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90’s MTB Conversion…..Handlebars

Old 06-07-23, 08:56 AM
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90’s MTB Conversion…..Handlebars

I own a 90s Schwinn mountain bike in very good condition.

I have added road tires to it, and I am considering doing a couple of modifications to make it better for credit card touring, rails to trails, etc.

One item I am seriously considering changing is the handlebar. The current handlebar is straight and flat. I am considering adding one that has a bit of rise and a bit of back sweep.

I found a brand online that comes in the option of 20 mm, 40 mm, or a 60 mm rise and has a 10° back sweep.

How much rise would be recommended by you tourers here that would give me a little more comfort, but not be so upright that I would be taking on too much wind, and is the 10° back sweep good?

Any other comments and suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks

Last edited by Basstar; 06-07-23 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 06-07-23, 09:03 AM
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I converted a 1998 Schwinn Moab to drop bars from flat. Even before the conversion I put a high-rise stem on it that brought it up a couple of inches. Most would not want it this high, but it works for me. Point is, everyone is different, and the rise and sweep of the bars is going to completely depend upon what is comfortable for you. If your bike's headset is threadless, it is easy to change stems to change the position of the bars.
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Old 06-07-23, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Basstar
Ione a 90s Schwinn mountain bike in very good condition.

I have added road tires to it, and I am considering doing a couple of modifications to make it better for credit card, touring, rails to trails, etc.

One item I am seriously considering changing is the handlebar. The current handlebar is straight and flat. I am considering adding one that has a bit of rise and a bit of back sweep.

I found a brand online that comes in the option of 20 mm, 40 mm, or a 60 mm rise and has a 10° back sweep.

how much rise would be recommended by you tourers here that would give me a little more comfort, but not be so upright that I would be taking on too much wind, and is the 10° back sweep good?

any other comments and suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks
Generally the 90s mtb riding position is pretty leaned forward and IMO terrible for long days touring. A shorter stem and swept back bars with rise can really fix this. Lets say the current stem is 100mm long. For me I'd do something like swap to 60mm stem and put on these bars. https://velo-orange.com/collections/...ts/granola-bar My touring speeds are pretty slow and I care much more for back and neck comfort than for aero considerations, even tho I do some long days. Once thats fixed I think a 90's mtb is a great platform for touring.

Thats just a notion tho. No can can direct you to specific fit dimensions without seeing you on the bike in person. And even then its about how it feels to you over hours on the bike.
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Old 06-07-23, 10:46 AM
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Thanks

Thanks so much and my apologies for the typos.

I posted this originally without my glasses and holy cow, there were a ton of typos.
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Old 06-07-23, 11:04 AM
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It is impossible to say how high you should have the bars. I used to have a spare adjustable stem that I loaned to friends to try out different bars so that they could figure out what length and angle stems they should buy once they got their fit straightened out.

If there is a bike charity or bike coop in your community, sometimes they have a bin of used stems. You could look to see if they have any bars you like and if you are lucky they might have an adjustable stem.
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Old 06-08-23, 01:26 PM
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My favorite touring "flat" bars would be the Koga Denham bars or the Velo Orange Crazy Bars V2 would be an excellent choice. The Surly Moloko Bars are also quite comfortable and would work nicely for touring especially if you want to mount a little bar bag.
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Old 06-09-23, 06:59 AM
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given that you are in the "experimentation" period of wanting to try different bars, if you are not keen to spend $150 on some bars that you dont know how you will like them, take a peek around for some slight backswept used bars or inexpensive new generic bars. Around here one can find bars for 25 or 30 bucks, mtb bars, but with some sweepback, and from my personal experience, having sweepback makes a real difference for wrist comfort. You can also add on some inexpensive bar ends, and this can give you that extra hand position. One of my bikes has this setup, inexpensive mtb bars with slight sweepback and bar ends and it is much more comfortable than the original straight mtb bar that came with the bike back in the 90s. Ive also changed the stem a few times with this bike, also to get the bars up and back nearer to me. My bars also have some rise to them, which for a 90s bike with a low front end, is a real good thing.

As noted, no one can tell you how to set your bars, but a stem change and diff bars will make a big difference, you may just have to fiddle around with different stuff to find what is best. The only way to really know though is riding and living with a setup for a while and listening to your body, no one else.
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Old 06-09-23, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
given that you are in the "experimentation" period of wanting to try different bars, if you are not keen to spend $150 on some bars that you dont know how you will like them, take a peek around for some slight backswept used bars or inexpensive new generic bars. Around here one can find bars for 25 or 30 bucks, mtb bars, but with some sweepback, and from my personal experience, having sweepback makes a real difference for wrist comfort. You can also add on some inexpensive bar ends, and this can give you that extra hand position. One of my bikes has this setup, inexpensive mtb bars with slight sweepback and bar ends and it is much more comfortable than the original straight mtb bar that came with the bike back in the 90s. Ive also changed the stem a few times with this bike, also to get the bars up and back nearer to me. My bars also have some rise to them, which for a 90s bike with a low front end, is a real good thing.

As noted, no one can tell you how to set your bars, but a stem change and diff bars will make a big difference, you may just have to fiddle around with different stuff to find what is best. The only way to really know though is riding and living with a setup for a while and listening to your body, no one else.
Thanks.

