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Old 07-03-12, 10:02 AM   #1
tahoe_girl
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Installed drop-bar bar ends, thinking about a full drop conversion.....

Hi everyone,

Last week I installed the new drop bar ends. They are fine, but the geometry of the bike seems to be all out of whack now. After riding about 100 miles with them so far, I am getting pains in my mid back and then between my shoulder blades ( I didn't have these issues before). I definitely like having the drop position as the shores of Lake Tahoe tend to get quite breezy almost every single afternoon so they help with my commute. I am thinking of doing a full drop conversion. Is this something that can be accomplished on my 2012 Trek 7.6? Also, how much shoud I expect to spend on something like this?

Another thought I had was to get a smaller handlebar and then put on the drop bar ends. The LBS put them on my stock IsoZone bar, which is about 600 mm. Will a smaller bar help with my issues?

Thanks!
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Old 07-03-12, 10:27 AM   #2
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Got no idea of how much a full conversion would run, but if you plan on the LBS doing the work, it ain't gonna be cheap.

And you've pretty much guessed correctly that the bar is too wide for drops, which is why you're experiencing issues. Drop bars are measured in cm and usually around 42-48 depending on shoulder width. Your current bar is like 60 cm, which is way too wide.
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Old 07-03-12, 11:44 AM   #3
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I wonder if there's room to move them from outside the bar grips to inside the grips or even inside the brake levers, I'm not sure how that would affect your turning circle if it was possible though. Just a thought.
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Old 07-03-12, 12:54 PM   #4
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I wonder if there's room to move them from outside the bar grips to inside the grips or even inside the brake levers, I'm not sure how that would affect your turning circle if it was possible though. Just a thought.
Not possible on her current bar.....fairly sure, anyway.
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Old 07-03-12, 07:13 PM   #5
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You really need to trim those bars down to about 500mm at a minimum. The drops on wide bars like that is very likely the cause of your pain. I have relatively broad shoulders and mine are trimmed to 530. I would trim them down more, but with Grip Shift it would push my brake levers in unnaturally far. Once you get your bars trimmed, experiment with different rotation angles on the bar ends. Mine are rotated up a bit more than they are on my road bike and it gives the feel of riding on the brake hoods when I rest my hands on the top of the drops...very comfortable.

As for the conversion, it would likely be very expensive.
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Old 07-03-12, 10:42 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone! I think first things first, I'm going to trim those bars down. Can my LBS do somethign like that? I dont have any tools for that project. I'm going to try that before I spend the money on the conversion.

Thanks for all the advice and have a happy and safe holiday.
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Old 07-04-12, 12:00 AM   #7
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IIRC, you had previously swapped out handlebars at one point, then put the stock one back on, right? If so, and you still have that other bar, then I wouldn't cut down the stock one. That IsoZone bar was designed the way it is with ergonomics in mind and I don't think that you can just simply cut the bar and move the grips inward, plus those adapters may no longer fit.

The LBS can cut the bar for you.
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Old 07-04-12, 01:12 PM   #8
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I'm using Trekking bars, the drop is replaced by a farther reach, so
lowered body posture is achieved, and all the old brake and shifter controls
gets retained... cables intact..
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Old 07-04-12, 06:31 PM   #9
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+1 to everything posted above

I did the conversion on my 7.7fx. Ultegra brifters, Ultegra FD, FSA bar, Jag rocket adjusters, Shimano R550 cantis, f/r cable hangers plus tape. Came out nice...but adds up with these bits. It was one of those "not cheap" conversions.

Rode it that way for a little while, then converted back to original and sold the bike. Still have all the components boxed up.

You could convert to drops for ~$200 in parts + labor, if you went with Shimano BS79 bar end shifters and Tektro RL520 brake levers so you could use your current v-brakes. You'd still need bars, tape, inline barrel adjusters, and maybe a stem. Not cheap, but not exactly expensive.
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Old 07-04-12, 06:53 PM   #10
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If you're going to do it go with (10sp) Tiagra or Shimano 105 integrated brakes/shifters (i.e., brifters.) That is by far the biggest cost if you want to start looking on ebay or CL. With bar end shifters you have to move your hand down to the tip of the drops every time you want to shift. I think they make adapters that will allow the brakes to work (the amount cable pull is different.) You've already got a 10sp setup with double crank so you shouldn't need any new derailleurs, chain, crank or cassette. You'll probably want shorter stem with drop bars or you may feel too stretched out.

