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  • One bike, two handlebars (but not at the same time)…
  • Premier Icon markgraylish
    Free Member

    Just musing, but I bet someone on here has already done this…

    Use case:
    I often go on road-trips to areas which have great road biking and mountain biking options.
    I normally take both my mountain bike and my road bike when I’m driving but that’s not practical when flying (then renting a car at destination).

    There’s a number of problems with taking two bikes:

    Security – when riding one bike, the other is usually left either inside the rental car or locked to the bike rack on my car (maybe inside my car if I’m not carrying too much crap/camping gear)

    Storage – obviously, two bikes take up more space in car and/or in hotel rooms if I’m not camping. In hotels, it obviously twice as hard to sneak two bikes into rooms rather than one.

    Cost – when flying, some airlines include a bike as part of luggage allowance but that seems to getting rarer, so two bikes is twice as expensive when flying (assuming airlines even allow it)

    Hassle – more hassle of having to handle two bikes rather than one at airports/car rental agencies/pick up/drop off

    Rental cars – need a larger car for two bikes.

    Ideally, one “gravel bike” would do all but I’m not convinced drop bars and “proper” mountain biking go together…

    Has anyone figured this out? Is one bike and two different handlebars types (with associated shifts/brake levers), and just swapping when needed feasible?

    I guess SRAM AXS shifting means the shifter part is easy to deal with but are the mountain bike brake levels compatible with road/gravel calipers and how easy is it to swap hoses without bleeding?

    Obviously, may also need two sets of wheels/tyres/discs with identical hub spacing

    Premier Icon markgraylish
    Free Member

    What have I not thought about?? 🤔

    Premier Icon joshvegas
    Free Member

    Just take one bike that suits the location and hire the other if you fancy a change?

    Premier Icon markgraylish
    Free Member

    Just take one bike that suits the location and hire the other if you fancy a change?

    Yeah, done that but it’s not always possible.
    Im 6’4″ so getting something in my size is rare, or rental bikes are booked out or pick-up/drop-off places and times aren’t convenient. And the brakes are usually setup the wrong way round!

    Premier Icon Bez
    Full Member

    I did it for a while with a dinglespeed with BB7s, took about 10 minutes to swap the bars and cables and about 30 seconds to change the gear.

    If you don’t like singlespeeding or cable brakes then I’d have thought it’s going to be prohibitively complex. (Edit: ok, hadn’t considered wireless shifting, that’s way too futuristic for me. And hydraulic decouplers exist.)

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Full Member

    Has anyone figured this out?

    Dangerholm and bicyclepubes

    https://cyclingmagazine.ca/sections/gear-reviews/bikesframes/dangerpubes/

    Premier Icon Bez
    Full Member

    I just did a RealLOL at the “direct mount spare tube”

    Premier Icon markgraylish
    Free Member

    Oooh, those hydraulic decouplers look useful if not a bit expensive at $250US (and I presume that is per brake).

    At that price, you might as well buy two sets of brakes and, assuming external hose routing, just ensure that they all have the same caliper/frame/fork mounting (presumably flat mounts?). That way, the correct length hose and caliper can be permanently attached to the bars and bleeding is never as issue as the hose isn’t split…

    Premier Icon Aidy
    Free Member

    Too many compromises imo.

    It’s not just bar shape. Gear ratios, wheels, tyres, geometry, weight.

    Premier Icon markgraylish
    Free Member

    Too many compromises imo.

    It’s not just bar shape. Gear ratios, wheels, tyres, geometry, weight.

    Agreed for everyday use (I’d still keep my FS and my road bike), but I’m wondering about a “road trip” specific bike so (a) I don’t need to compromise which areas I want to ride and (b) deal with taking two bikes away with me.

    I’m not expecting to ride stuff where a 150mm FS sled would be needed, think more like smoothing Idaho singletrack rather than Scottish/Lakes rock gardens.

    I’d consider two sets of wheels built around the same hubs (so spacing isn’t an issue) each with their own cassette, disc and appropriate tyres.

    Just wondering whether a set of SRAM Rival Xplr AXS shifters AND a GX AXS shifter can be paired up to one AXS rear derailleur….

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Full Member

    Just wondering whether a set of SRAM Rival Xplr AXS shifters AND a GX AXS shifter can be paired up to one AXS rear derailleur….

    It will, not at the same time I don’t think, but it swaps over at the press of a button/app

    Why not try flat bars with clip on extensions?

    Premier Icon Aidy
    Free Member

    Agreed for everyday use (I’d still keep my FS and my road bike), but I’m specifically wondering about a “road trip” specific bike so (a) I don’t need to compromise which areas I want to ride and (b) deal with taking two bikes away with me.

