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Vintage Road bike: Can I change drop handlebars to swept-back handlebars

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Vintage Road bike: Can I change drop handlebars to swept-back handlebars

Old 07-25-15, 10:01 PM
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cehua
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Vintage Road bike: Can I change drop handlebars to swept-back handlebars

I just returned to biking after many years away. I recently bought a used Lotus Champion. It rides great, but I find the drop handlebars extremely uncomfortable. I have been riding while holding the bike on the tops. This is not ideal because I do not get full access to the brakes. I now know I prefer a more upright bike. I love my Lotus and would not want to depart from it, but already I feel pain in my hand and neck from overextending.

My question is can I replace the drop handlebars to swept-back handlebars to achieve a more upright posture? There are two sets of breaks. The real one and those use for slowing. How will they be affected? I do not care about how the bike will look. Comfort and safety are more important than the aesthics of changing the handlebars

I took it to a bike shop and the guy in the shop said no, but he was not the most knowledgeable (or perhaps he did not comprehend what I was asking) there and the other people who worked there were too busy so I did not ask.

Here is a picture of the pick:



Thanks
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Old 07-25-15, 10:40 PM
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sure.....

new handle bars and brake levers will do it

possible a different stem to raise bar....nice not required

keep down tube shifters, or simple change to friction thumb shifters

velo orange is a good source

handle bars Handlebars - Components

brake levers Brakes & Parts - Components

one version


another
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Old 07-25-15, 10:45 PM
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Yes, my SS was a drop bar bike and now has riser bars.
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Old 07-25-15, 11:16 PM
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Absolutely! I don't even think you need to change your stem, it's not a particularly long one, and there are enough styles of upright handlebars to find one that you'll be a LOT more comfortable on.

Here's one of my rides:


This is what it looked like "back in the day"


That bike shop that told you it couldn't be done? May they either change their ways, or be out of business, soon.

It's ok to tell us where you live-I'll be you can't name a bike shop someone here doesn't know about. And I'll bet that same person will give you a great bike shop that can fix you up with upright bars. If you have a bicycle co-op near you, the transformation could be done relatively inexpensively.

BTW, that Lotus mixte (frame style you have) of yours looks like a great bike! That frame style begs for upright bars, if you ask me. Here's a link dedicated to Lotus bikes. I'm not sure you have a Lotus Champion-not listed on that site. Could it be that the frame tubing is Tange Champion?
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Old 07-25-15, 11:25 PM
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Thanks, guys.

I live in New York City on the border between Manhattan and Queens. I would appreciate any bike shop or co-op reqs in the area.

The bike says champion, but the person I bought it from said it was a challenger. There is a smaller sticker that says Tange, so perhaps it is a Tange champion with lotus decals?

I really love this bike, so I am glad I will be able to change the handlebars.
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Old 07-25-15, 11:46 PM
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I did riser bars on my 72 schwinn varsity....... bars, brake levers and grips..... left the shifters on the stem.... had everything to do the conversion in my parts bin..... except for grips
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Old 07-26-15, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by cehua View Post
Thanks, guys.

I live in New York City on the border between Manhattan and Queens. I would appreciate any bike shop or co-op reqs in the area.

The bike says champion, but the person I bought it from said it was a challenger. There is a smaller sticker that says Tange, so perhaps it is a Tange champion with lotus decals?

I really love this bike, so I am glad I will be able to change the handlebars.
tange is the brand of tubing used in the frame
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Old 07-26-15, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by cehua View Post
Thanks, guys.

I live in New York City on the border between Manhattan and Queens. I would appreciate any bike shop or co-op reqs in the area.

The bike says champion, but the person I bought it from said it was a challenger. There is a smaller sticker that says Tange, so perhaps it is a Tange champion with lotus decals?

I really love this bike, so I am glad I will be able to change the handlebars.
Yep, looks like a Lotus Challenger with Tange Champion double butted tubing (a good sign of quality ingredients)

I'm on the wrong coast to give you advice on a shop, but not to worry, I'm certain someone will chime in.
@noglider might be able to help on good shop that's near you.
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Old 07-26-15, 05:12 AM
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Go to 718cyclery in Brooklyn, they converted my wife's Lotus mixte to porteur bars (velo orange) + brake levers..

