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  1. #1
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    New question here. Switching to drop bars with Shimano XT -- What are my options?

    Surly Troll with a 10 speed Shimano XT group, rigid fork, intended use is expedition touring and bikepacking-- mostly dirt roads and occasional trail/singletrack.

    Currently have a flat bar with Ergon GP3 grips. I'm generally happy with the setup but find that (1) I am searching for more hand positions on longer rides (2) would like a position that deals with headwinds better.

    I have a few questions:
    1. Would switching to a drop handlebar be an improvement in these areas?
    2. Would it be possible to do so while retaining a relatively upright position (so as to comfortably enjoy the scenery)? For singletrack, do drop bars offer acceptable leverage?
    3. Searching online, it seems that Shimano's road shifters are not compatible with current Shimano XT derailleurs. If that's the case, what are my options? Are there any compatible bar end shifters? Are these useable on singletrack?

    Any insight is much appreciated-- thanks in advance.

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    Take a look at the Jones Loop Bar. A ton of hand positions, keep you upright, and you wouldn't have to buy new shifters and brake levers.

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    yes, jones bars. nothing better for multiple hand positions and easy integration with revelate style handlebar bags and all the other clutter that goes up there.

    the 45 degree back sweep pared with a short stem also suit me really well for technical riding, off tour.

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    I just put Midge bars on my Fargo. I had Mary bars with 9 speed xtr trigger shifters. I found some Retroshift levers for cheap. They work great. Lots of hand positions. great shifting. You need to have a tall, short stem and plenty of steerer tube. ideally, the drops are at the height your handlebar would be. Plenty on this topic on the 29er bike forum. I might have gone with Jones loop bars,but this setup came around first. Good luck.

  5. #5
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    Easiest thing to try first would be bar ends.
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    Switching to drop bars with Shimano XT -- What are my options?

    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiJohn View Post
    Easiest thing to try first would be bar ends.
    They would need to be friction shifters, and IME even 9-sp and friction shifting is too fussy.
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    Switching to drop bars with Shimano XT -- What are my options?

    I do this on one bike.
    Made an accessory bar for lights, computers and such. Found I could also mount a trigger shifter on it. Works fine from the drops. I have a barend lever for FD.

    The original version was made from a clip on aero bar.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    They would need to be friction shifters, and IME even 9-sp and friction shifting is too fussy.
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_wb8bAl1P-N...00/barends.jpg

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    Wow-- thank you for all the responses.

    I will do some more research on the Jones Bar. It certainly offers more hand positions, I'm a bit curious about how that manages without altering the orientation of the wrists (drops offer positions both parallel and perpendicular to road). Currently it does seem to be the best option without going for drops, though.

    A quick search on Retroshift seems to indicate that they are not compatible with Shimano XT. Are there _any_ indexed bar end shifters that work with 10 speed XT RD?

    Would trigger shifters work along with drops? Shiggy, how do you find the setup for rear shifts?

    For future reference-- is this setup easier to accomplish with a SRAM group?

    Thanks again.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    They would need to be friction shifters, and IME even 9-sp and friction shifting is too fussy.
    Just adding bar ends wouldn't need anything else changing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwrz View Post
    Wow-- thank you for all the responses.

    I will do some more research on the Jones Bar. It certainly offers more hand positions, I'm a bit curious about how that manages without altering the orientation of the wrists (drops offer positions both parallel and perpendicular to road). Currently it does seem to be the best option without going for drops, though.

    A quick search on Retroshift seems to indicate that they are not compatible with Shimano XT. Are there _any_ indexed bar end shifters that work with 10 speed XT RD?

    Would trigger shifters work along with drops? Shiggy, how do you find the setup for rear shifts?

    For future reference-- is this setup easier to accomplish with a SRAM group?

    Thanks again.


    Drop bars with SRAM 10 speed road shifters and SRAM derailleurs will.

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    Switching to drop bars with Shimano XT -- What are my options?

    Quote Originally Posted by dwrz View Post
    Wow-- thank you for all the responses.

