. I know I don't have the experience yet to react to the new setup (drops, different breaking speed, 23mm tires). It was low speed and silly, my mistake, but with a flat handle bar and wider tires I think nothing of this would had happen.

Now I'm considering getting a Sirrus for all my activities: faster than a MTB for commuting, but with more control than my Trek. And I think it will be pretty confortable for doing my longer rides. What you guys think?

I'm thinking about selling one of the two to get the Sirrus (probably the rockhopper and leave the trek for only roads rides, and use sirrus for city and most road rides too).
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Old 06-28-18, 08:20 AM
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Ride what is comfortable to yourself. Your commutes are pretty short, and you could do them on almost anything.

There are many people who ride drop bar bikes almost exclusively, and safely, both in the cities, as well as longer road trips.

Access to brakes can be very good and quick.

But, plenty of people who also like flat bar bikes.

There are "interrupter" or "cross top" brake levers that some like for riding from the tops of the bars. They're completely unnecessary if you have practice getting to the brakes from different hand positions, but some people like them.

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Old 06-28-18, 09:13 AM
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I didn't think I'd like my flat-bar bike as much as I do. I almost had the shop swap the bars out for drops when I bought it, but figured I'd try it as spec'ed first.

After many years of commuting I really know what works best for me. Flat bars with room for lights and other accessories, heads-up riding position for safe riding in traffic, rack and fender mounts, un-sprung fork because I just don't like absorption, and fast but durable tires. Fixed gear just because it's fun.



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Old 06-28-18, 09:53 AM
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Flat and swept back bars definitely make quick and full head turns easier. Ride with whatever works for you. Sometimes a change of handlebars on a bike makes a dramatic difference.

My wife has a Trek 7.3 FX, and it's a fantastic bike. It has flat bars, and her position is semi-upright. The Sirrus looks similar, though I'm told the geometry has some differences. The Sirrus might promote more leaning forward than the Trek.
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Old 06-28-18, 09:56 AM
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That should work for ya.

For me, its important that it takes beefy tires (sirrus does). I like to do very fast commutes on 32mm tires (due to the issues you mentioned). Sometimes I'll do 28mm tires (for fast road rides) or 40mm tires (for more gravel oriented rides), but 32-35 is a pretty good all around size that can take the beating of a commute.

you can adjust a lot about a bike, but maximum tire size can only be changed by getting a new frame. Your sirrus should do well with this.
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Old 06-28-18, 10:37 AM
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I have a commuter with flat bars that I use for inclement weather. The majority of my commuting is on my road bike using drop bars (weather's dry and warm here 80% of the year). I certainly do feel that I have more control with the flat bars, and I guess if I crashed a lot on my road bike I'd probably consider using my commuter bike more for commuting. But I like the speed I can get from my road bike so much that that's just what I use.
That's only my $.02, and it only applies to me .
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Old 06-28-18, 11:34 AM
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Thanks for the reply guys!

Will probably get the Sirrus as the main bike, and use the Trek for roads till I get more confortable with the drop bar.
My first bike (the Alfameq) was a MTB with rigid fork and slick tires, so kinda the hybrid bike feel. Guess I'll enjoy riding the Sirrus!

Also will try to find the max tire size for the Trek. Going from super wide mtb tires to a 23mm is quiet a shocker hahaha
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Old 06-28-18, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Mrarf View Post

Now I'm considering getting a Sirrus for all my activities: faster than a MTB for commuting, but with more control than my Trek. And I think it will be pretty confortable for doing my longer rides. What you guys think?
Sounds like a good middle ground. You might look for a little fatter tire (than 32mm). I consider fatter tires a safety feature on rough streets - the narrower the tire, the easier it is to get caught in a crack. Less of an issue if your streets are well maintained.
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Old 06-28-18, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Sounds like a good middle ground. You might look for a little fatter tire (than 32mm). I consider fatter tires a safety feature on rough streets - the narrower the tire, the easier it is to get caught in a crack. Less of an issue if your streets are well maintained.
Yeah, I'm very uncofortable right now using 23mm haha. Here you can go from perfect road to hell from block to block. My crash was because of this, a douchy car didn't give me space so I had to squeeze to the very side of the lane, where all the sand, little rocks and all kind of things are. My front just got sweeped away.

