Flat bar road bike - recommendations?

Knackered knees have forced me off road running and onto a bicycle for regular fitness training.

At the moment I have a cheap old hybrid bike - and the problem is that it runs out of gear range at moderate speed or on a slight downhill. I need the gear range of a road racing bike, but don't particularly enjoy the gonad-crushing position. Thus I'd like to find something with a hybrid/flatbar position, but with road bike ratios.

I went into Evans to have a look around, and saw a Cannondale Synapse Tiagra Triple Flatbar Road Bike at c£750 (Evans Cycles | Cannondale Synapse Tiagra Triple Flatbar 2009 Road Bike | Online Bike Shop). This is the sort of thing that seems to fit the bill but, being a bit skint, I'd like to limit my budget somewhat. Its hard to know how to compare it with other, cheaper, bikes - even Evans' own online shop lists 100s of hybrids/road bikes.

Anyone here a bit of a bike buff and able to throw me a few ideas, or at least advise what might be the best "value for money" of the various brands so that i can narrow my search?

Thx for any ideas.
I dont know your area but try a local bike shop....I dont like Evans they always seem too busy to offer proper advise.
I've got a Specialized Sirrius with armadillo tyres(puncture resistant) for riding to work(I'm TA), it copes well with canal paths an rough track well enough.
I run out of balls before gears on downhills(as an ex biker I know how much crashing on roads hurts).


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I was in a similar predicament and decided to go for a hard tail mountain bike (made by a company called Felt) and a second set of skinny wheels and road tyres. The forks are RockShox which can be locked off for road use so if I am doing road riding, I simply lock off the forks and put the skinny wheels on, they are quick release so I don't even need tools.

I took advantage of the Ride2Work scheme and got the whole lot tax free and am paying it off in interest free monthly instalments. I recently rode 60 odd miles from North London to Lewes with a load of road riders on gucci drop handle bar Lance Armstrong bikes and kept up with them fine.
If you are new to the sport and don't immediately know what you are looking at, why not try your local area cop shop. They 'hold' literally hundreds of unclaimed bikes which eventually go to auction.
The front chainring change will make the most difference. MTBs tend to have a maximum front chainring of 44t with rear cassettes ranging from approx. 11-32t. A road bike front ring is usually 48t but can be 50t+ with the cassettes being closer spaced around 12-25t.
As long as the front derailleur will still work this should be a straightforward replacement.

48:12 and 44:11 are the same ratios though ;-)
Thx for replies.

I actually went to a few Evans' stores - I didn't realise they actually had quality bikes; most high street stores sell chinese rubbish these days.

After some research, I realise that I'm probably after a hybrid with 50:12 or 50:11 gearing. Once I got past the problem that most Evans staff don't know their stock details very well, I found that there are actually a few bikes in this category:

Evans Cycles | Ridgeback Flight 01 2010 Hybrid Bike | Online Bike Shop

Evans Cycles | Fuji Absolute 2.0 2010 Hybrid Bike | Online Bike Shop

Evans Cycles | Cannondale Synapse Tiagra Triple Flatbar 2009 Road Bike | Online Bike Shop

The trouble with trying to pick something up second hand on eBay or other classified sale is that there seems to be such huge variation in "frame size" between manufacturers that you can only rely on bikes that you've actually tried in shop. I don't know if there is any sort of regular second hand bike "market" in London or the SE where sellers congregate?

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