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Did any of you drop bar road bike guys start off with a flat bar road bike?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Did any of you drop bar road bike guys start off with a flat bar road bike?

Old 02-19-13, 07:30 PM
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rbloem
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Did any of you drop bar road bike guys start off with a flat bar road bike?

I have a flat bar road bike. Its a nice bike and all. Its super light and comes with 105 spec. I'm finding myself leaning toward a drop bar road bike for next year. I find lately with my bike that I am hitting a wall of wind when riding in my normal stance and when I bend down it does go away. Problem is I can't ride bent over like that all the time because of the style of the bike. Have any of you guys had a flat bar road bike and experienced this and decided to go with a drop bar road bike? How does the difference feel? Honestly it feels like I'm riding up hill all the time if that makes sense?? Tell me the difference you feel from going from a flat bar to a drop bar road bike. Thanks guys.
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Old 02-19-13, 07:44 PM
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Years ago I rode a Specialized Sirrus. This was back when I was commuting a few miles a day in NYC but not really riding otherwise. I never was able to get comfortable on that bike.

When I started getting back into longer rides, I immediately ditched the Sirrus for a good road bike with drops and never looked back.

Flat bar road bikes are unaero and uncomfortable over long distances. Also the road gearing and skinny tires that a lot of these bikes come with make no sense, since the bikes aren't meant to be raced or even ridden fast in groups.

I think most people who buy them do so because they are intimidated by the huge amount of drop on race bikes, which generally is what they see a lot of when bike shopping. I doubt most first time buyers realize that drops, set up correctly, are much more comfortable than flat bars.

Last edited by mihlbach; 02-19-13 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 02-19-13, 07:47 PM
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I have always ridden drop bar roadies. I never saw the point of limiting my hand positions. Also, with adjustable stems and different frame geometries, you sould be able to (in most cases) be able to find a comfortable position of a drop bar road bike, with the added advantage of multiple hand positions for when you hit wind or get tired.
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Old 02-19-13, 07:50 PM
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I started with a hybrid. Used it for commuting and fitness rides on the weekend. Eventually I went to a road bike and my typical speed when cruising (note I didn't say average speed) went up about 2mph. Part of that was probably placebo but another part was the different position the road bike put me in and the weight.

In my case, the difference was a little more than just geometry. My hybrid was a 30lb steel bike with 28mm tires, platform pedals and sneakers. My road bike was a 18lb full carbon fiber bike with 23mm tires, clipless road pedals and cycling shoes. The position felt strange at first and on longer rides I started to develop neck pain, but a high-quality fitting at a good LBS quickly solved that problem.
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Old 02-19-13, 07:51 PM
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I had an old 80's drop bar road bike that screamed down the road! Fast!! Also each stroke launched me forward. My present bike does not feel like that at all. Also my friend back then had a Nishiki 12 speed road bike and that also was blazing fast.
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Old 02-19-13, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by baj32161 View Post
I have always ridden drop bar roadies. I never saw the point of limiting my hand positions. Also, with adjustable stems and different frame geometries, you sould be able to (in most cases) be able to find a comfortable position of a drop bar road bike, with the added advantage of multiple hand positions for when you hit wind or get tired.

Couldn't agree more. Changing hand positions is important to me. Being limited to basically one position would be painful in many ways.
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Old 02-19-13, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by rbloem View Post
Did any of you drop bar road bike guys start off with a flat bar road bike?
Hell no!

Never!

Perish the thought!
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Old 02-19-13, 08:31 PM
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I started with a road bike with drop bars, then caught the mountain biking bug and now back to road biking since 2009.
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Old 02-19-13, 08:32 PM
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Yeah, I guess my first "two-wheeler", back when I was about 8 years old, had flat bars.

Columbia 3 speed.

I've had drop bar bikes since the early 1970s.
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Old 02-19-13, 08:34 PM
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I started off with a Trek 7.3, it was a gateway to my love affair with road bikes. The difference was huge for me for speed and comfort.
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Old 02-19-13, 08:37 PM
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I did. second season I switched to a road bike.

i found that you can make a road bike less aggressively if you want...
...but there's a clear limit on how much more aggressive you can get on a flat bar.
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Old 02-19-13, 08:38 PM
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+1

