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Old 08-17-12, 02:53 PM   #1
ericksonjl08
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Attempting a handlebar change

For reference: http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...ro1x_spec.html

I am riding a Jamis Allegro 1x.

I find the straight bars very uncomfortable after several 40+ mile rides including hand numbness and loss of tactility in my fingers. Now to the point..

I have decided to move ahead with what everybody tells me is a difficult or odd choice. I want to change my current handlebars to drop. I already have a drop bar that fits just fine.

My hang up is the shifters - my old ones are Thumb shifters that juts simply don't fit on the bar. Ive tried bending them but they are as far as they can reasonably go so I have to replace them.

What are my options, can I go integrated shifter/breaks and if so what do I need to look at replacing or for compatibility? I don't know exactly how the derailleurs and cassette interact or what I should be worried about when making this choice.

Please Help!
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Old 08-17-12, 03:15 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ericksonjl08 View Post
For reference: http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...ro1x_spec.html

I am riding a Jamis Allegro 1x.

My hang up is the shifters - my old ones are Thumb shifters that juts simply don't fit on the bar. Ive tried bending them but they are as far as they can reasonably go so I have to replace them.

What are my options, can I go integrated shifter/breaks and if so what do I need to look at replacing or for compatibility? I don't know exactly how the derailleurs and cassette interact or what I should be worried about when making this choice.
What you are saying doesn't match what is spec'd. A 2010 Allegro has RapidFire+ shifters not thumb shifters.

If you are looking at dropbars, and STI's, you are looking at the most expensive part (STI's) to replace on a bike, it can be done, but won't be cheap; an alternate would be bar end shifters, a cheaper option, but you would then need additional brake levers

Have you looked at ergonomic handlebar grips, Ergon are one of the biggest brands for this, Specialized and Trek (Bontrager brand) also make these as well as others, and they can make using flat bars much more comfortable for much less expenditure / complexity.

Last edited by jimc101; 08-17-12 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 08-17-12, 05:06 PM   #3
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What you are saying doesn't match what is spec'd. A 2010 Allegro has RapidFire+ shifters not thumb shifters.
Rapid fires are a type of thumb shifter...

Yes I have looked at and used those Ergo's in the past - I wasn't a fan as it forced me to sight a bit more upright than I would like.

While I am not a rich man I am willing to spend some decent money to do this conversion, its become a goal to make the drop/STI happen.

I would just like an understanding of what all goes into these systems, am I looking at replacing pretty much everything but the frame or can I skate with most of my current parts?
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Old 08-17-12, 05:43 PM   #4
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I sure agree with you about the discomfort of the flat bars. Probably no bicycle handlebars in the history of bicycling are so uncomfortable for long rides. Compared to flat bars, you will almost surely love randonnier "drop" bars.

The easiest and cheapest thing to do is keep your existing shifters. It might not be pretty, but you now, in the old days, road bikes used to have stem mounted shifters. Sure, you had to mover your hands to the stem to shift, but hey it worked. Another old-school possibility were bar-end shifter positions.

So... if you want to keep it easy and cheap, then just move the shifters on the bars so they are centered near the stem. Or as and alternative, you could put them at the ends of the bars kinda like old-school bar-end shifters. This is a free fix.

If you want to be fancy, go to your LBS and have them add some STD brake shifters. That will probably set you back about $300 or so - assuming that your existing derailures are compatible with the STI shifters.

Last edited by mike; 08-17-12 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 08-17-12, 05:50 PM   #5
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Rapid fires are a type of thumb shifter...
er, no there not as the vast majority of bike riders understand them, Rapidfire Plus requires the use of fingers and thumbs, thumb shifters only need the thumb
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Old 08-17-12, 06:02 PM   #6
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but I use my fingers and thumbs on my thumb shifters
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Old 08-17-12, 06:15 PM   #7
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The point is, that Thumb shifters and Rapidfire Plus can't be confused with each other, they are either thumb shifters in the classic sense or they are Rapidfire Plus.

The OP has Rapidfire Plus, not Thumb shifters, and Rapidfire Plus are never described as being a thumb shifter.
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Old 08-17-12, 07:17 PM   #8
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I just modded my own mountain bike to drops. I went with a pair of Suntour bar end shifters, found on Ebay. Mine really isn't a mountain bike anymore after my changes. A hybridy commuter scooter and tourer is what I was after.
Here's what I did to mine:

Old Red by Yo Spiff, on Flickr.

Here's a thread discussing drop bar conversion on mountain bikes. Seeing what others did helped me get an idea of what I wanted to do with my own bike. http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ar-Conversions
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Old 08-17-12, 07:40 PM   #9
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This is all really helpful information Yo Spiff, thank you. That is exactly what I am trying to do with mine.

Mike: I actually did what you suggested already. It really isn't pretty but I have the shifters sitting on the bar ends and the breaks about where you would set a normal integrated system.

As it stands I am not out of commission though I do intend to transition this over completely over the winter when I won't be riding it.

How would I go about finding out if my derailures are compatible, and if they aren't what else would need to be replaced? I intend to do this work through my own time and the internet so I won't be going through a local shop.
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Old 08-17-12, 08:44 PM   #10
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How would I go about finding out if my derailures are compatible, and if they aren't what else would need to be replaced? I intend to do this work through my own time and the internet so I won't be going through a local shop.
If you are wanting integrated indexed shifting, you will need something that works with a Shimano 8 speed system. The specs for your bike list it as having a Shimano Acera 8 speed cassette.

If you go with friction shifting (non-indexed) then almost any shifters will work. For the first few miles on my conversion, I kept trying to flick the levers back and forth and nothing would happen. Then I remembered they were on the ends of the bars.
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Old 08-18-12, 09:39 AM   #11
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Thanks again Spiff. Between this and the link you sent me I will have to go and read up a lot more, do some research and hopefully I can come up with the right answers for myself now - or if not I will be back with something more specific.

You all have been really helpful. Thanks again!
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Old 08-18-12, 09:49 AM   #12
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For 8-speed brifters you can get some Sora for $50-ish with some patient searching on eBay. If you can't stand the Sora thumb button you can get some older RSX 8-speed brifters for a little more $$.
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