Flat Bars have had a hard time getting the attention they deserve because of toxic cyclists who are die hard fans of the Drop Bar.
Drop Bars are great, don’t get me wrong, they are made for speed and aerodynamic design, but depending on your needs, there are other bars out there that can do a better job for you!
If you pick a Drop Bar and plan on riding through a busy car-filled city, then you won’t be given the accuracy you need to weave through those tight spots, stand still cars and unpredictable pedestrians. T
his is why we have made this article. To spread some light on why Flat Bars are great for off-road riding and commuting.
Big Mountain Tires
The Mongoose Malus calls itself the “Fat Tire Mountain Bike”, and it is not wrong!
The wheel is 26 inches which allow for 4 inch wide wheels. That means it can handle sand and snow as well as the typical terrain you would find on a gravel road or rugged trail.
The Mongoose has, by far, the largest tires on our list, so if you need something that can handle unpredictable terrain, you’ll find a friend in this bike!
When it comes to brakes, the Mongoose has both front and rear brakes and they are both disc brakes.
Once again proving that the Mongoose is designed for tough terrain, the disc brakes provide added protection to the mechanics of the bikes.
The fact that they have two breaks, means you can have complete control over your braking system.
When it comes to suspension, this bike has none. The 4 inches tires are meant to act as their own form of suspension.
Customers have commented that they find this lack of suspension great for their lower back problems, which might sound surprising, but those big tires absorb the impacts before it ever reaches your seat.
- Big Wheels
- Disc Brakes
- Great for Off Road Biking
- Not Designed for On Road Riding
Mountain and City Bike
The Hosote also has a big wheel size, but the tire size is only 1.95 inches thick.
This means that the wheel can lift you off the ground, which is great for mountain biking, but the thin tires might be too thin for the really tricky terrain.
However, because the tires are thin, it means they are sleek enough that you can have a lot of control to weave through cars and onto sidewalks.
That is what makes the Hosote bike a perfect bike for someone who wants to go off road one day and on road the next!
Most people will be able to use this bike as it is recommended for heights of 5 foot 1 to 6 foot 2. And with a max weight of 330 lbs, most people will be able to use the bike and carry some weight on their back pack too!
The disc brake of this bike matches the Mongoose, but the difference between them can be found in the suspension fork.
Suspension forks absorb the shock of the impact and are mounted on the front wheel’s frame. This is great for when you are riding through tough terrain as it will keep you comfortable.
The only problem with this bike is that most of it is unassembled. This means you have to screw everything together yourself, and if you don’t know what you’re doing that could hinder the performance of the bike.
- Large Wheel
- Disc Brakes
- Fits Most People
- On Road and Off Road
- Have to Assemble it Yourself
The Schwinn Bonafide is aimed at the bikers who are often riding their bikes through bumpy terrain that has a steep incline.
The bike contains trigger shifters with 24 different speeds. This means that changing gears have become super easy and smooth for the person who has this bike.
The Bonafide also has a large wheel size of 29 inches, but the wheels themselves are pretty standard for a mountain bike. They measure at 2.25 inches.
This is still a great size though as it helps again with the unstable terrain that you will probably encounter on your ride!
The only real downside to this bike is the weight of it. The Schwinn Bonafide weighs 39 pounds.
If you are cycling up hill that extra weight will count and you will feel it in your legs as you try to shift the bike up.
But when you are going downhill, you will be thankful for that weight as it keeps you close to the ground.
- 24 Different Speeds
- Easy to change gears
- Big Wheels
- Weighs 39 pounds.
Best Flat Bar Gravel Bikes Buying Guide
Why Flat Bars are Great for Commuting and Off Road Riding.
In a like for like comparison, there are a couple of reasons why flat bars are perfect for off road riding, and why they are an amazing pick for those who like to bike to work.
If you are a beginner, the flat bar is automatically an amazing choice for you.
Flat bars give you a lot of control in your movements and because of that, they are easy to use. The control comes from the wide handles which give automatic and direct reactions to your movements.
