I'm trying to find out if I can swap the handlebar on this bike Trek Lync 3 for a dropbar one. It has 9 speeds and Shimano Acera M3000 rear derailleur. Would any Shimano 9 speed brifter work? (wishful thinking I guess) What options do I have?


2 Answers 2


According to this article on Bikeradar, "Current 9-speed road components are backwards compatible with older 9-speed road and mountain bike components, excluding the aforementioned exception" as well as "Current 9-speed Shimano mountain bike components are compatible with older 9-speed road and mountain bike components, excluding the aforementioned exception". In this case, the exception is pre-1997 Dura Ace componentry, so that shouldn't be a concern for you. This means that you should have no compatibility issues at all regarding shifting. The pull on Shimano road levers will be fine for the Tektro Novela brakes as well.

While you won't have any compatibility trouble just swapping the shifters over, you may find that the gearing is far from ideal for a road bike. 44-11 is a very low top gear for a road bike, so you might find that you want to swap the crankset with two chainrings as well. You will still be able to use your rear derailleur, but this will mean that you need to add a front derailleur to your bike and a new chain as youlr currrent one will be too short as well.

  • Good reference but FYI link only answers are not considered good answers here, you should include the salient information in your answer in case the links breaks. Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 1:47
  • Quotes added. I've left the link in the comment as well. Do you prefer that I don't put the link in at all or can I still put it in as long as I include the relevant information in my answer? Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 2:47
  • @Carbonsideup do you have a link or reference about the Tektro Novela compatibility?
    – kokito
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 3:02
  • Absolutely include the link for reference. Answer looks great now. Good point about gear ratios Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 3:05
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    44-11 is indeed lower than road bikes sold today, but in 9-speed days the almost equivalent 53-13 was quite common. I'd say go ahead, you are much more likely to need more low gears than high ones. Unless you live somewhere quite flat, then you'll need neither.
    – Marjan
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 9:30

Shimano 9 and below MTB and 10 and below road groups use the same 1.7:1 derailleur actuation ratio so 9 speed road shifters and 9 speed MTB derailleurs are in fact compatible.

Info on derailleur actuation ratios here: https://www.artscyclery.com/science-behind-the-magic/science-behind-the-magic-drivetrain-compatibility/

I think that road and MTB mechanical disc brakes use different cable pull ratios - V brakes and road calipers certainly do.

Something else you should be aware of: drop bar bikes tend to have a shorter 'reach' (horizontal distance between the bottom bracket and the top of the head tube) than flat bar bikes. This is because drop bars put the hands further forward of the head tube than flat bars. If you switch to drop bars on a flat bar frame you may find your hands are too for forward or you need a very short stem.

Sometimes it's just better to sell the bike you have and buy the bike you want rather than try to convert they bike you have into something else.

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