THE CONVENIENT CYCLIST

Can you put drop bars on a CHANGE Bike?

One question I often get from potential customers, after they ask if we carry drop bars, is whether they can add them?

The short answer is that we carry frames, in mountain and road formats, ┬áso you can build whatever you want. (And personally, I’m about to). But that really doesn’t answer the question.

The real issue is… what will the folding experience be like if I add drop bars? The manufacturing folks at CHANGE Bike have just provided that perspective…

A customer-modified CHANGE Bike with drop bars.

At first glace, it’s just like any other road bike, with handlebars that allow for changes of hand, arm, and shoulder positions over a really long ride. But it folds in half.

Do those drop bars get in the way?

The clearance challenge.

In a word, yes. The bars clear the frame just fine, ┬ápivoting over the top tube, but the brakes interfere with the 700c rear wheel, causing the bike to not fold up as tightly. If “not tight” is OK, and the main goal is to reduce the length of the bike, then there’s no problem to solve.

You can also turn the handlebars the other way during folding. The frame folds tighter, and there’s no brake-wheel interference, but the curve of the bars still makes the overall width of the folded bike greater.

When it needs to fold as tight as possible…

If you’re willing to use a hex wrench on the stem, you can lower it four inches during folding, and all clearance issues go away. The drop bar nestles nicely under the top tube, and the brakes avoid the rear wheel.

Small folding with a drop bar.

As a result, you can do this, taking your bike anywhere inside your car.

A fully protected bike during transport.

What problem are you trying to solve? And what space do you have?

The first step may be to simply measure the space where you’d like your bike to go when folded. How deep is it?

  • Less than 20 inches? You’ll either need to go with a flat bar (which folds down to 15″) or carry a hex wrench in your toolkit for loosening/tightening your stem (not a bad idea anyway).
  • 20 inches or more? You have plenty of space for a bike with folded drop bars. Ride away!

Are you considering a custom CHANGE bike? What components would go on your ideal bike?

Bob Forgrave's Signature

Bob Forgrave
President, Flatbike.com

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425-985-6219

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