Drop bars on a hybrid?

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  • 03-16-2015
    mm9
    1 Attachment(s)
    Drop bars on a hybrid?
    I've been reading about gravel and adventure bikes. I like the idea of a drop bar bike for gravel, a few short trails and something that would be more appropriate for urban assault type riding where small curb drops etc. are the norm.

    I have a Gary Fisher Wingra hybrid like the one below. It has 700x32c tires and weighs 26 lbs without the pedals. In the past, people have recommended against putting drop bars on the bike, because of the cost and something about the frame geometry not really working well with drop bars.

    With a gravel/adventure bike conversion in mind, would it be reasonable to put drop bars on the hybrid. If anyone knows about this type of thing, how much do you think it would cost overall?

    Thanks.


    Attachment 304518
  • 03-16-2015
    70charger500
    Glad you asked mm9, I have been wondering the exact same thing for a few weeks. I am looking forward to seeing some responses to the idea you have put forward.
  • 03-17-2015
    Cyclist69
    If people can do that conversion to a fatbike or Mountain bike. I see no reason why you can't do it to a hybrid. It's geometry falls closer to a MTB anyway and with the correct drop bars and shifters, it will work.

    The big question would be at what cost is doing that worth it to you? Factor the worth of your bicycle and I see this conversion coming out to roughly 50% of the bicycles value. To me, it would make more sense to put that money aside for a different bicycle all together.

    But, that's take...

    I'm not suggesting looking for a high dollar bike. In my honest opinion most are just objects of desire, then actual need. However, finding a bicycle that fits your needs from the start would serve you better.

    Just my opinion.
  • 03-17-2015
    Mcfarton
    Of you can't do the work take it by your lbs and ask for a quote. I would guess they will charge 150ish.
  • 03-17-2015
    wim
    Just a few weeks ago, I converted a (believe it or not) 26" comfort bike to a drop bar. The parts bill was about $90 for a drop bar, a set of brake levers that would fit the drop bar and work with V-brakes, a set of road brake cables (needed with those levers) and housings, a new shift cable with new housing, and bar tape.

    Unfortunately, it didn't work out because the reach to the hoods turned out to be much too long. Next time, I'll use a much shorter stem and a drop bar with a much shorter reach if the bike I'm converting is anything like the one that failed as a drop-bar cruiser. Point being for your attempt: Measure the distance from the saddle to where your hands are now most of the time. Then get the bar and a stem that will put your hands more or less at that same distance. With a 700 wheel hybrid, you might not have the reach problems I ran into, at least not to that degree.
  • 03-17-2015
    Cyclist69
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wim View Post
    Just a few weeks ago, I converted a (believe it or not) 26" comfort bike to a drop bar. The parts bill was about $90 for a drop bar, a set of brake levers that would fit the drop bar and work with V-brakes, a set of road brake cables (needed with those levers) and housings, a longer shift cable with housing, and bar tape.

    I noticed you didn't mention shifters, only brake levers.

    What are you using to shift?
  • 03-17-2015
    wim
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cyclist69 View Post
    I noticed you didn't mention shifters, only brake levers.

    What are you using to shift?

    Sorry, forgot. The comfort bike had a 7-speed Shimano mountain-bike style thumb shifter on its flat bar (no front shifting because of the single chainwheel). I dremeled the shifter clamp out until it fit the larger-diameter drop bar (took 5 minutes) and placed the shifter on the straight section of the drop bar, about an inch to the right of the stem clamp.

    Shifting reminded me of using one of those cheesy old stem shifters, but so what. A slicker way would be bar-end shifting, but I was trying to save money. Either way, you'd have to take your hand off the hood to shift.
  • 03-17-2015
    Cyclist69
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wim View Post
    Sorry, forgot. The comfort bike had a 7-speed Shimano mountain-bike style thumb shifter on its flat bar (no front shifting because of the single chainwheel). I dremeled the shifter clamp out until it fit the larger-diameter drop bar (took 5 minutes) and placed the shifter on the straight section of the drop bar, about an inch to the right of the stem clamp.

    Shifting reminded me of using one of those cheesy old stem shifters, but so what. A slicker way would be bar-end shifting, but I was trying to save money. Either way, you'd have to take your hand off the hood to shift.

    I understand, I guess, there's all kinds of ways to get the job done.

    I own a hybrid however, I much rather sell it and just purchase a bicycle that's setup already.
  • 03-17-2015
    wim
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cyclist69 View Post
    I own a hybrid however, I much rather sell it and just purchase a bicycle that's setup already.

