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

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!


  1. Buck Roger on June 27, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    Flat bar all the way. But that’s just because I’m a mountain biker and find it much more natural for me to ride.

  2. woken krish on June 27, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    I appreciate your cardio.

  3. FIix on June 27, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    can you sprint at all with flat bars?

  4. Ricardo Aguirre on June 27, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Awesome video. Gotta subscribe.

  5. Guy Comeau on June 27, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    I have both…2011 Spesh Roubaix (road) and 2013 Jamis Coda Comp (hybrid). I use both in traffic, both for commutes. I’ve also done a Gran Fondo on each. The Roubaix is definitely much better for the longer rides. After 80 kms on the road bike, I still felt fresh. The hybrid drained me. For commuting, while the hybrid is more upright, I find no difference in agility, the road bike just much faster.

  6. Reinhold Eberle on June 27, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Cool video.
    Greetings from Germany.🇩🇪

  7. lil migo on June 27, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    I use glasses and using drop bars will be challenging looking ahead

  8. augy 183 on June 27, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    I’m a commuter. I choose flatbar

  9. Otto Lehikoinen on June 27, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Only problem for developing ideal bars for a bike is that you’d need two brake handles controlling the same brakes.

  10. Bryan A on June 27, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Guy sounds just like Jeremy Clarkson lol

  11. Danfuerth Gillis on June 27, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    The average at best speed in Southern Ontario will be 35 km hr at best since this region is very windy and you have heavy cross winds. There is no major cycling race in Ontario on open road long courses as the wind is brutal down here with 25-40 km winds and 15-25 km hr cross winds. Never seen these winds in any European mountain even at 2000 meters.

  12. Global Cycling Network on June 27, 2019 at 8:40 pm

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

  13. rnz tzy on June 27, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    get at least -25 steam and with no spacers on flat bars if you want to be more aero

  14. Soundtallica in Chains on June 27, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    I personally hate flat bars on anything but technical singletrack and MTB stuff. They are less aerodynamic, are limited to one hand position, and while holding the bars your wrist isn’t in its natural position which causes strain over time. Drop bars 4 da win, and I say that even as someone who started out as a mountain biker.

    That said, flat bars are for sure more beginner friendly since they make it easier to control the bike.

  15. levigaming on June 27, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    I ride off road and I think there is only flat bars

  16. Dungeon Symphony on June 27, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    2:40 you can still get pretty low on flat bars guys, bend your back!!!

  17. Leezure Lee on June 27, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    Should have shown children party. Make some noise

  18. AG Coarseman on June 27, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Flats for MTB, drops for road and for gravel you can go either way

  19. Guy Smith on June 27, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    I have three drop bar bikes for road biking, but use a flat bar for commuting. If I take a drop bar to work it is 40 minutes instead of 45, but the flat bar feels a lot safer, with better visibility and the brakes always under my fingers. The flat bar commuter is also indestructible. I do not want to throw my all carbon BMC through the dark and rain into all the potholes that I can’t see. And I have a rack and panniers on the commuter, handy for work and shopping. Put those on a drop bar and you pretty much remove the drop bar speed advantage.

  20. Dave Stambaugh on June 27, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    The difference boils down to just one factor that you guys are missing totally. European riders have been riding with drop bars for a long time. The main difference is about what parts of your body the weight is on. The more upright position puts more of your body weight on your sit bones. With the drop bars your upper body shares more of the weight when your arms are supporting the weight of your upper body. The longer you are on the bike the more you need to take some of the weight off of your sit bones which we all know can get tired of carrying most of your weight.

  21. Divya Panchal on June 27, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    Thanks this helped a lot to understand in which situation which bike is more suitable,

  22. Mark Heywood on June 27, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    I’m an old giffer getting back into cycling and testing new bikes at the moment. With a bit of a gut these days and a history of lower back injury, drop bar positions are deeply uncomfortable and impractical. So it’s great that you can now buy a fantastic range of road bikes and road focussed hybrids with flat bars. Even at £400 there’s a massive choice of decent bikes.

  23. Oliver F. on June 27, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks to you I bought the correct sort of bike for my personal needs, flat bar handles in my case as I just the bike for coming and going to work and dribble through traffic.

  24. Jazzie Red on June 27, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    I am definitely a flat bar kind of girl.

  25. Brian Robertson on June 27, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    There’s no comparison its whatever suites your needs

  26. The TacomaKid on June 27, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    Walmart risers

  27. Dawn Donaldson on June 27, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    if you want to see balance on a road bike with traditional handlebars, see Brumotti. He is a Tour de France racer to trains using balance and flips, etc.


    Fabio Wibmer
    (*) this video is funny and shows crazy bike balance skills.

    In short, I don’t think it’s the kind of bike but how much training in balance not the bike type that matters.

