Getting into cycling? Here's how to decide on a drop bar or flat bar bike.
Choosing the right bike when you're new to cycling can be very confusing. And why wouldn't it be? There are so many different tpyes of bikes around, from road bikes, to trail bikes, disc brake road bikes to time trial bikes, cyclocross bikes and gravel bikes, all-mountain bikes and cross-country bikes, aero road bikes and e-bikes, hardtails and soft tails, commuting bikes and hybrids, tourers and cruiers, BMX bikes and dirt jumpers, plus of course flat bar road bikes and endurance road bikes, enduro bikes and downhill bikes - and folding bikes!
One of the biggest decisions to make if you're looking for a new bike for fitness, fun and fresh air - is whether to get something with flat bars or drop bars. At Bike, we feel that a lot can be decided by who you will be riding with, or how far. If you're riding on roads (sealed or not) and longer distances, then a drop bar bike will give you more riding positions for comfort and efficiency.
If your cycling is more about getting out onto bike paths, or running short errands around town and commuting, then you might be best with a flat bar road bike. Something which has a road bike frame but the upright riding position of a flat handlebar, perfect for short trips and zooming around.
In our next issue, we are testing two bikes from Sydney-based bike brand Bossi Bicycles, who have two models based on the same frame. One is a flat bar road bike, the other sports drop bars.
A look at the Bossi Link
The Link is a zippy aluminium frame and forked flat bar bike, which has an 18 speed drivetrain with compact chainrings for a large gear range, hydraulic disc brakes for all-weather stopping, and narrow handlebars for urban cycling agility.
At $950 and coming with flat pedals out of the box, it leaves with with some change for a helmet and a world of cycling to explore in front of you.
Take a peek at the Bossi Pilot
The Bossi Pilot is built off the same hydroformed alloy frame, but sports a carbon fork for lighter weight and a little more suppleness on longer adventures on the road.
While the Pilot has mechanical disc brakes, it also has a 20-speed Shimano Tiagra group set, and the frame and fork has clearance for 28mm tyres, just like the Link. At $1250, it leaves room for some pedals, shoes, a helmet and a bike computer for under $1500.
With a closer spread of gears, finding the right cadence on your group ride, or on the tail end of a long ride, is far easier, and the reliable stopping power of disc brakes make sure you can pull up on the big descents or when negotiating traffic.
We sent our bike testers out to compare the relative merits of both the flat bar Link and drop bar Pilot, and their reviews will be in Issue #20, out in September.
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