Flat bars won't be a hand saver since their hand positions are much more limited than drop bars. Also, used with the same stem, the flat bars will be just as low as your current drop bars.
A more upright position with road bars can be achieved by changing the stem. Get a stem with a greater angle (say 0° or +10° instead of the typical -17°) and/or get a stem with a longer quill. Either will allow you to raise the bars.
The Profile H2O stem is a 0° stem with a long quill and will allow a rather high bar position. Rivendell Bicycle Works offers a Nitto stem that is -17° but has a very long quill and will also allow for a high bar setting.
This message was edited by DaveB on 11-28-04 @ 9:37 AM