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Mountain bike style "drops" for touring?

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Mountain bike style "drops" for touring?

Old 10-29-16, 11:23 AM
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Mountain bike style "drops" for touring?

I test rode a used Salsa Fargo today which, as I'm sure most of you know, is essentially a mountain bike designed around drop bars.

I was a little surprised by how much I liked the way it rode. Obviously riding around a parking lot is not the same as touring but I thought that the basic idea which is a flared handlebar with shallow drops was very comfortable; plus the drops are closer to saddle height than is usually the case with more "conventional" drop bars and the tops are a bit higher than most people normally set their bars. This is not a particularly aerodynamic tuck but hey a touring bike tends to catch a lot of wind with all the bags.

I thought the set up could be the bees knees for long distance touring and it's a relatively cheap mod to replace the bars and/or get a new stem that places them a bit higher.

Has anyone toured using this sort of handlebar set up for long distance touring?
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Old 10-29-16, 11:46 AM
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I installed a set of flared One One Midge bars and rode with them for about a year. Initially I liked them as they placed the drops slightly higher, at a little more user friendly angle and made the brake levers more reachable from the drops. The canted brake hoods didn't bother me at first but then I started getting squirmy trying to get comfortable on them. I've returned to using more conventionally shaped Salsa Cowbells. The drops for me are just used for occasional fast downhills. Improving that position slightly at the expense of compromising the hood position (used most of the time) was a step in the wrong direction.

Midge with canted hoods...




Cowbell with plumb hoods...



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Old 10-29-16, 12:47 PM
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I tried a bike with some bars where the drops were wider than normal for maybe ... less than a minute? I am not sure the model, maybe cowchipper? The thought was running through my head that drops are intended for aerodynamics and moving your hands out wider is not very aerodynamic. I decided that I am sticking with normal drop bars.
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Old 10-29-16, 01:15 PM
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Love my Woodchippers, nice wide tops, good control when riding the drops.
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Old 10-29-16, 01:35 PM
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I really want to like them and have tried a few pairs, but it just doesn't work for me. Same with the Jones bars. I went in with zero doubt that these unconventional setups would be awesome, and came out a year later defaulting back to conventional bars.

I tour on titanium flat bars with 12º backsweep on my Pugsley. Just flat bars. And i'm now in the process of building up a new bike from a bare frame, and I went with Ritchey Classic handlebars. No flare, no fanciness, just a regular pair of drop handlebars.
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Old 10-29-16, 03:19 PM
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A not-bad alternative to flared drops:

Sparrow Bar 490/520/560 | SOMA Fabrications

I haven't used them yet, but have used several other alt bars, and these look like a winner. Diameters are more intended for MTB components, but for MTB touring or bikepacking, could be perfect.
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Old 10-29-16, 03:34 PM
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Wow, those look like a pair of flipped over north roads type vintage bars like you would find on any 70's Era Raleigh cruiser/town bike. Very common to flip em and make a clubman or pathè style fixie.
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Old 10-29-16, 04:50 PM
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Origin8 Gary Sweep OS bars are fantastic.
I could ride 50mi a day on them over and again. Shallow drop, sweep for great stability, and I when properly angled so the drops are level with the ground the drops, hoods, ramps, and tops are all comfortable.

The angle of flare isn't as severe as woodchipper bars either as those are too extreme for me.
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Old 10-29-16, 05:26 PM
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You might also consider randonneur bars as an alternative. Similar, but different, as they say. Rather than just flaring the end of the drops, the whole handlebar is canted at the end of the flats.

The drops on both bars are fairly shallow.
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Old 10-29-16, 06:34 PM
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I use both Salsa Cowchippers and Woodchippers. Prefer Cowchippers now.
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Old 10-29-16, 08:02 PM
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bikemig, The major reason I don't use a dirt drop style of handle bar is the angle of the brake levers. The hoods just aren't comfortable. YMMV

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Old 10-29-16, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Wow, those look like a pair of flipped over north roads type vintage bars like you would find on any 70's Era Raleigh cruiser/town bike. Very common to flip em and make a clubman or pathè style fixie.
Sure do. If they are steel bars you can use your existing MTB shifters on them because the diameter of the steel bar and the MTB bar is the same. Ditto for steel dropbars. I know some people who use a steel dropbar and their original MTB shifters.

