Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Tandem Cycling
Reload this Page >

Converting from drops to flatbar

Notices
Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

Converting from drops to flatbar

Old 02-14-22, 12:15 AM
  #1  
k8t
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: N. California
Posts: 18

Bikes: Novarra Randonee, Specialized Dolce Elite, Santana Tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Converting from drops to flatbar

We're seriously considering converting our Santana Nuovo handlebars from drops to flatbar. My Captain's back is getting stiffer and it's getting less comfortable to manage the bike with the drop bars. We've ridden flatbars and drops on other single and tandem bikes in the past and understand the arguments for more hand positions in the drops, etc.

We're curious if anyone has done this, and what advice you may have. Can you also recommend a tandem specific shop to purchase the needed parts from? We're in N.California but suspect we may need to purchase online.

We love the ride and fit of the bike and thought that although it may cost more than we want to spend, it would still be cheaper to do a conversion than trying to find another bike that's as comfortable and fits us as well. We don't want to shop for another bike when the fit on this one is perfect for us.

Thanks for any thoughts!
k8t is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 01:43 AM
  #2  
scycheng
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 148

Bikes: Too few

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
I have done the conversion the other way from flat bar to drop bar on a MTB. In my case, the handling felt floppy afterward and I never liked it.

Have you tried raising the handlebars and reducing the reach with a different stem? That would be cheaper than converting to flar bar. To change from dropbar to flat bar will require changing the shifters and quite possibly the whole drive train depending on the age of your tandem.
scycheng is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 02:31 AM
  #3  
Leisesturm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 5,155
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1942 Post(s)
Liked 415 Times in 300 Posts
I have done the conversion both ways. It is not tandem specific. I get what parts I don't already have from any online retailer that has what I am looking for. This is the most recent conversion from FSA drop bars with Shimano Flightdeck brifters to a 31.8 center section flatbar and three finger long pull brake levers and Shimano Rapidfire trigger shifters. It matters a whole lot what your brake types are (v-brake, canti, disc) and what kind of shifters you have now (brifter, bar end). If I know what you have at present I will have a pretty good idea of what you need for a conversion.
Leisesturm is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 07:39 AM
  #4  
IPassGas
Full Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 315

Bikes: Schwinn, Nishiki, Santana, Trek, Rodriguez

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 151 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 79 Times in 50 Posts
You will need to shorten (sorry) lengthen your stem by approximately 45 mm. As above said, the conversion depends on brake type. We have toured many years, my stoker removed her drops within the first year. I never understood the reason for stoker drops. I hardly ever used the drops, so when we replaced our santana with a new custom bike, we went for slightly angled-back flatbars, ergon grips and GP5/GP3 bar ends. I wish I changed years back. On windy days, the reach on the bar ends approximates drops. The wider bars are more comfortable and stability is better, especially when fully loaded with front panniers. The mtb brake levers allow quicker and stronger braking.

Last edited by IPassGas; 02-14-22 at 11:53 AM.
IPassGas is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 10:05 AM
  #5  
Ludkeh
alpine cross trainer
 
Ludkeh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Central New York
Posts: 285

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Quintara Roo Sendoza, DaVici In-2-Ition Tandem,

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 19 Times in 7 Posts
At the age of 73, I also am less flexible and less comfortable with my drop bars. I added a stem riser which was much easier than replacing my drop bars. The stem riser let me sit straighter, taking pressure off my hands and removing lots of strain from my neck and shoulders. The only negative is that directs more pressure toward my butt, which I can deal with.
Ludkeh is offline  
Old 02-14-22, 10:40 AM
  #6  
sdodd
Newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 67
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 34 Times in 21 Posts
Originally Posted by k8t View Post
We're seriously considering converting our Santana Nuovo handlebars from drops to flatbar. My Captain's back is getting stiffer and it's getting less comfortable to manage the bike with the drop bars. We've ridden flatbars and drops on other single and tandem bikes in the past and understand the arguments for more hand positions in the drops, etc.
If you have stems with front plates that can come off, you can easily take of the drop bars and mount a flat bar just to sit on the bike. You might find you really like/hate it?

