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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 :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Flat Bar Gravel Bike

Old 12-02-19, 06:08 AM
  #26  
Newspaper_Nick
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Originally Posted by dualresponse View Post
This weekend, I happened across this video, comparing an old school mtb vs. a gravel bike vs. a gravel bike with flat bars (referred to in the video as 'mutant' ). I fast forwarded to the final summary of gravel vs. 'mutant'.

https://youtu.be/XC_xFpg_UmA?t=1063
I am honestly getting sick of GCN popping out useless videos one after another every single day, dipping into all kinds of cycling gimmicks.They ran out of content a long time ago and now they became like the TLC of cycling channels. Quantity over quality is their motto. Their "tech" channels on the other hand is quite good. Doddy is the man.
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Old 12-02-19, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Newspaper_Nick View Post
I am honestly getting sick of GCN popping out useless videos one after another every single day, dipping into all kinds of cycling gimmicks.They ran out of content a long time ago and now they became like the TLC of cycling channels. Quantity over quality is their motto. Their "tech" channels on the other hand is quite good. Doddy is the man.
I don't watch a lot of these videos, so I didn't know how prolific they were. Even watching this one video the first time was a bit of a struggle, especially the "top gear" jeremy clarkson copycat type phrasing. I fast forwarded it in 17:00 minutes to spare the first part.

Edit: I removed the video.

Last edited by dualresponse; 12-02-19 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 12-02-19, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by dualresponse View Post
I don't watch a lot of these videos, so I didn't know how prolific they were. Even watching this one video the first time was a bit of a struggle, especially the "top gear" jeremy clarkson copycat type phrasing. I fast forwarded it in 17:00 minutes to spare the first part.

Edit: I removed the video.
Sorry if i offended you man, my criticizm was not directed towards you. You didn't need to remove the video. Top gear jeremy clarkson comparison is spot on though
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Old 12-03-19, 01:08 PM
  #29  
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I like to think of mine as a flat bar gravel bike:




Last edited by andrei_r; 12-03-19 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 12-04-19, 09:52 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by CarloM View Post
As someone who contemplated going the other direction (drop bar on a Trek FX S6) the best decision I made was to abandon that idea, re-sell the bike (through Pro's Closet, in case you're like me and don't want to do the eBay/CL/OfferUp thing) and buy a Revolt. I got tons of advice on this forum (and other cycling enthusiasts) to not convert due to the geometry of the frame not really meant to support the bar conversion. They were right. The geometry of the Revolt is completely different from the FX S6. I would have spent hundreds on the new bar, new shifters and brake levers (or in my case going from those to brifters), bleed the brakes, and installation costs and still come up with a result that was nowhere near what I wanted in a drop bar gravel bike.

Since you're preference is for a flat bar, and 1X is the main limited to MTBs for you, I'd focus more on trying to find the MTB that allows a 2X if that's really the gearing that you want, or at least allows enough clearance for the addition of a 2X. If the frame supports added gearing it's a much less drastic conversion than changing from drop to flat bars. Full disclosure: I don't MTB so I have no idea if what I'm recommending is possible, but I could swear I've seen MTBs with 2X on the roads...


Absolutely right!
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Old 12-05-19, 04:43 AM
  #31  
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Consider the Salsa Cowchipper. I put one on my Trek 920 adventure bike (which I use for gravel rides) and love it (I'm not allowed to post URL's but you can do a search on google).
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Old 12-24-19, 07:38 PM
  #32  
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Old 12-26-19, 12:26 AM
  #33  
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I recently converted my Cross-Check form drops to wide flat bars. It's ****** awesome. Tons of fun: sketchy and fast like a 90's MTB, but big wheels so no endos. I run 33c cyclocross tires on mine as it was set up as a fairly traditional CX bike and they keep it plenty fast and quite capable. Drop bars would be faster if the riding skewed towards higher speeds and road stretches.
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Old 12-26-19, 05:27 PM
  #34  
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Or you can run wide drop bars:

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Old 12-29-19, 10:20 AM
  #35  
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Swept back bars, Cross Check. My do anything bike!
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Old 12-29-19, 08:13 PM
  #36  
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I have the Origin 8 Gary wide drop bars on my touring bike and I'm not too fond of them. Just like moustache bars they feel too weird. Never could get used to them. Actually I think I'm getting too old for drop h/bars in general anyway as I almost never use the drop portion of the bar anymore.
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Old 01-02-20, 05:30 PM
  #37  
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I'm getting back into cycling after decades away, so a lot of the categories are a bit confusing. I thought I was getting some handle on it, but with this thread I'm wondering what the differences would be between a flat bar gravel bike and a hybrid. Tires and gearing?
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Old 01-02-20, 06:12 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Sertsa View Post
I'm getting back into cycling after decades away, so a lot of the categories are a bit confusing. I thought I was getting some handle on it, but with this thread I'm wondering what the differences would be between a flat bar gravel bike and a hybrid. Tires and gearing?
Marketing.
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Old 01-02-20, 06:13 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Sertsa View Post
I'm getting back into cycling after decades away, so a lot of the categories are a bit confusing. I thought I was getting some handle on it, but with this thread I'm wondering what the differences would be between a flat bar gravel bike and a hybrid. Tires and gearing?
I was in the exact same position seven months ago. I made some purchases I regret, so here's hoping my experiences save you money and time (in terms of trial and error).

