Converting road bike to flat bars


Cannondale road bike R1000Bruce Todd has very bad neck pain and has tried a few different positions for his drop handle bars, but this has not helped, so is going for the flat bar solution to see if that helps. His question is will he be able to use his old gears with Shimano gear shifters?

Bruce’s question: I’m a 64-year old recreational rider in Siem Reap (Angkor), Cambodia. I ride about 300-k per week. As our roads have gotten progressively better I’ve changed from a mountain bike with fat tires, to a hybrid with 1.5-inch tires, and now to a nice lightweight Cannondale road bike (R1000 frame, Shimano 105 9-speed derailleur, Tiagra 2-ring front derailleur).

My problem is neck pain from the stretched-out road bike position. I’ve raised the drop bars, and brought them closer to me, but still no relief. Therefore, I want to convert the Cannondale to flat bars. I note that Shimano has components to do this, but are there any issues about which I should be aware? Will I need to change derailleurs, too?

Hi Bruce,
Sorry to hear about your neck problem, have you had a specialist look at it? It may have nothing to do with cycling, but maybe caused by some other activity of yours, like using the computer or driving etc.

To answer your question; yes you can change to a flat bar set-up, except you may have to change the front mechanism, but I would try the Shimano R440 9-speed Flat Bar Road Shifters with your mechanism first before buying a new one.

To address the growing demands of comfort minded cyclists, Shimano have introducing new components for road-sport bikes with straight handle bars. 9-Speed Rapidfire SL-R440 shifters are the answer to this problem.

These straight bar shifting components can be used with the 9-speed Dura-Ace, Ultegra, 105 and Tiagra groups. The front shifter is compatible with either double or triple chainrings. The problem being that the R440 rapidfire shifters are compatible with only Shimano R440 or R443 front derailleurs.

For anyone with 10 speed there is the R770 flat bar shifter also available for road bikes.

As I said before I would try the levers with the Shimano Tiagra front mechanism that you have. Also if you want to save money and have some old MTB Shimano shifters I would try them with your gears. The rear shifter must be 9 speed, but the problem will be the front shifter as it will be for a triple and not a double that you use. But worth a try!

Your answer is the Shimano Flat bar R440 gear shifters.

Cannondale R1000 photo credit by

R440 Flat Bar Shifters

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