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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

Old 03-02-15, 11:55 PM
  #3826  
AlTheKiller
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Have some questions here. Thinking heavily on converting my KHS Montana Descent, which I recently picked up from a fun, balloon tire'd bar bike, to drop bar rando/camping/gravel grinding/light tour bike. I have some old easton drop bars I could use(though I can get a good deal on some Nitto Randonneur with that "dirt drop" flare), and my dilemma is on which brifters to use. I refuse to use barcons. I want to keep it 3x8 for many reasons and am focused on those choices. Hesitant to go used or try to find NOS brifters. Also, I've heard nothing but bad about Microshift brifters, has that changed at all?

I really like Shimano Brifters best, but really dislike the current 8 speed Claris system as I've built many bikes with that and it seems very finicky(though I'm unsure if this is due to brifters, derailleurs, or both). But I can get these for cheap. I also have a line on R500 which is the most expensive of all the options.

The other choice is go "Shimergo" with Campy Veloce 10sp levers with my 8 speed Shimano RD/cassette. Supposedly this can be set up to work as well as anything else, is more aesthetic with all under tape routing, and keeps my bike being even weirder. These actually come in less than the R500 (which I know nothing about.), and only a bit more than the Claris, and at least look way nicer, IMO. My experience with anything Campy is extremely limited. If I recall there would be no shifting to smaller size cog/ring from the drops with their thumb lever placement? This would be the trifecta of making my boss blow a blood vessel as he's all about his modern CF wonder jobs, doesn't like weird conversions and mixing/matching, and really doesn't like Campy This option is currently the most intriguing to me and doesn't cost much.

Originally this was to be my commuter I spent as little money on as possible, but I'm really liking the idea of drop bars on this. The flat bars are a lot of fun, it's my first flat bar bike in my adult life, but how it's currently set up some drops would be so comfy...
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Old 03-03-15, 01:00 AM
  #3827  
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I can't necessarily comment for all Microshift brifters, but the 10 speed on mine have been pretty solid as a commuter option. My other bikes have ultegra and Red so my dirt drop was my first Microshift and entirely based on price since I got the shifters really cheap used. The hoods aren't as comfortable as Shimano/Campy/SRAM, the levers look more plastic and cheap, and the throw is longer, but for commuting none of those really matter to me. Mine are paired with a Shimano derailleur and shifting has been as clean as any of my builds.

I remember reading an article a while back about mating 10 speed ergo with a shimano RD and 8 speed cassette and the longer campy throw somehow matching up just right with normal cable routing so if that is any indication the Shimergo option sounds like it should be a pretty simple plug-n-play and if they are the cheapest that's the route I would go (I have seen a number of sloppy shifting Claris built bikes, though I am not sure how much of that is improper build and adjustment and how much is component quality).

Just my two cents. Also as the owner of a super-odd mix and match cobble job commuter I can say it is a bit fun to annoy all the Di2 toting purists.
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Old 03-03-15, 06:35 AM
  #3828  
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I'm a little out of the loop, but I haven't heard much bad about Microshift. I know their bar end shifters are actually superior to current Shimano offerings in some ways. I've also not had any bad experiences with Claris, though. For the money it seems like a wonderfully functional groupset. The only Claris I personally own, however, the FD on my Straggler which mashes the 10spd chain left and right wonderfully well on my Tiagra compact crank.
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Old 03-03-15, 06:44 AM
  #3829  
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Originally Posted by AlTheKiller

I really like Shimano Brifters best, but really dislike the current 8 speed Claris system as I've built many bikes with that and it seems very finicky.
I find all Shimano brifters finicky, particularly the front shifter. Everything has to be perfect. Rears on the other hand are spot on.

As far as Microshift, I have a set of nine speed on one bike, they work fine.
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Old 03-03-15, 11:57 AM
  #3830  
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Originally Posted by wrk101
I find all Shimano brifters finicky, particularly the front shifter. Everything has to be perfect. Rears on the other hand are spot on.

As far as Microshift, I have a set of nine speed on one bike, they work fine.
Glad it's not just me. I was excited to get my cross bike with a 105 group (been dealing with craptastic Sora 3300 before) a few months back but I've been having a hell of with the FD. I totally understand the exploding popularity of 1x setups now.

Edited to add: I'm pretty intrigued by the new offerings from Gevenalle (ne้ Retroshift). Looks basically like a DT shifter bolted to a brake lever, but the price + friction option are really attractive to me especially after exploding a RD due to a bent hanger recently.

Seems like I saw someone did their own version of DT shifter bolted to brake lever somewhere in the C&V section at one point but I can't find the thread.

