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New Build - Flat Bars or Drops?

Old 09-29-22, 09:49 AM
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Nixhex
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New Build - Flat Bars or Drops?

I got an early 00's steel frame (Jamis) that I'm going to clean up and paint and build into a road bike to replace my Fuji Altamira that's too small/too aggressive. I can't decide if I want to build it like a normal road bike or be a little weird/different and built it with flat bars. All of my road bikes in the past have had the traditional drop bars and I like them fine, but there's a curiosity in me that says I need to build it as a "sporty flat bar" (as opposed to the usual super relaxed hybrids that have flats). I've ridden mountain bikes with flat bars, so it won't be my first experience on flats.

I'm in Tulsa, OK and we have a pretty well developed system of paved bike trails that I usually ride on. Rides vary in length from 15 - 30 miles but are usually closer to 20ish bc I have two young kids, and convincing my wife I'm going to go on a 2 hr bike ride is a tough sell when she's had the kids all day. Trails have some hills, so it's usually in the range of 500' of elevation every 10 miles or so.

Pics below of the wheels I'm using, and kind of what I'm thinking of doing on the paint, but I'm still undecided on that.

https://imgur.com/a/inJ1IXF
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Old 09-29-22, 10:06 AM
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I’ve done road bike conversions to flat bar and they are sportier to ride. Extra leverage seems to make steering feel quicker but still stable. Not sure if I’d be happy as my only bike, but I find them a fun alternative.

Considerations are riding in headwinds and lack of hand positions; I’ve added bar ends. Also triggers don’t have a trim function, but you can use a thumb shifter for the front derailleur. Might be nice as a 1x.

John
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Old 09-29-22, 12:17 PM
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There's a lot of different "flat" bar shapes, and a lot of different bike layouts that they go on besides just "straight" MTB bars and upright "comfort" hybrids

I've had good success with "Albatross" style swept bars on older road bikes to make a comfortable but still 'fast' ride in the Roadster/ Path-Racer style. They come in a wide range of widths and bends, so you may be able to find one to fit your particular style and setup.
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Old 09-29-22, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Iíve done road bike conversions to flat bar and they are sportier to ride. Extra leverage seems to make steering feel quicker but still stable. Not sure if Iíd be happy as my only bike, but I find them a fun alternative.

Considerations are riding in headwinds and lack of hand positions; Iíve added bar ends. Also triggers donít have a trim function, but you can use a thumb shifter for the front derailleur. Might be nice as a 1x.

John
Generally, the wider the bar, the more steering leverage and control you get, thus the move on mt. bikes to 750-800mm bars, from 600 back 15-20 years ago.

I tend to dislike riding flat bars after about 10-15 miles, prefer the drop bars, as every time I place my hands someplace different on the bar, my back angle changes and my wrists are in a different position. Much more comfortable to me.
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Old 09-29-22, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Generally, the wider the bar, the more steering leverage and control you get, thus the move on mt. bikes to 750-800mm bars, from 600 back 15-20 years ago.

I tend to dislike riding flat bars after about 10-15 miles, prefer the drop bars, as every time I place my hands someplace different on the bar, my back angle changes and my wrists are in a different position. Much more comfortable to me.
Yea, I do wonder about the lack of additional hand positions and if that will be a problem. Also will it drive me crazy being a kite as I ride into a headwind?
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Old 09-29-22, 01:31 PM
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Consider where you are going to be riding it. If it's going to be ridden off the paved roads and well packed gravel where you might struggle to steer, then you might go for a wide flat bar. Though I'd look for something with the ends angled back at me. Maybe a real wide mustache bar.

But if you are going to be on paved or well packed gravel, then IMO, few things beat a decent drop bar that isn't any wider than the acromion where your clavicle attaches. For longer riding times one might do on a road bike, I've found wider bars undesirable as they brace you too much and your arms and shoulders get all of the road swaying road forces that the body could share some of. But as usual YMMV!
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Old 09-29-22, 01:35 PM
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Drop bars are the only choice for me.

But its up to the rider whichever is more comfortable.

