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converting drop handlebars to a flat bar

jibberishjibberish Posts: 151
edited September 2013 in Road buying advice
Hi

Anyone know how easy or otherwise it is to convert a racer with drop handlebars to a flat bar? I'd like a racer bike but with flat handlebars. I know there are some of these already, but not many options. If it's not too tricky / expensive - it might be a better option.

I'm using it as a commuter and really prefer the upright position through traffic.

Cheers guys

Posts

  • Father JackFather Jack Posts: 3,508
    Use a shorter and riser stem, fit crosstop brake levers, sorted.
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • night_porternight_porter Posts: 888
    It really depends on which bike/gearing system you currently have.

    The basics are:

    Replace bar - easy

    Replace brake levers - easy(ish)

    Replace shifters - If you are running a 10 speed groupset this will be hard but you can find suitable 9 or 8 speed shifters for use on mtb's so might be easy too.

    So what is your current setup?
  • topdudetopdude Posts: 1,557
    I'm in the process of doing just that.
    New bars £15
    Brake levers £15
    Gear levers £25 ( Ebay )
    Nice comfy Ergon grips £26
    Job done :D
    He is not the messiah, he is a very naughty boy !!
  • maddog 2maddog 2 Posts: 8,114
    bar+stem: straightforward but the 31.8mm clamp bars tend to have a wider central bulge than 25.4mm bars, so the minimum width is higher. If you want <48cm then use a bar with a central shim, rather than a normal bulge-type bar. SJS also do a alu bar with a narrow bulge which is ideal.

    brake levers: must be cantlilever levers, not V. The latter pull too much cable for dual pivot brakes. Check ebay for SS7 - very nice levers.

    shifter pods: SL-R440 (available in 8 and 9spd versions) or SL-R770 for 10 spd.The RH pods are equivalent to any MTB pods EXCEPT the new 10spd mtb pods, which are different and require the matching 10spd mtb mech.

    rear mech: any road mech will be fine.

    front mech: officially you need the SL-R mech to match the shifters but if you run double rings then any regular road mech is fine. For triple, stick to the SLR mech.

    bar ends: good idea. BBB do some good budget ones, and nice carbon ones too.

    grips: Ergons or the Specialized versions are good

    extras: Lizard skin bar end covers, for grip

    tip: run the stem a tad longer (10-20mm) that the equivalent drop bar setup.
    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • jibberishjibberish Posts: 151
    Blimey - thanks for the posts. Very helpful info.. :lol::lol:
  • WheelspinnerWheelspinner Posts: 5,382
    I did exactly this conversion, using the Shimano SL770 shifters which are superb, matched to standard Dura Ace 10 speed (7800 series) derailleurs front and rear. Brake levers are the Shimano BL-R770 which are lovely, matched to Mavic SSC dual pivot road calipers. SHifting is superb and braking is as good as any I've used on a road bike.

    Used a stem 30 mm longer than "standard", and picked a low-rise MTB bar cut down for width, with bar ends. The longer stem helps the steering too as it more closely duplicates the position of your drop bars.

    The bar width was IMPORTANT. MTB bars are huge, and the leverage you get on a roadie makes the steering really twitchy, so beware of that. I used an alloy bar, so I could cut it down, and took about 60mm off each side. That was as much as I could remove before the bar diameter started to be a problem in terms of being able to fit the shifters and grips etc, as it starts to expand in diameter the closer you get to the stem.
    Open O-1.0 Open One+ BMC TE29 Titus Racer X Ti Giant MCM One Cannondale Prophet Lefty Cannondale Super V SL Cove Handjob Cervelo RS
  • topdudetopdude Posts: 1,557
    Well I'm now a little wiser than in my post above :wink:

    As maddog also said -

    Brake levers - they need to be compatible with road calipers.
    I used DIA-COMPE MX110 but Shimano R550 would be good too.

