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So for my birthday this year I got a Fuji Absolute. Which is a very comfortable ride and it rolls very smooth, however it's not exactly what I would call a race-ready bike which is kind of what I would like to use it for. As I am in college i'm on a pretty tight budget so instead of buying a new road bike I though I could just replace stock parts on my Absolute and make it a little faster. As I don't have the money for a new frame I figured in time I would work on everything but that. Also, this is the first bike I've made with my own money so I'd like to try and find the effective but moderately cheap stuff! I was thinking the first stock piece I would replace would be the handle bars. The bike has a goose neck so I was thinking of going to drop bars as they to me, are the most comfortable to race with. I was browsing and I was just wondering what suggestions anyone else had. I kind of like the Zeus Cat II or Zeus Cat III drops, but I was just wondering what you guys thought for bars and modifications in general, places to start, places to look, brands to keep my eye on
 

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Don't mean to say that this is an impossible quest, but you need to keep in mind that there's more to this than just switching out handlebars. Some of these complications have to do with how these components work together, some of them with the fact that the diameters of drop bars and flat bars are different in the areas where stuff clamps to them. The brake levers you have now are matched to the V-brakes you have, but they are not designed to go on a drop bar. And most drop-bar brake levers will not work with your V-brakes. The shifters are not suitable for a drop bar, so you'd have to replace those. Anyhow, you see where this is going.

Sounds harsh, but IMO you're better off getting rid of this bike and buying a used race-type bike if you want to race now. If you just want to ride fast, get some skinnier and better-quality tires and lighter tubes for the Fuji, flip the stem to get the bar as low as possible and be done with it. On our road-bike fast group rides around here, we'd sometimes have one or two flat-bar guys show up who had little trouble keeping up. You could strive to be one of those guys.
 

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For a number of reasons, I'd advise against the conversion/ modification.

First thing I look at when contemplating these types of things, is the bikes geo. In this case, when compared to most road bikes, the effective top tube is longer, head tube angle slacker (with resultant trail, higher), so installing a drop bar will not only change fit, but because you're changing rider position (more forward), handling.

Bottom line, it's physically doable, but the problem is you won't know until spending some time (and a fair amount of money) how well (or not so well) this venture went. Judging from the bikes geo, I'd say not so well.

My advice is to use this bike as intended; build some saddle time, improve fitness and save up for that next (drop bar) road bike.
 

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Some time back I considered doing the exact same thing. My hybrid was not cutting it as my rides were getting longer and more spirited. Like you, I wanted to avoid dropping a lot of cash and considered piece-meal conversion. In the end I decided against it. You will spend about as much, if not more, as you would to buy a new bike. You will have a frankenstein monster that will not really do anything right. And it will be virtually unsellable at that point as well.

As was said, your better off just saving your money, and upgrading your ride when you can. If you bike is in decent condition, you should be able to sell it to help cover some of the costs. Between the sale of your bike, and the money you would spend on handlebars, new stem (likely needed to get the fit right), grip tape, new shifters, new cables, and who knows what else you could get a pretty decent used bike or maybe even a new one. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you deserve the truth.
 

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My advice is to use this bike as intended; build some saddle time, improve fitness and save up for that next (drop bar) road bike.
Good advice (as is gte105u's), and it made me remember that to many people, the drop bar is more of a fashion must-have than a fully utilized component. Don't think for one minute that all those people with drop-bar bikes out there are in a more aerodynamic ("racy") position than you could be on your Fuji. If you look carefully at riders on the road, you'll realize that many of the drop-bar people never use the drops. They also have their bars jacked up so high and their saddles pushed so far forward that they sit almost beach-cruiser upright. Sure, the bikes of those people roll a little easier than yours does. But as said, different tires on your Fuji would address that difference to some degree.
 

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Good advice (as is gte105u's), and it made me remember that to many people, the drop bar is more of a fashion must-have than a fully utilized component. Don't think for one minute that all those people with drop-bar bikes out there are in a more aerodynamic ("racy") position than you could be on your Fuji. If you look carefully at riders on the road, you'll realize that many of the drop-bar people never use the drops. They also have their bars jacked up so high and their saddles pushed so far forward that they sit almost beach-cruiser upright. Sure, the bikes of those people roll a little easier than yours does. But as said, different tires on your Fuji would address that difference to some degree.
Biggest benefit I found was in going to the drop bar was hand comfort. With the hybrid you really only have 1 hand position, and after 12 or so miles I would start having discomfort. It was almost unbearable after 20 miles. Ability to vary your hand position is the single biggest benefit I have found. Also the ability to tuck better when fighting a head wind is nice. On a hybrid getting low amounts to bending your elbows, which puts more weight on your hands. Again with the hand comfort. It also tends to send your elbows out making you a bit of a sail. Drop bars puts you in position where you can adjust without making massive aerodynamic sacrifices.

