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Can I change to a flat handlebar?

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Can I change to a flat handlebar?

Old 04-20-20, 08:49 AM
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BNSF
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Can I change to a flat handlebar?

I'm just getting back into biking after 30+ years away.... Back in the old days, I had a 10-speed with racing style drop bars. A Sears "Ted Williams" model! I rode it a lot. Wish I'd had an odometer on it, it would have been a pretty good number.


Recently, I acquired a new bike, a 16-speed model which also comes with drop bars, Shimano Claris shifters, etc. The trouble is, I don't find the drop bars comfortable any more. Compounding the issue, I can't apply the brakes with my hands up on top of the bar, which is where I do all my riding. The Sears bike had a second lever on the brakes which were reached from on top of the bar, and that was the way I rode. I almost never used the drop position then and I don't use it now. I don't find it comfortable.


Can I buy a flat bar and swap the shifters over onto it? It looks like it'll work, but I notice the Claris shifters for sale on Amazon and on Shimano's website specifically mention different models for drop vs. flat bars. Am I missing something? There looks to be plenty of slack in the cables. Maybe TOO much. But surely I can absorb the excess to some extent. My current bar diameter is 25.4mm and there are plenty of flat bars available in that size. Can't I just untape and remove the Claris shifters and re-attach them to a flat bar, and adjust placement so its most comfortable? Or am I just not seeing some sort of stumbling block which makes this impossible?
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Old 04-20-20, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by BNSF View Post
I'm just getting back into biking after 30+ years away.... Back in the old days, I had a 10-speed with racing style drop bars. A Sears "Ted Williams" model! I rode it a lot. Wish I'd had an odometer on it, it would have been a pretty good number.


Recently, I acquired a new bike, a 16-speed model which also comes with drop bars, Shimano Claris shifters, etc. The trouble is, I don't find the drop bars comfortable any more. Compounding the issue, I can't apply the brakes with my hands up on top of the bar, which is where I do all my riding. The Sears bike had a second lever on the brakes which were reached from on top of the bar, and that was the way I rode. I almost never used the drop position then and I don't use it now. I don't find it comfortable.


Can I buy a flat bar and swap the shifters over onto it? It looks like it'll work, but I notice the Claris shifters for sale on Amazon and on Shimano's website specifically mention different models for drop vs. flat bars. Am I missing something? There looks to be plenty of slack in the cables. Maybe TOO much. But surely I can absorb the excess to some extent. My current bar diameter is 25.4mm and there are plenty of flat bars available in that size. Can't I just untape and remove the Claris shifters and re-attach them to a flat bar, and adjust placement so its most comfortable? Or am I just not seeing some sort of stumbling block which makes this impossible?
It can be done, but maybe shouldn't be done, because of the cost of new bars, shifters and brake levers. And, not all mountain or flat bar brake levers and shifters are compatible with road brakes and derailleurs, so you need to know what you are doing.

What I would suggest is you work with someone on fitting your bike. that may involve raising the bars a little, maybe moving the saddle up a bit, or back, and checking the width of your bars. (it is a thing. When I bought my bike, I switched out the narrow drop bars with a slightly wider bar).

Second, you can add a second set of brake levers you can use when riding on the top of your bars.

Last edited by MRT2; 04-20-20 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 04-20-20, 09:15 AM
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Net time you buy a bike, get a mountain bike, or a bike you are happy with.
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Old 04-20-20, 09:23 AM
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It would be a pretty simple process with either bike you own. I made a video a couple of years ago converting an early 80's bike to a flat bar, or actually a riser bar set up. The shifters used would work with either 8 speed indexed or friction systems.

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Old 04-20-20, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by alo View Post
Net time you buy a bike, get a mountain bike, or a bike you are happy with.
I left that part out of the story. I didn't buy it; I won it as an award for having worked here for 30 years. There weren't any other bikes to choose from.
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Old 04-20-20, 09:45 AM
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Being 8 speed the swap is really easy. Easiest way would be to get some Claris ST-R240 flat bar combination brake and shifters in a 2x8. You'll need new brake cable inners with MTB cable ends on them. Gear cables can be re-used. Think about getting some flat bars with a few more hand positions like butterfly bars, Velo Orange Crazy bars, Jones Loop, Surly Moloko
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Old 04-20-20, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
Being 8 speed the swap is really easy. Easiest way would be to get some Claris ST-R240 flat bar combination brake and shifters in a 2x8.
My hope was that my current road bike style combo brake and shifters would work, but if not I'm glad I asked first. So far so good, thanks everyone!
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Old 04-20-20, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
It can be done, but maybe shouldn't be done, because of the cost of new bars, shifters and brake levers. And, not all mountain or flat bar brake levers and shifters are compatible with road brakes and derailleurs, so you need to know what you are doing.

What I would suggest is you work with someone on fitting your bike. that may involve raising the bars a little, maybe moving the saddle up a bit, or back, and checking the width of your bars. (it is a thing. When I bought my bike, I switched out the narrow drop bars with a slightly wider bar).

Second, you can add a second set of brake levers you can use when riding on the top of your bars.
This ^^^^.

sure it can be done with enough money. I just sold my commuter (Redux 2) flat bar bike to get a gravel bike ( Topstone ) with drop bars. You have to buy too many things for it to be cost effective.
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Old 04-20-20, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by BNSF View Post
My hope was that my current road bike style combo brake and shifters would work, but if not I'm glad I asked first. So far so good, thanks everyone!
If you want to keep your road shifters, you could try something like this. https://salsacycles.com/components/c...ars/cowchipper

Or this. https://velo-orange.com/collections/...-bar-handlebar

Or this https://www.somafab.com/archives/pro...or-2-handlebar

Just MO, but honestly, I would urge you to try to make drop bars work.
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Old 04-20-20, 10:37 AM
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These are inline brake levers you can install on your current drop bars. They work way better than the old suicide levers. https://www.amazon.com/Tektro-RL720-.../dp/B0090X36Y0
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Old 04-20-20, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
These are inline brake levers you can install on your current drop bars. They work way better than the old suicide levers.
Hey now, that's pretty clever! Probably a wiser choice than my original idea. And it lets me ride with my hands where I am used to and not super wide (which probably would have been the case had I followed through with my original plan). Thanks!
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Old 04-20-20, 03:14 PM
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Look up flopped and chopped bars that are popular in fixed gears. Basically you take the drop bars and mount them upside down so the hooks come up and back. you then hacksaw the hooks off leaving you with bullhorns that your brake/shifter levers will mount to.


https://bikerkits.com/bullhorn-handlebars/
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Old 04-20-20, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by BNSF View Post
I left that part out of the story. I didn't buy it; I won it as an award for having worked here for 30 years. There weren't any other bikes to choose from.
So until you try to fix it you won't be out any money on this deal.

A bicycle is a simple machine but the devil is in the details. Every part on a bicycle has to work with, and match, every other part. As you get into swapping your handlebar you will find yourself having to change a lot of parts.
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Old 04-20-20, 05:34 PM
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Mustache bars will work with road levers. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bicycle-Mus...4383.l4275.c10
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Old 04-20-20, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by BNSF View Post
My hope was that my current road bike style combo brake and shifters would work, but if not I'm glad I asked first. So far so good, thanks everyone!
if you did want to re use those, maybe butterfly bars would be best, you could arrange the levers on the curves on the bars to get clearance between the lever and the bar.
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