    Gear shifters - MTB shifters are good for the rear, no problems shifting with a road mech. However the front is a bit more complicated. Road front shifters pull less cable per click than MTB front shifters (7.5mm road / 12mm MTB).
    So you need either SL-R440 shifters and keep the road mech or a SLX M661 mech and use MTB shifters to match up the cable pull.
    The above info is for 9 speed, there are 10 speed options also.

    Nothing is ever as simple as it first seems :wink:
    He is not the messiah, he is a very naughty boy !!
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,518
    Easy work, i did it a couple of years back on one bike but i swapped back again.
    I used Shimano 10sp R770 rapid fire shifters and deore brakes with a Ritchey flat bar and grips.
    Watch out for the brakes if you do swap, cracking power compared to Sti.
  • peanutpeanut Posts: 1,373
    maddog 2 wrote:
    bar+stem: straightforward but the 31.8mm clamp bars tend to have a wider central bulge than 25.4mm bars, so the minimum width is higher. If you want <48cm then use a bar with a central shim, rather than a normal bulge-type bar. SJS also do a alu bar with a narrow bulge which is ideal.

    brake levers: must be cantlilever levers, not V. The latter pull too much cable for dual pivot brakes. Check ebay for SS7 - very nice levers.

    shifter pods: SL-R440 (available in 8 and 9spd versions) or SL-R770 for 10 spd.The RH pods are equivalent to any MTB pods EXCEPT the new 10spd mtb pods, which are different and require the matching 10spd mtb mech.

    rear mech: any road mech will be fine.

    front mech: officially you need the SL-R mech to match the shifters but if you run double rings then any regular road mech is fine. For triple, stick to the SLR mech.

    bar ends: good idea. BBB do some good budget ones, and nice carbon ones too.

    grips: Ergons or the Specialized versions are good

    extras: Lizard skin bar end covers, for grip

    tip: run the stem a tad longer (10-20mm) that the equivalent drop bar setup.

    wow now thats what I call a comprehensive and informative post that explains exactly how to go about it , well done and thank you. :D
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    The bar width was IMPORTANT. MTB bars are huge, and the leverage you get on a roadie makes the steering really twitchy, so beware of that.

    Short bars = twitchy, long bars = not at all twitchy. If the bars are long you have to move your arms over a much greater distance to achieve the same steering angle. MTBs have long bars to give fine control on difficult surfaces. Road bikes don't need the same control hence narrow bars with twitchy handling :wink:
    jibberish wrote:
    Hi

    I'm using it as a commuter and really prefer the upright position through traffic.

    Flat bars don't alter the riding position as such - to gain a more upright position than a drop bars ridden on the tops you'd need to raise and/or shorten the stem. You can get the same position on drops with cyclocross interruptor style brakes on the tops with the benefit of the narrow drop bars which give you more clearance in traffic (ie wot FatherJack said)
    Faster than a tent.......
  • sniper68sniper68 Posts: 2,910
    I've just done this myself and used some cheap Raceface flat MTB bars (600mm).I did it purely because I just can't get on with drops so the bike was just an ornament :roll:

    7159917787_83333d6c78_b.jpg

    7345125634_e1ce941d0b_z.jpg

    My Levers can be used on both V and Canti brakes(there's a little slide thingy inside you move to change position)
    Biggest expense was the shifters(£90) as 10-speed MTB don't work with 10-speed road and I wanted to keep all the 105 stuff.
    Levers are these:
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... elID=69832
    Bars £15 CRC
    Shifters&levers £105 Rosebikes
    Bar ends/grips £15 ebay[/quote]
    £135 ish all in.
  • peanutpeanut Posts: 1,373
    wow a picture is worth a thousand words ! :D
    That bike looks real cool with flat bars which is quite surprising.
    What make of bar ends and grips are they ?