    I will do some more research on the Jones Bar. It certainly offers more hand positions, I'm a bit curious about how that manages without altering the orientation of the wrists (drops offer positions both parallel and perpendicular to road). Currently it does seem to be the best option without going for drops, though.

    A quick search on Retroshift seems to indicate that they are not compatible with Shimano XT. Are there _any_ indexed bar end shifters that work with 10 speed XT RD?

    Would trigger shifters work along with drops? Shiggy, how do you find the setup for rear shifts?

    For future reference-- is this setup easier to accomplish with a SRAM group?

    Thanks again.
    I tried Jones Hbars. They are not a replacement for dropbars.

    There are no indexed barend or downtube shifter that work with Shimano Dynasys RDs. There are some aftermarket adaptors to change cable pull that may work. Never used them.
    You could use Shimano 10-speed barend or 10-sp road integrated levers with Shimano 9-sp mtb or 10-sp road RDs

    As I said, my dropbar/trigger shifter setup works fine.

    All SRAM 10-sp shifters and RDs work together.
    Yes,
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    Switching to drop bars with Shimano XT -- What are my options?

    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiJohn View Post
    Just adding bar ends wouldn't need anything else changing.
    Non-functional is non-functional.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    I tried Jones Hbars. They are not a replacement for dropbars.
    Jones' have replaced every pair of drop bars I owned. Different strokes I guess.
    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Non-functional is non-functional.
    Also, for a second time;

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    Switching to drop bars with Shimano XT -- What are my options?

    Quote Originally Posted by big_papa_nuts View Post

    Also, for a second time;

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    Ummmm...no.

    We were discussing barend SHIFTERS on dropbars.
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    The bar ends have good reviews, but I am a bit skeptical. At this point I'm thinking I'll either try the Jones Bar or just wait until the group wears out and then switch to SRAM. Unless any bar end indexed shifters come out between now and then....

    Thanks again to all those who've provided their insight.

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    Switching to drop bars with Shimano XT -- What are my options?

    Quote Originally Posted by dwrz View Post
    The bar ends have good reviews, but I am a bit skeptical. At this point I'm thinking I'll either try the Jones Bar or just wait until the group wears out and then switch to SRAM. Unless any bar end indexed shifters come out between now and then....

    Thanks again to all those who've provided their insight.
    As I mentioned earlier, you can use Shimano 10-sp barend shifters with Shimano 8/9/10-sp road RDs and Shimano 8/9-sp mtb RDs.
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    Thanks, Shiggy. That's good to know for the record. In my case-- the RD and cassette I have on now are pretty fresh; I think if I replace them it will just be with SRAM down the line.

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    Switching to drop bars with Shimano XT -- What are my options?

    Quote Originally Posted by dwrz View Post
    Thanks, Shiggy. That's good to know for the record. In my case-- the RD and cassette I have on now are pretty fresh; I think if I replace them it will just be with SRAM down the line.
    Try the SRAM integrated levers before you buy. I am not fond of them, and they do not have a good reputation for longevity in rough conditions. SRAM does offer barend shifters, and the lowest end version is reasonably priced.
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    That's good to know. I will definitely have to research that option in more detail.

    One last question: how do you find the bar ends on singletrack? Are they workable?

    Thanks again for all your help.

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    I did this with my older RM hammer. I rode it for a while, but I ended up not liking it and will be rebuilding the hammer to its former glorious self. Having said that I would like to try something like the Salsa Fargo, something with geometry dialed in for a drop bar. The bar is the Salsa woodchipper, 25.4 clamp size. The frame is a little small for me now and I thought the extra reach with the bar would alleviate some the issues with the top tube being short for me. I set up the bar so the drops were as close as I could get to the flat bar position. I had a 9speed setup, shimano bar end shifters worked just fine, indexed rear friction front.
    To answer your question, I had no trouble shifting with the bar-ends. My issue was with the fit.

    Switching to drop bars with Shimano XT -- What are my options?-img_3657.jpg
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  23. #23
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    I would second (or third) the Jones loop bars. You could use all of your current components and end up with more hand positions. You could probably even use the same stem that you currently have, or it should at least be close enough that you could tell what you really want.

