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Convert Hybrid flat bar to Drops?

ziggy.mcdziggy.mcd Posts: 66
edited April 2009 in The workshop
Since buying my Boardman Hybrid team to commute on I have found that I enjoy cycling so much that I have bought a proper road bike, and in doing so I also took the opportunity to move up market a bit. What I’ve discovered is that far from being less comfortable or more unstable the road bike is a pleasure to ride, (Why didn’t my colleagues tell me this when I asked them about choosing a bike?) Part of the improved ride is no doubt down to the better engineering of a more expensive bike, but I suspect quite a bit is down to the riding position on the hoods. I don’t want to use the road bike to commute on regularly, besides which I have the Hybrid which needs to be used. I’m trying to figure out how I can get a set up on the Hybrid similar to that of the road bike. The flat bars currently have bar ends but they are too far apart for comfort.

I like the progressive hydraulic disk brakes fitted to the bike and the SRAM X-5 shifters work well.

Looking at my road bike drop bars there isn’t a great deal of room for brake and shift levers on the straight section and I’ll be at a greater stretch so may have to change the stem to a shorter one.

I guess the installation of drop bars and hoods isn’t going to be very sensible as the hoods/levers will be little more than expensive hand holds, probably dangerous too having brake levers that don’t do anything!

I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth the effort and whether the outcome will be worthwhile?

Any one got any ideas?

Are there any hidden problems I haven’t considered ?

Posts

  • mateotumateotu Posts: 33
    MTB brake and shift levers aren't compatible with road bars - the diameter of the road bars is too large. And I wouldn't advise trying to file away the insides of your lever clamps to make them fit!

    So if you want drop bars, you'll need a new set of shift and brake levers too.

    Brakes will be your main problem - there's no such thing as hydraulic road brake levers. Avid make a cable-operated disc system which is apparently compatible with road brake levers, but I doubt it would be an easy swap.

    There are gearing issues too. SRAM and Shimano rear shift systems are not generally compatible. So if you fit a cheap set of Shimano STI road shifters, you will also need to change the rear mech. SRAM do make road shifters but it'll cost ya ...

    My best suggestion? Sell the hybrid! ;)
  • wgwarburtonwgwarburton Posts: 1,863
    ziggy.mcd wrote:
    ..... I’m trying to figure out how I can get a set up on the Hybrid similar to that of the road bike. The flat bars currently have bar ends but they are too far apart for comfort.

    As mateotu said, a full conversion would be a challenge, however, you might consider fitting narrower handlebars: A narrower bar, with your existing bar-ends, or a "Butterfly Bar" setup, might get you close to what you want without a complete re-engineering exercise.
    Failing that, your best option is probably to sell & replace...

    Cheers,
    W.
  • ziggy.mcdziggy.mcd Posts: 66
    Hi guys, I take your point about selling up and buying another and havent ruled it out.
    I've been looking at alternative bars and have seen the butterfly bars which look a bit weird to me and I'm sure I've seen bars that are forward facing U shaped which turn up at the ends they might have been on a charge single speed.
  • nationnation Posts: 609
    You're thinking of bullhorn bars.
  • Hmm, I'm not sure of the clamp size, but the Planet X / On One "midge bar" might fit the bill. Basically, its like a tradition racing drop bar that has been stretched out to the sides, so that the angles are more rounded and the width is something like 58cm on the drops.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • glebrusglebrus Posts: 44
    (I beg pardon for non-native English)

    There will be problems converting a hybrid to drop bars.
    1st, you would need new shifters/brake levers. Flat-bar equipment won't fit on the drop-bar. Then, road-type brake levers won't work perfectly with v-brakes, as they pull different length (I'm not sure, more or less).

    2nd, and most important, frame length. Assuming that you have a reasonably well-fit road bicycle and a hybrid, your hybrid frame is probably 10-12 cm longer. Just put them next to each other and compare. You hold your bar farther from the steerer on the road bicycle, due to the bar shape. You'd get much more stretched position if you fit a drop-bar on your hybrid. Which may be good or bad, I don't know.
  • glebrusglebrus Posts: 44
    I have bar ends in the middle, between the rubber hanldes and combo shifters (on a flat bar). Shifters pushed to the center, so that the bar ends do not block shifter levers. Brake lever comfortably accessible. Try it.
  • wgwarburtonwgwarburton Posts: 1,863
    Hi,
    glebrus wrote:
    I have bar ends in the middle, between the rubber hanldes and combo shifters (on a flat bar). Shifters pushed to the center, so that the bar ends do not block shifter levers. Brake lever comfortably accessible. Try it.

