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Anybody Choose Flat Bars for comfort?

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Anybody Choose Flat Bars for comfort?

Old 03-09-15, 03:53 PM
  #1  
12strings
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Anybody Choose Flat Bars for comfort?

I'm wondering how many people, having spent significant time riding both flat-bar hybrids, and drop-bar road bikes...has decided that for LONG-RIDE COMFORT, they prefer flat-bars?

It seems that there is thread after thread on the hybrid forum of people asking for advice on hybrids, and that nearly every comment from experienced riders says hybrids are fine for short rides, but if your going long distance, get drop bars. I assume this is the norm, but wondering if there are ANY exceptions.

And if so, any that cannot be attributed to bike fit, (ie, someone gets flat bars because they want to be sitting up straighter, not because they like having their hands wider and horizontal)?

MY OWN EXPERIENCE:
-Grew up riding bmx and cheap walmart mountain bikes around town.
-Got an old used drop-bar road bike and really liked it.
-Got a newer hybrid, assuming it would be better for commuting and riding around short rides (5-8 miles) with my wife.
-This hybrid I have now, which I like in a lot of ways, has also convinced me that My next bike will definitely have drop bars. No question.

Thanks in advance for your input!
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Old 03-09-15, 04:00 PM
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Some only work well with a flat bar

Folding, Bromton M3L , M bars .. then I put Ergon Grips, with GR3 integrated Bar ends, on the ends . ERGON BIKE ERGONOMICS
4 & 5 have longer bar ends 2 is a shorter bar end 1 has No bar end at all ..

I did over time change the setup on my Light touring style bike, it now has arc - flat bars to go with the Porteur-cargo front rack
I've had several different handle bar setups over the 40 years I've had that Bike.

Another bike and setup,
I went to Trekking bars the figure 8 bend does the multiple hand position thing and all the MTB controls slip on easily..

Rohloff Grip shifter is for 22.20mm bars ..

Though I kept the Bike Friday 3 piece bars for their packing size , have Ergon Gr5 grips on those Bars,

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-12-15 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 03-09-15, 06:07 PM
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My partner swapped the drops on her touring bike for on-one-Mary bars with a set of Ergon grips, she can ride that bike for ever without any discomfort.
Ps, we did invest a lot of time and resources tweaking the fit- a great fit is a huge help, no matter the bar type.
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Old 03-09-15, 06:25 PM
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I returned to riding a few years back after an absence of 30 some years. My first thought was to get road bike, but every shop I talked to told me I should buy a hybrid. As an older guy, they said I wouldn't be comfortable on road bike. I bought a used hybrid and found my wrists were aching after 5 miles. I lasted a few weeks before I bought a used hybrid that had been converted to drop bars. It was a vast improvement and I was much, much more comfortable. Rode that one for a few months and then found a vintage Raleigh Team Pro that I love.

Everyone is different, but my flat bar experience left me convinced that drop bars are right for me.
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Old 03-09-15, 06:26 PM
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It all depends on an individual. I can ride a 100 mile century with flat bars and bar ends without any problems. Some people get all kinds of pains and discomforts after a 10 mile ride. Personally I don't like drop bars and I find them no more comfortable then any other style of handlebars.
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Old 03-09-15, 06:42 PM
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I'm one of the oddballs in the 'other' group.
I need to be UP but can't stand 'horizontal' for 5 miles.

Albatross,promenade,oxford or outright cruiser bars for me.
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Old 03-09-15, 07:29 PM
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Last year I converted the 10-speed racer I had purchased 36 years ago to flat bar. My neck thanks me.
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Old 03-09-15, 08:31 PM
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I did. Twice.

I rode drop bars for many years back in the down tube shifter days. Never found them all that spectacular. I then bought a hybrid with low riser bars in '93 and it worked much better for me. In 2007 I wanted to go faster so I bought a flat bar road bike with the bars set lower... and had hand pain. (never the wrists) Ergon grips eliminated it and I was happy as a clam.

A couple years ago I wanted to try out the new brifters of a drop bar bike. Everyone heaps so much praise on the almighty drop bar, so I really tried hard to make it work. I carefully chose a relaxed geometry bike and worked on adjusting the fit. I never could avoid pain in my hands after several miles of riding on the hoods, and finally sold the bike a couple of months ago.

Flat or mild swept back bars (like On One Mary) with Ergon grips for me... Set around saddle level (just like most drop bar riders on the hoods) for decent aerodynamics.
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Old 03-09-15, 08:35 PM
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Bull horns and aero bars. Comfort, control, tuck in aero when you need it.

You can also run aeros on flat bar hybrids. Works great. Trust me.
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Old 03-09-15, 08:41 PM
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I've got both, have ridden centuries on both, and have logged thousands of miles on both. As far as comfort it is a toss-up. I find a slight advantage in the drop bars for sprints and hill climbs on spirited group rides, otherwise no big difference.

+2 on the Ergon bar ends. I've got them on both my gravel grinder and my MTB and my wife and daughter have them on their commuters. The additional hand positions really help prevent hand fatigue and can add control on rough roads. I spend 90% of my time on the road bike with my hands on the hoods. The Ergon bar ends give me a very similar hand position.

