Why doesn't anyone use flat bars anymore?

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I ride an Echo mod and I‘ve got the following bits at home:

  • S1 (Stem 1): 150 mm x 35°
  • S2 (Stem 2): 175 mm x 35°


  • H1 (Handlebar 1): 740 mm length 75 mm rise, 10° both up and back sweep
  • H2 (Handlebar 2): 740 mm length, 100 mm rise, 3.5° upsweep, 10° backsweep
So far I have tried the following combinations:
  • S1+H1 - Tried it, too low, causes me to crouch
  • S1+H2 - Not tried yet
  • S2+H1 - Currently running this, feels ok-ish but pushes front wheel forward, so I rotate it forwards, which cases grip discomfort
  • S2+H2 - Makes rear wheel handling very easy, but front wheel moves and up-to-rear moves require too much arm extension.

S1+H2 is the last thing left to try and I don't think ti's going work well either.

So I've done some research. I've watched a bunch of videos and noticed many riders rotate their bars forward, in such a way that the "V" bit of the bars is aligned with the stem. By doing this they are able to pull the bike closer to the rider while on the rear wheel, which basically requires less effort to keep the the bike upright, i.e. it makes the bike feel more like a po-go stick. In other words, cockpit reach can be adjusted by rotating the bars. But there's a problem with this, because rotating the bars also affects the way the hands grip the bars, that is, the grip angle. Our hands have a natural "optimal" angle which we cannot change, and really we should build our bikes to suit our anatomy not the other way round. So rotating the bars should only be done to adjust grip angle, not to adjust cockpit reach.

This is where flat bars are superior. With flat bars, reach is virtually the same for any rotation, therefor with flat bars the only way to adjust cockpit reach is by using a different stem. I've done some 3D drawings to see how flatbars compare with riser bars, and my conclusion is that a long stem with flat bars is better than a short stem with riser bars, the latter being the most popular configuration at the moment.

Check out some drawings (you can see and download the Fusion 360 3D model here). Notice that "upsweep" and "backsweep" angles are a single angle in 3D space.

Here is an overview of my 3D model, it's a dual-height stem: 135 mm & 175 mm, respectively, angle is 35° . The bars are roughly modelled after H1 and H2 mentioned earlier. In this drawing the riser bar and the flat bar have the same angle to make the comparison more obvious:


Now let's check out some views. First, this is what the set-up would look like when the bike is on two wheels. In this example I've position both bars so the grips are parallel. You can see the riser bar places the grips slightly higher:


Now here's what the above assembly looks like when the bike is on the rear wheel. Her you can see how the riser bars are much closer to the rider, which means the front wheel must be further from the rider:


Because riders want the front wheel closer to their body to make rear wheel moves easier, they compensate by rotating their riser bars forward, as shown below. Unfortunately, this causes overpronation of the hand, when the hand's natural position is one of slight supination. Here's a video showing what those fancy words mean. It also casuse uneven pressure distribution over the palm of the hand, specifically putting more pressure on the area of the palm at the base of the pinky, while the area at the base of the ring finger does less work. This can cause hand and wrist pain and flappers.


So, in short I think I'm going to get some flat bars and pop them on a long stem. I was just wondering if anyone had tried this and whether it worked for them. Cheers.

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