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Changing bars and gear shifters on road bike

Old 07-29-21, 07:13 AM
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escuta
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Changing bars and gear shifters on road bike

Hi,

I'm new to road bikes and have recently purchased a used Principia Rex, built, I believe, in around 2004. The bike has yet to be shipped to me. It comes with triathlon handlebars which I wish to remove. The gear shifters are located at the ends of the aero bars. The seller led me to believe that these can be detached from what look like pursuit bars underneath. So, a simple and cheap solution will be for me to move the shifters to the ends of the pursuit bars, if that's possible.

I'm not sure though that pursuit bars will suit me and I think that drop bars or compact drop bars might be better (I'm riding mainly for leisure and exercise but perhaps later to commute to work). If I change to drop bars, from what I've seen, I should change the break handles to a type with integrated gear shifters. My question is, what types break handles/shifters will suit the gears? The gears are Shimano Ultegra. Ideally I'd like to purchase everything second-hand because prices here in Brazil are very very high.

If you have any advice, please let me know!

Unfortunately, I'm unable to post photos of the bike until have have made 10 posts here.

Cheers
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Old 07-29-21, 07:18 AM
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Keep posting while you are waiting for the bike. When you get it, post pics and save lots of guessing.
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Old 07-29-21, 07:21 AM
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It could be done but may cost more than the bike unless you have all the parts needed and the skills you need to do it. Keep looking for a bike than meets you wants and needs. Roger
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Old 07-29-21, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Keep posting while you are waiting for the bike. When you get it, post pics and save lots of guessing.
Will do!
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Old 07-29-21, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by rhenning View Post
It could be done but may cost more than the bike unless you have all the parts needed and the skills you need to do it. Keep looking for a bike than meets you wants and needs. Roger
Too late, I'm afraid. :-) It was a good deal and hard to pass up and large frames are hard to come by here on the used market. Yes, I've seen some break handles that were indeed more expensive. But perhaps the idea of shifting the leavers to the ends of the pursuit bars will work. From the photos I have, it looks like it will. Also, bullhorn bars might be a compromise, they have less of a drop.

Last edited by escuta; 07-29-21 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 07-29-21, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by escuta View Post
I'm new to road bikes and have recently purchased a used Principia Rex, built, I believe, in around 2004.
I think that drop bars or compact drop bars might be better (I'm riding mainly for leisure and exercise but perhaps later to commute to work). If I change to drop bars, from what I've seen, I should change the break handles to a type with integrated gear shifters. My question is, what types break handles/shifters will suit the gears?
Looks like the Principia Rex is a pretty nice bike and not cheap so it would be worth modifying for you. For brake/shifters with drop bars you can get these Shifters – Gevenalle which may accept your bikes shift levers to save a little money. Watch the video to see how they work. I suggest these as they're not expensive and maybe cheaper than finding a compatible used Shimano brake/shifter setup and you'll have a new component. Looks like they ship to Brazil or check your bike shop if they can get them for lower cost.
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Old 07-29-21, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
I suggest these as they're not expensive and maybe cheaper than finding a compatible used Shimano brake/shifter setup and you'll have a new component. Looks like they ship to Brazil or check your bike shop if they can get them for lower cost.
Thanks, good advice.
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Old 07-29-21, 08:33 AM
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In terms of breaks handle/shifters, would any Shimano road bike device be compatible, assuming it suits dual chain-wheels?
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Old 07-29-21, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by escuta View Post
In terms of breaks handle/shifters, would any Shimano road bike device be compatible, assuming it suits dual chain-wheels?
No. You have to have the proper shifters to work with compatible derailleurs and number of cassette speeds/cogs and brakes in some cases. Many are interchangeable but we need to know what your bike's setup is first. Wait for the bike to arrive before buying anything.

Last edited by Crankycrank; 07-29-21 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 07-29-21, 02:40 PM
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The things which stop your bike are brakes not "breaks".
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Old 07-29-21, 07:44 PM
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Unless the aero bars on the bike use weirdo brake levers, everything should transfer right over to any drop bar. If not, you'll need a new set of brake levers. I'm not aware of any drop bar that won't take a bar-end shifter, but there might be some ultra-light carbon bars that can't take the pressure of the expander plug that holds the shifter mounts inside the ends of the bar. (If there are such bars, and you're looking at a pair of them, you'll likely know right away... like big, bold, red text that says "DO NOT USE WITH BAR-END SHIFTERS!!!")

