Flats to drops

To fit cantilevers you’ll need hangers, like this Funky Monkey from Paul Components
I have a Ridgeback with flat bars that I’m changing to drops. The bike has full-size V-brakes. I have an old set of Sora STI levers (9-speed). If I go down this route, should I use travel adapters with the existing V-brakes, buy a set of mini V-brakes, or a set of cantilever brakes. Or should I go down the route of buying drop-bar brakes that work with V-brakes and buy a set of 9 speed bar-end shifters as well? Cost is a factor.

Martinn, via the forum ​

 Any of the options laid out would work. Opting for cantilevers would be straightforward, provided you can install a suitable rear cable hanger (if the frame does not have one). If the bike has a threadless headset, the front hanger will need an integral clamp to grip the steerer tube, otherwise brake application will compress the head bearing and stiffen or even lock the steering. Mini V-brakes (Cycle Oct/Nov 16) would be an even simpler installation, provided the arms of the model chosen give sufficient tyre and mudguard clearance; arms longer than 85mm can give a very spongy feel.

Travel Agent-style pull adaptors ideally need braided cable to avoid potential problems with fatigue, and they add complexity. That said, I currently run fulllength linear-pull brakes with Tektro RL520 levers and Shimano bar-end shifters on my 650B utility bike as an alternative to STIs and cantilevers.

Richard Hallett

​​​Cycle’s Technical Editor

This Q&A was published in 'Cycle' the magazine for members of Cycling UK. To contact the experts, email your technical, health, legal or policy questions to editor@cyclinguk.org or write to Cycle Q&A, PO Box 313, Scarborough, YO12 6WZ