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Drop bars on mountain bike.(15 posts)

Drop bars on mountain bike.helton
Dec 3, 2002 6:29 PM
Have any of you guys put drop bars on a mountain bike? If so, how do you go about sizing the length of the stem? Does it need to be alot shorter? All that I have experience with is moutain bikes. I want to try the drop bars to see if they are more comfortable. Any help would be appreciated..Thanks, Steve....
Drop bars on mountain bike.atpjunkie
Dec 3, 2002 6:54 PM
yes a shorter and one with more rise. If you run a 120 MTB stem go about 110. Back in the 80's tons of racers rode drops in MTB. Find some Nitto Dirt Drops or WTB makes a copy of said bars. As far as comfort, what are you looking for? Drops will reduce the quality of handling of the bike from their position and lack of leverage (not as wide) If you are having back troubles, drops will increase that as you will be more leaned over. If you don't have experience with road or cross set ups I assume you've never rode in drops. The position will be more uncomfortable than what you are used to. If it is your back, you can get an MTB stem with more rise and/or a riser bar. Mostly to alleviate back pain, do sit ups / crunches and back raises to strengthen the muscles in this area.
Yes to cyclocross bars on mountain bike.Lars46
Dec 3, 2002 7:04 PM
One month ago, I put WTB cyclocross bars on my mountain bike, a '98 Rocky Mountain Hammer [steel frame, rigid fork, track ends, fixed gear, Paul Neo Retros]. Based on Rivendell's philosophy, I put the top of my bars about level with my saddle. I extended the steerer tube of my fork. Here's how I did it:
1. - bought a piece of 6061 T6 aluminum solid bar, 1 1/8" diameter, 9" long.
2. - turned down one end to 0.998", length 3".
3. - inserted solid aluminum bar into fork's steerer tube with lots of Loctite RC-680. Sheer strength is about 3500 psi.
4. - turned up a set of thick stack washers out of Delrin plastic bar.
5. result: handlebar 6" higher than without extension.
No problems, wonderful riding position. I highly recommend it. I can ride all day on the drops. Rode my first cyclocross - in snow - on Nov. 24th. I'm hooked.

Now to answer your question: I'm using the same stem as with my old mtn bike bars.

Larry in Canada.
I can't post images - files just a little too large. Email me and I'll send you some pictures.
Try this...Steve_O
Dec 4, 2002 6:33 AM
Shiggy over on's singlespeed board is a big proponent of WTB drop bars. Try doing a search for "Shiggy WTB" and you'll find tons of stuff...

Linkage here...
re: Drop bar-ends?jrm
Dec 4, 2002 12:29 PM
On page 137 in the 11/02 issue MBA. For $30...

ph (716) 652-2848
re: Drop bars on mountain bike.flyweight
Dec 4, 2002 1:26 PM
In ye olden days of mountainbiking dropbars were more common. WTB, Klein, Mountain Goat, Ibis, Bridgestone and many others offered bikes with dropbars.

Finding a stem that will work will be difficult and it's quite possible you will need to get one custom made. As far as position you want the bars high enough up so that you spend most of your time riding in the drops rather than on the hoods. The drops give you the most braking leverage and contol. Putting the bars too low will make descending more difficult, especially on drop-offs. On my last MTB I had drops and they sat quite a bit higher than on either my road or cyclocross bike. If you're currently riding a flatbar the easiest way to figure out your stem size is the take the dropbar you plan to use and hold it in the drops. Then position your hands (while still holding the bar in the drops) where your grips are on your flat bar. Have a friend measure the horizontal distance from the steer tube to the clamp area of the dropbar and also the vertical distance from the top of the headset to the clamp of the dropbar. Sketch these numbers out on a piece of paper and simply connect the ends to form a triangle and that will be the length and angle of stem you'll need. Chances are you're going to wind up needing a stem with very little extension and a very high angle (like 45-60 degrees)

As for the bars themselves there are 3 off-road specific dropbars to chose from: the Rivendell/Nitto DirtDrop, the WTB and the Salsa Bell Lap. The WTB model is no longer made but you can readily find them if you look. Personally, I was never a fan of these bars as I found the flare made it uncomfortable to ride the tops of the hoods. The Nitto and Salsa bar have a less extreme flare. My fave offroad bar is the Salsa Short N Shallow. It's not very deep and the transition from the top flat to the drops is really sharp giving you more room on the top of the bar.
re: Drop bars on mountain bike.atpjunkie
Dec 4, 2002 1:59 PM
Yes I was around when Cunningham, Phelan, Murray were all riding drops. was the alternative to Bullmoose. Go old school, get the Nitto's from Rivendell.
re: Drop bars on mountain bike.flyweight
Dec 5, 2002 9:57 AM
I actually prefer the Salsa bars since they're bulge formed rather than shimmed like the Nittos. Had some DirtDrops on my '87 MB-1 and they developed a creak after a year or so. Tried another pair a few years later on an XO-1 and had the same problem.
Bar Cons!!!atpjunkie
Dec 5, 2002 12:48 PM
yes they work with XT and XTR MTB goods(not sure about Rabid Rise......) cheaper, more reliable and won't die in the gunk. Running both 8 and 9 sp. bar cons on mostly MTB equipped cx bikes (2) no problems at all. Works well w/ top pull MTB der. and you can feather the front so no chain rub
What about shifter mods?outofthesaddle
Dec 4, 2002 5:04 PM
A few weeks ago after getting some good advice, I decided to keep my mtn. bike for a while and try a few cross races with it. Since I'm using it as a commuter now, I'd like to convert to drops. I've got a pair of old 600 non STI brake levers. I was thinking that I could grab a pair of Ultegra bar end shifters for about $40. Will 8 speed Ultegra bar end shifters work with my existing 8 speed XTR rapid rise rear DR and XT triple front DR? Or would I be better off trying to find an STI set up? I'm trying to do on a budget.
What about shifter mods?The Walrus
Dec 4, 2002 6:46 PM
The barcons would be the way to go; way cheaper than STI (since you've got the brake levers already), simpler (and more reliable) and way more tolerant of unorthodox setups. I'm assuming the Rapid Demise rear derailleur's indexing is the same as the conventional mech's, just reversed, so that shouldn't be a problem. If it is, there's still friction mode...

There's just something unholy-sounding about mixing STI with Rapid Rise.
What about shifter mods?outofthesaddle
Dec 4, 2002 9:07 PM
Not a fan of the Rapid Rise - but that's a project for another day. I'm hoping that the indexing works in reverse.
What about shifter mods?1x1 Speed Craig
Dec 5, 2002 2:07 AM

I have a set of Shimano 8-speed bar-cons in very good condition that I would be willing to sell for $20. I've been meaning to put them on eBay, but haven't got around to doing so yet. Drop me an e-mail at if you're interested.

My Biking Website
SOLD (nm)1x1 Speed Craig
Dec 5, 2002 9:38 AM
re: Drop bars on mountain bike.1x1 Speed Craig
Dec 5, 2002 2:13 AM
After all this discussion on the necessary mods to run drop bars on a MTB, I thought I'd mention that I have a set of Shimano 8-speed bar-cons in very good condition that I would be willing to sell for $20 + shipping. I've been meaning to put them on eBay, but haven't got around to doing so yet.

I also have a Zoom "Heads-Up" steerer tube extender for 1 1/8" threadless steerer tubes. It raises the bars 2-2.25". You can see how this looks/works here. I'd let that go for $5 + shipping.

Drop me an e-mail at if you're interested.

My Biking Website