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Converting MTB for road use(7 posts)

Converting MTB for road useTSlothrop
May 6, 2003 3:10 AM
wow, I haven't been on RBR for months, it's great to be back on here!

I bought a mountain bike at Christmas, but still haven't taken it off-road and realise that I probably won't. So I'm planning on converting it to a road machine for commuting and bad weather rides.

Obviously I'll fit slicks, but I want to fit drop bars too. I am wondering though if the diameter of the bar is the same for MTB's and road bikes? ie: will the stem clamp accept regular road bars? If not, can anyone suggest some suitable bars.

Thanks for the advice.
re: Converting MTB for road useSteve_0
May 6, 2003 4:26 AM
Most modern road bars have 26.0 diameter; whereas MTBs are 25.4(IIRC).

If you're going to put modern drops on, just get a road stem of appropriate diameter. Nitto makes a nice 'dirtdrop' stem.

Also, several companies make 'dirt drop' bars, made specifically for moutain bikes. I would presume they have a 25.4 diameter, though Im not sure.

Lastly, some people have used 26.0 bars in 25.4 clamps. It's a compromise, at best, and I wouldnt put it through hard use, but is has been done.
If you want to convert to drop barsMel Erickson
May 6, 2003 6:05 AM
You also have to consider shifter/brake levers. Road brake levers don't pull enough cable to work V brakes well. You'll need a roller attachment for each V brake to allow the use of road levers. The least expensive way to go is probably separate brake levers and bar end shifters. If you want brifters make sure the left (chainring) brifter can handle a triple unless you're willing to forgo the use of the small chainring. I've also thought of using twist shifters on the bar ends of drop bars and you'd have your choice of using road levers mounted conventionally or mountain levers mounted with the shifters. It would be weird to have to always brake from the drops with the mountain brake setup and possibly less safe. That setup is just too strange for me.
If you want to convert to drop barsTSlothrop
May 6, 2003 7:40 AM
I have seen another rider with the brake levers and shifters from his MTB mounted on drop bars. Not perfect, but I'm not going to be riding the bike too seriously, so thought it might be a cheap option.

However, I went to my LBS at lunch and they told me the geometry on modern MTB frames wasn't really suitable for running drops - my weight would be too far forward and the handling would be terrible. I'm not expecting it to be great, but would it really be that bad?
That's impossible to sayMel Erickson
May 6, 2003 9:04 AM
It really depends on the geometry of the frame. There's obviously ways to compensate (different stem, seatpost, bar) but the frame will really dictate. There's so many different frame geometries in MTB's today I don't see how a blanket statement like that can be made.
If you want to convert to drop barsFixie-ated
May 6, 2003 9:40 AM
I converted my Litespeed Hiwassee to a road/cross (or best described as a DAB (Do Anything Bike) and love it.

You will need to switch stems and most likely need a 100mm if you usually ride a 130mm.

Also, my triple Ultegra front shifter could not handle the throw for all three of my front rings. No problem, I added a 46 for my large ring and threw out my 22. This works well for road and great for cross. Speaking of rings, I found that anything bigger than a 46 big ring would not clear my rear triangle.

Lastly, I opted to use Travel Agents to adapt my Ultegra shifters to my v's. I am happy with them now, but they are a pain to set up. Go with canti's.

Or better yet, forget all of this and buy a used road bike for $150.00.
Keep the flat bar?RJF
May 6, 2003 8:51 AM
I understand your desire to have the drop bar for the road, but I'd consider at least keeping the flat bar for a while to see how it goes. If it works out, you've saved yourself a whole mess of compatability problems. I've used a slick-tire mountain bike as a commuter/bad weather bike for the past 13 years (on commute routes up to 40 miles round trip). It works just fine. I probably wouldn't get down in the drops too much on city streets, anyway.