Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Warwick, UK
Bikes: 2000-something 3 speed commuter, 1990-something Raleigh Scorpion
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Drop bar conversion- success
I've never liked straight handlebars. They force you to stick your arms out and put your wrists at an odd angle. On my orange frankenbike, I went for north road bars to emulate dutch city bikes, but this time I wanted something different for my Raleigh Scorpion.
One quick trip to ebay saw the acquisition of a set of NOS 420mm drop handlebars complete with stem, brake levers and extension levers, as well as some NOS stem shifters.
I did run into one small problem- the stem included with the bars didn't fit. This seems to be due to the Raleigh having an oddball 21mm stem, whereas the one that came with the bars was a standard 22.2mm one. I had to use the existing stem, but while this places the bars further forward, they are also higher, so the riding position is about the same and seems to work well with my long arms and torso. The top of the bars is about 4cm above the saddle height.
The stem shifters bolted right on, even with the smaller stem, and being friction gave no trouble in setting up, with of course no indexing compatibility to worry about. I'm tempted to throw on a 7-speed wheel to replace the 5-speed currently installed. Likewise the brakes were quite simple after I'd found some adjusting barrels (the levers didn't have any.) V-brakes would have needed a travel adjuster.
Overall I'm pleased with the conversion. Drop bars give you four possible hand positions, all of which saw use during my first test ride. The 'drop' position can be made very aggressive- if I bend my arms, I can really get my head down into the wind. Conversely the tops, curves and 'hoods' are quite comfortable for riding without much headwind.