Can I swap to flats?

duckchops Posts: 3
edited June 2017 in Commuting general
Greetings all

I've searched around the forums for similar Qs but can't find anything that quite captures it.

In short: can I swap out my drop bars for flats or, if it's inadvisable, why?

With background: I was commuting in London every day on my rickety old Kona Cinder Cone for about a year, and loving it. I had started to add a few more KMs to my route home a couple of days a week and fancied the idea of putting in some longer recreational rides at the weekend and wanted something more suited. After lots of research and some tests I eventually settled on the Cotic Escapade (preferring the 'adventure' geometry and aesthetic, discs and tyre clearance etc).

I knew it would take a few weeks/months to adjust to the position but, after around 9 months, I must sadly say I'm simply not enjoying the ride; I just don't like the position and rarely, if ever, use the drops. Consequently, for the last couple of months, more days than not I've simply left the bike at home. This makes me very, very sad (and my girlfriend very angry...).

So what can I do? Will the geometry allow for me to swap out the drop bars (and brake and gear levers) for flats? There does seem to be small differences between the Escapade and its flat-bar 'Roadrat' equivalent.

Any advice welcome - I'd love to enjoy my commute again.


  • timothyw
    timothyw Posts: 2,482
    Burn the heretic.

    You can do this, but it's a lot of hassle if you don't want to end up with a real frankenbike, and you'll need rather a long stem to get a good flat bar position. Main issue is that you'll need to replace the 'brifters' with separate brake levers and gear shifters that are compatible with your existing bits.

    Honestly, you might be best getting a fresh start with a new hybrid - selling the Cotic (or swapping it with someone else that wants to go drop bars).
  • The Rookie
    The Rookie Posts: 27,812
    Flats will shorten the cockpit a lot from riding on the Hoodz, ideally you would need a longer frame, but a slightly longer stem and a seatpost with more setback can make it just about OK.

    As above, you'll also need new controls.
    Currently riding a Whyte T130C, X0 drivetrain, Magura Trail brakes converted to mixed wheel size (homebuilt wheels) with 140mm Fox 34 Rhythm and RP23 suspension. 12.2Kg.
  • fenix
    fenix Posts: 5,437
    You can swap - but its a PITA and surprisingly costly to get new brake and gear levers to work.

    I'd say most people rarely use the drops. I'm on my hoods for 70% of the time and the tops of the bars the other 30%.

    What is it you don't like ? Too low ? Too narrow ?

    Just changing to the flat bar wouldn't help with the lowness unless you get another stem too.
  • duckchops
    duckchops Posts: 3
    Thanks for your advice, guys.

    Certainly feels too narrow and I've never felt 'stable' like I used to on the Kona (although I must admit I'm probably a safer rider for it) and perhaps, even, too low.

    Clear steer from you all is not to bother swapping the bars so I'll trial some more adjustments to the stem and see if that's any better. My last resort will be trade it in.

    I'll report back...
  • herb71
    herb71 Posts: 253
    What exactly is it you don't like about the position, presumably when riding on the tops / hoods as you don't use the drops?

    There are some variables you could play with that would be more cost effective than trying to change to a flat bar system, stem length, handlebar width, stem angle / stack height.

    You could may even be able to fit a set of chicken levers if you are more comfortable braking from the tops.
  • What about one of those funny Metrea bars that seem to be basically the hoods? Never seen one in the flesh so no idea if they'd be suitable. Or cost effective.
  • cyberknight
    cyberknight Posts: 1,238
    It is doable for sure but as others said a hassle and by the time you have added up the cost it might be easier to sell the bike and put the proceeds to a replacement .I went the other way as i prefer the hand position of hood/ drops to flat bars even with bar ends to make a winter commuter frakenbike.
    FCN 3/5/9
  • andy9964
    andy9964 Posts: 930
    I swapped to flats on my CAADX, and don't regret it one bit
    This is what it cost me
    Bars - £15 off ebay
    Grips - £10 ebay again
    10sp Tiagra shifters - £60 from Tredz I think
    Clarks hydro disc set (f+r) - £40 can't remember where

    Admittedly, I was probably on a frame size too big, so that probably helped with the position set up to flats, but I'm much happier and comfortable with the flat bar.
    I still have the old steel Raleigh for anything more than a commute