Flat Bar Vs Drop Bar Road Bikes | Comfort, Speed & Ease

As a beginner, it can be difficult to know which is the best bike for you. Should you choose drop or flat handlebars? James and Ollie are on hand to help you find the right bike for you.

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Buying a bike can be confusing when you are unsure of what you need. We put two bikes to the test, a flat bar and a drop bar. After taking a look at the visual differences, we put the bikes to the test. Firstly, we found out which is faster over a 2km section of road and secondly, we tested their agility and stability on two very sophisticated courses.

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Photos: © Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images & © Bettiniphoto / http://www.bettiniphoto.net/

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Leave us a comment below!


jessestylex says:

Cycling clothes with logos are dorky. Get some mnt bike shorts and a tshirt.

x.xshinigxmi_ X says:

Flat bars all the way

Huy Lê says:

This video is not vegan friendly.

sixstanger00 says:

Bet all the equipment used in these tests set you guys back a generou$ $um.

Anywho, I’m more of a MTB’er myself. But generally, handling & stability are the #1 reasons mountain bikes are fitted with flats and road bikes aren’t. Road biking tends to be more streamlined; long spells in straight lines with wide, arcing turns. So there’s really no need for tight leverage from the bars. Mountain biking on the other hand, often includes technical terrain requiring sharp 180 degree switchback turns (sometimes uphill or downhill), and thus more agility is needed from the bike. Traversing rock gardens, logs, etc all require a ton of steering input to keep the bike up, thus it demands more leverage at the bars.

Wider, straighter bars = more leverage
Narrower, curved bars = less leverage

Likewise, road biking places much more emphasis on aerodynamics than mountain biking, so it’s more beneficial to be tuckered down. While aero is still important on a MTB, it isn’t a gamechanger – not even in XC. A mountain bike ride is far too broken up into technical climbs, descents, steady climbs, fast descents, & flowy flats for aero to ever enter into the equation. .

douglas holt says:

Right on mate. I immediately chucked the straight bars for heavy duty road bike bars with a little out sweep, A 101 hand positions and one can drop down and get the grunt out. Road racers do actually know something about riding a bike.

pedallingtomcat says:

Oh god watching them struggle to clip in on the agility test was painful. Stick to pedalling fast in a very straight line eh.

Lekha Pratap says:

Carpel tunnels syndrome or no carpel tunnels syndrome.

Dances with traffic says:

The reach is all wrong for both of you on the flatbar… Also,the bars need 2″ cut off each end

Gravel Crunchers says:

A flat bar setup is somewhat cheaper initially, it’s possible to save quite a bit of money but you’re going to limit yourself as your tastes expand. Naturally the best solution is to have a couple of bicycles, preferably one you can leave locked up without too much fear. Bicycles have a tendency to vanish quickly in my town.

Kylie Minou says:

Had to switch to flat when I started getting arthritis in my hands (-sigh-, sucks to get old), but after feeling bummed for a while, using a “sensible” handlebar, feeling that I couldn’t handle the more “badass” drop format, with the brakes in the front, I have to say I don’t miss it. I decided to go the whole way and switch for a hard tail Marin 29er, and she rides awesome! I love bikes and cycling and I plan to cycle on, so there.

Sidowse says:

Actually, James has a “Riser-bar” 😛

x.xshinigxmi_ X says:

Really no one talking about those eggs what a waist I’m hungry

Bruce Chastain says:

looks like they had to change the pedals out after each ride 🙂

T says:

Great, fun video. Really helped me to choose. Ty both 🙂

Rubbish Gamer says:

I want to put mountain (flat bar) bike bars on my road bike but how to I take off the brake lever on the bar. it has no screw to loosen or tighten it and there’s rubber that you can’t take off someone help!

Daniel Soriano says:

stop the Yolks about the Eggillity Test..

Paul Richardson says:

Loe this, but you didn’t include the overall cost of STIs gear lever, opposedtoMTB style gear leavers. Might make a big difference for beginners. Myself, I put a flared drop bar on a carbon hardtail. For me, a perfect combo, speed, agility, hard wearing.