Last edited by ksryder; 03-03-15 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 03-04-15, 10:49 AM
  #3831  
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Originally Posted by ksryder
Glad it's not just me. I was excited to get my cross bike with a 105 group (been dealing with craptastic Sora 3300 before) a few months back but I've been having a hell of with the FD. I totally understand the exploding popularity of 1x setups now.

Edited to add: I'm pretty intrigued by the new offerings from Gevenalle (ne้ Retroshift). Looks basically like a DT shifter bolted to a brake lever, but the price + friction option are really attractive to me especially after exploding a RD due to a bent hanger recently.

Seems like I saw someone did their own version of DT shifter bolted to brake lever somewhere in the C&V section at one point but I can't find the thread.
I have Gevenalle/Retroshift shifters on my Rockhopper drop bar bike:


I originally had the right / rear Gevenalle brifter on my Eddy Merckx road bike in a 1x10 configuration. As for shifting, it works better on a road bike because I'm mostly on the hoods.



On a drop bar mountain bike, I'm always on the drops, so these don't work as well as they did on a road bike. I have to shift ahead of time because I need to remove my hands from the bar in order to shift.

On my next drop bar build (the Raleigh), I grabbed a single Suntour thumb shifter from the parts bin and played with it until I got in a position I liked. I basically mounted it above my brake lever mount:



Then, as I was rummaging through my parts bin, I found a set of Suntour Mighty Shifters that I had to make use of. The shift levers are straight (maybe even longer) and seemed like they had a higher mount than the other thumbies. I slapped them on my brother in law's Schwinn, but given the shape of the non-aero brake levers and the Nitto Noodle bars, mounting the shifter mounts below the brake lever mounts worked better on this bike:



Last edited by tk1971; 03-04-15 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 03-04-15, 12:28 PM
  #3832  
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1989 Specialised

1989 Specialised RockCombo initially a drop bar bike that I raced MTB with flat bars during 1991-2001. It gave additional duty as a touring bike through Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota then as a daily commuter. In 2013, I had the frame repainted and added drop bars back to the build with period parts when I could find them, the photo here represents those efforts.

Tim

Rock by TimothyCreamer, on Flickr
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Old 03-04-15, 01:09 PM
  #3833  
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That's a really nice color for that bike.
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Old 03-04-15, 02:18 PM
  #3834  
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Thank you Arex!
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Old 03-05-15, 12:05 PM
  #3835  
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Originally Posted by wrk101
I find all Shimano brifters finicky, particularly the front shifter. Everything has to be perfect. Rears on the other hand are spot on.

As far as Microshift, I have a set of nine speed on one bike, they work fine.
I am a mechanic at a shop. I'm not the most knowledgable but generally have no problems with sora/tiagra/105 and on up. But nearly 50% of the bikes I have assembled with Claris have been major pain in the butt on the REAR derailleur. Something that is usually quite simple. A quarter turn of the adjuster is enough to put it into a frenzy and never shift right. I have no experience owning one and maybe it stays fine after this Front has been fine for me. The more experienced mechanics have voiced the same problems as they swear at entry level road bikes with this groupset. RD always.

On the Microshift, my only knowledge was from googling since I saw how inexpensive these were. And it brought up forums from a few years back talking about long lever strokes needed to shift, and overall crap feeling quality. I'm not too picky, but if it's a matter of spending $120 on Campy brifters instead of $70 for some questionable MS I think I can justify the few bucks more

Originally Posted by ksryder
Glad it's not just me. I was excited to get my cross bike with a 105 group (been dealing with craptastic Sora 3300 before) a few months back but I've been having a hell of with the FD. I totally understand the exploding popularity of 1x setups now.

Edited to add: I'm pretty intrigued by the new offerings from Gevenalle (ne้ Retroshift). Looks basically like a DT shifter bolted to a brake lever, but the price + friction option are really attractive to me especially after exploding a RD due to a bent hanger recently.

Seems like I saw someone did their own version of DT shifter bolted to brake lever somewhere in the C&V section at one point but I can't find the thread.
Do you have the new 11 speed 105? The new generation front derailleurs are, IMO, horrible, and require way too much tension. I luckily got my 105 equipped bike right before the switch to 11 speed and had no problem with assembly. Two of my coworkers got the 105 11 speed shortly after it came out and there has been lots of swearing trying to get that FD just right.
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Old 03-05-15, 01:41 PM
  #3836  
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Originally Posted by AlTheKiller
Do you have the new 11 speed 105?
No it's 10 speed but I'm starting to suspect the cheap plastic pulley for top tube cable routing may be part of the problem.
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Old 03-05-15, 02:37 PM
  #3837  
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Why did you route the brake cables over the bar, instead of under/in front of the bar?