From what I could find, you can fit a 35mm tire on Sirrus, and some managed to get a 40mm kenda. Think it depends on the year and if you're gonna use fenders of course. Couldn't find an exact answer for the Sirrus 2018.
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Old 06-28-18, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Mrarf View Post
Yeah, I'm very uncofortable right now using 23mm haha. Here you can go from perfect road to hell from block to block. My crash was because of this, a douchy car didn't give me space so I had to squeeze to the very side of the lane, where all the sand, little rocks and all kind of things are. My front just got sweeped away.

From what I could find, you can fit a 35mm tire on Sirrus, and some managed to get a 40mm kenda. Think it depends on the year and if you're gonna use fenders of course, Couldn't find an exact answer for the Sirrus 2018.
I'd start with the stock bike and feel it out. You see how those 32mm tires work, and see how much clearance there is for bigger tires if needed.
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Old 06-28-18, 02:06 PM
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I got my 25mm tires caught in a crack in the concrete, and I managed to stay up, but it was close. I'm pretty experienced with narrow tires, but I don't normally recommend them. Wider tires are usually better.

Your plan sounds great, to keep your Trek and add a Sirrus to your collection.
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Old 06-28-18, 05:02 PM
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I rode drop bar until early this year when, due to the cost of replacing controls, I switched to flat bar.

To me, flat bars are dramatically better, only I didn't know it because "because a proper bike is one that had drop bars."

I do have bar horns for climbing out of the saddle.
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Old 06-28-18, 06:16 PM
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No objection. Hybrids work well.
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Old 06-28-18, 10:59 PM
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I use drop bars year round, including with 700x35 studded tires in the winter. I like them better, have never felt that I was giving up anything in control. I use a cross lever on my winter bike. Admittedly, in the summer I am mostly on paths, but winter they aren't plowed so I am on roads with traffic. If you prefer and feel safer with flat bars use them, but it isn't a fault with the bar type, just what you prefer (and possibly fit).
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Old 06-28-18, 11:31 PM
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I vastly prefer a drop bar road bike for my commute but 23mm tires can make for very unsettling rides, no doubt. In the past year, I've commuted on my cruiser, commuter, and road bikes, and used tire widths from 35mm to 37mm to 32mm to 25mm to 28mm to 23mm and now to 25mm front/28mm back. Tried 23mm in front in order to fit under a front fender, and I crashed once misjudging a turn and had some near crashes on pavement cracks. Going to 25mm (actual width even wider than that) of the same tire has felt sooo much better that I'm willing to deal with a little fender rub.

As for position, once I got a road bike, I pretty much stopped commuting on my upright bikes. My road bike makes cutting through headwind and climbing so much more efficient, and I feel safer descending with a lower center of gravity as well, even though my road bike has mechanical disc brakes while my commuter has stronger hydraulic brakes.
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Old 06-28-18, 11:46 PM
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Drops are an acquired taste, in my opinion. I used to hate them.

It sounds to me like you're building a quiver. Hybrids with flats make a lot of sense for urban commuting and versatility/stability/visibility. They're also a pretty useful part of a quiver of bikes. It always comes back to fit. What fits your wants and your body's needs.

I've gotten tonnes of miles out of my commuter hybrid. I still prefer my dropped fixie with the fattest tires they'll fit (25mm front, 28mm back), but the hybrid has been assigned to bike chariot duties, and I still love riding it. I added aero bars for headwinds. The rest of it hasn't changed at all.

If you want to try a fun experiment, try relaxing both arms at your side, and then raise them up in font of you a few times. This might give you a clue as to what natural angle your wrists are at.

The Specialized Sirrus looks amazing! Which option are you considering (there appears to be 7).

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Old 06-29-18, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Bang0Bang00 View Post
Drops are an acquired taste, in my opinion. I used to hate them.

It sounds to me like you're building a quiver. Hybrids with flats make a lot of sense for urban commuting and versatility/stability/visibility. They're also a pretty useful part of a quiver of bikes. It always comes back to fit. What fits your wants and your body's needs.

