A flat bar road bike, also called a fitness bike, is a relatively new style of bicycle. It is simply a road bike with a flat handlebar instead of the traditional drop handlebar. It may also have a higher angle stem of +6 to 30 degrees compared to the -6 to +6 degrees of a drop bar road bike resulting in a more upright riding stance, and MTB-styleshifters and brake levers. This combination provides a light, fast bike with a more upright and neutral riding position. A flat bar road bike is most commonly used for urban commuting and fitness riding. The more upright position allows the rider to see and react to the normal urban hazards more quickly. While flat bar road bikes were originally converted from regular, drop bar road bikes, many manufacturers since about 2004 are now offering "Flat Bar Road Bikes" off the shelf such as the Bianchi Pista Flat Bar.
The flat handlebar on a flat bar bike provides the rider with a more upright riding position compared to drop handlebars due to the higher stem, especially if riser bars are also used. This may allow a more comfortable ride for those who prefer to be more upright. The more upright position allows very easy use of the short MTB style brake levers-an important consideration when riding in traffic or changing direction frequently. Flat bar bikes have larger, more-padded (often gel) saddles, as more weight is on the saddle than with a drop bar, which places more weight on the hands. The flat bar bike may help those with lower back issues. A flat bar denies the rider the use of the lower drop handle bars, which may be beneficial to cyclists who want to focus on high cadence, faster riding. The detriment of the flat bar is the elimination of multiple hand positions (and accompanying body positions), which drop bars provide and which are important in long rides of 2 hours or more. Many flat bar bikes are fitted with short bar ends to give alternative hand positions especially for climbing. Newer flat bar bikes often come with paddle style grips that give a resting place for the outer part of the palm. Flat bar bikes are designed for commuting, shopping, short distance fitness, and recreation rides at medium speeds on roads or paths. Most flat bar bikes weight between 25 and 27 lb (11.3 and 12.2 kg) although many brands now offer flat bar bikes with carbon forks, seat stays and seatposts, which reduces the weight to about 22–23 lb (10.0–10.4 kg). Most flat bar bikes use wider 28 or 32 mm (1.1 or 1.3 in) tyres compared to drop bar bikes which are usually fitted with narrower, higher pressure 23 or 25 mm (0.91 or 0.98 in) tyres. The wider tyre allows use of a lower inflation pressure, which gives a more comfortable ride over paths and rough road surfaces. A flat bar bike is not a mountain bike nor is it suited to riding off paved surfaces. Most flat bar bikes are fitted with a triple crankset giving 24 or 27 speeds. Compared to racing bikes, flat bar bikes often have longer wheelbases, more trail (giving a more stable, less twitchy ride) and are 5–8 lb (2.3–3.6 kg) heavier. However, most of these features can be found on the drop-bar equipped touring bike, but the flat bar bike is often less intimidating to riders who associate drop bars with race bikes.
^John Stevenson (26 Apr 2011). "What's the best bike for cycle commuting?". Bike Radar. Retrieved 2011-07-14. Many people are happy with the more upright position that you get with a flat-bar road bike or mountain bike with slick tyres, though.
^Urban Jeff (February 8, 2010). "SRAM DoubleTap 10 Flat-Bar Road Shifters". Urban Velo. Retrieved 2011-07-14. Typically people think of flat-bar road bikes as “hybrids” and write them off as bikes for less-than-serious cyclists.