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Count Me As One of the Converted...

Old 09-22-19, 08:09 PM
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BobbyG
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Count Me As One of the Converted...

I converted my 1997 Nishiki Blazer 3x7 straight-bar MTB commuter to drop-bars today.

In my mid 40's I began developing "crampy hands". Back then this was my only bike and I added inboard bar ends and then aero bars to give me multiple hand positions. Ten years ago I acquired a 1984 Nishiki International 12-speed with drop bars and they were much better on my hands. Four years ago I bought a new Charge Plug 2x8 drop-bar road bike to be my new main commuter. With foam pipe insulation for padding I found I could ride both those drop bar bikes for hours and hours with no hand issues.

Because the Blazer is old, not worth much, and functions as my studded-tire snow and ice bike in the winter, I wanted to spend as little money as possible. There is a now a bike co-op in Colorado Springs and I found a compatible stem and drop bars for $15. I had my LBS add V-brakes a few years ago and I really like them. Ideally I would have used V-brake compatible brifters, but new, those would be worth more than the bike, and used...well, I couldn;t find 'em locally. So I bought new Tektro V-Brake drop-bar brake levers for $29.95. A dive into the parts bin at the co-op netted me a pair of thumb shifters for $3 each, including a Shimano 7-speed indexed thumbie. New cables and and least a short length of shifter and brake cable guides were necessary. (The Blazer had a three-speed indexed rapid/crossfire front shifter that never worked right, so I just used a simple friction shifter for the front.)

The downtube on the Blazer is too fat for downtube shifters, I had bar-stem shifters in high-school and college and didn;tlike them, so decided I wanted bar-end shifters; but even used, they were too expensive for my build, so I mounted the thumb shifters at the bar-ends and they function like out-board bar-end shifters; although they can catch a finger between the bar and shifter if not careful.

I haven't done any mechanical project this ambitious on a bike in 25-years and it took me 6 hours from when I startrd to remove the old handle bars to putting the bell and horn on the new bars.

To my utter surprise the 7-speed indexed shifter worked on the first try! The friction up front shifter seems to have been a good idea as is is less troublesome fthan the indexed one it replaced.

The brakes feel just as slack-free and powerful as with the original levers.

I am thrilled with how this turned out, especially given my fairly basic mechanical skills.

Before:

After:


I cannot wait to ride to work Tuesday, and I especially can't wait for snow and ice!

Last edited by BobbyG; 09-23-19 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 09-22-19, 08:17 PM
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I have a 90 Trek 850 taking up space that I've been threatening to do the same thing to.
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Old 09-22-19, 09:39 PM
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Man I love the look of a capable geared-up bike. Go any place, do any thing. Nicely done.

Last edited by rseeker; 09-22-19 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 09-23-19, 04:57 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I converted my 1997 Nishiki Blazer 3x7 straight-bar MTB commuter to drop-bars today…

I haven't done any mechanical project this ambitious on a bike in 25-years and it took me 6 hours from when I startrd to remove the old handle bars to putting the bell and horn on the new bars.

I am thrilled with how this turned out, especially given my fairly basic mechanical skills.

I cannot wait to ride to work Tuesday, and I especially can't wait for snow and ice!
I have posted to this thread, “How many bikes have you owned? How many were "mistakes"?”
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
In general all my bike purchases are more serendipitous than researched. My only (minor) mistakes were:Briefly,

  • Childhood:…
  • Early adolescence:…
  • College:-circa 1970: Five-speed Schwinn Suburban with upright handlebars, converted to drops, by me. I did more maintainance by myself on that bike than any other. Buying the Schwinn Suburban as a starter bike [was a mistake] because it soon became apparent I wanted a road bike; it was a borrowed Schwinn Varsity that sparked my interest
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
”Do You Work / Maintain Your Own Bikes?”…

Besides time, I have never had good facilities to work easily. Even now we live in a relatively small, but elegant condo, and my wife would frown on a room with a bike stand. Having the LBS do it all, in my case is a really good deal.

The shop is one block away, and they will fix many things at a convenient time for me. They are so expert that they can do these things quickly, better than me, and often spot problems that I did not see. Whenever I leave the shop, the bikes ride as if new again.

I tip well, not, “To Insure Prompt Service,” but because I am so appreciative of their work. Hats off to Back Bay Bikes.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 09-25-19 at 03:34 AM.
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Old 09-24-19, 09:04 AM
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nice bar tape!
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Old 09-24-19, 09:38 AM
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Oh man but those folding wire baskets are fantastic and really handy at times. I remember getting a pair of them back in t he early 1980s and the instructions said they were designed to hold two paper grocery bags. Here in Ontario Canada where I am they're talking about banning plastic shopping bags and going back to paper bags. If they do that those folding wire baskets will be perfect for grocery shopping.

Cheers
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Old 09-24-19, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
Oh man but those folding wire baskets are fantastic and really handy at times. I remember getting a pair of them back in t he early 1980s and the instructions said they were designed to hold two paper grocery bags. Here in Ontario Canada where I am they're talking about banning plastic shopping bags and going back to paper bags. If they do that those folding wire baskets will be perfect for grocery shopping.

Cheers
Behind the rack above the rear fender there is a small black pouch with a velcro tab. In it are two black re-usable grocery bags that fit the baskets so I can carry any kind of bag or loose item that fits.

BTW I rode it to work this morning and it was gloriously comfortable.
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Old 09-24-19, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Behind the rack above the rear fender there is a small black pouch with a velcro tab. In it are two black re-usable grocery bags that fit the baskets so I can carry any kind of bag or loose item that fits.

BTW I rode it to work this morning and it was gloriously comfortable.
That is "a scathingly brilliant idea!"* with the stowed bags.

Cheers

* Hayley Mills in THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS
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Old 09-24-19, 04:33 PM
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Here's the first ride in to work with the new drop bars:

C'mon snow!
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Old 05-16-20, 08:56 AM
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does that saddle still feel comfortable w the drop bars? when I changed my hybrid many years ago my saddle started rubbing / chaffing me, so I switched to a narrower road saddle
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Old 05-16-20, 11:13 AM
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Interesting way to mount the shifters. Enjoy your commute. But I'll pass on snow and ice.
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