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  1. #1
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    Can you use road lever brakes and keep cross style shifters?

    So I have a flat bar road bike and want to install drops and road style brakes only on it. Is it possible to leave the current shifters in place and still do this? A few questions:

    1. Could you recomend a specific model of drops to get at the bike shop? What is the standard length of regular drop bars? I currently have a 25.4 size stem clamp on my bike (I think 26 is standard for road bikes though).

    2. Could you recomend a basic road lever to get? I currently have "linear pull" style brakes. Are there any other parts I need to get to convert the brake system?

    3. I have Shimano Sora front and rear derailleurs. How expensive would it be to convert the shifting system also? It was just a $600 bike to begin with. Could I possibly just leave the current shifters as they are?

    Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
    Last one to the top... Little Darwin's Avatar
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    You will save big bucks to keep the current shifters.

    Road bars are available in 25.4, so that shouldn't be a problem. If you find bars you prefer at 26, then add a stem to your shopping list.

    Bars come from 38 or 39 cm wide, and I believe I have seen them as wide as 47 or 48.

    They have different shapes as well, with differences in reach, drop and curvature. Some are smooth, some have shapes that they claim are anotomically beneficial. Some have one groove (for the aero brake cable) some have two (for the Campy style brakes and shifters) some have none.

    If you want to keep your V brakes, you will either need something like Travel Agents, or buy the road levers that are specifically designed for V brakes. I would opt for the V brake specific levers... but I forget who makes them. This is a good solution if you want to keep your current shifters... If you want to spend the money to get brifters, that is different... The brifters are the expensive piece to replace.

    Some in the forums have claimed that standard road levers work fine with V brakes... But if I were you, I would just do it right.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by niccolo
    So I have a flat bar road bike and want to install drops and road style brakes only on it. Is it possible to leave the current shifters in place and still do this? A few questions:

    1. Could you recomend a specific model of drops to get at the bike shop? What is the standard length of regular drop bars? I currently have a 25.4 size stem clamp on my bike (I think 26 is standard for road bikes though).

    2. Could you recomend a basic road lever to get? I currently have "linear pull" style brakes. Are there any other parts I need to get to convert the brake system?

    3. I have Shimano Sora front and rear derailleurs. How expensive would it be to convert the shifting system also? It was just a $600 bike to begin with. Could I possibly just leave the current shifters as they are?

    Thanks for your time.
    I think you would be better to save your money and buy a second hand road bike with what you need on it. It is going to cost you money for the new brifters, drop bars etc and all in all you will only end up with a 600 dollar converted bike which is not a problem but you will get better value by going the other route.

    Technically I the answer for your questions, no point in my retyping all of this. Bottom line is you are into expense here and will do better by buying second hand bike if budget it tight. As an aside I have tried fitting slicks to my MTB although it worked it was not something I would do again. Saved my money took my time bought second hand frame in perfect condition and groupset and made up road bike. Again you can buy a lower end road bike which these days are great quality for same price as doing this.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/deakins/handlebars.html
    Drop Handlebar - Conversion

  4. #4
    Senior Member juicemouse's Avatar
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    Mounting your current shifters to a drop bar is going to be a problem. I'm not aware of any model of drop bar that will accept flat bar controls. The diameter of the section where you'd clamp levers on a drop bar is 23.8mm, while the lever clamping section on flat bars is 22.2mm.
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  5. #5
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    This won't work. 25.4mm is the clamp diameter of mountain (and some road) bars. The diameter of the bar itself is 23.8mm for road bars, 22.2mm for mountain bars. So, your shifter's clamp won't fit around road bars. I'm assuing you're referring to some style of thumshifters or rapidfire shifters. I'm assuing the shifters mount seperately from the brake levers. If they're integrated into one mounting clamp, it would be pretty weird to mount them on road bars.
    There are only two ways you could use your flat-bar shifters, with clamp designed for 22.2mm diameter bars, on a road drop bars.
    (1) if your shifters have a steel clamp that you could physically widen
    (2) if you get an old chromed-steel drop bar that has a bar diameter of 22.2mm. These all had 25.4mm clamp diameter. I've got two sitting around; PM me if you want one of them. Here's the sort of thing you're looking at. Though a steel drop bar on a nice flat-bar commuter-type bike would be strange.

    You'll only be able to use a road bar with your intended-for-flat-bar stem if the stem has a clamp that totally comes off - usually hte clamp area on stems designed for flat bars is too wide to slide a curved drop-bar through. Given the bike's price, I'm guessing it does have a removable clamp-cap and this will work.

    Also, if your bike has V-brakes, you'll need to get special road levers that pull more cable than standard road levers; V-brakes require more cable pull than the standard caliper/centerpull/cantilever brakes which will all work with the same levers. Or you can get standard road levers and use some kind of cable-pull adapter.

    edit: juicemouse beat me to it.
    Last edited by TallRider; 02-28-06 at 08:37 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member juicemouse's Avatar
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    I mostly agree with motorhommmer. The only exception would be if you would be happy with bar end shifters. They could be had relatively inexpensively and would be a perfectly viable alternative to converting to STI shifters. The Sheldon Brown page motorhommmer linked to is a very comprehensive wrapup of all your options.
    It is my belief that every person in this world has something to teach, and everything to learn.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member ApolloCVermouth's Avatar
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    Your cheapest option would probably be to find some older cantilever brakes and match them some standard levers following the instructions on Sheldon's site. Your cheapest option for gearing would be older bar-end friction shifters or Kelly Take-Off brackets to which you would add the down-tube friction shifter of your choice. Paul Components also makes a friction shifter bracket but if you consider the price of those plus the Shimano bar-end shifter that they are designed for you may as well buy a brifter. If you want to keep you v-brakes you will need Tektro 287-v levers or a Travel Agent. Assuming you have a threadless fork you'll need a new 26mm stem that you could probably find used at your local bike store. I've heard you can squeeze a 26mm road bar into a 25.4mm mtb stem (if its the two bolt design) but this might not be the safest thing.

    Or..
    you could try using your trigger shifter or whatever on an that older steel bar. That is a cool idea. I'd be interested to see it in action. I suspect you would have a hard time finding one wide enough. Older drops tended to be narrower.

  8. #8
    Senior Member juicemouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApolloCVermouth
    I've heard you can squeeze a 26mm road bar into a 25.4mm mtb stem (if its the two bolt design) but this might not be the safest thing.
    Yeah, generally a bad idea.
    It is my belief that every person in this world has something to teach, and everything to learn.

    In memory of Jim Price (aka. sydney) ...

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