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mtb shifter on drop bars?

Old 11-04-11, 09:09 AM
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mtb shifter on drop bars?

I have an 1986 Trek road bike I plan to use for commuting.

It originally came with 6-speed rear, a drop bar and downtube shifters.

I've since converted it to 9-speed rear with a MTB rapidfire shift on a flat bar with bar ends. (FD is still original DT shifter). Brakes are controlled by standalone shimano levers.

I've developed some nasty arthritis in both hands and basically have no cartilage left at the base of my left thumb, so flat bars just are not working for me anymore (I'm closing in on 50, so no surprise I need to make adjustments). I think the hoods of a drop bar would be a more natural wrist position and would suit me better these days.

As this is an old bike which will get trashed by commutes, I am trying to limit $ spent, I've already dumped too much into it for wheels, sealed BB, new seatpost and a converter to use threadless stems in place of the old quill.

I have a few standard size road stems (not the OS 31.8) and a pair of Cane Creek SCR-5 levers, so my question is can I still find drop bars that might fit a standard (22.2"?) MTB shifter? Weren't the cheapo steel drop bars of old bike boom ten speeds that diameter?

Also, with the Cane Creeks, would I need a drop bar with cable grooves, or can I just wrap the cables under the tape along a regular bar?
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Old 11-04-11, 09:22 AM
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I should add, my commute is 10 miles each way with some flat windy sections, a few climbs of a mile or more and lots of tight traffic. I've used flat bars (mostly an old MTB) because I liked the slow speed stability for weaving through dense traffic at slow speeds (intersections, traffic jams, etc.). And you always have to have hands near the brakes in rush hour traffic here. So even though I had bar ends on my flat bars, I could only use those on the flat windy sections, maybe 30-40% of my commute. The majority of time I am resting with weight on hands near the brakes. I've tried raising my bars but hate the upright position, very uncomfortable and slow for me.

I reckon I'll need a 44cm wide drop bar - I've tried a 46 and that was too wide for long touring rides, centuries, etc. But my racing bike currently has a 40 and that's too narrow. 42 is probably right for me, at least for all day cruising comfort on country roads, but would I get better stability at slow commute speeds with a 44?
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Old 11-04-11, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
I have an 1986 Trek road bike I plan to use for commuting.

It originally came with 6-speed rear, a drop bar and downtube shifters.

I've since converted it to 9-speed rear with a MTB rapidfire shift on a flat bar with bar ends. (FD is still original DT shifter). Brakes are controlled by standalone shimano levers.

I've developed some nasty arthritis in both hands and basically have no cartilage left at the base of my left thumb, so flat bars just are not working for me anymore (I'm closing in on 50, so no surprise I need to make adjustments). I think the hoods of a drop bar would be a more natural wrist position and would suit me better these days.

As this is an old bike which will get trashed by commutes, I am trying to limit $ spent, I've already dumped too much into it for wheels, sealed BB, new seatpost and a converter to use threadless stems in place of the old quill.

I have a few standard size road stems (not the OS 31.8) and a pair of Cane Creek SCR-5 levers, so my question is can I still find drop bars that might fit a standard (22.2"?) MTB shifter? Weren't the cheapo steel drop bars of old bike boom ten speeds that diameter?

Also, with the Cane Creeks, would I need a drop bar with cable grooves, or can I just wrap the cables under the tape along a regular bar?
Can you just re-install the down-tube shifters? Even if they are indexed shifters they can be used in friction mode.

Or buy some bar-end shifters, or the $36 down-tube-to-bar-end shifter mounts from Rivendell.
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Old 11-04-11, 10:27 AM
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I'd go for bar-end shifters. 9-speed right and friction left should work fine with no change of derailleurs needed.

Alternatively, if it's a comfortable hand position you want, try north road or similar swept-back bars. These place your hands in a good position (like riding a wheelbarrow) and your existing shifters should fit straight on.
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Old 11-04-11, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
I should add, my commute is 10 miles each way with some flat windy sections, a few climbs of a mile or more and lots of tight traffic. I've used flat bars (mostly an old MTB) because I liked the slow speed stability for weaving through dense traffic at slow speeds (intersections, traffic jams, etc.). And you always have to have hands near the brakes in rush hour traffic here. So even though I had bar ends on my flat bars, I could only use those on the flat windy sections, maybe 30-40% of my commute. The majority of time I am resting with weight on hands near the brakes. I've tried raising my bars but hate the upright position, very uncomfortable and slow for me.