    Yes, almost always that's the better way to go, especially if you want brake-shifters ($$$). There are manufacturers whose hybrids are just their road bikes with a flat bar substitution. For those bikes, the conversion talked about here would probably work out pretty well in terms of fit and handling.
  • 03-17-2015
    Love Commander
    1 Attachment(s)
    Wim already touched on the fit problem. The hybrid in the photo has what looks like a 110mm stem. The bars look slightly swept back, further reducing the reach. The lowest-reach drop bars I know of are about 70mm. Then there's the additional reach of the road hoods. In order to get in the same approximate position riding on the hoods as you'd be riding on the existing bars, you'd need a shorter stem than is available on the market. I think you'd be hard-pressed to put drop bars on this bike and still be comfortable.

    IMO, if this is something you really really want to do instead of getting a different bike specifically made for the task, then you should start looking into alternative bars. Multi-position bars like the Nitto Albatross, or similar bars, could be a possibility. They have a long back-sweep which you can set up to approximate where the drop portion of road bars would be, except a little higher. Then there are the forward hook section that you could tape up and use them as a stretched out, into-the-wind position. You can most likely use your current brakes and shifters with them. Plus you *might* be able to use your current stem (you'll need a 25.4mm clamp diameter for most of the multi-position bars on the market, it should be labeled either on your current stem or bars, but you can also double-check with a set of calipers).

    EDIT:

    Similar to this setup:

    Attachment 304523
  • 03-17-2015
    junior1210
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cyclist69 View Post
    I understand, I guess, there's all kinds of ways to get the job done.

    I own a hybrid however, I much rather sell it and just purchase a bicycle that's setup already.

    Unless the hybrid is high end or of sentimental value, it's cheaper to get a CX bike.
  • 03-17-2015
    mm9
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wim View Post
    Sorry, forgot. The comfort bike had a 7-speed Shimano mountain-bike style thumb shifter on its flat bar (no front shifting because of the single chainwheel). I dremeled the shifter clamp out until it fit the larger-diameter drop bar (took 5 minutes) and placed the shifter on the straight section of the drop bar, about an inch to the right of the stem clamp.

    Shifting reminded me of using one of those cheesy old stem shifters, but so what. A slicker way would be bar-end shifting, but I was trying to save money. Either way, you'd have to take your hand off the hood to shift.

    That's a great idea for keeping costs down.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Love Commander View Post
    Wim already touched on the fit problem. The hybrid in the photo has what looks like a 110mm stem. The bars look slightly swept back, further reducing the reach. The lowest-reach drop bars I know of are about 70mm. Then there's the additional reach of the road hoods. In order to get in the same approximate position riding on the hoods as you'd be riding on the existing bars, you'd need a shorter stem than is available on the market. I think you'd be hard-pressed to put drop bars on this bike and still be comfortable.

    IMO, if this is something you really really want to do instead of getting a different bike specifically made for the task, then you should start looking into alternative bars. Multi-position bars like the Nitto Albatross, or similar bars, could be a possibility. They have a long back-sweep which you can set up to approximate where the drop portion of road bars would be, except a little higher. Then there are the forward hook section that you could tape up and use them as a stretched out, into-the-wind position. You can most likely use your current brakes and shifters with them. Plus you *might* be able to use your current stem (you'll need a 25.4mm clamp diameter for most of the multi-position bars on the market, it should be labeled either on your current stem or bars, but you can also double-check with a set of calipers).

    EDIT:

    Similar to this setup:

    Good points - appreciate the input. I already have a shorter stem that will fit the bike, so I think that will help. I actually want a little bit less torso angle (more bent over) - closer in line with my road bike, but not quite as much so that's not a problem. The main reason I'm interested in drop bars is for the comfort of multi-position and the options of less wind resistance at various times - such as long downhills. After putting many base miles on the hybrid and then spending more time on a road bike lately, I realize how much more comfortable the drop bars are. I don't really care for the look of other bar options. I think all these thicker tire & thicker frame bikes with drop bars coming out these days look cool :)
  • 03-17-2015
    wim
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mm9 View Post
    That's a great idea for keeping costs down. I think I'd rather have my shifters up on the upper straight section of a drop bar like you have, vs. the old fashioned bar end shifters.

    Couple of points: You need to dremel enough material out of the thumb-shifter clamp for it to not just slide on, but also go around the bends of the drop bar as you bring the shifter up to the straight section. What helps immensely with that is to round off the sharp edges of the clamp, which would dig into the bar. If you hit a snag when you slide the shifter up, rotate the shifter slightly first before deciding to take more material out.

    You can also bend the thumb-shifter clamp open a bit to ease installation. I did that and it worked fine. But my guess is that three or four bendings is the limit before it will break. So go easy.

