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Drop Bar to Trekking Bar Conversion

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Drop Bar to Trekking Bar Conversion

Old 05-15-22, 06:10 PM
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sweeks
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Drop Bar to Trekking Bar Conversion

About five years ago, I got diagnosed with arthritis in my right wrist. I was having a little discomfort shifting the STI shifters (Ultegra 6510, 9-speed) so I acquired a set of 9-speed trigger-shifters (XTR M970) with the intention of converting my road bike to "trekking" bars. At some point, the wrist pain wasn't bothering me too much, and I let the project slide. More recently, the right STI shifter has been having the stiff-grease/sticky-pawl problem, so I figured this was the time to proceed.

I did a lot of research into the compatibility of Ultegra derailleurs with XTR shifters. Everywhere I looked I saw that *up to 9-speeds*, Shimano road and mountain drivetrain components are interchangeable, with a common cable pull. So far, so good.

I've rough-fitted the bars with the brake levers and shifters (see image) and it looks promising, assuming I've done my homework correctly. One thing I notice is that the front shifter does not seem to have a "trim" position. Can anyone comment on this?
Many thanks!



Just experimenting with placement of the controls at this time. Grips are on order.



The original bars and STI shifters. The new levers will allow me to ditch the "Travel Agents".
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Old 05-16-22, 01:08 PM
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The rear shifting should be compatible up to 10sp road or 9sp mountain, front might be trickier. We are using a Deore 9sp front trigger shifter with Ultegra 10 speed front derailleur on our tandem, it works ok but not perfectly. There is no trim function on any trigger shifter that I know of. At some point I値l probably switch to thumb shifters - the friction front shifter makes mixing components very easy, especially for a triple.
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Old 05-16-22, 08:45 PM
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In my experience Shimano flat bar road shifters have the trim position you are looking for. Was able to get a set of 3 X 8 MTB shifters to work with road bike derailleurs but the intended flat bar road shifters worked with less fuss and had the trim function, Shimano Sora R3000 is what is available for 9 speed. Have also heard good things about the R9 flat bar shifters from Microshift. They also claim to have the trim function. Flat bar road shifters open you up to all kinds of great, strange and sometimes just wrong handle bars.
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Old 05-17-22, 11:54 AM
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Thanks for the feedback!
My XTR front shifter doesn't have trim feature, as evaluated by operating the control while putting tension on the cable by hand. I'm going to proceed and wire everything up. I'll post the outcome.
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Old 05-17-22, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by CFLBIKE View Post
Flat bar road shifters open you up to all kinds of great, strange and sometimes just wrong handle bars.
Hahaha! This!
I changed my mountain bike to trekking bars a couple years ago, and liked the result (since I don't do serious off-road stuff anymore). There are more hand positions, which helps not to aggravate the wrist arthritis. On the MTB, I found that the bars work better reversed. I'll have them in the "normal" orientation on the Airborne. Time will tell if they're "just wrong"!


Trekking bars "in reverse" on my old Trek.


Comfy trail bike!
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Old 05-21-22, 07:54 AM
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Re wrong way, I lived with trekking bars for a few years and always found that the "normal" way allowed my hands to go to the sides, kinda like hands on the hoods, which was the most important hand position "switchup" to do to help with "fixed straight bars grips wrist problems"

HAve you ever tried a more level seat angle? Forward sloping like you have generally puts more weight on the hands.
​​​​​​is it possible you have such a slanted seat because the seat to bar distance is a bit too far (and why you like the reverse trekking bars?)
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Old 05-21-22, 08:09 AM
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Oh, and I agree wholeheartedly on how trigger shifters gives you a whole new gamma of trying out different bars.
For me, bars with a 30 to 45 degree backsweep are great for the wrists, and you've got a whole slew of bars like Jones bars, surly moloko etc etc that give various hand options.

