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Changing Handlebar Setup on Surly LHT from drop to 'Moustach' / 'Dutch M'

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Changing Handlebar Setup on Surly LHT from drop to 'Moustach' / 'Dutch M'

Old 08-28-19, 07:37 PM
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Changing Handlebar Setup on Surly LHT from drop to 'Moustach' / 'Dutch M'

Hey all, so, a few years ago I was in an accident and it's not comfortable to ride drop handlebars anymore.


I'm looking to get a fairly upright ride out of the bike.


I'm thinking that using an adjustable riser stem with a 'Moustach' shaped handlebars.


Problem is, it also means new brakes and new shifters...


Has anyone done this? What parts did you use?
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Old 08-28-19, 07:43 PM
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I certainly havent used moustache bars before, but in the end, only you know what bar height works best for your individual post accident needs, and if something higher would be better for you.
Jones bars or those sort of much farther back hand positions
trekking or butterfly bars, multiple hand positions and can be set up high on a LHT with a long steerer tube.

in the end, only you know what limitations you have and what would work better.

your thoughts on other bar types?
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Old 08-28-19, 07:45 PM
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I haven't done this but to get the more upright position one could use a stem extender, perhaps in combination with an adjustable stem. Also, perhaps, a drop-bar with shallower drop? Deluxe option would be a custom stem though that's about $200-$300.

Nothing wrong with converting to moustache/flat bar of course but new brakes & shifters might cost more. OTOH some advantages to the flat bar switch--that gives access to wider variety of drivetrain & brake options.
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Old 08-28-19, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by lattes
Problem is, it also means new brakes and new shifters...
Most of the moustache bars I've seen have road brake levers and bar end shifters.

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Old 08-28-19, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
I certainly havent used moustache bars before, but in the end, only you know what bar height works best for your individual post accident needs, and if something higher would be better for you.
Jones bars or those sort of much farther back hand positions
trekking or butterfly bars, multiple hand positions and can be set up high on a LHT with a long steerer tube.

in the end, only you know what limitations you have and what would work better.

your thoughts on other bar types?
Actually we did this for my wife because she couldn't brake from the hoods. You do not need to change anything on a LHT. That was one reason we chose that solution. Also I have mustachio bars on a semi folding bike and they are so damn comfortable, not to mention stylish, if that is something you care about.
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Old 08-29-19, 03:17 AM
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As mentioned and pictured, bar-end shifters could still be used. Trigger shifters may be more comfortable depending on your bike fit, handlebar to leg clearance, etc. Depending on the number of gears in the rear of your bike, that might require a new rear derailer. If you have 9sp or less, you can use your current derailer with a different style of shifter(for Shimano). You can get brake levers pretty cheaply so that your hands can still be on the flat, rearward part of the bar. I would recommend a bar with some rise to it rather than an adjustable stem with the rise. That will keep your bar set-up more stable. Those adjustables tend to flex. As mentioned, a stem extender may be an option too. You may need new cables, but you can generally find those pretty cheaply on the discount sites like jensonusa, etc. Use some bar wrap or classy grips that compliment your bike well and itíll be a pretty nice looking ride.

