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  1. #1
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    Changing to drop bar

    I have a Trek 7.5FX 2010.
    I am thinking of changing the flat handlebar to a drop bar.

    Could you please tell me what should I buy for this conversion?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Sumerian Street Rider khutch's Avatar
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    I haven't done it myself, I'm considering it, so I can't tell you what to buy. I can tell you what issues you will face and there are threads on this group about doing this with component information if you search for them. Drop bars are larger in diameter than flat bars so your shifters and brake levers will not fit on them. Flat bar brake levers don't give you "hoods" to rest your hands on so you probably would not want to use them anyway. Now you can get brake/shift lever combinations, "brifters", but they are all made for short pull road bike brakes not long pull hybrid brakes, and they are expensive, typically >$300 for the pair. If you want to go that way you can fix the braking issue with "travel agents" or on some bikes you may be able to change to road brakes easily. Brifters may not be available in the shift configuration that you need so check that before laying down the big bucks. Another option is to get long pull drop bar brake levers (Cane Creek makes them and they are quite affordable) and then either try to find shifters that fit drop bars or mount your shifters on something like a Minoura Space Grip or Swing Grip mounted to either the handlebars or the stem. This is the route I am considering if I try drops.

    I went with trekking bars which fit the flat bar brake levers and shifters and while I find them them better than the flat bars alone for long distance riding on roads and improved trails I still feel like drops or aero bars on the flat bars would suit me better. If you take your hybrid off paved roads at all you will appreciate the extra control the width and stiffness of a flat bar gives you when the terrain tries to wrench your wheel this way while you want to go that way. The hard part is that until you have a few hundred miles on a given handlebar setup you just don't really know how it will suit you for the totality of your riding. So I could easily try a couple of other handlebar setups and conclude in the end that trekking bars are the best. Another person's experience is no certain guide to your own preference.

    Ken

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by khutch View Post
    I haven't done it myself, I'm considering it, so I can't tell you what to buy. I can tell you what issues you will face and there are threads on this group about doing this with component information if you search for them. Drop bars are larger in diameter than flat bars so your shifters and brake levers will not fit on them. Flat bar brake levers don't give you "hoods" to rest your hands on so you probably would not want to use them anyway. Now you can get brake/shift lever combinations, "brifters", but they are all made for short pull road bike brakes not long pull hybrid brakes, and they are expensive, typically >$300 for the pair. If you want to go that way you can fix the braking issue with "travel agents" or on some bikes you may be able to change to road brakes easily. Brifters may not be available in the shift configuration that you need so check that before laying down the big bucks. Another option is to get long pull drop bar brake levers (Cane Creek makes them and they are quite affordable) and then either try to find shifters that fit drop bars or mount your shifters on something like a Minoura Space Grip or Swing Grip mounted to either the handlebars or the stem. This is the route I am considering if I try drops.

    I went with trekking bars which fit the flat bar brake levers and shifters and while I find them them better than the flat bars alone for long distance riding on roads and improved trails I still feel like drops or aero bars on the flat bars would suit me better. If you take your hybrid off paved roads at all you will appreciate the extra control the width and stiffness of a flat bar gives you when the terrain tries to wrench your wheel this way while you want to go that way. The hard part is that until you have a few hundred miles on a given handlebar setup you just don't really know how it will suit you for the totality of your riding. So I could easily try a couple of other handlebar setups and conclude in the end that trekking bars are the best. Another person's experience is no certain guide to your own preference.

    Ken
    Thanks Ken!
    I thought that I just needed

    - a drop handlebar
    - handlebar tape
    - and "brifters"

    According to your post I also need brakes.

    ...and then I would say "Why wouldn't I buy a total groupset?"....

    I didn't know that the MTB components aren't TOTTALY compatible with road components!

