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Flat Bar Bike for Long Distance w/ Light Load ?

Old 12-14-19, 04:13 AM
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pakeboi
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Flat Bar Bike for Long Distance w/ Light Load ?

I’m looking for a flat bar touring bike not so much for the ability to carry things but rather for the comfortable geometry on long rides on pavement .
For example , I’ve read that Surly's Long Haul Trucker rides better loaded than unloaded.
I’m open to frame material but for tires don’t want to go below 38mm on 700c .
I’m 5’9” with a short inseam 29 in. Or 78/79 PBH , Pubic Bone Height .
Open to converting a drop bar to flat , and open to having it built up from a frame .

Last edited by pakeboi; 12-14-19 at 04:19 AM.
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Old 12-14-19, 06:49 AM
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indyfabz
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Salsa Marrakesh comes in a flat bar version.
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Old 12-14-19, 07:23 AM
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I often see people touring on flat bar hybrid bikes, the sort of bikes that you might otherwise expect to see people commuting on. They rarely come from the manufacturer with a fork that can take a front rack but otherwise the people that I saw riding them were having no problems at all with a rear rack and some form of handlebar bag or basket to get some weight on the front. If you could pack light and get all your stuff on a rear rack, they appeared to work ok. I would be hesitant to ride with a heavy load all on the rear rack, but if you can keep it light it has been quite doable based on what I saw others doing.

Some of those hybrids had gearing almost as wide as many touring bikes.

The photo is of one of the riders I met last summer, she had toured from Toronto to Cape Breton Island where I met her. Note that she put some of the weight on the front of the bike too.



And another hybrid rider, she was from Germany where a lot of the touring bikes have flat bars. I rode with her for a day and a half as our routes were briefly on the same roads. Her bike was the one on the right in the bike rack on the ferry. She had more weight on the rear rack than I would have wanted when there was only minimal weight on the front, but the bike worked well for her.



My point is that there are a lot of perfectly usable non-touring bikes that you can tour on that meet the criteria you specified.

I met several others on hybrids this past summer that I did not take photos of the bikes, but they were doing quite well.
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Old 12-14-19, 09:19 AM
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hybrids are nice for touring, unfortunately the recent practice is to equip them with heavy, cheap suspension forks.

look for an older (steel) hybrid with a rigid fork, or find a NOS frame on ebay to build your own.

i had a VSF Zwitter in germany, nice for long (100-mile) day rides.

https://www.fahrradmanufaktur.de/en/...rekkingrad.php
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Old 12-14-19, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by pakeboi View Post
Im looking for a flat bar touring bike not so much for the ability to carry things but rather for the comfortable geometry on long rides on pavement .
For example , Ive read that Surly's Long Haul Trucker rides better loaded than unloaded.
Im open to frame material but for tires dont want to go below 38mm on 700c .
Im 59 with a short inseam 29 in. Or 78/79 PBH , Pubic Bone Height .
Open to converting a drop bar to flat , and open to having it built up from a frame .
I personally own a Surly Long Haul Trucker, and ride it loaded and unloaded. While I am sure it probably rides better loaded, I never really give it much thought. I would suggest getting a 26 inch wheel version and run wider tires with less air. If you pump a tire to the max, any bike will ride rough, and it is actually less efficient.

For a hybrid, you may want to check out the Cannondale Quick lineup. It is a very nice hybrid. It isn't the clunky bike many hybrids are.
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Old 12-14-19, 11:19 AM
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Seems to me that all the major brands make light alu and carbon fork bikes, with diff levels of parts and diff weights. We even have a specialized model from eons ago that weighs maybe 25lbs,and there are numerous much lighter ones around, including all cf models.

i reckon you’ve got lots of options, all comes down to budget really and I’m sure the majority have rear rack mount holes on frames.
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Old 12-14-19, 11:41 AM
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Hmm. Flat bar road, comfortable, fits wide tires, load-carrying not a priority.

