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  1. #1
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    Road bars to straight bars?

    I have a 1986 trek road bike for commuting around town. I want to put a straight style or hybrid style handle bar on it. What components do I need? I know I'll need:
    Handle bar (size?)
    Brake levers

    The shifters are on the frame so I'm good there
    Thanks-chris

  2. #2
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    You got it. What else did you think you needed?
    Quote Originally Posted by TREKIN View Post
    I have a 1986 trek road bike for commuting around town. I want to put a straight style or hybrid style handle bar on it. What components do I need? I know I'll need:
    Handle bar (size?)
    Brake levers

    The shifters are on the frame so I'm good there
    Thanks-chris

  3. #3
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    A new head set with a shorter stem. I can't find anything

  4. #4
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    Make sure you buy brake levers designed for road calipers, not levers designed for V-brakes(which are what most hybrid bikes have these days.)

    Handlebar width is a matter of preference. I've used bars ranging from 52 cm to 58cm wide. A riser bar cut down to about 58cm is what I have on my current "hybrid"(mine is a converted road bike). If you use a riser bar, you can only go so narrow before the bend in the bar interferes with lever placement. Also, road bars have a slightly larger diameter than straight bars and riser bars, so you'll probably need to shim whatever bar you decide to use if you use a road quill stem. I'm using aluminum snipped from a Xing Tea can(it's a bit thicker than the typical drink can these days.) Another option would be to use a quill to threadless adapter which would probably make finding stems and bars easier. If you did that you could just a threadless mountain bike stem in either 25.4mm or 31.8mm diameter and matching bar. I already had a 26.0mm road stem which is why I just shimmed it.

  5. #5
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    My current head set and stem are one piece. So I believe I may have to replace that whole thing with a mountain bike set up

  6. #6
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    I don't think you and I refer to the same thing when we say "headset." For me, "headset" is the bearings and their housing. It's two (ok, more) pieces that press into the frame, the bearings, and usually some seals and things.

    Can you post a pic?

  7. #7
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    Yeah, a quill stem which is the type of stem that would have been used on a 1986 Trek is shaped like a 7. I think you may be mistakenly thinking that the more vertical part of the stem is the "headset" portion and that the more horizontal portion is the "stem". That's not how it is with pre-threadless era stems. The entire 7 shaped piece of metal is the stem.

  8. #8
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    If you decide to go with a quill stem, you'll need one similar to this:

    Amazon.com: Origin8 Classique Sport ATB Stem - 1" x 85mm, 30-Degree, 25.4mm Clamp, Black Anodized: Sports & Outdoors

    You'll need a stem with a quill(the vertical portion of the 7) that has a diameter of 22.2mm(these are also referred to as 1" quill stems because that's the size headset they fit.) You'll need the handlebar clamp of the stem to fit 25.4 mm diameter handlebars. The length and angle of the stem is up to you--they make them in quite a few variations.

    The other option would be to use one of these:

    Amazon.com: Origin8 1" Threaded to 1-1/8" Threadless Quill Stem Adapter - Silver: Sports & Outdoors

    ...combined with this type of stem(in whatever length and angle you prefer):

    http://www.amazon.com/Origin8-Pulsio...363525-5282361
    Last edited by Dresden; 10-22-2012 at 12:08 AM.

  9. #9
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    Thank you. Yes the quill stem was what I was referring to.

  10. #10
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    Trekin, you could use this opportunity to switch to a carbon fork. There are some really affordable carbon forks out there with 1 inch alloy steerers (What you would need). If that old trek is using the original headset and is worn, it may be worth making this swap and getting a new threadless head set and stem. You will add comfort and trim about 2 pounds off the bike. If you aren't going to spend much time on the bike (short rides about town), it's probably not worth it. But if you are thinking about using the bike for touring, it would be something to look into.
    - Character is what you are in the Dark - Dwight L Moody & Dr Emilio Lizardo

  11. #11
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    For a utility bike, I'd try not to throw too much money at it. I'd just get another quill stem. You can find them in different clamp sizes and even a few with removable face plates.

    I have the adapter thing on my nicer road bike, and while I don't care to know what it weighs it doesn't feel at all weird or flexy - if I didn't know I had it, I certainly wouldn't have any idea from riding. It's been totally reliable so far (a few years) too. So I think that's a fine option too. Just more expensive, because you'll still need to buy a new stem.