Cheers
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Old 10-29-16, 10:01 PM
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I am one of those guys at the moment!

I'm doing a dropbar conversion on my mtb and haven't found a set of barend shifters so I am just using my Shimano RF shifter/brakes on the flats until I do. Works, but no hoods.

I don't want to pay 100 for bar ends and hope some will magically appear. As it is I have brifters for an 11 speed (my bike is 7) and new drop brakes and interupters. I also have a set of Shimano turkey levers I'd gladly use for the stem but they wont fit a larger steerer tube.

Grrr...
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Old 10-30-16, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
...I also have a set of Shimano turkey levers I'd gladly use for the stem but ....
What are turkey levers? Something to use on Thanksgiving day (if you are in a country that celebrates that)?
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Old 10-30-16, 10:06 AM
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Sorry, stem shifters. I call them turkey levers because they look like a pair of turkey drumsticks.

They are a good alternative to bar ends for people rebuilding 7 speed drops. Otherwise it's Shimano 8 speed BE's and hoping they index or you have a very expensive set of friction shifters.

https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/B001CZQRW2

Last edited by Happy Feet; 10-30-16 at 10:12 AM.
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Old 10-30-16, 10:17 AM
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tube diameter of the Bars in question (other than the center bulge) 22.2 or 23.8mm?
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Old 10-30-16, 11:33 AM
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That is a very good question. Imagine getting a pair of older barends and having them not fit the modern drops or visa versa.
It looks like 22.2. They are modern AL Ritchey plumb bars.

This whole conversion has been an exercise in frustration for me I must say. Back in the day the cheap beaters we rode were 10speed's with drops and when MTB's came along with more and lower gears I didn't look back so I've been a flats guy for a long time. I decided to revisit drops on my 90's era MTB but am finding conversion not so straight forward.

Brifters won't work on 7speeds (at least not the ones I have). Stem shifters won't fit a modern threadless stem. Bar end shifters are hard to come by and/or otherwise expensive. They don't make 7 speed so you have to use an 8 speed...

As it is, I fit my current brake/shifters on the bars to see if I like them (the bars) and have all the parts for the full conversion as soon as I figure out the shifting. I may have to fabricate a narrow stem portion that fits to the modern stem or just bite the bullet and buy the bar ends.

However, other than not being able to rest against the hoods the bars work remarkably well. Just like my trekking bars but with drops instead of the seconds set of flats.
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Old 10-30-16, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Sorry, stem shifters. I call them turkey levers because they look like a pair of turkey drumsticks.

They are a good alternative to bar ends for people rebuilding 7 speed drops. Otherwise it's Shimano 8 speed BE's and hoping they index or you have a very expensive set of friction shifters.

https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/B001CZQRW2
A friend of mine uses 8 speed Shimano bar end shifters on his 7 speed system. He told me that 7 and 8 have the same cable pull.

But, according to this website, my friend is wrong, not the same cable pull, but quite close to the same (2.8 and 2.9mm) so that is probably why they work on his bike.
Art's Cyclery Blog » Science Behind the Magic | Drivetrain Compatibility

Thus, if the system when on the middle sprocket on the 7 speed is adjusted right, the derailleur when on the innermost and outermost sprockets would only be off by 0.3mm.

He is using a Suntour derailleur, maybe that helps too, he said the Suntour uses the same cable as Shimano derailleurs but if they are exactly the same I suspect that was just luck.

On the rando style bike I built up last winter, I am running a Campy 10 speed brifter for the rear with Shimano 8 speed XT derailleur, XT M752 freehub and Sram 8 speed cassette. The mix of components works great. You will note on the tables from the link I cited that Campy 10 and Shimano 8 speed both have the same 2.8mm cable pull per gear.
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Old 10-30-16, 12:59 PM
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I have been touring on Lucy for almost 30 years -
Trek 8000 with drops added.
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Old 10-30-16, 01:30 PM
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Thanks for the link MSN. I must confess that the details of index shifting are new to me as I have preferred friction until recently. Suits my pea sized brain but I am trying to move into the 20th century...

