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Switching from drops to Surly Moloko on Kona Rove

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Switching from drops to Surly Moloko on Kona Rove

Old 11-03-21, 09:43 PM
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bvhara
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Switching from drops to Surly Moloko on Kona Rove

My bike is a 2017 Kona Rove (stock apart from redshift shockstop suspension post and stem and 32 gatorskins tyres).
I want more options/ comfort in the bars on my commute (50km round trip, much of which is on crappy industrial surfaces), so thinking of buying surly moloko bars. I spend most of the time on the hoods (unless in a head wind) and my palms, neck and shoulders get stiff (... makes me feel my 58 yrs!). I'm hoping the bars will offer some relief.
A couple of questions.
  • Do you think the weight of these bars (709 gm) will be a problem? I have no idea how much the stock weigh, but don't really want to add weight to the bike.... Not sure why they don't make them aluminium - strength?
  • What are my options for flat bar levers to suit the bike's SRAM Rival 1 gears?
  • I wonder whether the moloko will render the stem suspension useless when I'm holding the swept back section, as hands will be level with or behind the headset?
Thanks in advace, Mark
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Old 11-04-21, 12:00 AM
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Personally, I wouldn't worry about the weight of the bars, but I'd also check out the new version of the Velo Orange Crazy Bar (532g), or maybe a Jones H-bar (525g).
The Sram Apex1 shifter will work with their road rear derailleurs, but there might be other options as well.
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Old 11-04-21, 05:04 PM
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Thanks for the advice, Rolla. After checking out the Velo and Jones bars, I've decided to buy the Surly bars as they offer more hand position and gear attachment options - Like you say, extra weight is no big deal.

I bought the Apex 1 gear shifter from Amazon, which was a great price at Au$50 - I paid more than Au$100 for a replacement of OEM rear brake lever only after a recent stack.

One last question: Can you (or anyone else reading) advise on brake levers to replace the OEMs? Ones that will work with the Moloko bars and with the OEM calipers, which are TRP Spyre C. A mate said mountain bike brake levers wouldn't work because their pull ratio is different to what road calipers require.

Cheers, Mark
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Old 11-04-21, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by bvhara
Can you (or anyone else reading) advise on brake levers to replace the OEMs? Ones that will work with the Moloko bars and with the OEM calipers, which are TRP Spyre C. A mate said mountain bike brake levers wouldn't work because their pull ratio is different to what road calipers require.
If you're willing to spend a bit, Paul Components makes a sweet short-pull lever, but I *think* any cantilever MTB lever (not V-brake) should work. Hopefully, someone will check me on this.

P.S. Good call on the Molokos. I love Surly's bars in general, and have them on a couple of bikes.
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Old 11-04-21, 06:19 PM
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I love my Moloko bars. If you can get one, I highly recommend the made-to-fit Moloko bag as well.
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Old 11-04-21, 08:28 PM
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I like my Moloko bars, probably way heavier than the bars they replaced (Ritchey Force Lite) but super comfortable so I really don't care. You don't buy Surly because weight is your big concern you buy it for comfort and durability. If you do want aluminum bars I would go Koga Denham which I also really really really really love but you can't get them in the states which sounds like not a problem for you in Aussieland (assuming you have a Koga dealer). The new Velo Orange Crazy Bars are another option I have the old bars on a tiny touring bike I built up and never sold (way too small for me) and liked the bars enough to say I like them but wouldn't run them after using Denhams. The new ones seem like they made a riser Denham(ish) which is kinda funny hopefully the two will sort of copy each other to make things better and better and better and better.

I think that 34˚ is the sweet spot on sweep so if you are sweeping back further than that, I am out (a few degrees not so bad but 10 or more and it gets bad)


One important thing with these types of swept back bars is get the right grips, Ergon GC1s, except no substitutes because so far I haven't seen them. Plenty of companies are making ergo style grips and some are at least OK but Ergon is the only one making them for swept back bars and the only ones that are using medical grade rubber. Plus they are good quality long lasting grips, I have been using them for years and years now and wouldn't go with anything else for a flat or alt bar set up (except on extensions like on the Denhams/Crazy bars). I don't care if a company offered me free grips I would still probably stick with Ergon unless this other company truly had something better. I have loads of free grips in my parts drawers and I still go right back to Ergons time and time again.