Last edited by 3speed; 08-29-19 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 08-29-19, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by waddo
Actually we did this for my wife because she couldn't brake from the hoods. You do not need to change anything on a LHT. That was one reason we chose that solution. Also I have mustachio bars on a semi folding bike and they are so damn comfortable, not to mention stylish, if that is something you care about.
I certainly agree on the style aspect, they do look nest.
Funny, I'm drawing a blank on your bikes in the various videos, I just recall the lovely landscapes and the nice easy flow of the editing.
Im always impressed with how many trips you two do together, and the all the work you do for the videos- they must be nice memories of your trips.
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Old 08-29-19, 06:04 AM
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I built mine up using trekking bars then switched to Velo Orange Crazy Bars. They have been great!
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Old 08-29-19, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
I certainly agree on the style aspect, they do look nest.
Funny, I'm drawing a blank on your bikes in the various videos, I just recall the lovely landscapes and the nice easy flow of the editing.
Im always impressed with how many trips you two do together, and the all the work you do for the videos- they must be nice memories of your trips.
The bikes don't feature predominatly in the videos, usually just a back shot of Yuki leading the way. So you would badly notice what they are.
Actually we don't take that many trips: basically three real holidays a year of about 12 days and a few long weekends. And yes, the videos take a lot of work. 2-3 hours per minute of video all things included. We don't have a TV so we watch them as our entertainment. Actually after a while the videos seem to replace the actual memories!
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Old 08-29-19, 08:50 AM
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I never ran drops on my LHT. I set it up with a flat bar, then with Albatross bars. Tried trekking bars, but preferred the Albatross. Did run mustache bars on another bike for a while, and they were fine, too. As has been mentioned, don't make assumptions about compatibility, check. Inner diameter of your drops vs. mustache will tell you about bar end compatibility ; outer diameter will tell about clamped on parts. There's a good chance that you'll need to redo the cable and housing so that the lengths match the new bars. Also you may want a longer stem. I have used a couple of adjustable stems, and I've found them to develop play (plus they're a little heavier than a regular stem). I think they're good for figuring out the angle you want to run, but in the end, I always switched to a normal stem once I had an idea of the stem length and angle I want to deal with. These days I don't bother. I'd rather have a couple of spare stems that didn't work out, but might work on a future build, then an adjustable one that I'll never want to use long term.

There are a lot of non-drop bar LHTs out there. It can definitely be done, and it shouldn't be a complicated process once you figure out which parts are compatible and which need to be replaced.
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Old 08-29-19, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by waddo
The bikes don't feature predominatly in the videos, usually just a back shot of Yuki leading the way. So you would badly notice what they are.
Actually we don't take that many trips: basically three real holidays a year of about 12 days and a few long weekends. And yes, the videos take a lot of work. 2-3 hours per minute of video all things included. We don't have a TV so we watch them as our entertainment. Actually after a while the videos seem to replace the actual memories!
Ya, knowing how much time editing takes and being an editing fan (film lover) going back to doing some basic film editing back in the day, 8 and 16mm with tape and all that, I tend not to do any videos on my trips.
I worked as a photographer for a long time, so am a good stills editor, and do the odd crappy video clips which really are fun for the sounds and that, but Ive predominantly used stills and writing in my trip journals.
I am always so impressed by trip vids, but tend to shy away from getting into it, as I prefer to live the moment, and do the still thing as all my old habits are with stills. I also enjoy the writing down of my thoughts and observations on a trip, but even that and photo editing does take up time every evening....but as you say, really fun to look back on.
Anyway, we are discussing bars here. So yes, I guess I just see your bikes the odd times leaning up near the tents or a wall or whatever.
happy riding
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Old 08-29-19, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E
I never ran drops on my LHT. I set it up with a flat bar, then with Albatross bars. Tried trekking bars, but preferred the Albatross. Did run mustache bars on another bike for a while, and they were fine, too. As has been mentioned, don't make assumptions about compatibility, check. Inner diameter of your drops vs. mustache will tell you about bar end compatibility ; outer diameter will tell about clamped on parts. There's a good chance that you'll need to redo the cable and housing so that the lengths match the new bars. Also you may want a longer stem. I have used a couple of adjustable stems, and I've found them to develop play (plus they're a little heavier than a regular stem). I think they're good for figuring out the angle you want to run, but in the end, I always switched to a normal stem once I had an idea of the stem length and angle I want to deal with. These days I don't bother. I'd rather have a couple of spare stems that didn't work out, but might work on a future build, then an adjustable one that I'll never want to use long term.

