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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) 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 : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Gravel bikes w/flat bars?

Old 01-09-21, 07:45 PM
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Gravel bikes w/flat bars?

I'm looking at bikes and am thinking maybe a gravel type bike might be a good choice. I've got some lower back issues and prefer to be a little more upright. Are there gravel bikes with flat bars or should I stick with some other hybrid type flat bar bike (Trek FX, Spec. Sirrius, etc.) instead of frankenbiking a gravel bike? My riding is mostly paved trails but I do ride some hard pack and am looking to get into some more non paved trails (not mountain bike type terrain).

Thanks for any input.
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Old 01-09-21, 08:07 PM
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Sorry I missed this thread:
Flat Bar Gravel Bike
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Old 01-09-21, 11:27 PM
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Specialized, All City, and several others make dedicated flat-bar gravel bikes. Or you can just put a flat bar or riser on a drop-bar gravel bike, but you'll probably want to change the stem. I've been running a Jones loop bar on my Black Mountain Monster Cross, and really like it. I think a flat-bar gravel bike is far superior to a hybrid.
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Old 01-10-21, 06:48 AM
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I bought my Salsa Vaya from a guy who had put a Jones Bar on it. About a year later, I replaced the Jones with the Moloko Bar and a longer stem. I ride gravel, packed dirt.....love the bar.
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Old 01-10-21, 06:58 AM
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Old school rigid mountain bikes make fine flat bar gravel bikes if you want to go cheap. Or look at Surly, Soma, Velo Orange if you're good with a steel frame.
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Old 01-10-21, 07:16 AM
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This is my 1993 Trek 950 set up with trekking bars and old school 3 x 7 shifting (it has a 135 rear so easy to run different wheels though). It would make a fine gravel bike if you like flat bars and it was an inexpensive build if that's your thing. Trekking bars are a cheap mod on an old MTB. If you go this route, just get a top end MTB with quality components.

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Old 01-10-21, 01:04 PM
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As a couple posters have pointed out, you'll save a lot of money by buying a hard tail or rigid 29er mountain bike and maybe substituting skinnier tires. Gravel drive trains and mtb drive trains appear to differ
only on the use of brifters for drop bars and maybe going 1x or 2x instead of 3x with the front chainring(s). Frame geometry in both categories appears to vary.
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Old 01-10-21, 01:42 PM
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Flat bar gravel bike is going to be the new hot trend:

https://www.marinbikes.com/bikes/2021-dsx-2

https://www.marinbikes.com/bikes/2021-muirwoods-rc

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/di...ext=96220-5602

https://www.cyclingabout.com/best-fl...el-bikes-2021/
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Old 01-10-21, 03:59 PM
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I guess my old hardtail GT with a susp.fork could qualify as a gravel bike (with susp fork). It's ridden lots of MD-PA-W.VA rail trails, as well as some rocky, rooty singletrack. Still going strong. I'm an "older" rider, haven't yet grasped the diff. between a "gravel" bike and a rigid mtn bike with a drop bar. To me, a flat bar "gravel" bike would be the same as a rigid mtn.bike. Seems many gravel bikes are steel framed, as are some older rigid mtn.bikes. Guess wheel size could be a diff between the two, as many older mtn.bikes were 26" wheels.
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Old 01-10-21, 04:57 PM
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Thanks for the replies,

My Traverse is sort of what I'm looking for and maybe with some gear changes it will be closer but I'd still have the suspension forks. Instead of dumping a lot of money into it, I'm looking at a new bike all together. Again, most of my riding is pavement and some hard packed trails and I am looking for some more usable speed and possibly a slightly different geometry. Bear with me, most of my bicycle riding was many years ago and things are different now as I try to sort out the many options out there. With my back/neck issues and the years in my youth riding motocross/enduro riding, I just like the flat bar position for comfort and the extra control I get especially in the non paved stuff. It does seem that this could evolve into a very popular type of bike. I think the folks more used to road bikes stick to the drop down bars on their gravel bikes and those more used to unpaved and maybe have back issues, go with a flat bar option.
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Old 01-11-21, 01:46 PM
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I can see no reason with the advent of flat bar gravel bikes why anyone would buy a new "hybrid" these days(aside from availability or cost of course). The gravel rig will likely be at least as good on pavement, and most certainly better on dirt. More versatile for sure.
I have a drop bar and a flat-bar gravel bike - I love them both for different reasons. In my case the flat bar one is singlespeed so I like those bars for muscling up climbs, but I also like it just for the different riding position and vibe.

