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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 08-21-05, 10:58 AM   #1
Banzai
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Drop bars and shift pods

Alright, here's a zany idea...maybe it will work.

I currently ride a Fuji Absolute with a flat bar and shift pods on it. I prefer the MTB style shift pods for my commute...combine small hands with traffic, and I'm just more comfortable with them. However, I like the multiple positions afforded by a drop bar when not in traffic and not needing to shift a whole lot.

So. I'm wondering if anyone has ever mounted Shimano 440 shift pods (or something similar) onto a drop bar, and how feasible this idea is. Just something I've been thinking about, but before I go drop $50+ dollars, I just wanted to get some feedback.
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Old 08-21-05, 08:59 PM   #2
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Well, MTB and road bars are different diameters (I think road are 26.0 mm, MTB 25.4 or 25.6?), so even if you get it to work, it won't be a perfect fit. Just switching to drop bars may mean a new stem - this isn't as minor a change as it should be, sadly.
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Old 08-21-05, 09:10 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by grolby
Well, MTB and road bars are different diameters (I think road are 26.0 mm, MTB 25.4 or 25.6?), so even if you get it to work, it won't be a perfect fit. Just switching to drop bars may mean a new stem - this isn't as minor a change as it should be, sadly.
The diameters you quoted are ONLY for the part of the handlebar that the stem clamps onto... it's a little narrower everywhere else.

I forget the exact numbers (sydney? sydney?), but it might be worth trying. A shifter isn't a safety-critical part, so I would not hesitate to try spreading the shifter clamp a little or using a shim to fit the shfiter pod onto a drop bar.

I wouldn't do this myself, however, because I think you would find the shifter position annoyingly inconvenient. My favorite drop-bar shifters are bar-end shifters. You can get an old pair that will work in friction mode for a few $, or ~50 for a pair of new 8/9/10 speed Shimano bar-end shifters.
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Old 08-22-05, 02:34 AM   #4
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The Canondale touring bike used to come with a twist-grip on the bar end.
The more usual touring alternative is bar-end levers.
You can fit down-tube levers to the bars by the brake levers using "Kelly Take-Offs"

As an alt to drop bars, you can get treking or butterfly bars which have a variety of hand positions but take MTB style levers.
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Old 08-22-05, 04:54 AM   #5
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You know, I think male cyclists, when the seat's not right, have to shift their pods pretty often.
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Old 08-22-05, 05:52 AM   #6
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You know, I think male cyclists, when the seat's not right, have to shift their pods pretty often.
LOL, nice.


Have you considered adding "bull horns" to the ends of your handle bars? They're not as classy as true drop bars, but they're cheaper, removeable, and do provide at least one more position.
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Old 08-22-05, 02:29 PM   #7
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That's some good info to know...thanks! By the by, are "treking" or "butterfly" bars anything like the "aero" setup you see on a lot of cross-country time trial type rides?
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Old 08-22-05, 02:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by banzai_f16
That's some good info to know...thanks! By the by, are "treking" or "butterfly" bars anything like the "aero" setup you see on a lot of cross-country time trial type rides?
Here are some interesting trekking bars from Nashbar:

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

Both take mountain-bike brake + shift levers.
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Old 08-22-05, 03:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by moxfyre
My favorite drop-bar shifters are bar-end shifters. You can get an old pair that will work in friction mode for a few $, or ~50 for a pair of new 8/9/10 speed Shimano bar-end shifters.
Hey moxfyre, from what I know about MTB shifters, I agree with you. BTW, I currently ride a Kona Jake equipped with the stock Shimano 105 shifters, but I've been thinking about building a beater/winter bike with bull bars and bar-end shifters as a cheap alternative to another set of Shimanos. I've never used bar-end shifters - what makes them so great in your eyes? Is it a big adjustment to make going from something like road brake/shifter levers?

Cheers.
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Old 08-22-05, 03:37 PM   #10
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Thanks for the link on the mustache bars, been looking for a decent set: ordered.
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Old 08-22-05, 04:08 PM   #11
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These are just long bar ends attached to the bottom of some mini-BMX handlebars. They work great for my commute. I did add another break lever to one of my "drops", since this picture was taken.
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Old 08-22-05, 04:24 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by MMACH 5
These are just long bar ends attached to the bottom of some mini-BMX handlebars. They work great for my commute. I did add another break lever to one of my "drops", since this picture was taken.
I'd love to see those from an other angle: I'm trying to understand how your kit goes together, but it's hurting my head...
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Old 08-22-05, 04:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMACH 5
These are just long bar ends attached to the bottom of some mini-BMX handlebars. They work great for my commute. I did add another break lever to one of my "drops", since this picture was taken.
I'd love to see those from another angle: I'm trying to understand how your kit goes together, but it's hurting my head...
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Old 08-22-05, 04:27 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by lego
Hey moxfyre, from what I know about MTB shifters, I agree with you. BTW, I currently ride a Kona Jake equipped with the stock Shimano 105 shifters, but I've been thinking about building a beater/winter bike with bull bars and bar-end shifters as a cheap alternative to another set of Shimanos. I've never used bar-end shifters - what makes them so great in your eyes? Is it a big adjustment to make going from something like road brake/shifter levers?