    No, I get it – but if it’s a mountain bike base, I’d not want to use it for a road ride because gears/tyres/weight, regardless of bar shape, and if it’s a road bike base just changing the bars isn’t enough to make it more capable off road. You’re still stuck with a steep head angle, a low front end, a short top tube (which would be exaggerated with flat bars), and narrow tyres.

    I ride a gravel bike off-road a fair amount, and I’d have suspension and bigger tyres before flat bars.

    I suspect the best compromise is a gravel bike with wide bars and a suspension fork.

    Premier Icon honourablegeorge
    Full Member

    If you do travel enough to consider a dedicated setup, then shis comes to mind. With the right wheels and tyres you could do a lot with it.

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    I’d go flat bar gravel bike for what you describe. With possibly a second set of tyres or second set of wheels depending on cost/changeover faff/storage issues

    While there isn’t anything that makes a frame drop bar only or flat bar only, the change in effective reach means for a given rider you are unlikely to enjoy the fit of one frame in both guises.

    Premier Icon Bez
    Full Member

    but if it’s a mountain bike base, I’d not want to use it for a road ride because gears/tyres/weight, regardless of bar shape

    But gears aren’t such a big deal, tyres can be changed easily (with tubes at least) and weight isn’t actually all that important.

    and if it’s a road bike base just changing the bars isn’t enough to make it more capable off road. You’re still stuck with a steep head angle, a low front end, a short top tube (which would be exaggerated with flat bars), and narrow tyres.

    The frame I used was a Longitude, which had something like a 65cm top tube, and a 68 degree head angle I think. I kept the steerer uncut so the front end height wouldn’t have been an issue (although I like my MTB front end fairly low anyway so the stem was at the same height either way).

    I think you do have to compromise in that the geometry will have to be in old school MTB territory but if you’re ok with that then it’s quite doable. There are plenty of steel framesets like the Longitude, Ogre etc which will work (and come in suitable sizes for us large folk!)

    Premier Icon abingham
    Full Member

    Sounds like something along the lines of a Salsa Fargo may well be the answer. Although perhaps falls somewhat short of the mark at both extreme ends of the scale it’d likely cover 90% of what you might want an ‘N=1’ bike to cover.

    Or what about a singlespeed (like a Surly 1×1 etc perhaps) with cable discs that you could actuate with drop levers or MTB levers so keep the bars attached to separate suitable length stems then just switch them and re-cable the brakes?

    Premier Icon SirHC
    Full Member

    -Different tyres and a decent pump?
    -Two sets of wheels?

    Your not racing, so who cares if its not the fastest setup, you are out on your bike enjoying the trails and roads, thats the important thing is it not?

    Premier Icon Aidy
    Free Member

    But gears aren’t such a big deal, tyres can be changed easily (with tubes at least) and weight isn’t actually all that important.

    Sure – but my point is that bar shape isn’t what makes a bike a road bike or a mountain bike. I think you’d be too compromised by everything else for bar shape to make a significant difference to enjoyment.

    Premier Icon wzzzz
    Free Member

    I’d build an XC hardtail MTB.

    Something light, 29er 25mm rims, 120mm travel fork – maybe U turn if they still do it?

    Wide flat bar with a riser stem to get your mtb position.

    Fit bar ends just inboard of the grips or brake levers.

    Flip the stem for road then you can get stretched out. bar ends should give a position like being on the hoods.

    Then take some 35mm slicks and some 2.2 mtb tyres to swap. Probably going to have to run tubes.

    It’s going to be a compromise.

    Premier Icon wzzzz
    Free Member

    Or if you insist on electronic shifting and hydraulic lines, you need the Sram Connectamajig which they did for brakes a few years back to allow OEMs easy internal routing:

    Easy disconnect and reconnect hydraulic hose without fluid loss or bleeding. These are apparently differnt for brakes than the more common reverb connectamig.

    https://bikerumor.com/2013/04/15/sram-hydro-r-hydraulic-road-rim-disc-brakes-unveiled-details-first-rides/

    https://bikerumor.com/2013/04/05/sram-red-22-hydraulic-road-brake-details-surfacing/

    I’m looking to ditch the connectamajigs from my gravel bike if you want them. You will need 2 sets though.

    Premier Icon thols2
    Free Member

    I’d build an XC hardtail MTB.

    This. Ideally with a double chainset and 28-38 chainrings.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    You can ride an MTB on the road surely that’s the least hastle option?