    I have a cross bike with SRAM brifters on Ragley Luxy drop bars. It is a great setup, the bars are nice and wide and it is very comfortable in the drops for singletrack. The shifting works very well for singletrack use. But I have already crashed in a sand pit and crammed one of the brifters into the sand hard enough that it quit working, and both myself and my LBS couldn't clean it out and get it functional again. I have friction bar ends on a touring bike that I ridden a lot off-road and find that they work well for that. The friction version works well for the 7-speeds that I have.

    I have the road version of BB7 brakes on my cross bike and they are perfect for use with road brake levers. If you currently have hydraulic brakes then I don't know of a really good solution with drop bars.

    I think that going to drop bars would be a pretty involved makeover on your current bike. I would put the Jones loop bars on there and if that didn't work, or even if it did, plan a bike that would have drop bars on it from the start. But I'm a big believer in n+1.

  24. #24
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    You should be able to use XT brake levers or any typical single speed styled drop bar brake levers combined with the new line of hydraulic ISO brakes with the reservoir at the brake caliper, using standard mechanical cable lines. "Hy/Rd Spyre"
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Ummmm...no.

    We were discussing barend SHIFTERS on dropbars.
    Ummmmm...no.

    The OP was asking about options for adding more had positions to his MTB. KiwiJohn mentioned that barends would be the easiest way to do that without changing anything shifter related, as they should just bolt to MTB bars.

    And all this happened before the first mention of barend SHIFTERS.

    Context.

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    Switching to drop bars with Shimano XT -- What are my options?

    Quote Originally Posted by big_papa_nuts View Post
    Ummmmm...no.

    The OP was asking about options for adding more had positions to his MTB. KiwiJohn mentioned that barends would be the easiest way to do that without changing anything shifter related, as they should just bolt to MTB bars.

    And all this happened before the first mention of barend SHIFTERS.

    Context.
    Ummm...double no.

    Reread the subject line: "Switching to dropbars with Shimano XT..."
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Ummm...double no.

    Reread the subject line: "Switching to dropbars with Shimano XT..."
    "...what are my options?"

    Context again. The original post was about switching to dropbars as an option for adding hand positions to a mtb. If you start that conversation and mention "berends" I will bet 95% of mtbers would think of barends and not shifters. Although I will admit to overlooking the op's mention.

    I don't even know why I'm arguing with you anyways. I'm gona let KiwiJohn sort this out.

    Anyways, to get back on track, the easiest way to add hand positions to a traditional mtb is to simply add barends (which I believe the GP3s have). Cane Creek makes some that IMO are very nice. You may also consider wrapping the inner section of your bars with some road bike tape. You can then hold there and tuck in out of the wind.

    Second option would be some sort of ALT bar. I will whole heartedly agree with other posters that the Jones' are awesome. And again the tucked middle position is nice for hiding from the wind.

    Third option would be drop bars. Keep in mind that drops on a mtb can be setup two very different ways. First would be similar to a road bike where the hoods would be your main position. This leaves the drops for hiding from the wind but also moves your main hand position 2-3 inches farther forward and may require a smaller frame size. And IMO still handles poorly on the trails. Second option would be "dirt drop" style in which the bars are set up with the drops high enough to be your main position. While this allows you to control the bike better off road it leaves you with no areo position and possibly less hand position then other options. Guitarted has explained this setup in depth and recommend checking out his blog for tips. But all that ignores the fact that the only shifters that will easily fit drops and work with dyna-sys derailers are friction. There are four options I can think of. First would be thumb style mounted on the tops which is a great option for a touring style setup. Retroshifters, which would be great for a simple bomb proof all around road setup. Kelly take-offs, I will let you decide on that one as I never cared for them. Or, Shiggy's favorite, barend mounted. Which are nice for a dirt drop style setup. Friction shifters are fine but they take some skill and getting used to to make the most of them so they are not for everybody.

    Or you can get creative, like shiggy. That is actually a pretty cool setup.

