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Making a touring bike from a roadbike..(8 posts)

Making a touring bike from a roadbike..Red
Mar 20, 2001 10:04 AM

After spending last weekend trying on roadbikes at the local shops, I've determined that any love i once had for drop bars is gone... The aero position isn't bad, but I really didn't care for the road levers and holding it horizontally...

So now i'm thinking of buying a roadbike and slappin a carbon mtb handlebar on it and making a touring type bike out of it. Obviously i'd need new shifters and stuff, but I can steal those from my mountain bike (Shimano xtr)...

My question is, would it be more efficent to find a lower cost frame and just piece together the bike with the parts I know i'll need, or am I better off buying a already existing bike and putting aside the stuff I don't want? I defnitely know I'll need to switch the bar and shifters/levers, and probably the brakes too.. I imagine all those parts will add unneeded cost to the bike that could otherwise be used to offset the cost of the bar and etc.

Or, am I just really that much better off buying an actual touring designed bike? Klein used to make one (Navigator?) but they've since discontinued it. I'd utterly kill for a Quantum frame to build, but can I justify spending $1000 on just the frame when I still need the build kit? :)

Just wondering if anyone has had experience doing this sort of thing and could offer suggestions or advice.

Thanks again.
re: Making a touring bike from a roadbike..Ray Sachs
Mar 20, 2001 10:34 AM
What do you want to use the bike for? You can put straight mtb bars on just about any bike, but a road bike will still fundamentally be a road bike and a touring bike will still be a touring bike. If you want a light, quick handling bike for fast rides, a road bike would be the ticket. If you want to carry heavy loads and/or ride long miles day after day, I'd suggest a touring or sport touring bike that's not as fidgety, allows you to relax more, and is more forgiving on a long ride.

If you don't like drop bars, you might want to try moustache bars before switching over to a straight bar. In addition to giving you multiple hand positions, you can keep your road brake levers and shifters, which you can't do with a straight bar. Check out "".

re: Making a touring bike from a roadbike..Red
Mar 20, 2001 1:45 PM
Biggest problem is that i'm not sure what exactly I wanna do... I'm not concerned with going super fast or racing, so I'm thinking a touring bike is what I really want. My goal for this summer is to be able to do a century by the end of the summer. :) It may take me a century to finish it, but gotta have dreams eh.

I think what I dislike about the drop bars is the vertical lever positioning. The extra hand positions are very nice, but I really strongly prefer the horizontal setup of mtb bars. One thing i'm thinking is that I can get a lightweight TI bar or something, and then slap on the drop bar-ends nashbar sells... turns your flat bar into a road style bar.

Sounds like a touring bike would be my best bet... are touring bikes as light as roadbikes typically? Lightweight is a good priority on my list, as is cheap and strong. And No, i don't wanna pick two. :)
bikes are more versatile than we give them credit forCory
Mar 20, 2001 3:09 PM
I'm sort of bogging down in the terminology here, but I've done centuries (OK, metric ones) on my mountain bike, go offroad fairly often with my road bike and ride my old Trek tourer/commuter/beater EVERYWHERE. Tire selection makes a huge difference, which is why the Trek is so versatile--it has room for everything up to about 700x45s. It came with drop bars and downtube shifters but has had flat bars, risers, a mustache bar and a "priest" (3-speed type) bar and thumb and bar-end shifters in its several incarnations.
A tall stem is a good thing to have (it's threaded, so adjustability is easy)--I can ride with the bars 3 inches below the saddle or an inch above.
All these changes are easy, and each of them changes the character of the bike. It was once my main ride, then was a beater for a couple of years, came back to do some long tours and now just gets ridden back and forth to work, with mountain bike bars/shifters and 700x35 tires. I like it so much I just bought an Atlantis, which is as close as you can come these days to a do-everything bike.
They certainly are! (nm)Humma Hah
Mar 20, 2001 7:31 PM
re: Making a touring bike from a roadbike..Steve Bailey
Mar 21, 2001 6:00 AM
It sounds to me that you really want is a road racing style bike that will be light weight, but that you don't like the typically low position of the drop bar - a stretched out position that is common on road racing bikes. Most road racers come this way as the stems have short quills (to save weight) that puts the bar 3-4 inches below saddle height.

A touring bike is going to weigh a good bit more then a road racer - in the range of 25 lbs or so without racks, fenders, etc... Mostly for good reason, as the frame is beefier to support loads, it's a longer frame with longer chainstay's, etc.. as opposed to 19-20 lbs for a road racer.

The solution is to get a bike that fits, with a long quill Nitto Technomic stem (on a threaded headset system), or a hi-rise stem on a threadless system. Either way, the idea is to get the h-bar up to the height of the saddle. You won't feel as stretched out, visibility and comfort will improve and you get the added benefit of many more hand/wrist/arm and shoulder angles and positions then you wiould get on a flat bar. My guess is that you'll end up liking the shifter/brake combo's.

Nah, check this out.. figured it out already..Red
Mar 21, 2001 6:42 AM

Drop bar ends. Similar benefit of drop bars but with the added bonus of keeping a flat top area. :)

Thanks for the info.. Guess i'll go hit a few bike shops again this weekend and check around some more.
re: Making a touring bike from a roadbike..Andy M-S
Mar 21, 2001 10:36 AM
You may want to check out the 2001 offerings from Cannondale and Bianchi. Both include in their lines something that looks a lot like a road bike, but with a flat bar (Shimano is making a special sub-group just for this purpose). See, for instance,

Good luck--but you might want to give drop bars a longer trial; you'd be surprised how comfortable they can be once you get over your initial "ick" response.