I've gotten tonnes of miles out of my commuter hybrid. I still prefer my dropped fixie with the fattest tires they'll fit (25mm front, 28mm back), but the hybrid has been assigned to bike chariot duties, and I still love riding it. I added aero bars for headwinds. The rest of it hasn't changed at all.

If you want to try a fun experiment, try relaxing both arms at your side, and then raise them up in font of you a few times. This might give you a clue as to what natural angle your wrists are at.

The Specialized Sirrus looks amazing! Which option are you considering (there appears to be 7).
I'm thinking about the most basic one, alloy with v-brakes. It comes with shimano altus front and rear derailleur. Another option (budget wise) is the alloy disc, that is 25% more expensive but comes with hydraulic disc brakes, shimano altus on rear and tourney on front.

My first commuter bike had shimano v-brakes and they never failed me (even on wet conditions middle city traffic) so hydraulic discs seems like overkill and unnecessary headaches with maintenance.

My rockhopper has acera on rear and tourney on front (2017), is it worth getting the basic sirrus and swapping the altus for the acera and tourney (before selling the rockhopper)?

About the wrist thing, what do I do after knowing my neutral wrist angle? Does it has to do with hood positioning?
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Old 06-29-18, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
I vastly prefer a drop bar road bike for my commute but 23mm tires can make for very unsettling rides, no doubt. In the past year, I've commuted on my cruiser, commuter, and road bikes, and used tire widths from 35mm to 37mm to 32mm to 25mm to 28mm to 23mm and now to 25mm front/28mm back. Tried 23mm in front in order to fit under a front fender, and I crashed once misjudging a turn and had some near crashes on pavement cracks. Going to 25mm (actual width even wider than that) of the same tire has felt sooo much better that I'm willing to deal with a little fender rub.

As for position, once I got a road bike, I pretty much stopped commuting on my upright bikes. My road bike makes cutting through headwind and climbing so much more efficient, and I feel safer descending with a lower center of gravity as well, even though my road bike has mechanical disc brakes while my commuter has stronger hydraulic brakes.
I think I can fit 28mm on the trek (25mm for sure). Gonna give this a try. I guess after some time on the saddle with drop bars, adjusting the hoods and wider tires I will feel more confortable and confident using it
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Old 06-29-18, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Mrarf View Post
I'm thinking about the most basic one, alloy with v-brakes. It comes with shimano altus front and rear derailleur. Another option (budget wise) is the alloy disc, that is 25% more expensive but comes with hydraulic disc brakes, shimano altus on rear and tourney on front.

My first commuter bike had shimano v-brakes and they never failed me (even on wet conditions middle city traffic) so hydraulic discs seems like overkill and unnecessary headaches with maintenance.

My rockhopper has acera on rear and tourney on front (2017), is it worth getting the basic sirrus and swapping the altus for the acera and tourney (before selling the rockhopper)?
Disc brake maintenance is definitely a headache, so because rim brakes have worked for you, I would vote for saving the money and sticking to a rim brake bike.

Tourney is the lowest-tiered, named Shimano groupset. Don't downgrade an Altus component to Tourney unless the Altus is some older generation that is clearly inferior in operation.

I have no experience with the Altus or Acera RDs, but the Tourney RD on my cheapo tandem works fine so I wouldn't think it'd be worth the hassle to swap, especially since the new Altus might be better than prev gen Acera due to trickle-down Shimano tech.

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Old 07-03-18, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Mrarf View Post
Now I'm considering getting a Sirrus for all my activities: faster than a MTB for commuting, but with more control than my Trek. And I think it will be pretty comfortable for doing my longer rides. What you guys think?
I think that's a good way to go. A hybrid like a sirrus is only slightly slower than a full on road bike because of the slightly less aerodynamic riding position. No need to be uncomfortable (or put yourself in slightly more danger while riding) for a 0.1% improvement in speed.

Which is more comfortable varies from person to person generally people usually find more upright bike more comfortable to ride.

