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Convert Drop to Flat Handlebars

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Convert Drop to Flat Handlebars

Old 03-16-21, 02:44 PM
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Convert Drop to Flat Handlebars

I own an old Trek 1220 road bike that I have not been able to ride due to a neck issue for a very long time. I was wondering what it would take to remove the Drop (or Bull) handlebars and STI shifters and replace them with flat handlebars and trigger shifters. Is there anyway to do this? The bike has 3 x 7 Shimano gearing. The front derailleur is Shimano RX-100 top-swing, top-pull/clamp-on 35.0 mm and the rear derailleur Shimano RSX GS. Now I know these where entry level STI shifters, but they have almost no use on them. Does anyone make trigger shifters and brakes that are compatible with what's on my bike?

We own an RV and we'd like to take bikes along when we travel, but I don't want to spend a lot of money on a bike because they take a beating when traveling and they are so often stolen. I thought about selling the 1220 but its not really worth anything. I've been trying to buy a used bike with a more upright geometry for over a year now and I can't find one. They either sell in one day or the owner wants full brand new retail pricing for it. I think Covid 19 has driven up prices. My old 1220 would be fine if I could just change the geometry, so I'm not so bent over when riding. Has anyone done this?

Your help is appreciated!
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Old 03-16-21, 03:07 PM
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Look here Good luck finding them in stock anywhere.
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Old 03-16-21, 03:57 PM
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Many times. You will need to find a flat handlbar whose center diameter matches your stem (or a new stem and handlebar set), 3x7 or 3x8 road shift levers, short (cantilever) pull brake levers, and handlebar grips. Also, you want the ends to have a straight section long enough to accommodate grips, brake levers, and thumb shifters.

Your stem clamp probably measures 25.4 mm. Measure to be sure.

Shifters. The issue is that the pull rates of Shimano front road derailleurs are different from the MTB sort. For the front, a new Claris SL-R2030 Left Flat Bar Shifter is probably your best bet. For the rear, you can get a matching Claris SL-R2000 Right Flat Bar Shifter (8-speed) and block out the 8th click with the derailleur limit screw. Or any Shimano 7-speed shifter will work. Look for Altus SL-M310, Altus SL-M3157R, Tourney SL-TZ500, or Microshift's Mezzo 7-speed. NIB shifters will have cable, housing, ferrules, and crimps. You might be able to find NOS 3x7 flat-bar shifters or STIs on ebay, too. happy hunting.

Brake levers. Most MTB mechanical levers have a pull rate for linear-pull and mechanical disc calipers. Road calipers require a faster pull rate, so you need a lever that will work for cantilever calipers. Look for Avid Speed Dial 7 levers (adjustable pull) or Tektro RT354AG (dual position), Shimano also makes dedicated road flat bar brake levers, Sora BL-3500, Sora BL-3000, Tiagra BL-4600, and Claris BL-R2000. There more levers out there. Just remember to avoid anything that's for V-brake, linear pull, or disc only.

Grips. Anything that doesn't hurt your hands, twist, or fall off. Get grips with a lock screw.

If you get stumped looking for components, your local bike shop can order most of this.
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Old 03-16-21, 04:49 PM
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Friction shifters are another alternative; light, cheap and will work with any derailleurs. You will need brake levers which are compatible with your brakes, either V-brakes (long-pull) or cantilever/caliper type (short pull). Some are adjustable to work with both.
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Old 03-16-21, 06:32 PM
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There are also very tall handlebar stems with very short reach that can raise your existing bars to where you can reach them nearly as conveniently as a flat bar. You'd need (1) a tall stem that fits the the center of handlebar and the fork's steerer tube and (probably) (2) new (longer) brake and derailleur cables and housings.

If you decide to go this route and plan to do the work yourself, be sure to check YouTube videos that explain each of those operations.

Or, of course, you can take the bike to a local bike shop and let them do the work. Given that most bike stores have had very few new bikes in stock to sell for nearly a year (COVID, tariffs, shortage of containers for shipping merchandise from China), they could use the income.
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Old 03-16-21, 07:10 PM
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Piece of cake. It will probably be a couple hundred dollars, depending on your ability to find what will work on eBay or a co-op. If you have an indoor trainer you can mount the bike and figure out about how high the bars need to be and the stem length. I would guess a good handlebar width for a conversion is 600mm/620mm, but it is basically a width that is comfortable for you.

If you have a quill stem, you can just get an extension adapter to use a threadless stem and whatever flat bar or riser handlebars mounting diameter (25.4 vs 31.8) is less expensive and fits the stem.

Personally, I'd get an older 90's mtb front derailleur and run some 3x7 speed M310/M315 shifters. Your current rear derailleur will work. Technically you can run index for the current rear derailleur and a friction thumb shifter for the front derailleur and use your current front derailleur. And Tektro flat bar road brake levers; caliper/cantilever compatible.

You'll need new cables and housings. Jagwire kits on eBay are pretty cheap and work well.

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Old 03-16-21, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by IwanaBrich View Post
I own an old Trek 1220 road bike that I have not been able to ride due to a neck issue for a very long time. ...
That bike is worth keeping and modifying to make it work for you. You want to raise the handlebars and keep it economical. First step is to see how high you can raise the handlebars without new cables.

If you can't raise the handlebars enough without new cables then it becomes more expensive, then you think about new brake levers and shifters and stuff.
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Old 03-16-21, 08:15 PM
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I recently converted my drops to flats (see post#17 for parts & #22 for results).
I spent about $100CDN to complete the conversion.
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Old 03-17-21, 04:21 AM
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I've performed the drops-to-flats conversion on dozens of bikes. Definitely doable, so be sure to map out exactly what you need to do and what parts you need. Nothing worse than getting in the middle of your conversion only to discover you need something else to complete the job.
Cargo Bike Build: https://www.bikeforums.net/utility-c...l#post22024218
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Old 03-19-21, 12:16 PM
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I am personally a fan of thumbies rather than trigger shifters on upright bars. I also love bars similar to the North Road shape with a moderate sweep back . If you want you can get an adjustable stem so you can experiment with the height. I often use bars with a 2" rise in them . For a simple 3x7 set up you can try Sunrace friction thumb shifters. for the rear derailleur Sunrace makes a 7 speed indexed thumb shifter. A littly clunky but it works o/k. For the ultimate in Friction thumb shifters, Suntour used to make an all metal set that are superb. they are spring loaded so the shifting is easy and they look beutiful
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