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  1. #1
    Amphibious mammal
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    Please help me not mess up my bar swap.

    I'm switching my drop bars for a flat one. I'm new to working on bikes, so this will be my first real project, but I've tried to research it the best I can. I'd just like to make sure I've got everything right before I order it.

    The bike is a 1984 Trek 610.

    The bar that's going on is a flat 25.4 aluminum bar. I'm assuming my current stem clamp is 26.0, so the first thing I'm getting is this shim.

    Then for the brake levers, I'm getting these. My current brakes are Modolo Speedy calipers. These levers will work, correct?

    These grips.

    And these cables. I think I read some other posts saying these cable kits aren't good. Is that true? If so, would it be a big difference? Because it looks like buying the cables, housing, lube and ends and crimps and stuff separately would put me over my budget.

    Will all of this be compatible? Anything else I've forgotten or need to know? I don't have cable cutters, but I do have a wire saw and dikes and files, I hope those will do okay. I have read the articles on cable routing and length.

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by OttR View Post
    I'm switching my drop bars for a flat one. The bike is a 1984 Trek 610.
    So you're leaving the downtube shifters in place? That'll make for a much easier swap.
    Quote Originally Posted by OttR View Post
    The bar that's going on is a flat 25.4 aluminum bar. I'm assuming my current stem clamp is 26.0, so the first thing I'm getting is this shim.
    Good assumption and good choice.
    Can't go wrong with a shim for that intended purpose, although some stems don't seem to need it and a strip out of a humble beer can can do wonders.

    Quote Originally Posted by OttR View Post
    Then for the brake levers, I'm getting these. My current brakes are Modolo Speedy calipers. These levers will work, correct?
    Yes, they should do the trick. Just remember to set the brake levers with the cable attachment point in its low setting (at least to begin with) to maintain about the same force requirements as you currently have.

    Quote Originally Posted by OttR View Post
    They look a little pricey if you're on a budget. I'd consider using some noname grips first until I'd figured out of I want them thin, thick, textured or smooth.
    Mounting is also important. If available I prefer compressed air, as a 2nd choice I list methylated spirits, or technical grade alcohol. Some swear by hair spray, but I haven't been too impressed by that.

    Quote Originally Posted by OttR View Post
    And these cables. I think I read some other posts saying these cable kits aren't good. Is that true? If so, would it be a big difference?
    Haven't tried that specific brand or package myself, but IMO how new, clean and well-installed a cable kit is has more influence on performance than cable brand.
    I've tried a scooter brake cable once that had another lay and it simply didn't work out. But apart from that I'd happily use anything as long as:
    a) the sheaths are lined
    b) brake and shifter sheaths are separated(and not even that's required if shifters aren't indexing)

    You in particular aren't facing any sharp bends so you should be good.
    Quote Originally Posted by OttR View Post
    Will all of this be compatible?
    It sure looks that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by OttR View Post
    Anything else I've forgotten or need to know?
    You might consider one of those "completely enclosed" cable kits for better durability in poor weather.

    Somewhere in the future you might consider switching to bar mounted thumb shifters as well.

    Treat yourself to two new pairs of brake pads while you're at it.

    Quote Originally Posted by OttR View Post
    I don't have cable cutters, but I do have a wire saw and dikes and files, I hope those will do okay.
    A wire saw?
    Cutting cable with any kind of hand held file or a hacksaw is doable but only marginally. For any chance of success (i.e. not getting the cable end hopelessly frayed) you need to wrap the caple up TIGHT, and then cut straight through the wrap. A file will work OK to deburr the housing after a cut though.

    Quote Originally Posted by OttR View Post
    I have read the articles on cable routing and length.
    That's a good place to start. Don't forget that the cable will have attachment points at both ends, make sure that it's the right one that you cut off...

  3. #3
    Amphibious mammal
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    Thanks for the reply and advice.

    Yes, I'm keeping the downtube shifters. I like them. And yeah, that grip is a bit much, but I tried to pick out a cheaper one and kept coming back to that one; I just like the silver locking clamps.

  4. #4
    Map maker cbchess's Avatar
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    do yourself a favor and get some proper cable cutters - then you can change your cable any time you choose.

  5. #5
    On Two Wheels sam83's Avatar
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    Just in case you had not thought of this department:

    With a flat bar, your hands will end up being extended forward only as far as the tops of your current drop bars. This is a shorter reach than the typical hand position for a drop bar.

  6. #6
    Amphibious mammal
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    Quote Originally Posted by sam83 View Post
    Just in case you had not thought of this department:

    With a flat bar, your hands will end up being extended forward only as far as the tops of your current drop bars. This is a shorter reach than the typical hand position for a drop bar.
    I'm looking for a used 130mm stem to replace the 100mm one on there now. If I measured correctly, counting for the mild sweep of the bar, it will put my hands a little bit forward of the tops, which is where they seem to want to rest naturally, anyway. At least that's what I'm hoping for.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by OttR View Post
    . And yeah, that grip is a bit much, but I tried to pick out a cheaper one and kept coming back to that one; I just like the silver locking clamps.
    You did read the fine print of them only being included in the combo pack?

  8. #8
    Amphibious mammal
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    Yes, the combo pack is what costs $20. The grips by themselves are $9.

  9. #9
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    just wanted to make sure you weren't setting yourself up for a disappointment

  10. #10
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    I did the same conversion on a 198x Schwinn World Sport and a 1972 Lambert. I used these Nashbar levers because they were quite reasonable and included the cables:

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...20ATB%20Brakes

    I used a Nashbar handlebar with a slight rise and the clamps on both stems held the new bars snugly without any shims. I cut the cables with a rotary cut off wheel. I bought inexpensive grips at the local Ace hardware. Everything worked just fine and the resulting upright riding position was welcome relief for our aging backs.

  11. #11
    Your mom
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    I wouldn't be sure you have a 26.0 stem currently. 25.4 is much more probable, unless you have Italian / Cinelli bars and stem. When looking for mtn levers, I found that Performance's in-house ones (Tektro, I'd wager) were cheapest at $19, or so.

    Your dikes will be fine for cutting cables.

  12. #12
    On Two Wheels sam83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OttR View Post
    I'm looking for a used 130mm stem to replace the 100mm one on there now. If I measured correctly, counting for the mild sweep of the bar, it will put my hands a little bit forward of the tops, which is where they seem to want to rest naturally, anyway. At least that's what I'm hoping for.
    Since you are replacing the stem, why not get a mountain bike stem and forget the shims?

  13. #13
    Amphibious mammal
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    Quote Originally Posted by sam83 View Post
    Since you are replacing the stem, why not get a mountain bike stem and forget the shims?
    Well, I'm trying to keep at least sort of an older, classic look for the bike, even though I'm replacing the handlebars. The flat bar I'm putting on it is silver and I'd like the stem to match. I like quill stems because they are simple and clean looking. I don't want to adapt it to threadless because that would look clunky. There are a few quill stems with 25.4 clamps but I've found none in a 130mm length. And I'd like to get a used one to save a few bucks, so I can't be too picky there. (Anyone have a 130mm stem lying around, I'll gladly take it off your hands. )

    But I've decided that paying $11 for a couple little strips of steel is silly. I can probably get enough at the hardware store for a dollar to make a dozen shims.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
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    I don't think I've ever seen one of these threads that's this well thought-out.
    Joshua A.C. Newman,
    Passionate lover of construction

  15. #15
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    + Get some good cable cutters. This won't be the last time you will use them. Nashbar has their housebrand on sale right now.

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