Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Anything particularly unsafe about flat bars???

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Anything particularly unsafe about flat bars???

Old 11-05-21, 04:04 PM
  #1  
Ryan_M
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Ryan_M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Courtice, Ont.
Posts: 192

Bikes: 2020 Giant Roam 1... at least it was

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 91 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 29 Posts
Anything particularly unsafe about flat bars???

I was on a wine tour last night and got talking to another older couple that lives in the area and are into cycling. She rides in a local club and was telling me about it, there's 4 levels and she rides with level 4 (the slowest). I know you can't really tell someones ability looking at them but she's early 60's, 5'3" or so, and didn't appear to be particularly athletic, where I'm 46, 6'0", and though not the strongest rider not in bad shape either. I was thinking if I rode in her group with the level 4's that it sounded great to get out for a not too intense social ride with a group, so I said I'd look into it.

I built my bike myself to best fit the type of riding I do, it probably falls in the hybrid category, maybe flat bar gravel bike(ish). It's still a decent bike though. When it came up that I rode a flat bar her response was "Oh, we ride road bikes. You wouldn't be able to keep up. Besides they wouldn't let you ride anyway, flat bars are too unsafe, you need to have drop bars". I never got a chance to ask her what that meant before the tour was over.

Now I'm fairly confident that if she can keep up with the group then I'd be able to too, road bike or not. However, what could she possibly mean that flat bars are too unsafe?
Ryan_M is offline  
Old 11-05-21, 04:10 PM
  #2  
genejockey 
Klaatu..Verata..Necktie?
 
genejockey's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 10,114

Bikes: Canyon Endurace, 105; Battaglin MAX, Chorus; Bianchi 928 Veloce; Ritchey Road Logic, Dura Ace; Cannondale R500 RX100; Schwinn Circuit, Sante; Lotus Supreme, Dura Ace

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5455 Post(s)
Liked 5,724 Times in 2,921 Posts
I think the "unsafe" stuff is nonsense, and the "'you won't be able to keep up" is entirely a question of the rider. So, I'd say those are a pair of uninformed opinions.
__________________
"Don't take life so serious-it ain't nohow permanent."

"Everybody's gotta be somewhere." - Eccles
genejockey is offline  
Old 11-05-21, 04:11 PM
  #3  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 2,883

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1413 Post(s)
Liked 1,976 Times in 1,050 Posts
It doesn't really make any sense but I'm betting they think drop bars are 'safer' because of the drops. Your hands are more secure. But...most people don't ride in them much so it doesn't make sense.
cxwrench is offline  
Likes For cxwrench:
Old 11-05-21, 04:12 PM
  #4  
genejockey 
Klaatu..Verata..Necktie?
 
genejockey's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 10,114

Bikes: Canyon Endurace, 105; Battaglin MAX, Chorus; Bianchi 928 Veloce; Ritchey Road Logic, Dura Ace; Cannondale R500 RX100; Schwinn Circuit, Sante; Lotus Supreme, Dura Ace

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5455 Post(s)
Liked 5,724 Times in 2,921 Posts
BUT, the one thing I'd say is don't make assumptions about other riders' ability based solely on apparent age and shape. There's always somebody older, fatter, and faster than you. In fact, I strive to be that 'older, fatter, faster' rider for as many people as possible, when I ride!
__________________
"Don't take life so serious-it ain't nohow permanent."

