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Old 09-19-11, 08:11 AM   #1
Monster Pete
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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.
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Old 09-19-11, 09:14 AM   #2
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I did the same with my hybrid. Similar issues- diameters not matching up and stuff- but eventually I got it figured out. Friction shifting with ramped cogs designed for indexed is nearly as precise as indexed once you train yourself on what the lever throws should be. In my case I used bar-end shifters (an old set of Suntour Barcons).
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Old 09-19-11, 10:39 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Friction shifting with ramped cogs designed for indexed is nearly as precise as indexed once you train yourself on what the lever throws should be.
This is one reason I'm thinking of adding a 7-speed wheel- the original freewheel has no ramps to aid shifting and as such is rather clunky (though it could just be that I'm not used to friction shifting yet.) The 7-speed freewheel I have is just too wide to fit properly- there's a miniscule clearance between it and the derailleur clamp bolt. I may just add a washer to that side and redish the wheel.
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Old 09-19-11, 04:39 PM   #4
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Very cool. It might be the picture, but are your brake cables stretched too tightly? May be just the angle.
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Old 09-19-11, 07:18 PM   #5
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Friction shifting with ramped cogs designed for indexed is nearly as precise as indexed once you train yourself on what the lever throws should be.
i agree 100%.. i use an old cheap friction thumb shifter and shifting is smooth as silk. i actually prefer friction because you can 'trim' the derailleur if it's slightly out of position
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