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  1. #1
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    SS drop bars: which levers & grips?

    So I'm picking up a set of WTB mtn drop bars and have a question for those in the know. I currently have an On One Mary bar on my WaltWorks and am running Avid BB-7 brakes. With the change to drop bars, do I HAVE to change brake levers and go with a road style? If so, what should I consider / look for? What should I be aware of if I stick with my FR-5 levers?

    Also, what do you guys do for grips on your drop bars? Go with bar tape since it's a roadie bar?

    Thanks for your help!
    Charles Myrick
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  2. #2
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    Road handlebar diameter is not the same as mtb handlebar diameter. Your mtb levers won't fit.
    You want road levers made for v-brakes. Your options are narrow. I am only aware of two models, one made by Cane Creek and another made by Dia Compe. Or you could use regular road levers and change your disc calipers, avid makes a "road version" of the BB/'s
    Use tape for grip.

  3. #3
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    The road style levers are going to be better, as they are more suited for the resulting hand position. You also get hoods, which adds a hand position to the bars. I've seen Cane Creek crosstop levers used also.

    As far as grips/tape, just run whatever is most comfortable. You want vibration damping above all else, which usually means gel bar tape, or soft rubber grips. I like tape, myself, but some soft rubber grips would be good too... use track style grips or cheapie mtb grips, as they are long enough, very flexible, and won't make the bar diameter too big (like better, pricier mtb grips). If you use the grips in the hooks, then tape the tops, you've got a very versatile setup that's easy to work on.

  4. #4
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    I'm using Tektro R200A levers for me canti, but I think you'll be needing something like the Tektro RL520 to work with the BB7 MTB brakes.
    I think I stripped the threads or dislodged the nut in the clamp of my left R200A lever when trying to clamp down hard onto the slippery bead-blast ano on my new Salsa Bell Lap bars . Just something to be aware of,... going to go back to my old naked finish Nitto bars with replacement levers .

    As for V-brake style MTB levers onto drops, I have not tried and there will be limitations.
    - They will not fit on drops like cyclocross top mount levers unless they've got a split clamp design, even then there are doubts that they may not twist around the bends of the drops or be able to clamp onto the tops.
    - They may not be able to be clamp onto the bar ends if they don't fit past the bends. Plus you'll get cables shooting out backwards with them MTB levers in their back to front mounting position.

    Tape, bare bars, rubber grips,... your choice. The clamp hardware on the road style levers will exposed and you may wrap across the clamps if you're using grips on drops before shifting the grips next to the levers. Long grips can come in skinny rubber track grips, cork grips to long foam ones

  5. #5
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    Tektro RL520 are at least the cheapest route. Haven't done drop bars on singletrack, so I don't know what sort of considerations that might be for tape. Post pictures.

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys! So far I've found the Cane Creek Drop V levers and Soma track grips. When I first put Mary bars on the bike, I tried just bar tape and it kept sliding and just wasn't enough cushion. Granted, I was riding it at the Conyers trail here in ATL which is extremely bouncy due to the masses of granite you ride over. I could always use bar tape over the track grips to give it a clean finished look.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2biker
    So I'm picking up a set of WTB mtn drop bars
    Not to hijack the thread, but why would anyone want drop bars on a mountain bike? What benefit could this provide on anything but the smoothest terrain?

  8. #8
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    Pretty complete article on one style of off-road drops here. With lots of info throughout, and it mentions the reasons why toward the end.

    I've played around with the idea before, but I haven't decided whether to splurge on a new stem and midge bars yet, or keep my riser bars.

    Drops off-road take a little getting used to, but really aren't all that bad. They are suited primarily for XC riding, where things don't get too steep/technical... but still manageable through rock gardens. At least, that was my experience with conventional drops on my mtb.

  9. #9
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    Cane creek road levers have a meaty hood - Fizik (sp?) semi leather bar tape - you'll feel like this


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by swaldrop
    Not to hijack the thread, but why would anyone want drop bars on a mountain bike? What benefit could this provide on anything but the smoothest terrain?
    Simple, it works.

    IMO the mtb bar evolved because of the weak clamps on early stems, which meant that flat bars were necessary to avoid the bar twisting down in the clamp. Now that mtb stems are nice and strong we can use proper bars again

    Also you can climb like a hooligan.
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  11. #11
    those are Rollercams...
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    Quote Originally Posted by swaldrop
    Not to hijack the thread, but why would anyone want drop bars on a mountain bike? What benefit could this provide on anything but the smoothest terrain?
    Better control, increased comfort and a more natural hand position. What else is there to consider?

