Flat Bar vs Drop Bar – Road Bike Handle Bars
Updated - August 9, 2019
If you’re wanting to get into cycling, then you may be wondering what kind of bike you should get and what is gonna best suit your needs. In particular, whether you’re best served with a drop bar bike or a flat bar bike. – So in this post, we are gonna go through the differences between the two, and we’re also gonna go through some experiments so you can make an informed decision about which one to get. So the first thing we’re gonna highlight is the difference in position between a drop bar bike and a flat bar bike.
The flat bar bike puts you in a more upright position. And this can be more comfortable for beginners, because it requires less flexibility. It can also be more conducive to riding with a backpack. The drop bar bike allows you to get longer and lower at the front, and this is more aerodynamic, meaning that you should be able to go faster for the same amount of effort. It does require more flexibility though, but it also helps lower your center of gravity to help cornering. The drop bar offers three different hand positions.
The hoods, the drops, and the tops. Most riders spend most of their time on the hoods, but the drops are used for getting more low and more aerodynamic. And it’s also good for sprinting and descending as your hands feel more secure and tend not to bounce out. Whereas the tops, I use as a kind of change of hand position as it can be more comfortable and more upright. – To assess the relative merits of the two bar types, we’ve devised an incredibly high-tech and sophisticated experiment. So for this experiment we’re going to try and asses the difference in aerodynamics, and therefore speed, you can travel for the same effort on the two different handlebar types. To do this, we’re gonna ride down this two kilometer section of road as fast as we can on both bikes and then we’ll see which one we did it in the quickest timing.
The drop bar’s the winner. The drop bar bike’s great, because the three different hand positions are for really awesome versatility. So if you’re thinking about doing longer rides or perhaps even your first sport eve, then if your wrists, hands or arms start to get a little bit tired, you can get relief and comfortable again by just changing your hand position. The flat bar only offer one hand position, but it’s actually really good for short, more urban rides. It’s because it’s shorter, wider and more comfortable, there it’s more stable. So it’s really good for weaving in and out of traffic. So it’s pretty good for nimble riding, really.
We’re not saying one’s better than the other. Both are great. They’re just different, and they have different advantages and disadvantages.