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  1. #1
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    Converting a Flat-Bar "Road" Bike to Drop Bars (aka Giant Rapid 3 upgrade potential?)

    Hello-

    I recently got a Giant Rapid 3 cheap from a buddy (bikepedia description below).

    https://bikepedia.com/QuickBike/Bike...spx?item=19430

    This is a flat-bar exercise-style "road" bike or "commuter" bike, that seems to use a road frame with mountain bike handlebars/shifters/brakes for a controllable commuter, or what some have described as a "fast around-towner".

    I am thinking of switching to a more road-bike setup. Specifically, I just want to switch to drop bars, with the accompanying shifter/brake combo that generally comes standard on road bikes now - where the brake levers double as hand-grips on the bend in the drop bar, and the shifters are integrated into the brake levers.

    In other words, I want to keep as many of the components as possible and just make it feel like a full road bike - with normal dropbars, shifters, and brakes.

    Is this possible to do this change on a bike like this? Do the derailleurs and chainrings match a mountain-bike setup and thus need to be switched out if I switch to drop-bar style brake levers/shifters (because those are designed for road bike specs)? If that level of swapping would need to happen to make it fully a road bike, would it be crazy or unsafe or a bad idea to put in drop bars and keep the current shifters/brakes, just added onto the drop bars?

    I'm new to conversions and upgrades, so pardon my ignorance. I just want to make this feel like a standard 10-speed when I ride it, instead of like using mountain bike controls slapped onto the body and ride of a road bike.

    Thanks so much!!
    -Nate

  2. #2
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    Nate,
    Short answer is, it can be done and often asked. Most of us here prefer a dropbar to flatbar bike. But...big but, converting is universally a bad idea. Throwing good money after bad. Yes the bike can be converted, but if the bike fits you now with flat bar, it will fit poorer with a drop bar. Because handlebars sweep back with a flat bar, there is a 30-50mm different in top tube length between flat bar and drop bar bike for same rider size. Flatbar bikes...like a hybrid or mtb have longer top tubes for same size rider. This is because with drop bar, the hoods project forward...hoods being nominal riding position. Reason the drops sweep rearward is because they are much lower than a traditional flatbar which moves the hooks farther from the shoulder joints.

    Hope above makes sense. MUCH easier, to put the bike you have on Craigslist, ride it the way it is, or give it to a friend. Buy a decent Aluminum drop bar bike is much easier and you will end up with a much better bicycle.

    A last gross misconception about drop bar bicycles. Many will choose a flatbar bike to a drop bar because they find a flatbar bike more comfortable. The opposite should be true but generally isn't. Because a drop bar offers many more positions on the handlebar which also changes and helps mitigate rider fatigue, a drop bar should be more comfortable. Problem with many drop bar bikes for a given rider is the dropbar is merely in the wrong position, generally too low which puts more weight on the hands which sets the rider up for pain on longer rides. This is needless. A dropbar can be placed higher on a bicycle to replicate a flatbar riding position with optional hook position of getting low to cheat the wind. This is why OP, endurance genre dropbar bicycles are so popular among average riders...so seek an endurance geometry generally for more comfort. Body proportions and level of athleticism also affect what style dropbar bike may work best.
    Last edited by 11spd; 06-05-2018 at 01:56 AM.

  3. #3
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    I couldn't have said it better than 11spd.

    If you decide to go forward with this, then you will need a shorter stem, drop bar, bar tape, and Shimano 8 speed shifters (Shimano Claris 3x8 or old Shimano Sora 3x8). Microshift 3x8 shifters would also be an option as well. This is assuming you have the exact same bike on the website you linked.

  4. #4
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    I agree with all said, but.... if he is converting a flat bar bike to road, he may want to move to a more aggressive position.
    I put road bars on my mountain bike and just adj the stem length to agree with my road bike setup and everything is fine so far.
    Do you have a road bike, if so check your measurements before moving forward on the stem, seat, etc. Another concern is the mt to road shifters, I didn't check your bike link, so you will need to get road shifters compatible with your bike's RD & FD.
    I did the conversion for about $150 with parts off ebay and am quite happy with it.
    But if your planning on riding a lot, get another bike....
    BANNED

  5. #5
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    Iíve recently done this on two of my 29ers. Both have disc brakes. I used 405 and 505 hydro mechanical levers. Also went to 1x10 and 1x11 respectively from 3x9ís. Was a fun project.

    And as 11sp mentioned, I shortened my stems from about 100mm down to 40 or 50mm.

    Edit; I also used a Woolftooth tan pan on both and can report that this little device works flawlessly!!
    Last edited by factory feel; 06-05-2018 at 08:38 AM.