Started on a Sirrus which is now collecting dust. A properly fitted road bike is leaps and bounds more fun and comfortable for longer/faster riding. Good luck and welcome to the fun!
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Old 02-19-13, 08:44 PM
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I started on a flat bar bike, then went to a cross bike with drop bars. My elbows and wrists are forever grateful.
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Old 02-19-13, 08:49 PM
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Thanks for all the input! My Wife and her parents thought I was crazy to start thinking about a road bike. They said "Why, your not going to be racing, why do you need a race bike??" And many mouths dropped at the mention of spending $2000 on a bike. Times have changed since the 1970's!!! They don't realize that quality has improved as well as materials. Might as well talk to a wall. ##$%#%!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-19-13, 08:49 PM
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I got myself a road bike with drop bars, hated the things with a passion and switched it out to a flat bar. Its now one of my favorite bikes.
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Old 02-19-13, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by rbloem View Post
Thanks for all the input! My Wife and her parents thought I was crazy to start thinking about a road bike. They said "Why, your not going to be racing, why do you need a race bike??" And many mouths dropped at the mention of spending $2000 on a bike. Times have changed since the 1970's!!! They don't realize that quality has improved as well as materials. Might as well talk to a wall. ##$%#%!!!!!!!!
Get a new family.
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Old 02-19-13, 09:22 PM
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No, way too limited with a flat bar.
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Old 02-19-13, 09:24 PM
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My first real bike was a Trek 6000 mountain bike. I got a Specialized Allez afterwards and had never even thought of flat bars on the road. With mountain bikes I greatly prefer flat, no rise bars with classic XC geometry. Ex: Felt Q620 vs Kona Fire Mountain.

The point is that a weight balanced between the front and rear is far more comfortable AND better handling on any bike.
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Old 02-19-13, 10:40 PM
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I'm not terribly flexible, but could ride my bike for extended periods on the drops with a flat back, forearms parallel to the ground profile. My normal riding position was on the drop.

Rode a cross-state ride on flat bar single speed, another on a mtb. Misery. Older and much heavier now. Nothing is comfortable, but drop bars let me change hand positions often.

I used to think aero-bars on mtb was dorky; now I realize how much more comfortable it could be.
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Old 02-19-13, 10:54 PM
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I did before I switched to drop-bars. I love riding on hoods. Way way better than flat bars plus more hand positions possible overall. I don't ride in the drops as much as I'd like (partly because I have those dumb thumb shifters) but I'm working on it.

Switching to drop bars also helped me understand what I wanted from my new road bike (from a fit POV) and picking the right road bike wouldn't have been possible for me otherwise.

Last edited by abhirama; 02-19-13 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 02-19-13, 11:01 PM
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flat to drop makes sense.

drop to flat makes no sense.
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Old 02-19-13, 11:02 PM
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I'm the ultimate NON-racer - but I ride a race bike, because:

The drop bars are more comfortable [Flat bars LOOK like they'd be more comfortable- but they're not!]

The drop bars are more aero [Easier to slice through the "wall of wind"]

The way a real road bike just glides down the road so easily.

And, the most important reason:

You look a lot cooler on a road bike. Seems like all the alcoholics and homeless guys ride flat bars. When you ride a road bike, you look like a "serious cyclist"- especially to the clueless public......even if you're really a fred.
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Old 02-19-13, 11:06 PM
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yea...you get a lot of admiring looks from other road users when you ride drop bars.
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Old 02-19-13, 11:38 PM
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When I decided that it was time to sell my $60 beach cruiser and take my love for bicycles to the next level, I first had ideas of maybe going to a fixie, or a cyclocross, or a hybrid, but my intuition told me that my natural progression would lead me to a traditional road bike, and I listened to my intuition, and went from a beach cruiser to a full on road bike, and I couldn't be happier. I started riding on the bars mostly, then as my body became conditioned, I moved to the hoods, then as my stance evolved, I started using the drops more. Now I am looking to use aero bars for the long flat trails I frequent. Road bikes are for people who want speed. A big part of speed is aerodynamics. And flat bars will only hold you back.
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Old 02-20-13, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by HBxRider View Post
When I decided that it was time to sell my $60 beach cruiser and take my love for bicycles to the next level, I first had ideas of maybe going to a fixie, or a cyclocross, or a hybrid, but my intuition told me that my natural progression would lead me to a traditional road bike, and I listened to my intuition, and went from a beach cruiser to a full on road bike, and I couldn't be happier. I started riding on the bars mostly, then as my body became conditioned, I moved to the hoods, then as my stance evolved, I started using the drops more. Now I am looking to use aero bars for the long flat trails I frequent. Road bikes are for people who want speed. A big part of speed is aerodynamics. And flat bars will only hold you back.
Thanks guys for all the great tips! I thought I was being too picky with my bike lately but most of you guys can relate to how I feel. Now I have to get my savings together and get myself a Cannondale SuperSix 105. That's my plan anyways. Thanks.
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