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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 02-20-04, 01:14 PM   #1
gazolba
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Change dropped handlebars to straight?

I just bought a used bike I really like which I am fixing up. However, I dont really like the dropped handlebars because I will use this bike mostly for city type riding, not racing or touring. Can I swap the drop handlebars for straight handlebars. Would I run into a problem with the brakes? Would I need a new type of brake lever? Are handlebars all pretty much the same diameter? Any other thoughts? Thanks - David
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Old 02-20-04, 01:18 PM   #2
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You'll need new brake levers and most likely new shifters (though you could probably find a way to attach the shifters to the straight bars - are they bar end? STI? downtube?). You could consider raising the drop bars and adding cyclocross auxiliary levers to the straight portions of the bars. How long is your commute? The narrow drop bars can be ideal for riding in the city if you're in a city -- because they're narrow you can scoot through traffic a bit easier. Though, I saw a girl riding a fixie in Union Square the other day and she had cut her straight bars to probably 10 or 12 inches! It was crazy.

Drop bars are... of a different diameter than straight bars -- if I recall correctly -- straight bars are smaller in diameter?
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Old 02-20-04, 07:54 PM   #3
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What do you have, I’ve got a flat bar with 7 speed grip shift and alvino brake lever on I’d love to swap for drop bars and bar end/integrated shifters
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Old 02-20-04, 08:13 PM   #4
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You may find that you like the drops if you install a short-reach stem, raise it a bit, and ride with your hands on the brake hoods more often than down on the drops.

Yes, there are a couple of different bar diameters out there, but you should be able to find a straight bar which fits your stem.
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Old 02-21-04, 10:16 AM   #5
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You can control caliper brakes with flat-bar controls, but you lose some modulation; the levers pull lots of cable, so your brakes are on or off.
Shimano do some flat-bar systems for road bikes.
Do you need a gear shifter as well, or are you using a downtube lever.
There are lots of different styles of bar between drops and flats. Check out 3TTT, and Rivendell websites for some ideals.
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Old 02-22-04, 03:15 PM   #6
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Drop bars are... of a different diameter than straight bars -- if I recall correctly -- straight bars are smaller in diameter?[/QUOTE]


I ran into two main problems when I switched to "commuter" mode on my road bike. First, the straight bars are usually 25.4 mm diameter and the drops are 26, so I had to improvise with my stem and create some shims using a pop can. It was difficult to slide them in between the bar and the stem, but I had success with a slip/slide/twist type of action. Depending on the stem, you may be able to get away with just tightening the binder bolt "extra tight", though it probably is not advised.

Second, I had to purchase a pair of MTB brake levers (no need for new shifters with downtubeshifters). I bought some cheap Tectro levers and they seem to have worked fine for three years now. It does take a little more force to brake, but not much more.
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Old 02-27-04, 11:52 AM   #7
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MTB shifters are cheap but the brake levers could be a problem as most are now for v-brake , still if ti´s adjustable like some Shimano models it could be Ok .
ps get seperate pods / brake levers it´s cheaper to replace if it breaks .
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