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    Again, my thanks to everyone's contributions. It's definitely helpful to get different angles on this issue.

    big_papa_nuts-- very interesting what you have to say about the drop bars. I did not think about the fact that if the drops are the main position the aero advantage is pretty much lost. I think in my case, though, the setup would be in effect more like a road bike. Most of the time on the hoods, and then drops for when things get technical (maybe fine taking into account a lower saddle position when riding on technical terrain?). I'm not sure how feasible that is in reality.

    I looked up guitarted's posts-- he's definitely given the problem some thought. I might try to email him over the weekend.

    At this point-- I definitely think that switching to drops is something I'd do down the line (with SRAM). In the meantime I'll either stick it out with the flat bar or get the Jones bar (pending some more research).

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    Switching to drop bars with Shimano XT -- What are my options?

    Quote Originally Posted by dwrz View Post
    Again, my thanks to everyone's contributions. It's definitely helpful to get different angles on this issue.

    big_papa_nuts-- very interesting what you have to say about the drop bars. I did not think about the fact that if the drops are the main position the aero advantage is pretty much lost. I think in my case, though, the setup would be in effect more like a road bike. Most of the time on the hoods, and then drops for when things get technical (maybe fine taking into account a lower saddle position when riding on technical terrain?). I'm not sure how feasible that is in reality.

    I looked up guitarted's posts-- he's definitely given the problem some thought. I might try to email him over the weekend.

    At this point-- I definitely think that switching to drops is something I'd do down the line (with SRAM). In the meantime I'll either stick it out with the flat bar or get the Jones bar (pending some more research).
    My off-road dropbar setup still has the drops (my primary/power/control position) lower than most people have their straight bars. The tops are about level with my saddle, and a bit lower (and longer stem) for my Adventure Bike that sees a lot of road and gravel riding.

    They are still much more aero than a straight bar or alt bar (Jones) because you are narrower, with your elbows down and back rather than up and out. Easier to hold the position and be lower, too.

    Most of my bikes have 2x9 drivetrains and Shimano 9-sp STI levers.

    http://mtbtires.com/site2/features/3...-ride-dropbars

    In any case, converting to drops from scratch is not cheap. I have collected a wide range of odd parts in the 28 years I have been using them off-road, and cringe at trying to use and afford current components.
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    Thanks, Shiggy. Those photographs certainly help inspire confidence in the setup. What you say about the narrower position also makes sense. I'll have to look into the drivetrain options. My parts bin is not very extensive...

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    My Retro shift 9 speed shifters are indexed on the rear shifter. I thought the 10 spd ones were as well. The fronts are all friction though. I have an XT setup

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryonaspot View Post
    My Retro shift 9 speed shifters are indexed on the rear shifter. I thought the 10 spd ones were as well. The fronts are all friction though. I have an XT setup
    You can get them without a shifter for use with downtube and barend units that can or will be friction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryonaspot View Post
    My Retro shift 9 speed shifters are indexed on the rear shifter. I thought the 10 spd ones were as well. The fronts are all friction though. I have an XT setup
    The 10 speed rear shifter is indexed, but it will only work with road 10 speed setups. The MTB 10 speed setups need a different amount of cable pull.

    I would suggest dumping the 10 speed stuff and build back up with 9 speed, either Shimano or SRAM. The 9 speed stuff should be more robust and cheaper. Personally I like the Shimano stuff. My ultimate setup would be 9 speed Shimano barend shifters mounted on Paul's Thumbies on a Jones Loop bar. They also make Thumbies to mount on drop bars. The best thing about the 9 speed bar end shifters is they can be switched from indexed to friction when things get wonky!

    For more ideas, search pictures of Tour Divide race rigs, LOTS of interesting setups for aero positions and multiple hand positions!

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    Switching to drop bars with Shimano XT -- What are my options?

    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny View Post
    The 10 speed rear shifter is indexed, but it will only work with road 10 speed setups. The MTB 10 speed setups need a different amount of cable pull.

