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  1. #1
    It's Queen to you! Archery_Queen's Avatar
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    Switching flat handle bars over to drops?

    Is it possible t switch the flat handle bars of a vintage bike to drop handle bars?

  2. #2
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    Generally speaking, yes. Obviously need to switch out brakes as well. Ans shifters if not downtube. I have a bike on which it was done and it works fine. Although whoever did the conversion went with stem shifters, which is not the choice I'd have made.

  3. #3
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    There's a nice thread about Drop-Bar Vintage MTBs.

    Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

    I've done three.

    MTB front derailleurs can be problematic with brifters. Travel Agents might be needed if V-brakes are on the bike.

    A few other details to think about. What bike ya want drop-barred?
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

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    Senior Member Rudz's Avatar
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    I did it on my Rapid, actually worked fine with the flat bar front derailleur too. But now I upgraded that to a 105 so it's a moot point. I went with Sora sti brifters.
    Giant Rapid 3- COMMUTERIZED *IBERA*Nashbar*Tiagra*105*Velocity*Selle SMP*Gatorskin
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  5. #5
    Fearless Isaiahc72's Avatar
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    It would probably cost a bit
    IC

  6. #6
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isaiahc72 View Post
    It would probably cost a bit
    My cheapest one was with $10 bars, free barcons, $5 brake levers and a $10 front derailleur.

    Most expensive one was with $10 bars, $45 Ultegra brifters (that need some new hoods but still shift great) and a free front derailleur.

    With all new parts it would be REALLY expensive.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  7. #7
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    My cheapest one was with $10 bars, free barcons, $5 brake levers and a $10 front derailleur.

    Most expensive one was with $10 bars, $45 Ultegra brifters (that need some new hoods but still shift great) and a free front derailleur.

    With all new parts it would be REALLY expensive.
    Especially if one paid the LBS to do it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
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  8. #8
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Drop bars are totally overrated. With riser bars, I'm as aero as 95% of drop bar commuter bikes (and actually more aero than many), and have as many or more hand positions with Cane Creek bar ends. Plus I get to use MTB hydro disc brakes.

  9. #9
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan s View Post
    Drop bars are totally overrated. With riser bars, I'm as aero as 95% of drop bar commuter bikes (and actually more aero than many), and have as many or more hand positions with Cane Creek bar ends. Plus I get to use MTB hydro disc brakes.

    I love my flat bars and risers but after about 3 miles of straight road riding I'm dying for a set of drops. Even some bar ends. I ride to most of the trail rides and STXC races I do, so just grin and bear it on those days, saying to myself "Just 7 more miles of road. OK, just 6 more miles..."

    It's not even the aero I care about (unless it's a windy day), I just gotta have the hand positions.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Is it possible it switch the flat handle bars of a vintage bike to drop handle bars?
    It is possible , as said, not cheap , unless you get another bike to cannibalize, for cheap/free ..



    old guy, I now like figure 8 bend Trekking bars , as a simpler swap from straight bars ,

    because of the ease of re using the contol levers off the staight bars .. is there .

    Most LBS can get some . prefer online/mail order ? under $20..

    XLC Multi Functional Trekking Bar, 580mm, 25.4, Black
    Last edited by fietsbob; 04-17-14 at 12:08 PM.

  11. #11
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    IME and generally speaking, anything that is attached to the flatbars, sometimes including the stem, will have to be replaced due to an OD mismatch between the flatbar and tbe roadbar. there are exceptions.

  12. #12
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Luckily going forward it'll be pretty easy in the stem dept. Most decent road and MTBs have 31.8mm clamp diameter these days. Both realms have also adopted the same diameter for the next size up - 35mm.

    The 31.8mm agreement is one of the best things to happen in cycling in the last 20 years. That and Campy/Shimano/ Sram cassette spacing being the same for 11 speed. I still can't believe that one but I've heard it through the grapevine.
    Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 04-17-14 at 01:34 PM.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  13. #13
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I still wish someone would make some 31.8 quill stems, though.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  14. #14
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    Is it really necessary ?? Can you afford it ??..Drop bar conversions can get tricky and expensive. Drop bars are good for people who have longer commutes and windy conditions.... For short city commutes and errands, flat bars with bar-ends or riser bars are much better. To do a drop bar conversion you will need new brake levers, new brake cables and cable housings, new shifters and new stem. You will need to experiment with different size stems until you get a comfortable fit...I've done it to one of my mountain bikes but mine is a singlespeed so it was very easy and cheap, no need for shifters ..To be honest the only reason why I've done it is because I just wanted my mountain bike to be a little different and not because it was necessary...The hardest part was getting the fit dialed in, I've tried about 5 different stems before everything was just right.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    I still wish someone would make some 31.8 quill stems, though.
    Origin8 Pro Fit ATB Quill Stem - 1" (22.2) 90 x 31.8mm, Black

    Also available in 110mm. FWIW.