Your bike
Your choice
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Old 09-29-22, 01:38 PM
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I personally find true flat bars hurt my wrists, but I almost always have a bike to user for errands and such (jump on and use) with north road style bars. and have tried the velo orange posting which are half way between flat and northroad and look kinda cool

I would not want to ride any distance on anything but a road bar ymmv

here is what the postino look like, I have since changed out to a velo orange left bank

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Old 09-29-22, 01:49 PM
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I've got all manner of bars on my different bikes, but for the kind of riding you're describing, I'd choose flats. The best part is how vast and varied the options are -- "flat" bars now come in all degrees of rise, width, forward sweep, backsweep, and upsweep, so with some trial-and-error you can really dial in the fit, comfort, and hand positions to your liking. My recent favorite flat bars are Soma Dream Riser, Ritchey Koyote, SQLabs 30X, Jones, and Surly Terminator bars. Each is unique, and each affects the feel of the bike in a different way. Have fun!
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Old 09-29-22, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
There's a lot of different "flat" bar shapes,...
Rivendell Bike has a dozen: https://www.rivbike.com/collections/handlebars
Two dozen more at Velo Orange:
https://velo-orange.com/collections/...d-upright-bars
https://velo-orange.com/collections/alt-bars
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Old 09-29-22, 02:18 PM
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I don't want to project here. Handlebar style is just as controversial here as chain lube/cleaning and saddle choice. My guide is to hang my hands by my side and look at the orientation of my hands and then raise them to the level they would be at while holding my handlebar while remembering that I might also need to rotate my wrists from time to time on a long ride. A more or less flat bar may put your wrists in a slightly unnatural position without any choice. However, there are plenty of other choices and they don't have to be traditional drop bars. Take for example a North Road bar. Primary position has your hands in the same orientation as you would have on a drop bar. You can even flip them to provide a slight drop and due to the small radius bend at the transition toward the stem, road brifters might be possible. I like drop bars, don't get me wrong but particularly since the advent of gravel bikes all kinds of minimal drop handlebars have come into existence. Take your time and don't let anyone else collar you into their choice. It's your bike, your choice
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Old 09-29-22, 02:56 PM
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I am in the camp that does not like flat bars on a road bike, due to being uncomfortable after riding for not that long. However, as I age, and due to chronic spinal issues, I have to do do a lot of adjusting of my contact points. A few weeks ago, after a bit of hesitation, I decided to try the Ritchey Beacon bar, with them being on sale a factor. I have to say, I have quickly acquired a strong fondness for this handlebar. The shallow drop and short reach, the width, shape and ergonomics just plain work very well for me. As I write this post, I am anticipating a today delivery of another one for my Soma Smoothie. I actually really like the looks of it on the bike. It gives easy access to shifting and braking, a lot of different hand positions, and very little movement for all of those things. The angle of the STI levers mounted on the bar take my arthritic thumbs mostly out of the equation.

https://www.excelsports.com/ritchey-...lloy-handlebar

Here is a pic of the Beacon. Ritchey also has a Butano bar that looks interesting.
And UPS just dropped off my 2nd Beacon bar. I will have them mounted and used by tomorrow morning.
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Old 09-29-22, 03:48 PM
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I appreciate all of the opinions! I'm not feeling boxed in to any particular view, I'm just trying to get the thoughts of others. Honestly, I think the drops are prob the better choice, but some stupid part of my brain won't shut the hell up about the flat bars, and I may have to scratch that itch before it will.
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Old 09-29-22, 04:12 PM
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You can always set it up as a flat bar and then convert it back to drops. It isn’t that tough.

Basically a stem and flat handlebar and whatever gets mounted on the bar. You can get cantilever brake levers, grips, RD trigger, and FD thumb shifter, and use a road drivetrain. If you make the brake/shifter housing and cable long enough to re-use with drop bars, you “might” even be able to salvage them.

John
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Old 09-29-22, 04:27 PM
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I have been doing regular 30-50 mile rides with a mustache bar and up to 50 it is fine but thinking I need some drop bars for longer rides. I have flat bars on another bike that I have had on some 25-30 mile rides and they are ok but a little wide if it is windy out.


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Old 09-29-22, 04:40 PM
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I built this up for my daughter to take to college (she decided to wait - good decision, it turned out).42T x 12-25 8 speed with Grip Shift. I was really impressed with how zippy it is. If I had any use for a similar bike, I would definitely build one for myself.
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Old 09-29-22, 04:44 PM
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This is the hottest flat-bar road bike Iíve seenÖ

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Old 09-30-22, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
This is the hottest flat-bar road bike I’ve seen…

holy freaking crap. That is sexy as hell. That’s probably the closest thing I’ve seen to what I’m shooting for. My drivetrain is going to be sram axs 1x because that what I have on the Fuji, so I’m just gonna swap it all over.

that said, that bike would prob look amazing with flats or drops….