    On the levers: I used Tektro RL-520s and they are truly nice levers. Small complaint: they came with the rectangular washer under the clamp bolt socket head turned 90 degrees from how it is supposed to be and stupid me couldn't make them work at first. (I thought the clamp bolt was too short to reach the clamp.) You'll see what I'm saying when you look at the clamp bolt socket head. The washer needs to be horizontal, not vertical the way it came.

    Tektro RL520 V-brake compatible drop levers review | road.cc
  • 03-17-2015
    Cyclist69
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by junior1210 View Post
    Unless the hybrid is high end or of sentimental value, it's cheaper to get a CX bike.

    I agree. My hybrid has no sentiment value and didn't cost much from the start. But, even though it's lacking those things, it has worked out and been reliable.

    I will replace it with another bicycle that fills my lite touring dreams and general path riding on the cheap.
  • 03-17-2015
    junior1210
    Well before you spend any money, go check out the Commuter Forum over on MTBR, and do a search on frankenbikes and/or dropbar conversions. A lot of those folks have come up with some great work arounds, and can clue you in to some products you might not know about (example; shortest stem I've found is a 10mm meant for DH/FR bikes but useable on a road bike/hybrid if needed). There's also some small companies that make stuff for jobs like this, like RetroShift CX shifters (basically a brake lever with a thumbshifter attached). There are other things just as inventive out there, so take a look around before dumping the idea totally, even though I'm the one who told you to just go buy a CX bike.
  • 03-17-2015
    robt57
    2 Attachment(s)
    +1 on the reach. But not an un-surpassable problem by any means.

    Midge [64.5mm reach by One-on-one] bars or a few different Nito or other offering can fix you up. 'Moustache' bars pretty much. But with STIs or brakes on normal drop reach to hood may well be way too far out there.

    In my pics, note the option/use of bar con shifters. I just paid $49.00 on sale for 10 speed Dura Ace. And Tektro lever are in the 24.00 range, and available for V cable pull.

    The bars on the black bike come back so far look at the stem I had to use on my normal length Top tube on that bike. If the usual hy-brid the Top Tube would be up to an inch longer for the same size bike and then a short stem would work for that set up nicely.

    Black bike has 8 speed indexed bar end [bar con] shifters, and the Midge setup has 10 speed indexed bar cons. The Midge are crazy wide, but the leverage is nice on loose gravel IMO.
  • 03-17-2015
    Cyclist69
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by junior1210 View Post
    Well before you spend any money, go check out the Commuter Forum over on MTBR, and do a search on frankenbikes and/or dropbar conversions. A lot of those folks have come up with some great work arounds, and can clue you in to some products you might not know about (example; shortest stem I've found is a 10mm meant for DH/FR bikes but useable on a road bike/hybrid if needed). There's also some small companies that make stuff for jobs like this, like RetroShift CX shifters (basically a brake lever with a thumbshifter attached). There are other things just as inventive out there, so take a look around before dumping the idea totally, even though I'm the one who told you to just go buy a CX bike.

    Truthfully, I never intended to do any upgrades to my hybrid. I was just giving my opinion to the OP's questions.

    I have a diamondback hybrid with a heavy front suspension and seat post. I purchased this last spring when I was homeless. I purchased it new from Dick's sporting goods.

    I feel am in a much better place that I can upgrade to a better bike without spending too much coin.

    As for selling my hybrid...

    I've been fortunate as of late. I'm not sure how this happen but, I see it. So, most likely I'll just donate my hybrid to someone local who is in need of a good bike but can't afford anything. You know...

    To keep the good vibes going around. ;)

    One last thing; I don't care about telling people that I was homeless because, I was never a bum. I have never been on unemployment or any kind of public service in my entire life.

    I just worked, the good old fashion way. :)
  • 03-19-2015
    mm9
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cyclist69 View Post

    One last thing; I don't care about telling people that I was homeless because, I was never a bum. I have never been on unemployment or any kind of public service in my entire life.

    I just worked, the good old fashion way. :)

