Dropbar MTB, pt 3

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by Mark V on Dec 23, 2008 at 8:42 AM

In Pt1 & Pt2, I described the path I chose in setting up a dropbar mtb. Now I’ll explain how it all came together.

First, the project bike is a 2003 Bianchi Tycoon XL Titanium, the first of the Bianchi ti mtbs with disc mounts. It still came with canti mounts, but I unscrewed them from the stays. One unusual feature of the frame was the welded-on support for a Shimano E-type front derailleur which, as I described in Pt2, locked in some choices for the front shifter. In any case, I got a XTR E-type derailleur in the same deal as the frame.

tycoon snow side.jpg

The rest of the formula follows………

Headset: King 1-1/8

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p> Right shift/brake lever: Dura Ace ST-7800

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p> Left brake lever: Dura Ace BL-7402

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p> Front shifter: Suntour Power Ratchet

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p> Stem: 100mm Deda Newton Pista

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p> Handlebar: 3T Ergosum Pro 44cm

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p> Seatpost: Nitto

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p> Saddle: Fizik Nisene

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p> Hubs: XTR M965

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p> Brake calipers: Shimano BR-R505 disc

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p> Rotors: XTR RT-96 centerlock

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p> Crank: XTR M960 170mm

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p> BB: XTR M960

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p> Rims: Campagnolo Mirox 32H

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p> Tires: Michelin XCR-Dry

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The fork is a 2008 SID Team with remote lockout, which introduced an unanticipated problem: where do you mount the lockout switch? Unless I changed out the entire fork damper, there was no way for me to run a crown-mounted lockout. The remote switch’s mount is meant for the 22.2mm section of flat or riser bars, not the 24mm portions of a dropbar. Ironically, the oddball E-type front derailleur that was a pain in the ass before then became the solution. While my frame has a welded on support for the derailleur, most frames do not have this. So there was a product on the market that consisted of an alloy clamp with a mount to on the seat tube. Since most mtb seat tubes are 32mm and my handlebar is 31.8mm at the stem, the solution became obvious. With the aid of the adapter, the lockout is positioned underneath the handlebar to the left of the stem. This might not work for all remote lockout switches, but the 2009 Rock Shox switch attaches to its mount via an M5 bolt similar to the E-type derailleur.

This does make for a pretty busy handlebar though.

Some of the parts were merely what was on hand, such as the Fizik saddle. Others I had to hunt down, like the Deda stem. Why a track stem? Remember I’m the short guy at Bike Hugger. And I don’t ride with my bars high. That stem puts the bar top a hair above the saddle height, which is as high as I will tolerate. A bike my size might have a short seat tube, the wheel and the fork take up more relative height compared to a taller rider’s bike. The aesthetics of the set-up are such that you either love it or hate it. Frankly, most days I hate it, but everything is where I need it to be.

Finally, the dropbar itself is a 3T Ergosum in a 44cm. For an mtb bike, a rider should choose a bar that is wider than usual. In fact, I would contend that whenever a rider raises their handlebar, he should consider a wider bar, but if that rider already rides a 44, typically the widest size offering for any model, he may not have a lot of choice in styles. Since my other bikes normally have a 40cm bar, I didn’t really have a problem. I don’t think I’d want to use a wider bar anyways, but the rest of you might want to consider the WTB, On-One, or Origin-8 offroad models. However, on those bars I couldn’t get the levers in a position that worked for me.

In Pt4, I’ll actually tell you how it rides.

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Comments: 3

If your handlebar is cluttered and you don’t mind an auxillary mounting point, a Minoura “Space Grip” or “Swing Grip” could mount underneath the stem, giving you a place to mount a light and the remote lockout.

I had one mounted to a drop-bar MTB commuter and it let me run my two headlights without taking up valuable real estate on the bars.

I meant to drop this earlier, but Shiggy from mtbtire.com has a blog/forum on drop bar mtn bikes. He has being riding them forever.

http://www.mtbtires.com/features/bikes/why_dropbars.html

A few of the Nitto bars come in sizes up to 48 cm so there options to go wider than 44 cm.

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