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  1. #1
    Senior Member nrowensby's Avatar
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    Cantilevers MTB Drop-Bar Conversion Parts Help...

    I'm trying to gather all the parts needed to convert my Trek MTB w/cantilever brakes to drop bars. I know I need a new quill stem and the drop bars, but I'm looking for suggestions or do/don't/recommendations for brake levers and shifters.

    What do I look for to find compatible shifters?

    Also, will any/all of the cables need to be changed?

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I like bar end shifters, then your choice of road brake levers is wide..

    Tektro Campag like ones are popular, they include the push button QR.
    to make wheel removal simpler..

    Shimano offers indexed, right side, bar end levers 8 speed or 9 speed.
    the 8 speed, can work with a 7 speed, given the spacing is 7+1..

    9 speed is thinner spacing to fit in 1 more cog in the same width.

    the left is not indexed, a good-thing ..

    will any/all of the cables need to be changed?
    Yes.
    It's better that way, so the breakdown clock is reset to lowest possibility.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-13-12 at 11:49 AM.

  3. #3
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    Bar ends are the cheapest and have the best balance between reliability and function, IMHO. Plus the front shifter is friction so it will work with your mtb derailleur, while indexed front shifting (like STI and other brifters) will need a change in derailleur, which can be tricky.

    But wait! What components do you have on your bike now? The easy conversion can be done with Shimano parts, but if you have Sram it might be more complicated.

    Edit: You will most definitely need to change brake cables (drop bar brake levers use a different cable than straight bar levers). You may be able to re-use your shift cable but that is a waste of time to save $5 or $10, IMHO.

    Edit II: Any 'short pull' road brake levers will work - that is, anything not designed for V brakes.

  4. #4
    AEO
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    veloce ultrashift levers + J-tek shiftmate

    right side has multiple trim positions instead of 3 positions with trim that can be found on shimano and camagnolo ergopower levers.

    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  5. #5
    Senior Member nrowensby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
    Bar ends are the cheapest and have the best balance between reliability and function, IMHO. Plus the front shifter is friction so it will work with your mtb derailleur, while indexed front shifting (like STI and other brifters) will need a change in derailleur, which can be tricky.

    But wait! What components do you have on your bike now? The easy conversion can be done with Shimano parts, but if you have Sram it might be more complicated.
    All Shimano w/GripShift's - 21-Speed

    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
    Edit: You will most definitely need to change brake cables (drop bar brake levers use a different cable than straight bar levers). You may be able to re-use your shift cable but that is a waste of time to save $5 or $10, IMHO.

    Edit II: Any 'short pull' road brake levers will work - that is, anything not designed for V brakes.
    So definitely down for new cables... and it looks like those brake levers can be had pretty cheap.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nrowensby's Avatar
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    What about "bar mount shifters"?? They are cheap and made for Shimano 7-speeds.... Opinions? Anyone used them?

    http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-Handle...pr_product_top


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    21 speed means you need a set of 7 speed shifters, which can be tough to find but likely not impossible to find on ebay. Alternatively, you may be able to more easily find a set of downtube 7 speed shifters (still friction on the front shifter) and use a set of shifter mounts from Rivendell or similar. Any bar end that can be switched to 'friction' mode will also work fine.

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I've been using 70~80's Suntour non indexed bar end shifters ,
    on both ends, for decades,

    You just need to pay some attention to what you are doing with each gear change.

    Re #6, never seen them, ever, before you posted that picture.

    you still have a firm grip on the ends of the handlebar, with a bar end shifter.

    I expect like stem shifters of old, you let loose with one hand
    to use them things you show..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-13-12 at 12:39 PM.

  9. #9
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    If the shifters in #6 are like the Exage shifters I took off my Diamondback... they work, but I can't say I enjoyed them.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  10. #10
    Senior Member nrowensby's Avatar
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    Here's another shot of the shifters installed......




    ..... I'd imagine shifting would be similar to grip shifters on a MTB?
    Last edited by nrowensby; 01-13-12 at 05:04 PM.

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    7 and 8 spd cassetes have identical cog spacing, so you can also use shimano 8spd shifters.
    Suntour 6 speed shifters can often be modified to index shimano 7, and are very cheap.

    consider ST-2303 sti brifters, inexpensive since 8spd is nowadays considered low grade, also allows you to upgrade your wheel to 8spd cassete in the future

    On second thought...
    I would probably go with barcon shifters, since if this is a mtb you will most likely want dirt drops instead of traditional road drop bars, and thus will be spending most your time off the hoods.

  12. #12
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    Be aware that the cable pull ratio for the front derailleur is different between the road and mountain groups. Make sure the shifters you choose are made for a mountain (tourney, alivio, acera, deore) derailleur. Otherwise you could get really crummy front shifting. Those A050's say they're for "road bikes" but the reviews on Amazon.com imply that people have used them successfully on mountain bike conversions. Worst case you may end up buying a new A050 front derailleur, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    7 and 8 spd cassetes have identical cog spacing, so you can also use shimano 8spd shifters.
    Suntour 6 speed shifters can often be modified to index shimano 7, and are very cheap.
    The spacing is not identical - it is close, but not identical. 8 speed shifters can often work adequately with a 7 speed cassette but not always. I had a bike for a while that had 7 speed indexed shifters on an 8 speed cassette (certain older shifters allow this) and it never worked to my satisfaction. Friction shifting always works.

