Cross/Gravel/Winter Bike - Flat Bar Candidate??
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  1. #1
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    Cross/Gravel/Winter Bike - Flat Bar Candidate??

    I have periodically seen threads debating a flat bar set-up for cross rigs. I am in the process of building up a Felt F1xC. Don't plan to race Cross, but wanted something with more flexibility in terms of tire choice for winter riding, gravel rides and tame singletrack. I came to road riding after 15+ yrs on MTB, and while I now do one MTB ride for every 20 road rides, I still find myself spending the vast majority of time either on the flats or hoods. Since I am at the begining of the build, I have not committed to any set-up yet. Was going to do a Campy Chorus build, but now wondering about flat bars and stubby bar ends. Realizing I'll have to compensate for positioning on a frame designed for drop bars, is anyone else riding their winter set-up this way?? Thanks in advance for any thoughts!

  2. #2
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    I have a regular cross bike and a flat bar bike that I use for gravel riding etc. personally I prefer to have the different hand positions of a drop bar. I feel more comfortable riding on sketchy ground like snow and ice with my arms at my sides in the drops, and I'm used to the braking and shifting of the road style shifters over mountain style shifters.
    A flat bar bike would certainly work, but myself I like to use the hoods, the drops, and the tops of the bars and I'd miss those options if I couldn't move my hands around as much.
    "I felt bad because I couldn't wheelie; until I met a man with no bicycle"

  3. #3
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    I much prefer drop bars. If you spend a lot of time on the hoods, I'm not sure why you think you'd want to go back to a flat bar. For me, that palms-in position most of the time is one of the big selling points for drop bars. I'd have to cut a flat bar really narrow to replicate that with bar ends, and then the flat bar bike wouldn't handle so well when I got on the flats. Although there's a slightly odd setup you could do that might work well, which is to put the bar ends inboard of the grips.

    Anyway, if you're never using the drops, I'd propose trying a shorter stem or less drop. Give the drops a better shot at being useful for how you sit your bike and how you ride. If you're already using a 90 mm stem... sorry. Try a smaller frame?

    If you do want to do a flat bar bike, IMO it's better to start with a frame intended to be a flat bar bike. Could be a mountain frame - nobody's making you set it up with suspension - or something like the Cotic Roadrat, which is designed to be a flat-bar bike with medium sized tires on road wheels. Or even a repurposed hybrid frame, although usually if I read the geometry charts on those, they have a weird in-between top tube length for size and a mile-high head tube, so I think making one that fits for an athletic riding style could be a bit more of a battle.

  4. #4
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    i have a long haul trucker touring bike i use in the winter and switched to the flat bars because it's 1 speed and I wanted brakes I could use easily with mittens. I had to run a pretty long stem for fit and added bar ends because the flat bars were annoying on climbs.

    For my use they are fine, I don't think I would do it on purpose for a normal bike I ride on gravel roads though.

  5. #5
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    I like this guy, Muirwoods 29er

    I've sold a couple of these, perfect end of the world bike

  6. #6
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by crossracer View Post
    I like this guy, Muirwoods 29er

    I've sold a couple of these, perfect end of the world bike
    I was looking at those. The new Raleigh Misceo might be my next bike though.
    1995 Waterford 1200
    1999 Waterford RSE-11
    Plus a host of old bikes too many to list.

  7. #7
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    I'm riding a Kona Dew FS as my commuter/all rounder right now. While I like the flat bars and ATB controls I really don't like the bike. When I got it I wanted something that was fleet of foot, but tough enough to handle the urban jungle. I'm probably going to get a new steel CX or touring frame and swap the parts over and see how that goes. I may convert from discs to vbrakes or cantis though - while I like the power of the discs I think they make the bike feel sluggish and I found the vbrakes on my back up commuter (a hard tail ATB) were just about as good in the rain and the back up bike was way more fun to ride. I'm thinking of a pake c'mute, surly double cross, surly long haul trucker or soma double cross DC for a new frame. I just stumbled on the Handsome XOXO today and that has me thinking about it as a possible alternative. I like the idea of more consistency in wheels between my stable of bikes - particularly the commuters which get daily use.

    I've got bar ends on both my ridgid ATB and my Hybrid for climbing and hammering and find its good enouigh for the short urban rides I do. On longer rides I might find that I miss the extra hand positions provided by the drops. Another option is to go for a touring bar or a rando bar.

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