BTW, all you need to cut down your straight bars is a $10-20 hacksaw. But I don't think you'll be able to get them narrow enough to mimic drop bars without making them unusable (no space for your hands with brakes and shifters installed.) Most drop bars are only 400-440mm wide. I'm not sure if you'll need new shifter cable housings but the cost should look something like this:

Brifters - $200-300 used (make sure to buy 10sp with a double front shifter)
Drop Bars - $30-50
Stem - $30
Brake Adapters - $40
Misc - $25
Installation Labor - $60-80

Last edited by Dunbar; 07-04-12 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 07-05-12, 07:15 AM   #11
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tahoe_girl,

Here's the most important bit from your op:

" ... but the geometry of the bike seems to be all out of whack now. After riding about 100 miles with them so far, I am getting pains in my mid back and then between my shoulder blades ( I didn't have these issues before). I definitely like having the drop position ..."

You make two points. First, you've discovered for yourself the problem (for many) with these conversions: the "hoods" or drops position on your bike, as converted, stretch you out much too far. That the bars are over-wide is a factor, but a minor one; the main reason is simple: your bike was/is designed for flat bars. Consequently it has -- for a given size -- an effective t/t length that is much too long for use with drop bars. You can bodge around this problem a little with narrower bars, a shortie stem, etc. but it's never going to be "right".

Second, you've found that you like drop bars.

Add in the not inconsiderable expense of doing a full conversion, one that will also never be quite "right" when it comes to braking unless you use v-brake levers and bar-end shifters ... what's the point? The solution is obvious.

Test ride proper drop-bar bikes with different orientations (race, endurance, 'cross, light touring, whatever), find the one you like, and buy it -- keeping your present bike in its proper configuration or selling it on.
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Old 07-05-12, 07:36 AM   #12
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tahoe_girl,

Here's the most important bit from your op:

" ... but the geometry of the bike seems to be all out of whack now. After riding about 100 miles with them so far, I am getting pains in my mid back and then between my shoulder blades ( I didn't have these issues before). I definitely like having the drop position ..."

You make two points. First, you've discovered for yourself the problem (for many) with these conversions: the "hoods" or drops position on your bike, as converted, stretch you out much too far. That the bars are over-wide is a factor, but a minor one; the main reason is simple: your bike was/is designed for flat bars. Consequently it has -- for a given size -- an effective t/t length that is much too long for use with drop bars. You can bodge around this problem a little with narrower bars, a shortie stem, etc. but it's never going to be "right".

Second, you've found that you like drop bars.

Add in the not inconsiderable expense of doing a full conversion, one that will also never be quite "right" when it comes to braking unless you use v-brake levers and bar-end shifters ... what's the point? The solution is obvious.

Test ride proper drop-bar bikes with different orientations (race, endurance, 'cross, light touring, whatever), find the one you like, and buy it -- keeping your present bike in its proper configuration or selling it on.
Persactly.
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Old 07-05-12, 10:05 AM   #13
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There is no "hoods" position with add-on drop bar-ends. With them, the drop position is far too wide on unaltered flat bars. Not a "minor" factor to her problem; it is the problem. + Misses out on two hand positions (hoods, bends) and no access to brakes.

Having hand positions that get the rider lower and stretched out is one of the benefits to drops, not a deterrent. Getting the fit right might take some tweaking, but not fair to say it will never be "right."

Effective TT lengths between her fx and a recreational road bike sized for her will not be that much different, probably less than 1cm. This will be partially offset by a taller head tube set at a slacker angle.

Also, many riders spend much of their time with their hands on the bar tops or outer bends. With no other changes, these positions will place her as or more upright than she currently is with just the stock bars alone.

