Royal Highlands Bike Club

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Back friendly road bike modification

Posted by tadxyz on June 12, 2020 at 2:40 PM

My recent neck problems had me ready to give up riding my road bike again. Then, in a moment of inspiration, I came up with a simple, inexpensive change that not only allows me to continue riding it but is probably the most comfortable riding position of any bike I have ever ridden. Simply rotate the drop handlebars upside down and slide the shift levers out to the ends of the bars.

My riding position is leaning about 15 degrees from vertical, almost straight up, with hands in a neutral position (as opposed to a straight handlbar where the hands are rotated 90 degrees.

To make this modification you need to:

1. Remove any handlebar tape to free up all 4 cables.

2. Lift the hoods up from the bottom far enough to expose the bolt (probably hex key) that tightens the clamp that holds the shift lever in place. Loosen it just enough to be able to slide the lever out almost to the end of the bar.

3. Loosen the 4 bolts holding the handlebars to the stem. Rotate the bars by moving the drops forward and up til they are upside down and tighten them loosely.

4. Finish positioning the shift levers by making sure the lever to clear the end of the bar when shifting and braking. When you have a good position, tighten the clamp down securely.

5. Adjust the handlebars to the desired position and tighten them down to the stem securely. Test ride and tweak as needed.

The only real possible gotcha is that 1 or 2 of the cables might not be long enough. As you can see in the picture, mine were long enough to work just fine, but not long enough to tape down nice and neatly like they had been. If you don't mind that (I don't) then you should be fine. Or you can get longer cables.

Tom D

Categories: Bike Hardware

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