  28. Przemysław Chmielewski on June 27, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    The frame in 5:13, when Ollie is on flat bars. For me it looks like totally wrongly fitted bike. The forearm and knee can collide, the angle of wrists makes mine hurt…

  29. brawla gullyy on June 27, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    I prefer flat bar coz I am very fearful of the braking system of dropbars.

  30. Yee Tak Lam on June 27, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    I am gonna cut my flat bar to about 46cm. Fine tune my hybride fitness bike.

  31. Jtgrandtour on June 27, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    I appreciate, Joseph.

  32. Onii-san on June 27, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    The people cheering up is amazing.

  33. HdtvTh on June 27, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    Flat bars are dumb, you can use drop bars as flat bars and even more hand positions, and if you are going for anything resembling a long ride you are going to feel your hands go numb if kept in the same position.

  34. Heather Spoonheim on June 27, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    Just got back into cycling after a few decades off. I went for a flat bar and I’m glad I did. That being said, I think I’ll be swapping them out for drop bars next season. I wish that all I had to change was the bar – but controls, possibly derailleurs – not going to be a cheap change.

  35. Oliver F. on June 27, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    When did they invent drop bar bikes?, does the UK have an agency equivalent to NASA?, are you guys Scottish?

  36. Chipster42 on June 27, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    Very useful

  37. 476,402 views on June 27, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    Drop bar pro’s: aerodynamic, more efficient, overall better

    Drop bar con’s: makes you look like a huge fucking nerd.

  38. ramiyan22 on June 27, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    I’m using a MTB as a road bike and i have a flat bar

  39. Aleksandr Zirkou on June 27, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    1:16 position of wrists tho…

  40. Yuuri Shibuya on June 27, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    It was really fun watching these guys, especially when they crushed pre 🐣 lol.
    Nice high tech experiments.

  41. Filuo on June 27, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    I feel that the drop bar not only need flexibility but can be limited to the body shape of the perso. I can almost touch my toes, maybe a inch away of actually touching them, but I have somewhat of a beer gut and the drop down bar is just not confortable for me. Also, I feel for me that the braking is not as reflexive with the drop bar compared the flat bar.

    I have to admit that having mutiple hand positions is a must when you ride for more than a hours or two. You solve this problem with the flat bar adding some – I don’t know how to call it in english (i.e. I’m french) – but it’s horns I think that give a extra hand position wich helps a lot

  42. Cristian Baluta on June 27, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    On the flat bars the position is simply not natural, i tried to do a multi day bike tour on one and i felt the problems in. the first day, i had to move my hands to the center to get a releaf.

  43. Samuel Sepulveda on June 27, 2019 at 9:13 pm

    Flat or Drop….mmmm….cyclists

  44. man bearpig on June 27, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    I’ll take the flat bars, guys who ride drop bars are fucking dickheads when they ride, they never say hello, or good morning, they take up the whole street, fucking dropdicks

  45. Digi20 on June 27, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    there is a reason both exist. if you have to maneuver and brake a lot, like on a MTB, you use flatbars. if speed is key dropbar, like on a roadbike. simple as that. as for the braking power from the hoods on dropbars: now with hydraulic brakes that need much less force to bite, that got much better. even with small hands i can brake safely from the hoods. isnt possible with rim brakes.

  46. Tony Franklin on June 27, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Pah, instead of comparing a granny shopping bike with a riser bar and high angled stem you should have used a proper flat bar road bike!
    My first was the Ridgeback Genesis Day 02, rack & guard mounts but in every way a road bike geo, the Day 03 had carbon forks and seatpost plus Dura Ace triple set up as standard, this was 2001!

    Move forward a few years and bikes like the Specialized Sirrus Pro with its carbon seat stays, carbon bars, carbon fork and carbon seatpost are a world away from your silly little shopping bike in terms of quality, ride and speed.
    Move forward a little bit further and the Sirrus Pro Ltd is a full carbon frameset, mine has Avid 7s plus carbon contact points, with pedals it’s sub 8kg in a 58.

    Clearly the rider on the ‘flat bar’ hasn’t even got the correct bike, it’s too short in the top tube and/or too short a stem, they also don’t know how to get low down, but then if they hadn’t have left that high angled stem on then that wouldn’t have been as much of an issue!
    Not very good test/comparison frankly and isn’t informative to those new to cycling when the testers don’t even understand what bike they should be using/comparing never mind not being able to get the right bike size/make minor adjustments so that you can fit the bike to use correctly for intended use.

  47. Samudra Gogoi on June 27, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    Do u have back pain?

  48. Max Mustermann on June 27, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    It would be cool if you summarize everything at the end. This way people who don’t have much time also watch your video and you get more views.

  49. Aloysius Xavier Lilius Pendergast on June 27, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    Flat bars are great for urban bikes like gt nomads or specialized crossroad sports where you are riding with your back straight up so you need your handlebars almost at elbow level