Drop-bar road bike

casualjoe
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Drop-bar road bike

Postby casualjoe » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:14 pm

Hi everyone.

I recently impulsively purchased a road bike off ebay. I have never ridden a proper road bike and finding it very uncomfortable. How is the process of learning to ride drop-bar bikes? I have done some minor research and it seems converting the drop bar to flat bar is more than just switching handlebars. If I convert the bike I would have to fork out another $200 on parts.

I'm thinking about selling it and purchasing a flat bar roadie :oops:

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HAKS
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby HAKS » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:43 pm

Yes converting to FB is not as easy as just replacing the handlebars. You'll also be looking at replacement brake lever and gear shifters and potentially cables/able housing etc.
Current Ride: Trek Madone 6.5 (2013)

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brenton289
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby brenton289 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:24 pm

Well, let's see if we can make it more comfortable for you.

Firstly, what was it that you purchased (link to the ended listing would be a good start)?
2010 Giant TCR Advanced 1

Chaderotti
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby Chaderotti » Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:27 pm

Measure yourself head to toe, then measure the length of the top tube. The first tube you see when I look down while on the saddle. Parallel to the ground. 'bout all I can think of to describe it.
Measure it from the centre of where the seat post enters the frame, and then from the centre of the head tube (the tube the fork attaches on to)
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Cranky Jim
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby Cranky Jim » Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:52 pm

Ditto and ditto

...and tell us where it hurts. Where and why is it uncomfortable ?

casualjoe
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby casualjoe » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:20 pm

The bike is a 2007 Cell Team, 50cm frame.

I am 165cm, about a 71cm inseam.

I feel as if I have less control over the bike. The positioning of the brakes and gears feels awkward. Riding on the hoods, my hands don't seem to reach the brakes too well. Getting on and off the bike is a bit annoying.

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Cranky Jim
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby Cranky Jim » Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:32 pm

Well, you are on the right sized bike, so that's a good start. But you have managed to throw up one of the curliest problems in the bike fitting : small hands.

It has been the bane of women's cycling for years and while there are some products that are designed for small handed riders (such as Shimano's R600 and R700 brifters) they are rarely standard issue ...and they aren't cheap to replace. The Ultegra 600's are $300++. I believe the Sora brifters had a screw for adjusting the reach of the levers but this wasn't featured on later groups. You can fiddle about with shims on Tiagra to decrease the reach, but I believe the 2007 Cell Team was running 105's and I don't think there is any facility for adjusting the lever reach.

Some small handed folks swear by SRAM, others prefer the slimmer Campys, but whatever, the replacement of brifters is never cheap. Others suggest that handlebars with a shallower drop are the answer, while others still say smaller riders spend more time and are more comfortable in the drops than over the hoods and the lever reach should be optimised for small hands from the drops rather than from the hoods.

But what the hell would I know. I'm a big unit and have hands like dinner plates. There must be smaller riders out there who have some experience with this...

thomas_cho
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby thomas_cho » Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:56 pm

I would assume that your biking experience so far would have been on mountain bikes.

The narrower handlebars, and narrower tyres on road bikes could be contributing factors to you feeling that you dont have control over the bike. This will just take getting used to. Braking can be quite different. You are probably finding that it almost seems like the brakes on the road bike dont work as well as your MTB.

As you have experienced, the riding positions can be quite different as well. Some part of it can be put down to "you will get used to it in time", but it may well be that the bike is not the right fit for you.

Its hard to say without more information ...

As for the brake lever reach, the brake lever positioning on the handlebars can make quite a difference. In that respect, handlebars have different shapes, and you will find that some will allow you to better position the brake/shifters to suit your needs better than others. So try repositioning the brake/shifters first.

I think you may well have learnt bike fit on a road bike is relatively more important than compared to a MTB.

If you can find a friendly bike shop or perhaps a local friendly forum member to help you out, they might be able to adjust the bike to suit your needs.

casualjoe
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby casualjoe » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:56 am

I will continue to try it out, but at the moment it is really deterring me from riding. Has anyone else tried drop bars and just did not like them?

Nobody
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby Nobody » Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:41 pm

If you don't like the drop bars then you'd be better off selling it and buying a flat bar road bike. The top tube length is different for both types of bikes due the different reach of the bar types. So that is another reason a conversion to flat bar is not a realistic option.

Try the below size fit site to find out if the bike does actually fit you.
http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za/CC ... ATOR_INTRO

Chaderotti
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby Chaderotti » Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:59 pm

How old are you? It could be a flexibility issue.
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casualjoe
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby casualjoe » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:13 pm

Nobody wrote:If you don't like the drop bars then you'd be better off selling it and buying a flat bar road bike. The top tube length is different for both types of bikes due the different reach of the bar types. So that is another reason a conversion to flat bar is not a realistic option.


If I attempt the conversion, do I forgo the shimano 105 parts already on the bike? The bike is great, it's just me. I think I'm more comfortable riding flat bar and don't really need the aero position for commuting/what I want to do. An expensive lesson learnt I think.