First: assess your fitness level and what position you like to ride in. I thought I was too out of shape to ride drop bars so I bought a fitness bike (Trek FX S6) with flat bars. Loved it at first, regretted it after 2 months when I got my first drop bar road bike and realized I loved going as fast as I could and riding in a more aero position.

I sold the FX and bought a Giant Revolt gravel bike. The main differences are: drop bars and support for slightly wider tires (35mm vs. 43mm) and also support for 650b with even wider tires for the Revolt. Gearing is slightly different, they're both Shimano 105s but I have slightly smaller front chainrings on the Revolt and a slightly larger rear cassette, so it's likely close to a wash. But all of this is change-able whichever one you get.

Off-road capability-wise they're about equal. I didn't hesitate taking either out on gravel and light trails, especially with Panaracer GravelKing SK TLCs on them. I wouldn't take either one on terrain where a mountain bike thrives.

It's when you go on-road that the difference is pronounced. Because of the more upright position, and wide handlebar position of the fitness/hybrid, your body acts as a parasail in the flats. Whereas I'm considerably faster on my Revolt. Here's a totally unscientific look at my average speeds on flats, at approximately 85% effort (based on my Wahoo Roam and keeping heart rate around 155-160 according to my HRM) at my normal local route.
  • Cervelo S3 eTap 25c tires: 23mph
  • Giant TCR Di2 28c tires: 22mph (it's a 2lbs lighter bike but that aero frame on the S3 does seem to make a difference on the flats, at the expense of compliance)
  • Giant Revolt 105 43c tires: 20mph
  • Trek FX S6 35c tires (now sold): 18mph

While I'm still slower on my Revolt than either of my road bikes, I still feel fairly fast and agile. Versus my hybrid bike which I came to think of as "not as fast as a gravel, but with the same off-road capability, and not as off-road as a MTB". But if you're most comfortable riding upright on flat bars, and don't plan on going on mountain bike terrain, then a fitness/hybrid is the way to go.
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Old 01-02-20, 07:39 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Marketing.
I guess it's working, as I'm already thinking "a bike" to "bikes."

Originally Posted by CarloM View Post
I was in the exact same position seven months ago. I made some purchases I regret, so here's hoping my experiences save you money and time (in terms of trial and error).

First: assess your fitness level and what position you like to ride in. I thought I was too out of shape to ride drop bars so I bought a fitness bike (Trek FX S6) with flat bars. Loved it at first, regretted it after 2 months when I got my first drop bar road bike and realized I loved going as fast as I could and riding in a more aero position.

I sold the FX and bought a Giant Revolt gravel bike. The main differences are: drop bars and support for slightly wider tires (35mm vs. 43mm) and also support for 650b with even wider tires for the Revolt. Gearing is slightly different, they're both Shimano 105s but I have slightly smaller front chainrings on the Revolt and a slightly larger rear cassette, so it's likely close to a wash. But all of this is change-able whichever one you get.

Off-road capability-wise they're about equal. I didn't hesitate taking either out on gravel and light trails, especially with Panaracer GravelKing SK TLCs on them. I wouldn't take either one on terrain where a mountain bike thrives.

It's when you go on-road that the difference is pronounced. Because of the more upright position, and wide handlebar position of the fitness/hybrid, your body acts as a parasail in the flats. Whereas I'm considerably faster on my Revolt. Here's a totally unscientific look at my average speeds on flats, at approximately 85% effort (based on my Wahoo Roam and keeping heart rate around 155-160 according to my HRM) at my normal local route.
  • Cervelo S3 eTap 25c tires: 23mph
  • Giant TCR Di2 28c tires: 22mph (it's a 2lbs lighter bike but that aero frame on the S3 does seem to make a difference on the flats, at the expense of compliance)
  • Giant Revolt 105 43c tires: 20mph
  • Trek FX S6 35c tires (now sold): 18mph

While I'm still slower on my Revolt than either of my road bikes, I still feel fairly fast and agile. Versus my hybrid bike which I came to think of as "not as fast as a gravel, but with the same off-road capability, and not as off-road as a MTB". But if you're most comfortable riding upright on flat bars, and don't plan on going on mountain bike terrain, then a fitness/hybrid is the way to go.
Thanks. That helps a great deal, although it also increases some uncertainty for now. I'm over 50, haven't ridden in a long time (outside of an exercise bike), and have been working on getting back into some semblance of shape after an accident and complications several years ago. So I've been thinking something with flat bars and plan to ride on rail-trails and some gravel and dirt paths.