If her reason for wanting drops is getting down in a headwind, then that is possible with a conversion. Other factors that cannot be changed (HT angle, rake/trail, chainstay length, wheelbase) will prevent the bike from ever being as lively and sporty as a road bike, however.

Selling this bike and getting a road bike instead is one answer, but it may be the most costly. Her bike is new-ish, and she's already taken the big hit on value. I've also found that selling a high end hybrid for a fair price can be a long process in a market that favors road bikes.

Fietsbob's suggestion for a trekking bar will probably produce what the OP wants at the lowest cost.

As for bar end shifters, moving your hand to shift isn't detrimental. Moving your hands frequently isn't a bad thing. I ride both bar ends and STI shifters. Like 'em both, and each have their advantages.
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Old 07-05-12, 10:54 AM   #14
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Persactly.
Not in my experience at all. She can get it right with a little experimentation, and the cost of experimentation at thie point is negligible. You can kinda mimic the hood position by slightly angling the bar ends upward. The differences in comfort between my Tarmac and my home spun Fredenstein bike is imperceptible.
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Old 07-05-12, 11:22 AM   #15
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OP,

desertdork and Paul Barnard both make good points; I would agree that if cost is a significant factor, stay with the drop-end thingies, but with cut-down bars. Maybe that will work for you.

However, I otherwise stand by my original post, fwiw. Sounds to me, from what you've said, that a properly-fitted drop-bar road bike (of some kind -- there are many sub-types around these days) would best suit your needs. I agree that you "can" convert your FX, but I still maintain that it will never be quite "right" considered in relation to a purpose-designed drop bar bike. You really should try a few out (properly fitted to you), before considering any "conversion" beyond what you've done. To me it just makes sense to cut your losses and make a switch now that (from the sounds of it) you will eventually make anyway.

(BTW, I'm not pushing any particular type of bicycle; as it happens, I ride a 'flat-bar road bike'.)
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Old 07-05-12, 11:57 AM   #16
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Not in my experience at all. She can get it right with a little experimentation, and the cost of experimentation at thie point is negligible. You can kinda mimic the hood position by slightly angling the bar ends upward. The differences in comfort between my Tarmac and my home spun Fredenstein bike is imperceptible.
But she's already said the geometry is off. That's pretty hard to correct.
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Old 07-05-12, 12:01 PM   #17
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There is no "hoods" position with add-on drop bar-ends. With them, the drop position is far too wide on unaltered flat bars. Not a "minor" factor to her problem; it is the problem. + Misses out on two hand positions (hoods, bends) and no access to brakes. Having hand positions that get the rider lower and stretched out is one of the benefits to drops, not a deterrent. Getting the fit right might take some tweaking, but not fair to say it will never be "right."

Effective TT lengths between her fx and a recreational road bike sized for her will not be that much different, probably less than 1cm. This will be partially offset by a taller head tube set at a slacker angle.

Also, many riders spend much of their time with their hands on the bar tops or outer bends. With no other changes, these positions will place her as or more upright than she currently is with just the stock bars alone.

If her reason for wanting drops is getting down in a headwind, then that is possible with a conversion. Other factors that cannot be changed (HT angle, rake/trail, chainstay length, wheelbase) will prevent the bike from ever being as lively and sporty as a road bike, however.

Selling this bike and getting a road bike instead is one answer, but it may be the most costly. Her bike is new-ish, and she's already taken the big hit on value. I've also found that selling a high end hybrid for a fair price can be a long process in a market that favors road bikes.

Fietsbob's suggestion for a trekking bar will probably produce what the OP wants at the lowest cost.

As for bar end shifters, moving your hand to shift isn't detrimental. Moving your hands frequently isn't a bad thing. I ride both bar ends and STI shifters. Like 'em both, and each have their advantages.


