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Switching to flat bar...Why?

Old 05-28-14, 11:16 AM
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VACaver
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Switching to flat bar...Why?

I've read about more and more people switching from drop to flat bars on their road bikes and am curious what the benefits may be.

I do most of my riding with my hands on the hoods and very, very rarely ride with them on the drops.

I'm a couple weeks away from ordering new brifters and am now having second thoughts on if I should order them or look into flat bar shifters.

Is switching to flats be something I should consider?

Thanks!
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Old 05-28-14, 11:36 AM
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OK, disregard my question.

I just did some more research (I'm bored at work) and find that many folks who have switched to flats have wound up not liking it after all.

Maybe I'll stick with my drops after all
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Old 05-28-14, 11:42 AM
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I'm thinking that equipment changes are what you do do solve some issue that you are experiencing.

If you have to ask why, you aren't experiencing that issue so you shouldn't change.
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Old 05-28-14, 11:54 AM
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I think they believe they are getting their hands higher and wider. Of course, you can get wider drops and a more upright stem without the expense of new shifters and the loss of multiple hand positions.
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Old 05-28-14, 01:05 PM
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I bought a flat bar road bike last year, but I got it to use on unpaved trails and paths. I have used my road bike in such conditions, but prefer not to. I wanted slightly wider tires, and I am nervous about using a carbon fork in rougher conditions, so the steel fork makes me feel better.

The problem, as alluded to by OP, is the change in hand position. Flat bars are not nearly as comfortable on the wrists as road bars. I almost never use my drops, I am always on the hoods. That is a neutral hand position. I ended up buying bar ends for the flat bar, but haven't tried them yet.

The ideal solution, if I could afford it, is a cyclocross bike. I've decided that for me, road bikes are by far the most comfortable.
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Old 05-28-14, 01:21 PM
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if you look closer
youll see almost as many
switching flat to drops
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Old 05-28-14, 01:47 PM
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Switching one way or the other is to attempt to resolve a comfort issue. If you have no issues to resolve then don't switch. I enjoy riding both but for different types of rides so rather than switch components I have a bike for each occasion
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Old 05-28-14, 01:58 PM
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Have an A, want a B, cant swing an N+1..
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Old 05-28-14, 02:26 PM
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I see you've decided to stay with drops rather than flat bars, wise decision . However I have been thinking of switching from drop bars to butterfly aka touring bars. You may wish to look into them. My wife likes hers. They look to me to be able to provide more effective hand positions.
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Old 05-28-14, 02:37 PM
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We are all different and ride a bit differently sometimes I like to use my flat bar bikes and sometimes I like my drop bat bikes I guess it depends upon what we are doing
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Old 05-28-14, 03:07 PM
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In the Netherlands the vast majority of bikes use a handlebar with a curve in it (does this have a name?) so you sit more upright. Most of the bikes sold here are for basic transportation, students biking to school or bikes used by adults to get to and from work, and bikes just for pleasure.

I'll try and embed a photo of a typical Dutch bike showing the handlebar I'm referring to.

The straight handle over here is typically seen on mountain bikes.

When I lived in the US I had a racing type handlebar and I lost interest in biking because of the neck pain. Once I moved over here the situation was different, most bikes came with a curved (or slightly curved) handlebar forcing you to sit more upright and the neck pain disappeared.

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Old 05-28-14, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by VACaver View Post
I do most of my riding with my hands on the hoods and very, very rarely ride with them on the drops.
doesn't it seem kinda odd, that you're using a setup wher the braking and shifting controls work best from the hand position you don't use?

that would make me reconsider the situation
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Old 05-28-14, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
doesn't it seem kinda odd, that you're using a setup wher the braking and shifting controls work best from the hand position you don't use?

that would make me reconsider the situation
shift levers are most
easily used from the hoods
with modern brifters
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Old 05-28-14, 10:51 PM
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My first road bike was a highbird, I still use it as a winter bike. I ride drops now and would NEVER go back. I like the hand positions, the ability to use the drops in the wind, and the ergonomics way too much.
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Old 05-28-14, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne View Post
In the Netherlands the vast majority of bikes use a handlebar with a curve in it (does this have a name?) so you sit more upright.
I think you're talking about the riser handlebar. A lot of hybrid bikes sold here have such riser bars in the U.S. My old mountain bike has one, too.
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Old 05-28-14, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne View Post
In the Netherlands the vast majority of bikes use a handlebar with a curve in it (does this have a name?) so you sit more upright. Most of the bikes sold here are for basic transportation, students biking to school or bikes used by adults to get to and from work, and bikes just for pleasure.