    Excellent posts you two ta very muchely :wink:
  • sniper68sniper68 Posts: 2,910
    THESE are the exact grips but I paid a bit less from another seller.
    The bike actually rides pretty good with the new set up and (for me) is much more comfortable 8)
    I might go for a shorter stem eventually to sit even more upright.
  • peanutpeanut Posts: 1,373
    thanks for that. This is all new to me as I've never even ridden an MTB or Hybrid bike.
    I was thinking that as the original steerer tube has been cut short for road bars I'm going to need either an adjustable stem or one with a steep angle to get the bars quite a bit higher or I'll just end up with flat bars at the same height as the existing tops on the road bike
  • sniper68sniper68 Posts: 2,910
    I thought that myself but having ridden it for 22 miles today the position feels much more upright.I spent a lot of the ride on the bar-ends but being an MTB'er it felt much more comfortable.I might still go for a 50 or 60mm stem and I have one 5mm spacer above the stem if I need a bit more height 8)
    All in all I'm very happy and it's £130 well spent as I now know I will ride the bike a couple of times aweek as opposed to once in a blue moon.
    This will please the Dragon as she bought it me for my 39th birthday in 2007 and it's done less than 500 miles :lol:
  • Father JackFather Jack Posts: 3,508
    would be far too twitchy with 50/60mm stem. Just need to get used to more crouched position, also more aero so body isn't acting like a sail.
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • sniper68sniper68 Posts: 2,910
    would be far too twitchy with 50/60mm stem. Just need to get used to more crouched position, also more aero so body isn't acting like a sail.
    That's very interesting as a 50mm stem on an MTB makes it feel more planted :? It's actually not far off as it is.I need to finely adjust the grips/levers/shifters but the riding position is generally OK.
    I might actually start to enjoy this road-riding lark 8)
  • Hi, great info on this topic.


    I just converted by roadbike into a commuter bike (Paris). I used to have both a singlespeed and this roadbike. I like it with the gears better, and one bike should be enough...

    I have one huge issue. The handlebar is too long and I can't shorten it because of the shifters/levers/grips.

    What handlebar offers a smaller bulge? Or a shim as mentioned? My stem is 31.8.


    Thanks a lot.


    Baba
  • Might be a daft question but there aren't any frame issues with doing this? My missus has an old hybrid with flat bars and I'm looking around for a newer frame to transfer all the bits across to. Clearly a frame with internal cable routing wouldn't work, but other than that I could use any road frame, yes?
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    If you don't already own the bike it would be a lot easier / cheaper to buy a flat barred road bike from the off; plenty to choose from.

    Unless of course you want the challenge of a conversion project?
  • Well yes and no; she's had a look at new bikes and there's not a lot that floats her boat. Also we'd be looking at £6/700+ to get something with the equivalent spec so spending a few hundred on a better frame wouldn't be an issue.

    And yes, building your own is good fun... :)
  • maddog 2maddog 2 Posts: 8,114

    What handlebar offers a smaller bulge? Or a shim as mentioned? My stem is 31.8.

    Thorn do a narrow bulge 25.4mm flat bar - see SJS http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/thorn-al7075 ... prod30226/

    Nitto do some in 26.0mm
    http://www.hubjub.co.uk/store/index.php ... 0aa-detail
    http://www.hubjub.co.uk/store/index.php ... 0aa-detail

    You can shim this out to fit a 31.8mm stem - search on '25.4mm (or 26.0mm) to 31.8mm shim'

    However, the best option is a 22mm bar with a central shim, as I said previously, but they only really come up s/hand, other than very expensive ti bars. Having said that, I've bought some nice ti flat bars from Asia that were maybe £30 ish. Once you have a centtal shim you can run the bar as narrow as maybe 46cm, so they become a genuine option for a fast roadie if you don't like drops (like me)
    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • edited 15 July
    Hey guys!! Great topic, i was looking to "flatten" :-D my GT Grade.

    But I have a slightly harder task, I think. Shimano STI Ultegra Shifters, front and rear Ultegra mech, Hydraulic R785 brakes...

    Doesn´t look like I can just get a flatbar and put the STI's on :-D , mtb shifters i believe have a different pull, and not sure if i can for instance put on like XT mtb brake levers on the current calipers.

    Must I change the whole shabang?????
  • lesfirthlesfirth Posts: 1,195
    Sell the bike and then buy what you want. That is the easiest solution.
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