Handlebars. Could I realistically?....

by Richthornton   July 16, 2011  

I have a hybrid bike and I'm getting more and more into road cycling so, being unable to afford a new bike I am gradually upgrading parts bit-by-bit. My latest consideration would be to replace the flat bar with drop handlebars. Does this sound feasible? I'd need to buy new brake and gear levers but would I be able to use the existing cables? Do I need anything else?


Do you think I should prioritize something else? I have already put on some 23c tyres and SPD pedals and seen some really significant improvements in speed and efficiency.

I'm just interested to get some thoughts and suggestions really. Thanks for taking the time to read.

9 user comments

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Rather than upgrading like that, i would just put the money aside and save for a road bike

Drop bars are nice and cheap, but its when you get into the brake/gears, if you go for an all in one STi then your looking at shelling out a bit and also would need to run new cables

What kind of brakes do you have just now? cantilever?

I'd just stick to your spd's and new tyres, work up your fitness while saving, towards the end of the year, bikes become cheaper aswell to make room for next years models

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9355 posts]
16th July 2011 - 21:17


Good advice. I am a terrible saver though. I figured when I can afford a frame I could simply transfer all the new components I had bought. Am I dreaming?

I have Avid BB5 disc brakes. Probably my least-favourite thing on the bike. Well over 3 years old now, even with new pads and a recent service, stopping power is much reduced.

Richthornton's picture

posted by Richthornton [102 posts]
16th July 2011 - 21:31


This years Secteur comp at next year's sale price wouldn't be a bad option.

posted by Alan Tullett [1579 posts]
16th July 2011 - 21:35


Not dreaming, but some things will not transfer over, like your disc brakes

Do you have a decent local bike shop? I know when i want an expensive part or a new bike and i am bad a saving, i go in and ask to set up a payment plan, but because my credit is bad, i dont take the thing until i have paid it off, if you get me?

So something costing £100, i'll pay it £25 a week and then collect it on the 4th week, so no need to pay interest and stuff

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9355 posts]
16th July 2011 - 22:11


Glad the discs won't transfer over, i wouldn't want them to! I am lucky to have a couple of good shops nearby, one of them does 0% finance. I have reasonable credit and bought my current bike here this way so I guess I could go tomorrow and walk away with a brand new machine if I really wanted to.
I think there's a fair bit of life left in this one yet so I guess that's why I am reluctant to replace it completely. I just had a new (budget-level) drivechain fitted so maybe I will keep on with this one, hold off on the replacement parts and start looking at a new bike for next year.
Thanks for the tip Alan. When would this years models start showing up in next years sales roughly? I've bookmarked the bikeradar review of that bike to remind me, as well as some of those mentioned in the comments page, although nearer the time I'd probably start a thread asking for suggestions from you people who know what's what.

Richthornton's picture

posted by Richthornton [102 posts]
16th July 2011 - 22:34


I'd agree with the others here. If you change the bars, I'd expect to have difficulties with brakes and gears.
Gears on hybrid bikes are typically more similar to MTB gears than road gears.
I've never tried to swap between the two, to be fair, but road and MTB cables and drive train bits occupy different boxes in my garage and I wouldn't mix them unless I was desperate to bodge something.
Have you looked into the cyclescheme program? It's an easy way to spread the cost, and while it's not as good as it was, it still makes the purchase cheaper.

Bikes normally end up on sale from about September as the new models are announced and bike shops start to clear space for new stock.

29er singlespeeds - the way forward, or the way backword?

posted by crimpit [2 posts]
16th July 2011 - 22:53


I did this on my hybrid and I love the results. All I shelled out for was the bar tape and a shorter stem so I could reach the hoods in comfort. I did it with:

Wide-ish bars donated by a mate.
Existing shifters mounted in close on the tops (filed out the clamps a bit Surprise ) It's no more awkward to reach for than bar end shifters.
Old 105 levers from my dad's garage- nice.

Now I'm wondering how I coped any other way. I fly up and down hills and value the many hand positions. I agree if you're going to buy aftermarket brifters/brakes then save your pennies, but if you're creative and penniless it's a great way to go. I never spin out with MTB gearing and I use the low end for when I've got a baby/shopping/tent on the rack.

Give it a go! It worked for me.


posted by Littlehuan [46 posts]
17th July 2011 - 0:25


as most people point out, its the groupset parts that would be the problem

or upgrade the levers or the groupset and bars at the same time... nlevers set you back around £130 (merlincycles, cheaper if they will give you VIP discount) while a full groupset £250.

TBH if you can get a couple of hundred on ebay for your hybrid, or you have a cycle to work scheme, go for an allez or secteur with July discount and have done!

roadie come mountain biker come single speeder and back again

posted by cborrman [84 posts]
18th July 2011 - 9:41


Thanks for all the comments and advice everyone. I think the original idea is going to me too much for me and the prospect of a brand new machine is too tempting. Time to start saving! Unfortunately my company don't do the cycletowork scheme, but I'm likely to move jobs in September so I'll at least wait til then to see if the new employers do it.

Richthornton's picture

posted by Richthornton [102 posts]
18th July 2011 - 11:40