Last edited by GravelMN; 03-09-15 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 03-10-15, 05:55 AM
  #11  
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I guess it's an individual thing. Flat bars don't work for me on a road bike. My wrists and hands hurt and/or get numb, even in a relatively upright position. I run a pretty aggressive position with drop bars (tops 10 cm below saddle) and don't have those issues.
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Old 03-10-15, 08:39 AM
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Flat bars put your wrists at a disadvantageous angle, and will likely cause discomfort over time. Riding on the hoods on drop bars is extremely comfortable, especially over distance.
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Old 03-10-15, 08:42 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
I returned to riding a few years back after an absence of 30 some years. My first thought was to get road bike, but every shop I talked to told me I should buy a hybrid. As an older guy, they said I wouldn't be comfortable on road bike. I bought a used hybrid and found my wrists were aching after 5 miles. I lasted a few weeks before I bought a used hybrid that had been converted to drop bars. It was a vast improvement and I was much, much more comfortable. Rode that one for a few months and then found a vintage Raleigh Team Pro that I love.

Everyone is different, but my flat bar experience left me convinced that drop bars are right for me.
Why would they say that?
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Old 03-10-15, 08:55 AM
  #14  
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Can't do drops any longer due to physical problems --- flats and bar ends work!
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Old 03-10-15, 09:51 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Rider_1 View Post
Flat bars put your wrists at a disadvantageous angle, and will likely cause discomfort over time. Riding on the hoods on drop bars is extremely comfortable, especially over distance.
Maybe for you.

I've never had wrist pain with any style bar.
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Old 03-10-15, 10:15 AM
  #16  
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Bruce Weber http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/21/bo...rica.html?_r=0 went for flat bars on his coast to coast ride in 2011. He did a similar adventure in 1993 with drop bars.

Personally, I am trying to sort out if I can make drop bars work for me. I am tweaking a Miyata 310 to suit.
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Old 03-10-15, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Maybe for you.

I've never had wrist pain with any style bar.
Good for you, but anatomically, there are still at a disadvantageous angle. Why do you think most non-drop style bars are angled slightly back?
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Old 03-10-15, 02:05 PM
  #18  
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I find flat bars offer too few hand positions and are actually less comfortable. if you think higher bars make a difference you can raise any type of bar. all my drop bars are raised equal to the saddle sort of. I roadified a hybrid and it is so comfortable and so fast, love that bike (see bike on blue tarp)
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Old 03-10-15, 02:29 PM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by 12strings View Post
I'm wondering how many people, having spent significant time riding both flat-bar hybrids, and drop-bar road bikes...has decided that for LONG-RIDE COMFORT, they prefer flat-bars?

It seems that there is thread after thread on the hybrid forum of people asking for advice on hybrids, and that nearly every comment from experienced riders says hybrids are fine for short rides, but if your going long distance, get drop bars. I assume this is the norm, but wondering if there are ANY exceptions.

And if so, any that cannot be attributed to bike fit, (ie, someone gets flat bars because they want to be sitting up straighter, not because they like having their hands wider and horizontal)?

MY OWN EXPERIENCE:
-Grew up riding bmx and cheap walmart mountain bikes around town.
-Got an old used drop-bar road bike and really liked it.
-Got a newer hybrid, assuming it would be better for commuting and riding around short rides (5-8 miles) with my wife.
-This hybrid I have now, which I like in a lot of ways, has also convinced me that My next bike will definitely have drop bars. No question.

Thanks in advance for your input!
Yes.
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Old 03-10-15, 02:36 PM
  #20  
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I use short flat bars on my commuter, not as much for comfort as for a more erect position that makes it easier to track what's happening around me in urban traffic. But I still, far and away prefer dropped bars for the road bike. There's no meaningful difference in comfort, except that I have more choices in positions, but there's a big payoff in a more aero profile. Riding into a stiff headwind on the commuter is pure torture.
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Old 03-10-15, 02:48 PM
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I had to go to a drop bar road bike fit to make it over 40 miles. My wrists and hands got too painful on flat bars after 3 hours.
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Old 03-10-15, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by martianone View Post
My partner swapped the drops on her touring bike for on-one-Mary bars with a set of Ergon grips, she can ride that bike for ever without any discomfort.
P
I swapped my MTB flats for that setup. It is very comfortable but my limit seems to be around 40 miles before arm discomfort hits. I use drops on my tourer.
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Old 03-11-15, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Rider_1 View Post
Why would they say that?
Even at the time it surprised me a bit and in retrospect I have no idea. At one shop that had a few vintage bikes I might have been interested in, the guy seemed almost offended that I was looking at them and when I asked him a question he just said the bike wasn't what I needed with enough attitude that I didn't stay long. I actually didn't put much stock in the advice and ended up starting with a hybrid largely because at first the point was to ride around the neighborhood with my wife, who had recently been given a bike by a friend, and that was the first halfway decent bike at a reasonable price I found. (Of course it didn't take long before I was riding a lot more than I originally planned. And enjoying it a lot more than I anticipated.)
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Old 03-11-15, 07:40 PM
  #24  
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There's lots of different handlebar configurations. Somebody LOVES every blessed one of them or they wouldn't be able to sell them.
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Old 03-12-15, 12:25 AM
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I just don't enjoy my shoulders being in a more narrow position on a road bike. Plus riding inner city on a road bike where you are avoiding people, potholes, and going from sidewalk to the road constantly the flat bar works better.
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