Lots of fun stuff to try out, and usually can be swapped out with existing housing lengths--except Jones bars need longer stuff, probably similar with the other wider ones. Think of this when choosing housing length, probably a bit longer is better if you think you'll try other bars, within reason (Easy to cut down after)
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Old 05-21-22, 09:11 AM
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You have the brake levers all the way to the inside. You did that so you could fit the grips, but look how close together your hands are when you're in that position. You have much less control, especially under hard braking, with your hands that close together. Move the brake levers as far to the outside as you can and still give yourself enough room for your hands. Even then it's hard to get them wide enough to have full control while braking hard. I tried Trekking bars on several bikes but don't use them any more.



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Old 05-21-22, 09:55 AM
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That was my experience also using grips, brings hands in a bit too much. I had grips but out of pure laziness left them as is, but set up my wife's trekking bars with just bar tape, so gained a bit more width.

Again, all stuff you can play with and try different stuff.
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Old 05-22-22, 12:55 PM
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Thanks for the helpful feedback, guys!
Originally Posted by djb View Post
Have you ever tried a more level seat angle? Forward sloping like you have generally puts more weight on the hands.
​​​​​​is it possible you have such a slanted seat because the seat to bar distance is a bit too far (and why you like the reverse trekking bars?)
That seat position evolved over many of the early years I had the bike. I had adjusted the nose down to avoid the numbnutz phenomenon. But looking at it now, I see you are right. I took a level and set the saddle up with a very slight downward tilt. I'll see how it goes. I haven't found myself putting too much pressure on the bars. I've always felt that the reach from saddle to bars was a bit short, and that's the main reason I reversed the trekking bars... to get the controls a bit farther out. This was my first mountain bike, and the dealer "fitted" me... who knows how accurately?

Originally Posted by Jeff Neese View Post
You have the brake levers all the way to the inside. You did that so you could fit the grips, but look how close together your hands are when you're in that position. You have much less control, especially under hard braking, with your hands that close together. Move the brake levers as far to the outside as you can and still give yourself enough room for your hands. Even then it's hard to get them wide enough to have full control while braking hard.
I see your point. However, I've had these bars on this bike for several years and have never had a feeling of inadequate control even under "stoppie" braking. I suppose if I had the tendency to ride one-handed I might have an issue, but I keep both hands on the bars. I like those grips for the comfort they give my wrists. It will be interesting to see how the "normal" arrangement works on my road bike.
EDIT: It would be interesting to put brake levers on the more forward part of the bars.
EDIT 2: Actually, the places where the centers of my hands rest on the grips are 16" apart... only about 3" less than on another bike with a straight bar. This may be why I haven't noticed a lack of steering control.

Last edited by sweeks; 05-22-22 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 05-22-22, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
Thanks for the helpful feedback, guys!

That seat position evolved over many of the early years I had the bike. I had adjusted the nose down to avoid the numbnutz phenomenon. But looking at it now, I see you are right. I took a level and set the saddle up with a very slight downward tilt. I'll see how it goes. I haven't found myself putting too much pressure on the bars. I've always felt that the reach from saddle to bars was a bit short, and that's the main reason I reversed the trekking bars... to get the controls a bit farther out. This was my first mountain bike, and the dealer "fitted" me... who knows how accurately?

I see your point. However, I've had these bars on this bike for several years and have never had a feeling of inadequate control even under "stoppie" braking. I suppose if I had the tendency to ride one-handed I might have an issue, but I keep both hands on the bars. I like those grips for the comfort they give my wrists. It will be interesting to see how the "normal" arrangement works on my road bike.
EDIT: It would be interesting to put brake levers on the more forward part of the bars.
EDIT 2: Actually, the places where the centers of my hands rest on the grips are 16" apart... only about 3" less than on another bike with a straight bar. This may be why I haven't noticed a lack of steering control.


Re. The seat, you'll know soon enough how seat angle changes work. You can also move the seat back as far as rails will allow, might help a bit for reach. And of course stem change also possible.
Re grips, I forgot that I actually cut my grips down about 1 inch or more, to gain a bit of width for levers, and it was ok, most of time hands out on sides. Old old grips so I didn't care cutting them, used a hack saw.
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Old 05-22-22, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Re grips, I forgot that I actually cut my grips down about 1 inch or more, to gain a bit of width for levers, and it was ok, most of time hands out on sides. Old old grips so I didn't care cutting them, used a hack saw.
The grips I have ordered are intended for "grip-shift" controls, so they're shorter by about an inch. Still waiting for them to arrive.
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Old 06-11-22, 02:44 PM
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Well, my conversion to trekking bars has hit a bit of a snag. Grips arrived and with a little modification look and feel great.
Unfortunately, the front derailer does not talk to the trigger shifter well; long story, but suffice to say the combination doesn't work. Eventually, I did some trouble-shooting. I rigged up a ruler along the down-tube so I could measure the cable movement produced by the shifter and compare that to the amount of movement required to move the derailer.