    Truly a wealth of useless information.


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by WTB-rider
    Better control, increased comfort and a more natural hand position. What else is there to consider?
    +1 and infinity

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2biker
    Thanks guys! So far I've found the Cane Creek Drop V levers and Soma track grips. When I first put Mary bars on the bike, I tried just bar tape and it kept sliding and just wasn't enough cushion. Granted, I was riding it at the Conyers trail here in ATL which is extremely bouncy due to the masses of granite you ride over. I could always use bar tape over the track grips to give it a clean finished look.
    Check out the Tektro RL520 levers. Same as the Cane Creek - but cheaper in price and no lizards embossed on the hoods.

    ESI Chunky makes a road bar grip - you can try those or just use some Specialized Bar Phat w/ a roll of Fizik MicroTex tape. Durable and cushioned.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ernesto_from_Wisconsin
    Cane creek road levers have a meaty hood - Fizik (sp?) semi leather bar tape - you'll feel like this

    in this case im siding with geared roadies

    great post Ernesto
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by swaldrop
    Not to hijack the thread, but why would anyone want drop bars on a mountain bike? What benefit could this provide on anything but the smoothest terrain?
    Well, besides the fact that I'm really enjoying my rigid SS and just want to keep trying new fun things with it? I'm planning to try a couple of cross races on the bike and would rather do it with a mtn drop bar than my current double wide of a bar...the Titec H bar.

    Thanks for the continued feedback. I noticed another thread in the 29er forum that I've been reading on this subject too. It's all very intriguing.

    But I can't wait to try it!
    Charles Myrick
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  16. #16
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    i'm running the roadie version of bb5's with the v version of cane creeks (cane creeks are the same as the tektros, only swankier, but can be found cheaper than tektros if you're on ebay or craigslist)

    STAY AWAY FROM THE DIA-COMPES
    hard to explain but here we go, so I ordered a set if the diacompes, tried them out, odd problem, the locating hole for the cable housing end in the back of the lever... doesn't fit ANY cable housing ends I've ever found.
    I know I know "meant for roadie cables housing" nope, they didn't fit either.
    not the ones I could find in any case.

    I dunno if I grabbed a wonky set or something but just don't waste your time going down that road, the tektros or cane creeks work perfectly out of the box.

    spanky!
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2biker
    I'm really enjoying my rigid SS and just want to keep trying new fun things with it...
    Fair enough. Good answer...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by swaldrop
    Not to hijack the thread, but why would anyone want drop bars on a mountain bike? What benefit could this provide on anything but the smoothest terrain?
    It's not SS but this pic is great, in case you have doubts about dropbars on MTBs:


    That's John Tomac, BTW, who won XC and DH world championships on that bike.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlr40
    It's not SS but this pic is great, in case you have doubts about dropbars on MTBs:


    That's John Tomac, BTW, who won XC and DH world championships on that bike.
    JOHNNY T!!!! heck yea!! I remember that. He was awesome! Not to hijack my own thread, but I miss that era of riders...Tinker, Tomac, Ned, Missy, Miles, Rishi, Juliana....
    Charles Myrick
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  20. #20
    local trails rider
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    mmm, did I save a copy of that cyclocross pic last year...
    Yes I did:


  21. #21
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    A few thoughts:

    The Dia Compe levers are crap. Worst lever I've ever used by a long shot.

    I really like road BB7s.

    I prefer levers with quite a short reach for off road drops. My favs have been old, lower level Shimano.

    Bar tape never cut it for me. Packs down too fast and gets cut in crashes. I used Oury Mountain grips. Spray a bit of frame saver in them, slide them on, and in a few hours they'll be set up solid. For the WTBs you'll want two sets, as seen below.

    I didn't like the WTB for singletracking too much. Too much reach and drop as compared to the Midge, and the bend is funny. For rough stuff cyclocrossing and occasional singletrack however, it's great.

    This is Randy Mason on a WTB, riding to third solo SS (on a fixed Karate Monkey) at the 2007 Old Pueblo. He likes the WTB, in no small part because he broke a Midge dropping a ledge in Moab.



    My Karate Monkey with WTBs.



    My bike with Midges.


  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by swaldrop
    Not to hijack the thread, but why would anyone want drop bars on a mountain bike? What benefit could this provide on anything but the smoothest terrain?
    A couple very recent examples (not of SS though). Travis Brown's rig for Leadville and DaveZ's Niner. Hijacked from the Endurance Racing forum, not mine. Very interesting set ups indeed.
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