  4. #4
    Habitual (Bike) Tweaker ATX 6Speed's Avatar
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    I did this conversion on my Cannondale. Here's what you'll need to do this on a reasonable budget:

    Shimano 9 speed bar end shifters, since your bike is a 9 speed (I think):
    http://jensonusa.com/store/product/S...+Shifters.aspx

    A set of drop bars. I like Easton's offerings, and they're very cheap. To figure out the width of bars you'll need simply measure the tops of your shoulders from left to right (where the pointy bones are). I personally ride 40cm:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...+Road+Bar.aspx

    A set of brake levers that are V-brake compatible:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...ke+Levers.aspx

    Some bar tape. This is subjective, but I like Fizik:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...ebar+Tape.aspx

    A set of cabling for your brakes and a set of cabling for your shifters (although the shifters will come with cabling, so you could use that):
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...sing+Kits.aspx

    Lastly, you can experiment with fit by using your stem as it is or removing and flipping it upside down. This is how I did mine, although this pic is very out of date:


    Hope this helps.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ATX 6Speed View Post
    I did this conversion on my Cannondale. Here's what you'll need to do this on a reasonable budget:

    Shimano 9 speed bar end shifters, since your bike is a 9 speed (I think):
    http://jensonusa.com/store/product/S...+Shifters.aspx

    A set of drop bars. I like Easton's offerings, and they're very cheap. To figure out the width of bars you'll need simply measure the tops of your shoulders from left to right (where the pointy bones are). I personally ride 40cm:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...+Road+Bar.aspx

    A set of brake levers that are V-brake compatible:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...ke+Levers.aspx

    Some bar tape. This is subjective, but I like Fizik:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...ebar+Tape.aspx

    A set of cabling for your brakes and a set of cabling for your shifters (although the shifters will come with cabling, so you could use that):
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...sing+Kits.aspx

    Lastly, you can experiment with fit by using your stem as it is or removing and flipping it upside down. This is how I did mine, although this pic is very out of date:


    Hope this helps.
    Thanks ATX!

    Now I know what I need!

    May I ask you some things:

    1. Did you also change the headstem?
    2. Is the drop bar more comfortable comparing to your old flat bar?
    3. Are the bar end shifters easy in handling?


    The reason I am thinking of changing to drop bar is that I want to be able to brake while my hands are on the end of the handlebar (which is impossible with a flat bar).

  6. #6
    Habitual (Bike) Tweaker ATX 6Speed's Avatar
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    1. I initially didn't change the stem, but later I flipped it so that the stem was more level with the ground. At its stock position it was very comfortable, but now it rides more aggressive and looks better. I now have a Ritchey stem, but it's the exact same size and everything (just flashier).

    2. I would say it is about the same, but with a bit more sportiness to it. I think it is a good progression from the casual neighborhood rider to something a bit more aggressive.

    3. It is a bit tricky at first to move your hand down to shift, but you get used to it pretty quickly. Brifters are ideal (brakes and shifters in one unit, like a road bike), but they're CRAZY expensive, hence why I chose the barcon shifters.

    I think you'll like a drop bar conversion. I do miss having flat bars and the simplicity of just riding casually, but I also love being able to get out there and hit the pavement going strong.

  7. #7
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    I just changed to drop bars on my Trek FX. Also used barend shifters and Tektro V-brake compatible levers. No regrets, it transformed the bike completely. One advise, make sure you test ride the position of bars before you tape them or you will end up removing the tape moving the levers and retaping again (or it is just me?) If you use barend shifters and want to run them all the way under bar tape you will probably need longer cable outers for them. In my case I used two 40-50 cm pieces. Also consider the stem length. I went with one that is bit shorter so hoods end up in about the same place where grips on original bars would be.
    If you have any questions, I am happy to help as just went through it all last weekend.

    Regards,
    Marcin

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcinski View Post
    I just changed to drop bars on my Trek FX. Also used barend shifters and Tektro V-brake compatible levers. No regrets, it transformed the bike completely. One advise, make sure you test ride the position of bars before you tape them or you will end up removing the tape moving the levers and retaping again (or it is just me?) If you use barend shifters and want to run them all the way under bar tape you will probably need longer cable outers for them. In my case I used two 40-50 cm pieces. Also consider the stem length. I went with one that is bit shorter so hoods end up in about the same place where grips on original bars would be.
    If you have any questions, I am happy to help as just went through it all last weekend.

    Regards,
    Marcin
    Marcin post a photo of your bike!
    Why the bike is better?
    Why you haven't regretted at all?

