Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

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gregmacc
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Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby gregmacc » Mon Nov 10, 2014 9:22 pm

Hi all ... My wife was keen to have flat bars fitted to her first road bike, a carbon Trek Madone, when purchased new 3 years ago. She has decided to give drop bars a try. My questions relate to bar width and ergo levers. Although she is excitedly anticipating the change, she is a little anxious about foregoing the extra steering leverage that the wider flat bars provided. She also feels that braking with the new levers (with hands on the hoods) will be more difficult.
Are women's specific bars (usually narrower) always neccessary? Are they different in other ways? Different shaped drops for smaller hands maybe? Is there a prefered brand/model of ergo levers that suit the average women's smaller hand reach and power? Any other factors to consider?
I will be doing the changeover work. In terms of bike fit I want to set up the new configuration as close to the existing flat bar arrangment as possible. She is very comfortable and balanced with the current flat bar setup. I want to try and maintain some significant bar width (more for her sense of security than anything else), and make sure her posture on the bike does not change. I know I'll need a shorter stem but other than that I'm not really sure about what bar and levers to go with. Any suggestions or storys of experiences would be gratefully accepted.

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Cheesewheel
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Re: Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby Cheesewheel » Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:30 pm

viewtopic.php?f=77&t=80025

Problems with moving between a flat and drop bar discussed here.
in short, there is a good chance you will have to change the entire groupset ...
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gregmacc
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Re: Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby gregmacc » Tue Nov 11, 2014 11:26 am

Thanks for the reply cheesewheel ... My wife's bike already has road bike components: tiagra front derailleur, 105 on the rear. The existing flat bar indexed gear levers are tiagra. I believe it would just be a matter of swapping the bar to drop style and fitting compatible Shimano ergo levers. Or am I missing something ... It happens :)

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KGB
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Re: Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby KGB » Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:35 pm

No, I think you're right.
An old, general rule is to match you bars to shoulder width - feel free to ignore that one though. I wouldn't go too wide though either. The different hand position makes a real difference to leverage and feel when out of the seat.
If you aim to have the brake hoods in the flat bar position I think it will end up too short. You may need to use some trial and error there.

Older shimano sti levers used to come with shims to adjust the reach to the brake levers, not sure if that's still the case.
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mick243
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Re: Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby mick243 » Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:36 pm

It's a road bike, you don't need "leverage" as such with the bars

piledhigher
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Re: Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby piledhigher » Tue Nov 11, 2014 11:25 pm

mick243 wrote:It's a road bike, you don't need "leverage" as such with the bars


This, after many years 99% on the road I really struggle to steer when off road, I really just want to think my way around a corner (which is really just a weighting of the bars).

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gregmacc
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Re: Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby gregmacc » Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:24 am

KGB: Yes, I believe in general that the drop bar hand position will will be a longer reach than flat bars given the same length stem ... so I will need to experiment with that. A lot can be done with simple tape measurements of the original setup and transferring to the new. Wendy's current flat bar hand grip width is slightly wider that her shoulders so that should be OK with the new drops. I will investigate the shims.

mick245:
mick243 wrote:It's a road bike, you don't need "leverage" as such with the bars
... Exactly, but I think it's a mindset thing. All of Wendy's other bikes (pannier tourer, MTB, previous commuters) have had wide(ish) flat bars. It's what she's been comfortable with for a long time. There is no way I would be happy with her new drops to be as wide as her flats ... but I see a lot of women riding around with very narrow bars which probably do nothing practical other than offering 1 or 2% less weight and wind resistance.

piledhigher:
piledhigher wrote:This, after many years 99% on the road I really struggle to steer when off road, I really just want to think my way around a corner (which is really just a weighting of the bars).

... totally ...
Last edited by gregmacc on Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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outnabike
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Re: Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby outnabike » Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:23 am

Hi Gregmacc,
This may be of no help to you but I went from touring loop butterfly type bars to drops due to width etc in traffic. I found no difference in steering leverage etc.
My bike is Shimano equipped click changers and the flat bars going to drops presented some problems.
I was advised by an LBS to get two new shifters for the drops as well as to change the front dérailleur set up to suite. It was going to be around the $400-00 mark to do it.

