Flat Top Handlebars

My son gave me FSA SL-K, carbon, flat top handlebars last year.  I didn’t think I needed them.  Or, more to the point, would appreciate them.  After all, many of the pros still prefer less expensive aluminum bars despite the added weight.  I don’t race and am long past my athletic prime.  Why would I need them?  Was I ever wrong!  I love these bars and would recommend them to anyone wanting a more comfortable ride.

These bars boast a long list of features but three make a notable difference for me.

  1. The multi-directional carbon mould dampens small bumps on the road.  This makes a difference on longer rides.  There is less jarring and, as a consequence, you are less tired at the end of the ride.
  2. The short drops makes it easy to adjust hand positions while maintaining a relatively consitent aggressive back position.  In addition, the drops are slightly angled inward supporting a more neutral wrist position when on the drops.
  3. And, most importantly for me, the tops are slightly flattened and tilted to fit a neutral position for the palms.  I didn’t use this hand position initially.  I didn’t feel as much in control with such a narrow hand placement.  One day, while out on a training ride with my son, he asked how the I liked the flat tops.  I told him I didn’t because I felt I could not control the bike as well.  He said, “you are not climbing enough”.  Say what?  Not climbing enough?  He was right.  I began incorporating more climbs into my workouts and realized this is a perfect position for climbing.  It opens up the chest making it easier to breath during exertion.  The more I climbed, the more I like the position.  Now, I frequently position my hands on the bar tops even when on the flats.

If you want a more comfortable ride and can afford it, I would recommend carbon, flat top bars to any cyclist that enjoys long road rides.

2 thoughts on “Flat Top Handlebars

    • I just returned from a 4 hour tempo ride on the flat country roads in Richmond BC. I kept it on the small chain ring most of the time averaging about 25 kph. A relaxed ride after the repeat hill climbs the previous 2 days. What was interesting is that for most of those 4 hours I was positioned on the flat part of the bars. 6-9 months ago, I would not have done that.

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