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  1. #1
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    convert or trade, road to comfort

    Hi everyone,
    At the end of last summer, my wife purchased a Specialized Sequoia '04' Elite. She can't stand the drop handle bars, so my problem (I guess it's my fault for talking her into this bike) is either converting the bike to straight handle bars, or selling this bike and getting another, probably the Sirrus '04' Comp, as she still wants the 27 speed ect....

    Any suggestions? I brought it back to my lbs, and they're assessing the situation at this time.

    Thanks,
    Last edited by qrider; 01-21-04 at 05:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member demoncyclist's Avatar
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    What is it about the drops that she dislikes? My gut feeling is that the handlebars are too low for her comfort, which is a typical complaint among newer riders who lack the core strength and back flexibility to ride in a "normal" road position for any length of time. In the past, I have swapped out a Terry stem for quite a few people. It is extra long quill stem, which, unfortunately won't help you since I believe the Spec has a threadless steerer. Your answer might be to swap out a stem that has a higher rise, or one that can be flipped to give it a rise instead of the normal drop position. I would encourage your wife, and any other bef\ginning rider, or even a veteran who suffers from hand numbness due to leaning on the bars, to start a solid abs regimen, take Pilates classes, or even Reebok core board classes, all of which will help strengthen the midsection and allow your upper body to support itself better when you ride. I actually run a 15 minute abs class right before each of my Spinning classes, and the difference is remarkable.
    DEMON

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by qrider
    Hi everyone,
    At the end of last summer, my wife purchased a Specialized Sequoia '04' Elite. She can't stand the drop handle bars, so my problem (I guess it's my fault for talking her into this bike) is either converting the bike to straight handle bars, or selling this bike and getting another, probably the Sirrus '04' Comp, as she still wants the 27 speed ect....

    Any suggestions? I brought it back to my lbs, and they're assessing the situation at this time.

    Thanks,
    It can be done. Shimano even has flat bar parts for road bikes.

  4. #4
    The Cycling Photographer SipperPhoto's Avatar
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    My wife also has a Sequoia... Does your wife's have the adjustable stem ?? I might be inclined to raise the stem up some, if possible, and maybe move the brakes/shifters up a tad higher...

    What about the drop bars does she not like ? I know it took a little while for my wife to get used to them... the only reason she bought the bike was that it had the extra hand brakes on the flats... does your ike also have this ?

    if all else fails.. get a comfort bar, or go all the way, and get a set of moustache bars... I tink Van Dessel sells some on their website for $30

    Jeff
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  5. #5
    Kev
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    I think I would look into why she does not like them. Basicaly with drop bars you get more hand positions. By default they are normaly set lower then flat bars, which could make them less comfortable to begin with but in the long run you get more hand positions which is more confortable. You could put them higher for her maybe that would alleviate her dislike of them.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommy2pants
    It can be done. Shimano even has flat bar parts for road bikes.
    Great! I'll check it out. Looks like I'd be able to keep most of the 105 parts with these parts.

    Thanks
    qrider

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev
    I think I would look into why she does not like them. Basicaly with drop bars you get more hand positions. By default they are normaly set lower then flat bars, which could make them less comfortable to begin with but in the long run you get more hand positions which is more confortable. You could put them higher for her maybe that would alleviate her dislike of them.
    Well, sometimes logic just isn't logical, especially where ones spouses are involved, but thanks
    qrider

  8. #8
    Deported by koffee allgoo19's Avatar
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    Well, my question is not why she doesn't like drop bars but to the rest of you, why you think you must like drop bars on the road bicycle. There are a few bicycle makers start making bicycles with flat bars, not only cross cycles but semi-serious road models. Some member here in this forum saying his friend keeps winning road race with flat handle bar. I think this trend started when mountain bikers start riding road bikes for training. We may see serious road models with flat handle bars in the future, or may not. Only time will tell.
    I don't think she needs to find out why she dislike drop bars as long as she has the alternative and she is happy with it.

  9. #9
    Kev
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    You have a good point allgoo, get what you are or you're spouse is happy with. WHy do I like drop bars, more hand positions I can go down in the drops for more aero position while riding..

    I can see no benefits to flat bars over drop bars in reality, maybe we will start seeing drops on mountain bikes hahaha Trends push the cycling industry if the trend is that flat bars as seen as more comfortable we will see them on more bikes..

  10. #10
    Deported by koffee allgoo19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev
    You have a good point allgoo, get what you are or you're spouse is happy with. WHy do I like drop bars, more hand positions I can go down in the drops for more aero position while riding..

    I can see no benefits to flat bars over drop bars in reality, maybe we will start seeing drops on mountain bikes hahaha Trends push the cycling industry if the trend is that flat bars as seen as more comfortable we will see them on more bikes..
    Hahaha, Kev you crack me up. I can't wait to see the photos of you riding flat bar road bicycle and smiling some day.

    By the way, talking about drop bar mountain bikes, it's been already done. I have seen a few photos of mountain biking race, one or two racers riding with drop bars a several years ago, when the mountain bike racing was in its infancy. Today, nobody races with drop bars.

