THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

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THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby xibizkit » Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:12 pm

Hey there fellow riders,

I am a brand new member (registered today actually) and i have decided rather than crumb around the internet picking up bit and pieces from the various "professionals" and advice gurus, to actually join a local forum.

Now i have been riding road for over a year now (skateboarding was too high impact and caused me more trouble than good tbh) and i have purchased in the last 8 months a carbon flat bar hybrid for $1000 for commuting around melbourne. I really like the drop down bars that proper road bikes sport and it has made me consider converting my flat bars to drop downs.

I have looked around the interwebs and havent really seen anything in the way of instructional videos on how-to-do-it-yourself. I know the basic components required would be (please correct me if im wrong) :
Drop down bars
Tape
Brake handles/shifters
Cables
Brakes

Swapping the handlebars is straight forward but im not 100% on hooking up the gears..

And thats where i turn to you.

Does anyone have any advice/done this before, that could help me do it?

Would love the feedback.

xibizkit
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by BNA » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:36 pm

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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby ironhanglider » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:36 pm

Hello and welcome.

You'll need new levers, cables 'housing and inners' and probably also a new stem. You may also need cable adaptors to make your brakes work with drop-bar levers.

The places where you typically hold drop bars are in front of where they would be on a flat bar, so this will give you a more stretched out position if you don't get a shorter stem. A position that makes you stretch out too much at the front will cause your neck and shoulder muscles to get sore.

I can feel n+1 coming on. (where n is the number of bikes you currently own)

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby il padrone » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:28 pm

+1

Conversion often seems pretty easy, but the components don't match up so well and the altered position cn present difficulties when riding. Just the price of a pair of drop-bar brifters would pretty much make an N+1 almost economical.
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby Duck! » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:49 pm

Not worth it really. Flat-bar frames are typically longer than "proper" road frames to compensate for not having the forward extension of the hoops on drop bars. adding such bars to an already longer frame would result in an uncomfortably long setup, unless you fitted a very short stem.

The price of components, primarily the shift/brake levers is quite high, and compatibility of some parts may pose issues. You would be better off buying a properly set up new bike; whether that means selling your current steed & using the new one as a do-it-all or keep the current bike for commuting & use the new one for fun is up to you.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby MattyK » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:40 pm

I'll counter and say I don't see too much harm in it. A new stem will probably be required as road bars are usually a different diameter to drop bars (with rare exception) so you should pick up a shorter stem to compensate for the aforementioned frame length.

What bike do you have, and what brakes and derailleurs does it have? You can find some relatively inexpensive shifters (eg Microshift). And if you have long-pull V-brakes you could use "Travel Agents" instead of changing the brakes. Though if you have mini-v brakes then you might be able to use the road levers directly.

eg:
http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/HBP ... allow_drop
http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/STO ... t_box_stem
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10 ... 1___202436
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby jaffaman » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:44 pm

Try googling origin 8 bicycle drop bar ends. Cheap option to give yourself a drop style set of hand positions. Could be worth trying to be sure you like the new positions before going the whole way or replacing the bike.
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby def » Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:50 pm

I have done this conversion on my wife's avanti blade a few years back. It has a mixture of shimano 9sp stuff with a triple on the front. I had to buy new levers (sora 9sp from memory), new brake callipers (more on that in a moment), new bars, new stem, cables and some bar tape.

It all went pretty easily except the brakes. I bought some tektro long reach brakes to replace the existing v-brakes. This was fine on the front but on the rear even the long reach brake was too short so I had to leave the v-brake on the rear. For this to work I had to also buy a cable adapter to match the pull of the road lever to the v-brake. It was a bit of a fiddle to get it installed but it works fine now. In retrospect I could have just got two cable adaptors and left the v-brakes front and rear.

She's very happy with the conversion and has no desire to go back to flat bar. The flat bar has eyelets for racks and mud guards that most off the shelf road bikes do not have (expect tourers). Gap in the market there I reckon.
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby xibizkit » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:16 pm

In response to MattyK i habe a "Flight MetroPro" apparently an aussie manufacturer through goldcross. (I kmow it wasnt the best choice but hey, it was a cheap option)

It sports 3x10 speed shimano tiagra gearing, not sure on exact specifics
And v-brakes
I know the head stem will have to be shortened ($25) due to the lenght of the frame being slightly longer i think. possobly even the headset aswell as the current stem is an adjustable one?
I am thinking of replacing the brakes completely

My issue is the gearing. Would the current deraullier and cables be able to be modified to be compatible say one of the relitavely inexpensive Mircoshift STI 3x10 speed shifters? I was considering shimano but for $250+ Microshift seem the more economical.

