Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: New Orleans, LA
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I did exactly this on my Giant Cypress, and I LOVE it. Makes a great commuter/tourer. A little heavy for a road bike, but very sturdy. I go pretty much as fast on it as I do on my road bikes. I'm not sure if that means the bike is fast or I'm just slow no matter what I'm riding.
The bar-end shifters are a good, inexpensive alternative. You can get a pair for $50-60 and use your existing derailleurs where STI will run over $100 and may well require new ders to work properly. In friction mode the bar end shifters will work with anything from 5 speeds to 9 and 2 or 3 up front. They are almost as convenient as STI in that you still can keep your hands on the bar. You will also need road brake levers which run $30-40. AND, as someone mentioned, the road brake levers don't pull enough cable for regular V-brakes. They do work OK with Avid Shorty cantilevers which will fit on the V-brake studs.
So drop bar is a good idea, but be aware that you will have to spend another $200 or more to make the change.
If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!