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Newbie needing advice - upgrade hybrid for touring (drop bars, cantis and 9 speed)

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Newbie needing advice - upgrade hybrid for touring (drop bars, cantis and 9 speed)

Old 05-23-10, 07:35 AM
  #1  
Insp822
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Newbie needing advice - upgrade hybrid for touring (drop bars, cantis and 9 speed)

Hi, I have searched the forum without success for answers to the below.

Firstly I have a standard Ridgeback Element 2009 model which I bought as a first bike to try and get into cycling. It worked and I'm hooked. 2,000 miles later and 2 1/2 stone lighter I am keen to do same upgrading (but can't afford a new bike).

I've fitted SPD pedals and 25C gatorskins as basic upgrades but other than that the bike is a basic Element - Shimano Alivio set, 8 speed cassette, triple front, v-brakes, flat bars and shifters.

My basic gripe is I'd like drop bars and levers to give me some more positions. I have fitted bar ends but when decending at speed I'd like to be able to shift and brake!

So I am considering upgrading to STI's and drop bars. But I see there are issues with v-brakes and 8 speed triple sti shifters dont seem as common on fleabay as 9 speed.

So my questions are: -

Can I use STI shifters (say tiagra or ultegra) with my alivio derailleurs?
Can I upgrade to a 9 speed cassette and STI shifters and still work with my alivio derailleurs or will this cause compatibility issues?
My frame doesn't seem to support caliper brakes (front ok but rear no) so is my best option cantis given the well documented issues wth STIs and V-brakes?

Any help gratefully recieved. I really want to get cracking especially as I'm doing the c2c to raise some cash for the local nursery in July and would like to be fully operational by then!

Last edited by Insp822; 05-23-10 at 07:39 AM. Reason: bad spelling!
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Old 05-23-10, 07:41 AM
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older sora 8 speeds are floating around but the new sora's are 9 spd. i believe 2200 is 8spd. can also look at mini vs. maybe just get a proper bike instead
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Old 05-23-10, 07:57 AM
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No problem with using your dérailleur with 9-speed shifters/cassette. You should also get a 9-speed chain.
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Old 05-23-10, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by reptilezs View Post
maybe just get a proper bike instead
Tend to agree here; sell the Ridgeback and get a full-on steel touring bike properly sized for you, with either bar ends or STI's, disc or cantis and the braze-ons for racks and multiple bottles. Kona Sutra, REI Novara Randonee, etc.

Check out Tentacle Master's spreadsheet thread in the touring forum:
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-(excel-sheet)

Or search for a vintage mid-80's classic steel touring bike like Miyata 1000, 610, 210; Trek 420, 620, 720; Bridgestone RB-T, etc. Demand for those are high, as are prices; they tend to go quick.
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Old 05-23-10, 08:07 AM
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Thanks guys but with second child on the way a new bike is not an option for me. Just need to find a solution that works as a reasonable price. I'll have to source most parts second hand via ebay. Worst case scenario for me is £200 outlay. I have been gifted some 44cm drops and a matching stem. So just need the STI levers and figure out the brakes / cassette issues. My chain is due replacement according to the measuring tool so it may be tim eto replace the cassette also and do the job all at once.

The idea of tinkering with the bike and doing the upgrading myself is highly appealing and half the fun I think. Just want to make sure when I splash out on parts they are going to work together!
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Old 05-23-10, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Insp822 View Post
Thanks guys but with second child on the way a new bike is not an option for me. Just need to find a solution that works as a reasonable price. I'll have to source most parts second hand via ebay. Worst case scenario for me is £200 outlay. I have been gifted some 44cm drops and a matching stem. So just need the STI levers and figure out the brakes / cassette issues. My chain is due replacement according to the measuring tool so it may be tim eto replace the cassette also and do the job all at once.

The idea of tinkering with the bike and doing the upgrading myself is highly appealing and half the fun I think. Just want to make sure when I splash out on parts they are going to work together!
if you're buying shifters, cassette, and chain, you can go to 9 speed. bar-end shifters are a less expensive consideration, also.
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Old 05-23-10, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Insp822 View Post
Thanks guys but with second child on the way a new bike is not an option for me. Just need to find a solution that works as a reasonable price. I'll have to source most parts second hand via ebay. Worst case scenario for me is £200 outlay. I have been gifted some 44cm drops and a matching stem. So just need the STI levers and figure out the brakes / cassette issues. My chain is due replacement according to the measuring tool so it may be tim eto replace the cassette also and do the job all at once.

