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I ride Firefox Rapide 21S, a hybrid bicycle. It has factory fitted flat-riser handlebars with Shimano EF500 levers for V-brakes with gear shifter integrated.

I am an unprofessional rider, I always liked riding fast, I gained knowledge about dropbars and actual road bikes after getting this one, as I realized I needed more to go faster.

I was recently thinking about fitting a dropbar to it and then mount my existing levers onto the place of hoods, as it goes beyond my budget to purchase them.

Will it be a good idea to do so? Will it even work if I tighten it really hard so it doesn't slip? Or, just not get into this mess and I'll be alright with fitting them on the flat portion of the bar?

I'm also attaching images of levers, but not dropbar(I haven't bought them yet).enter image description here enter image description here

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    I personally don't think you will gain much possible speed just from switching to drop bars.. The only thing you will accomplish is a more streamlined position, but you will sacrifice safety and usability to do so. You would be wiser to look at different gearing through drive train upgrades in my opinion if top speed is your end goal. Or if feasible save up for a road bike.
    – Nate W
    Mar 5, 2018 at 21:01
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    Just fit some barends for now, and look to buying a road or CX bike in the future.
    – Criggie
    Mar 6, 2018 at 3:04
  • Are you open to the idea of narrowing your existing bars? It looks like you could chop 40-80mm off the end and then slide the brake levers right up to where the bars bent. That may be enough to give you the more-aero width without significant cost. Trial it by riding with your hands "over" the shifters for a while and see how it feels before committing.
    – Criggie
    Jul 3, 2022 at 8:16
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    @Criggie thank you for following up. Yes, I could have done that. But I've realised I was being overly ambitious with my hybrid bike back then. I ride a good road bike today, and it feels great - checks all the boxes, fits my purposes as well. Although original question has been resolved, I have no idea how close this thread as it still looks active to any surfer 😅. Jul 20, 2022 at 3:16

8 Answers 8

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Sorry, but fitting drop bars to a flat bike is a no-go.

The flat bar levers will not fit properly on a drop bar. You will probably not be able to reach the levers easily which is dangerous ! Reaching the shifters will also be difficult if not impossible.

The other reason is that frames designed for flat bars are longer than those designed for drop bars, as the drop bars extend the hands further forward. You likely find that the hand position on drop bars on a flat bar frame is too far forward.

If you want to get a somewhat faster more aggressive position but retaining you brake lever and shifter hardware, consider replacing your riser bar with a flat, slightly narrower one.

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  • You can also sometimes tilt the riser bar forwards. The one on my hybrid has a bit less rise than the OP's and it's more comfortable as well as more aero going up/forwards at about 45 degrees (or slightly flatter) than straight up. I also took 25mm off each end of the bars on that bike after testing with the levers further in. Then I bought a faster bike anyway.
    – Chris H
    Mar 5, 2018 at 20:15
  • Another downside - its gets very expensive, quickly.
    – Criggie
    Mar 6, 2018 at 3:03
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Yet another problem with this scheme is that, actually, riders with drop handlebars tend to spend most of their time riding "on the hoods", like this:

enter image description here

(Image source: posted to the site by Freiheit; apparently his own work.)

This would be impossible with your brake levers because that's where the shifters are. Having multiple different places to put your hands is one of the big advantages of drop handlebars.

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  • Ya, right. But what if.. what if I fit bar ends at the place of hoods? They'll look like bullhorns but will they work? Mar 5, 2018 at 19:05
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    Even if that works for you, you'll still have all the other problems (not being able to reach your levers from the drops, not being able to reach the shifters from anywhere, etc.) Mar 5, 2018 at 19:11
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    Wait, and how will you fit bar ends and brake levers. And, even if you can, won't that make the shifters even more inaccessible? Nor will you be able to reach the brakes from your "hoods". Mar 6, 2018 at 2:47
  • No. I meant, I'll fit brakes/shifters on the straight portion of the bars and bar ends(bullhorn) in place where hoods are usually placed. Mar 6, 2018 at 3:43
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    You may be able to exchange your current bike for a road bike through 2nd hand sites, maybe adding some money. Some bike shops will accept bikes as part of the payment.
    – gaurwraith
    Mar 6, 2018 at 9:10
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You can't. The reason is that drop bars are thicker than straight bars, and levers that are designed to match the 22.2mm tube of straight bars can't fit around 23.8mm that is standard drop bar size. The top of drop bars is even thicker: 26 or 31.8mm near the stem.

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  • I checked the specs of the levers, it seems to fit onto handle bars of maximum 32mm(luckily). Mar 5, 2018 at 19:01
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    The dropbar road levers use a semi flexible band to attach to the bar, the MTB shifters use a solid clamp, i don't think they will grip a curved bar enough to be sturdy or safe.
    – Nate W
    Mar 5, 2018 at 21:03
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In the time since this question was originally asked and answered, there is now a product that allows a flat-bar setup to be replaced with a drop-bar setup while keeping the brakes and shifters: the Surly Corner Bar.