That was my thinking and the bars I found are around $30.

My goal is to build this bike to see if I’ll use it and like this style of riding before I spend a ton of cash on something new.

And I love the bike and I has a spillage in my heart so who knows, if I get it like I want it there may well be no need to upgrade to something new.

Question: Is my thinking correct that if I go to a higher and a bit wider bar I’ll also need to change out the brake and shifter cables to some longer ones.

Thanks
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Old 06-09-23, 07:38 AM
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most likely you'll have to change housings and cables, but you'll know right after you change out the bars. At least with mtb bars, other than taking off the grips, switching out the levers are fast to do. Just note the routing of the housings, take a photo is handy. You dont want any binding when turning the bars, and too tight curves in especially the shifter housing is never good. If not sure, you can ask at a local bike shop and buy the housings and cables from them if doing it on your own.
If you've never changed housings and cables, buying a good dedicated cable cutter is a very useful tool to have for future bike work, but if you arent interested in doing it on your own, a shop will do it at x cost no problem.
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Old 06-09-23, 09:49 AM
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Might consider Trekking handlebars which are not infrequently used for such conversions as they offer more hand placement options. As to the height, angle or distance away of any bar, way to variable from rider to rider to seek advise of others.
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Old 06-10-23, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Basstar
I own a 90s Schwinn mountain bike....

One item I am seriously considering changing is the handlebar. The current handlebar is straight and flat. I am considering adding one that has a bit of rise and a bit of back sweep.
check your stem and bar dimensions to confirm the 21st century bars you're looking at will fit the 20th century stem and components.

consider one of these old-fangled brahma bars with integrated barends from way back in the 90's. combine with a new stem - shorter length, bigger rise - and your current cables and housings should still be usable.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/175763518267

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/3egAA...~J/s-l1600.jpg
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Old 06-10-23, 07:35 AM
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these Kalloy bars are dirt cheap got them from theBikesmiths.com and were like $16. they are actually pretty nice bars and I wanted to try the style before committing to more expensive bars but actually 100% happy with the quality.



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Old 06-10-23, 10:00 PM
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Trekking bars are the only bars I will tour on. For more causal use I’ve grabbed various cheap bars with around an inch of rise and maybe 30 degree sweep. I like this configuration. Bars are fun. Just buy cheap things and experiment. My trekking bars cost about $30 and I doubt I’ll ever upgrade them.

Age, flexibility, fitness, length of rides, riding style, aesthetic taste, frame size, stem size, top tube length, head tube length, body proportion, and more will determine what is most comfortable. With so many variables you should probably experiment.
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Old 06-20-23, 11:18 AM
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I used Jones Bars (the 2.5 riser version of the loop). They are pretty OK. Sweep back nicely. Lots of hand positions. Can accommodate a small bag in the loop. Eventually having quill adapter + the threadless stem + bars clamped = on my nerves.
I got some bullmoose bars and turned the purple RockHopper into my trail bike.

The second pic is my Panasonic with some VO bars. Milan, I think. This is my first season with them. Pretty OK. The SunTour shifters got on my nerves until I put them under the bar, kind of reversed Jimi Hendrix style shifting. I still gotta work out cable clearance for that bar bag. My first solution worked, but was not elegant.
I'm debating switching to Albatross bars, which sweep back even more.






VO Milan O bars
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Old 06-20-23, 11:35 AM
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addition note

additional info: there's a whole BullMoose bar thread going.
If you want to go spendy on a single piece handle bar RivBike sells them in the US. Maybe Merry Sales too. I do like mine. Here's a comparison of the Jones vs. NITTO BullMoose.
I'm about 45% certain that the new NITTOs from RivBike have more sweep back than the old, original BullMoose. -- and if you want to try BullMoose - double/triple verify the quill matches your bike. Seems like Ross Sold LOTS of trail bikes with 21.1mm quill, not 22.2mm.
Show me your bullmoose handlebar mountain bike

cheers.
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Old 06-24-23, 12:16 PM
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I like bars around level with the saddle. Perhaps try the rise that gets them level or just above the saddle. 10 degrees sweep or thereabouts works for me. Also consider bar ends for an alternative hand position.

Consider width as well. There is a fashion for wide flat bars just now. In contrast drop bars are usually around 44cm wide.

So after fitting the controls you can experiment with trying them inboard for a slightly narrower position. Don't shorten the bars until you are sure.
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Old 06-28-23, 07:45 AM
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It's nice to have bars that comeback, swept handlebars. The stem is something else. I see a few posts with the original stem, and newer bars. But the stem has to much reach. That's what I try to get away from. On this lucky find from a few months back somebody kept the original bars, but changed the stem. What a difference....

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Old 06-28-23, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by robow
Might consider Trekking handlebars which are not infrequently used for such conversions as they offer more hand placement options. As to the height, angle or distance away of any bar, way to variable from rider to rider to seek advise of others.
+ 1. I like trekking bars. They're inexpensive and designed for MTB shifters and brake levers will work. Trekking bar give plenty of hand positions which is a big plus when spending a long day in the saddle as well. I think of them as a drop bar squished flat. I installed a set on my 1992 Trek 950 and I find the set up very comfortable.
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