"Everybody's gotta be somewhere." - Eccles
genejockey is offline  
Likes For genejockey:
Old 11-05-21, 04:24 PM
  #5  
Ryan_M
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Ryan_M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Courtice, Ont.
Posts: 192

Bikes: 2020 Giant Roam 1... at least it was

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 91 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 29 Posts
Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
BUT, the one thing I'd say is don't make assumptions about other riders' ability based solely on apparent age and shape. There's always somebody older, fatter, and faster than you. In fact, I strive to be that 'older, fatter, faster' rider for as many people as possible, when I ride!
You're absolutley right. I did say that you can't judge someones ability by looking at them and I should have elaborated on that, but it wasn't the focus of the question. I have to admit I was a little surprised that this little old lady looked at me and said I couldn't keep up because she has a road bike and I don't. I mean I suspect I would but that needs to be proven on the bikes.
Ryan_M is offline  
Old 11-05-21, 04:25 PM
  #6  
wolfchild
Senior Member
 
wolfchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario canada
Posts: 7,326

Bikes: I have 3 singlespeed/fixed gear bikes

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2741 Post(s)
Liked 1,520 Times in 740 Posts
Originally Posted by Ryan_M View Post
When it came up that I rode a flat bar her response was "Oh, we ride road bikes. You wouldn't be able to keep up. Besides they wouldn't let you ride anyway, flat bars are too unsafe, you need to have drop bars". I never got a chance to ask her what that meant before the tour was over.
What she really meant was that she and her bike club is a bunch of elitist snobs...The comment she made about flat bars being unsafe is complete BS..
wolfchild is offline  
Old 11-05-21, 05:11 PM
  #7  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 25,160

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, a black and orange one, and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 136 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4808 Post(s)
Liked 2,362 Times in 1,397 Posts
Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
It doesn't really make any sense but I'm betting they think drop bars are 'safer' because of the drops. Your hands are more secure.
That rotten chestnut, again?

Originally Posted by Ryan_M View Post
I was on a wine tour last night and got talking to another older couple that lives in the area and are into cycling. She rides in a local club and was telling me about it, there's 4 levels and she rides with level 4 (the slowest). I know you can't really tell someones ability looking at them but she's early 60's, 5'3" or so, and didn't appear to be particularly athletic, where I'm 46, 6'0", and though not the strongest rider not in bad shape either. I was thinking if I rode in her group with the level 4's that it sounded great to get out for a not too intense social ride with a group, so I said I'd look into it.

I built my bike myself to best fit the type of riding I do, it probably falls in the hybrid category, maybe flat bar gravel bike(ish). It's still a decent bike though. When it came up that I rode a flat bar her response was "Oh, we ride road bikes. You wouldn't be able to keep up. Besides they wouldn't let you ride anyway, flat bars are too unsafe, you need to have drop bars". I never got a chance to ask her what that meant before the tour was over.

Now I'm fairly confident that if she can keep up with the group then I'd be able to too, road bike or not. However, what could she possibly mean that flat bars are too unsafe?
Ask yourself, what kind of bars do downhill mountain bike riders use? There have been some who use drop bars but, overwhelmingly, they (as well as most mountain bike riders) use flat bars. Which is rougher, road biking down a road at a high rate of speed or hurtling down a rock strewn slope at a high rate of speed? Now as why mountain bike riders use flat bars.
__________________
Stuart Black
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
cyccommute is offline  
Likes For cyccommute:
Old 11-05-21, 05:20 PM
  #8  
Ironfish653
Dirty Heathen
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: MC-778, 6250 fsw
Posts: 1,711

Bikes: 1997 Cannondale, 1976 Bridgestone, 1998 Softride

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 652 Post(s)
Liked 484 Times in 299 Posts
The entire sport of MTB would disagree.

I know in a lot of riding groups, Triathlon bars (base/aero extensions) are not usually welcome , because the controls are often out of reach, especially if you’re tucked in on the extensions.

It could also be that they don’t want anyone showing up with a basket-and-fenders beach cruiser, and spoiling the “serious cyclist” vibe.
Ironfish653 is offline  
Likes For Ironfish653:
Old 11-05-21, 05:28 PM
  #9  
jon c. 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,211
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1216 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 429 Times in 236 Posts
She's confused
jon c. is offline  
Likes For jon c.:
Old 11-05-21, 05:33 PM
  #10  
Steve B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South shore, L.I., NY
Posts: 5,453

Bikes: Flyxii FR322, Cannondale Topstone, Miyata City Liner, Specialized Chisel, Specialized Epic Evo

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2224 Post(s)
Liked 970 Times in 566 Posts
Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
The entire sport of MTB would disagree.