Another option that I am particularly fond of. Mimics "the hoods" perfectly and still gives what I like about the bar part of a flat bar bike.
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Old 07-05-12, 12:30 PM   #18
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But she's already said the geometry is off. That's pretty hard to correct.
If you compare the top tube length between hybrids and road bikes the hybrid will be about 20-25mm longer for the same frame size. So if you just slap some drop bars/drop bar ends on the bike you'll feel really stretched out on/in the drops/hoods. All you have to do is put a shorter stem on the bike to compensate for this. If the bike is the wrong size then that's a different issue but you can't expect to put drop bars on a hybrid without compensating for the reach difference.
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Old 07-05-12, 01:46 PM   #19
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But she's already said the geometry is off. That's pretty hard to correct.

She said the geometry "seems" all off now. I bolted my drop bar ends onto my 600mm bars and my geometry (or rather the general feel of the bike) seemed off too. I trimmed my bars down and I love the way the bike feels now. Remember that the bar ends didn't change the bike geometry any at all.
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Old 07-05-12, 01:58 PM   #20
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... You really should try a few out (properly fitted to you), before considering any "conversion" beyond what you've done. To me it just makes sense to cut your losses and make a switch now that (from the sounds of it) you will eventually make anyway.
It's just tough to swallow that dip in value when selling a rather new bike. But, she just might find the right buyer for a palatable price!

Whenever the subject of "first bike purchase" comes up, I like to remind the prospect to really think it over and be sure. It's just as easy to buy the wrong bike as it is to buy the right one.
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Old 07-05-12, 02:00 PM   #21
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Another option that I am particularly fond of. Mimics "the hoods" perfectly and still gives what I like about the bar part of a flat bar bike.
Hey, if it works! Might be a bit of a stretch for my thumbs, but I don't shift that often.
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Old 07-05-12, 02:05 PM   #22
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If you compare the top tube length between hybrids and road bikes the hybrid will be about 20-25mm longer for the same frame size. So if you just slap some drop bars/drop bar ends on the bike you'll feel really stretched out on/in the drops/hoods. All you have to do is put a shorter stem on the bike to compensate for this. If the bike is the wrong size then that's a different issue but you can't expect to put drop bars on a hybrid without compensating for the reach difference.
I have owned and ridden a Trek Road Bike and a Trek Hybrid. The 58 cm road bike fit me best and the 20" Hybrid fit me best. The 58 cm road bike has an effective tope tube length of of 573mm. The 20 inch FX has an effective top tube length of 568mm. If I had ridden a 56cm Trek, its effective top tube length is 560mm. 5mm and 8mm difference one way or another is inconsequential. 8mm is less than one third of one inch. My two points are that you can't arbitrarily say that a hybrid has a longer effective top tube and that even if there is a difference it is likely inconsequential.
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Old 07-05-12, 02:06 PM   #23
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It's just tough to swallow that dip in value when selling a rather new bike. But, she just might find the right buyer for a palatable price!

Whenever the subject of "first bike purchase" comes up, I like to remind the prospect to really think it over and be sure. It's just as easy to buy the wrong bike as it is to buy the right one.
Agreed!
Re. "first bike purchase", I'm a firm believer in the (now oldish) saying: 'your first bike has two functions: it should fit, be comfortable, and consequently encourage you to ride; it will then tell what kind of bike you actually want/need"!
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Old 07-05-12, 03:55 PM   #24
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My two points are that you can't arbitrarily say that a hybrid has a longer effective top tube and that even if there is a difference it is likely inconsequential.
Fair enough, but I said for the same frame size. A 20.5" Trek hybrid frame would be closer to a 52cm road bike frame (actual BB-ST measurement, I know sloping top tubes muddy the waters here.) BTW, I ride a 20" 7.5FX and the equivalent of a 54cm traditional road bike and the TT is 23mm shorter on the road bike. There is way too much variation in types of frames and geometry to make a generalization that covers every scenario.
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Old 07-05-12, 05:03 PM   #25
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I'd suggest going to your LBS, and seeing what they've got in a less wide handlebar, you can get handlebars cheap and keep your stock bars incase you want to "sell" the bike. With all the "fixie" craze there's a lot of "shorter-straight" handlebars out their, jmho, ymmv. Have a most excellent day!
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