Chaderotti wrote:How old are you? It could be a flexibility issue.

21 :)

stated
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby stated » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:26 pm

Get an FSA vero compact or FSA Omega compact bar(about $40 from UK shops) 98% of handlebars out there are designed to look good only and 99% of riders don't even know that.

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Richard.L
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby Richard.L » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:36 pm

Have you ridden with a group? as they normally look at your technique. Getting sore hands can also be the seat post height and saddle positioning

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Cranky Jim
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby Cranky Jim » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:45 pm

Maybe a moustache bar might be the answer. Lots of hand positions and you can still use the drop bar brake shifters...

Image

In this example he's using brake levers and bar end shifters.

casualjoe
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby casualjoe » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:58 pm

stated wrote:Get an FSA vero compact or FSA Omega compact bar(about $40 from UK shops) 98% of handlebars out there are designed to look good only and 99% of riders don't even know that.


These sound good but would I need to replace the shifters/any other parts? If I could just replace the handlebar I think that would be a more financially viable solution.

stated
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby stated » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:13 pm

All you need to do is swap the shifters and bar tape from the old bars to the new ones, best to buy a new bar tape if the existing one is old. Its not hard all you need is allen keys.

Nobody
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby Nobody » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:27 pm

casualjoe wrote:
Nobody wrote:If you don't like the drop bars then you'd be better off selling it and buying a flat bar road bike. The top tube length is different for both types of bikes due the different reach of the bar types. So that is another reason a conversion to flat bar is not a realistic option.


If I attempt the conversion, do I forgo the shimano 105 parts already on the bike? The bike is great, it's just me. I think I'm more comfortable riding flat bar and don't really need the aero position for commuting/what I want to do. An expensive lesson learnt I think.
OK, I'll try to spell it out using my bike as an example.

Current reach from the steerer to the centre of brake hoods on my drop bar bike is currently ~22cm.
The stem is currently 9.5cm so the bar reach + brake hoods is about 12.5cm.
If that bike is the correct size and I now go to a flat bar, I have lost a significant amount of reach. So now the bike feels too small as I have just lost 12.5cm of reach. Yes, you can get some of that back with a longer stem, but this setup would suit a longer frame.

My ideal effective top tube length for a road bike is ~52.6cm with a 10cm stem.
My current MTB has an effective top tube of 56cm and has a 12cm stem.
Yes, there is still 7cm to make up, but most of this is due to the different positions on a MTB versus a road bike. In your situation you want the same reach so the reach is 7cm shorter. If the frame was 52.6cm, then that would be over 10cm of difference in reach. Get the picture?

As for the conversion itself, for a standard flat bar you would need to change the brake/shifters to other shifters and brake levers. The 105 shifter/brake levers would go which is the most expensive bits of the bike. Better off selling it and buying something else.

casualjoe
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby casualjoe » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:08 pm

thanks for all the replies so far guys.

I think as a quick fix I will raise the handlebars as to get a better reach and a less aggressive riding position. Is there a max number of spacers that will fit? Is it likely I have that max number already?

Else I will just purchase a shorter stem with a higher angle.

Nobody
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby Nobody » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:14 pm

casualjoe wrote:thanks for all the replies so far guys.

I think as a quick fix I will raise the handlebars as to get a better reach and a less aggressive riding position. Is there a max number of spacers that will fit? Is it likely I have that max number already?

Else I will just purchase a shorter stem with a higher angle.
Have you posted a picture of the bike yet? If so, where is it?

casualjoe
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby casualjoe » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:37 pm

Image

Nobody
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby Nobody » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:49 pm

Thanks.
Looks like you could get shorter bars and a shorter more upright stem, like this:
Image

You would need a longer steerer to add more spacers which would mean new forks.

casualjoe
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby casualjoe » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:58 pm

OK sweet, I think I'll get a shorter stem first. Any recommended brands/prices? I would just ebay it but not really sure what I'm after.

thomas_cho
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby thomas_cho » Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:13 am

From your bike pic, you cannot raise the bars anymore with spacers. The only way is to get a higher rise stem.

Your bars are almost level with your saddle height as it is. However, your bars shape appears to have quite a long reach and a rather deep drop.

Compare this with a picture of the FSA Omega compact bars ... and you might be able to get a better fit with the FSA bars.

The stem looks like a 90mm one .... and I would be getting the bars first before getting a shorter stem. There are also adjustable stems which you can get that allows you to change the amount of rise. This is helpful for find the right fit. When getting stems be sure to get the right one to fit the clamp diameter of your bars.

If you are getting the FSA bars, you need a 31.8mm clamp diameter.

stated
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Re: Drop-bar road bike

Postby stated » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:39 am

Image


This is the FSA vero compact h/bars

another thing, I think the shimano shifters work better if you angle them back a little to around 83% instead of keeping them vertical at 90% like what you seem to have, your wrists should be in a neutral/comfortable position.

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