    I’ve done 300 miles/3 days on a rigid singlespeed and whilst at times it was painfull purgatory it wasn’t too bad. Chuck a 12s cassette on there and a 100mm fork and it would have been fine.

    Even if you swapped bars you’re still stuck with a compromised frame/wheels/tyres somewhere.

    What might work is a set of those bikepaking aero bars, the ones like Tri bars but the pads mount over the steerer tube. That and some bar ends would give a nice range of positions.

    Premier Icon richardthird
    Full Member

    My carbon fatbike has 2 sets ups

    Bikepacking/gravel/road 29×3 Knards, rigid fork, OG bars (quite narrow and sooo comfy). Efficient.

    Trail 26×4.4, Bluto suss fork, Stooge Moto 800mm bars. Lairy.

    Or mix/match as appropriate.

    Premier Icon Bez
    Full Member

    Sure – but my point is that bar shape isn’t what makes a bike a road bike or a mountain bike. I think you’d be too compromised by everything else for bar shape to make a significant difference to enjoyment.

    Again I’d politely and subjectively disagree 😉

    For me, the two big differences are tyres and bars—everything else is no big deal (with the caveat that I don’t use suspension). The tyres are easy, there are tons of options in all wheel sizes now that the world has stopped obsessing over 23mm road rubber. The bars are the tricky bit.

    Personally I hate riding for a long time seated with flat bars—it’s just uncomfortable—so although it works, it’s not pleasant IMO. And I also find drop bars are the limiting factor off-road. I’ve got a frame built up with 27.5×2.2” tyres and drop bars, and it just doesn’t work for me: there’s no real benefit over 700×37-42s because beyond that I find the bars (both by way of the grip being vertical and the riding position being so far forward) make it hard to cope with the level of gnar that necessitates fat rubber.

    YMMV (it worked for John Tomac after all, at least for a while).

    Premier Icon thechair
    Free Member

    You could try a set of these and then you wouldn’t need to faff around swapping brakes over…
    https://surlybikes.com/blog/the_surly_corner_bar_dropbar_mountain_bike_handlebar

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    XC 29er with rigid or sus forks w/lockout

    Koga Denham bars or similar (I use flat carbon bars with Ergon GP3 bar ends)

    Tyres to suit per bias of daily terrain

    Premier Icon markgraylish
    Free Member

    You could try a set of these and then you wouldn’t need to faff around swapping brakes over…
    https://surlybikes.com/blog/the_surly_corner_bar_dropbar_mountain_bike_handlebar

    My god, those bars are ugly (and you’d have to look at them all the time when riding!). Granted, they might be the answer…

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    I run a doitall bike (well, almost) in the guise of a 2×10 rigid 29er with various tyre and handlebar/stem combos. Also 2 x saddles pre-fitted to their own seatpost.

    1st thing was install new control and brake (BB7mtn) cables on the widest bars and longest stem combo (which happens to be the loop bars and 110mm stem)

    So now all I need do to fit other bar/stem combos is remove (lock on) grips, loosen and remove control clamps, stemcap, then whip off the bars and stem in one go, replacing with the new bar/stem combo, slide controls and grips on, tighten and off I go. A leisurely 10 min changeover. Have been running a few setups over this last year or two as follows:

    Bikepacking:

    On One Geoff (backsweep + loop) bars on 95mm/10deg stem. Ergon GC1 Biokork grips

    Road-transitions/gravel/light XC/towpaths etc:

    Bontrager RXL carbon 620mm flat bars 5deg sweep on 110mm/10deg stem. Ergon GP3 bar-ends

    MTB/general use:

    Sunline V2 (25.4mm) 730mm high-rise bars on 90mm/17deg stem. RaceFace Good n Evil grips.

    Town and towpath:

    Raleigh North Rounders (25.4mm high sweep) using the 25.4mm MTB stem (above). Very springy and sitty-uppy. To be honest I prefer the Sunlines.

    I’ve tried all combos on and off over the last few years and this year have stuck mostly with the MTB risers as I bought an old touring bike for local road use.

    When going away on hols/car-camping I tend just to take:

    -the rigid 29er
    -MTB riser bar/stem
    -carbon flat bars w/bar ends/110mm stem (which could be flipped for more aero, yet don’t bother as am slow anyway)

    Tyre options as of now

    – Continental Race King Protection (2.2”) most of the year round, they are light, quickish on all dry/dryish surfaces and only one small puncture in 3 years. These tend to be tyre of choice at all times. Have even ridden mud on them but it was interesting as am running tubes and about 30psi

    – Schwalbe Tyrago gravel/road tyres (40c puncture protection) dull but smooth on the road for laden touring, and can handle rougher stuff at a pinch. Hardly ever fit them. If I had a more svelte 29er then would probably invest in some premium fast/hybrid or small block tyres (G-One Speed?) to complement the flat bars when on tarmac/paths longer distances.