EDIT: here's another example with AXS:

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Old 09-30-22, 09:56 AM
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The more I'm thinking about this, for the sake of a trial run it might be easier to just swap flat bars onto the Fuji instead of taking all the bits off of the Fuji and putting them on the steel frame. Here's a pic of the Fuji, bc who doesn't like bike pics?


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Old 10-01-22, 11:20 AM
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I've been riding flat bars - vintage MTB and hybrids - since I returned to biking (after basically taking off two decades) and I miss drop bars

hands and wrists can begin to squawk after a long time on flat bars

plan to spend more time on drop bars next year (primarily gravel bike)

attached pic of a hybrid set up primarily for smooth trails / road riding

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Old 10-01-22, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Nixhex View Post
I got an early 00's steel frame (Jamis) that I'm going to clean up and paint and build into a road bike to replace my Fuji Altamira that's too small/too aggressive. I can't decide if I want to build it like a normal road bike or be a little weird/different and built it with flat bars. All of my road bikes in the past have had the traditional drop bars and I like them fine, but there's a curiosity in me that says I need to build it as a "sporty flat bar" (as opposed to the usual super relaxed hybrids that have flats). I've ridden mountain bikes with flat bars, so it won't be my first experience on flats.

I'm in Tulsa, OK and we have a pretty well developed system of paved bike trails that I usually ride on. Rides vary in length from 15 - 30 miles but are usually closer to 20ish bc I have two young kids, and convincing my wife I'm going to go on a 2 hr bike ride is a tough sell when she's had the kids all day. Trails have some hills, so it's usually in the range of 500' of elevation every 10 miles or so.

Pics below of the wheels I'm using, and kind of what I'm thinking of doing on the paint, but I'm still undecided on that.

https://imgur.com/a/inJ1IXF
All else equal, flat bars are nearly always wider and therefore higher wind drag. That plus lack of hand positions seems like the wrong answer for anything beyond "just around town" riding.
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Old 10-01-22, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Nixhex View Post
The more I'm thinking about this, for the sake of a trial run it might be easier to just swap flat bars onto the Fuji instead of taking all the bits off of the Fuji and putting them on the steel frame. Here's a pic of the Fuji, bc who doesn't like bike pics?

wth

late 60's / early 70's (?) F100 ... wow clean ...

looks dropped ...

powered by ... ? ... do I see a blower (supercharger) ... ? ...

we had a F100 back in the day ...
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Old 10-01-22, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Nixhex View Post
The more I'm thinking about this, for the sake of a trial run it might be easier to just swap flat bars onto the Fuji instead of taking all the bits off of the Fuji and putting them on the steel frame. Here's a pic of the Fuji, bc who doesn't like bike pics?

install a different stem on the Fuji to raise the bar ... maybe shorter also ...

maybe throw on a set of more durable tires - and you could be good to go ... ?

it's always good to have a flat bar bike in inventory - but I would not convert that Fuji to flat bar
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Old 10-01-22, 07:06 PM
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Nixhex
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Originally Posted by t2p View Post
wth

late 60's / early 70's (?) F100 ... wow clean ...

looks dropped ...

powered by ... ? ... do I see a blower (supercharger) ... ? ...

we had a F100 back in the day ...
Yea itís a 67 f100 that Iíve done basically all the possible things to it except finish up the wiring. Bc wiring sucks. The wiring is mostly done I just need to make some time to knock out the last little bit.

engine is a 408W stroker that I adapted the blower off a 2010ish gt500 onto. I could ramble about the engine forever but Iíll stopÖ.
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Old 10-01-22, 07:08 PM
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Nixhex
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Originally Posted by t2p View Post
install a different stem on the Fuji to raise the bar ... maybe shorter also ...

maybe throw on a set of more durable tires - and you could be good to go ... ?

it's always good to have a flat bar bike in inventory - but I would not convert that Fuji to flat bar
i think if I keep the Fuji it may just be the fast bike, and then the steel frame can be the ďriding with friends bikeĒ.
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