Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Drop Handle Bars on MTB

Drop Handle Bars on MTB - Why?

As you can see from the below picture my mountain bike MTB has been adapted for a life less extreme. So why would I want to fit drop handle bars. . . .

My aim is not to build a fast bike, but a comfortable bike and in that pursuit it lead me to try out drop handle bars. Some say drop handle bars are comfortable. . . not true me thinks. I used Ritchey Comp Road Logic Drop Handlebars and Tektro RL520 Aero V Brake Levers.

Drop Handle Bars on MTB - Fitting

Drop handle bars are not meant to go on an MTB, and as such there are hurdles that need jumping.

Stem - If you have an oversize stem (where the bar diameter is 31.8mm) then you are in luck you can buy some over sized drop bars and that battle will be won. If however you have standard sized MTB handle bars, the standard sized road bars will not fir in them. So it is new stem o'clock.

Brake Levers - Most MTBs have v brakes or disk brakes. These need a lot of cable pull to make them work. Standard drop levers will not pull enoufgh cable to operate a v brake, or an MTB cable disk brake. So you need to either swap you v brakes for cantilever brakes. Or get some V brake specific drop levers such as the Tektro RL520 levers.

Gear Shifters - Here is were it gets ugly. Most MTB gear shifters will not fit on a drop road bar. I am afraid you will have to file down the interiro of the clamp to make it fit, and whether this will work depends on how much spare metal there is in the clamp. Hardly any in my case. One thing you mat try is using you old stem and a cropped bar to mount you control on, pic below, courtesy of mtbr.com.

Bar Angle - This is down to preference I guess, but I found it hard to reach a happy medium. Flat tops = uncomfortable ramps. Comfy ramps = sloped tops. All pretty uncomfortable.

Above I have gone for comfy ramps. But that makes the top uncomfy. 

Drop Handle Bars on MTB - Comfort

So are they actually more comfortable. No. Not in my case.

More Aerodynamic - Yes
More Efficient Use of Leg Energy - Yes
More Hand Positions (All bar one uncomfortable) - Yes

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