Also for everyone https://whatbars.com Probably the best website for bar comparison. Still missing a ton of bars and especially some new stuff but it is a pretty great website for being free and really can't complain.
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Old 11-05-21, 12:54 PM
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I second the Ergon GC1s. I had a similar pair of Giant grips on a Jones bar, and replaced them with GC1s. The Giants were already pretty comfortable. The Ergons are a significant upgrade. Have already done a few 6 hour days in them, and canít rate them highly enough.
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Old 11-05-21, 08:07 PM
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As for Ergons, I'd say try before you buy. I don't care for them at all.
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Old 11-05-21, 08:35 PM
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I'm a fan of the ESI 6.75" grips for the Molokos, with the brake lever/shifter mounted as far inboard as possilble, to maximize the width of the grip area on the bars. Haven't used the Ergons that have been mentioned, so no experience/opinion on those.
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Old 11-05-21, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes



Also for everyone https://whatbars.com Probably the best website for bar comparison. Still missing a ton of bars and especially some new stuff but it is a pretty great website for being free and really can't complain.

That's a cool site. bookmarked.
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Old 11-08-21, 02:46 AM
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Thanks everyone for great advice. After visiting the whatbar site (thanks Vegan) I had some doubts about the Molokos (and Jones) extending my reach, which is already too much when I'm on my hoods in my drops. I noticed the Crazy bars were a little closer. So I jumped on the train with my bike to visit a shop in Sydney that has all three bars and came home with the new Crazy bars (same sweep as Molokos but closer to me; horms about the same reach as my current hoods) and also a pair of the Ergon GC1s (I've used poor mans versions of these in the past and appeciated the extra palm heel support so it'll great to try the real thing). Waiting for the Apex shifter and Tiagra BL-4700 to arrive from Amazon. The levers came with cables which was good and reviewers on Amazon said theres a cam inside that can be reversed to switch between long or short pull. I hope the right side fits nicely with the shifter. New bar set up costs as much as some pay for a bike! If the reach is still too much I'll swap the redshift suspension stem for a short high rise stem eg 60mm x 45*

Cost in Aust dollars = $316:
Velo Orange crazy bars $159
Ergon GC1 Grips $69
SRAM Apex shifter $50
Shimano Tiagra BL4700 levers with cables/ housing $63
Bar tape $25
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Old 11-08-21, 02:50 AM
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Ps, looking fwd to being able to practice wheelies 😉 Couldn't feather the back brake with drops.
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Old 11-15-21, 06:04 PM
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An update: Installed the Velo Orange Crazy Bars last night and was keen to test them this morning on my commute to work (though I could've done withoutht the headwind). Some initial thougths:
  • What have I done! The bars are ridiculously wide for my needs, though I can see they'd be handy if one was touring and trying to steer through tight or difficult terrain with heavy luggage hanging off the forks. They're overkill for commuting and I have to be extra conscious around tight spaces that I would've previously sailed through. Same goes for pedestrians on the shared use cycleway and aorund cars on the road. It's like heading home from the hardware with a broom strapped to the handlebar! Cutting a few cm off either end might help, but there's a limit to how inboard one can place the levers as they run in to the horns; I doubt they could be placed inboard of them.
  • The bars are nice for sitting up high and cruising, super comfy with Ergon Grips - I feel like a penny farthing!
  • The horns could be 1-2cm longer for my liking (easy to fix with an insert) but they're the same as previous drop bar hoods in terms of width and reach... though without access to brakes and gears! This is taking some getting used to: it felt unsafe ride on the horns on the busier sections of my commute and I was constantly shifting back to the flats for controls. I double wrapped the horns with the old bar tape that I removed from the drops just as a test. That's given them much more cushioning and made me think I should've just double wrapped the drops around the hoods first (or inserted gel pads un

    der my palms) before spending big on a radical handlebar change. I have a hunch this wouldv'e solved my aching hands problem, without the downsides - Hindsights a wonderful thing!
  • It's a new setup so I'm still adjusting to the change, particularly the width and not having accesss to brakes and gears in the hoods - hopefully I'll get used to them and find more to appreciateive about them over the coming weeks. I've also ordered some wider tyres to increase comfort.
  • Overall, no regrets. I've discovering what the bike is like at the comfort end of it's range. Change is always a compromise.
Other than the above, I enjoy working on bikes, it's satisfying to be able to fix and improve them, so I got to spend a few pleasant hours in the garage experimenting and figuring stuff out. I may change things back in time, and if so, the parts will be used on some other bike down the track. Thanks heaps for all your help and advice 💕🙏

Ps, It was nice to give the bike a new set of cables/ housing, but I'm still getting the hang of tuning my rear derailer - I probably need to watch a couple more youtubes - but In case anyone reading knows: Before connecting up the cable to the derailer, where do you set the inboard and outboard limiting screws, eg do you have them full screwed in or fully screwed out or somewhere in between? Same for the barrel adjusters at the end of the shifter cable (brakes too) Prior to attaching the cable, do you screw in all the way or have them halfway screwed in/ out?