  14. #14
    Senior Member nrowensby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    7 and 8 spd cassetes have identical cog spacing, so you can also use shimano 8spd shifters.
    Suntour 6 speed shifters can often be modified to index shimano 7, and are very cheap.

    consider ST-2303 sti brifters, inexpensive since 8spd is nowadays considered low grade, also allows you to upgrade your wheel to 8spd cassete in the future

    On second thought...
    I would probably go with barcon shifters, since if this is a mtb you will most likely want dirt drops instead of traditional road drop bars, and thus will be spending most your time off the hoods.
    What are "dirt drops"? FWIW: I'm not planning on taking the bike off road... I'm using the MTB frame, because it's what I was able to get within my budget.

  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Bridgestone USA , called their parts on a couple years of MB1's,
    the stem had a high rise up at an angle ..
    the Bars , a road bar variation drops flared out a bit ,
    to not shift so easily, accidentally, with your knee.

    N/M, you have a threadless fork, there, you need a 45 degree rise stem
    of threadless type. to do similar, set up..

    go by a proper bike shop and they will show you some options
    from their parts sources.

  16. #16
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nrowensby View Post
    I'm trying to gather all the parts needed to convert my Trek MTB w/cantilever brakes to drop bars. I know I need a new quill stem and the drop bars, but I'm looking for suggestions or do/don't/recommendations for brake levers and shifters.

    What do I look for to find compatible shifters?

    Also, will any/all of the cables need to be changed?
    Having cantis means you should get your drop bars and road levers and will most likely want a shorter stem to compensate for the new bar set up.

    Would avoid brifters and go with separate brake levers and shifters and bar end shifters are the best bet... you just need to match the speeds on the shifter with your rear cogs and a friction front d is the only way to go. If your bike is already running Shimano parts the conversion should be pretty straight up.

    My Moulden set up with 8 speed indexed (Shimano)... I love bar end shifters.


  17. #17
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    veloce ultrashift levers + J-tek shiftmate

    right side has multiple trim positions instead of 3 positions with trim that can be found on shimano and camagnolo ergopower levers.

    I like your build. Could you give us a break down on the parts. I've always wanted to try out some Campy parts on a MTB.
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
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  18. #18
    cs1
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    This will answer any questions you have. It is without a doubt the best drop bar MTB thread online. Good luck

    http://forums.mtbr.com/vintage-retro...ad-659324.html
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
    1989 Raleigh Technium, 1989 Schwinn Traveler, 1986 Specialized Rockhopper
    1984 Specialized Stumpjumper, 1986 Specialized Stumpjumper and just way too many projects to list.

  19. #19
    Senior Member nrowensby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Having cantis means you should get your drop bars and road levers and will most likely want a shorter stem to compensate for the new bar set up.

    Would avoid brifters and go with separate brake levers and shifters and bar end shifters are the best bet... you just need to match the speeds on the shifter with your rear cogs and a friction front d is the only way to go. If your bike is already running Shimano parts the conversion should be pretty straight up.

    My Moulden set up with 8 speed indexed (Shimano)... I love bar end shifters.

    How long have you been running the adjustable stem? Have you had any problems out of it?

  20. #20
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by nrowensby View Post
    How long have you been running the adjustable stem? Have you had any problems out of it?
    Is that an adjustable stem or bell?
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
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  21. #21
    Senior Member nrowensby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cs1 View Post
    Is that an adjustable stem or bell?
    Haha... I think you may be right... Ooops

  22. #22
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cs1 View Post
    Is that an adjustable stem or bell?
    It's my bell... stem is a Nitto quill.

    Although they are hard to see, I also run cross levers with the aero brake levers.

  23. #23
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by cs1 View Post
    I like your build. Could you give us a break down on the parts. I've always wanted to try out some Campy parts on a MTB.
    it's pretty straight forward.
    1x set of ultrashift campagnolo levers, 10 or 11sp. It's very important that the left lever is ultrashift. The right can be anything, but you might as well buy a complete set of ultrashift levers.
    1x J-tek shiftmate
    2x avid BB7_road

    RD should be shimano with standard cable pull ratio, which means do not use 10sp MTB.
    -or-
    you can mix whatever the J-tek will allow.

    FD is a regular shimano top pull MTB FD. The campy ultrashift lever has just enough cable pull to sweep through the entire range and can trim to any position.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  24. #24
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    it's pretty straight forward.
    1x set of ultrashift campagnolo levers, 10 or 11sp. It's very important that the left lever is ultrashift. The right can be anything, but you might as well buy a complete set of ultrashift levers.
    1x J-tek shiftmate
    2x avid BB7_road

    RD should be shimano with standard cable pull ratio, which means do not use 10sp MTB.
    -or-
    you can mix whatever the J-tek will allow.

    FD is a regular shimano top pull MTB FD. The campy ultrashift lever has just enough cable pull to sweep through the entire range and can trim to any position.
    Thanks, your build looks great.
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
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  25. #25
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
    The spacing is not identical - it is close, but not identical. 8 speed shifters can often work adequately with a 7 speed cassette but not always. I had a bike for a while that had 7 speed indexed shifters on an 8 speed cassette (certain older shifters allow this) and it never worked to my satisfaction. Friction shifting always works.
    5mm on the 7 sp and 4.8mm on the 8 sp. I agree on the effectiveness. What works better is buying an 8 sp cassette and loosing one cog. Then you'll have 7 cogs spaced at 4.8mm. You can use 8 sp barcons, available new, and just have a ghost shift.
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
    1989 Raleigh Technium, 1989 Schwinn Traveler, 1986 Specialized Rockhopper
    1984 Specialized Stumpjumper, 1986 Specialized Stumpjumper and just way too many projects to list.

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