I know in a lot of riding groups, Triathlon bars (base/aero extensions) are not usually welcome , because the controls are often out of reach, especially if you’re tucked in on the extensions.

It could also be that they don’t want anyone showing up with a basket-and-fenders beach cruiser, and spoiling the “serious cyclist” vibe.
This

I find that flat bars just get uncomfortable after 15 - 20 miles or so. Drop bars have many more hand positions, each moves you back and shoulders a bit and that makes them better for long rides.
Steve B. is offline  
Likes For Steve B.:
Old 11-05-21, 05:35 PM
  #11  
PeteHski
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 3,259
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1538 Post(s)
Liked 1,645 Times in 1,048 Posts
I would imagine by "unsafe" she meant that you might be riding in the group with wide bars and your elbows sticking out. Anyway that's the best I can come up with for a reason.
PeteHski is offline  
Likes For PeteHski:
Old 11-05-21, 05:45 PM
  #12  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 33,841
Mentioned: 202 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15374 Post(s)
Liked 9,148 Times in 4,521 Posts
Sounds like she had had too much wine.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 11-05-21, 06:02 PM
  #13  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 8,839

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2056 Post(s)
Liked 2,000 Times in 1,244 Posts
Well that's one way to blow you off
dedhed is offline  
Likes For dedhed:
Old 11-05-21, 06:37 PM
  #14  
70sSanO
Senior Member
 
70sSanO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Mission Viejo
Posts: 4,744

Bikes: 1986 Cannondale SR400 (Flat bar commuter), 1988 Cannondale Criterium XTR, 1992 Serotta T-Max, 1995 Trek 970

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1535 Post(s)
Liked 1,490 Times in 940 Posts
Unless they award a green jersey at the end of each ride.

John
70sSanO is offline  
Old 11-05-21, 06:38 PM
  #15  
gringomojado
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 379
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 160 Post(s)
Liked 105 Times in 62 Posts
I bet she did not have a dork disk nor a kick stand on her bike!
gm
gringomojado is offline  
Old 11-05-21, 07:29 PM
  #16  
Ryan_M
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Ryan_M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Courtice, Ont.
Posts: 192

Bikes: 2020 Giant Roam 1... at least it was

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 91 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 29 Posts
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I find that flat bars just get uncomfortable after 15 - 20 miles or so. Drop bars have many more hand positions, each moves you back and shoulders a bit and that makes them better for long rides.
Yeah I've heard that lots so I'm not going to argue, seems most people have this opinion. I do have horns for some extra hand possitions. I've done multiple 100km+ rides and never felt that was an issue. On the flip side the GF and I recently did an "intro to the velodrome" ride for fun. I'm not totally inactive, my job is physical often, I cycle obviously, do weights, cross train/personal trainer with the GF the odd time, occasionally play tennis etc... Riding at the velodrome was the first time I'd riden drops in a very long time and I couldn't get over how exhausted my upper body was riding on them, and we were only doing a few minutes here and there. I guess everybody has their thing.

Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
I would imagine by "unsafe" she meant that you might be riding in the group with wide bars and your elbows sticking out. Anyway that's the best I can come up with for a reason.
I know flat bars can get really wide (and for good reason as cyccommute mentions) but mine are 600mm. That's more or less how wide my shoulders are, so unless these grannies bump shoulders and jockey for position thats a hard argument lol.
Ryan_M is offline  
Likes For Ryan_M:
Old 11-05-21, 08:05 PM
  #17  
Rolla
Victimless Criminal
 
Rolla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 2,176
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 963 Post(s)
Liked 2,256 Times in 1,016 Posts
Originally Posted by Ryan_M View Post
Anything particularly unsafe about flat bars???
Nope. Not a damn thing.
Rolla is offline  
Likes For Rolla:
Old 11-05-21, 08:14 PM
  #18  
Steve B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South shore, L.I., NY
Posts: 5,453