I found a strong old set of Drop bars for $10-00 and my mate ( a skilled aluminium Tig welder) installed a couple of curved ends of another set of bars I had to create the double set up shown here.
The old drop bars actually are the same diameter as the loop butterfly bars I had but the existing shifters can only be installed on a bar end and not on the bare centre. They are not designed to slide along.

so I came up with this as a trial. I did show a proposed sketch, on the subject a while back and it was received with a pretty much negative response, but it is thinking out side the box and I do experiment a bit. this is certainly not conventional. the thing is this all up cost me $30-00 and just the assemble and re installation which I did myself. The bits added on, I had to carefully sculpt to the curves of the existing bars prior to welding, so careful work required there. Realise that you have two obtuse compound mitres to get very close to a perfect fit here. :)

For the on coming knockers please don't criticise the mirrors as I am just trying out a set of motor cycle mirrors for later streamlining with a new style of clamp, and maybe even a neat welded bracket. :)
Most criticism comes from folks that never try anything new themselves. This is just experimental but works and I retain the changers that work very well.
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Vivente World Randonneur complete with panniers

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gregmacc
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Re: Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby gregmacc » Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:33 am

Hi outnabike ... Thanks for responding ... 10/10 for design and engineering ingenuity! ... I love this. It suits your needs and is budget friendly. But yes, you are correct, no help whatsoever :?
Think flying down Old Willunga Hill at 65km/hr with that sort of mass sitting over the front wheel of a light weight carbon roadster ... it's tough enough just dodging the koalas ... :shock:

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MattyK
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Re: Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby MattyK » Thu Nov 13, 2014 12:25 pm

My wife got a road bike at the start of the year, after having had a flat bar bike. Two things I would add:

a) the whole point of going to drop bars is to change your body position. So unless you fitted a longer stem when the flat bars were installed, I would not "compensate" by fitting a shorter stem. Unless you know she will have reach issues.

b) the brake lever takes some getting used to if you're used to powerful flat bar levers. If she has small hands she might struggle to get a good grip around the hoods. But you can compensate by dialling in the reach adjustment (with shims if you've got a 10 speed setup), and also consider some good sticky pads or even the Shimano 5800/6800 brakes - this upgrade really worked for my wife.

I don't know anything about her, but compact drop bars are probably a good place to start.

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outnabike
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Re: Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby outnabike » Fri Nov 14, 2014 6:39 pm

gregmacc wrote:Hi outnabike ... Thanks for responding ... 10/10 for design and engineering ingenuity! ... I love this. It suits your needs and is budget friendly. But yes, you are correct, no help whatsoever :?
Think flying down Old Willunga Hill at 65km/hr with that sort of mass sitting over the front wheel of a light weight carbon roadster ... it's tough enough just dodging the koalas ... :shock:


Yes it is sort of like a bullbar for a bike, but may have its advantages in a head on prang. :) I thought it may help some one or get alternatives out there.
Vivente World Randonneur complete with panniers

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gregmacc
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Re: Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby gregmacc » Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:59 pm

Thanks Matty K ... The thing is, she already has the flat bars set up in a relatively sporty position. Her torso is probably angled at something at close to 45 deg to the ground. She is a 55 year old woman who is not getting any more flexible as the years go by. The change to drop bars will result in her hands being closer together. Plus, if I set the hoods hand position at the same height and distance from the seat as the old set up she will have the additional drops hand position to utilise when required (flying down Willunga for example). I reckon that will suffice it terms of change.
It is a ten speed set up so I'm pretty sure shims will help.
What do you mean by "compact drop bars"? ... examples?
Last edited by gregmacc on Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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gregmacc
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Re: Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby gregmacc » Sat Nov 15, 2014 12:05 am

Thanks outnabike ... Yep, I have no doubt you've sparked some interest out there. In our case we are pretty much committed to reducing weight and wind drag with our roadsters ... or at least not adding any more :)

marinmomma
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Re: Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby marinmomma » Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:56 pm

Try 3T ergonova bars, the drop is shallower compared to some, my perfect for women who may have smaller hands and find reaching the brakes difficult.
I've had these on my road bike for 2-3 years now, love them and would get the same fitted to the next bike

Hth
Lisa

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MattyK
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Re: Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby MattyK » Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:23 pm

Compact drop bars are ones with short reach and shallow drop measurements. Google the phrase. Deda RHM are a cheap example.

Eleri
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Re: Converting flat bar road bike back to drops questions.

Postby Eleri » Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:04 pm

gregmacc wrote: but I see a lot of women riding around with very narrow bars which probably do nothing practical other than offering 1 or 2% less weight and wind resistance.


I ride very narrow bars and that's because I've got narrow shoulders not at all about being a weight weenie. They should be approximately as wide as her shoulders.

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