  9. #9
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    Hi there,
    I'll take a picture tomorrow, it's dark here already (Scotland). I like the bike better because it is much more comfortable on the hoods, wrists are in more natural position. The drops are also comfy provided you don't set them too low. They are great with strong head wind and up the hill. I went with Salsa Bell Lap bars as they are slightly flared in the drops what gives you more control in descents and on rough roads.
    Last but not least I like the look with drop bars better. My Trek is 7.0 so the cheapest one but I upgraded couple of things over last three years as they wore out (I commute every day).

    Cheers,

    Marcin

  10. #10
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    I have an old mountain bike that has been converted to drop levers (this meant I needed - well didn't need but got - a threaded to threadless adapter and new stem) and you might be able to find stem shifters that bolt on instead of bar ends if you prefer. These will also run you about $20 for a set, but I like how they work on my bike. For some reason I just don't like bar ends. Some nice tektro aero levers are awesome. I think I found an easton stem and bars at Jenson for $25 total and the tape was $10. The levers were ~$25, and the brake cables were ~$5. With tools (4th hand and cable cutter) the project easily ran over $100, but was something I enjoyed doing and like my bike much better now than the previous setup.

  11. #11
    Senior Member javal's Avatar
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    Got myself Sora brifters. Switch to 9-sp casette. Didnt have to mount travel agents. Original Acera derailleurs are doing alright, allthough front gearing isnt without minor difficulties.
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    the rider makes the bike - steel club member 198

  12. #12
    just pokin' along desertdork's Avatar
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    ktselios, congrats on your bike.

    Not sure exactly what you meant by this:
    The reason I am thinking of changing to drop bar is that I want to be able to brake while my hands are on the end of the handlebar (which is impossible with a flat bar).
    Unless you intend to use the drops, there are other (including less expensive) options, including trekking bars and bullhorns.

    Even a basic conversion to drops can be rather costly, especially if you pay msrp on parts and need to rely on a shop to do the conversion. That said, it would be beneficial to get some saddle time on a drop bar bike to determine if it's worth it.

    For my 7.7 conversion, I used:
    • Shimano Ultegra STI
    • FSA Omega Compact h-bar
    • Shimano R550 Canti brakes
    • Shimano 6603 front derailleur
    • Front & rear cable hangers
    • Bar tape


    Parts were discounted. The brifters were ridiculously discounted to $119 (~75% off), otherwise it would have barend shifters. V-brakes aren't compatible with STI levers, so I just replaced them with compatible cantilever brakes for not much more than the cost of "travel agents." The shifters also needed a different FD. I did the work myself, so no labor fee. Based on msrp for parts and minimal labor, the LBS probably would have charged $800 out the door for this. I did it for ~$300.

    No, it still wasn't cheap, and certainly some would consider the conversion foolish. But the result works better for me. I like the hand positions of a drop bar, the option of sitting more upright or stretching out, and I regularly need the drops for dealing with wind here.

    The conversion by ATX is very nicely done.

  13. #13
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    I considered this type of modification on my Schwinn, but the added expense turned me off of the idea. Also, I really wanted brifters instead of barcons, adding even more expense. Instead I went with trekking bars, which gave me a number of added hand positions, and allowed me to use the controls that came with the bike. I can even get into an "aero" position by grabbing the forward part of the bars and resting my forearms on the grips. Of course, they aren't drop bars, but IMHO they are a good alternative. Besides the bars themselves and the bar tape, the only extra expense was a longer stem:



    Gettin' my Fred on.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertdork View Post
    ktselios, congrats on your bike.

    Not sure exactly what you meant by this:

    Unless you intend to use the drops, there are other (including less expensive) options, including trekking bars and bullhorns.

    Even a basic conversion to drops can be rather costly, especially if you pay msrp on parts and need to rely on a shop to do the conversion. That said, it would be beneficial to get some saddle time on a drop bar bike to determine if it's worth it.

    For my 7.7 conversion, I used:
    • Shimano Ultegra STI
    • FSA Omega Compact h-bar
    • Shimano R550 Canti brakes
    • Shimano 6603 front derailleur
    • Front & rear cable hangers
    • Bar tape



    Parts were discounted. The brifters were ridiculously discounted to $119 (~75% off), otherwise it would have barend shifters. V-brakes aren't compatible with STI levers, so I just replaced them with compatible cantilever brakes for not much more than the cost of "travel agents." The shifters also needed a different FD. I did the work myself, so no labor fee. Based on msrp for parts and minimal labor, the LBS probably would have charged $800 out the door for this. I did it for ~$300.

