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Old 09-06-07, 02:45 PM   #1
Diretemus
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Convert GMC Denali Women's Road Bike to a Flat Bar

The bike in question can be seen here:

GMC Denali

I purchased this bike for my GF and after several attempts, she does not feel comfortable at all having the brakes so far from the gear shifters. I purposed (instead of buying a brand new bike), converting the racing handles to a Flat Bar.

I'm not a bike mechanic, I'm a recreational biker, but I can work with tools well enough. My question being is something like this possible. The specifications for this bike are as followed:

Specifications:

* Frame: Aluminum 7005 straight gauge
* Fork: GMC Series 7000 steel
* Chain: KMC Z 51
* Crankset: Prowheel Alloy 335P6 28X38X48 170mm
* Front Derailleur: Shimano FD-TZ 31 Index
* Rear Derailleur: Shimano RD-TZ30GS 7SPD
* Shifters: Shimano Revo SIS L2/R7
* Brake levers: Promax BL-250AP Aluminum
* Brakes: Promax 501A Alloy Caliper Brake
* Rims: Vitesse Alloy black 700CX14GX36H
* Tires: Kenda Black With Grey Band 700X28C
* Stem: Aluminum black EXT:100mm 0D.
* Handlebar: Maesbend W: 430mm D:22.0mm
* Saddle: Cionlli Black
* Seat post: HL Aluminum Micro Adjust 27.2 X 300mm
* Pedals: VP-990S plastic body with steel cage
* Weight: 29.0 lbs

I'd prefer to keep the shifters if at all possible, considering the price to replace them. But I found a decently priced Flat Bar and inexpensive brakes that are compatible with Caliper Brakes, see them here.

Is this a hopeless dream to convert this bike, or is there a real possibility that I'll be able to do it?

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

Best Regards,
"Desperate" Joe
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Old 09-06-07, 04:56 PM   #2
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What about just adding in-line brake levers (like cross bikes have)? You may not even need to do the bars.
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Old 09-06-07, 05:13 PM   #3
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Since you have twist shifters, which are designer for mtb flat bars anyway, your plan should work. Just remember that there are a bazillion different diameters for handlebars are stems. Most mtb bars are 25.4mm. A lot of road bars are 26.0. You can buy a shim, or use some alu can.

Good luck!
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Old 09-06-07, 06:19 PM   #4
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Awesome thanks guys.


Acorn-User, to touch on what dtrain said, would you think it would be smarter (and/or easier) to just add the brakes to the already existent handlebars?
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Old 09-06-07, 09:47 PM   #5
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Bump before I hit the sack.
If anyone has any additional feedback I'd really appreciate it.
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Old 09-06-07, 11:53 PM   #6
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If you want to go to flat bars then if you buy a set of levers make sure they have a setup for cantilever brakes and not Vee brakes. The canti levers work with the standard calipers just fine. Performance makes a lever that can be used for Canti or Vee brakes depending on where you hook the cable. Sounds like your GF wants flat bars and not drops...get her what she wants because if you talk her into something she doesn't feel comfortable with and anything goes wrong it will be YOUR FAULT. Maybe in the future you can get her to be comfortable on drops...meanwhile, change the bars and save the drops and levers for the future.
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Old 09-07-07, 01:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Diretemus View Post
Bump before I hit the sack.
If anyone has any additional feedback I'd really appreciate it.
you could always try these
http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/brake...rop.html#cross
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Old 09-07-07, 02:16 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info guys.
Again, I'm very new to road bikes and the mechanics can be a bit intimidating.

My main concern is, when I spoke to a bike shop guy right by my house, he said it would be "nearly impossible" to convert the drop down handlebar into a flat bar.
Maybe that's why I'm a bit cautious about dropping more money into this bike if it could be a lose cause.
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Old 09-07-07, 11:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diretemus View Post
Thanks for the info guys.
Again, I'm very new to road bikes and the mechanics can be a bit intimidating.