  6. #6
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    I converted my Trek 7.7FX flat bar road bike to drop bars. The flat bars felt too upright for me, so with drops I'm more stretched out. It was a fun project and I love the results. Note, it's not a cheap conversion: STI shifters, bars, bar tape, new brake and shifter cables, possibly a new stem, and possibly new brakes if switching from long pull levers (v-brakes). Labor will be expensive too unless you do it yourself. But, if you like your bike and want to keep it, it may be worth it to you.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MountainOwl View Post
    Hello-

    I recently got a Giant Rapid 3 cheap from a buddy (bikepedia description below).

    https://bikepedia.com/QuickBike/Bike...spx?item=19430

    This is a flat-bar exercise-style "road" bike or "commuter" bike, that seems to use a road frame with mountain bike handlebars/shifters/brakes for a controllable commuter, or what some have described as a "fast around-towner".

    I am thinking of switching to a more road-bike setup. Specifically, I just want to switch to drop bars, with the accompanying shifter/brake combo that generally comes standard on road bikes now - where the brake levers double as hand-grips on the bend in the drop bar, and the shifters are integrated into the brake levers.

    In other words, I want to keep as many of the components as possible and just make it feel like a full road bike - with normal dropbars, shifters, and brakes.

    Is this possible to do this change on a bike like this? Do the derailleurs and chainrings match a mountain-bike setup and thus need to be switched out if I switch to drop-bar style brake levers/shifters (because those are designed for road bike specs)? If that level of swapping would need to happen to make it fully a road bike, would it be crazy or unsafe or a bad idea to put in drop bars and keep the current shifters/brakes, just added onto the drop bars?

    I'm new to conversions and upgrades, so pardon my ignorance. I just want to make this feel like a standard 10-speed when I ride it, instead of like using mountain bike controls slapped onto the body and ride of a road bike.

    Thanks so much!!
    -Nate
    I'll echo what the others said. I have never done any conversation type projects like this but......I did ride a Rapid 3 for
    2+ yes. Fun bike but man I hated that thing. I had it fitting fine and all but it was so twitchy and squarley. Anything over
    25 mph and hang on (yikes)
    I upgraded to a Cannondale synapse and what a HUGE difference. Smooth, straight and comfortable for mile after mile on the road. So if you want a " Road " bike I would buy one and not throw money at this
    Rapid 3.

  8. #8
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    I bought a bike that was converted to flat bar. Then I converted it back to drop bars. It's not a big deal, it just cost a bit of money for the shifters, cabling, stem, and bar. The biggest pain are shifters which will cost the most. The other stickler for me at least is I'm not sure I'd invest money into it given the original drivetrain wasn't that great to begin with at 8 speeds. I'd start by checking your local craigslist and get some used parts.

  9. #9
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    I also converted my Trek FX 7.5 to a drop bars. Bontrager "Short & Shallow" bar, way shorter stem (not sure of brand), new set of 105 shifters, AND Tektro Mini-V brakes. Those brakes work perfectly with the 105 shifters. When riding, the bike feels nearly identical to my Giant Defy Advanced road bike. My total cost for the conversion was just over $200.
    Bob

  10. #10
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    Thanks so much for all the suggestions and tips for this thought! It sounds like getting a road bike is eventually going to be the move.

    In the meantime, I realized after riding it a bit that part of the problem was that the bars were just so damn wide. And they had that gross rubber handlebar gel grip.

    So, I slide the gear shifters/brake shifters to the center of the handlebar as much as I could, I slide the bar end "horns" to the center about 2'' on each side, and I bought some cork tape.

    I am going to cut 2'' off the handlebar on each end and then re-tape it with road bike wrap, so it'll be a less wide bar that feels more comfortable. Has anyone ever seen anyone do this, or done it themself?

    Hey thanks!
    -Nate

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MountainOwl View Post
    Thanks so much for all the suggestions and tips for this thought! It sounds like getting a road bike is eventually going to be the move.

    In the meantime, I realized after riding it a bit that part of the problem was that the bars were just so damn wide. And they had that gross rubber handlebar gel grip.

    So, I slide the gear shifters/brake shifters to the center of the handlebar as much as I could, I slide the bar end "horns" to the center about 2'' on each side, and I bought some cork tape.

    I am going to cut 2'' off the handlebar on each end and then re-tape it with road bike wrap, so it'll be a less wide bar that feels more comfortable. Has anyone ever seen anyone do this, or done it themself?

    Hey thanks!
    -Nate
    cutting down the handlebars is very common.

    get a tubing cutter or a hacksaw with a saw guide from park tool.


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