The Motobecane Cafe Century TEAM disc (carbon) and Motobecane Cafe Century PRO Ti Disc (titanium) come to mind.
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Old 12-14-19, 03:38 PM
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I'd think the Specialized Sirrus Expert Carbon disc would be a contender, with its little front suspension built into the steerer tube - but Specialized is mum about how wide a tire the frame&fork can fit.
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Old 12-14-19, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
I'd think the Specialized Sirrus Expert Carbon disc would be a contender, with its little front suspension built into the steerer tube - but Specialized is mum about how wide a tire the frame&fork can fit.
For a touring fitness bike the Specialized Sirrus X Comp Carbon could work ; flat bar and stock tires are 38mm . Takes rear rack and fenders .

But I think I'm looking for a more traditional long chain stay , stable , classic flat bar touring bike .
I'll certainly check out one of the Specialized if I have the opportunity .
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Old 12-14-19, 07:54 PM
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I can't help with modern bikes (don't keep up with new bikes that often) but this old Trek Multi Track in a traditional frame is one of those "diamonds in the rough" I keep my eye out for on CL.
I don't know why but this bike tickles my fancy in a lot of ways as a very good, less expense, bike for commuting, road randonneuring and light touring. The frame is Hi Ten but surprisingly light, it was very lively when in a sprint, triple front crank for lower gearing, cantis, eyelets for racks and fenders and a unicrown fork that allows for wide tires. Originally it was flat bar but I did a drop bar conversion for a while and then reverted to flats for my wife and her friend to ride.

I didn't mind riding the step thru as such but didn't really trust the design regarding flex for carrying a load.









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Old 12-14-19, 10:24 PM
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I'd think about a nice aluminum-frame suspension-fork hybrid. Better hybrids often have good specs for a reasonable price other than the standard cheapo fork: swap in a nicer fork & a Thudbuster SL susp seatpost & you get a very comfy ride without needing slower wide tires & overall cost would be comparable to Trucker etc.
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Old 12-15-19, 05:01 AM
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I met a few Europeans (and others) touring on flat bar bikes. Most of their bikes looked like older style hybrids to me. Some of them had the bikes set up to sit bolt upright. I would have found it uncomfortable and in the open country where we met them would have hated the wind resistance, but they all seemed happy with their choices. I personally would have set mine up less upright than most (all?) of them.

I remember in particular a Dutch guy on the Southern Tier, Martin I think, who was very tall and sat bolt upright in the very open country of the south west. The winds were pretty strong at times and I was thankful to be able to get a little aero on my bike. He didn't seem to mind though. I guess he is used to dealing with the wind in his home country. It looked like torture to me. He probably thought the same of my setup I guess.

His very upright posture would have killed my back with the road shock going straight up my spine, so I'd have at least set up the bars so I was a little less upright even with a flat bar setup. I have ridden many miles on mountain bikes with flat bars set up with a good bit of tuck in my position and found that for me it worked well. I do miss the hands on hoods position of drop bars though and have even done mountain bike single track riding at times with drop bars. I never found that bar ends were a great, let alone perfect substitute for the hands on brake hoods position.
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Old 12-15-19, 06:57 AM
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Just finished a trip in the Florida Keys on this. Very comfortable.


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Old 12-15-19, 07:04 AM
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My "touring" setups are both flat bar mountain bikes. One is a pimped out 1985 Schwinn Cimarron . The other is an early 1990's Trek 930, which I found in a trash can.

edit- well, the schwinn "was" flat bar until the other week, when I got some fancy peewee herman bars to sit upright to see the views. The flat bars were comfortable, but I wanted to be able to sit back and enjoy the scenery. The current bars let me ride either flat or in upright position.

To address the front end dilemma on the Trek, I recently installed Surly Ogre forks on the 930 and Tubus front racks. They've been a hoot. Amazingly, the geometry works. I wouldn't recommend this as a fix for every frame, but it works on the mid 90's early 2000's mtb frame geometry. Although heavy, the surly forks are lighter than the hybrid suspension forks available. Surly forks provide more mounting points than one can image. There is plenty of room on the bike for rear racks, etc. It is pictured with mavic SSC wheels, but I have more traditional 700c rims for it.

I have included a recent pic of silly me on the trek. Even with one bag on the front, it was stable. I was riding with some roadies that day. Also, looking at the pics, many would consider the handlebar position low, but it works well for me. I have done many 5-12 hour rides with it no problemo.



