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  1. #1
    Wrench Savant balindamood's Avatar
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    Drop Bar Conversion Problems

    I have converted my commuting bike from flat bars to drops and experiencing difficulties; specifically two problems. For information, it has Shimano deore rear derailuer (8-speed), and Shimano Argus (?) front, the newer style with the low seat posr bracket, shimano 3-ring front (28-38-48), V-brakes, and (now) Sora brifters (ST-3304). All problems below reference the front brifter as the back is working OK.

    1). The shifters came with the cable fine adjustment screw for mounting on the road-bike style down-tube shift lever braise-ons. As this bike never had'em, there is no way to mount them, and thus, no fine adjustment screw. I have fiddled with it such that it more-or-less shifts into all three chain rings, but it needs to be adjusted such that it works more times than not, and a screwdriver and pliers only go so far. Does Shimano make a screw adjustment for the exit of the levers them selves, or do I have to get some old 10-speed screw barrel adjusters and JB-weld the stupid things to the lever housings ?

    2). I put the rolly-polly thingers on the V-brakes to make up for the lever difference, but they do not return very well. The directions indicated that one may have to tighten the lever return spring to make them work better. My question, how do I (or even can I) tighten the shifter return springs. I see no obvious way to do this and this is far beyond the 27-language directions and picture-grams. All I can think to do is mess with the spings on the brakes themselves .

    My bike is not really usable (for commuting) until I fix this . Help save gas, the environment, ozone, baby seals, and spotted owls! Help me figure this out .

    Thanks.
    "Where you come from is gone;
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  2. #2
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by balindamood
    1). The shifters came with the cable fine adjustment screw for mounting on the road-bike style down-tube shift lever braise-ons. As this bike never had'em, there is no way to mount them, and thus, no fine adjustment screw. I have fiddled with it such that it more-or-less shifts into all three chain rings, but it needs to be adjusted such that it works more times than not, and a screwdriver and pliers only go so far. Does Shimano make a screw adjustment for the exit of the levers them selves, or do I have to get some old 10-speed screw barrel adjusters and JB-weld the stupid things to the lever housings ?
    I'm just going to address this issue and give you one possible solution (of which there are probably many).
    If your down tube is of a standard size you can get clamp-on cable stops like those that are shown on this page:

    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...20Cable%20Stop

    Then, you just need some in-line barrel adjusters like these (called "mickeys"):

    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...em_id=JW-NZ233

    Place the cable stop clamp on the downtube a couple of inches, or so, down from the head tube. Take the narrow end of the mickeys and seat them in the holes provided in the cable stop clamp. Now, take your shifter cables coming from your hand controls, route them to the wide openning in the mickeys and, voila!, you now have in-line shift cable adjusters. The Tektro clamps come in 1 1/8, 1 1/4, and 1 3/8", so as long as your down tube is one of those diameters, this solution should work for you. Good luck!

    P.S. The mickeys are sold individually, so make sure and get two ;-)
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
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  3. #3
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Note: modern Shimano rear deraillers do not have speeds. They all have the same cable-pull, whether "intended" for 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10-speed indexing. But your RD is fine here, it seems.

    Part of your issue is that the down-tube of your bike doesn't have a barrel adjuster and isn't designed to accept one. However, I think you could find one that fits into the cable stop that's already on your frame. Ask your LBS for parts like this. Or go to the second link that cascade168 posted - it's the thing you need. You don't need the first thing that he linked, as I assume your frame already has cable stops welded onto the the down tube.

    However, this may not solve your problem. Front deraillers, however, have varying cable pull. Now that you have brifters, you probably need to get a road-STI-compatible front derailler. Your Altus FD (my guess, I've not heard of Argus) isn't designed for front indexing with road shifters. This is specifically a problem for triple chainrings.
    You can get a Sora FD pretty cheaply. I'd recommend going with the the mickey (barrel adjuster that fits into your existing cable stop) and then buying a Sora triple FD if that doesn't solve things.

    I have no experience adapting V-brakes for functionality with regular road brake levers.

  4. #4
    118AHC "Thunderbirds" 2372ighost's Avatar
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    I did this exact change out on my Marin Hybrid and ended up putting a 105 sti front dr on. I kept my center pull cantilevers. On my Burley, V-brakes were added with the travel agent with no problem. I did change out the cable.