My only word of experience, having done both. As a short legged captain, I find drop bars for the stoker easier to swing my leg over. Flat bars for the stoker seem to extend forever and I think I'm going to fall over half the time when getting on the bike. I'm sure this is due to my short legs and frame that never seems small enough. I only point this out because there are weird things that happen when you change your tandem, so don't be surprised if something random gets easier/worse with your change.

IMHO - setup your tandem however makes you ride it the most!

simon
sdodd is offline  
Old 02-19-22, 06:27 PM
  #7  
k8t
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: N. California
Posts: 18

Bikes: Novarra Randonee, Specialized Dolce Elite, Santana Tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Thanks everybody! Good encouraging info here.
k8t is offline  
Old 02-19-22, 07:02 PM
  #8  
merlinextraligh
pan y agua
 
merlinextraligh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Jacksonville
Posts: 30,905

Bikes: Willier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Calfee Dragonfly tandem, Calfee Adventure tandem; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er; Motebecanne Phantom Cross; Schwinn Paramount Track bike

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1230 Post(s)
Liked 372 Times in 195 Posts
If the issue is back flexibility, it’s going to be a lot cheaper and easier to just get a stem with more rise
__________________
You could fall off a cliff and die.
You could get lost and die.
You could hit a tree and die.
OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.
merlinextraligh is online now  
Old 04-08-22, 08:13 PM
  #9  
Attilio
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 72

Bikes: Salsa!

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)
Liked 31 Times in 15 Posts
Bikes are designed weight and geometry wise to handle a certain way with certain bars, weight distributions and angles. If you change the bar you are going to significantly change all those factors and the bike won't handle well.

Case in point I recently did an Emonda SLR build. My other bikes are pretty upright, I got an angled stem for another drop bar gravel bike because I hated it. Of course in the last few years I hired a personal trainer and engaged in a very serious fitness journey. For the first time since I was on a college varsity team exactly 25 years ago, I was able to touch the ground with my fingers while keeping my knees straight.

So anyway I was afraid of a very "low" position so I started the build with a higher angled stem. It wasn't bad so I dropped it and eventually went to the handlebar Trek recommends for that bike, almost a Tour de France type position. Didn't bother me; it would have years ago but this was just fine. However, the lower and more bent forward I was, the better the bike turned and handled because of course, the Emonda was designed to have the rider in a very aero, far forward position with plenty of weight over the front tire. Not doing so even by a little resulted in worsened, much less sharp handling.

So I went back and put the original stem on my Warbird replacing the angled one. Indeed, then too the bike's handling improved significantly with much sharper turn into the curves. It's also more stable on trails while descending and doesn't jostle around as much. Just 20 freaking degrees.

So for you, you should do one of two things:
1. Engage in better fitness and flexibility so you can enjoy the drop bar again. Not easy but worth it. You can do it at any age, you'd be surprised at the long term results if you are very consistent in a stretching, body weight and light resistance regimen.
*OR*
2. Sell your current bike and buy a new one with a flat bar offering whatever body position you like.

You can get an angled stem to make the bike liveable while you engage in #1 but be prepared to have it negatively affect the bike's handling to a degree as it did for me above.
Attilio is offline  
Old 04-10-22, 01:16 PM
  #10  
bboy314
Full Member
 
bboy314's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Pioneer Valley
Posts: 359
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 90 Post(s)
Liked 144 Times in 84 Posts
Originally Posted by Attilio View Post
Bikes are designed weight and geometry wise to handle a certain way with certain bars, weight distributions and angles. If you change the bar you are going to significantly change all those factors and the bike won't handle well.

Case in point I recently did an Emonda SLR build. My other bikes are pretty upright, I got an angled stem for another drop bar gravel bike because I hated it. Of course in the last few years I hired a personal trainer and engaged in a very serious fitness journey. For the first time since I was on a college varsity team exactly 25 years ago, I was able to touch the ground with my fingers while keeping my knees straight.