There are a lot of non-drop bar LHTs out there. It can definitely be done, and it shouldn't be a complicated process once you figure out which parts are compatible and which need to be replaced.
Numerous times Ive looked at friends bikes who have them, and I agree with everything you say. They always have a bit of play, are heavy, and I find them pretty damn ugly to boot!
Looking back at it, they have always been on bikes that were too big for the riders, and are an attempt to salvage some comfort for someone being sold a bike a bit too big....
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Old 08-29-19, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
Ya, knowing how much time editing takes and being an editing fan (film lover) going back to doing some basic film editing back in the day, 8 and 16mm with tape and all that, I tend not to do any videos on my trips.
I worked as a photographer for a long time, so am a good stills editor, and do the odd crappy video clips which really are fun for the sounds and that, but Ive predominantly used stills and writing in my trip journals.
I am always so impressed by trip vids, but tend to shy away from getting into it, as I prefer to live the moment, and do the still thing as all my old habits are with stills. I also enjoy the writing down of my thoughts and observations on a trip, but even that and photo editing does take up time every evening....but as you say, really fun to look back on.
Anyway, we are discussing bars here. So yes, I guess I just see your bikes the odd times leaning up near the tents or a wall or whatever.
happy riding
A final note on this digression. Actually I share most points with you: I started out doing photography, studied it, had my own darkroom, moved up to digital etc. Also I used to keep a daily journal of long hitch-hiking trips with no photos as all. The reason I moved to video—and why I think you might continue to ponder the idea—is because the final result is jut so much more powerful than photos. That fact that we can hear the birds chipping is almost enough to justify the change. But I think my style of video in particular, using music so constitutionally, creates a very powerful and emotive result. And more important for me is that the videos do actually become a replacement for aged memories--so you better have a good video! So don't close the door to the idea of making vids is all I am saying
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Old 08-29-19, 05:54 PM
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Stem Comparison Tool | yojimg.net

Here's an online tool to help you determine how stem angle and length will change bar placement. I was miserable in the drops of my LHT with its stock bars. I bought bars with less drop and reach, then spent some time experimenting with this website to decide which stem to buy. It worked out perfectly for me, I'm now comfortable in all the bar positions. I would use this regardless of which bars I would be installing, as a matter of fact I have one bike that will likely end up with mustache bars eventually, I will certainly use this tool to help decide which stem I'll need to put them where I want them.
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Old 08-29-19, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ober27
Stem Comparison Tool | yojimg.net

Here's an online tool to help you determine how stem angle and length will change bar placement. I was miserable in the drops of my LHT with its stock bars. I bought bars with less drop and reach, then spent some time experimenting with this website to decide which stem to buy. It worked out perfectly for me, I'm now comfortable in all the bar positions. I would use this regardless of which bars I would be installing, as a matter of fact I have one bike that will likely end up with mustache bars eventually, I will certainly use this tool to help decide which stem I'll need to put them where I want them.
Ya, I've seen that before, it's really neat. Never used it, but wish I had seen it years ago screwing around buying stems eyeballing them against my bike and kind of guessing.

Thanks for putting that up
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Old 08-30-19, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by waddo
Actually we don't take that many trips: basically three real holidays a year of about 12 days and a few long weekends.
Haha. For most in the US, that sounds like a dream. Throw in universal healthcare and I can't figure out why my fellow citizens... Crap, wrong forum. Please keep up the videos so we can live vicariously through you.
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Old 08-30-19, 07:01 AM
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I’ve got moustache bars on my single speed. While I love the classic look, they don’t let me ride in many varying positions. I have trekker butterfly bars too - they give more positions but mine won’t accept road levers. There are quite a few drop bars with extra shallow drop these days and you might check into those (woodchipper, midge, far bar) for more hand positions. You'll need a higher rise stem. The Jones H-Bar seems popular for upright riding right now.
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Old 08-31-19, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by veloz
Iíve got moustache bars on my single speed. While I love the classic look, they donít let me ride in many varying positions. I have trekker butterfly bars too - they give more positions but mine wonít accept road levers. There are quite a few drop bars with extra shallow drop these days and you might check into those (woodchipper, midge, far bar) for more hand positions. You'll need a higher rise stem. The Jones H-Bar seems popular for upright riding right now.
I can certainly attest to how my shallow drop Salsa Cowbells, combined with a long steerer-ie bars higher up physically than other drop bars Ive had, all combine to give me a very comfortable drop position.

the reason dropbars are still so great is the multiple hand positions, which is so nice for hands and neck and back "muscle change ups" and shallow drop bars up at a higher position really are a lot more comfortable than lower down drop bars.