When I test road several models of the specialized Sirrus a few years ago with my brother the only one I really liked comfort-wise was the full carbon version ($1200 or so). I know they've updated them since then but their aluminum models had to much road buzz through the bars for my taste. The next year I rode a cheaper aluminum straight bar hybrid from Giant and it was a ride about close to the specialized sirrus in ride quality (also with skinny tires around 25c) and a lot cheaper, I think it was closer to $600. Sometime else you might check out.

Originally Posted by Mrarf View Post
Here's my story: I'm not a hardcore cyclist. I mostly commute (4-15km) and bigger rides on the weekend (50km - 100km).
Holy #Humblebrag , lol.

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Old 07-03-18, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
Disc brake maintenance is definitely a headache
Haven't hear this fact before; I can't imagine commuting in New England weather without discs. Perhaps rim brakes perform adequately in a dry climate, but not for me.
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Old 07-04-18, 04:39 PM
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Thank you all for the info, guys! A friend of a friend is going to sell his Sirrus (de intermediate one, with some upgrades), probably gonna get it
Originally Posted by surak View Post
Disc brake maintenance is definitely a headache, so because rim brakes have worked for you, I would vote for saving the money and sticking to a rim brake bike.

Tourney is the lowest-tiered, named Shimano groupset. Don't downgrade an Altus component to Tourney unless the Altus is some older generation that is clearly inferior in operation.

I have no experience with the Altus or Acera RDs, but the Tourney RD on my cheapo tandem works fine so I wouldn't think it'd be worth the hassle to swap, especially since the new Altus might be better than prev gen Acera due to trickle-down Shimano tech.
Thanks for the clarification on shimano hierarchy!
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Old 07-04-18, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
I think that's a good way to go. A hybrid like a sirrus is only slightly slower than a full on road bike because of the slightly less aerodynamic riding position. No need to be uncomfortable (or put yourself in slightly more danger while riding) for a 0.1% improvement in speed.

Which is more comfortable varies from person to person generally people usually find more upright bike more comfortable to ride.

When I test road several models of the specialized Sirrus a few years ago with my brother the only one I really liked comfort-wise was the full carbon version ($1200 or so). I know they've updated them since then but their aluminum models had to much road buzz through the bars for my taste. The next year I rode a cheaper aluminum straight bar hybrid from Giant and it was a ride about close to the specialized sirrus in ride quality (also with skinny tires around 25c) and a lot cheaper, I think it was closer to $600. Sometime else you might check out.



Holy Humblebrag , lol.
hahaha humblebrag. I said because for every 10 50km ride, there's only 1 100k (and at low average speed) so yeahhh, and even the 50k ones are very rare

Gonna check the Giants too! Thanks for the headsup
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Old 07-31-18, 03:05 PM
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Soo, some time has passed since the last post!

Just sold my Rockhopper (don't know if it was a good idea. god I hate selling bikes) and trying to sell my trek too. A friend is selling a Sirrus Sport 2017 (with upgraded parts) for a very low price. He rode 7000 kms with it. My question is: carbon fork, it can take some hits right? Kinda ****ty streets, curbs and etc.

Been thinking about the Crosstrail or getting a more recent rockhopper with urban tires. Yep, kinda lost right now.
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Old 08-01-18, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Mrarf View Post
Soo, some time has passed since the last post!

Just sold my Rockhopper (don't know if it was a good idea. god I hate selling bikes) and trying to sell my trek too. A friend is selling a Sirrus Sport 2017 (with upgraded parts) for a very low price. He rode 7000 kms with it. My question is: carbon fork, it can take some hits right? Kinda ****ty streets, curbs and etc.

Been thinking about the Crosstrail or getting a more recent rockhopper with urban tires. Yep, kinda lost right now.
Modern carbon forks are far more tough than needed to handle even terrible city streets. If your tire can handle it the fork can handle it.

However, if you're not entirely happy with your current sirrus, I'm not sure buying another sirrus is the way to go. When I was helping my brother bike shop I test rode several sirrus-like bikes with him. I personally didn't like the trek fx at all. The sirrus I at the time I only really liked the full carbon version. (I believe they've redesigned it since then as well). The next year I rode a Giant I actually liked that the best. You can also like one generation of a manufacturers bike and dislike the next generation when they redesign it differently. If you're not happy try test riding a few different brands from different shops before actually buying something new.
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