    No, it still wasn't cheap, and certainly some would consider the conversion foolish. But the result works better for me. I like the hand positions of a drop bar, the option of sitting more upright or stretching out, and I regularly need the drops for dealing with wind here.

    The conversion by ATX is very nicely done.
    Can you post a photo of your bike?

  15. #15
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    Here is a picture of my converted Trek, as requested.
    Marcin


  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcinski View Post
    Here is a picture of my converted Trek, as requested.
    Marcin

    Very nice conversion!
    ...and very nice background!!!
    )

  17. #17
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    this will give some background to decide what would work for you:

    http://ruedatropical.com/2009/03/roa...-bar-geometry/

  18. #18
    bikenut1967
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    Quote Originally Posted by irclean View Post
    I considered this type of modification on my Schwinn, but the added expense turned me off of the idea. Also, I really wanted brifters instead of barcons, adding even more expense. Instead I went with trekking bars, which gave me a number of added hand positions, and allowed me to use the controls that came with the bike. I can even get into an "aero" position by grabbing the forward part of the bars and resting my forearms on the grips. Of course, they aren't drop bars, but IMHO they are a good alternative. Besides the bars themselves and the bar tape, the only extra expense was a longer stem:



    +1 I'm with you on the trekking bars. LOVE 'EM and being able to use shifters and brake levers that you already have really makes it a super cheap conversion.

    what kind of ergo grips are those? where did you get them?

    thanks
    andy

  19. #19
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikenut1967 View Post
    +1 I'm with you on the trekking bars. LOVE 'EM and being able to use shifters and brake levers that you already have really makes it a super cheap conversion.

    what kind of ergo grips are those? where did you get them?

    thanks
    andy
    They're cheap knock-offs that were on sale at my LBS... I don't recall the brand. They're okay, but quite soft and not nearly as good as the Ergon grips that I have on two other bikes (one pair of GC2s and one pair of GC3s). If I had my druthers I'd be using Ergon GP1s, which don't have an integrated barend and would therefore be ideal for trekking bars. Alternatively one could just wrap the bars with tape all the way to the controls.
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  20. #20
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    Hi,
    Thanks for the helpful links and discussion about changing a hybrid straight bars to drop bars. I was considering making the change if it does not cost a lot of money.
    But I was also wondering why would you want to change a hybrid bike straight bar to a drop bar? Once you add drop bars then it is more like a road bike?

  21. #21
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Yeah, it sort of is. It's a lot cheaper than buying a road bike but gives you the aero benefits of the drops and the extra hand positions.

  22. #22
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    So its like a poor man's version of a road bike. I was considering making the change but I like the straight bar for the city. On the other hand, when I have rode longer distance (20 or 40 miles) I feel the compromise of the straight bar and wish for the extra hand position. Not to mention the little tweaks in the lower back! I think if I find myself riding a lot more long distance then I might as well build myself a road bike and really look at the geometry of the bike to body position. I guess some things your really can't have both ways.

  23. #23
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firegram View Post
    I guess some things your really can't have both ways.

    well, I put cross style interrupter brake levers on the bars so if I feel like spending a lot of time on the tops I can do that as if it were a flat bar bike (albeit with very short flat bars) and then I still have the hoods (using the tektro aero brake levers as my main levers) and drops if I want to get more aero. The compromise from my setup is that I'm using stem shifters (cost about $20) which are equally inconvenient from just about every position.

  24. #24
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    The compromise from my setup is that I'm using stem shifters (cost about $20) which are equally inconvenient from just about every position.
    Okay, I see your point, I looked at the stem shifters and also took a road bike for a test ride with the shift/brake lever in one place. I thought it was a significant feature and it kept my hands in on the handle bars shifting and braking seamlessly. The price for these shift/brake levers is not worth the upgrade.

  25. #25
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    I'll agree with that. Especially in my condition with a 6 speed cassette (I don't think they ever made 6 speed brifters and I'm not dropping the dough to get a bigger cassette which would also require spreading my frame). I think the next bike I get will actually be a road bike with brifters, but at this point I only spent $100 for the original bike off CL and dropped probably 3 times that into additions and mods. Somewhere I need to say enough is enough and either buy a bike that can do what I want or something. I do love tinkering though.

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