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I'd really like some advice on changing the bars on my bike to drop bars from flat. My bike is nothing special, but I really like it and would like to try to convert it, rather than buy a new bike. I prefer the riding position of drop bars. I've got a biking adventure coming up at the end of October that I'd like this to be done for.

Here's what I'd like to do:

  • Swap the tyres to Schwalbe Rapid Rob Kevlar Guard MTB Tyre

  • Change the handlebars to Farr Aero Gravel handlebar, or similar!?

  • Use my existing brake calipers, but have levers on the new bars

  • Use my existing gears/derailleur, but have the shifters on the new bars.

Here is the full spec of my current bike: https://99spokes.com/bikes/pinnacle/2020/lithium-3

  • Rear Derailleur Shimano Acera M360 8 speed
  • Front Derailleur Shimano Altus M313 band on 31.8mm
  • Shifters Shimano Altus M310 8 speed
  • Cassette Shimano HG200 8 speed 12-32T
  • Chain KMC Z-51
  • Brakes Tektro Auriga M275 hydraulic discs w/160mm rotor

Is this possible? I'm fairly handy, but not done much work on bikes previously. Could anybody help me in getting somewhere close to a shopping list?!

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    not about the possibility, but changing from flat bars to drop bars will change the reach on the bike/the overall fit. hard to say what that means for you and your bike without knowing more – GageMartin Oct 4 '20 at 16:21
  • Thanks @GageMartin. What info would be useful? – Tristan Kirkpatrick Oct 4 '20 at 16:23
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    I think bike fit is too personal to give much info. just a thing to keep in mind. if the reach to the bars feels right now though then there is a chance it will feel too long with drop bars – GageMartin Oct 4 '20 at 22:51
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    Does this answer your question? Drop bar to flat bar conversion – Saaru Lindestøkke Oct 5 '20 at 12:37
  • I'd keep the bars and drive train that you have and instead spend that money and tubeless wheels and nice tires. – Paul H Oct 6 '20 at 0:53
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Unfortunately, you will find out there are no drop-bar brifters (STI, brake levers + shifters integrated) for 8 (or 9) speed that support hydraulic brakes. The lowest by Shimano are Tiagra or GRX 10-speed, but they use different cable pull ratio for shifting.

Also, the Shimano MTB brakes are not officially supported even if likely to work in practice. But yours are actually Tektro so you must inquire in their manuals whether those are compatible with Shimano road levers.

Maybe some alternative company has some hydraulic 8/9 speed levers, but be careful about the compatibility with your brakes.

One option to solve it is to use mechanical brakes instead. The other is to buy higher-end brifters and a new drivetrain (costly).

There might also be some incompatibility in the gear ranges used by your front derailleur and front road levers - not sure what here, others may know.

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Be aware that gravel/road handlebars place your hands further forward by 8cm or so. This means that road handlebars on a hybrid/MTB frame usually only result in a good and comfortable fit if the frame is small (i.e. has a short reach/top tube to begin with) and in combination with a very short stem. If you currently have a long stem (like 100mm) and a small (or even better: too small) frame you could be fine from an ergonomics perspective if you change the stem to a short one (like 30mm).

As Vladimir points out, you’ll also need brifters and there are none which are compatible with your existing components.

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