    I would suggest dumping the 10 speed stuff and build back up with 9 speed, either Shimano or SRAM. The 9 speed stuff should be more robust and cheaper. Personally I like the Shimano stuff. My ultimate setup would be 9 speed Shimano barend shifters mounted on Paul's Thumbies on a Jones Loop bar. They also make Thumbies to mount on drop bars. The best thing about the 9 speed bar end shifters is they can be switched from indexed to friction when things get wonky!

    For more ideas, search pictures of Tour Divide race rigs, LOTS of interesting setups for aero positions and multiple hand positions!
    There is no SRAM 9-sp dropbar setup. The barend and integrated shifters are all 10-sp (or 11-sp). The 10-sp road and mtb parts are compatible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    There is no SRAM 9-sp dropbar setup. The barend and integrated shifters are all 10-sp (or 11-sp). The 10-sp road and mtb parts are compatible.
    That's why I like the Shimano setup better!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny View Post
    The 10 speed rear shifter is indexed, but it will only work with road 10 speed setups. The MTB 10 speed setups need a different amount of cable pull.

    I would suggest dumping the 10 speed stuff and build back up with 9 speed, either Shimano or SRAM. The 9 speed stuff should be more robust and cheaper. Personally I like the Shimano stuff. My ultimate setup would be 9 speed Shimano barend shifters mounted on Paul's Thumbies on a Jones Loop bar. They also make Thumbies to mount on drop bars. The best thing about the 9 speed bar end shifters is they can be switched from indexed to friction when things get wonky!

    For more ideas, search pictures of Tour Divide race rigs, LOTS of interesting setups for aero positions and multiple hand positions!
    I chose the 10sp indexed bar end shifters on the Retroshift brake levers on my cross bike. That is coupled with a 9sp rapid rise RD and it works perfect:
    - DSCF1325
    - DSCF1332

    And do have the option of running the rear shifter in friction mode if needed. On my old touring bike, I recently converted it to 10sp with old friction mode thumb shifters and it works quite well:
    - dscf1542

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Crawler View Post
    I chose the 10sp indexed bar end shifters on the Retroshift brake levers on my cross bike. That is coupled with a 9sp rapid rise RD and it works perfect:
    - DSCF1325
    - DSCF1332

    And do have the option of running the rear shifter in friction mode if needed. On my old touring bike, I recently converted it to 10sp with old friction mode thumb shifters and it works quite well:
    - dscf1542
    Nice setup! I thought the 10 speed shifters no longer have the friction option?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny View Post
    Nice setup! I thought the 10 speed shifters no longer have the friction option?
    I think there are both types. I have the BS79 model barcons and they have SIS and FRIC modes with a quarter turn of the top knob. The front shifter is essentially friction mode. It does have a single detent in the middle of the sweep.

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    Switching to drop bars with Shimano XT -- What are my options?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4Crawler View Post
    I think there are both types. I have the BS79 model barcons and they have SIS and FRIC modes with a quarter turn of the top knob. The front shifter is essentially friction mode. It does have a single detent in the middle of the sweep.
    The SL-BS79 is index-only for the rear. Seems to be the only version currently available.
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    I think they were BS79s, bought used on eBay about 20 months ago. But the BS78 is 10sp with index or friction:

    If you're looking for bar-end shifters to match your Dura-Ace, Ultegra, or 105 10 speed group, the Dura-Ace SL-BS78 Bar End Shifter is the set you want. The left shifter can handle double or triple ring front shifting. The right side has 10 speed index shifting and a friction mode which really comes in handy if you need a wheel change. Unfortunately friction mode is no longer available in the newer SL-BS79 / 7900 bar ends- so scoop these up while you can.
    I've not actually used the rear friction mode in about 18 months of riding the bike, the index mode has worked fine. Most adjustment I have done is turn the barrel adjusters a click or two from time to time if I get a little noise from the RD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Crawler View Post
    I think they were BS79s, bought used on eBay about 20 months ago. But the BS78 is 10sp with index or friction:



    I've not actually used the rear friction mode in about 18 months of riding the bike, the index mode has worked fine. Most adjustment I have done is turn the barrel adjusters a click or two from time to time if I get a little noise from the RD.
    Good info there, thanks!