The idea of tinkering with the bike and doing the upgrading myself is highly appealing and half the fun I think. Just want to make sure when I splash out on parts they are going to work together!
I have bought several modern touring bikes with brifters for that price, and everything works. But I am in a different market. If money is tight, building up a bike is rarely if ever the cheapest option.
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Old 05-23-10, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by roberth33tiger View Post
if you're buying shifters, cassette, and chain, you can go to 9 speed. bar-end shifters are a less expensive consideration, also.
I think thats going to be the way forward, Seems the Shimano ST-5510's are plentiful on ebay and cheapish will work with my triple drive.

I have done some research on the brake problem.

Appears three main possibiities assuming I go for the 5510's or similar STI levers: -

a) Cantilever brakes (Tektro CR520's?) - tricky to setup?
b) mini v -brakes - again are there issues with rim clearance? My wheels are often slighty out of true and I dont want to be suffering everytime with rims rubbing
c) keep the v-brakes and use v-daptors - dodgy reviews?

I am leaning towards (a) - any final advice before I take the plunge?
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Old 05-23-10, 10:21 AM
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This question comes up often so I'm surprised the search didn't find anything for you. As the others have said, converting a flat bar to drop bar bike can be very expensive since so much needs to be replaced along with the bars. Your frame, fork, crank, chain, wheels, cassette and rear derailleur are certain carryovers. Everything else is a candidate for replacement and that can be very expensive. Yes it can be done but you have to search for suitable parts very carefully and do all of the work yourself to make it even close to attractive. As noted, consider barend shifters instead of STI as they are much less expensive if you decide to proceed.

While a new bike may not be feasible how about something suitable used? I persume you are in the UK. Is there a Craigs List or similar web site for buying and selling items? Here in the US it's a wonderful source of low cost items if you know EXACTLY what you are looking for.
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Old 05-23-10, 11:03 AM
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you could try these stores...

https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...?ModelID=29060
https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...?ModelID=13648

https://www.probikekit.com/
https://www.wiggle.co.uk/

tektro cantilevers are not difficult to setup, but you may want an inline cable adjuster.
https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...?ModelID=39475
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Old 05-23-10, 12:28 PM
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V brake compatible levers and 8 speed bar ends will let you keep your current drive and there will be no compatibility issue between the front shifter and derailleur... 8 speed ultegra bar end can be had for 75.00, tektro levers are 45.00 and you will need a drop bar and new cables and housings.

Just did a nice mtb to drop bar commuter conversion here for a customer and it turned out really nicely... went the economical route and used some Suntour friction bar cons and a drop bar I had on hand and new Tektro levers and kept the bike as an 8 speed.
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Old 05-23-10, 08:30 PM
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It can be done for not much, if you accept a few compromises. First of all, if you want brifters, the brifters themselves are expensive, and then as you've already figured out, you'll need either travel agents (to get the right pull for your current v-brakes), or cantilever brakes. This will cost you a couple hundred, probably.

But as Sixty Fiver said, it can be done more economically.

Tektro RL520A linear-pull levers can be had on ebay for $25 (I see a set on there now for $23.99). Yeah, in a store, they might be more like $45. I don't know what the UK price would be.

For shifters, barends would work, but I've also used Suntour Command shifters (from the '80s), and modified rapidfire trigger shifters (the modification was to bore the clamp put from MTB bar diameter to road bar diameter). Command shifters are hard to find, and sometimes expensive ($100 -- but I got lucky abd paid $35 for mine). The trigger shifter option works for me, but others find it whacko.

Command shifters:


trigger shifters:


But the most "mainstream" approach would be barend shifters--as little as $20-25 for old (but perfectly functional) friction or ratchet ones; more if you want them indexed.

Plus the cost of new cables and (probably) housing, and inline brake adjusters, of course.
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Old 05-24-10, 03:47 PM
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You can use the V-brakes with any road brake lever, sti included, with "travel agents". I just put a set on my commuter and they work just as advertised.

My 9 speed/triple commuter is set up with MTB components (FD, crank, RD, V Brakes) but normal road brake levers (non-sti, but normal pull) and bar end shifters. My shifters are shimano, and can be used for either 8 or 9 speed.

I like the bar end shifters OK but I think I prefer STIs. BUt I've only been using them for 1/2 dozen rides, about 100 miles. I dont' dislike them enough to spend >$200 for new sti shifters though!
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Old 06-22-10, 05:15 AM
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All,

Many thanks for your advice. I have now completed my upgrade. 44cm drops fitted with Shimano Tiagra ST5500 shifters. 9 speed 11-25 casette fitted and triple maintained upfront. Tried canti brakes (Tektro CR520) but reverted back to V-braked with travel-agents fitted.
Works a treat and really enjoyed the project.
Full job done for under £200 (tools aside).

Now saving for the end of season sale and invest in a purpose built sportive bike!
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