I reckon I'll need a 44cm wide drop bar - I've tried a 46 and that was too wide for long touring rides, centuries, etc. But my racing bike currently has a 40 and that's too narrow. 42 is probably right for me, at least for all day cruising comfort on country roads, but would I get better stability at slow commute speeds with a 44?
It really boils down to how you like to be positioned - do you want your arms wider apart or closer together?

THere won't be a noticable difference in performance or maneuverability or handling, with a small change in width, tho... probably nothing will be noticed as much as the fit, and you will get used to that pretty quickly.
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Old 11-04-11, 10:50 AM
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hard to put the rapid fire shifter around the bends
on a drop bar, to get it to where it's useful.
if there is not a 2 bolt ,removable face,clamp.

Trekking bars' figure 8 bend offers abundant hand positions. and the MTB controls go on EZ.

as the tube OD is the same size as straight bars.. 7/8"-22.2mm
I have 2 bikes thus equipped, and wrap the bar tube twice with thick padded tape,
for comfort.

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Old 11-04-11, 11:20 AM
  #7  
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Back when road brifters seemed to cost the world I mounted rapidfire shifters on some road size drop bars. I did this by opening up the clamping holes on the shifters in my lathe. But since this isn't a critical fit sort of thing you can easily open up the shifters using a half round file and a sanding drum in a hand drill. And for a final rounding and fit if you can find an old pipe, round bar or even a socket which is the right size to wrap some sandpaper or emery cloth around to sand out the last bit to form a truly round and sized to fit finish that would be nice.

Size the hole so it's a slight pressure slip fit onto the end of the bar. Then to slide it up around the bends to the inner area close to the swelling for the stem you'll need to GENTLY wedge open the clamps at the split with a screwdriver acting as a wedge. Wedge them only enough that you can push/twist/force the clamps around the bends and no more.

In use the rapid fire pods sit in close to the stem and area slightly offset so that the cables don't get in each other's way as the cross over.

In use it may seem like the center area is a bit cluttered but I commuted and generally rode with this setup for many years. In practice it was never an issue for space and I really enjoyed having the shifters up where I could more easily reach them.

Here's a picture of the setup to explain anything that was fuzzy or that I missed.


As for the cable housings if you use aero levers and if the bars have the grooves then run the housings in the grooves. If they don't have grooves then just secure the housings so they are out of the way of your grip and tape over them with the bar tape.
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Old 11-04-11, 11:41 AM
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pgoat, I must admit that I'm a bit intrigued with the trekking handle bars myself and possibly maybe your simplest flat bar alternative. Drop bars and your Cane Creek levers along with bar end shifters could be more expensive, but would bring both shifters on to the handle bars.

Like you, I find 40 cm wide bars just a little too narrow for a road bike and use 44s. The 42 cm wide bars work very well on my touring bike with it's slightly more upright fit although the 44s would also probably do fine.

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Old 11-05-11, 06:34 AM
  #9  
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Thanks for all the great replies, folks. I have tried trekking bars many years ago (not sure if they were called that then - it was ca. 1995) but wasn't doing the same kind of commute then (shorter distance, less traffic and flatter, so I just used drops). Maybe I need to revisit them.

Would the Cane Creeks work on that type of bar? I was hoping to use the hoods as on a normal drop bar; that hand position seems best for my anatomy...though I realize the trekking bars would make the shifter issues easy. Heck, I could probably just keep my current brake handles as well, just swap the bars out.

Basically I just need to avoid having my hands in the standard flatbar (mtb) position when in heavy traffic, it's just too much stress/pressure on old injuries.
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Old 11-05-11, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
Here's a picture of the setup to explain anything that was fuzzy or that I missed.

That setup would be perfect for me, thanks so much for the detailed info. My shifter is a ca. 1999 LX Deore; not sure how sturdy the clamp is, but I can try to be gentle.
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Old 11-05-11, 10:23 PM
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How about the Paul's mounts for the bar-end shifters? They make one for the drop-bar diameter handlebar (26.0mm) and they'd probably be more durable than the Rapidfire shifters (not that I've had problems with my Rapidfires):
https://www.paulcomp.com/rdthumbie.html

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Old 11-05-11, 11:13 PM
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The Paul's parts are a pretty slick solution but pricey. At $67 for just the mounts and then he would still need to get 9S levers it ends up being far more costly than modifying his current Rapidfire shifters to work with the road bar tubing size.