My main concern is, when I spoke to a bike shop guy right by my house, he said it would be "nearly impossible" to convert the drop down handlebar into a flat bar.
Maybe that's why I'm a bit cautious about dropping more money into this bike if it could be a lose cause.
Find another LBS. Ask around other riders. You will probably find one that you are comfortable with and who is honest.
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Old 09-08-07, 02:48 AM   #10
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The handlebars you linked to appear to have a larger clamp size than you coudl use with the stem.

I don't see how it could be impossible to convert to flat bars - or riser bars. but given the cost of the bike total bike I can see why you want to do it on the cheap.

I say go for it though - if it means your GF is more comfortable on the bike she will enjoy riding it more and hence ride more often.

Drops are just not that comfortable.
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Old 09-08-07, 06:17 AM   #11
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This is the type of project that I love to do but on a bike like the Daneli it can turn into a basket of snakes. This isn't the kind of project that bike shops do well because it's labor intensive and, at shop labor rates, it simply becomes uneconomical.

The big issue is that it isn't a mainstream bike so things like the handlebar diameter might be slightly different than I'd normally expect for a dropped bar. The first thing that I'd want to do would be to take a caliper to the part of the handlebar where the shifters are located. If you don't have a caliper, wrap a piece of paper around the bare bar, mark where it overlaps, measure in millimeters and divide by 3.14. If you're in luck that'll be the same as the flat bar that you want to use. That's important because otherwise you may find the shifters and brake levers won't clamp tightly enough.

If that's the case you should be able to get by with new flat bar brake levers, handgrips and new cables and housings. Ideally you'd want canty-style brake levers but linear pull levers will work. That's not too bad of a parts list.

If the Revo shifters don't slide off of the bar easily I'd just hacksaw the bar near the center section and slide them off that way. That bar will have no resale value so you won't be losing anything.

Shoot a little hairspray on the inside of the handgrips. That'll make them slide on real easily and, after setting up overnight, they'll stay tight. Cutting the new cable housings to the right length might be the hardest part of the job. Measure one side off of the other so they'll be exactly the same length. A little too long is better than too short.

Good luck.

Last edited by Retro Grouch; 09-08-07 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 09-08-07, 09:01 AM   #12
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Thank you very much for the info guys.
Learning this stuff will take some time and some trial and error I can imagine.

I'll attempt it the best I can and see what happens!
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Old 09-10-07, 03:56 PM   #13
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Or you could also try this...

You could take a hacksaw and cut the drops and flip them so you have a set of bullhorns. Then flip the brakes around and they are right there where she needs em. Plus she have a more upright riding position but still have a few more hand positions for longer rides.
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Old 09-10-07, 05:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Diretemus View Post

My main concern is, when I spoke to a bike shop guy right by my house, he said it would be "nearly impossible" to convert the drop down handlebar into a flat bar.
When you spoke the the mechanic, did you tell him the road bike has grip shifts on it? If a gentleman came into my shop and said he has a road bike and wanted to switch to flat bars, it would be a lot of work, and money. He probably thought you had a conventional road bike w/ brifters, not a road bike w/ grip shifts (first one I've seen). Explani to him that all you would need is a a new bar, and new brake levers.
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Old 09-10-07, 05:26 PM   #15
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I read on here that the bars are put together at the center with a pin in some manner. So instead of sawing the bar in half to get the shifters off you may be able to just tap out a pin and take the bars apart. You could take a look by loosening the bar clamp and sliding the bar to the side enough to see how it is put together.

If you want your girl friend to ride the bike do exactly what she wants if possible. No matter how dumb it is just do it.
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Old 09-10-07, 05:43 PM   #16
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I'd take that bike back to get a refund, take the money plus what you'd spend for a flatbar conversion and buy a new one already set up for her that actually comes in more than one size and is assembled by a professional, backed by a warranty and may even include service...something like the Trek 7.0 FX.


...but then again...I work at a bike shop.
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