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Old 12-15-19, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I met a few Europeans (and others) touring on flat bar bikes. Most of their bikes looked like older style hybrids to me. ....
From what I have seen, it is much more common in continental Europe around Germany to use flat bars instead of drop bars for touring.

And many of their bikes are sized that way with a geometry for flat bars instead of for drop bars.

Two of my touring bikes are Thorns, they sell their frames with different top tube sizes besides different seattube sizes. For example, one of my bikes is size 610S, the S is for short top tubes for drop bars, the 610L size would be for long top tube version for flat bars, both of those sizes have the same effective seatpost height.

A couple photos from my Iceland trip, many if not most of the cyclists from Continental Europe were on flat bars. Sorry the photos are at a distance, I was more intent on the scenery than I was on the details of the bikes.





I rode for a day with an Italian that was riding on this flat bar bike:



I agree with the others that prefer drop bars, I use the drops maybe one third of the time and always in head winds.

That said, before I dropped about 15 percent of my body weight, my girth was great enough that riding in the drops was quite uncomfortable and I only rode in the drops maybe 5 percent of the time for the worst headwinds. So, I clearly understand why some prefer flat bars.

A friend of mine used to use drop bars but never used the drops. He finally switched to bull horn bars, that gave him a position on the bike that was very similar to riding on the hoods on drop bars, but without the drops. His bike below:

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Old 12-15-19, 08:36 AM
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You might want to consider a trekking bar as well. You can use it essentially as a flat-bar but you might appreciate the additional hand placement options on a longer trip. You can even lean your forearms onto it during long stretches.
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Old 12-15-19, 02:29 PM
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I tour often on a Trek FX3. It's a hybrid that seems to do fine for touring and/or around town/light trail riding.
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Old 12-15-19, 05:09 PM
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Multitrack

I'm just a beginner but I think my trek 7200 would be a good candidate.
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Old 12-15-19, 08:29 PM
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I have an older Trek 7200 that I use for around-town riding, I really like how the suspension fork smooths out the bumps. No adjustments or lockout though so might not be ideal for longer rides.
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Old 12-15-19, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
From what I have seen, it is much more common in continental Europe around Germany to use flat bars instead of drop bars for touring.

Two of my touring bikes are Thorns, they sell their frames with different top tube sizes besides different seattube sizes. For example, one of my bikes is size 610S, the S is for short top tubes for drop bars, the 610L size would be for long top tube version for flat bars, both of those sizes have the same effective seatpost height.
Hmm, pakeboi mentions the Surly Long Haul Trucker. Trucker is noted for a long top tube so perhaps it's a good candidate for building up with flat bar? BTW my Trucker rides fine unloaded, I'm not sure where folks get the idea that it's only good loaded.

I'm always mystified by the Germans' insistence on flat-bar tourers, it's like they view drop bars as uncomfortable gadgets only suitable for racing bikes.
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Old 12-15-19, 09:11 PM
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I'm fairly certain that because mom and pop and grandma and great grandma ride regularly on errands, and a more upright position is what regular folks are used to, not to mention dropbars=racing bike.
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Old 12-15-19, 09:28 PM
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I've seen many people touring on bikes with flat bars, and I confess I don't get it. When I'm riding hours every day, I want postural variety, and riding positions are fewer with flat bars than with drop bars.

Yet the flat bar people don't seem to be bothered. But flat bars don't work for me. I prefer drop bars that are set up high enough so that I can sit nearly upright when I want to. I am not interested in aggressive riding positions favoured by racers. But I do want to alternate between sitting upright, getting low, gripping the bars with palms down or palms up, and more.
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Old 12-16-19, 02:59 AM
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Journeyman Flat Bar Sora 700 | Salsa Cycles
https://salsacycles.com/bikes/journe...t_bar_sora_700


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Old 12-16-19, 03:04 AM
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Alternative Touring & Bikepacking Alt Handlebars With Multiple Hand Positions
https://www.cyclingabout.com/list-of...ng-handlebars/


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Old 12-16-19, 03:10 AM
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