Pgoat, when I said "be gentle" I meant only wedge them apart just enough to let you twist and slide them around the bends. They'll spring that far just fine. Especially after the clamp bands are made thinner to fit the road bar tubing. But you don't want to risk forcing them any more than you need or they may take a "set" at the new larger size. And that means that some of the alloy was weakened if that happens. So use just enough wedging open to ease the mounts around the bends such that you can do it with moderate force and twisting.
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Old 11-06-11, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
.....At $67 for just the mounts....
Just to clarify:
$67 is the kit price.
The mounts themselves are only $21.
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Old 11-06-11, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by IK_biker View Post
Just to clarify:
$67 is the kit price.
The mounts themselves are only $21.

No, $21 is the kit for adapting Silver shifters. I agree with BC- this is a pricey proposition, but one that's likely to outlast the bike. Since the OP already has the Rapidfire shifters, there's very little to lose by hogging them out and sliding them onto the tops of drop bars.

Velo-Orange also offers shifter mounts, but it looks like they fit handlebars a little differently. They'd probably work, but it depends on the handlebar: https://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...22-2-23-8.html
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Old 11-06-11, 05:16 PM
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Might be able to add one of those accessory Nitto fittings clamped on the bars ,
or similar,
and have a 7/8" tube in it, and then they would slide right on..

have a15/16" reamer, given the extra 16th is the difference..
, and then maybe a drill press can turn the reamer.

how you will clamp that weird shape in the drill press vise will be the challenge

as I expect holding in in a lathe chuck means a weird fixture,
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Old 11-06-11, 06:56 PM
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Jeff, Jeff, Jeff.... Yet another really slick looking product. A big smile lit my face when I saw the picture of the VO mounts. I actually like them a lot better than the Paul's. BUT $75 SAMOLLAS ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! You're running around with a stem glass of Champagne while the rest of us are drinking beer from the bottle....
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Old 11-06-11, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
Jeff, Jeff, Jeff.... Yet another really slick looking product. A big smile lit my face when I saw the picture of the VO mounts. I actually like them a lot better than the Paul's. BUT $75 SAMOLLAS ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! You're running around with a stem glass of Champagne while the rest of us are drinking beer from the bottle....
I like Michelobe Beer best :-)
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Old 11-06-11, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
Jeff, Jeff, Jeff.... Yet another really slick looking product. A big smile lit my face when I saw the picture of the VO mounts. I actually like them a lot better than the Paul's. BUT $75 SAMOLLAS ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! You're running around with a stem glass of Champagne while the rest of us are drinking beer from the bottle....

Yeah, that's what I get for marrying a gorgeous blonde with a Master's in Computer Science. She makes all the money- I just spend it. She'll also only drink champagne.

A friend is the brewmaster for Full Sail Brewing. Try some of this: https://www.fullsailbrewing.com/news/...rial-stout.cfm
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Old 11-07-11, 12:47 AM
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I've jammed cheap thumb(mtb)shifters up under road brakes so the levers are to the inside and usable while on the hoods. Manipulating the shift levers can be a little tricky, and the action seemed reversed, but I liked it better than bar end shifters and it was cheap and easy, just pried them open. I spend most of my time on the hoods and like to be able to shift and brake from there. I've also turned the road brakes on road touring bars inward up to 45 degrees and it can make a big difference on how your hands end up feeling. Some road bars, I think they're called touring bars, have a bit of an outward angle built into the curvature from the tops to the drops. There's a lot of experimentation you can do with the positioning, and perhaps changing it a bit now and then might help too. I would consider shifting less important. Even cheap stem shifters would probably be as effective as mtb shifters on the flats of a drop bar.
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Old 11-07-11, 11:42 AM
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I've sampled a few Full Sails brews. Excellent beer. Full Sail along with some of the other great small name breweries in the Northwest such as Hood River Brewing shows that there's actually hope for the US pallate considering that it's the land of the weak tasting 5% Coors, Bud Lite and other similar coloured water....
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Old 11-07-11, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
I've sampled a few Full Sails brews. Excellent beer. Full Sail along with some of the other great small name breweries in the Northwest such as Hood River Brewing shows that there's actually hope for the US pallate considering that it's the land of the weak tasting 5% Coors, Bud Lite and other similar coloured water....

"Coors"... eeewwwww.....
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