Everything else is simple enough to do it is just the compatibilty of the current gearing and setting it up so it will work!
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby MattyK » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:55 pm

Tektro Rx3 are a mini v and should work with drop bar levers ok

Terminology: the headset is the bearing that the steering pivots on. You won't need to change it. The stem is the bit that links the steerer shaft to the bars. You will need a new one due to the new bar diameter and you will probably want a shorter one to deal with the increased reach to the new bars.
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby ironhanglider » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:02 pm

Can I keep my current parts?

Rear derailler - yes. No modification required.
Front derailler - yes, if it is a tiagra as described. Front deraillers are at least relatively cheap.
Headset - yes. The fact that your current stem is adjustable won't affect the headset
Headstem - maybe. You say yours is adjustable. Can you change the angle enough to make it effectively shorter?
Cable housings - probably not. The likelihood is that the new path for the cables will mean that you will need longer cable housings.
Cable inners - probably not. If you need longer housings you will need one new inner. (You can re-use your current rear as a front)
Brakes - yes. I presume MattyK has found some specs.

Microshift levers seem like a good option to me.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby xibizkit » Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:43 pm

Just today i have found the stem actually has a split were the screws bolt down the flat bars. Looks like i have no choice but to spend money on the bike now anyways. So drop down bars it is. I am currently searching for the parts, the biggest cost is the shifters/brake levers (AT) approx $180 for the Mircoshift. I shallpost picture of the conversion process.

Would appreciate your feedback!
Cheers
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:27 pm

Sounds like a nice little project, looking forward to the before and after pics 8)
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby simmo71 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:30 am

Hi xibizkit,
I did this conversion to my Felt daily commuter a few weeks ago myself. I just couldn't afford new bike at present and like the sturdy frame for commuting with it's extra holes for fenders and racks.

I had upgraded the wheels a few months ago to Fulcrum Racing 5. This gave me scope to change the cassette from 7 speed to 105/10 speed($40). If you consider doing the same be aware the shifters will need to match(10 speed) as the index spacing is narrower as you increase the number of cogs. The chain will need to be 10 spd as well($25).

I used some bars from the shed and will source a shorter stem soon like Mattyk, as the short one I ordered somehow ended up on my partners bike!

I installed new Shimano 105 10 speed Triple shifters about $240. Sweet.
Like def I installed Tektro 559 long reach brakes $62. The front brakes were perfect, the rear only just reached and I will hone out the slots a few mm to extend the reach so the pads don't rub on the tyre. Due to the hybrid/flatbar frame I had to drill a mounting hole for the rear brake.

Re question about cables. The 105 10speed shifters came with a full complement of gear and brake cables. I reused a 2x10cm sections of old outer sheath to accommodate the particular routing of my frame. Don't rush this process and think it through to avoid kinked cables and tight turns etc. I rode around for 2 weeks with no bar tape so I could make adjustments to shifter positions to get it right for me.

My only problem I have at present is my front Derailleur compatibility. I have Shimano Deore Triple cranks. The original Front Derailuer appears to have a different pull ratio than the new 105 Triple shifter and as a result won't travel enough to change all 3 chainrings. I think I might spend $30 on a new 105 specific Triple Front derailleur. Has anyone had the same problem??

Good luck with the conversion xibizkit, just think through possible compatibility problems first or you may end up n+1 !!
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby RonK » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:45 am

simmo71 wrote:My only problem I have at present is my front Derailleur compatibility. I have Shimano Deore Triple cranks. The original Front Derailuer appears to have a different pull ratio than the new 105 Triple shifter and as a result won't travel enough to change all 3 chainrings. I think I might spend $30 on a new 105 specific Triple Front derailleur. Has anyone had the same problem??

Road levers are definitely NOT compatible with MTB front derailleurs, if that is what you have.
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby simmo71 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:00 am

Thanks RonK, thought as much, the original front derailleur is a budget Shimano Nexave. Definitely have to order a new 105 triple derailleur now.