With the cable disconnected from the FD and under tension with a weight, I find this:
Small ring position-to-Middle ring position: 12mm
Middle ring position-to-Big ring position: 8mm
Total cable travel: 20mm

With the cable connected to the FD and minimal slack in the small-ring position:
Movement required to move to the Middle ring: 8mm
Movement required to move from Middle to Big ring: 4mm
Total cable travel: 12mm.

The chain shifts from the small ring to the big ring but does not stop at the middle ring. Then, a single click returns the chain to the small ring (rather violently).
So much for "Shimano 9-speed Road is compatible with Shimano 9-speed Mountain."
Now it seems like I can either go back to my STI shifters/drop bars, or try to find a FD that is compatible with the shifters I have.
Any suggestions will be most welcome!

Measuring the FD cable travel along the down-tube.
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Old 06-12-22, 08:44 AM
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Shimano road and mountain FD’s were never compatible. You could fudge a double to work, but not necessarily a triple.

With my Ultegra 6503, I’m running an XTR FD-M900. The M900 is a bottom pull which is important for a road bike.

The key is getting a mtb FD that will work with a larger road chainring. You can probably run a couple teeth beyond spec. I’m running a 48t and everything is smooth. Not sure about how a 52t will line up.

John

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Old 06-12-22, 11:02 AM
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But the obvious fix is to go to friction shifting for the front derailleur. I had to abandon triggers for the FD because my left thumb has issues. It is really the simplest way to go with all the trim you need.

My mtb's are now doubles and I use a massive old Suntour thumb shifter that almost fits in the palm of my hand.

The best friction shifters I have found are the spring loaded ones that counter the FD spring; a real light action. I've only seen them as downtube Dura Ace 74XX and Ultegra 64XX; not sure of the 9 speed versions. Since you are shifting the FD it is moot. One of the best cheaper ones was Shimano SL-422. You could run with the ratchet or without. There is also Simplex Retrofriction, but that is a different animal.

I am not aware of any thumb shifters that were spring loaded since triggers replaced them and I'm not aware of an XTR thumb shifter ever being produced.

John
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Old 06-15-22, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
But the obvious fix is to go to friction shifting for the front derailleur.
I have come to realize this is the way forward, at least for the bars I'm trying to use. I've been looking for a thumb shifter for the left side only. All I have found are *sets* of right and left shifters, and left-side mounting brackets *without* the shifter itself.
Complicating this is the modestly embarrassing fact that I've never used a thumb shifter. I imagine that they are similar to the friction shifters on my old Motobecane 10-speed except that they are on a horizontal part of the handlebar instead of the stem.
Any information will be most appreciated.
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Old 06-15-22, 09:37 PM
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They function the same as downtube friction. I’ve run older Suntour thumb shifters I picked up off of eBay. I don’t have a great background with new/modern stock.

The Sturmy Archer thumb shifters look good.

I’m sure others will have better suggestions.

John
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Old 06-16-22, 05:36 AM
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Microshift and SunRace both make friction shifters for the left side (front derailer). SunRace make several "lines" of shifters. You can get the super inexpensive SLM10 shifters (which come as a set, but are less expensive than many single shifters), or you can go with an SLM96. Those also generally come as pairs I think, but they're not super expensive. Microshift ones are pretty pricey. I own all three of these and will affirm that the Microshift ones seem to be the best quality to me, but they're not 2-3x the function that their price demands over the SLM96 from SunRace. The quality definitely feels nicer, but the function is mostly the same. The SLM10 are very low grade and, while they function very nicely as friction shifters, they don't have nearly the same nice aesthetic as either of the other two options listed here.