    – WTB Prowler SL (2.1) no real idea why I have these. Maybe I liked the weight, colour and the price? They are grippier than the Race Kings on XC but buzzy on road and path.

    Saddles/posts

    – Inline + Phenom (MTB)
    – Layback plus Brooks Pro Special (road/urban/fireroads etc)

    So a fair few options, feels sometimes like one bike = three bikes

    Since added a retro handbuilt steel touring bike (again with 2x sets of bars ie trad sittyuppy bars + rando drop bars that I sometimes swap but it’s a pain to recable) Looking for cable couplers to complete it.

    The doitall 29er gets by far the most use all round (no surprise there) but the tourer can munch tarmac and path miles so much more efficiently. I sometimes take that on hols if using as primary transport/touring as it’s a swift and luxurious ride.

    If I had to have just one bike and cost was no factor then I’d go with a 29er hardtail XC bike + 2x sets of bars/stems and BB7s (or flat bars, barends and hydraulics)

    Premier Icon markgraylish
    Free Member

    Thanks @P7eaven

    Why do you use to saddles? Is that just to make swapping between a layback and inline seatpost faster?

    I guess my ideal solution would be a relatively slack frame with external brake routing (with zip ties fastening or similar) and add an angleset to make more slack when in flat-bar/mountain bike mode and steeper mode when in drop-bar/road bike mode.
    Buy two sets of bars (plus stems so I can tweak the fit as appropriate) with each bar have AXS shifter and associated brake levers/hoses/calipers so at swap over time I can unzip the hoses and fit the calipers attached to the alternate bar…
    Plus switch over wheels (with have their own tyres and identical sized discs)

    I think I need to read up on SRAM Xplr groupset…

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    @markgraylish

    Why do you use to saddles? Is that just to make swapping between a layback and inline seatpost faster?

    It used to be that, as the Brooks Pro + layback came with the bike as bought, and I found that the combination with the long stem + flats bars and barends was pretty much perfect for stretched out days on gravel as the previous owner had specced for ‘railway paths/keep fit’. So the post + saddle work as a ‘team’

    Also is just about doable for some XC forays between fire-roads and farm-tracks, but to be clear that combo is 90% about putting the miles in touring (rough-stuff and road) not XC/MTB

    I’ve been into cycle-touring all of my adult life and appreciate how a leather saddle can be cool (temperature) and also it doesn’t grip my shorts like the Phenom does at times, so with the Brooks I can slide around a bit, make minor adjustments to seated position on long drags, staying comfortable. Hard to describe but a well-fitting leather seat is a nice place to be on long hot days (ymmv) and the extra weight isn’t an issue on a bike like this.

    That post/seat combo didn’t work so well for MTB though, hence the inline post + Phenom for playing on sketchy stuff. Luckily I had a 27.2 inline post knocking about so teamed it with the Phenom for MTB etc…

    Touring/long days on sketchy stuff OTOH is still an ongoing experiment.

    ^ Layback post + bars with a pronounced backsweep puts my CoG further back over the Longitude’s lengthy chainstays, lightening the front end considerably which gives a different, skippier ride over the gnarlier trails. Although I didn’t ultimately get on with the loop bars (also badly adjusted in pic) so may try an On One OG V2

    Yet sacking off bike-packing plans for now (not enough free time) I find that the

    1. Layback + flat carbon/barends
    2. Inline + 25.4mm riser bars

    Respectively cover:

    1. Road/gravel/keep fit
    2. MTB/utility/anything else.

    Since adding a road-tourer I instead fitted the Brooks on that bike. So it doesn’t get swapped so much unless taking the doitall on hols, where both setups could be useful.

    Spoiler: I’m lately thinking about ditching the whole doitall thing and instead choosing a lighter alu hardtail to complement the retro tourer. But, OTOH, I’ve been a fan of the ‘Mr Ben’ strategy and also enjoy tinkering. So tbh am worried I’d live to regret waving goodbye to it but situations sometimes change.

    I *should* really sell the tourer and further upgrade Mr Ben to mid-fat-capable wheelset + dynohub as per original plan. Then it would truly be a doitall in every sense.

    with each bar have AXS shifter and associated brake levers/hoses/calipers so at swap over time I can unzip the hoses and fit the calipers attached to the alternate bar…

    That’s commitment!

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