So I thought either a hybrid or gravel bike, leaning towards hybrid for the flat bars. (I was also considering a rigid or hard-tail MTB, but the person at one shop said knobby mtb tires on a wet tarmac rail trail got squirrelly, which I hadn't considered). I also have a late 80s/early 90s Schwinn Worldsport with dropbars, and have been thinking of fixing it up into something of a gravel bike. I'd seek the help of an area co-op for that.
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Old 01-03-20, 01:39 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Sertsa View Post
I guess it's working, as I'm already thinking "a bike" to "bikes."



Thanks. That helps a great deal, although it also increases some uncertainty for now. I'm over 50, haven't ridden in a long time (outside of an exercise bike), and have been working on getting back into some semblance of shape after an accident and complications several years ago. So I've been thinking something with flat bars and plan to ride on rail-trails and some gravel and dirt paths.

So I thought either a hybrid or gravel bike, leaning towards hybrid for the flat bars. (I was also considering a rigid or hard-tail MTB, but the person at one shop said knobby mtb tires on a wet tarmac rail trail got squirrelly, which I hadn't considered). I also have a late 80s/early 90s Schwinn Worldsport with dropbars, and have been thinking of fixing it up into something of a gravel bike. I'd seek the help of an area co-op for that.
I hadn't ridden in nearly 30 years (from my teens to my mid-forties), and had lived a sedentary life recently. I never let myself get overweight--BMI was always within the normal range, but waist-hip ratio was on the higher side (now it's to the good after 7 months of daily cycling!), but I was more concerned about lack of aerobic activity and fitness. For the first month or so a fitness bike was the right purchase. But I progressed so quickly (or maybe I never truly was that out of shape, I did walk to work about 5 miles daily round trip, and also walked a lot at work) that within 2 months I realized I preferred drop bar bikes. I probably could have figured that out sooner, I was just trying to justify the FX purchase.

My advice is to build a good relationship with a local bike shop that will let you rent bikes for a period of time, with the rental fees going towards a purchase. Most local shops here do that, but in L.A. there's tons of competition so they're all pretty user-friendly. I'd recommend renting both flat and drop bars for a couple of days each and riding them for long stretches. What "long" means is up to you and your current fitness level, and of course how your body is recovering from the accident, but do try to push yourself a little. See which one feels better to you. Then you'll have your answer as to which one is best for your needs.

Or, after riding both, you feel that due to your accident recovery you feel like a fitness ride is good for now, but that after further recovery you may want a road bike, you could always go with a cheap fitness bike, which then can turn into your errand bike later, and save money for a nicer road or gravel bike later. You can always turn around and sell the cheap bike used, you won't get much, but you also won't have spent much. May work out to be like an extended rental.
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Old 01-03-20, 04:29 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by CarloM View Post
I hadn't ridden in nearly 30 years (from my teens to my mid-forties), and had lived a sedentary life recently. I never let myself get overweight--BMI was always within the normal range, but waist-hip ratio was on the higher side (now it's to the good after 7 months of daily cycling!), but I was more concerned about lack of aerobic activity and fitness. For the first month or so a fitness bike was the right purchase. But I progressed so quickly (or maybe I never truly was that out of shape, I did walk to work about 5 miles daily round trip, and also walked a lot at work) that within 2 months I realized I preferred drop bar bikes. I probably could have figured that out sooner, I was just trying to justify the FX purchase.

My advice is to build a good relationship with a local bike shop that will let you rent bikes for a period of time, with the rental fees going towards a purchase. Most local shops here do that, but in L.A. there's tons of competition so they're all pretty user-friendly. I'd recommend renting both flat and drop bars for a couple of days each and riding them for long stretches. What "long" means is up to you and your current fitness level, and of course how your body is recovering from the accident, but do try to push yourself a little. See which one feels better to you. Then you'll have your answer as to which one is best for your needs.