Bar-end shifters are Good Things. Simple, light, intuitive (built-in gear indicators!), about as reliable as a shovel, and with a friction mode that might only matter once in the whole time you own the bike but will really, really matter on that day. They are less convenient than integrated levers, true, but not by much. I'd certainly consider trying them out. You very well may like them,. many people do. If not, quality bar-end shifters in good shape are easy to sell.

If you go that route, and if the aero bars do have weird levers, brake-only levers are easily available and not expensive. Most current production ones are in the $40-60 range. My favorite is the TRP RRL SR, but they're pretty spendy, 80-100 bucks. Worth it to me... they're the best-feeling brake lever I've ever wrapped a hand around. Used, any Shimano SLR lever from the late 80s onward would be a great choice. I've never heard of anyone who didn't like them, and they made them for decades, so they're everywhere.

Used integrated levers can be a bit of a crapshoot, as they're not rebuildable and internal parts do not exist. The most-common failure mode is an easy fix: the grease gets gummy and they don't shift right, spray lube into the guts and shift back and forth until everything frees up. If that doesn't work, you're usually hosed.

There's a few places where compatibility gets weird, so you'd need to post the specifics of what's on the bike now before anyone can give you a recommendation for integrated levers that will work.

Hope that's helpful,

--Shannon
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Old 07-29-21, 08:40 PM
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If it is a 2004 with Ultegra, you’ll 9 speed shifters.

The most cost effective are Microshift R9. It is compatible with Shimano. I imagine it is a double crank.

So you basically need the bars, maybe a stem, Microshift shifters, a Jagwire cable kit, and handlebar tape… plus whatever unrelated parts you need to replace on the bike.

John
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Old 07-30-21, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by ShannonM View Post

Bar-end shifters are Good Things. Simple, light, intuitive (built-in gear indicators!), about as reliable as a shovel, and with a friction mode that might only matter once in the whole time you own the bike but will really, really matter on that day. They are less convenient than integrated levers, true, but not by much. I'd certainly consider trying them out. You very well may like them,. many people do. If not, quality bar-end shifters in good shape are easy to sell.

If you go that route, and if the aero bars do have weird levers, brake-only levers are easily available and not expensive. Most current production ones are in the $40-60 range. My favorite is the TRP RRL SR, but they're pretty spendy, 80-100 bucks. Worth it to me... they're the best-feeling brake lever I've ever wrapped a hand around. Used, any Shimano SLR lever from the late 80s onward would be a great choice. I've never heard of anyone who didn't like them, and they made them for decades, so they're everywhere.

Used integrated levers can be a bit of a crapshoot, as they're not rebuildable and internal parts do not exist. The most-common failure mode is an easy fix: the grease gets gummy and they don't shift right, spray lube into the guts and shift back and forth until everything frees up. If that doesn't work, you're usually hosed.
....
Hope that's helpful,
Yes, very helpful, thanks. For some reason it hadn't occurred to me to put them on the end of drop bars. They look like normal brake levers, yes. They're Syntace triathlon bars. I think now I'll try your suggestion first. The bars I select would need to be perfectly cylindrical to fit the leavers, would they not?
All the best
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Old 07-30-21, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
If it is a 2004 with Ultegra, you’ll 9 speed shifters.

The most cost effective are Microshift R9. It is compatible with Shimano. I imagine it is a double crank.

So you basically need the bars, maybe a stem, Microshift shifters, a Jagwire cable kit, and handlebar tape… plus whatever unrelated parts you need to replace on the bike.

John
I've seen these. I think I'll go with Shannon's suggestion avove but has anyone tried these Microshift levers?
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Old 07-30-21, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
No. You have to have the proper shifters to work with compatible derailleurs and number of cassette speeds/cogs and brakes in some cases. Many are interchangeable but we need to know what your bike's setup is first. Wait for the bike to arrive before buying anything.
From the photos it seems to have a 9-cog gear cluster and has two chain wheels. Yes, I'll be waiting before buying anything in case of surprises. All the best
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Old 07-30-21, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by rhenning View Post
It could be done but may cost more than the bike unless you have all the parts needed and the skills you need to do it. Keep looking for a bike than meets you wants and needs. Roger
There's no way new handlebars and a set of brifters will cost more than the bike.
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Old 07-30-21, 11:49 AM
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Another vote for bar-ends. I have them on both of my drop-bar bikes. I'm partial to friction shifting but Microshift makes a 9-speed indexing set.
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Old 07-30-21, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by escuta View Post
From the photos it seems to have a 9-cog gear cluster and has two chain wheels. Yes, I'll be waiting before buying anything in case of surprises. All the best
Honestly, I wouldn't buy it unless its a dirt-cheap-deal. As mentioned before, the cost of swapping out components can make your checking account cry for mercy. If you are also bereft of bike mechanical skills, it can be a daunting task, and then you'll need to rely on someone else to do it for you. My advice is to simply get a bike that you can ride off immediately, new or used.
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Old 07-30-21, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by escuta View Post
Hi,

