First of all let me say I'm just thinking this through right now. Buying another bike is not an option either.
Currently I'm using my "04 Bianchi Axis (here are the specs) mainly for training for and racing in the odd triathlon. I have clamp-on tri bars and I spend 80% of my time in them. The other 20% I'm on the hoods for shifting, braking or drinking. I'm not competitive, the triathlons are really something fun to do to keep me fit over the summer break in the soccer season.
Here are some reasons why I started thinking that maybe it would be a good idea to switch my drop handlebars out for a flat MTB handlebar with MTB shifters/brakes:
* When I'm just commuting around there is not much space on the top of the drop bars for my hands mainly due to the tri bars. They are a pain to set up and I definitely don't want to have to remove them.
* I don't have any braking capability when on the top of the drop bars (and I don't have room to add those extra brake levers - again due to the tri bars) which is a bummer when goofing around and I really don't like the idea of going down a steep trail in the drop position.
* I would like to take this bike on the odd MTB trail so would like a more comfortable, safe, upright riding position for downhills.
* I never seem to ride in the drop position in the triathlons anyway.
* Although the wider position on a MTB handlebar is less aerodynamic than on the hoods, I'm not in it that position too long usually and also it's when I'm going slower so aerodynamics aren't a big concern.
* MTB handlebars being wider would allow more space around the tri bars.
* I don't currently or plan to go for long road rides.
* All I would have to do to switch from tri setup to off-road/trail is switch tires and lower the seat.
* Is going on a MTB trail with tri bars attached potential suicide?
* Should I be using the drop position more or do you think I would really miss it?
* Would there be a potential conflict with the type of brake levers/shifters on a MTB handlebar setup vs my current setup?
I'm not looking for the perfect setup obviously but I'm wondering if this is an okay or a terrible idea. Any thoughts would be appreciated.