Thanks again. Cheers
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Old 11-19-21, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by bvhara

Ps, It was nice to give the bike a new set of cables/ housing, but I'm still getting the hang of tuning my rear derailer - I probably need to watch a couple more youtubes - but In case anyone reading knows: Before connecting up the cable to the derailer, where do you set the inboard and outboard limiting screws, eg do you have them full screwed in or fully screwed out or somewhere in between? Same for the barrel adjusters at the end of the shifter cable (brakes too) Prior to attaching the cable, do you screw in all the way or have them halfway screwed in/ out?

Thanks again. Cheers
Set the limit screws so that they keep the derailleur from going into the spokes and from going outside of the cassette. the top cog on the RD should stay within the confines of the cassette, both in and out. All this before putting on the chain.

Barrel adjusters should be tightened in and then backed out one turn.
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Old 11-19-21, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by well biked
I love my Moloko bars. If you can get one, I highly recommend the made-to-fit Moloko bag as well.
I like my Moloko bars too !!

Last edited by 257 roberts; 11-19-21 at 05:04 AM.
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Old 11-19-21, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolla
Personally, I wouldn't worry about the weight of the bars, but I'd also check out the new version of the Velo Orange Crazy Bar (532g), or maybe a Jones H-bar (525g).
The Sram Apex1 shifter will work with their road rear derailleurs, but there might be other options as well.


I have a set of Jones Bars and the Surly Moloko bars.....the Surly Moloko bars offer more/better hand positions IMO
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Old 11-24-21, 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by bwilli88
Set the limit screws so that they keep the derailleur from going into the spokes and from going outside of the cassette. the top cog on the RD should stay within the confines of the cassette, both in and out. All this before putting on the chain.

Barrel adjusters should be tightened in and then backed out one turn.
Thanks bwilli, that's really helpful. I was doing things arse about, but got it sorted now - surprising how a half turn of the barrel adjuster (anticlockwise) fine tuned the shifting.
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Old 11-24-21, 06:31 AM
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If you ever change your mind and decide to try dropbars again, a shorter stem could have helped you. I'm about the same age as you and properly positioned drops, height above seat and seat to bars distance, will make all the difference.

obviously can't see your bike or know your physical realities, but properly positioned drops can be very comfortable.

in any case, welcome to the world of trying out different handlebars and figuring out stuff. Most of us have been down this route.
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Old 11-25-21, 08:22 PM
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Thanks for the update! I did something similar and I had to trim the bar ends so my bike can still fit into my car . About 1cm off each side but they still feel quite wide. However they're comfy.
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Old 11-27-21, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
If you ever change your mind and decide to try dropbars again, a shorter stem could have helped you. I'm about the same age as you and properly positioned drops, height above seat and seat to bars distance, will make all the difference.

obviously can't see your bike or know your physical realities, but properly positioned drops can be very comfortable.

in any case, welcome to the world of trying out different handlebars and figuring out stuff. Most of us have been down this route.
Thanks for encouragement, djb. I'll probably go back to drops for the sporty feel and ability to weave through tight spaces easily.

I've seen shorter, raised stems, which would certainly improve my riding position as you say, but I like my redshift shockstop suspension, so maybe drops that have some lift/rise (like soma condor 2) and then double wrap or add gel pads will improve postion and comfort; I've recently seen people using ergo grips in the drops too. The Kona is the first bike I've had with drops and I never thought too much about how to make them more comfortable or fit better. Now that I"m looking, I
see there's a heaps of variations and set ups that could work. I don't mind experimenting. In hindsight, even shifting the position of the hoods on my origianal drops could have improved my comfort.

I've had heaps of bikes in the past, but the Rove was the first I've bought new. The decision was based on features and reviews, rather than fit; it was bought online sigth unseen. If/when I get another bike I'll make sure I'm properly fitted and test ride for satisfaction.

Ps, On first outing with crazy bars, I was riding in the horns beside my commuter buddy. He forgot I'd changed bars, came too close, got hooked up and nearly fell off. The crazy bars make riding side by side on a busy cycle path less convenient.
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Old 11-27-21, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by bvhara
Thanks for encouragement, djb. I'll probably go back to drops for the sporty feel and ability to weave through tight spaces easily.