I'll try and embed a photo of a typical Dutch bike showing the handlebar I'm referring to.

The straight handle over here is typically seen on mountain bikes.

When I lived in the US I had a racing type handlebar and I lost interest in biking because of the neck pain. Once I moved over here the situation was different, most bikes came with a curved (or slightly curved) handlebar forcing you to sit more upright and the neck pain disappeared.

You had either a bad fit for the bike, bad posture or both. A normal recreational road bike with a good fit and the rider having a good posture should not cause neck problems.

The problem with upright riding position is that funnily enough it's not as good for the back in long distance riding and it's slower as well
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Old 05-28-14, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
You had either a bad fit for the bike, bad posture or both. A normal recreational road bike with a good fit and the rider having a good posture should not cause neck problems.

The problem with upright riding position is that funnily enough it's not as good for the back in long distance riding and it's slower as well
Does all that really matter? @Dave Horn wasn't happy with a drop-bar road bike but is happy with a flat-bar bike now. That's what's important if you ask me.
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Old 05-29-14, 09:06 AM
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IMHO more hand positions = more happy cycling.
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Old 05-29-14, 10:08 AM
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Dave in NL is in another place than the US a place where the Bicycle is a transportation used by most

where Bikes in the US Struggles to rise out of the sports toy category.

and the state is not as receptive to infrastructure changes at the expense of the Car sales and taxes on Fuel taken in.
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Old 05-29-14, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
doesn't it seem kinda odd, that you're using a setup wher the braking and shifting controls work best from the hand position you don't use?

that would make me reconsider the situation
actually, not. My brakes and shifters work best with my hands on the hoods.
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Old 05-29-14, 05:50 PM
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I put flat bars on my wife road bike years a go and she loves the riding position more than when she had drop bars. So if she's happy I'm happy!! When I put the flat bars on her bike a lot of her issues with numbness in her fingers went a way.
Now a 60 to 75mi ride is no problem. We had some weeks we road 150+ mi.
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Old 05-29-14, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
actually, not. My brakes and shifters work best with my hands on the hoods.
This is a bit off-topic, but how can you get the brakes to work better from the hoods than from the drops? You just don't get the same leverage from the hoods, do you?
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Old 05-29-14, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by daihard View Post
This is a bit off-topic, but how can you get the brakes to work better from the hoods than from the drops? You just don't get the same leverage from the hoods, do you?
Modern brake shift levers work best using one finger for shifting and two fingers for braking, pretty much like shift buttons and brake levers on hybrids and mountain bikes. When you ride on the hoods, the index fingers are resting on the break levers. While you can grab a whole fist of brake lever from the drops, if you actually tried to do this for real, you are going down as this is not how anyone ordinarily uses brakes on a road bike. For those with really small or weak hands, there is always the option of installing an extra set of break levers on the tops.
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Old 05-29-14, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
Modern brake shift levers work best using one finger for shifting and two fingers for braking, pretty much like shift buttons and brake levers on hybrids and mountain bikes. When you ride on the hoods, the index fingers are resting on the break levers. While you can grab a whole fist of brake lever from the drops, if you actually tried to do this for real, you are going down as this is not how anyone ordinarily uses brakes on a road bike. For those with really small or weak hands, there is always the option of installing an extra set of break levers on the tops.
Do you mean to say that people with regular-sized hands can actually grab the brake levers with, say, index and middle fingers from the hoods just like they do from the drops? I never think of grabbing a whole fist of brake lever, but when I use the same two fingers from the drops, I get far more braking power than when I brake from the hoods. Granted, I've never needed to brake from the drops - braking from the hoods has provided me with enough stopping power so far, but I've been told that I should hold the drops in descent "for better access to the brake levers." How should I interpret it?
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Old 05-29-14, 09:44 PM
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in other words, yes due to leverage the brakes are always stronger from drops
but no one usually needs that power and braking from hoods is adequate
in fact people are so accustomed to the hoods, that any attempt at braking from drops makes them endo

modern brifter design further endorses this paradigm with ergonomic hoods and levers that prioritize the hoods

haven't bought into it myself yet
my only brifter bike has them on mustache bars
my only dropbar bike is a mtb with dirt drops
no hoods, always grabbing from the tips of brake levers
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