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  1. #1
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    Drop bars on an MTB?

    I have got an old lugged Italian MTB frame laying around, probably late 80's- long chainstays, shortish top tube, short headtube, slack angles, pig iron, dual U-brake mounts. Basically the kind of bike that you spend so much building up from mediocre old parts that you could just as easily get something modern!
    Anyways, this is my beast, and I was wondering how functional drop bars are for offroad riding... I will be running them probably with 8 speed STI. I know these things have their partisans, in particular Shiggy. The thing I am most worried about is descending on them, as if your hands are up top or on the hoods, you cannot possibly reach the end of the brake levers, which provide the most leverage, stopping power, and safety.
    Thoughts? Would flats be really the best option?
    undefined Absolutely must have: Black Machine Tech Zeroflex brake levers (the ones with the rotating leverage adjuster)

  2. #2
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    Have you done a forum search on drop bars? There's a lot of stuff out there. Your concerns about the levers are exactly why people use LD and high rise stems. The hand position should be at the levers and end of the bars rather than the tops and hoods. (Although I've braked fine on the hoods when I've had to.)

    I'm a terrible descender (and a terrible climber as well ) so I get what you mean about being worried but it's as natural as can be - even the first time out - so don't worry so much about it as long as you set them up right.

    btw, I haven't tried them with STI shifters so I'm not sure how practical shifting is. This brings up my next question though: you're going to use dirt drop bars right? It's advantageous to have flared bars.

    Finally, I think everybody should try drop bars at least once. It's really a fun experience and if you don't like it, heck, you know you've tried something different.

  3. #3
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    Hm. Hadn't thought of searching the forum, will do.
    The bars will of course be mountain drop bars (Salsa Woodchippers), and I will be using them with a 40 degree rise stem with a failry long extension.
    undefined Absolutely must have: Black Machine Tech Zeroflex brake levers (the ones with the rotating leverage adjuster)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by uphiller View Post
    I have got an old lugged Italian MTB frame laying around, probably late 80's- long chainstays, shortish top tube, short headtube, slack angles, pig iron, dual U-brake mounts.
    Out of curiosity, who made the frameset? I have a Marinoni Moose that sounds similar, and am sorting out a drop bar build....slowly. I thought I had a stem but the diameter is too small for the the bars I'm using, so the search continues. Good luck with your build, post up some pics
    Looking for a TNT Titanium front hub....

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  6. #6
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    you've been around since 2004, lazy bones!

    The single consolidated official drop bar thread

    A good place to start.

  7. #7
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    NOTHING WORKS LIKE CLOCKWORK

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by uphiller View Post
    The thing I am most worried about is descending on them, as if your hands are up top or on the hoods, you cannot possibly reach the end of the brake levers, which provide the most leverage, stopping power, and safety.
    Thoughts?
    Um . . . don't do that.
    Pretty simple, you don't ride a mountain bike with drops like you ride a road bike. Anything the least bit technical, get in the drops. And for me, that pretty much means almost always when on the trail. Definitely always when descending. I only ride drops occasionally, so I'm far from an expert, but that seems pretty obvious once you're on the trail (and especially after the first time you try braking from the hoods).
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  9. #9
    VRC Illuminati
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clockwork Bikes View Post

    No 1" option, weak sauce.
    -eric-

    http://www.rumpfy.com
    Wanted: NDS Suntour XC Pro Microdrive 175mm Crank Arm.

  10. #10
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    He said he'd make 1" ones without the bolt hole on top.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailville View Post
    Um . . . don't do that.
    Pretty simple, you don't ride a mountain bike with drops like you ride a road bike. Anything the least bit technical, get in the drops. And for me, that pretty much means almost always when on the trail. Definitely always when descending. I only ride drops occasionally, so I'm far from an expert, but that seems pretty obvious once you're on the trail (and especially after the first time you try braking from the hoods).
    Yeah, pretty much any thing you'd call a descent you want to be in the drops (I pretty much do the same on the road). And with flaired bars the hoods are a little weird anyway. They're also a little weird riding on the tops since the stem is so high...so that leaves the drops which is kinda where you're supposed to be on these most of the time anyway. Even on climbs.

    That said, I recently put some Magura hydraulic drop bar levers (thanks Sky!) on a 29er and braking power from the hoods is excellent!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
    He said he'd make 1" ones without the bolt hole on top.
    Now we're talkin!
    -eric-

    http://www.rumpfy.com
    Wanted: NDS Suntour XC Pro Microdrive 175mm Crank Arm.

  13. #13
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    Here are the threads where it's discussed. L D style stem and Ibis LD stem copies for sale

  14. #14
    velocipede technician
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    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
    He said he'd make 1" ones without the bolt hole on top.
    he did?

    I remember the no bolt hole option, but not the 1"
    looking for 20-21" P team

  15. #15
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    I only see where he says no plans to do 1"...unless thats changed.
    -eric-

    http://www.rumpfy.com
    Wanted: NDS Suntour XC Pro Microdrive 175mm Crank Arm.

