Flat Bar Conversion

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Flat Bar Conversion

Postby MAMIL » Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:37 pm

G'day all,

This might seem a bit of a random first post but, has anyone converted their road bike with drop bars to flat bars?

I was recently given a Giant OCR C3 with 3x9 gearing. It's nothing special but still a nice bike to ride. It's a good fit frame wise and with everything adjusted accordingly. Years ago I rode bike with drop bars without issue but I'm not sure if I'm getting older, but I just don't seem to feel all the comfortable with these bars, particularly the lack of control on the hoods down hill under brakes. And it's even worse when the roads are bumpy, like in the Royal Nasho.

I'm wondering if flat bars would give me a nicer, more confidant riding position... I have an old Specialized MTB that is 3x9 too. I'm considering swapping the flat bars and click shifters off and putting onto the OCR.

I'd appreciate feedback from anyone who has done anything like this and either loved or hated it.

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Re: Flat Bar Conversion

Postby Philistine » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:34 pm

I had an old (1970s) racer in my garage that I rode about a dozen times in twenty years. About four years ago my interest in cycling became reawakened and I bought a flat bar MTB, mainly because I felt I was too old and stiff to handle drops. It did not take long before I began to want something faster, and I began by modifying the MTB, swapping the knobbly tyres for narrower slicks and replacing the crankset with a higher geared one.

Soon afterwards I bought a faster flat bar bike. This kept me quiet for about a year, but I eventually decided I could handle drops, and I bought a faster bike again. I took to the drop-bar bike like a duck to water. I actually ride mainly in the hoods but it is nice to have a few different hand position options for when my hands get tired. I still have the other bikes but I hardly ever ride them. The drop-bar bike is faster and more comfortable. Clearly I am not too old and stiff.

Your situation could be completely different. Don't lock yourself in until you can check out what works for you. Try to borrow or hire a few different bikes to find out what suits you.

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Re: Flat Bar Conversion

Postby eeksll » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:48 pm

putting a flat bar on a road bike would move the handlebars to the flats section ie significantly closer to you than the hoods and so messing with any good fit the bike currently is.

The technicals
will the 3x9 speed MTB shifters work for the 3x9speed road derailleurs, if both shimano, I think so, but wait for some other posters/expert opinion
Will the brakes work? again I think so, I think the MTB brake lever will pull more cable than the road one, so that could work ok.

I borrowed a giant OCR of some sort off a mate once and it had a quill stem, if you have one of those then it might not be a straight forward clamp onto a flat bar handlebar.

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Re: Flat Bar Conversion

Postby Duck! » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:22 am

Don't descend on the hoods, get in the drops. The change in cockpit geometry from fitting a flat bar will further unweight the front wheel, making handling even worse. If you're determined to do it, fit a longer stem to correct the position, but be mindful of the effect that will have on the steering.

Road & MTB 9-sp. shifters and rear derailleurs can be mixed and matched, but the front shifter & derailleur work on different cable pulls, so will not play together well.

Do NOT under any circumstance pair road brake calipers with MTB V-Brake levers! The long cable pull will make brake application dangerously aggressive, with very poor control of the brake. DO NOT DO IT!!! If you must go to flat bars, use the correct levers for the brake calipers.

eeksll wrote:I borrowed a giant OCR of some sort off a mate once and it had a quill stem, if you have one of those then it might not be a straight forward clamp onto a flat bar handlebar.

Much older bike than the OP's '07-vintage carbon model; quill stems had long since fallen by the wayside by then.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Flat Bar Conversion

Postby RobertL » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:25 am

Interesting. Earlier this year I bought a new flat bar commuter. I went with a cheap Reid Osprey.

Reid make the Osprey in a flat bar and drop bar version. The two version have the same frame, wheels, groupset, brakes etc. Obviously they have different shifters and brake levers, but they both run 2 x 8 Shimano Claris.

I had never thought about the necessary changes to stem length to retain handling characteristics, but I presume that the stem must be different between the flat and drop bar version. My flat bar certainly handles how it should.

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Re: Flat Bar Conversion

Postby MAMIL » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:26 pm

Thank you all for your valuable input. I will spend a bit more time fine tuning the hood position and also try descending on the drops for more control & stability.

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