What is a Flat Bar Road Bike?
A flat bar road bike resembles just about any other bicycle that you’ve seen except for a few core differences.
The bars up front, which normally rest higher up, closer to your waist level, are instead dropped down low. This lowered, flat bar, style requires the rider to bend more with the top half of their waist in order to engineer the maximum amount of leverage. If you had seen one of these on the street you would think that they are for cycling ‘pros’. This is far from the truth, actually.
When flat bar road bikes were first hitting the market in mass numbers they were pretty much disregarded out of hand by the two core demographics of shoppers: casual cyclists and pro riders.
Casual cyclists didn’t like that the flat bar bike wasn’t easy enough to ride as the more conventional styles. Cycling enthusiasts didn’t like that the style didn’t do advanced techniques as well as some of the specific units. What you had was a bike that could do a little bit of everything without actually specializing in anything.
Over time flat bar bikes have gotten more and more advanced and now we look at them as the “jack of all trades” that they actually are.
Popular Flat Bar Road Bikes
Diamondback Clarity Women’s Flat Bar Road Bike
What we have here is a lightweight flat bar road bike that offers a multitude of different functionalities and conveniences for the female rider that needs a bit of everything. The Diamondback Clarity has the ability to be a fitness bike or a commuting bike but it has the sturdiness of those rugged trail riding machines you see on commercials. There is a Shimano 21 speed drivetrain that helps you climb the hills and coast the flatlands and the 700c Kenda Kwick Trax tires means you’ll be able to whether both in fair measure. What we liked most about this cycle is that it has the sturdier parts to be capable of handling some dirt trail riding, as well.
Schwinn Herald 2.0 Men’s 700c Flat Bar Road Bike
Schwinn is a brand name that needs no introduction in the world of cycling, so we’ll dive straight into their flat bar bike. This model has a lightweight aluminum road frame to go along with alloy wheels. The 24 speed Shimano rear derailluers work smoothly with the easy to use EF60 shifters. You have pull brakes on both the front and back and size 16 wheels. The entire bike, assembled, only weighs in at 39.75lbs. After testing the bicycle don’t be afraid to try out a new road seat and then settle in for the long haul.
Vilano Performance 700c Hybrid Flat Bar Commuter Road Bike
Vilano is another steady name in the world of bicycle manufactures. Vilano has been well-known for producing affordable, easy to take care of hybrid bikes for cyclists of all levels. The Vilano 700C Hybrid Commuter bike is no exception. Built with Shimano components and a hybrid aluminum frame, this little unit can take a hit while moving at full speed. The whole unit only weighs 30lbs and someone with a little bit of muscle could easily sling this across a shoulder up a flight of stairs. You have Shimano parts up and down the model which means that you are getting a congruent, well manufactured machine.
GMC Denali Flat Bar Road Bike
GMC is our underdog bike in these set of the reviews, though their Denali unit is as good as any of the others. This is a 21 speed bike with an aluminum frame that weighs in at 37lbs. A little heavier than the Vilano, this bike is also quite a bit sturdier. You have alloy brake levers and calibers and high quality racing rims. The quality shifters are made by Shimano and the brakes get you stopping on a dime. What we liked most is that there was plenty of space to mount up additional functionality and we were confident enough in the Denali that it could handle it.
Schwinn Men’s Volare 1200 Flat Bar Road Bike
Schwinn closes out our list of easy to ride, easy to assemble, flat bar road bikes. At an affordable price, under $300, you are grabbing an aluminum framed machine that includes all Shimano parts. 21 speed Shimano utilities are engaged by EZ Fire shifters and Shimano rear derailleurs. The sturdy frame allows you to weather most any urban riding you will come across but the light weight keeps it from becoming a burden. There is plenty of room for additional mounts and the low seated bars help when you want to lean down and focus on the fitness aspect of your riding and commuting regime.
Why Should You Consider a Flat Bar Road Bike?
When looking at a road bike, any style, you are looking at a bicycle that you need to use to get things done. Road bikes have become the standard for those morning commuters in the city. They need to be comfortable enough to handle longer distances, sturdy enough to maneuver in urban terrain, and light enough that they won’t break your back when you carry it inside and up to your office.
Remember when we called the flat bar road bike the “jack of all trades”? Well, that’s exactly where this style comes into play. Let’s break down the key reasons you should consider a flat bar road bike.
- Flexible Riding Position.
The flat bar and lower seat give you the ability to lean into your pedaling for fitness oriented sessions while also allowing you to lean back for more casual riding. The ability to lean into your ride or chill out a bit makes this style of bike perfect for multiple purposes: the quick commute, the speed cycle around the neighborhood, or riding along with the family.
- Speedy and Efficient.
We mentioned the low seating of the handlebars before and we will do so again. The low, flat, bars allow you to lean in and focus all of your energy on pedaling and propelling the bike forward. None of your energy is spent on handling the bar as the unit itself is completely rigid. With the fixed drivetrain finding a common ground between speed bikes and mountain bikes, you’ll always have a decent top line speed to get to.
Not only is the flat bar road bike versatile from the perspective of its multi-use capabilities, but the hardware itself is also easy to update. Road bikes have several different attachment points if you need to hook up luggage racks or special frames. You can easily install and uninstall the panniers in order to turn your bike into a hauling machine and back into a slim, fitness oriented piece of gear.