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Old 01-11-21, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by MrWasabi View Post
Thanks for the replies,

My Traverse is sort of what I'm looking for and maybe with some gear changes it will be closer but I'd still have the suspension forks. Instead of dumping a lot of money into it, I'm looking at a new bike all together. Again, most of my riding is pavement and some hard packed trails and I am looking for some more usable speed and possibly a slightly different geometry. Bear with me, most of my bicycle riding was many years ago and things are different now as I try to sort out the many options out there. With my back/neck issues and the years in my youth riding motocross/enduro riding, I just like the flat bar position for comfort and the extra control I get especially in the non paved stuff. It does seem that this could evolve into a very popular type of bike. I think the folks more used to road bikes stick to the drop down bars on their gravel bikes and those more used to unpaved and maybe have back issues, go with a flat bar option.
IMHO you don't need suspension for the type of riding you describe. Or for most riding, really. If I worked at a shop I'd definitely try and steer folks to a modern flat bar gravel bike over a hybrid with a heavy, usually not very good, suspension fork. That goes for lots of hardtails too frankly. So many people riding heavy, entry-level hardtails with crappy forks and they only ever see bike paths. I'm a steel guy so I'm biased but if your budget will allow, I think the Surly Bridge Club is a real winner. Super versatile, can run 700c or 650B, great ride quality: https://surlybikes.com/bikes/bridge_club
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Old 01-11-21, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by pbass View Post
IMHO you don't need suspension for the type of riding you describe. Or for most riding, really. If I worked at a shop I'd definitely try and steer folks to a modern flat bar gravel bike over a hybrid with a heavy, usually not very good, suspension fork. That goes for lots of hardtails too frankly. So many people riding heavy, entry-level hardtails with crappy forks and they only ever see bike paths. I'm a steel guy so I'm biased but if your budget will allow, I think the Surly Bridge Club is a real winner. Super versatile, can run 700c or 650B, great ride quality: https://surlybikes.com/bikes/bridge_club
Thanks for the input,

Yeah, I agree that's why I mentioned I'd still have the suspension forks which I don't want even after I did any gearing changes. I bought the Traverse used for a good deal a few years ago and have already done a few things to it. It's a great bike but instead of dumping money into it, I'd rather get something built more for my needs thus my inquiry here about a flat bared gravel bike.
https://archive.fujibikes.com/2014/Fuji/traverse-132

I like the looks on paper of the Specialized Diverge Expert and Comp EVOs, I just need to find one of either in a medium. I'd like to stay $2k or under but I'm sure if I stumbled the Diverge Expert, I'd probably splurge. That Surly looks good too. Hopefully we have more flat bar gravel bike options soon as stated earlier, this could be a very popular bike for most's riding habits.
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Old 01-11-21, 02:40 PM
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For $1600 that Diverge Comp E5 EVO looks pretty sweet. Comes stock with a dropper post too which is pretty darn cool. I bet you'd enjoy a 1x drivetrain as well.
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Old 01-11-21, 02:42 PM
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I've noticed that my older 80's steel bikes do pretty well without a suspension fork. I think the popularity of "suspension" forks is partly due to the move to aluminum frames/forks. Less expensive aluminum
frames in the 90's sometimes needed a suspension fork. More cycnically, I also think it gave companies a reason to charge a little more. I have a higher end aluminum bike with a carbon fiber fixed fork that seems to help quite a bit with the vibration/bumps.

Originally Posted by MrWasabi View Post
Thanks for the input,

Yeah, I agree that's why I mentioned I'd still have the suspension forks which I don't want even after I did any gearing changes. I bought the Traverse used for a good deal a few years ago and have already done a few things to it. It's a great bike but instead of dumping money into it, I'd rather get something built more for my needs thus my inquiry here about a flat bared gravel bike.
https://archive.fujibikes.com/2014/Fuji/traverse-132

I like the looks on paper of the Specialized Diverge Expert and Comp EVOs, I just need to find one of either in a medium. I'd like to stay $2k or under but I'm sure if I stumbled the Diverge Expert, I'd probably splurge. That Surly looks good too. Hopefully we have more flat bar gravel bike options soon as stated earlier, this could be a very popular bike for most's riding habits.
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Old 01-11-21, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by pbass View Post
For $1600 that Diverge Comp E5 EVO looks pretty sweet. Comes stock with a dropper post too which is pretty darn cool. I bet you'd enjoy a 1x drivetrain as well.
Yeah, one of the things I wanted to do with my Traverse was move to a 1x drivetrain so I'd be getting even more of what I wanted with the Diverge. I don't need a lot of gears, just some more speed in some actual useful gears to my riding. I pretty dead set on getting one of those Diverge bikes if I can find one in stock in medium.
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Old 01-12-21, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by pbass View Post
I can see no reason with the advent of flat bar gravel bikes why anyone would buy a new "hybrid" these days(aside from availability or cost of course). The gravel rig will likely be at least as good on pavement, and most certainly better on dirt. More versatile for sure.
I have a drop bar and a flat-bar gravel bike - I love them both for different reasons. In my case the fat bar one is singlespeed so I like those bars more muscling up climbs, but I also like it just for the different riding position and vibe.
A hybrid will be even much more upright than a flat bar gravel n=bike. Much more. These are very different bikes...
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Old 01-12-21, 06:22 PM
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Also high on the list and at a very reasonable cost - Salsa Journeyman
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Old 01-19-21, 02:16 PM
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Is shoulder width a good gauge for flat bar width? For me that's a lot more narrow (530mm) than my current flat bars are (640mm). I don't want them as wide as some MTB bars but don't want to go too narrow. I'm thinking maybe something in the 590 range would be best. Stem is 80mm, rise is 15mm, sweep is 9 degree. I notice the Diverge bars are 750mm which seems wide to me.