  42. #42
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    On-One Midge was mentioned somewhere and seen in pictures by Shiggy.

    As a bar for your intended use I give it a 4/5 with the only downside being the hassle of selecting and hunting down triggers for your derailleurs. I run SS so it's not an issue for me.

    The trail capabilities of the Midge are excellent and on top of that you get hand positions. For me it's a choice without drawbacks instead of a compromise.


  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwrz View Post
    ...expedition touring and bikepacking-- mostly dirt roads and occasional trail/singletrack.

    (1) I am searching for more hand positions on longer rides (2) would like a position that deals with headwinds better.

    1. Would switching to a drop handlebar be an improvement in these areas?
    2. Would it be possible to do so while retaining a relatively upright position (so as to comfortably enjoy the scenery)? For singletrack, do drop bars offer acceptable leverage?
    3. Searching online, it seems that Shimano's road shifters are not compatible with current Shimano XT derailleurs. If that's the case, what are my options? Are there any compatible bar end shifters? Are these useable on singletrack?
    I run a drop bar on my dirt touring rig.



    In my opinion, drop bars are the most comfortable and functional option owing to their wide range of hand / body positions. I prefer the wide Woodchippers. I run the top of my bar an inch or so above my saddle. Double padding the corners and hooks makes a plush, larger-diameter handlebar-cockpit.

    Position-wise, I switch between the hoods, hooks, drops and tops. Most of the time I am upright on the hoods or corners. In wind, or on descents, steep climbs or single track, the hooks afford leverage, stability, and wind ease. On long days the drops, outer drops and tops provide relief with new body positions.

    Though I spend most time in the hoods, I can definitely say that I would miss--really, really, really miss--being able to get in the hooks if I were to switch to a different bar.

    I run Shimano (9-speed) bar end shifters on friction with XT derailleurs. It's simple, reliable and repairable.

    In my experience the issue of which bar comes down to personal preference, individual body mechanics, and trying different set ups to see what works best for the application.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierre meux View Post
    I run a drop bar on my dirt touring rig.



    In my opinion, drop bars are the most comfortable and functional option owing to their wide range of hand / body positions. I prefer the wide Woodchippers. I run the top of my bar an inch or so above my saddle. Double padding the corners and hooks makes a plush, larger-diameter handlebar-cockpit.

    Position-wise, I switch between the hoods, hooks, drops and tops. Most of the time I am upright on the hoods or corners. In wind, or on descents, steep climbs or single track, the hooks afford leverage, stability, and wind ease. On long days the drops, outer drops and tops provide relief with new body positions.

    Though I spend most time in the hoods, I can definitely say that I would miss--really, really, really miss--being able to get in the hooks if I were to switch to a different bar.

    I run Shimano (9-speed) bar end shifters on friction with XT derailleurs. It's simple, reliable and repairable.

    In my experience the issue of which bar comes down to personal preference, individual body mechanics, and trying different set ups to see what works best for the application.
    x2 on the above. On my touring bike, that was converted for more dirt/gravel riding back in the early '80s, I put a flat bar and friction shifters when I converted it from 2x5 to 3x5. Over the years, I ran those shifters w/ 3x6, 3x7 and now 3x10 and they still work just fine. Not as nice as clicking through the gears like on my indexed shifter, but totally ride-able.

    I also notice that the flat bars are good for an hour or two of riding. I've gone upwards of 5 hours on them but the lack of positions is felt more and more, especially on the road. With the drop bars on my cross bike, I have ridden as far and had no issues with hand positions. The key thing I found with the drop bars was adding the cross brake levers up on top, that made long, steep descents way more comfortable. Having to do those only in the drops to reach the brake levers was a bit tiring. I do have the bars an inch or two lower than the saddle. But I also have a 100mm dropper seat post, so in the dirt, the saddle will be up to 2" lower than the bars.