The diameter of the bar is sized to fit flat-bar components, and it has two projections that allow the flat-bar brake levers to be installed in a position relative to the bars that matches the traditional drop-bar lever position.

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  • That's an awesome find! I totally agree with their tagline "If It Weren’t Weird, It Wouldn’t Be Surly."
    – Criggie
    Jul 3, 2022 at 8:10
  • I wouldn't say the position matches traditional drop bars. It's way too wide and doesn't have much drop. It could still be useful.
    – ojs
    Jul 3, 2022 at 8:44
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There's a few of things I think you will have problems with if you use that setup with drop bars.

  • While riding with your hands in the drops is good for downhill or when you want a more aero body position to go faster, what you might possibly find is that a lot of your riding will be done on the hoods of the levers. If you don't have the correct type of hoods/levers it will be pretty uncomfortable to ride that way.

  • The angle of the shift levers will be pretty extreme when mounted on the drop bars. Drop levers curve inward so they are easier to reach both from the hood position and from the drop position. Levers like these will either be too short to even reach from the drops, or they will bend out so far you can't reach them anyway. Not being able to reach your brakes when you are going fast is a bad thing. On the other hand, if you switch to actual drop levers you need to be aware that they typically don't have the right amount of leverage/pull to acceptably work with V-brakes.

  • It looks like your shifters are integrated into your brake levers. I really haven't tried, but I suspect that if you mount those like drop levers, you might have to use some funny hand angles to work the shifters.

  • If you move your brakes/shifters further out on the bars, you may run into some issues with the cables being a little too short so be prepared to have to do some recabling. This won't break the bank, but expect it to add some cost.

If you really want to move to a drop setup and don't want to have to replace a ton of things, you might consider sort of a compromise setup:

  1. Keep your shift levers where they are on the cross bars, but take as much of the existing brake levers off that won't mess up the shifters.

  2. Get a set of "cyclocross" brake interrupt levers (cheap ones can be $20 or less) and set them up in roughly the same place your levers are now, near the shifters. Make sure you get a pair that are meant to work with V-brakes. These will allow you to work the brakes from the same position on the flat bar, but you can also add an additional set of levers via a cable extension to the drops.

  3. Find a set of actual drop levers with hoods, that also have the right pull to work with V-brakes, and connect them via an extension cable to the interrupt levers.

Doing it this way will easily allow you to add proper drop levers without having to mess with your existing cable lengths at all, as well as giving you at least three good hand positions on your bars that you can still get to the brakes from easily.

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  • You missed the first reason why this can't be done: drop bars are thicker than straight bars, and straight bar levers just don't fit. It's also the reason why MTB levers can't be mounted at top of drop bar like you suggest.
    – ojs
    Mar 5, 2018 at 18:31
  • @ojs to be clear, I have not suggested anywhere that the MTB levers be mounted at the top of a drop bar. That was what the OP was considering, and I was recommending alternatives to that for a number of reasons. The size mismatch is another good catch though. Mar 5, 2018 at 19:05
  • Sorry, I read "Keep your shift levers where they are on the cross bars" as putting them on top part of drop bar.
    – ojs
    Mar 5, 2018 at 19:28
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I had the same idea as you, but the cost do this properly by a bike fitter was 500 pounds. You also have to think about the reach from the seat to the brake lever. So from a safety point of view I would say it's a no no.

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  • £500 😆😆😆😆😆😆 Oct 29, 2020 at 8:48
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I have a Bianchi hybrid bike and I have found the simplest and most economical solution for getting the more aggressive riding position on it without changing to drop bars.

I have attached two Onza vintage bar ends in the middle and bar taped the whole thing. I get at least 4 different hand positions with this setup depending on how much I lean forward.

It’s a very nice setup as the basic geometry and riding position of the hybrid is never compromised but actually enhanced.

Bianchi Hybrid

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    Nice answer! Welcome to the site. The biggest downside is your hands are a long way from the brakes if they are needed, so a pre-emptive hand relocation is advisable if anything ahead looks like it might deserve a reaction.
    – Criggie
    Jul 3, 2022 at 8:13
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a bit late in the day but just to flag that amazon does have drop bars with 22.2mm ending that fit normal 22.2m diameter lever clamps. I converted my hybrid to drop bars and in my opinion its a whole new bike. I do not mind having the brakes on the tops, I use the sides of the bars mainly for difficult climbs and the top positions (narrow and a bit wider) are fine for descends and flats while having proper access to the brakes. Also, much more narrow and nimble when navigating traffic and tight spaces.

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    Welcome to the site - Do you have a photo of your bars to edit into the answer? Or a brand name to search out ?
    – Criggie
    Jan 15 at 0:45

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