Should be able to take the 'R' train right to the shop..or bike there from LIC.
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Old 07-26-15, 05:13 AM
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Tange Champion refers to the steel tubing that Lotus bought and used to build the frame and fork of the bike.

Swept back handlebars are a good idea, and they will look good, too.

I recommend Nomad Cycle in Long Istand City. They will do the job right and treat you well.
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Old 07-26-15, 05:50 AM
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The parts run about $60 total. Brake Levers, Northroads style handlebars, grips, and I highly recommend a set of new cables. The cheap Bell set will work fine.

Bell Sports 7015913 Bike Fix Brake Cable Set-BIKE FIX CABLE SET - Walmart.com

About 1-1.5 hours labor.

if you want to DiY, you need cable cutters, allen keys, screwdrivers, and an adjustable wrench or metric box or sockets.
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Old 07-26-15, 06:45 AM
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Be prepared for it to handle differently...
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Old 07-26-15, 07:05 AM
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718cyclery in Brooklyn. 254 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, 11215. They got me what I needed to convert a Nishiki Cresta touring bike from drop bars.
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Old 07-26-15, 08:34 AM
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I'm pretty confused/disgusted as to why the shop told you that the bars couldn't be changed. It's not a difficult procedure. I'd avoid that shop from now on, if I were you.

Anyway, here's a bike with similar lines to yours, converted from drops to city bars (also from derailleur to 3-speed hub). IMHO, mixte frames both look and work better with upright bars. You might find that you want a shorter stem (that is, one that puts the bars closer to you) with the new bars.

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Old 07-26-15, 10:06 AM
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Several posters suggested a shorter stem. Looking at the pic from the OP, that stem looks reasonably short to start with, 60mm at most? With swept back bars with some rise to them, that might just do the trick.
@cehua, the shop should allow you to try out different bars right there-not build them up, but just slide different bars in the stem and have you sit on the bike and see how they feel. Here's a link to one company's selection, just to give you an idea of what's out there. If you want to sit even more upright, there are tall stems that can be fitted. Riding around in the city, it makes a lot more sense to sit upright so you can look around easier for traffic.

Once you get to riding that pretty bike of yours, consider using the train for weekend excursions. It's been done before.

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Old 07-26-15, 11:17 AM
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You won't find many stems shorter than the one you already have, which looks like 70mm or so. Most quill stem models hit their short limit at 50-60mm. You could go to one that's angled upwards or has a longer quill (the part that goes into the bike's steerer tube) to raise the bars, but with all the swept back bars available, you can easily find one that will move the hand positions much closer to you. When you get the new handlebars, you'll need new brake levers and cables, but suitable levers from companies like Dia Compe are pretty inexpensive. You will likely want to move your shifters from the downtube to the handlebars or stem because reaching the downtube from an upright position will be uncomfortable at best. It all depends on your terrain and how often you shift. If rarely, then it's not a big deal to leave them where they are.
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Old 07-26-15, 11:28 AM
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I kept the same 110mm stem and just changed the bars.....handles just fine. I say keep it simple, swap the bars and then change only what is necessary over time.

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Old 07-26-15, 11:45 AM
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Upright bar conversion is pretty simple. Shimano makes a nice brake lever shifter combo that has cables included. IMHO black soft foam grips are the best. They're cheap too.
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Old 07-26-15, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by edsall78 View Post
Go to 718cyclery in Brooklyn, they converted my wife's Lotus mixte to porteur bars (velo orange) + brake levers..

Should be able to take the 'R' train right to the shop..or bike there from LIC.
I've heard good things about that place from several people.
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Old 07-26-15, 03:01 PM
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Old 07-26-15, 03:06 PM
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@cehua,

Please note that answers to your questions do not come free. We expect post-transformation pictures.
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Old 07-26-15, 03:50 PM
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I had buyers request upright bars all the time and Its fairly simple to do...unless its French.

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Old 07-26-15, 06:50 PM
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@michael k, really nice Moto.
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Old 08-03-15, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
@cehua,

Please note that answers to your questions do not come free. We expect post-transformation pictures.

Sorry, I have been super busy this week. I took the bike to another shop this morning because it was close and got a quote for $150 because it was difficult. Anyway, I am going to check out 718cyclery in Brooklyn that edsall78.

Hopefully pics of my new conversion will come soon!
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Old 08-03-15, 08:12 PM
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