  5. #5
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timcupery
    You don't need the first thing that he linked, as I assume your frame already has cable stops welded onto the the down tube.
    I kind of got the impression that he doesn't have any braze-on's on his downtube. It was not clear. That's why I put up that clamp-on solution. If he does have brazed on down tube cable stops, then you are correct - the clamp would not be needed. In that case, just get the two mickeys and off you go.
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
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  6. #6
    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    Without looking at Shimano's compatibility charts, I would imagine that a 48 tooth chainring would be a bit of a jump for an Altus FD.

    We'll assume that you have cable stops on the frame. (pics?)

    timcuppery is right. Assuming you have cable stops, a mickey or barrel adjuster there will solve that, and a Sora FD couldn't run you more than $30. I'd say it will be quite a bit less.

    The v-brake issue is trickier. If you put traditional catilevers on your brake bosses, those should be compatible with the brifters. However, you may not be interested in spending even more money, since those brifters cost you a fair bit.

    I recently did this myself, and my solution was, shall we say, unique.

  7. #7
    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    I can't find specs on Shimano Altus, but I looked up the Acera line (the next up.) An Acera FD according to the charts can accept a max chainring of 42t.

    It is therefore doubtful to me that you have an Altus, but who knows. What year and what make is this bike? I assume all the components are the original ones?

    What exactly is the nature of the current FD malfunction?

  8. #8
    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    I can't find specs on Shimano Altus, but I looked up the Acera line (the next up.) An Acera FD according to the charts can accept a max chainring of 42t.

    It is therefore doubtful to me that you have an Altus, but who knows. What year and what make is this bike? I assume all the components are the original ones?

    What exactly is the nature of the current FD malfunction?

  9. #9
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    For your brakes, you probably need to adjust the brake caliper return spring, no the brifter return spring. Most V-brakes have individual spring tension adustment screws near the pivots. while these are normally used to center the pads, you can crank them both in to increase the return spring tension equally for each. One caution: be sure you set up your TravelAgent cable pulleys exactly per the instructions with regard to the orientation of the pulley.

    For the FD, I assume the FD and chainrings were working fine before the bar change. If so, then, as suggested, you just need an inline adjuster to fine tune the cable length.

  10. #10
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    I just made the conversion from flat bars to drops with Sora brifters. I bought inline adjusters from my LBS similar to

    http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...em_id=JW-CC217

    The only problem with these is that they are made to adjust while there is no tension in the cable, so if you find that things are not quite right when you are in one of the middle cogs or ring, you have to change to the small ring, do the adjustment, then change back to where you were and see if it is OK.

    I also put a gizmo on the thumb shifter buttons so I can shift from the drops. It works fine so far, but I wont post any pictures of my invention until I have seen if it can stand up to a bit more use.

  11. #11
    Wrench Savant balindamood's Avatar
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    Just an update. I went to the LBS and found a bunch of bikes w/STI and they had inline adjusters. Three stops later, and I found the last pair in town whihc were not already on a bike. Pictures attached. Thanks for the help!

    On the DOWN side, the Sora front brifter and the Altus are not working together. There does not seem to be enough overall throw to get all three gears. My question is that this is going to be either a $20-$50 fix, or a $100-$200 fix. The cheap way is a new front derailuer, but will a 105 be any different? The derailure would have to have a different leverage point than the Altus. I fear that Shimano's yet-to-be discovered logic states that the chain ring spacing between a MTB triple chainring and a road bike triple chainring is different, which means its going to be even more expensive to continue this swap, if at all.

    Input prior to forking out more $$ is appriciated

    Thanks!
    "Where you come from is gone;
    where you are headed weren't never there;
    and where you are ain't no good unless you can get away from it."

  12. #12
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by balindamood
    On the DOWN side, the Sora front brifter and the Altus are not working together. There does not seem to be enough overall throw to get all three gears. My question is that this is going to be either a $20-$50 fix, or a $100-$200 fix. The cheap way is a new front derailuer, but will a 105 be any different? The derailure would have to have a different leverage point than the Altus.
    I think the derailleur will do it for you. The general consensus is that STI road shifters won't work right with mountain front derailleurs. If you have top tube routed shift cables you will also need a little pulley for the down pull road front derailleur.

  13. #13
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    I did the conversion you described on a '93 Trek MTB. The rear shifting worked fine from the beginning but I never got the Deore LX front derailleur to work with the STI brifter and the cable routing made substituting a road front der almost impossible. My solution was to use a barcon (friction) front shifter and a regular road front brake lever on the left side.

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