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First road/race bike advice plus Flat handlebars v drop?

popec100popec100 Posts: 3
edited December 2010 in Road beginners
Totally new to road bikes but want a bike that I can train on and use to compete in triathlons. So far the shops I've been into have recommended the Giant Avail, however the last shop also recommended the Dash with flat handlebars saying that many women prefer it and that it wasn't often you use the full dropped handlebars riding position. Budget is about £800 so I'd welcome any thoughts on the handlebar issue and any other recommendations on makes and models that may be suitable.


  • cornerblockcornerblock Posts: 3,228
    Go for drops. More options for hand position.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 9,544

    "Many women prefer flat bars"? What a bizarre statement.

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
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  • Drops.

    I think with anyone buying a road bike for the first time the primary aim should be to get one the right size. Do your homework and do not solely rely on the advice from the geezer in the bike shop.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    I think you should name that bike shop so he can be outed as an 'ar$e' - what a stupid and patronising comment.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • paulorgpaulorg Posts: 168
    While I can't help with any of the women specific details, I've ridden both flat and drop handled racers so there I can offer some support.

    Flat bars generally offer a more upright seating position so you'll be more comfortable on longer rides as you'll be putting less pressure on your hands and wrists, you will also have a higher degree of control at lower speeds as it handles more like an MTB and its easier to brake/change gear with the flatty because everything is in a more comfortable position.

    That said the more upright position obviously means it's less aerodynamic than the drops which should be a big concern if you do want to use it for racing. Drops do offer more hand positions which will mean that you can change position every so often to ease any discomfort you might have, I found that it took a month or two for my wrists to get used to the different positions and stop aching. I also noticed that when I was climbing I did it much faster on the drop bike and personally just generally liked it more than the flatty.

    If I was going to pick out of the two I would go for the Avail, it has a marginally better all round spec than the Dash and the drop position will help you go faster than you would on a flatty. The Avail is probably no better than the Dash but it's horses for courses and the Dash is more a commuter steed for me. That said the Dash is more appealing to me personally in the paint job stakes but there you go.

    The best advice I can give is go to a bike shop that will let you test them and pick the one you like the most.
    If you buy it, they will come...

    ...up to you and say, you didn't want to buy one of them!!!
  • NWLondonerNWLondoner Posts: 2,047
    I first started off on a flat bar road bike for moderately paced rides and distances and it was great. However for longer distance ride the flat bar was a pain in the wrists.

    Personally I would say go for the drops. Yes they will take some time getting used to and the bike may feel bloody twitchy to begin with but after a few rides it will feel like second nature.

    Also, once you have built up your confidence get a pairs of clipless pedal and shoes. They really do make you more secure and balanced as you become part of the bike.
  • I had a scott speedster flat bar road bike before my current ribble drop bar bike.On longer rides (40 miles+) I would get numb fingertips.I tried some Ergon GC2 grips with bar ends to give a more cushioned grip and altenative hand positions.This helped a bit but never fully solved my problem.
    Since owning the drop bar bike, I have had no hand pain at all.
  • StedmanStedman Posts: 377
    I regularly ride 100 mile plus audax and sportive events and I cannot think of one regular rider (including females) who I have seen on flat handlebars!

    My wife this year started going out on a local women's evening ride and after two rides I lent her one of my road bikes. After one short ride around the block with the drop handlebars, she went off for the ride and on her return she only commented on the speed of the bike and nothing about using drops for the first time.

    Since then she has acquired her own road bike with drop handlebars.
  • Thanks for your replies, they have been a great help. A Giant Avail is about to be ordered and the fun about to begin. :)
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