I'm new to road bikes and have recently purchased a used Principia Rex, built, I believe, in around 2004. The bike has yet to be shipped to me. It comes with triathlon handlebars which I wish to remove. The gear shifters are located at the ends of the aero bars. The seller led me to believe that these can be detached from what look like pursuit bars underneath. So, a simple and cheap solution will be for me to move the shifters to the ends of the pursuit bars, if that's possible.

I'm not sure though that pursuit bars will suit me and I think that drop bars or compact drop bars might be better (I'm riding mainly for leisure and exercise but perhaps later to commute to work). If I change to drop bars, from what I've seen, I should change the break handles to a type with integrated gear shifters. My question is, what types break handles/shifters will suit the gears? The gears are Shimano Ultegra. Ideally I'd like to purchase everything second-hand because prices here in Brazil are very very high.

If you have any advice, please let me know!

Unfortunately, I'm unable to post photos of the bike until have have made 10 posts here.

Cheers
You can put images into t he gallery and someone else can then post them for you. Then again, you only need two more posts to be able to post images directly.

If you use an alloy dropbar then you should be able to use the shifters that come with the bike perhaps without even needing new shifter cables and housings depending on how long they are. If the bike has brake levers that are compatible with a dropbar you might not need new brake levers either.

Cheers
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Old 07-30-21, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by escuta View Post
Yes, very helpful, thanks. For some reason it hadn't occurred to me to put them on the end of drop bars. They look like normal brake levers, yes. They're Syntace triathlon bars. I think now I'll try your suggestion first. The bars I select would need to be perfectly cylindrical to fit the leavers, would they not?
All the best
The only drop bars I've ever seen that weren't compatible with bar-end shifters were crazy-light carbon bars that were so thin that the manufacturers were worried about the expander plugs in the pods (the metal piece that the shift lever mounts to) cracking the bars from the inside out. Any aluminum drop bar should work.

--Shannon
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Old 07-31-21, 02:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
You can put images into t he gallery and someone else can then post them for you. Then again, you only need two more posts to be able to post images directly.

Cheers
Thanks. I put the same album twice I think. See Gallery->Recent. It's the Principia bike. If someone could please post the 6 photos in the gallery here, that would be great.
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Old 07-31-21, 01:11 PM
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Image assist for Escuta.




Well, you are a fortunate fellow! You CAN use those brake levers and those bar-end shifters on a dropbar without any problem at all. You might even be able to use the existing cables as they appear to be long enough.

Good luck and cheers.
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Old 07-31-21, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
Well, you are a fortunate fellow! You CAN use those brake levers and those bar-end shifters on a dropbar without any problem at all. You might even be able to use the existing cables as they appear to be long enough.
And.......you can sell the TT bar setup for probably more than the cost of some new aluminum drop bars.
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Old 08-01-21, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
Image assist for Escuta.
Thanks a lot!

Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
Well, you are a fortunate fellow! You CAN use those brake levers and those bar-end shifters on a dropbar without any problem at all. You might even be able to use the existing cables as they appear to be long enough.
That will be excellent if the cables reach too.

Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
And.......you can sell the TT bar setup for probably more than the cost of some new aluminum drop bars.
Luck seems to be with me, I sold my current bike yesterday for a decent price so if there's any small profit made on the bars, my credit card will be very grateful. :-)

Thanks everyone for your help. If all goes well I'll post a photo here when the change is done.

All the best,
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Old 08-01-21, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by escuta View Post
Thanks a lot!


That will be excellent if the cables reach too.


Luck seems to be with me, I sold my current bike yesterday for a decent price so if there's any small profit made on the bars, my credit card will be very grateful. :-)

Thanks everyone for your help. If all goes well I'll post a photo here when the change is done.

All the best,
Some of us will be waiting and looking forward to seeing that conversion.

Good luck and cheers
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