  45. #45
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    Switching to drop bars with Shimano XT -- What are my options?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4Crawler View Post
    x2 on the above. On my touring bike, that was converted for more dirt/gravel riding back in the early '80s, I put a flat bar and friction shifters when I converted it from 2x5 to 3x5. Over the years, I ran those shifters w/ 3x6, 3x7 and now 3x10 and they still work just fine. Not as nice as clicking through the gears like on my indexed shifter, but totally ride-able.

    I also notice that the flat bars are good for an hour or two of riding. I've gone upwards of 5 hours on them but the lack of positions is felt more and more, especially on the road. With the drop bars on my cross bike, I have ridden as far and had no issues with hand positions. The key thing I found with the drop bars was adding the cross brake levers up on top, that made long, steep descents way more comfortable. Having to do those only in the drops to reach the brake levers was a bit tiring. I do have the bars an inch or two lower than the saddle. But I also have a 100mm dropper seat post, so in the dirt, the saddle will be up to 2" lower than the bars.
    I never ride long steep descents, or anything remotely technical, on the tops, so the bar top levers are useless for me. It is the position that provides the least control and stability (see my "why I ride dropbars" link posted earlier for my brake lever setup). Pretty much like riding 18" wide straight bars.
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  46. #46
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    Agreed on the control in the drops. I mainly ride the tops on long fire road type descents where you need to stay on the brakes most of the time, but the riding is not really technical. And the braking is needed because there rangers with radar guns out there trying to catch riders exceeding 15mph. When needed, I'll drop down on the bottom of the bar, but the top levers give me the option of a different hand position while on the easier sections of the descent. I find I like the top of the bar with the cross levers over riding on the hoods and braking with the fingers as I get a more secure grip if I hit an unexpected bump. On pavement, I'll use the hoods for descents as there are not as many hard bumps.
    Last edited by 4Crawler; 01-18-2014 at 08:36 PM.

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    Nice set up! I used to run 6500 STIs with XT deraileurs/cassette BUT his set up is 10 speed which the ROAD 10 speed shifters will NOT work with due to differing cable pull/activation ratio. I loved the shimano 9 speed era when all mtb and road drivetrains were perfect mix and match.

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    Update and a few more questions.

    I have decided to go with Woodchippers with either Retroshift or bar-ends. While I am sure other setups have their merits, I believe this will fit my needs best.

    A few questions:

    1. For sizing the Woodchippers: do I go with the same measurement I use on my road and cross bikes (42cm)? Or wider?

    2. Drivetrain options:

    A. RD Only. If I replace the rear derailleur with Shimano 9 speed, can I still keep the 10 speed cassette, crank, and FD (friction)?

    B. SRAM 10. If I replace the entire drivetrain with SRAM 10 speed, am I limited to bar ends only (no Retroshift)? Am I correct in understanding that the SRAM bar ends are considered to compare poorly with Shimano?

    C. Shimano 9. Otherwise, do I need to replace the entire system (RD, Cassette, FD, Crank, Shifters) with Shimano 9 speed? Are there any issues in mounting a 9 speed cassette on a 10 speed XT hub?

    3. Bar end options. I guess this will depend on the drivetrain options. Ideally: Retroshift compatible, friction/index rear.

    Any insight is much appreciated, and again, my thanks to those who have helped guide my search for a solution.

  49. #49
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    1. I went 2cm wider on my cross bars than on my road bike (Ritchey Biomax-Cross), seems to work well.

    2A. Yes to all. I used a Rapid Rise 9sp MTB RD in order to keep the same shifting direction with the bar end shifters. With a regular RD, the front and rear barcons will move in opposite directions. I run 10sp MTB cassette, 10sp chain, 9sp MTB crank and triple MTB FD:
    - DSCF1332

    3. I think I used SL-BS78 10sp bar end shifters, 10sp friction and index modes. Just needed to get the proper washer set from RetroShift and they worked great on the RS road brake levers. For front shifter is mostly friction mode, it does have a soft detent in the center.

  50. #50
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    I would go all the way up to the 46cm Woodchippers since it is for a mountain bike.

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