Converting a drop bar cross bike to a flat bar urban bike- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Converting a drop bar cross bike to a flat bar urban bike

    I have this bike and wish to convert it over to a flat bar, urban commuter. It looks a bit different since this photo was taken but it's basically the same. I have a new Easton carbon high rise bar, Avid BB7 mtn bike brake calipers, Paul levers and have ordered Shimano 10 speed shifters. What I don't know is: How much longer will the stem need to be and should I use the riser bar or try a straight bar? I know there is no formula to this change and much of it is personal preference. However, I'm sure many folks have made a similar switch and may be able to share some of the changes that they made. Any advise would be helpful.


  2. #2
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    One thing to keep in mind is that drop bar bikes typically have shorter top tubes. You may need to use a longer stem to compensate for this, though the riser bar may help some (albeit, giving you a more upright stance). As to how much longer of a stem you'll need, that depends on the exact geometries of your bike and personal preference. I would say, build it with the stem you have now and ride it around some. If it feels too cramped or puts you in more of an upright position than you'd prefer, then you need a longer stem.
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  3. #3
    One Colorful Rider
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    I would Definitely put a longer stem something like a 120. And a Flat Bar
    This had a Drop Bar on it then I converted it into a Urban Hipster SS
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3850323767/" title="New San Jose by normbilt, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3513/3850323767_3e84cdecb7_b.jpg" width="1024" height="647" alt="New San Jose" /></a>

  4. #4
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    I think maybe you should try the flat bar with bar ends...
    so if your back is not so comfy with the flat bar you can shift your grip from the flat bar to your bar ends..

  5. #5
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    Love the Bianchi!

    Quote Originally Posted by 0600661160
    I think maybe you should try the flat bar with bar ends...
    so if your back is not so comfy with the flat bar you can shift your grip from the flat bar to your bar ends..
    My current urban bike is Redline Flight 29'er with a 1x9 drivetrain. Essentially a mtn bike with skinnier tires. I have Cane Creek bar ends on that bike and I feel it offers as many different hand positions and is more comfortable than drop bars. It has been a great bike but I'd like something faster. I have less control with the drop bars and so, that's why I'd like to switch. However, my new Easton carbon mtn bike may not be able to accommodate bar ends?

  6. #6
    Bedwards Of The West
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    I went from drops on my 'cross bike to a bullhorn bar (basically a flat bar, slightly raised ends) and I got a shorter rise stem (same length). I was trying to put the new bar somwehere between the hoods and the drops on the road bars, and it worked nicely. A flat bar is a compromise in terms of position options, so I say aim for the middle of all of the options you have now.
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  7. #7
    jrm
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    A guideline i use

    Is that the flat bar and stem combo puts my hands in the same position over the front wheel position as if i was using a drop bar. For me this is right over or just behind the front wheel axle. I tend to use stems without rise to achieve this.

  8. #8
    Rides like wrecking ball
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    Depends what you're trying for. If you want to maintain the sporty feel I'd start with a lightweight narrow flat bar and flip your stem to negative rise. This will give a little extra reach and keep some weight on the hands.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hesh to Steel
    With people liking mongoose and trek bikes now, what's next in this crazy world? People disliking the bottlerocket?!

  9. #9
    The Brutally Handsome
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    CB already hit on this, but flat bars only have one position while drops have 5 to 6 depending on your riding style. Just something to keep in mind!

  10. #10
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    You could look into a Origin 8 Tiki bar it will fit the brake levers you have now and give a different angle of attack. I personally use a set of space bars for more of an upgrade feel, I just have not gotten comfortable with a drop bar.

    pink
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pink57
    You could look into a Origin 8 Tiki bar it will fit the brake levers you have now and give a different angle of attack. I personally use a set of space bars for more of an upgrade feel, I just have not gotten comfortable with a drop bar.

    pink
    I was hoping to get this bike set-up for street riding as I am registered for the 5 Boros Tour in NYC. However, it looks like this project may be a while. I was planning to order shifters but Shimano 10 speed pod shifters are way expensive.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schultz29
    ... Avid BB7 mtn bike brake calipers, Paul levers ...
    Which levers did you go with? I'm setting up a similar brake setup and I've read mixed feedback on BB7s requiring a return spring on the levers. The spring on the calipers feels stiff enough to give some good pull but I thought I'd check. I'm considering the Love Lever Compacts.

    Cheers.

  13. #13
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I hate to see nice old LeMonds converted with flat bars. I think flat bars on road bikes are chic right now, and not really better unless the bike is just too big for the person trying to make it fit. But nobody has died and made me King.

    In comparing reach with different hand positions, I think that the location of that little fold of skin between the thumb and forefinger is pretty key - I believe the riding position will be very, very similar whether I'm on flat bars or drop bars if the reach and drop to that part of my hand is the same. I think it's a better guideline than any other part of the hand.

    So go for a ride. If the position you choose to ride in when you're just cruising around is on the flat part of the bar, don't change your stem. If you can ride comfortably in the hoods, you'd need about a 90mm longer stem to match reach, depending on the length of the ramps on your handlebars, and how close to horizontal you like them. If you ride on the corners, you should probably go a little longer, like 30mm or so. And if you feel cramped on the corners but just can't get comfortable on the hoods, an intermediate distance, like 60mm, give-or-take, might do the trick. Obviously scale my guestimates up or down depending on the length of the ramps on your handlebars. You might also experiment with some different stems and handlebar angles and see if you can get comfortable with the drop bars. Then all the compatibility issues evaporate.

    Check the Easton site about bar end compatibility. Many carbon mountain bike bars are compatible, but they tend to have some recommendations about how to do it right - the clamp shape is more important, and getting the right amount of torque is too.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    I love my risers, great for traffic and leverage when you need a wider bar.
    Bad for long straight commutes, that's when I hold the bar near the stem.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Converting a drop bar cross bike to a flat bar urban bike-img_4466.jpg  

    Converting a drop bar cross bike to a flat bar urban bike-img_4464.jpg  

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawss
    Which levers did you go with? I'm setting up a similar brake setup and I've read mixed feedback on BB7s requiring a return spring on the levers. The spring on the calipers feels stiff enough to give some good pull but I thought I'd check. I'm considering the Love Lever Compacts.

    Cheers.
    I have 3 bikes with BB7 brakes. My mtn bike has old BB7's with old Avid Ultimate levers. My urban bike, has BB7's with Paul love levers and the return is fine. However, a little more return snap would be nice but it's not necessary. My Lemond cx bike (pictured above) has BB7 road discs and still using STI levers. All of these brakes work very well. I would recommend compressionless housing for the best performance from your mechanical brakes.

  16. #16
    master blaster
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    went from a 90mm stem to a 120mm.


  17. #17
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    From what I have learnered it should be 30-40mm longer when going flat.I can only think of one company that makes the same model both for flat and pretzel bars, its british. the flat bar model is longer, and thats the downside of going flat on a pretzel, its get cramped and added toe overlap.
    D8 is now off the hook.

  18. #18
    Rides like wrecking ball
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    Quote Originally Posted by alivio
    From what I have learnered it should be 30-40mm longer when going flat.I can only think of one company that makes the same model both for flat and pretzel bars, its british. the flat bar model is longer, and thats the downside of going flat on a pretzel, its get cramped and added toe overlap.
    Cotic is the company you are speaking of. RoadRat is the bike with different frames for dropbar/flatbar. I have the flatbar version and love it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hesh to Steel
    With people liking mongoose and trek bikes now, what's next in this crazy world? People disliking the bottlerocket?!

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