In comparison, a drop bar won’t give that reassurance, as the handles are designed to help you get low. Getting low lowers your center of gravity, which means you can ride faster.
The down side to the drop bar is that that low grip is harder to control when it comes to quick changes or quick reactions.
Because the drop bar lowers your center of gravity, it arches your back to keep you aerodynamic. This arched back position will make it hard for a cyclist to keep their backpack on whilst they are riding at their top speeds.
If you are a drop bar user, then you might not want to wear a backpack anyway, as it will cut through the aerodynamic shape you have created.
If you are a commuter or an off road cyclist, then you are probably going to take a backpack to work or to hold water and some snacks for your ride.
With the flat bar, your position is upright, making backpacks comfortable to carry and unlikely to fall off.
The Need to Weave
If you are riding through a woodland area, you are likely going to come across bumpy roads, and unexpected rocks or branches in your way. When this happens you need to be able to weave past these obstacles with accuracy and speed!
The flat bar gives you total control over the direction of your wheel, so when these situations arise you can make the quick movements necessary to keep yourself seated.
The same comes with riding through a busy road, where you want to weave through the cars which are stuck at a red light.
You don’t want to slow down, and you don’t want to bump someone’s car. With the flat bar you will have the confidence that you won’t make those mistakes!
So now you know why flat bars are so great, it’s time to look at what ones are best for you! When it comes to buying a flat bar gravel bike, there are a couple of things you need to know before you start getting your cash out.
What Should I Look for in a Bike?
When you are looking into buying a bike, regardless of it being a flat bar bike or not, there are a couple of features that you should be looking out for.
These features will help you decide which bike is best for you and which bikes you shouldn’t bother paying much attention to.
These features are the bikes Tire Width, Brake Style, Suspension, Height, and Max Weight Capacity.
A bike’s tire width gives you a lot of information about its handling. A wide tire is a forgiving tire.
You can run over large rocks and big twigs without it stopping. You won’t be forced the stop when a stone clips your tire, because the tire will be too big for it to clip.
If you run into that kind of problem with a large tire width, then you’ve probably run into a massive rock. If you are going off road, you want a big width tire!
A small tire width is better for on road riding, as it gives you a more sleek mobility and allows you to gain higher speeds.
The style of the brake is only really important if you plan on going on dirt roads. In this case, you want a disc brake because they are higher off the ground than most brakes, which means they are less likely to get mud, stones or snow stuck in their gears jamming up the mechanics.
When it comes to suspension, you should really be buying a bike that has the mechanics settled on the front and the rear of your bike so that the journey is less bumpy, giving you a smoother ride.
If you only have the suspension at the front of the bike, then you will still have protection for your arms, but it won’t be as smooth. If you are riding on a road, then having only a front suspension won’t be such a big deal for you, as you shouldn’t be expected too much change on your path.
The height of your bike, no matter the design, should be measured by your own height. You want the seat to reach your hip and you need the handle bars to be either the same height as the seat or higher.
If the handle bar is higher than the seat, then you will get a straighter back which is preferred for long distance and off road riding, but if you have a lower handle bar then you will gain better speeds due to the aerodynamic shape your body will be put in.
These things can be adjusted to fit you perfectly, but the frame is something that can’t be adjusted. The bike should tell you what they recommend your height should be for their product, so look out for their recommendations otherwise you might be uncomfortable on your ride.
And the last thing on our list that you need to be aware of is your own weight, including your backpack.
To make sure the bike can perform as desired, you should see what the max weight capacity is. If your combined weight is more than the bike can hold, it won’t necessarily break the bike, but it won’t run the way it should, so aim for a bike that can hold you.
Otherwise, you might end up with a bad suspension which could make the whole riding journey seem uncomfortable.
Keep an eye out for the type of bike you want, and see what our list has to offer you.
So there you have it, 3 of the best flat bar gravel bikes currently out on the market, as well as some tricks, to help you pick a bike that best suits you! Now you have all the information you need to pick something that suits your biking style!