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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 04-07-12, 04:13 AM   #1
chefisaac
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Modifying a handle bars on a mtn bike into drop bars for touring. Anyone Done it?

After talking with Chris about touring bikes on our metric yesterday, he mentioned some simple changes I could do on my mtn bike commuter so it is more touring friendly. One thing that caught my eye was was the changing of the straight bars to drop bars. One thing that was a negative for me using my mtn bike as a touring bike was the fact that the straight handle bars did not allow many hand positions, something I really need. Even though I have bar end grips, it is just not enough hand position options for me.

So anyone ever take the straight handle bars and changed it out to drops bars? How was the feel of making the change? Did you like it?
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Old 04-07-12, 05:01 AM   #2
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Met it halfway and put some salsa woodchippers on my single speed last fall for a gravel road race and cyclocross season.



Stem is way too long there, but other than that- it worked out OK.

Personally- I don't buy into that "hand position" hokum. If your hands arms and wrists are taking a beating on flat bars, it'll only get worse when you get into the drops.

It does, however, make multiple body positions a little more comfortable. Handy when you're fighting the wind for extended periods.
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Old 04-07-12, 06:21 AM   #3
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You might consider trekking, or butterfly bars instead of drops. They'll let you continue to use your existing brake levers and shifters, and also (IMHO), give the option of putting the brakes in a much better place than drops do if your commuting is on busy streets. They allow several hand positions, and allow you to get aero when you need to.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=148091
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Old 04-07-12, 06:35 AM   #4
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Or add bar ends. Gives you two more hand positions.
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Old 04-07-12, 06:50 AM   #5
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I really like it, however, I don't use the drops, so I have started contemplating whether bullhorns would be better for me...
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Old 04-07-12, 06:58 AM   #6
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dude, cut to the chase and go +1
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Old 04-07-12, 07:13 AM   #7
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I've done some measurements on my 7300 and I'd need a 170 mm stem to get to the same position of my road bike, and then there's the front fork being suspended and a biggie for me no STI. It was just too much of a gamble for something that probably wasn't a good idea in the first place. I say this but I'm not trying to solve the same problem that you are. I want something that I can get in nearly the same riding position as my Madone and I spend 25-30% of the time down in the drops and almost never ride on the tops. Trekking bars could help you if all you're looking for is multiple hand positions but I thought riding in the hoods was was a big consideration for you.
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Old 04-07-12, 09:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
After talking with Chris about touring bikes on our metric yesterday, he mentioned some simple changes I could do on my mtn bike commuter so it is more touring friendly. One thing that caught my eye was was the changing of the straight bars to drop bars. One thing that was a negative for me using my mtn bike as a touring bike was the fact that the straight handle bars did not allow many hand positions, something I really need. Even though I have bar end grips, it is just not enough hand position options for me.
Converting to drop bars is feasible, but it isn't going to be simple.
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...d-to-Drop-Bars

It'll be more expensive than installing trekking/butterfly bars, which suits you better if all you're after are multiple hand positions. You might need to get a longer stem with trekking bars.
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Old 04-07-12, 12:22 PM   #9
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Or add bar ends. Gives you two more hand positions.
I do have bar ends as mentioned in the OP.
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Old 04-07-12, 12:38 PM   #10
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I do have bar ends as mentioned in the OP.
Then, I guess you are off to treking bars or drops.
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Old 04-07-12, 12:42 PM   #11
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Then, I guess you are off to treking bars or drops.
Like the idea of the treking bars.
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Old 04-07-12, 04:28 PM   #12
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Like the idea of the treking bars.
+1 on the treking bars, have them on 2 bikes, with another set on the parts shelf for the 29er MB conversion into the "Monster Tour" bike with the 700x60 big apples. Didn't follow through on the that plan, but I should as it would be a great bike IMO.
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Old 04-07-12, 04:38 PM   #13
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You can try out my butterfly bars, as I am no longer using them. Let me know on the next excursion.
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Old 04-07-12, 07:13 PM   #14
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I did the conversion to a flat-bar hybrid bike (Trek FX 7.3). I did it 'on-the-cheap', using non-aero brake levers, bar-end shifters, and also had to change the barstem since road bars are larger (diameter) than MTB bars. So far I'm happy with it, and find it more comfortable than the flat bar. I don't use the drops very often, so I could have used an aerobar or wide bullhorns. I also looked at using treking bars, but those are as wide (sometimes wider) than MTB bars.
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Old 04-07-12, 07:27 PM   #15
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You might want to give some drop bar ends a try rather than trying to do a full conversion?
http://www.amazon.com/Origin-Bicycle...3848093&sr=8-1 Not a huge investment to see if you like the setup.
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Old 04-07-12, 08:12 PM   #16
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I converted my old MTB last year. I just used trekking bars. It was a very easy switch and kept all the same controls. I prefer it over the flat bar. It's far more comfortable for me these days.