Overall, I think the OP needs to know that the immediate gains achieved by switching from the hybrid to a proper road bike will be limited. The bike will be lighter and stiffer which will help for comfort and stamina as well as some speed (especially on climbs). But my gains when going from my hybrid to my road bike were less than 1 mph average on the same route under similar conditions.
 

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I think racing is lots of fun. And there's often pretty good support for college students trying to get into racing. I agree with the other posters - if you want a drop bar bike, you really need to start with one. Rather than continuing on that theme, though, here are some things to think about to move forward.

Racing on the road in the US is mostly handled by USA Cycling. That includes collegiate racing, which is usually a club sport. Find out if your school has a club. If it does, join it. Do that now.

There are a few sources of bicycles for a racer on a budget. The most obvious is at a discount from whatever shop pays to put its name on your jersey. Most teams also have a couple bikes that get passed around among the members. I'll resist making a simile. They can be pretty chewed up, but you're going to a race, not a fashion show. You can also buy used bikes from some shops, or from a private party. I've done both. My results have varied, but none of them have ever cost me as much as I'd have spent at retail. Get some help from a friend if you do CL.

Technically, you don't even need drop bars to race on the road. I think it makes a big difference, though. Beyond that, you need the bike not to get in your way. It should facilitate a good riding position - so the size and fit need to be right - and not waste power mechanically, which is really all about maintenance. Finally, I wouldn't want to be the one guy racing a hilly course without integrated shifters. The good news is that all of this stuff was already in place by the mid-90s, so you can have a fairly old bike and be plenty competitive with the kids whose dads buy them Cervelos. (Or who will spend the next ten years paying for their Cervelos!)

Racing can be really expensive. Another reason to join your club now is so that you can get a better idea of how expensive it is for people at your school. I'd expect travel to be the largest-ticket item.

Check out usacycling.org for information about local clubs and the regional conference you race in. I never got to race collegiate, but people seem to have a really good time with it.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you very much for all of the information! by the sound of it you all helped me avoid quite a few headaches and the creation of a pretty crap bike! Also thanks for the tip about collegiate racing I actually just found a team that rides together only a few miles from my school! so thank you again for the honesty and the help!
 

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Put some bar ends on your current bike. Yes, you may get some flack from other riders, but who cares. It will give you another hand position to use, and cost very little money ($20 max).

In the meantime, save some coin (pool together birthday money, etc) and look for a road bike. If you get lucky, maybe a member of the cycling team has an extra bike to sell that would fit you, or you find a good Craigslist bike.
 

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Don't mean to say that this is an impossible quest, but you need to keep in mind that there's more to this than just switching out handlebars. Some of these complications have to do with how these components work together, some of them with the fact that the diameters of drop bars and flat bars are different in the areas where stuff clamps to them. The brake levers you have now are matched to the V-brakes you have, but they are not designed to go on a drop bar. And most drop-bar brake levers will not work with your V-brakes. The shifters are not suitable for a drop bar, so you'd have to replace those. Anyhow, you see where this is going.

Sounds harsh, but IMO you're better off getting rid of this bike and buying a used race-type bike if you want to race now. If you just want to ride fast, get some skinnier and better-quality tires and lighter tubes for the Fuji, flip the stem to get the bar as low as possible and be done with it. On our road-bike fast group rides around here, we'd sometimes have one or two flat-bar guys show up who had little trouble keeping up. You could strive to be one of those guys.
100% Agreed! :thumbsup:
 

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So for my birthday this year I got a Fuji Absolute. Which is a very comfortable ride and it rolls very smooth, however it's not exactly what I would call a race-ready bike which is kind of what I would like to use it for. As I am in college i'm on a pretty tight budget so instead of buying a new road bike I though I could just replace stock parts on my Absolute and make it a little faster. As I don't have the money for a new frame I figured in time I would work on everything but that. Also, this is the first bike I've made with my own money so I'd like to try and find the effective but moderately cheap stuff! I was thinking the first stock piece I would replace would be the handle bars. The bike has a goose neck so I was thinking of going to drop bars as they to me, are the most comfortable to race with. I was browsing and I was just wondering what suggestions anyone else had. I kind of like the Zeus Cat II or Zeus Cat III drops, but I was just wondering what you guys thought for bars and modifications in general, places to start, places to look, brands to keep my eye on
SO... you got flatbar bike... and you want drop bars...

Your shifters ain't gonna work.

IF you got a [url-=http://www.fujibikes.com/bike/details/absolute_13]Absolute 1.3[/url], then you can probably get Shimano Sora STI shift lever set, as it has a Sora/Tiagra combo in components.

With less expensive models...
the 1.4 has a Deore 9-speed RD... so that means you need a Tiagra 4600 STI levers (not sure how it works with the Alivio front derailleur)

the 2.1... with the Alivio RD, you might be able to use Sora 9-speed STI levers...

but anyway... doesn't sound cheap...

As it is... you can use it for cyclocross races.. (get suitable tires), to get your feet wet (watch out for the muddy races)
 
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