Stitch I'Lalu says:

what about when you’re weaving through traffic but your flat bars are too long to clear the cars rear view mirrors on either side?

Willyjaybob Indy says:

Ride what you like!

glenny oc says:

Butterly touring bars are great for an allround bike.

Global Cycling Network says:

Introducing a friend to cycling? Make sure you share this with them.

Yehia Badr says:

You’re doing great job

SuppyBro says:

weaved through traffic with flat bars no problem… weaved through traffic with drop bars and slammed my body into the back of a car…

x.xshinigxmi_ X says:

Drop bars more comfortable and safe

Sanjib Swain says:

Very nice presentation

Randy Rogers says:

I ride the beach bike path to see girls in bikinis. The drop bar is worthless.

saieesh guduru says:

I have a question
Drop bar bike can be used as a normal flat bar .
Yes or no

Macho 101 says:

Hitech highly sophisticated hit detection mechanism lol

Jackbone John says:

1:05 Rape face.

janet sers says:

my back is starting to feel pain just looking at those drop bars

Garret Lybolt says:

Couldn’t you put drop bars on a hybrid


Try it with bmx bars

Zild Benitez says:

I like the other guys

Lakhya Heera Rajkhowa says:

Where are the brakes????

maxyakov says:

They are wrong, IMO. A typical drop handlebar is narrower (17 inches) and better than a wide flat bar for “weaving in and out of traffic”. I have cut down all by flat bars to 20 inches for both running on the sidewalks/pavements (legal here in Bangkok) and lane splitting in slow traffic. I rarely lane split in fast traffic because it is much more dangerous here in road-carnage-prone, motorbike-infested Thailand. I can go places motorbikes cannot go and It gives a big smile to be able to do so, being much narrower and maneuverable than they are.

I even construct custom, combination flat/riser/drop handlebars with bar ends nearly vertical (risers) for a comfortable upright position and drop position when needed (rarely) and a flat bar for a different hand position and front brake and rear derailleur. I mount the rear brake lever on the left riser bar end so I always have a brake lever right under my fingertips when both my hands are on the riser bar ends (most of the time). When I want my fingers on both brake levers, I bring my right hand down to the front brake lever which is mounted on the right side of the flat bar.

Stewart McDonald says:

I’ve said this many times about this….just wtf is IT with bloody kilometres and you lot and cycling in this country….WE USE MPH FOR CHRIST SAKE!!

Italo Bracamonte says:

It can be more flat and be lower, it can even have bullhorns wich is bether, actually you didn’t toke all the potential in the flat handlebar. Its simply different. And the diference is not only positioning, its the quantity of accesories and things you can do, and the position when you ride in city and off road, but in the open road perfectly suited its obviously better a drop handlebar…. By the way. Dont take me wrong, but its clear you never use flatbar just by the position of your hands. Thanks for the video its informative, but…. Some flaws and things you let go.

drew Gilker says:

total rubbish

Sea 2121 says:

To be honest, maintaining a bicycle is a lot harder than maintaining a car.

jezmo 911 says:

Very informative and super entertaining. Nice job.

Nicushor Manescu says:

I like . I have flat bar for city.

Stitch I'Lalu says:

I thought you might talk about the ergonomics of having hands forward facing (more natural) versus turned over for the flat bars and the stress that puts on your body..?

x.xshinigxmi_ X says:

Guys got no balance

Gojira says:

so the push off didnt help? cause clearly he won both times and got a
push off both times as well

Oscar Morales Bello says:

Thanks a lot mates! This helped me a lot 🙂

Latrampodonk YT says:

All I can say is these guys are definitely not mountain bikers

Dawn says:

Love cycling and good vid but this is peak MAMIL

smitajky says:

I use a figure 8 bar. It is narrow ( like the drop bars). I use an adjustable head stem and other tricks to make the low position as low as drop bars but the wrist angles are better and the security is far higher. To test the aerodynamics I roll down a long hill in parallel with the comparison bike. We can make small adjustments to riding position. It is obvious if you gain or lose even a single metre along the slope. I wish I could add a photo because it really does work brilliantly.

Mark Kraman says:

these guys are pretty funny

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