Bikes: Flyxii FR322, Cannondale Topstone, Miyata City Liner, Specialized Chisel, Specialized Epic Evo

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2224 Post(s)
Liked 970 Times in 566 Posts
Originally Posted by Ryan_M View Post
Yeah I've heard that lots so I'm not going to argue, seems most people have this opinion. I do have horns for some extra hand possitions. I've done multiple 100km+ rides and never felt that was an issue. On the flip side the GF and I recently did an "intro to the velodrome" ride for fun. I'm not totally inactive, my job is physical often, I cycle obviously, do weights, cross train/personal trainer with the GF the odd time, occasionally play tennis etc... Riding at the velodrome was the first time I'd riden drops in a very long time and I couldn't get over how exhausted my upper body was riding on them, and we were only doing a few minutes here and there. I guess everybody has their thing.


I know flat bars can get really wide (and for good reason as cyccommute mentions) but mine are 600mm. That's more or less how wide my shoulders are, so unless these grannies bump shoulders and jockey for position thats a hard argument lol.
Its whatever you're comfortable with. I ride very wide drop bars - 46cm, set same height as the seat (except my road racing bike, which is an inch lower) and can ride those bars for hours. My mt. bike has 700cm bars, but no bar ends as we've too many tree gates where i generally ride.
Steve B. is offline  
Old 11-05-21, 08:20 PM
  #19  
rsbob 
Sniveling Weasel
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 2,270
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 815 Post(s)
Liked 1,436 Times in 847 Posts
Don’t ask her for investment advice.
__________________
Immoderate Cyclist “No regerts”



rsbob is offline  
Likes For rsbob:
Old 11-05-21, 08:32 PM
  #20  
SpedFast
Just Pedaling
 
SpedFast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: West Coast
Posts: 297
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 90 Post(s)
Liked 132 Times in 92 Posts
Where's Larry Sellers, he probably has an answer to this question (along with a few other comments)?
SpedFast is offline  
Old 11-05-21, 08:33 PM
  #21  
Miele Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4,530

Bikes: iele Latina, Miele Suprema, Miele Uno LS, Miele Miele Beta, MMTB, Bianchi Model Unknown, Fiori Venezia, Fiori Napoli, VeloSport Adamas AX

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1266 Post(s)
Liked 852 Times in 590 Posts
I asked a bike shop here in Waterloo Region Canada about a straight bar bike on a group ride and they said it was a no go. They also said it was because a lot of riders of straight bar bikes didn't have the skills needed to ride in a group. Perhaps this lady was of the same opinion?

Cheers
Miele Man is offline  
Old 11-05-21, 09:03 PM
  #22  
OldRailfan
Old enough, hmmm?
 
OldRailfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Coldstream, BC Canada
Posts: 287

Bikes: DeVinci, Bianchi, Nishiki, RBSM Mud Adder

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 70 Post(s)
Liked 112 Times in 82 Posts
Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
I think the "unsafe" stuff is nonsense, and the "'you won't be able to keep up" is entirely a question of the rider. So, I'd say those are a pair of uninformed opinions.

I'll second that!
OldRailfan is offline  
Likes For OldRailfan:
Old 11-05-21, 09:17 PM
  #23  
Ryan_M
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Ryan_M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Courtice, Ont.
Posts: 192

Bikes: 2020 Giant Roam 1... at least it was

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 91 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 29 Posts
Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
I asked a bike shop here in Waterloo Region Canada about a straight bar bike on a group ride and they said it was a no go. They also said it was because a lot of riders of straight bar bikes didn't have the skills needed to ride in a group. Perhaps this lady was of the same opinion?

