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Old 09-04-02, 01:31 PM   #1
RainmanP
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A minimal comfort to road "conversion"

A young friend with very limited resources wants to do a minimal conversion on a 21 sp comfort bike. I am thinking that we could do it with just the following:

Inexpensive road bar
Bar con shifters run in friction mode
Bar tape
Road brake levers
Slick tires

I'm thinking we could do it for about $120 plus the tires, producing a servicable, more or less road-configured bike. I realize that the road brake levers aren't great with the v-brakes, but I ran a converted Giant Cypress with STI levers for a while and braking was adequate. Obviously, other changes would be nice, but we are talking minimal. I am a pretty fair shade tree road bike mechanic, having built, disassembled, rebuilt, and repaired a few bikes not to mention innumerable component swaps among my bikes. It seems to me the above should work, but I thought I'd double check with the experts before spending any money.

I have also suggested we keep an eye out for a nice old 10sp which is always an option.

Any thoughts on the conversion possiblity? Am I missing anything?
Thanks,
Raymond
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Old 09-04-02, 01:45 PM   #2
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Why switch to drop bars?

If you're considering this just for more hand positions, you should consider adding some NEWK bar ends. They are bar ends that extend out in front like a standard bar end, AND drop down more like a drop bar!!!!

It's about a $30 add on that would only take 15 mins to install!

You WON'T have to change shifters, brake levers or anything!

L8R
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Old 09-04-02, 02:19 PM   #3
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Butterfly bars are probably a better option than NEWKS. Plenty of positions and you can keep flat bar shifters ;my local bike shop has them for about 15 ($25).

Switching to a decent 28mm tyre is probably the most effective part of the package, then add some toe clips.

Putting drops will add significantly to the reach and may be too far. The loss in braking performance could be bad news and thge steering may go a bit weird with all that extra bar out front.
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Old 09-04-02, 03:25 PM   #4
RainmanP
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Good point, MichaelW. I forgot that my LBS installed some of those little accessories on the brakes that increase the mechanical advantage. Can't remember what they are called now. Thanks for reminding me.
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Old 09-04-02, 04:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by RainmanP
A young friend with very limited resources wants to do a minimal conversion on a 21 sp comfort bike. I am thinking that we could do it with just the following:

Inexpensive road bar
Bar con shifters run in friction mode
Bar tape
Road brake levers
Slick tires

I'm thinking we could do it for about $120 plus the tires,Raymond
$120 bucks? Raymond, contact me. I will give you the parts free. Seriously.
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Old 09-04-02, 06:09 PM   #6
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You'll probably need a stem too as reach will be different and hybrid stens use the mtb 25.4mm clamp and road bars start at 25.8mm and run through 31.8.Nitto makes a 25.4 clamp road bar,but they are not cheap. New cables and casing too. Buy the right shifters and you won't even have to mess with friction.

Last edited by pokey; 09-04-02 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 09-04-02, 06:13 PM   #7
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I recently did a conversion of my Trek Navigator.

Replaced 26" comfort tires and tubes with 1.25" Michelin inverts at 90lb psi
Replaced comfort saddle with a sleeker saddle
Replaced pedals with road straps/clips
Lowered the riser bars and added bar ends

Cost was $120

I'm thinking of adding aero bars. There is an aero I can get that would fit the risers.



Makes a great commuter.

Last edited by oceanrider; 09-04-02 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 09-04-02, 06:40 PM   #8
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Might a used road bike be a better investment?
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Old 09-04-02, 07:03 PM   #9
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Hey folks - RainmanP actually posted this thread after I saw one of his posts mentioning that he had done this, and I emailed him about it.

So I can add some detail:

WHY:

I can't afford a road bike right now, and my entry into cycling was a comfort hybrid. I enjoy riding roads and paved trails, and have been working on increasing my distance (only up to 24 miles so far). I figured tweaking out my hybrid would get me through the winter and into the spring when I *might* have a chance of buying the real deal.

What I have done so far:

I have installed Aero bars, use semi-slick tires (Serfa Drifters), and have bar ends (those don't count I guess).

I spoke to my LBS at length tonight - thanks to RainmanP's crash course, I actually held my own. My LBS guy will most likely loan me some parts so we can set it up and see how it works.

I have an adjustable stem -- so he recommended lifting it a bit higher than most road bikes, so the TOPS would be at a more comfortable 'comfort' height - hopefully dealing with too excessive of a reach. I am also 6'6", so I got some pretty long arms....

He had some Shimoni STI levers that he could give me a deal on, and he said we could work on putting together the derailler set to match. My shifters are SRAM grip shifters, so at this point, I either use friction shifters, or make some modifications.

He kind of lost me at that point - but he thought we could still stay somewhat price conscious yet still give me better shifters than the bar con shifters. I saw these while reading up on integrated shifters at the Rivendale site:
http://www.kellybike.com/takeoffs.html
I thought they would be another neat alternative as well.

So, with that all in mind, does that change anything ? At 6'6", my chances of finding a used road bike that really fits are slim to none, so its either live with what I got, or try modifying it and see how it works.

Props again to RainmanP - he really got me rolling on the concept - and my LBS guy is unflappable enough to try anything. His take was to get me spare parts so I could try it before laying out the money to actually do it. (Why you should always support your LBS)

Thoughts ?
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Old 09-04-02, 07:04 PM   #10
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Oh - and I have Wellgo combo pedals and *just* got my shoes today, so I have clipless pedals too.
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Old 09-04-02, 09:01 PM   #11
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Nothing wrong with barend shifters.Relatively cheap and they work.Sti are a pian in the butt with triples and the front derailer can be an issue too.the kellys aen't worth the trouble,and more expensive than barends after you buy the shifters to stick on them.
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