Swapping flats for drops on a tandem

Tektro RL520 lever
Tektro RL520 lever
Tektro RL520 lever

Swapping flats for drops on a tandem

I have a Thorn Voyager tandem with 8-speed Deore, V-brakes and 26×1.75in tyres, and I would like to change the flat bar to a drop bar. What are my options for braking and changing gear? My first thought was to use STI shifters. For that, I would need to change the gear cables – easy – and then change the brakes to mini Vs or possibly cantilevers? My next thought was bar-end shifters and a set of linear-pull brake levers, so I’d probably need just to change the gear cables. Anything else I should take into consideration?

martinn, via the Cycling UK Forum

You may struggle to find adequate clearance for your tyres and suitable mudguards using mini V-brakes, which in any case can feel a little spongy used with road brake levers (see TRP CX8.4 review Cycle Oct/Nov, 2016).

If you wish to stick with the V-brakes and would prefer to use STI dual-control shifters, you may have to fit Travel Agent cable pull adaptors as the levers and brakes are not compatible.

Instead, I’d recommend using Shimano bar-end shifters and V-brake-compatible drop-bar brake levers from Cane Creek, DiaCompe, TRP or Tektro (pictured). If you prioritise dual-control shifting, consider using cantilever brakes such as Tektro’s CR720 (reviewed Cycle, Oct/Nov 16).

Richard Hallett

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

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