I've seen shorter, raised stems, which would certainly improve my riding position as you say, but I like my redshift shockstop suspension, so maybe drops that have some lift/rise (like soma condor 2) and then double wrap or add gel pads will improve postion and comfort; I've recently seen people using ergo grips in the drops too. The Kona is the first bike I've had with drops and I never thought too much about how to make them more comfortable or fit better. Now that I"m looking, I
see there's a heaps of variations and set ups that could work. I don't mind experimenting. In hindsight, even shifting the position of the hoods on my origianal drops could have improved my comfort.

I've had heaps of bikes in the past, but the Rove was the first I've bought new. The decision was based on features and reviews, rather than fit; it was bought online sigth unseen. If/when I get another bike I'll make sure I'm properly fitted and test ride for satisfaction.

Ps, On first outing with crazy bars, I was riding in the horns beside my commuter buddy. He forgot I'd changed bars, came too close, got hooked up and nearly fell off. The crazy bars make riding side by side on a busy cycle path less convenient.
as mentioned, your personal body stuff is impossible to evaluate, but looking at photos of the stock 2017 Rove, one can see that stock the bars are below seat height, and then the stem length/angle is also going to be a factor with the distance from your proper seating position to the bars. Its tricky for you because you havent ridden drops before, so harder for you to have a reference.
Its quite common however for bikes to be designed with a more aggressive bar position, height wise. Very few drop bar bikes are sold with bars at seat level, mostly because it doesnt look "racy", but that said, a stem change lets say from 90mm (a common stock length) to a 70, or 60, even 50, will bring the bars that much closer to you. Stems that angle up can bring the bars up a certain amount too.
Then too are choices of drop bars--some have a much shorter distance from the "flats" to the curved part, and also shallower drops, ie less of distance from top part to drops, and also some drops come back more towards the rider.
So there are stem options that can move bars back and up easily up to 3, 4cms back, and up, which can make all the difference.
and then there are also dropbars that have rise built into them, as you said, I know Surly makes some also, and others,

but if the bike is too big for you, its too big, up to a certain point.
But a real bike store can swap out stems in 2 mins and let you try out various positions with the bike on a stationary trainer sort of thing.

I ride a bike with Jones bars and I found I adapted fairly quickly to the wide stance, 710cms , so just give it time. Or not, and just sell the bars, they should be easy to sell if you go that route.
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Old 11-27-21, 10:56 AM
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I did this exercise on my gravel bike. I took the opportunity to go hydraulic brake, an easy win. Even easier for you since MTB brakes are so much less expensive than road, it's not even fair. I do feel like I need a longer stem in spite of choosing pretty reachy Salsa Bend handlebars. Jones bars with their massive sweep were out of the question for a normal fit on my frame reach. The Apex flat bar shifter was a good find. My bike is SS-but-convertible and I still haven't bought all the shifty bits for it. At least I'm not going to need to choose oddball stuff.
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Old 08-05-23, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
If you ever change your mind and decide to try dropbars again, a shorter stem could have helped you. I'm about the same age as you and properly positioned drops, height above seat and seat to bars distance, will make all the difference.

obviously can't see your bike or know your physical realities, but properly positioned drops can be very comfortable.

in any case, welcome to the world of trying out different handlebars and figuring out stuff. Most of us have been down this route.

I have indeed gone back to drops since a friend offered me a shorter stem to try (and I wasn't enjoying the Velo Crazy bars) and I had to pull the bike apart to replace so many other parts - whole drive chain, headtube bearings, front disc (that bent went I hit a cement block).

I'm much happier now that the bike is sharp and playful again and I feel much more in control. But I have a new issue that you guys might be able to help me with: Excess free play in head tube since I replaced the bearings, ie when I apply front brake and rock the bike back and forth it's clunky and I can feel the freeplay at the bottom of head tube with my finger. Here's the replacement bearings I bought - https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0BK9FM...roduct_details - though I was lazy and didn't change the cups, which I suspect is causing the problem. The other mistake I made is not taking note of the order of assembly of the old head tube bearing parts and getting the old and new parts mixed up! 🤦🏽‍♂️ Not the bearings, they're new; the old ones were trashed.


Nearly there
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Old 08-06-23, 12:04 AM
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Impossible to give recommendations as not able to have hands on bike, and given that there might be a specific parts issue here, I'd strongly suggest taking bike and all parts to a good bike shop.

Your old rotor could be straightened depending on how much it was bent, watch YouTube videos to get concept.
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