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Help with Flatbar Bike

DylanMDylanM Posts: 26
edited January 2012 in Road buying advice

I am looking to buy a flatbar road bike to get back into cycling for pleasure and fitness after a 2 .5 year break.
I have only had mountain bikes before so a road bike is totally new to me. The reason I am thinking of a flatbar is I only have the use of my right arm and I am thinking drops will be tricky with brake and gears, although I have never ridden a road bike with drops so I am surmising there!

I have no idea of what is good and bad spec so it is hard to make a decision on that alone, so I wondered if anyone could offer some advice and guidance. The tricky part with going for a flatbar is finding shops that have stock to test ride, so it seems I may have to choose a model and buy online.
My budget is around £1000 and here are a list of several I have found.

Lapierre Shaper 700 ... _49564.htm

Bianchi Camaleonte 5 ... _50040.htm

Giant Rapid 1 ... _48752.htm

Scott Metrix 10 ... 741/221956

Moda Chord ... -Bike.html

Boardman Performance Pro ... yId_165534

I personally like the look of the Moda and the Lapierre, but there is more to choosing than looks alone.
One thing I am not sure about is whether or not the triple chain rings (if thats the correct term) which comes on some is a good idea or not. I don't live in a very hilly area anymore and I guess the less gear changing I can get away with as a one armed rider the better, but I guess until I try I will not know.

My main aim at the moment is to get the bike, stick it on my turbo trainer in the garage for a month or two to kick start my fitness and then take her out on the road once spring hits.

Hope I posted this in the correct section?


  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    Might want to try something with a hub system such as the Shimano Alfine. These have only one ring front and back and only have one shifter on the right hand side. Typically only 8 gears. However those 8 gears cover the same range as a 27 gear mountain/road bike, it's simply that each shift is the equivalent of 2'ish gear jumps on a normal derailler system. They also allow you to change gears when perfectly stationary, which comes in handy if you have limited hand mobility. One One, Cannondale and Specialized all do straight bar commuter bikes with hub gears.

    I also seem to recall seeing a doohickey that could splice two brake cables together so that front and back brakes could be operated from just one lever. Haven't got a clue who made it though, sorry.

    Edit: I think they are called cable doublers (google is your friend). Might also try swapping out the brake lever for something like this...

  • DylanMDylanM Posts: 26
    Yes my mountain bike has the brakes spliced so working from one lever. Brakes are the easy part to adapt, gears are more tricky. Ideally I would have the gearing so I can keep on one front cog and only change gear up and down the rear. Not ideal, but beggars can't be choosers. I have rode my mountain bike for years always stuck on the middle sprocket and simply riding using 9 gears. The only time I ever needed more was on a fast downhill, but thats not a problem as I don't plan to race.
    The only thing I can do is buy a bike then work on adapting it afterwards any way I can.
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    edited January 2012
    DylanM wrote:
    Ideally I would have the gearing so I can keep on one front cog and only change gear up and down the rear. Not ideal, but beggars can't be choosers. I have rode my mountain bike for years always stuck on the middle sprocket and simply riding using 9 gears.

    Then you definitely need to think about a hub based racer/hybrid/commuter with Alfine shifters. Only one gear on the front and eight or eleven on the back, but encompassing a much larger range of gears. Look at things like the..

    'Charge Mixer


    Merida S’Presso i8-D,


    Cube Hooper


    Cannondale Bad Boy


    Felt X-City


    Alternatively, has it occurred to you that you can put the 3 speed gear on the right hand side next to your normal rear click shifter by simply using one of those silly old 3 way lever switches on top of the bar (somewhere before or after the brake lever clamp... simply flip it around and dangle it below the bar, for instance)...

  • DylanMDylanM Posts: 26
    Thanks Ouija,

    I do have a 3 speed gear on my right handlebar as you suggest on my mountain bike. Downside to this is I find I don't use it much because the travel is so far with the thumb before it changes gear is is just too slow and awkward/unstable, although that may be down to the way it was fitted or setup and I guess newer shifters may be better.

    The Alfine system you suggest is excellent, I didn't realise these existed. These answer all my problems with regards to gears.
    If I see a negative, I will have to choose a bike that is probably not capable of keeping up with a road bike. Although it will obviously be quicker than a mountain bike, I expect is will be much slower than a road bike. That is not a problem to start off with, but if I do start riding with people it could pose a problem.

    Looking at the bikes you suggested, the following three are available.
    The Cube has 11 speed Alfine where as the Scott and Focus has the 8 speed.

    Focus Planet TR 3.0 ... tr-30.html

    Cube Editor

    Scott Sub 10 ... 013/221820
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    If you want more speed on any of those hub bikes simply fit a larger front chainring (will need to put on a new chain with more links, obviously) and, since the wheels are 700c, put on a race specific tyre (such as a 23mm slick racer). I can't recall off the top of my head but i'm reasonably sure the stiffest gear on a Alfine system is much stiffer than the stiffest gear of a mountain bike. Combined with the larger diameter 700c wheels on some of the above bikes i imagine top speed will be quite high.

    The other thing i'd worry about in some of those bikes above are disk brakes. If they are hydraulic your not going to be able to combine the break levers into a single lever (unless you swap out the hydraulics for some mechanical disk brakes such as the Avid BB7 road, for instance, which only retail for around £60ish). Obviously, that's not going to be a problem if it's already fitted with mechanical disk brakes or rim brakes.
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