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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 07-22-10, 02:21 AM   #1
stockholm
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Change handlebar

Hi all,
Sorry if I'm posting this in the wrong forum, but I am a commuter and this is where I feel most comfortable.

Earlier this year, I changed from a Kona jake to a Commencal Babylon hybrid (the black one). I really love my new bike, but I can't seem to get used to the straight handlebar -- I sure miss them drops.

So now my simple question is this: would it be worth the while to change bars to a Kona Dew drop setup?

I'd really appreciate any and all insights and comments, thanks!
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Old 07-22-10, 02:53 AM   #2
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Probably. I'm not completely familiar with the Dew drop, but if it's like a standard drop bar you'll probably just have to get new brake levers. I would guess that your bike has v-brakes or discs, so you'll need to get either v-brake road levers (like tektro rl520 -- I have them and think they're great) or get travel agents because standard road levers don't pull enough cable for v-brakes or disc.

If your shifters are on the flat bar (which they probably are) things can get further complicated since most road bars are larger dia than a flat bar. Grip shifters can sometimes mount to the bottom of a drop bar...and I've even seen some people mount them onto the tops of a drop bar -- but it usually requires spreading them a lot...which I wouldn't recommend.

If you have a lot of experience with this, it's not too hard at all. If not it might not be worth your time. You might just look at adding bar ends to the flat bar to get some extra riding positions. A lot of people actually tour with flat bars out there, so you'll not be at any disadvantage.

I love drop bars, but also do just fine on a flat bar with bar ends. YMMV

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Old 07-22-10, 04:32 AM   #3
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There are probably hundreds of threads buried deep within this forum about drop bar conversions, and usually the answer is it simply isn't worth the money. If it's more hand positions you're after, a trekking bar is a good alternative. It would allow you to reuse your current brake levers and shifters, but give you several more hand positions. If you still want a drop bar, know it's going to be a project.
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Old 07-22-10, 08:08 AM   #4
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You could try these. I have no experience with them, but I know others on this forum have used them. Seems like a much simpler solution to me.
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Old 07-22-10, 08:28 AM   #5
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My Kona Fire Mountian came with semi straight bars (I don't know what they were/are called, but, they only had one hand position), I wasn't happy with them.
I tried various combinations of bar ends, including the Origin 8 ones recommended above. I wasn't really happy until I got my trekking bars. I love them, one of the best things I have done for me and my bicycle.
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Old 07-22-10, 08:43 AM   #6
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I agree that trekking bars are the easiest path forward, I am currently trying them on my hybrid and am provisionally happy with them. Another option that many seem to be happy with is to put aerobars on the flat bar setup. I'd say it is worth considering. There is a current thread on handlebars in the hybrid section of this forum that is worth checking out and a few older ones there that you could find by searching. My LBS owner is building a bike for himself that will have a Titech J or H bar (they are very similar) and I am waiting for him to complete that because it seems like it could also be an interesting option and it will take the smaller diameter shifters and brake levers found on most hybrids. It is taking him forever to get it done though since he has too many paying customers to service at this time of year. He has no time to work on his own gear.

Oh, I too tried those Origin 8 drop bar ends and was not really happy with them. I don't know why exactly, they seem like they should work better than they did for me.

Ken
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Old 07-22-10, 09:11 AM   #7
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I have a set of the Titec H-bars sitting in my shed collecting dust. I didn't even get them completely installed, before I decided that they weren't for me.
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Old 07-22-10, 09:20 AM   #8
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You might check this thread in the Hybrid forum for options too.
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Old 07-22-10, 09:42 AM   #9
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Another voice in favor or giving a trekking handlebar setup a go. I made the conversion about two months ago, and I am SOOOO happy with it. Tons of hand positions, and with the way I mounted them, I get a more agressive riding position out of it, too, so I'm not as upright as I had been w/ the stock low-riser straight bars my hyrbid came with.
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Old 07-22-10, 11:23 PM   #10
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Yet another vote for trekking bars. Riding on the sides sort of mimics riding the hoods of a drop bar, and grabbing the forward position and resting the forearms on the rear gives you a more aero position. Best of all, all the controls and even the grips (if so desired) fit just fine. It may take a little ingenuity; I needed a longer stem and I re-routed my cables (around the stem) more than once while dialing in the best position. Reaching back for the controls soon becomes intuitive. Total investment - about $55 including bars, stem, and tape. Improvement in comfort and performance... priceless!