    Can you tell us more about that - sounds like an inspirational story.
  • 03-19-2015
    hazilim
    I've got a Trek FX 7.5 hybrid. I switched the crankset, bottom bracket & both derailleurs to 105 (5700 - 2 X 10) a few years ago. I kept the Avid SD-5 V-brakes & flat bar brake levers, but switched the shifters to Shimano 2 X 10 flat bar shifters. A great improvement - fantastic shifting & about 2 lb lighter.
    Last month I replaced the flat bar with a Deda Newton Shallow (75mm reach). Added Shimano 105 brifters (2 X 10). I had to change the brakes to Tektro Mini-V; the cable pull of the 105 shifters matches the Mini-V calipers quite well (but the pads have to ride fairly close to the brake tracks.
    The original stem was 105 mm & the reach for me was barely rideable, so I changed to a 70mm stem (not expensive). The distance from the saddle nose to the back of the new bar is now 43mm (same as on my Defy Advanced road bike) & it's easy to ride.
    The total conversion was expensive, but I had changed the crankset, BB, & both derailleurs a while back. The new 105 shifters were from Merlin in England -by FAR the lowest price - & the Mini-V brakes aren't expensive either.
    That type of conversion is certainly doable, but you should also consider selling the hybrid & putting the funds toward a new (or nearly new) road bike. It may prove to be a less expensive approach.
    I'll post some pictures as soon as I get the chance.
    Bob
  • 03-19-2015
    robt57
    2 Attachment(s)
    I had this Trek 730, a steel 90s hybrid for 15 years. It was my only MTB bike for 3 seasons and 45C Fire CX Pana racer tire fit fine. I just could not use the granny with the 45C on because the knobbies would catch the chain. ;)

    8 speed Dura ace bar cons. Also used 35C Panaracer Pasellaa for a LBS job I commuted to.

    I was a bit heavy, [and a bit small] but it was a great bike. I over woods riding with it, and MTBers would flip out when that saw me riding technical singe track. And with no granny with the 45C I had to out of the saddle climb and drop the MTB granny grinders like bad habits on the medium hills. At the expense of my legs and lungs I assure...

    I sold it for a Salsa Chili Con Crosso which I hated I found and was sorry I let the Trek out of my hands. But someone made me a 475.00 offer I could not refuse. But that Scandium Sala WAS lighter by A LOT! ;)

    And also is fast commuter mode with light wheels 28C All season Conti 28C and clip on fenders. And a USE seat post, in case it was not heavy enough.
    Top pic was the ad for craigslist after I pulled off some nice parts and the wheels that cost a few hundred to build. ;) Avid Tri Aligns, Sugino Pro forged cranks [still on a bike I have]. ;) USE post, yada yada..

    This was one comfortable versatile, albeit heavy sweet heart of a sled frankly.
  • 03-20-2015
    Cyclist69
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mm9 View Post
    Can you tell us more about that - sounds like an inspirational story.

    I could say a lot about that. However, I did write it down before and after I did. I felt worse then I did when I was going through it.

    I will say. Things happen and you just need to deal with the situation the best you can. Everyday, when I come home after work. I'm thankful for what I have and where I am now.

    What I learned and, I did learn plenty.

    One: Nothing is forever.
    Two: Depending on yourself makes you stronger.
    Three: The gifts in life are all around you. You just need to open your eyes to see them. And you need to suffer a little bit to appreciate them.

    I love where I live. The town is so awesome. I love my apartment. I fixed it up nicely and no one would be able to tell that not even a year ago I was living in a 10 x 10 storage unit.

    I win! ;)
  • 03-23-2015
    Dranrab
    I tried these bar ends not expecting to like them much. I fell in love with them. I have a Specialized Tarmac, but ride this build much more often. Most hybrid and MTB bars are too wide. I had to trim mine down a bit

    https://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g...psn0mc4vw6.jpg
  • 03-24-2015
    Blue CheeseHead
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mcfarton View Post
    Of you can't do the work take it by your lbs and ask for a quote. I would guess they will charge 150ish.

    plus parts, which would include bars, shifters and bar tape. You cold have another $200 in parts easy.
  • 03-24-2015
    wim
    2 Attachment(s)
    The guy for whom I did the more or less failed 26" comfort-bike conversion described above brought the bike back for it's scheduled salvage attempt (shorter stem, drop bar with much shorter reach). Before going to work, I took the photos below to illustrate the reach problem. You can actually see how unusually long the bike had become in relation to its vertical size.

    Word is that the existing comfort-bike shifter with the dremeled-out clamp works like a champ. With the hand on the top bend, you can shift to a larger gear without moving your hand at all and to a smaller one with very little hand movement.
  • 03-25-2015
    Cyclist69
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wim View Post
    The guy for whom I did the more or less failed 26" comfort-bike conversion described above brought the bike back for it's scheduled salvage attempt (shorter stem, drop bar with much shorter reach). Before going to work, I took the photos below to illustrate the reach problem. You can actually see how unusually long the bike had become in relation to its vertical size.

    Word is that the existing comfort-bike shifter with the dremeled-out clamp works like a champ. With the hand on the top bend, you can shift to a larger gear without moving your hand at all and to a smaller one with very little hand movement.

    I see what your saying about the reach. You could try an adjustable stem. That will shorten the reach and add a bit of hight. But, overall I like what you have done. I will admit, I like what you have done with the shifter. Looks clean.