Cheers
You know what? I think you're right with this one and OMG I'm triggered!!! lol

Since you're from Ontario, I was recently on a ride through Ajax (really nice trail system for a small town) and came across a group a few times where our routes crossed, most had "Ajax Cycling Club" jerseys on.... and all had drop bars! They were a **** show on the trail! Not a one of them knew, or at least cared about trail ettiquite. The first encounter the trail was paved mabye 2m wide or so, there was about a dozen of them and they stopped to have a chat. A mass of bikes and people completely blocking the trail and a meters worth on either side. THey wouldn't move for us so we had to swing way wide and avoid some obstacles in order to go around them. Next encounter the same thing except due to the terrain we couldn't pas on either side. We were dinging the bells and yelling at them as we approached. One glanced back at us then went back to the conversation. After we had to stop one of them finally aknowledged us and said to the others we were trying to pass. We were clearly an inconvenence for them so they took their time. I mean the audacity of us! Clearly it's their trail, we're just thankfull we have the priveledge of using it too. Other times trying to pass them on the trail was a tricky proposition - picture that scene in the movie where Bambi was trying to walk for the first time and that's what a lot of these people were like on bikes. They were riding right in the middle of the trail and after ringing bells and telling them we were passing on the left they were still weaving in the middle of the path. One threw his left hand up after us announcing we were passing whatever TF that meant. Clearly it wasn't acknowledgement we were going around because he also drifted left.

But they think us flat bar people don't know what we're doing!!!

Before I get flamed, I'm having a bit of fun with this. I'm not saying all of you drop bar people are like BMW drivers, just this particular group lol!
Ryan_M is offline  
Likes For Ryan_M:
Old 11-05-21, 10:30 PM
  #24  
smashndash
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,398

Bikes: 2017 Specialized Allez Sprint Comp

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 845 Post(s)
Liked 336 Times in 241 Posts
Originally Posted by Ryan_M View Post
I know flat bars can get really wide (and for good reason as cyccommute mentions) but mine are 600mm. That's more or less how wide my shoulders are, so unless these grannies bump shoulders and jockey for position thats a hard argument lol.
as someone who's done his fair share of bumping shoulders and jockeying for position... I agree. 95% of people don't really need drops.

I will say that getting impaled by a flat bar seems like it would hurt. I know my local group ride used to have like a crash a week, so probably not a great idea to add an extra risk to that. But again... buncha grannies riding at 15mph... not likely.
smashndash is offline  
Likes For smashndash:
Old 11-06-21, 12:39 AM
  #25  
GamblerGORD53
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Elevation 666m Edmonton Canada
Posts: 1,940

Bikes: 2013 Custom SA5w / Rohloff Tourster

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 891 Post(s)
Liked 147 Times in 118 Posts
Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
I think she might be talking of crash or fall scenario and getting poked by the flatbar.

I've been poked by my own flat bar a few times before when I fell on the bike or the bike fell on me. It's unlikely to stab you, unless you crashed hard but poking can be quite painful, cause internal injuries, and can break bones. It's also likely if I'm riding with a group, my flatbar could poke others too in a group spill.

I've never been poked by a drop bar and I've crashed over them a few times. Bar end shifters are just dumb, IMO. Dropbars are noted for that feature and for the most risk-averse riders would likely insist on dropbars.
I think this is as good explanation as any. I have been poked by my swept bars a couple times. I have slid out a bunch of other times with straight bars. One time the bar end poked the road with a fierce thud alright. Would crush ribs like nothing. These bars are way wider too, for interlocking in a peloton.
The solution could be swept bars. They will react like drops in a crash into others. But there's still the levers sticking out, as with straight bars.
But, I don't think it should matter on a cat 4 lollygag mixed ride.

As for some granny/ grandpa interactions, I passed one of each this summer doing centuries on my CCM 3 speed. LOL. Both had tri-level bikes and gear. We were going along together for a few miles, when she said she had done 2 charity cross-country rides, unloaded. How many years ago, I didn't find out. She said her typical ride is 30 miles. Lots more pass me of course.

Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 11-06-21 at 12:46 AM.
GamblerGORD53 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.