Is the spacing of the front chainrings any different between my Deore Triple and a 105 Triple? Am I going to run into problems there? I bought the Deore as I couldn't source a 105 Triple to suit my Bottom bracket width.
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby Duck! » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:22 am

Spacing-wise you should be OK, but you may find problems with the smaller rings than the 105 is designed for not aligning too well with the shaping of the derailleur. It'll work, but it could be quite noisy in some gears.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby xibizkit » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:29 pm

Just curious, my bike has shimano tiagra 3x10 flat bar shifters and 105 at the rear will i need tiagra or 105 3x10 STI shifters? Or will either be compatible with the current set up?

Its looking to be a much more economical option rather then outlaying $1000 plus for a new road bike. not to mention fun learning about the components and designing a custom ride
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby Duck! » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:07 pm

All levels of 10-sp. gear is cross-compatible (MTB excluded). In fact, all that needs to be matched in terms of gear number compatibility (eg. 8, 9 or 10-sp.) is the chain, cassette, crank & shifters.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby diventare » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:02 pm

Did this in reverse on the weekend.
I replaced my drop bars and Sora flight deck 3 x 8 brifters with flat bars and Acera ST-EF29-8 combined brake/shifters.

Biggest piece of misinformation that I got from googling around was that road and mountain bike front deraileur travel is different and therefore shifters (especially front) are different in movement. This had me doubting the Acera controls fit with the Sora ders but when I thought it through logically there is no difference in the width of a three ring front crankset so why would the front deraileur move less/more between road or MTB.
Decided to just have a go and went ahead with the fit. In the end it came together perfectly and all works fine, I have been commuting all week and gear changes are as good as gold.

I had most of the stuff I needed in the shed but required parts are...
bars
shifters and brake levers (or combo in my case)
cable inners. Flat bars need shorter cables as the controls are closer to the headset so for me it was a matter of cutting shorter. If you go from flat to drops you will need longer (so new ones)
cable outers. Only the bit from front of frame to bars (as above, cut if going to FB, new longer if going to DB)
grips/tape

I procrastinated over this conversion thinking it was going to be a giant PIA with fitment. No such drama in the end.
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby Duck! » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:39 pm

diventare wrote:Biggest piece of misinformation that I got from googling around was that road and mountain bike front deraileur travel is different and therefore shifters (especially front) are different in movement. This had me doubting the Acera controls fit with the Sora ders but when I thought it through logically there is no difference in the width of a three ring front crankset so why would the front deraileur move less/more between road or MTB.
Decided to just have a go and went ahead with the fit. In the end it came together perfectly and all works fine, I have been commuting all week and gear changes are as good as gold.

Well that is quite interesting. The general consensus regarding compatibility is not any difference in chainring spacing, which is the same, rather the different lever stroke length and resulting leverage on the derailleur required to move that set distance. It's considered that MTB/flat-bar shifters, due to the short lever, have a longer shift stroke, so the levers in the derailleur are also longer to a) reduce the effort required at the lever, and b) produce a comparitively short movement from a lot of cable pull. Road shifters have a long lever, which in theory at least, allows a shorter stroke (less cable pulled), and the leverage on the derailleur is also designed to give that set movement from less cable travel.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby Dan » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:20 am

I guess there are different levels of what people deem to be acceptable shift quality. I'd chuck my bike off a bridge if it shifted as poorly as most of those I see (actually, hear) commuting to work.
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby xibizkit » Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:59 pm

I have actually gone with this. I spent the last months getti g the parts and am pretty happy with result.

when i first purchased the bike:

Image

Image

After a little upgrading:

Image

Image

Swapped out the flat bars for bullhorns w/cork tape
New shimano R501 wheel set
Vittoria tires
Stripped the original paint and stickers fully sanded and resprayed matte black

Looks like a completely different bike.

The only thing i want to do is swap the seat for something a little more forgiving on the buttocks.

And maybe some bar end brake levers..maybe

Let me know what you think!
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Re: THE DROP DOWN CONVERSION

Postby macca33 » Sat Sep 28, 2013 5:49 pm

Looks more than acceptable mate - good job!

cheers
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