Drop Bars and V brakes

kikonameko Posts: 65
edited July 2013 in Road general
Hi, i own a Trek hybrid 7.3FX, it uses v brakes for its braking.. i want to convert the handle bars to drop ones.. having said this.. drop bars means STI or road shifters and brakes.. ive read somewhere that STI brakes wont work on vbrakes..

what are my options? am i stuck with flat handle bars?

appreciate the help.


  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    I have a drop bar bike with V-brakes - so it's all possible!

    The cable pull ratios are different for caliper and V-brakes, so a standard STI lever will not work properly with a V-brake, unless you add in something called a Travel Agent - http://problemsolversbike.com/products/travel_agents/

    This changes the pull ratio and everything works perfectly.

    I use them on my fixed wheel bike and all works really nicely.

    There are also some brake levers out there (Cane Creek I think?) for drop bars that will work with V-brakes - but obviously these are not STI.
  • kikonameko
    kikonameko Posts: 65
    i see.. my problem with v brake levers for drop bars would be that they wont include shifters? what would be the best way to go about this.. adding a travel agent or just using cantilever brakes as suggested by others?
  • night_porter
    night_porter Posts: 888
    Tektro Mini V Brakes (926-al) work with drop bars without a travel agent. the down side is that you need to run them so close you cannot slip the noodle off to remove the wheel, you have to loosen the cable.
  • handful
    handful Posts: 920
    Another one who has sti shifters and v brakes, I actually have the ones mentioned by night_ porter and he is spot on in that I have to let the tyre down to get the front wheel out, not that I have to very often and a track pump gets it inflated again pretty quick. A front wheel puncture would mean no air to present a problem! I believe you can get over this minor niggle with an adjustable noodle but not really researched where I can get one of those yet.

    I have Sram Rival sti's by the way and they work brilliantly with my Apex rd and Ultegra fd as well as the Tektro brakes, best upgrade I could have done to my flat bar bike. It was actually more roadie than hybrid when I bought it though apart from the flat bars.

    If you decide to go for the Tektro brakes, Kool stop pads will help with rim wear and stopping power (not that they are bad with standard pads) and check out Planet X for cracking prices for the Tektro AL-926s, a pair for £20 which is a bargain.
    Vaaru Titanium Sram Red eTap
    Moda Chord with drop bars and Rival shifters - winter/do it all bike
    Orbea Rise
  • gsej
    gsej Posts: 34
    I would recommend that you sell the bike and buy one with drop bars. I had a specialized sirrus elite a couple of years ago (my first bike in many years). I converted it to drop bars ( replaced the bars, shifters and front derailleur ). To make the shifters work with the v-brakes I used travel agents. The result worked, but the bike was never comfortable. In retrospect, it was a mistake, and a costly one, as the bike could have been sold for a reasonable price before I'd started mucking about with it :( If you do decide to go ahead, using sti levers and travel agents does actually work very well. I have a surly long haul trucker using that combination and it works fine.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Flat bar bikes typically have a longer toptube than a drop bar frame of the same size e.g. 50mm longer - to get a decent position you may need to run a very short stem e.g. 50mm. Suggestion to sell bike and buy a drop bar one is laudible.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • kikonameko
    kikonameko Posts: 65
    Thanks for all the tips and suggestions. Thinking about it more.. you guys are right.. i'd just rather sell the bike or just stick with flat handle bars.. its too much trouble.. one thing that i had contemplated was using canti brakes.. but like mentioned above.. it might just prove to be a costly upgrade.
  • night_porter
    night_porter Posts: 888
    It's a pity you have decided not to do it because it does teach you a lot about your bike and your abilities. I have done it before but I kept an eye on ebay and found a set of bars already wrapped and complete with a pair of shifters too. If memory serves then I paid £100 for the lot.
  • unixnerd
    unixnerd Posts: 2,864
    My tourer had dreadful cantilever brakes. I changed the front to a Shimano mini-V with a Travel Agent to adapt the pull ratio. I bought the parts to do the back but it didn't clear my rack so they're going spare, PM me if interested. Big upgrade in braking power. Coming down Cairngorm on the cantis was the stuff of nightmares.
    http://www.strathspey.co.uk - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!