More on both of the nicer shifters in this thread: Microshift vs Sunrace indexed thumb shifters

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Old 06-16-22, 09:07 AM
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One other point that might influence what you get is having the ability to “clock” the lever position to the bar.

I know that Paul’s Thumbies mounts, and the old Sunrour Power Ratchets, allow to adjust the lever positioning in relation to the bar mount.

For most flat bar applications this is not necessary, but with some bar shapes this helps to place the lever in the best ergonomic position. It also opens up the style of lever a bit as you can adjust the location of the start and stop swing points in relation to the bar.

John
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Old 06-16-22, 09:50 AM
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I have microshift units on my genevale dropbar shifters, and have spent many months shifting them all day long.

No complaints really and they just work and have a nice tactile feel to them, which to me is important. That would get old fast, but I'm very happy with them, both the rear indexed and friction front.
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Old 06-18-22, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Have you ever tried a more level seat angle? Forward sloping like you have generally puts more weight on the hands.
​​​​​​is it possible you have such a slanted seat because the seat to bar distance is a bit too far (and why you like the reverse trekking bars?)
After I repositioned the saddle, I rode the bike on a 30-mile road ride in southern Wisconsin. It was quite comfortable, so I thank you again for pointing out the tilt. While I was on the ride, I was trying to figure out if the decreased tilt was changing the pressure on my hands, but really couldn't detect any change from before. I found myself wondering if the reason I like the controls so far out in front is that the frame is too small, or the stem too short. At any rate, the bike is comfortable in its present configuration.

The road bike (Airborne "Carpe Diem") trekking-bar conversion continues. The XTR shifter for the rear derailer works perfectly (whew!). I'm waiting for the arrival of an inexpensive set of friction shifters to experiment on the front. Once I see what works, I may replace the shifter with a nicer one. We'll see.
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Old 06-19-22, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
After I repositioned the saddle, I rode the bike on a 30-mile road ride in southern Wisconsin. It was quite comfortable, so I thank you again for pointing out the tilt. While I was on the ride, I was trying to figure out if the decreased tilt was changing the pressure on my hands, but really couldn't detect any change from before. I found myself wondering if the reason I like the controls so far out in front is that the frame is too small, or the stem too short. At any rate, the bike is comfortable in its present configuration.

The road bike (Airborne "Carpe Diem") trekking-bar conversion continues. The XTR shifter for the rear derailer works perfectly (whew!). I'm waiting for the arrival of an inexpensive set of friction shifters to experiment on the front. Once I see what works, I may replace the shifter with a nicer one. We'll see.
Glad the more level position works. As for hand pressure, level generally stops y you sliding forward off saddle, so good that it felt ok riding.
All the best trying front friction
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Old 06-26-22, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
All the best trying front friction
On the advice of a friend*, I bought a set of cheap ($15) SunRace thumbies. I had to grind a bunch of metal (steel, of course) off the bracket to get it to fit on the bar. But it worked quite well, except that there's only one orientation for the lever assembly. It will do for now. I put the bar tape on last night and am looking forward to a "shakedown" ride today!
(*I notice the same suggestion from a couple posters ^^... thanks!)


Flat spot facing the camera was made to allow this cheap bracket to fit next to the brake lever.



This is the only orientation the shifter assembly can take (obviously the lever can move!).



Taped the bars late last night. Looking forward to trying them out today! Some funky cable arrangement due to the tight spacing. Front brake on right.
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Old 06-26-22, 11:58 AM
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I知 using that same model of shifter on my MTB. I知 using Scott AT-3 bars that would now be called a hornbar, so the brake and shift location is somewhat similar, but close to where the bar is clamped by the stem.

I知 not constrained by a grip like you are using, since I just wrap the whole bar. So I can put a bit more space from shifter to brake lever.

Anyway, I知 running a 1x7 and using a 斗eft shifter on the right side. The lever is slack pointing forward and angled forward over the brake lever. To shift, I pull the lever back. I mostly run on the smaller cogs, so this keeps the lever from interfering when I知 riding on the bar tops like it was a road bike.





Otto
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Old 06-26-22, 01:38 PM
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Sweeks, have fun trying this out.
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