    Since it's the Internet and nobody will call me on being "that guy" in a way I care about, let me make a pitch for learning to use drop bars. They can be a little intimidating if it's not what one is used to, and they're not very comfortable if one insists on riding in the drops all the time and doesn't adjust the bike setup to compensate. Get a friend who rides road a lot to look at how you're using your drops and where you've landed them. You may find you don't want to change your bars after all. All my road-going bikes, commuter included, get drop bars. If it's impossible to get the bike to fit you well with drop bars, it may not fit you period. Going to flat bars on a bike that's too big will maybe even make the handling funkier.

  12. #12
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    Guess I missed the "around town commuter" in my first read. Scratch that carbon fork suggestion.
    - Character is what you are in the Dark - Dwight L Moody & Dr Emilio Lizardo

  13. #13
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    I have a fancy trek to go touring but maybe I'll look into the fork someday

  14. #14
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    I am looking at doing the opposite. I have straight bars on my Cannondale and looking at getting drop bars. Go figure.

  15. #15
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    What year? If the parts will fit each bike I would be down to do a swap for swap

  16. #16
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    also, what kind of brake lever would I need? Why not any type other than disc set up?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TREKIN View Post
    I have a 1986 trek road bike for commuting around town. I want to put a straight style or hybrid style handle bar on it. What components do I need? I know I'll need:
    Handle bar (size?)
    Brake levers

    The shifters are on the frame so I'm good there
    Thanks-chris
    Eeeeuuuwww -- why do you want to do that? Those old steel trek frames are really nice. The bike was made for a drop bar, not an straight/mtn bike bar. I doubt it'll be more comfortable or better handling with a straight bar. Certianly won't look as good.

  18. #18
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    The straight bar is useable up to a point and the limited hand positions becomes tiresome on longer rides. I've taken it out for 30+ mile loops but that is an exercise in enduring, that and there are times I just want to wear the sneakers over the cycling shoes. It is fun to ride so casually and this bike sees about 300 miles annually.

    MTB bars of the vintage are 25.4 where road quill stems are 26.0. You'll need to shim it most likely, an aluminum beer can is useable. If you ride the tops, the present stem will be fine but if you want to stretch out or ride at a similar position to the hoods, you'll feel cramped and quite upright. The Vitus has a 130mm stem for flat bars but to match the road bike position, I'd need the stem to be about 140-150mm and or use a different bar end.

    V-brake and canti levers work fine, you'll adapt to the cable pull to modulate braking.

    To do the conversion about 5 years ago I paid:
    $20 for the Performance Forte' levers
    $18 Performance Forte' platform MTB pedals
    $5 flat bars scratch dent/used parts from the LBS
    $35 Ergon bar ends
    $12 for brake cables
    $55 3TTT record stem open box/used from the LBS


  19. #19
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    well I couldn't wait so I went down to the local bike shop and did it up. I love it! It will be so much better for cruzing around town







  20. #20
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    my purchase is:
    Black Ops bmx and freestyle lever kit-$23.99
    Origin8 22.2/28.6 Stem Pt Quill adapter-$16.99
    BBB high rise OS 31.8 90mm extension stem-$27.99
    Giant connect XC riser 31.8 handlbar-$19.99
    Bontrager Race X little black handlebar grips-$9.99
    Giant brake cable-$3.50

    I took me about 30 minutes to to the whole swap. Thank you all for your help. It is really comfortable. The out come was just what I wanted- closer and higher bars. The only bad part is I'm going to have to figure something out to put my basket back on. Yes, I have a basket to hit up the grocery store 1/2 mile down the road

  21. #21
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    Two things, I think the front brake cable and housing should be a little longer, it looks like it might bind. Second it really needs a rear brake especially if you are going to be carrying groceries with your basket. On a free wheeling bike, you really need two brakes.

    Other than that the bike looks great. I am sure you will enjoy the new position.

  22. #22
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    Enjoy! There are plenty of flat bar convertees out there. Your conversion was reasonable too.

    The brake position is great for an errand type of bike over drop bars. One reason why I find this a useful change for short commutes and errands. I'd also suggest adding the rear brake.

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