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Old 04-10-12, 02:40 PM   #17
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I put trekking bars on my commuter.

Didn't have to change out my shifters or controls, so the total cost was very reasonable (bars + bar tape).

After trying it both ways, I mounted my bars 'upside down' - where the outside of the bars curve UP instead of down. I recommend trying them out, and mounting them both up and down, and messing with the angle of the bars.

Initial position recommendation: set the angle such that your wrists are at a neutral angle when gripping the outer edge. This should put the near portion of the bar lower than the far portion.
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Old 04-10-12, 02:55 PM   #18
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Drop conversion is costly,
list includes: bars, likely the stem,will need to be different,
Brake levers and shifters, Better the shifters go in the drop bar ends..
for compatibility issues of road and MTB FD having different cable pull ratios.
Opinions differ there..

trekking bars let you re-use the MTB stuff.. a stem change to improve the reach, maybe.
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Old 04-10-12, 04:35 PM   #19
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I am in the +1 camp.......
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Old 04-10-12, 06:37 PM   #20
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Drop conversion is costly,
list includes: bars, likely the stem,will need to be different,
Brake levers and shifters, Better the shifters go in the drop bar ends..
for compatibility issues of road and MTB FD having different cable pull ratios.
Opinions differ there..

trekking bars let you re-use the MTB stuff.. a stem change to improve the reach, maybe.
I did a conversion on a MTB for less than $75... went with all used except some $20 Shimano shifters...
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Old 04-11-12, 03:53 AM   #21
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As long as you buy bars with the same clamp diameter as your stem you will not need a new stem. A simple measurement before ordering resolves that issue. You said that you already have 9 speed shimano mtb fd+rd those are compatible with 9 speed road STI. So he's looking at 9 spd STI shifters, bars+tape, and a new set of avid road mech disc brakes. And about 45-60 min to swap it all out. Not as expensive or tricky as some people are saying, and certainly cheaper than the +1 others are suggesting. Since youre not 100% certain you're going to like touring, spending 300-400(worst case) to convert your mtb to a more comfortable(for you) commuter/light tourer is in the grand scheme of things better for you until you know for certain the 1000+ you'll drop on a touring bike will be well spent.

Last edited by paisan; 04-11-12 at 05:05 AM.
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Old 04-11-12, 07:21 AM   #22
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As long as you buy bars with the same clamp diameter as your stem you will not need a new stem. A simple measurement before ordering resolves that issue. You said that you already have 9 speed shimano mtb fd+rd those are compatible with 9 speed road STI. So he's looking at 9 spd STI shifters, bars+tape, and a new set of avid road mech disc brakes. And about 45-60 min to swap it all out. Not as expensive or tricky as some people are saying, and certainly cheaper than the +1 others are suggesting. Since youre not 100% certain you're going to like touring, spending 300-400(worst case) to convert your mtb to a more comfortable(for you) commuter/light tourer is in the grand scheme of things better for you until you know for certain the 1000+ you'll drop on a touring bike will be well spent.
But the trekking bar conversion can be done for less than $50 ($22 for the Nashbar MTB Trekking Bars, and possibly between $10 and $20 for a new stem - if that's needed, which isn't certain.) Everything else stays the same, except now you have a bunch of new hand positions to use. You might want to tape the bars, but I didn't.
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Old 04-11-12, 08:08 AM   #23
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Are trekking bars and butterfly bars the same thing?
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Old 04-11-12, 08:11 AM   #24
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Paison and Tony are right. Although I love the idea of a +1, I am not sure touring would be right for me so before I buy, a tweak will be needed on my mtb.
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Old 04-11-12, 08:23 AM   #25
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Are trekking bars and butterfly bars the same thing?
Yes.
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