General Cycling Discussion - Converting from drops to flat bars?
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05-10-07, 05:40 PM
2005 Felt 70
Shimano 105 27-speed.
FSA Gossamer cold-forged alloy triple crankset.
I was considering changing to a flat bar. Or if possible adding rapid-fire shifters to the top bar. I have 5 or 6 stop lites in my 3 mile commute as well as a number of intersections I need to slow down at so I don't often get in the drops. Shifting on the hood is uncomfortable to me. My questions are other than possibly a new stem, bar and shifters would there be anything I would need? How do I know what components fit? I see a lot of 9-speed STi rapid-fires which I love and look great for commuting but my bike is 27-speed. Or is nine in reference to the rear cassette? Is there a chart of what is compatible with what?
A 27-speed bike has a 9-speed rear.
Any Shimano 9-speed shifter should work.
You will need a new bar, new stem, shifters, brake levers, new cables and housings (may come with the shifters and brake levers), and grips.
You may need to rig up some Travel Agent pulleys to reduce the cable pull, or get some brake levers that are compatible with caliper brakes. Otherwise your brakes may be a bit touchy. Road levers pull half the cable as MTB levers.
What you are considering is quite a bit of work and not much real gain. Most people go the other way, switching flat bars for drops to get more hand positions.
05-10-07, 08:35 PM
For what it would cost you, it might make more sense to just get a road-oriented hybrid, like the Jamis Coda or Fuji Absolute lines.
05-10-07, 09:15 PM
A bike that you use to commute to work might as well be set up however you feel is ideal for the particular route that you take. You're probably going to modify whatever bike you start with so it might as well be the one that you already know and love.
In addition to the stem clamp size, road and flat handlebars are usually a "skosh" different in diameter so the clamps for brake and shift levers won't always work.
If you hunt around a little more, you'll be able to find short cable pull brake levers to work with your road calipers but I wouldn't worry excessively about using V-brake levers with road calipers anyway.
The same is true of using mountain bike shifters with a road front derailleur. Tandem and hybrid bike makers used that combination successfully for years before Shimano came out with flat bar road components.
A possible compromise - add "cyclocross" brake levers (Salsa, Cane Creek, or Tektro) to the top of your bars so you can brake without moving to the drops or hoods.
To make the conversion you will need -
Brake levers meant to work with less cable pull (do NOT use V-brake levers)
stem (the diameter is slightly different from road to mountain)
new front derailleur (mountain bike shifters use different cable pull - there is a Shimano derailleur designed to work with mountain shifters and road cranksets)
It's not really worth it.
This an easy swap. You need the shifter, cantilever compatible brake levers, 25.4mm clamp stem, a flat bar, cables & casings, a Shimano R443 ft derailleur and grips. You should be able to get everything for approx $200. If you sell your old parts you could recover at least half of that. Here is a link to the shifter: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?category=104&subcategory=1194&brand=&sku=20248&storetype=&estoreid=&pagename=Shop%20by%20Subcat%3A%20Shifters%2FBrake%20Levers%20%2D%20Road to get you started. The hardest part to find will be the cantilever brake levers. They pull the same amount of cable as a road lever. Try Tektro levers. Good luck and post pics when it's done.
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