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Converting a flat bar to drop bar

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Converting a flat bar to drop bar

Old 01-09-13, 09:33 AM
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Converting a flat bar to drop bar

I have a flat bar set up on my road bike right now, I want a drop bar. But I'm wondering if its worth the cost. I found that the bars aren't that expensive, but the shifters start at $100, so Im looking at spending 150-200 for the bars, tape and shifters.

I want to speed up though and sitting upright with the flat bar isn't doing it enough. Will the drop bars help me pick up speed?
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Old 01-09-13, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Rudz
I want to speed up though and sitting upright with the flat bar isn't doing it enough. Will the drop bars help me pick up speed?
Assuming you setup the drop bars such that being on the hoods is most equivalent to where your flat bar is now, then you can gain something in speed by riding in the drops. (This isn't a position that I enjoyed personally although, somewhat surprisingly, I did like riding on aerobars).

Can you:

* lower your handlebars now (this will make you more aero)?

* install bar-ends? If you set up the positions that make you more forward, this can also make you more aero.

Given the price and pain of installing drop bars, I'd try one of these two first. And, although it's weird, you could install aerobars onto a flat bar.

Cheers,
Charles
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Old 01-09-13, 11:46 AM
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Already looking into drop bar ends and lowering the flat bar
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Old 01-09-13, 11:57 AM
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You may just do simple bar ends to stretch out your riding position a bit without adding any drop. Bar ends like this:

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Old 01-09-13, 12:32 PM
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A new, longer stem will stretch you out more and make you more aerodynamic. That with lowered bars may do the trick. Do your bars have any rise or are they flat?
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Old 01-09-13, 01:24 PM
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When I got my road bike, I was too fat to ride on the hoods and breath. So I rode it like a flat bar setup. Once a lost enough weight to comfortably ride in the drops I also added clip on aero bars. My experience with speed from fastest to slowest with the same perceived effort is:

aero bars
drops
hoods
tops (like a flat bar)

I think the advantage is mostly aero, however I can ride noticeably faster for a given heart rate (I don't have a power meter) when on the aero bars. I've been told it's due to hip angle. I run a fast forward seat post also. At first I only used this seat post for the aero bars. But I found I'm more comfortable with it regardless of position so I leave it on.

Good luck!
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Old 01-09-13, 01:41 PM
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My bars are flat, I'm going to look onto aero bars too, thanks everyone.
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Old 01-09-13, 02:00 PM
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Rudz - Thanks for starting this thread. I had been thinking about switching my flat bar to a drop bar but hadn't priced everything out yet and wasn't sure it was going to be worth it. And thank you to all who responded to the thread.
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Old 01-09-13, 02:26 PM
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I've contemplated this is the past too on my Sedona, adunno how it would look but dropping 1,600 on a road bike plus higher spoke wheels isn't in my near future.
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Old 01-09-13, 02:48 PM
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I've also noted that when I move my hands more forward on my flat-bar, it seems to increase my leverage on the pedals which gives me more power. I quite like that feeling but I'm too fat to do it for long periods of time.

Originally Posted by bbeasley
When I got my road bike, I was too fat to ride on the hoods and breath. So I rode it like a flat bar setup. Once a lost enough weight to comfortably ride in the drops I also added clip on aero bars. My experience with speed from fastest to slowest with the same perceived effort is:

aero bars
drops
hoods
tops (like a flat bar)

I think the advantage is mostly aero, however I can ride noticeably faster for a given heart rate (I don't have a power meter) when on the aero bars. I've been told it's due to hip angle. I run a fast forward seat post also. At first I only used this seat post for the aero bars. But I found I'm more comfortable with it regardless of position so I leave it on.

Good luck!
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Old 01-09-13, 08:57 PM
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The clip on aero bars are way more affordable than adding drop bars plus shifts. I already have bar ends, but theyre the short ones and dont help much, going to lower my bars this weekend.
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Old 01-09-13, 09:02 PM
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Check out this thread and this thread.

One of the more economical ways to convert from flat bar to drop bar is to use bar-end shifters instead of shifter integrated with the brakes. The most affordable option may be to use friction bar end shifters such as Suntour Barcons. They ratchet in the pull direction and are friction in the other direction, providing fairly precise control of position. If used with a system that is otherwise indexed (ramped cogs, etc.), the performance can be almost as good as indexed shifting.
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Old 01-10-13, 08:24 AM
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wow, thats awesome, thanks so much
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Old 01-11-13, 03:12 PM
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I converted my sirrus from flat bar to drop bar. Really, I should have bought a road bike, but there was "political" considerations.

I do recommend the barcon approach, although I went with brifters.

Keep in mind that normal road bike brakes are not meant for cantilever or V-brake systems, and you will need a special take-up system, mounted at the brake, to make them compatible.

Also, you may need a new front derailleur even if you go with barcons. Also, you'll have to fine-tune the stem angle and length, since the drop bars will change your hand position with respect to the rest of the bike.
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Old 01-11-13, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Brando_T.
I do recommend the barcon approach, although I went with brifters.
I went with the suntour barcons. Like Doohickie said, they are almost as quick as brifters. Never had any issues with friction shifting.

Originally Posted by Brando_T.
Keep in mind that normal road bike brakes are not meant for cantilever or V-brake systems, and you will need a special take-up system, mounted at the brake, to make them compatible.
Interstingly, when I did the drop bar conversion to my Trek 900, the Tektro levers I bought stunk with the cantilevers originally on the bike. Bottomed out without a lot of stopping power. Put a pair of v brakes on it that came from a $20 Univega frame, and they work great. Lots of stopping power and good control.

Old Red by Yo Spiff, on Flickr
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Old 01-11-13, 07:35 PM
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I will probably upgrade the brakes anyways, the brakes I have on it right now don't stop anywhere near as fast as the v brakes on my mtb. I ordered the drop bar ends, should be here next week. I lowered my bars about an inch and a half, two inches feels better. I priced the drop bar brakes and bar end shifters, cheaper than the original price I was looking at for sure. Also noticed performance has aero bars on sale right now, so if I dont like the drop bars or want a choice I may be picking those up as well.

My cockpit is going to be crowded, I have the flat bar shifters, an electric horn with on/off button, 100 lumen cree flashlight and 1600 lumen cree headlight. Might have the move the lights around if I do add aero bars as well.

Thanks for all the information everyone. Did a nice 10 mile ride after I rode my five miles home and I felt great, picked up some water/wind /cold resistant gloves from harbor freight and they are the best things in the world, and only 8 bucks Also ordered some ankle gaiters because I wear pants to work and keep getting grease on them and needing velcro the keep my pant leg out of the crankset
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Old 01-12-13, 05:55 PM
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Drop bar ends came in today, right after I degreased the bike, cleaned her up, re lubed her and made a couple adjustments to the saddle and brakes.Now she stops faster and runs smoother. Mail lady dropped off the bar ends and I had them installed before you can imagine, adjusted my grips and shifters on the flat bar and made sure everything was right. Was going for a ride up and down the street, which happens to have a slight incline. So I was flying up and down the street before my roomate called me and asked me to pick up his cyclocross bike at the LBS. So my bike has to wait, but i get to ride his new build before he does, lol.

Pictures later, right now I have a bus to catch and a bike to ride home!
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