  16. #16
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    Since you would probably need to use a quill type insert on an old 1" steerer just get a 1 to 1 1/8 version. That's what I'm doing on a VooDoo stem.
    No it never stops hurting, but if you keep at it you can go faster.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpfy View Post
    I only see where he says no plans to do 1"...unless thats changed.
    I've PM'd Joel and told him that I'll buy one as soon as he does a 1" version. Have you guys? Maybe he just needs some more convincing that its a worthwhile endeavor.
    We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming [Pedal House]

  18. #18
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    What is special about this stem, other than that it has optimised rise and reach for drops? Also, 250 seems steep- I know at least one custom frame builder who makes stems for 100 less.
    undefined Absolutely must have: Black Machine Tech Zeroflex brake levers (the ones with the rotating leverage adjuster)

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by uphiller View Post
    What is special about this stem, other than that it has optimised rise and reach for drops? Also, 250 seems steep- I know at least one custom frame builder who makes stems for 100 less.
    It takes a long time to make the LD and specials tools to bend the tube. Most builder don't have/want to go trough the trouble. I have one LD that is 1 1/8 (not joel) and it looks very very bulky on 1" frames.

  20. #20
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    How effective is simply using a 1" quill stem, high rise stem? I have one with a 130mm extension (measured horizontally), and 125mm of rise from the top of the minimum insertion line.
    I see why the LD is more expensive now- but is is much better than what I have? And why is an LD any better than a custom, straight-tube, heavy gauge custom chromoly stem with appropriate rise and reach?
    undefined Absolutely must have: Black Machine Tech Zeroflex brake levers (the ones with the rotating leverage adjuster)

  21. #21
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    A lot of the appeal of the LD stem is simply aesthetics. I'd imagine that's enough for most of us on the VRC forum. As someone said in the official drop bar thread, they're the stem that always seems to make the drop bar setup look "right." But as @Machianera said, the 1 1/8" would look pretty clunky on a 1" headset.

    In my case, I also want to use one on an IBIS bike, so there's another motivation. No question that Clockwork's reproductions are expensive, but have you ever seen what an authentic Potts or Ibis version goes for?

    FYI, there's always a good 1" high rise option available in the Nitto dirt drop if you don't "have to have" the LD look, but the removable face plate on the LD is nice too! (The woodchipper, for instance, doesn't fit easily into the Nitto stem. We detailed this saga in the Salsa forum a little while ago.)
    We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming [Pedal House]

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by uphiller View Post
    How effective is simply using a 1" quill stem, high rise stem? I have one with a 130mm extension (measured horizontally), and 125mm of rise from the top of the minimum insertion line.
    I see why the LD is more expensive now- but is is much better than what I have? And why is an LD any better than a custom, straight-tube, heavy gauge custom chromoly stem with appropriate rise and reach?
    I think... at the end it is a matter of looks.
    I am sure the original LD may be stiffer/lighter, but when you see 15 cm rise, you would think stiffness is not the top priority.

    The one you have is it made by specialized/nitto? If the frame fits on the larger side, probably the 130x125 may be too long/low.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamkeith View Post

    the 1 1/8" would look pretty clunky on a 1" headset.

    No question that Clockwork's reproductions are expensive, but have you ever seen what an authentic Potts or Ibis version goes for?
    I think on an aluminum frame it wouldn't be too bad.

    How much do original LD stems go for, if you can find one?

    I wonder if Clockwork is going to keep making these stems as long as there is demand or if it's one of those things that you should get while the getting is good?
    No it never stops hurting, but if you keep at it you can go faster.

  24. #24
    Hit The Road Cyclery
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    Couple of things about LD stems, and to answer some questions:

    -If you can find one for sale (good luck on that), an original LD stem will run you about the same as a new one, $200 to $350, maybe more if it was built by Charlie Cunningham or Steve Potts. Not too many others out there- Ibis/Scot Nicol, Groovy/Rody... Those are all I can think of off the top of my head.

    -Steve Potts will make you a new one for $350, half due up front, and the wait time will be "as long as it takes". Expect 2 to 3 months, maybe more if he's busy.

    -I've been talking to Joel about the Clockwork stems and he confirmed that they will make them without the hole, but you'll need one of these to properly adjust the head set: Problem Solvers Maybe not cosmetically ideal, but better than a hole (stress riser) in one of the more heavily stressed areas on a bike.

    -Joel also said the stems are made to order, so you can specify the rise and reach, within reason, and pick the size and type of clamp (25.4, 26.0, 31.8, one or two bolt). Since I need a 1.125" stem I didn't ask about 1", but he's answers email within 24 hours so you can find out easily enough.

  25. #25
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    I have a 1995 Trek ZX6500, seven speed.

    I have dirt drop bars and bar end shifters on that bike.

    It makes a great trail bike.

    Lots of fun.

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