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Old 07-12-09, 09:33 PM   #1
massterb
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replace drop bars with flat bars

can I buy a road bike and replace the drop bars with flat bars? like a Trek Portland or surly cross check. *I'm wanting a quick and agile daily urban bike. *I've never owned a road bike and I want more of an upright mtn bike ride. * I test drove the Portland and a specialized cross bike over the weekend and the drop bars just feel so strange and not right. *will the geometry work if I just replace the bars ? *or should I be just restrict looking to bikes preconfigured with flat bars like the Gary Fisher Mendota or Specialized Sirrus or Masi Cafe racer. *any advice?
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Old 07-12-09, 09:35 PM   #2
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ignore all of those *asterisks* in my post. not sure why my iPhone did that
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Old 07-12-09, 09:37 PM   #3
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can I buy a road bike and replace the drop bars with flat bars? like a Trek Portland or surly cross check. *I'm wanting a quick and agile daily urban bike. *I've never owned a road bike and I want more of an upright mtn bike ride. * I test drove the Portland and a specialized cross bike over the weekend and the drop bars just feel so strange and not right. *will the geometry work if I just replace the bars ? *or should I be just restrict looking to bikes preconfigured with flat bars like the Gary Fisher Mendota or Specialized Sirrus or Masi Cafe racer. *any advice?
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In order to replace "road" drop handlebars with "mountain" flat handlebars, you'll need to swap the shifters and probably the front derailleur. Even then the bike's fit may not be right, since the reach to the bars will be much shorter. If you're buying the bike new, start out with flat-bar bikes. You can always put on skinny, high-pressure tires later.
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Old 07-12-09, 09:49 PM   #4
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Did you do the test rides with your hands down in the drops, or did you use each of the several available hand positions?

I know it's still personal preference, but I feel that it's more natural to have my hands pointed forward (thumbs forward, knuckles out) than splayed out to the sides. I can also squeeze through narrower gaps with drop bars than with wide flat bars (although chopped-down flat bars that hipsters love are narrower than anything).

Like Jeff said, it'll mean replacing a bunch of parts and can be expensive. It would be cheaper, and just as effective, to get skinnier tires.
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Old 07-13-09, 01:39 AM   #5
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They're right, massterb. I wasn't comfortable with drops, and switched out to a Nitto Moustasch bar. It has the same sizing as road bars, so the components all fit, but if I hadn't alread paid for the bike, I would have followed the advice already given.
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Old 07-13-09, 03:40 AM   #6
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IMO, don't buy a road bike and pay to swap out the bars and shifters. Just buy a flat bar road bike. Specialized makes some real nice ones. Now, if you had a drop bar bike already and wanted to do the swap that's another story. You could just take off the old parts and sell them on ebay to defray the cost of the swap. You'll never get your money out of stripping a new bike out and selling off the parts. Good luck on whatever you do.
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Old 07-13-09, 04:01 AM   #7
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In order to replace "road" drop handlebars with "mountain" flat handlebars, you'll need to swap the shifters and probably the front derailleur.
Levers and whatnot being the wrong size/design for the different bars follows, but why should the front derailer be affected?
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Old 07-13-09, 04:05 AM   #8
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Levers and whatnot being the wrong size/design for the different bars follows, but why should the front derailer be affected?
Shimano road derailleurs aren't usually compatible with flat bar controls. The only flat bar road derailleur they make is the Tiagra level.
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Old 07-13-09, 05:46 AM   #9
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Shimano road derailleurs aren't usually compatible with flat bar controls. The only flat bar road derailleur they make is the Tiagra level.
Is this only the case for indexed shift levers? Or is there something very different about the cable pull that even a friction lever won't work?
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Old 07-13-09, 09:07 AM   #10
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Is this only the case for indexed shift levers? Or is there something very different about the cable pull that even a friction lever won't work?
If you're using barcons it's not a problem. Only with STI. Good luck
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Old 07-13-09, 11:21 AM   #11
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Why bother to buy a road bike and swap the handle bar? Trek FX series share the same geometry as their road bikes,in fact the FX series is part of their road bike selection in their website.I just put over 1K miles in 7 months on mine without any problem at all, what a awesome bike.
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Old 07-13-09, 12:29 PM   #12
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flat-bar road bikes would be what? hybrids? Swapping out cushy saddle is cheaper than handle bars....
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Old 07-14-09, 03:52 AM   #13
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Depending on the type, you may also need to swap brakes (gack - I actually wrote "breaks" there initially!). Most road brake levers have a different pull compared to mountain brakes (IIRC, the latter have a lot more pull).

A different option would be to try the Midge On One drop bars - they will give you the comfortable hand position of the drops, but without requiring you to bend over so much. Play with stem height and angle, and you should be able to get a more upright position without replacing half your bike.

V.
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Old 07-16-09, 08:44 AM   #14
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If you're using barcons it's not a problem. Only with STI. Good luck
However barend shifters might not play as nice with flat bars as you'd like. The shifter would stick out the wrong direction on straight bars or they might not fit in some flat bars.

I estimate the conversion from drop bars to flats at around $200 in parts. You'll need shifters ($50 to $150), brake levers ($25), cables ($20), front derailer ($50-$80), bars ($20 to 80), grips ($15) and, maybe, a new stem ($20 to $80). Labor would add another $100 to $200, if you have a shop do it. Best to just save money and buy a flat bar bike to begin with.
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Old 07-17-09, 08:29 PM   #15
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flat-bar road bikes would be what? hybrids?
Flat bar road bikes are road bikes with flat handlebars.
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Old 07-17-09, 08:41 PM   #16
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Flat bar road bikes are road bikes with flat handlebars.
Yup. cs1 mentioned Specialized as selling some -- here's one example:
http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...Sirrus&eid=121

Here's a model of Cannondale Synapse that's sold in Europe:
http://gb.cannondale.com/bikes/09/ce/model-9HAS1T.html

Trek's FX series isn't far from being road bikes with flat bars. There are still others, too, and from many manufacturers.
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Old 07-18-09, 10:48 AM   #17
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+1 on the moustache bar rec. I've ridden a couple bikes with them, and they seem to be made of awesome. YMMV.
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Old 07-20-09, 06:36 AM   #18
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I ended up getting a Trek 7.7 FX. so far very happy with it.
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