Lucy looks like a sturdy lady!
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Old 10-30-16, 03:51 PM
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Microshift sells 7 speed brifters and they are like 50 bucks. They are the same brand that Nashbar used to sell for 150 and got 5 stars over there.
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Old 10-30-16, 04:00 PM
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I have Mountain Drops. Riv drug up some NOS a few years back. Legendary bar in MTB world. I am really broad shouldered, so I never really see the point to the angle of attack I get off those midget bars they sell for road bikes. These are wide, conventional drops, and they are designed for off road conditions, heat treated Al. The intention wasn't to create a wider bar for larger riders, it was to make the bars drops, with the ergo and wind cutting of drops, but with the leverage for off road.

Another set of bars I bought are a set Thorn had for a while. actually I only go the bars... I will have to make my own mounting. They are super wide left and right halves designed for bikes that use the Rohloff shifter. They are not designed for extra wide so to make them wide I will make the dog bone out of chromo, and about 6 inches. So the unsupported section is as short as it would be on any standard bars.
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Old 10-30-16, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
This whole conversion has been an exercise in frustration for me I must say. Back in the day the cheap beaters we rode were 10speed's with drops and when MTB's came along with more and lower gears I didn't look back so I've been a flats guy for a long time. I decided to revisit drops on my 90's era MTB but am finding conversion not so straight forward.

Brifters won't work on 7speeds (at least not the ones I have). Stem shifters won't fit a modern threadless stem. Bar end shifters are hard to come by and/or otherwise expensive. They don't make 7 speed so you have to use an 8 speed...

As it is, I fit my current brake/shifters on the bars to see if I like them (the bars) and have all the parts for the full conversion as soon as I figure out the shifting. I may have to fabricate a narrow stem portion that fits to the modern stem or just bite the bullet and buy the bar ends.

However, other than not being able to rest against the hoods the bars work remarkably well. Just like my trekking bars but with drops instead of the seconds set of flats.
I know the feeling. Its how i feel each time i kludge together a frame on the cheap. Its a point of pride to succeed which is why i dont just buy matching stuff thats new for some builds.

As for your frustration...why not SunTour barcons? They are friction which with a 7sp cassette is perfect. Either the old friction barcons or the accushift barcons set to friction mode.

A lot of Microshift bar end shifters come as friction or index rear.

Or these-
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Old 10-30-16, 05:48 PM
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I did not see those. Thanks for the link.
I will probably go with barends eventually as I like the aesthetic of them. Just waiting for a set to appear without paying full retail.

Yes, for me too part of the fun of having several projects is not feeling like I have to push on any one of them and those moments when you discover a solution. It's about the process as well as the result and i like the idea personally of rehabing something someone else sees as junk.

Just picked up a 1975 SA 3 speed Raleigh for a clubman style build. Happy happy! How about a 26" 40h S.A. hub...

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Old 10-30-16, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by MassiveD View Post
I have Mountain Drops. Riv drug up some NOS a few years back. Legendary bar in MTB world. I am really broad shouldered, so I never really see the point to the angle of attack I get off those midget bars they sell for road bikes. These are wide, conventional drops, and they are designed for off road conditions, heat treated Al. The intention wasn't to create a wider bar for larger riders, it was to make the bars drops, with the ergo and wind cutting of drops, but with the leverage for off road.

Another set of bars I bought are a set Thorn had for a while. actually I only go the bars... I will have to make my own mounting. They are super wide left and right halves designed for bikes that use the Rohloff shifter. They are not designed for extra wide so to make them wide I will make the dog bone out of chromo, and about 6 inches. So the unsupported section is as short as it would be on any standard bars.
That is the first thing I noticed switching from trekking to these drops. They are narrower and I can really feel the loss of leverage. I'm hoping its just an adaptation thing.
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