Originally Posted by tk1971

Then, as I was rummaging through my parts bin, I found a set of Suntour Mighty Shifters that I had to make use of. The shift levers are straight (maybe even longer) and seemed like they had a higher mount than the other thumbies. I slapped them on my brother in law's Schwinn, but given the shape of the non-aero brake levers and the Nitto Noodle bars, mounting the shifter mounts below the brake lever mounts worked better on this bike:
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Old 03-05-15, 02:49 PM
  #3838  
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That's how it was configured when we picked up the bike. I am a novice with road bikes and those were my first set of non-aero brake levers I've worked on, so when I put cables on, I mimicked the "as-built" configuration. Thanks for the heads up. I'll fix it.
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Old 03-05-15, 03:36 PM
  #3839  
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Originally Posted by tk1971 View Post
That's how it was configured when we picked up the bike. I am a novice with road bikes and those were my first set of non-aero brake levers I've worked on, so when I put cables on, I mimicked the "as-built" configuration. Thanks for the heads up. I'll fix it.
there's nothing to fix. The front brake should definitely be routed over the bar and rear is totally optional, it just depends on the bike, looks fine how you have it.
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Old 03-05-15, 08:04 PM
  #3840  
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Dude, there are whole threads dedicated to which way one should route cabling...
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Old 03-06-15, 05:13 PM
  #3841  
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This afternoon I picked up a 57cm 1989 Miyata Ridge Runner Team for a drop bar conversion. Looking forward to the project. So many decisions to make.
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Old 03-06-15, 07:47 PM
  #3842  
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^^^ Like does it really fit you and should you send it out to Montana?
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Old 03-06-15, 08:01 PM
  #3843  
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Sweet.
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Old 03-06-15, 09:52 PM
  #3844  
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Because of this thread, I built up an 88 Trek 850. Now, however, I have come across an unused 1991 Schwinn High Plains, and now I want to build another one. Damn you all.
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Old 03-06-15, 10:56 PM
  #3845  
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Okay, so i am currently converting my 1991 Trek Singletrack 950 to dropped bars. I have every single part that i need (i think), except bars. I am interested in some sort of dirt drop bar style. Ive looked at on-one midges (over 100$ with shipping to my house!), and the old school WTB dirt drops (i cant seem to find any for sale). I need a 25.4 clamp size for them which seems to limit my choices with modern dirt drop bars. Any ideas?

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Old 03-07-15, 01:04 AM
  #3846  
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I got origin8 gary 2 bars. I'm still building mine up right now.
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Old 03-07-15, 01:26 AM
  #3847  
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Originally Posted by henry_hops
Okay, so i am currently converting my 1991 Trek Singletrack 950 to dropped bars. I have every single part that i need (i think), except bars. I am interested in some sort of dirt drop bar style. Ive looked at on-one midges (over 100$ with shipping to my house!), and the old school WTB dirt drops (i cant seem to find any for sale). I need a 25.4 clamp size for them which seems to limit my choices with modern dirt drop bars. Any ideas?
Too bad about the Midges. I just built up a '90 Trek 930 with the midges. It was hell trying to get them through the stem due to the curve & ended up getting a different stem. I prefer the Soma Portola, however they only come in 26.0, which means if you want a quill dirt drop style stem you get thr Nitto MT-10 from Rivendell. It's a fantastic bar and narrower than the Midges.
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Old 03-07-15, 07:09 AM
  #3848  
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The 25.4 Midge bars were out of stock, so I ended up with 31.8. Ended up converting the Rockhopper to stemless using a rather tall quill adapter. Using a modern stem eliminated the need to snake the bar into a quill stem. The only thing "off" would be the look if one was trying to preserve that vintage look.
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Old 03-07-15, 08:43 AM
  #3849  
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Been a while since I posted but I finally graduated and now have a lot more money than I used to . Time to spend it on bikes!

I managed to pick up some suntour accushift 6 shifters for cheap on ebay (as well as a Nitto 132 and some levers). I'm finally gonna give my weird goodwill "Specialized StreetStomper" the drop bar treatment as I had originally intended to do.

Will I have any problems running the shifters in indexed mode with a low end SIS 6 speed derailleur?
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Old 03-07-15, 09:56 AM
  #3850  
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Originally Posted by mountaindave
^^^ Like does it really fit you and should you send it out to Montana?
The size is the main reason I got it. I have been watching CL for at least a year looking for a big late '80s MTB with XT that's cheap and still decent shape. I have a 1990 schwinn KOM set up as a flat-bar commuter/winter bike, but it's an 18" frame, and I wanted something bigger that I could set it up with a normal stem and drops. This one fits the bill perfectly.
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