At least the bike is a LHT which probably has a long steerer, but who knows the specifics of size for this person, let alone the physical issues that are specific to them.

plus I realize that spending money on new bars and stem etc "just to try it out" is probably not something they would want to do, in case it wasnt a good fit.....
and lets face it, hardly any bikes come stock with high dropbars, so not easy to try options out on bikes in stores.....
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Old 10-14-19, 10:10 PM
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These are some generic $30 bars from my LBS. Similar to the Choco bars, a bit narrower and shorter reach but w/50mm rise. Just so comfy!!!






These are the Rivendell Choco bars. A bit pricey but worth every penny. For me the most comfortable bars ever! Several positions, I've come over from the dark side.



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Old 10-16-19, 09:54 PM
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The Choco bars look interesting: plenty of room to mount accessories near the stem for one thing. Flat bars can make maintaining cables easier. I recently had to replace a brake cable on a drop-bar bike (brake & gear cables under tape) so it took extra time.
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Old 10-17-19, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan
The Choco bars look interesting: plenty of room to mount accessories near the stem for one thing. Flat bars can make maintaining cables easier. I recently had to replace a brake cable on a drop-bar bike (brake & gear cables under tape) so it took extra time.
The Chocos take a bit of time to get used to, about 5 minutes. They offer a lot of positions and options for grips/tape/shifters ect. The stem length and rise is the key to fitting them for your particular needs. I am actually going to transplant them over to the ST600 as I've morphed The SM500 back to a trail bike. I have some interesting off road bars on it now.

Cheers, MAC
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Old 10-19-19, 10:37 PM
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A couple of reasons to look for another solution

I thought I wasnít flexible enough to ride drop bars, so, when I got an LHT some years ago, I set it up with mustache bars.

Some drawbacks to mustache bars that werenít obvious before Iíd put in some miles:

1. If you were riding on the hoods and not in the drops, mustache bars wonít get you much more upright than drop bars, because mustache bars donít come back very far. To get more upright, you will probably have to switch to a bar-type that comes further back, like an albatross bar or similar.
2. This was the killer for me: Even if your drop bars were quite wide, they were probably no wider than 44 cm. Mustache bars and all similar bars are much wider. (Nitto mustache bars are 51.5 cm across.) I found that when I rode more than 15 or 20 miles, my elbows would start to hurt quite badly. That pain went away when I learned to ride on narrower drop bars.

If you havenít already tried a shorter stem to get a more upright posture, try that. Maybe you can find a fork with an uncut steerer tube and get your handlebars higher. (Be careful, though, as LHTs switch from 26 inch wheels to 700c wheels above a certain size, so unless you are riding the Disc Trucker, you need to make sure you get the right stem.) Or you can do what I did when I just couldnít get my LHT to work for me size-wise: I bit the bullet and got a custom frame, and have never regretted it; that frame quite literally changed my life.

I hope you find a solution that works for you.
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Old 10-20-19, 02:09 AM
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FYI Surly not too long ago introduced a drop bar with more rise called the Truck Stop Bar which might (or might not) be a solution. Here's the info:

https://surlybikes.com/parts/truck_stop_bar

Designed to combine whatís good about drop bars with the benefits of a riser, the Truck Stop Bar offers welcome relief to the road-weary traveler. Just like with a standard drop bar, youíll have multiple hand positions at your disposal so you can stay comfortable and in control for the long haul down the Big Slab. And if itís a more relaxed, upright riding position youíre after, 30mm of rise will get you there. So, if youíve accidentally or intentionally cut your steer tube too short, hereís your chance at redemption. Also suitable for taller riders whoíve exhausted all other options for rise, it comes in three widths of 42, 45, and 48cm. Lightweight aluminum construction, CB radio not included.

Specifications:

Material: Aluminum
Clamp Diameter: 31.8mm
Width: 42cm, 45cm, or 48cm
Rise: 30mm
Sweep Angle: 12 degrees
Color: E.D. coated black
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