  11. #11
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    I see you're in Seattle. Did you get the bike at one of the Gregg's stores?

    If the bike is the right frame size for your wife, it should be a fairly simple thing to do to make it fit your wife by trying different bars or stems. I see that the Sequoia is a bike that has an adjustable stem and seems to have a bit higher bar-to-seat ratio than many road bikes, that's a good start.

    I suggest you give Aaron's Bike Repair in West Seattle a call (938-9795 rideyourbike.com). Aaron and his wife, Gypsy are specialists at bike fit. If your wife has any problems dealing with young know-it-all bike shop types or salespeople that don't care after the bike is sold then she needs to talk to Gypsy. Something tells me that just switching to another off-the-shelf bike is not going to fix the problem. You need to get your wife and her bike to spend some time with someone who really knows fit, not just bike sales.

    Fit is about the most important thing, especially for new riders. If it doesn't fit it won't get ridden.

    Quote Originally Posted by qrider
    Hi everyone,
    At the end of last summer, my wife purchased a Specialized Sequoia '04' Elite. She can't stand the drop handle bars, so my problem (I guess it's my fault for talking her into this bike) is either converting the bike to straight handle bars, or selling this bike and getting another, probably the Sirrus '04' Comp, as she still wants the 27 speed ect....

    Any suggestions? I brought it back to my lbs, and they're assessing the situation at this time.

    Thanks,
    The urge to buy terrorizes!

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  12. #12
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    Not all drop bars are the same. They xcome in different widths, different diameter drops, and in different profiles.
    Most small riders use bars which are too wide and deep, so the drops are too far from the tops.
    Many tourists ride with their drops set level with the saddle, or 1" or so below, far higher than a racing cyclist would use.
    If you wife does want flats, then change to flats. Its a common conversion amonst older riders in my touring club.

  13. #13
    I bet
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    Heh, did I read some of those responses right? Honey, you don't need flat bars you just need to do some AB work. Stop whining and do situps!

    Tell us how you like the couch.

  14. #14
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    take the bike to a shop. I wouldn't tell her her I was about to do this.
    1)Have a LBS add spacers to raise the bars. Add as many as you can, try to get the bar a little above the height of the seat.
    2) Buy Spcialized's Bar Phat which is a shock absorbing pad and bar tape. Replace the tape with this. If I was doing this, I would add a layer of Cinelli shock absorbing tape over the Specialized. I have doen this, and it really helps.
    3) If she is narrower in the shoulders than the handlebar, replace the bar. This could be a big part of the problem. I like the Salsa Poco, it would be a good choice for her; but the 200 gram bars (and under) would be more shock absorbent...if more expensive.
    4) A previous reply mentioned a bike shop; it might be worth trying that shop. A good shop will help get the bike to fit.
    5) I have test ridden the Seqouia. If I had one I would replace the tires with Rivendell's Roly Poly (plush ride) and the saddle. This assumes your wife is not happy with the saddle. There are a number of threads in the Women's Cycling section of Bike Forums on finding a good women's saddle. My wife uses a Ti Terry Butterfly, and my Sis uses a Ti WTB Speed She. Finding a good saddle is a pain in the butt; but worth the effort.

  15. #15
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    We put flat bars on my wife's Trek 520 tourer. That was the plan when we bought the bike. We also converted the drive-train to mountain bike stuff for the lower gears. Very simple. Just get some ATB shifters (Deore, LX is good), Avid adjustable-pull ATB brake levers and an ATB bar and convert. There are many shapes available for ATB bars so get her involved in the process. ATB bars will likely fit your existing stem. Check the Performance WEB site as a starter. You'll also need new grips and cables. A new seat might be in order, as the upright position puts more weight on the rear. Don't skimp on the seat. Don't get too cushy if she does frequent/long rides.

    Bar ends are nice too. She has the longer ones that curve kinda over the normal hand grips. Set low, these provide another riding position and provides a good position for steeper climbs.

    Flat bars don't inhibit 35+ mile rides which is what my wife does typically about twice a week. I'm sure 50 is OK at least for her.

    Save the old parts. After she get's used to longer rides, she may want to switch back. I rarely used drops when I started freqent riding acouple of years ago. Now I use them often; partly because I upgraded to a Ritchey Ergo bar which doesn't force you to drop as much. I also lost 20 punds which made bending over a lot easier.

    Al

  16. #16
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    Al canoe, there is two big problems with what you have said.
    first, the ATB shifters will only work with the rear derailleur. a special road shifter is needed

    second, the brakes on the sequioa are not compatible with ATB brake levers.

    third, the flat bars will not work with the current stem. Road bars are a 26.0 clamp, and mtb bars are a 25.4 clamp.

    qrider, i think that your best bet would be to go to the shop and ask a lot a questions about the conversion, and ultimately, have the shop do the conversion. otherwise, you'll get a bike that only works so-so, and thats not much fun.

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