Or, after riding both, you feel that due to your accident recovery you feel like a fitness ride is good for now, but that after further recovery you may want a road bike, you could always go with a cheap fitness bike, which then can turn into your errand bike later, and save money for a nicer road or gravel bike later. You can always turn around and sell the cheap bike used, you won't get much, but you also won't have spent much. May work out to be like an extended rental.
Thanks. I've looked at rentals at a couple of area shops and will likely try a couple. I don't believe the closest shop rents, but the salesperson said they offer extended try-outs on the nearby rail-trail on nicer days. (It was snowing when I stopped in). I'm not sure I'll go with a full road bike anytime soon given local driving habits, but I think I'd like both a gravel and mtbs at some point, which is why a hybrid is also tempting. I have to figure the best place to start again and where I most want to ride; hopefully rentals and some trials will help decide. Thanks again!
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Old 01-03-20, 08:24 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Sertsa View Post
Thanks. I've looked at rentals at a couple of area shops and will likely try a couple. I don't believe the closest shop rents, but the salesperson said they offer extended try-outs on the nearby rail-trail on nicer days. (It was snowing when I stopped in). I'm not sure I'll go with a full road bike anytime soon given local driving habits, but I think I'd like both a gravel and mtbs at some point, which is why a hybrid is also tempting. I have to figure the best place to start again and where I most want to ride; hopefully rentals and some trials will help decide. Thanks again!
I'd just caution that you put a lot of ride time in before deciding. A hybrid sounds like a cross between a gravel and an MTB but in reality it's kind of a bad compromise between both if you like one or the other. It is considerably slower than a gravel (let alone road) because of the riding position, and it's nowhere near as off-road capable as a MTB with suspension (front or full suspension systems).

At this point I only truly recommend hybrid/fitness for those who absolutely don't want to ride on drop bars and also who don't plan to do anything more technical than trail riding. If you want to go true off-roading, go MTB, and if you want light off roading/trail riding but can ride drop bar, I recommend gravel over fitness because it's just as capable on trails--my Revolt actually accommodates wider 700c tires, up from 35mm for the FX to 43mm, and can also go wider with full support for 650b tires which the FX cannot support--but is significantly faster on-road than a hybrid.

Like I said, I bought my FX because I thought I was too old/out of shape to ride drop-bar and proved myself wrong. But if as I get older I find I can't ride drop bar (and by virtue of advancing years, I also can't go MTB) then I'll re-consider a hybrid/fitness. But selling my FX to put some $ towards a Revolt was the best decision I could have made, given how much I now prefer drop bar bikes to flat bar. If I ever do go back to flat bar, it will likely be a full suspension MTB and the type of riding I'll be doing on that will be radically different from my road and gravel bikes.

Last edited by CarloM; 01-04-20 at 02:01 AM.
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Old 01-04-20, 01:37 PM
  #44  
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Does this count? I'd like to call this one a hybrid with knobby tires. Or a mountain bike with a rigid fork. This bike to me is the ultimate all rounder. I can commute with it. I toured with it. I climbed mountains with it, i went into gravel/mud/sand/dust roads, fire roads etc. I even ventured into a swamp once. It just handles anything i can throw at it. And it has the cheapest/oldest parts on it. A square taper bottom bracket. It just works. Mechanical disk brakes. Once you get the hang of setting them up, they work better than most cheap hydraulic brakes. Be a man and squeeze the levers dude Don't be such a pansy.
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Old 01-04-20, 03:51 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by CarloM View Post
I'd just caution that you put a lot of ride time in before deciding. A hybrid sounds like a cross between a gravel and an MTB but in reality it's kind of a bad compromise between both if you like one or the other. It is considerably slower than a gravel (let alone road) because of the riding position, and it's nowhere near as off-road capable as a MTB with suspension (front or full suspension systems).
Consider that there is a wide variance of "riding positions" on different hybrid bikes. From sit up and beg, to near road bike flat back. And of course this position can be adjusted on any bike. Even some riders with drop bars are no more aero than others with flat bars.
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Old 01-04-20, 03:55 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Newspaper_Nick View Post


Does this count? I'd like to call this one a hybrid with knobby tires. Or a mountain bike with a rigid fork. This bike to me is the ultimate all rounder. I can commute with it. I toured with it. I climbed mountains with it, i went into gravel/mud/sand/dust roads, fire roads etc. I even ventured into a swamp once. It just handles anything i can throw at it. And it has the cheapest/oldest parts on it. A square taper bottom bracket. It just works. Mechanical disk brakes. Once you get the hang of setting them up, they work better than most cheap hydraulic brakes. Be a man and squeeze the levers dude Don't be such a pansy.
Absolutely your bike counts as a flat bar gravel bike, if that floats your boat. Just like any new bike marketed as one is.
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Old 01-04-20, 04:35 PM
  #47  
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If I was going flat bars on gravel, I would just ride my mountain bike. I suppose the difference would be the tires, I might go with something less knobby than my mtb on gravel. There is one descent I do on my gravel bike occasionally where I would prefer my mtb, but I'm not sure just changing to flat bars would be the difference I'm looking for.
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Old 01-05-20, 09:47 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Consider that there is a wide variance of "riding positions" on different hybrid bikes. From sit up and beg, to near road bike flat back. And of course this position can be adjusted on any bike. Even some riders with drop bars are no more aero than others with flat bars.
Correct.
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Old 01-06-20, 01:56 AM
  #49  
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This dude builds my dream bikes. I think his bikes are a perfect fit for this thread.
https://www.jonesbikes.com/



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