Re: Hybrid bike = road bike + mtb handlebars?
Originally Posted by Lrac6
My question is this: I don't have much money, and used hybrids seem fairly hard to come by. Used road bikes seem much more common. Can I buy a used road bike and put a mountain bike-like handlebar on it, and is it then essentially a hybrid bike? do I need to replace the stem too? Am I missing something more fundamental that differentiates a hybrid bike from a road bike?
There are some problems with using road bikes as commuters, since they usually don't have eyelets for fenders and racks. There are some solutions to the fender problem, like p-clips so one can mount full fenders, but you have to search around to find them, and they all add cost. Half fenders, like SKS Race Blades, aren't good enough for commuting in my opinion.
Tire clearence is another problem, especially with fenders mounted. You are lucky if you find a road bike that can accommodate both full fenders and 25 mm tires. Personally I find that +28 mm tires are best for commuting, but YMMV.
The above problems may not be a problem for you, depending of riding style and climate etc, (I know several people who commute on road bikes without fenders).
You can't use STI /Ergopower brifters on a flat bar, so if you want to convert a road bike to a hybrid you need new gear shifters and brake levers. This pretty much restricts you to using old 8 or 9 speed bikes with Shimano components if you want to use click-shifters and avoid to much hassle.
I would choose some SRAM Attack Trigger shifters (Shimano compatible), since they are cheap and has a good reputation, but Shimanos SL-R-440 trigger shifters are good too. (Some Shimano trigger shifters seems only to work with specific Shimano front derailleurs, so read the instructions first.)
Brake levers. I strongly suspect that Shimano R440 Brake Levers works with ordinary race brakes. Cylocross brake levers should work too. There are several options, but read up upon it before buying.
You probably need new cable housing, or be able to to trim the existing cablehousing. A cable cutter like Park Tools is very nice to have for this job, but a dremel-like device can be used too.
The cheapest handlebar solution is (as mentionend elsewhere) just to turn the drop bar into bullhorns. (new bar tape required).
If the handlebar is to thin for the trigger-shifters, you can make some shims of an old beer can or similar.
Another solution is to get a quill-stem adaptor and then buy a threadless MTB stem and handlebar, this way you also get an easy way to raise the handlebar height. Get a digital caliper to measure the old stem diameter before buying anything. When getting a threadless stem, remember they are measured center-to-center.
Whether it is worth it or not to convert a road bike depends. You have to make a good deal on the road bike, and do all the work yourself. Watch costs like a hawk, since these bike projects always seems to get much more expensive than planned. New tires, chain, cassette and saddle, it all add up. Don't forget that tools cost money too.
I am actually starting my own conversion project tomorrow since I need a spare bike. It will probably a road bike -> hybrid conversion.