    I'd be interested to see a picture of that setup, if you could do it?

    Cheers,
    W.
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,417
    The top tube is extra long on the boardman hybrids, i'd recommend a shorter stem or you'll be really stretched on the hoods and drops.

    Or buy a shiny new road bike and keep the hybrid for crappy weather :D
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • gtvlussogtvlusso Posts: 5,112
    ziggy.mcd wrote:
    Since buying my Boardman Hybrid team to commute on I have found that I enjoy cycling so much that I have bought a proper road bike, and in doing so I also took the opportunity to move up market a bit. What I’ve discovered is that far from being less comfortable or more unstable the road bike is a pleasure to ride, (Why didn’t my colleagues tell me this when I asked them about choosing a bike?) Part of the improved ride is no doubt down to the better engineering of a more expensive bike, but I suspect quite a bit is down to the riding position on the hoods. I don’t want to use the road bike to commute on regularly, besides which I have the Hybrid which needs to be used. I’m trying to figure out how I can get a set up on the Hybrid similar to that of the road bike. The flat bars currently have bar ends but they are too far apart for comfort.

    I like the progressive hydraulic disk brakes fitted to the bike and the SRAM X-5 shifters work well.

    Looking at my road bike drop bars there isn’t a great deal of room for brake and shift levers on the straight section and I’ll be at a greater stretch so may have to change the stem to a shorter one.

    I guess the installation of drop bars and hoods isn’t going to be very sensible as the hoods/levers will be little more than expensive hand holds, probably dangerous too having brake levers that don’t do anything!

    I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth the effort and whether the outcome will be worthwhile?

    Any one got any ideas?

    Are there any hidden problems I haven’t considered ?

    Hassle and costly - I would sell it and buy a road bike. Part of the advantage of a road bike is weight, you will still be at a heavy weight with hydraulic disks. Also not sure if you can get drop levers that work with hydraulics.....Stem should be oversize 36.8mm - Ritchey product - Ritchey oversize drops will fit. Youw ill need to bar tape them too for comfort and fit levers capable of your gearing 2 x 9?! Old tiagra levers maybe? Still leaves the issue of hydraulic brakes.......
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Hi,
    glebrus wrote:
    I have bar ends in the middle, between the rubber hanldes and combo shifters (on a flat bar). Shifters pushed to the center, so that the bar ends do not block shifter levers. Brake lever comfortably accessible. Try it.

    I'd be interested to see a picture of that setup, if you could do it?

    Cheers,
    W.

    Not the same, but I took this picture in our parking garage:

    01042009237-001.jpg
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,127
    Saw down your handlebars until they are narrow enough - simples!
  • blorgblorg Posts: 1,169
    I would sell and replace, it will be an expensive job to do it, you will have to replace half the bike, probably spend more than an entry level road bike and end up with something that is not as fast anyway.

    I did it with a Specialized Sirrus and it was expensive enough, and that was a "flat bar road bike" with road derailleurs etc already. I replaced stem, bars, STI levers, front derailleur and brakes. Worked out well, ended up being a capable tourer, but certainly still less nippy than my road bike.

    I don't think SRAM's MTB derailleurs are compatible with SRAM's road levers, (and in any case SRAM road stuff only starts quite expensive) so you would probably be looking at:

    stem
    bars
    bar tape
    STI levers
    brakes (road-lever compatible mechanical discs, as I don't think you can fit anything else)
    front derailleur
    rear derailleur
    cassette
    chain (possibly, if you are changing speeds)

    That is basically an entire groupset plus other stuff! And in fairness it was a decent hybrid as it was to start with, you should be able to flog it for a reasonable price.
  • ziggy.mcdziggy.mcd Posts: 66
    Thanks for the feed back, I tend to agree with the too expensive and too much hastle comments, even if could achive the riding on the hoods feel it is likely to be a compromise too far. I'll probably wait till I can use the C2W scheme later this year and buy a road bike. Any advice? (Just kidding!)
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