Last edited by MrWasabi; 01-19-21 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 01-19-21, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
A hybrid will be even much more upright than a flat bar gravel n=bike. Much more. These are very different bikes...
Good point. I guess a hybrid is still going to lean more into "comfort bike" territory.
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Old 01-19-21, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by pbass View Post
IMHO you don't need suspension for the type of riding you describe. Or for most riding, really. If I worked at a shop I'd definitely try and steer folks to a modern flat bar gravel bike over a hybrid with a heavy, usually not very good, suspension fork. That goes for lots of hardtails too frankly. So many people riding heavy, entry-level hardtails with crappy forks and they only ever see bike paths. I'm a steel guy so I'm biased but if your budget will allow, I think the Surly Bridge Club is a real winner. Super versatile, can run 700c or 650B, great ride quality: https://surlybikes.com/bikes/bridge_club
i agree! I love my Bridge Club and Krampus. Both do their jobs well. I also prefer simple and steel. The Bridge Club is a great bike at fair price.

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Old 01-20-21, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by MrWasabi View Post
I'm looking at bikes and am thinking maybe a gravel type bike might be a good choice. I've got some lower back issues and prefer to be a little more upright. Are there gravel bikes with flat bars or should I stick with some other hybrid type flat bar bike (Trek FX, Spec. Sirrius, etc.) instead of frankenbiking a gravel bike? My riding is mostly paved trails but I do ride some hard pack and am looking to get into some more non paved trails (not mountain bike type terrain).

Thanks for any input.
I ride the same terrain as you. I have over 5000 miles on my Sirrus and love it. I keep looking at adding a Diverge but the Sirrus is so capable on the pavement, crushed gravel, dirt, etc. that I don't feel like I would be gaining much, other than a lighter wallet.

The biggest upgrade for me was 38mm Specialized Pathfinder Pro tires. These made the bike so much more comfortable and stable on the road and trails. For your riding I don't think you would need wider than 38mm.
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Old 01-20-21, 01:08 PM
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Thanks Sal!

Yes, I keep going back and forth with the Sirrus/Diverge thing and am leaning towards the Sirrus X now (I like the 1x). I'd like to see the Future Shock 2.0 on it though not a big deal. The Sirrus was my original choice to replace my Fuji Traverse until I saw the flat bar Diverge. I have 35s on my Fuji now and they work well but I haven't been off pavement that much and am looking to do more non paved trails soon. Because of availability I've decided to make some upgrades on my Fuji until I can find what I want. The Fuji is a great bike and I may hang on to it although my wife says no more bikes...lol.
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Old 01-20-21, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by MrWasabi View Post
Thanks Sal!

Yes, I keep going back and forth with the Sirrus/Diverge thing and am leaning towards the Sirrus X now (I like the 1x). I'd like to see the Future Shock 2.0 on it though not a big deal. The Sirrus was my original choice to replace my Fuji Traverse until I saw the flat bar Diverge. I have 35s on my Fuji now and they work well but I haven't been off pavement that much and am looking to do more non paved trails soon. Because of availability I've decided to make some upgrades on my Fuji until I can find what I want. The Fuji is a great bike and I may hang on to it although my wife says no more bikes...lol.
I think if you are picking flat bar due to lower back issues then you are better off with a Sirrus-type bike. The flat bar Diverge looks like it puts you in a much lower position.

BTW, I recently had micro discectomy on my L4/L5, and can't wait to be riding again. Luckily I'm in the midwest so riding is pretty much out of the question regardless.
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Old 01-20-21, 11:59 PM
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I have a 3 Level cervical fusion. Before it, pain caused me to ride upright. Now, my neck doesnít work with drops. Really liking my Surly Cross Check. Comfortable bars, 42c tires run softly. Go anywhere, fun to ride! Iím good with it!

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