So anyway I was afraid of a very "low" position so I started the build with a higher angled stem. It wasn't bad so I dropped it and eventually went to the handlebar Trek recommends for that bike, almost a Tour de France type position. Didn't bother me; it would have years ago but this was just fine. However, the lower and more bent forward I was, the better the bike turned and handled because of course, the Emonda was designed to have the rider in a very aero, far forward position with plenty of weight over the front tire. Not doing so even by a little resulted in worsened, much less sharp handling.

So I went back and put the original stem on my Warbird replacing the angled one. Indeed, then too the bike's handling improved significantly with much sharper turn into the curves. It's also more stable on trails while descending and doesn't jostle around as much. Just 20 freaking degrees.

So for you, you should do one of two things:
1. Engage in better fitness and flexibility so you can enjoy the drop bar again. Not easy but worth it. You can do it at any age, you'd be surprised at the long term results if you are very consistent in a stretching, body weight and light resistance regimen.
*OR*
2. Sell your current bike and buy a new one with a flat bar offering whatever body position you like.

You can get an angled stem to make the bike liveable while you engage in #1 but be prepared to have it negatively affect the bike's handling to a degree as it did for me above.
I strongly disagree with this advice. I have swapped back and forth between drop bars, mustache, risers, and more on many bikes (including tandems) successfully. As long as the frame is a good fit and youíre not doing something extreme (eg ape hangers) itís a great way to customize a bike to your liking.

If you change your bar, you may want to have a variety of stems in different angles and lengths on hand to further tune the fit.

Especially for a tandem, assuming it fits you, itís overkill to replace the whole bike because you want to try a different type of bar. You can always switch back.
bboy314 is offline  
Old 04-10-22, 07:22 PM
  #11  
k8t
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: N. California
Posts: 18

Bikes: Novarra Randonee, Specialized Dolce Elite, Santana Tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Thanks for all this information. Very helpful!

We decided to start by changing out to a slightly different stem that raises the handlebars a bit and brings them just slightly closer. So far so good, but we haven't been out on any long rides yet.

We really like this bike. It fits us perfectly and we love the quality of the ride. We'll try anything we can before going through the hassle of selling this one only to buy another. It's very challenging to find a bike to satisfy 2 people and we're sticking with this one for as long as we can.
k8t is offline  
Likes For k8t:
Old 04-10-22, 07:57 PM
  #12  
fooferdoggie 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 1,655
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 463 Post(s)
Liked 573 Times in 345 Posts
I did butterfly bars on ours but I could nto find a mirror that worked very well so I went to straight with bar ends all in nice soft bar tape. really feels good. the fist is my regular bike but the tandem is the same.


fooferdoggie is offline  
Old 04-14-22, 11:40 AM
  #13  
Tomm Willians
Senior Member
 
Tomm Willians's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Nevada County, California
Posts: 590

Bikes: Subject to change at any given moment but currently is...... Colnago Mapei, Colnago C40, Wilier Triestina Carbon, Wilier Triestina Ramato, Follis 472, Peugeot PX60, Razesa, Orbea Terra, Soma Pescadero and 1/2 owner of a Santana tandem.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 247 Post(s)
Liked 579 Times in 185 Posts
Originally Posted by k8t View Post
Thanks for all this information. Very helpful!

We decided to start by changing out to a slightly different stem that raises the handlebars a bit and brings them just slightly closer. So far so good, but we haven't been out on any long rides yet.

We really like this bike. It fits us perfectly and we love the quality of the ride. We'll try anything we can before going through the hassle of selling this one only to buy another. It's very challenging to find a bike to satisfy 2 people and we're sticking with this one for as long as we can.
Not sure how close you are to the Bay Area but we had our Santana Sovereign tricked out by a shop that specializes in nothing but tandems. The guys name is Jason Strahm at Tandem Outfitters. He can likely provide you with a number of options to your issue.
Tomm Willians is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 10:05 PM
  #14  
k8t
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: N. California
Posts: 18

Bikes: Novarra Randonee, Specialized Dolce Elite, Santana Tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Thanks so much for this info regarding Jason at Tandem Outfitters. We are within reach of the Bay Area and will definitly
think about giving him a call.
Cheers!
k8t is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.