Cheers.
To be honest I haven't made the transition in the direction that you have... I am too poor to justify buying brand-new STIs so didn't have any till recently I don't think bar-end shifters will be a huge adjustment in any case. I put them on my commuter/touring bike because I wanted something reliable and cheap. I find the hand position very comfortable. You simply move your hand a few inches and pull up or down. They are MUCH better than downtube shifters, because you don't have to move your hand in towards the center of the bike. I don't have very good balance or reflexes, and the downtube shifting movement always feels precarious to me.

Bar-ends don't have any of the "sloppy" feeling that STIs sometimes do, there are no internal mechanisms to go out of wack, the movement is quick and precise. I think they are the best option for any road bike not being used for racing when you must have instant access to the brakes.
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Old 08-22-05, 04:35 PM   #15
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So you use indexed shifters, then? What's the pull on them like? It's seems like they might be a little stiff to use. And what about the small lever size? Do you not find yourself missing the shifter sometimes.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 08-22-05, 05:15 PM   #16
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Another vote for Bar-ends.
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Old 08-22-05, 05:24 PM   #17
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So you use indexed shifters, then? What's the pull on them like? It's seems like they might be a little stiff to use. And what about the small lever size? Do you not find yourself missing the shifter sometimes.

Thanks for the help.
I've used both indexed and friction bar-end shifters. The front shifter is friction-only on ALL bar-end shifters I believe. On all the indexed models, you can toggle a switch to turn them into friction mode.

You're absolutely right, bar-end shifters feel a bit stiff in indexed mode, probably because you have less leverage than with a longer STI lever. Once you get used to it, it feels snappy. In friction mode you can adjust the stiffness by using the right combination of grease and preload on the screw that holds the lever in place.

I have fairly large hands (L size cycling gloves), and I can comfortably push my SunTour bar-end shifters with my fingertips on the handlebar and my palm on the lever. Or I can wrap my thumb, index, and middle fingers around the lever and move it that way.

I don't miss the STIs when riding with the bar-end shifters. But then again I do different types of riding with them. When I'm using STIs I'm usually going fast, heart pounding, need to shift and brake without taking my mind off the ride. With the bar-end shifters I'm usually focused on having a comfortable smooth ride. I like that I can downshift or upshift several cogs all at once, for example at stoplights or when I hit a big hill.

I say give 'em a shot... I got my friction Suntour shifters for $10, and a 7-speed indexed pair for free
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Old 08-22-05, 05:55 PM   #18
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I say give 'em a shot... I got my friction Suntour shifters for $10, and a 7-speed indexed pair for free
Thanks for all the great advice! I think I will definitely give them a shot. Interesting about the 7-speeds: I haven't seen any out there (just the new 9/10 speeds) and some old used friction models. This is of note as in all likelihood my project bike will start with an old school steel road frame, and unless I'm mistaken rear fork spacing on those is generally for 7 speed gearsets.
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Old 08-22-05, 05:59 PM   #19
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Thanks for all the great advice! I think I will definitely give them a shot. Interesting about the 7-speeds: I haven't seen any out there (just the new 9/10 speeds) and some old used friction models. This is of note as in all likelihood my project bike will start with an old school steel road frame, and unless I'm mistaken rear fork spacing on those is generally for 7 speed gearsets.
Sure thing, I'm happy to proselytize bar-end shifting Don't let the 126 mm (6/7 speed) dropout spacing stop ya from using 8 or 9 if you prefer. On a steel frame you can permanently spread the dropouts to accomodate a wider hub. I'm lazy, so I just squeeze them open a few mm when I change the wheel. No problems to report.
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Old 08-22-05, 06:51 PM   #20
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Would they go out as far as 135mm??? Amazing! I guess steel IS kinda bendy, if you're careful with it. Could they do this at your LBS?
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Old 08-22-05, 06:59 PM   #21
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Would they go out as far as 135mm??? Amazing! I guess steel IS kinda bendy, if you're careful with it. Could they do this at your LBS?
Yep, my LBS can certainly do it, though I ended up not bothering as I said. Search for this on rec.bicycles.tech. 126 mm to 135 mm should be pretty straightforward. Incidentally, one of the trends in touring bikes is to put the dropouts at 132.5 mm so that either road hubs or mountain hubs can be used without difficulty. Now that's versatility

See Sheldon Brown's excellent advice at http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-spacing.html
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Old 08-22-05, 07:55 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by moxfyre
Incidentally, one of the trends in touring bikes is to put the dropouts at 132.5 mm so that either road hubs or mountain hubs can be used without difficulty. Now that's versatility

See Sheldon Brown's excellent advice at http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-spacing.html
Indeed. Gracias.
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Old 08-22-05, 08:22 PM   #23
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These are just long bar ends attached to the bottom of some mini-BMX handlebars. They work great for my commute. I did add another break lever to one of my "drops", since this picture was taken.
I'd love to see those from another angle: I'm trying to understand how your kit goes together, but it's hurting my head...
I'll post another picture tomorrow. Sorry, it does look rather confusing.
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