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Flat Bars

glentressmonsterglentressmonster Posts: 26
edited April 2014 in Cyclocross
Hi guys,

I am a seasoned mountain biker but, due to spinal problems, have had to give up the mountain biking. I am selling my mountain bike and considering buying a cross bike for a bit of responsiveness on the road with the option of a bit of gentle off-roading. However, because of my back problems, I can't ride with 'drops'.

My question is, how do CX bikes handle with straight or riser bars?

Any opinions gratefully received. Cheers.

Posts

  • Why not look at a hybrid.
    I have a merida speeder, which is quite road orientated. (No suspension forks etc)
    It has a good level of robustness for tracks and rough roads, but comes with 28mm slick tyres for speed on tarmac.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    Get a Boardman Hybrid - its quite literally a CX bike with flat bars. As such it will take really wide tyres, which may be a godsend depending on your back problems and if you want to go off road.
  • Guys, thanks for your comments. However, hybrids and cross bikes are not the same. Those clever marketing boffins who say hybrids have "all the speed of a road bike with... yaadah yaadha" are lying.

    When you compare the geometry of a hybrid with a CX or road bike they are very different. The head angle is much more relaxed on a hybrid meaning more sluggish steering (or stability, if you look at it that way). Also the top-tube length on a hybrid is longer meaning you are more spread out. I want neither of these things. So a hybrid is not really what I'm looking for. Thanks anyway.

    Since my original post I found this bad boy http://goo.gl/8HylxV. Now that is more like it! A genuine cross frame with flat bars.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    Guys, thanks for your comments. However, hybrids and cross bikes are not the same. Those clever marketing boffins who say hybrids have "all the speed of a road bike with... yaadah yaadha" are lying.

    When you compare the geometry of a hybrid with a CX or road bike they are very different. The head angle is much more relaxed on a hybrid meaning more sluggish steering (or stability, if you look at it that way). Also the top-tube length on a hybrid is longer meaning you are more spread out. I want neither of these things. So a hybrid is not really what I'm looking for. Thanks anyway.

    Since my original post I found this bad boy http://goo.gl/8HylxV. Now that is more like it! A genuine cross frame with flat bars.

    Trouble is - there are many different types of hybrid - they really should be broken down into a number of classes...

    The Boardman Hybrid has exactly the same head angle as the CX - 73 degrees.

    Granted, it does have a slightly longer top tube but it also has a shorter stem, meaning more lively steering rather than more sluggish.

    Size nomenclature is slightly different, but the Medium Hybrid has EXACTLY the same TT + stem measurement as the large CX, and the large hybrid is identical length to the extra large CX. They dont make an extra large hybrid.
  • simonjsimonj Posts: 346
    Used to have a Boardman Hybrid Pro and would not take as big tyres as Boardman CX Team, definately not with mudguards, so the frames aren't the same IMO. Recently built up a Boardman CX Team with flat bars for my mate, he loves it, much better than Hybrid and more versatile. He has a bad back, so went for BBB 55 degs riser stem, Easton Monkey Bars with 40mm rise, then X5 shifters and R550 brake levers. All in cost around £80 to convert and he finds it very comfortable, yet can still ride on canals and roads with 35mm tyres with slick centre (like Sammy Slicks).
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    I have had 32mm tyres on my Boardman Hybrid and there was still plenty of room - a quick search on the web shows people happily running 35c too - was the Hybrid you had an earlier model?
  • simonjsimonj Posts: 346
    The Board CX Team 2012 had 35mm CX tyres on and I could fit SKS mudguards, I could not fit those same tyres onto the Boardman Hybrid Pro 2012 with the same SKS mud guards. I could fit 35mm Marathons on the Hybrid (can't remember about guards, think not), but with the 35mm CX tyres with guards, the nobbles stuck out too much I guess. I don't think they are the same frame either, measurements look subtly different to me, chain stays on CX are longer which may have helped clearance. I think hybrid is good for road and ok'ish for canal path, but the cx was built for it and more and has more versatility, but if you want flat bars will obviously have added hassle and expense to convert.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    Ah - OK, knobblies and mudguards might break the spell... No, they are not the same frame - as I said above the Top Tube is longer on the Hybrid, but then the stem is shorter. they are VERY similar though.

    Unless the tyre clearance is a MAJOR issue, I cant see why you would intentionally buy and convert a CX though as the Hybrid is cheaper and comes pre-fitted with hydraulic brakes and has a more reliable bottom bracket... I can see why if you already had a CX to start with though.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Check frame geometries - an equivalent-sized flat bar frame could have a toptube typically 50mm longer than a drop bar frame, or putting flat bars on a frame designed for drop bars can give a fairly short and upright position. If planning to ride mainly on road or well=prepared track, suspension forks don't really provide any benefit - better to save weight and simply rely on fat tyres to take the buzz.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • frazeredfrazered Posts: 333
    A cx bike isn't going to comfier or softer than a MTb... Just saying...
  • simonjsimonj Posts: 346
    but much lighter...
  • ...and better for road sections.

    A flat bar CX style bike makes a lot of sense, surpised there are not more of them, but as with a lot of bikes now the bounderies are no longer clear cut.

    If you specced in a flat bar CX, you could add reliable Hydraulic brakes for a low cost (compared to drop version).
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    The need to put everything into categories usually means that flat bar CX bikes are called hybrids. Same as if you put drops on a hybrid it'll get called CX.
  • simonjsimonj Posts: 346
    The need to put everything into categories usually means that flat bar CX bikes are called hybrids. Same as if you put drops on a hybrid it'll get called CX.
    I theory, but in reality the geometry is different and tyre clearance is bigger on CX.
  • I've got flat bars on my cross bike (see Project Pinkie in sig). I love it, even though the bike is an odd mixture of parts so is not quite a dedicated cross bike.
  • I have a TCX which I bought as a frameset and originally built up with a flat bar. It was great for cross racing, but the addition of bar ends are a must b/c you can't get the same power esp. standing up as you can with drop bars.

    I prefer the bike with drops b/c I can ride 120-200 kms on it. I rode the 210km roubaix sportive on it with drops, something I'd never contemplate with a flat bar. No chance.

    For going offroad a flat handlebar helps a lot, so it depends on what riding you want to do. Flat bar brake levers are 2x as powerful as the STI units I have on there too.

    Why not eBay a used cross bike (Ridley, TCX, etc.) and put a flat bar on thumb shifters on it?
    The titifers have sung their song.

    Now it's time for sleep.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    mikpem wrote:

    Carbon is nice and price is great - dont understand why they wont let you spec hydraulic disc brakes though...

    I am not convinced that just putting flat bars on a compact road frame is the right way to go though - I think a frame with a longer top tube may be better. I realise that a longer stem can compensate for this to some degree but am not sure it will be ideal.
  • mikpemmikpem Posts: 139
    If the brakes were the only sticking point it might be worth giving them a call, I've heard that they have overhauled the customer service lately so the new guy will probably want to do whatever possible to improve their reputation.

    Surely a longer top tube/stem is going to put the rider in a more bent-over position which would not be beneficial for the OP with their back problems. The upright nature would probably be quite helpful, I know that I find if my back starts to hurt I try to spend as much time on the top as possible to straighten it out a bit.
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