    H

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    Tektro levers - $25/pr. Tektro Cross Levers - $25/pr. SunRace DT shifters 8sp. - $17 Stem $15 - ??? Civia Emerson Bar - $30 Come on, you guys spend more than that for rain gear. Cross levers are very optional but I like them, especially for a commuter.

    H

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    It would make a big difference if you showed pics of the bike you want to convert. It's not necessarily expensive, depending on the bike, if you do it yourself, and if you have access to some old inexpensive parts. I did one one, it was cheap, but I did lose index shifting. I converted to friction down tube shifting (some people might not like that but I don't mind), which meant shifter compatibility wasn't an issue. The old mountain bike I used had Canti. brakes and they work well with the standard road brake levers that came off an old road bike I had. Just had to adjust the yoke height a bit on those brakes. The other thing that kept things simple was that I used old steel drop bars that have the same clamp size diameter as old mtn. bike bars. (25.4mm). It can be a little tricky if your not familiar with working on bikes and are unsure about compatibility (to me it's being unsure about compatibility that is the most challenging thing about bicycle mechanics), and it can be expensive if you want to keep your project light weight and high tech (Not something I was to worried about). BTW: I love my cheap drop bar conversion, I commute on that bike daily, I found the change in geometry made me quite a bit faster and more comfortable on that bike.
    Last edited by turky lurkey; 04-18-14 at 07:32 AM.

  18. #18
    It's Queen to you! Archery_Queen's Avatar
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    I would love to have the option to break while my hand is on top on the bar as well as inside the bar.

  19. #19
    It's Queen to you! Archery_Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    Is it really necessary ?? Can you afford it ??..Drop bar conversions can get tricky and expensive. Drop bars are good for people who have longer commutes and windy conditions.... For short city commutes and errands, flat bars with bar-ends or riser bars are much better. To do a drop bar conversion you will need new brake levers, new brake cables and cable housings, new shifters and new stem. You will need to experiment with different size stems until you get a comfortable fit...I've done it to one of my mountain bikes but mine is a singlespeed so it was very easy and cheap, no need for shifters ..To be honest the only reason why I've done it is because I just wanted my mountain bike to be a little different and not because it was necessary...The hardest part was getting the fit dialed in, I've tried about 5 different stems before everything was just right.
    Well to be honest, I want to be able to go on weekly community rides.

  20. #20
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archery_Queen View Post
    Well to be honest, I want to be able to go on weekly community rides.
    It's a lot easier to purchase a bike which already has drop bars then to do a conversion. Older road bikes or Mixties with drop bars are sometimes sold cheap on craiglist or garage sales.

  21. #21
    It's Queen to you! Archery_Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    It's a lot easier to purchase a bike which already has drop bars then to do a conversion. Older road bikes or Mixties with drop bars are sometimes sold cheap on craiglist or garage sales.
    Thank you, I'll look out for that!

  22. #22
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    You could also put some bar-ends on your flat handlebars... Bar-ends will give you a more comfortable hand position on longer rides and they also give you more leverage to make hill climbing easier.

  23. #23
    Senior Member devianb's Avatar
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    Origin 8 makes bolt on drop bars so you could keep your shifters and brake levers.
    Amazon.com: Origin 8 Bicycle Drop Bar Ends, Black: Sports & Outdoors

    61AGglr2EUL.jpg315opGCJ7wL.jpg

  24. #24
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    I saw these quite a few years ago, but decided that I really don't use the drops much at all (even on a drop bar road bike) and found that just normal bar ends give you more hand positions and comfort similar to riding the hoods or top bar of the road bike...

  25. #25
    Lurking Under a Rock
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    Tektro levers - $25/pr. Tektro Cross Levers - $25/pr. SunRace DT shifters 8sp. - $17 Stem $15 - ??? Civia Emerson Bar - $30 Come on, you guys spend more than that for rain gear. Cross levers are very optional but I like them, especially for a commuter.

    H
    Agreed. I converted my handlebars on my commuter. Of course, I went with bars that are a bit of splurge. The $100 or so for new campy veloce shifters worked out well. It's a clunky downshifting on the front derailleur, but it works and I love it.
    www.jefaisduvelo.wordpress.com

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