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Old 07-23-10, 12:12 AM   #11
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You guys are the best, thank you for all the input! You've given me a lot to ponder, google, and decide-- thank you.
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Old 07-23-10, 03:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
There are probably hundreds of threads buried deep within this forum about drop bar conversions, and usually the answer is it simply isn't worth the money. If it's more hand positions you're after, a trekking bar is a good alternative. It would allow you to reuse your current brake levers and shifters, but give you several more hand positions. If you still want a drop bar, know it's going to be a project.
Depends, of course. While shopping around for shifters, stem and bars to convert my flat-bar Bianchi Valle to drop bars, I noticed that the price difference between my Valle and a Volpe ('cross bike, same frame, drops, but no dynohub) was basically the same as the cost of the conversion. A scenario, then, involving selling the Valle, buying a Volpe, and adding a dynohub n' lights would have been more expensive than just doing the conversion.

That's just staying with one manufacturer, though. Anything's possible.

I tried trekking bars for a few weeks but didn't like them enough to keep them. I didn't change the length of the stem to experiment further. They didn't give the low position that I get on my road bike, the straight-horizontal "flats" where the shifters sat (I set mine up the same way as irclean's) weren't as comfy as the Valle's stock bars' moderate sweep, and I just don't like the wide-arm grip when holding the sides (which is a LOT wider than almost all drop bars).

I'm still planning to do the conversion, but it's been on the back burner since I've been having fun with the new road bike I built up.
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Old 07-23-10, 06:40 PM   #13
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I'm getting intrigued by the trekking bars I'm reading about here. The bars on my hybrid are pretty comfortable, but I think that I need some different positions for my longer rides (13 mile commute). A more aerodynamic position for when I'm really booking it would be great, too. What I'm wondering is whether I'd have to change my stem length so that when I had my hands in the "normal position", where the brakes and shifters would be, it wouldn't be too close for comfort.
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Old 07-23-10, 09:41 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by driveblind View Post
I'm getting intrigued by the trekking bars I'm reading about here. The bars on my hybrid are pretty comfortable, but I think that I need some different positions for my longer rides (13 mile commute). A more aerodynamic position for when I'm really booking it would be great, too. What I'm wondering is whether I'd have to change my stem length so that when I had my hands in the "normal position", where the brakes and shifters would be, it wouldn't be too close for comfort.
I had to change my stem; the new one is about 1" (25.4 mm) longer. When I first installed it I was surprised by how much shorter my cockpit became. It made for an interesting ride every time I had to come off the saddle and start again at stop lights. It also felt like I was sitting quite vertically. Now, with the longer stem, not only am I comfortable on the controls but I can also stretch out. I get not only the benefit of extra hand positions, but also the ability to vary the angle of my spine while riding which adds greatly to my overall comfort.
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Old 07-24-10, 09:28 AM   #15
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It just depends. I did not have to change my stem, or rather I did but only because the clamp diameter of the trekking bars is 25.4 and the clamp diameter of my flat bar is 31.8. Shims would have worked but the local shops stock stems for sale and claim not to have any shims. If it is not windy I prefer an upright riding position. The shorter reach of the rear part of the trekking bars and the fact that I angled them up slightly gives me the upright position I was hoping for as well as the wind cheating position on the font of the bars. Trekking bars have as many hand positions available as drop bars, you are never very far from the brake levers, and they can be adjusted through a wide variety of settings so they are likely to be adaptable to your needs. I don't suppose they are for everyone but the odds are pretty good that you will be happy with them.

Ken
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Old 07-24-10, 05:43 PM   #16
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Faced with a similar situation Ergon GC3 grips/bar ends have worked for me

-- a bunch of hand positions without as much of a re-organization project as trekking bars or drops

-- after some trial-and-error I have them in a position where I can put my hands on the ends and rest my forearms on the grips -- not as comfortable as an aero-bar set up but gets me through the worst headwinds

-- in my view, Ergon grips are expensive but worth it for the ergonomics

An option to consider.
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