Turbo SL drop bar conversion

SupremeTorch

New Member
Region
USA
I have a Vado SL 4.0 EQ that is a tad too small for me, and I couldn't quite get used to flat bars instead of drop bars as I have in my acoustic bikes. I looked into getting a Creo SL instead, but the price difference is not negligible, and it seems Specialized is phasing out aluminium models of the Creo, which I prefer so I can have worry free racks and locks attached to the frame. Keeping the Vado also makes it easier to not have to find aftermarket solutions for fenders, rack, and remote.

I have a drop bar and a spare road drivetrain, including hydraulic brakes which would be an upgrade from the mechanicals in the Vado. I'm slightly concerned about the geometry just not being a fit, but I think that if the flat bars make it too small for me, the drops might make it perfect. Other than having enough room for the remote, is there anything else that I should be aware of before trying the conversion?

I found a post on the Creo thread about someone on Facebook doing it: https://electricbikereview.com/foru...-electric-road-bike.28783/page-30#post-342897
It looks great!
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I have a Vado SL 4.0 EQ that is a tad too small for me, and I couldn't quite get used to flat bars instead of drop bars as I have in my acoustic bikes. I looked into getting a Creo SL instead, but the price difference is not negligible, and it seems Specialized is phasing out aluminium models of the Creo, which I prefer so I can have worry free racks and locks attached to the frame. Keeping the Vado also makes it easier to not have to find aftermarket solutions for fenders, rack, and remote.

I have a drop bar and a spare road drivetrain, including hydraulic brakes which would be an upgrade from the mechanicals in the Vado. I'm slightly concerned about the geometry just not being a fit, but I think that if the flat bars make it too small for me, the drops might make it perfect. Other than having enough room for the remote, is there anything else that I should be aware of before trying the conversion?

I found a post on the Creo thread about someone on Facebook doing it: https://electricbikereview.com/foru...-electric-road-bike.28783/page-30#post-342897
It looks great!
Tough luck. The Vado SL handlebar remote internal diameter of 22.2 mm prevents us from using a drop bar, which has a bigger tube diameter. I don't know how the original poster fitted his remote to the drop bars.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Tough luck. The Vado SL handlebar remote internal diameter of 22.2 mm prevents us from using a drop bar, which has a bigger tube diameter. I don't know how the original poster fitted his remote to the drop bars.
plenty of ways to overcome that small problem, from a bit of cutting/machining to a premade accessory mount, also useful for lights and so on. personally i'd probably 3d print something much smaller! you could also just not use the remote and stuff it in the top tube... presumably it has to be connected for the bike to work but the assist levels can be changed in other ways.



ugly.JPG
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
presumably it has to be connected for the bike to work
Assume it has to be.
Instead of:
  • Replacing the bars
  • Replacing the entire drivetrain with GRX (including the brake/shifter levers)
  • Worrying about the handlebar remote,
I made these changes to make my Vado SL more resembling a gravel e-bike:
  • Installed a Redshift ShockStop stem slammed -6 degrees (the stem can be very long for a better reach).
  • Installed SQlab Innerbarends
  • If I wanted, I could also rotate the handlebars to make them located even lower (Mr. @e-levity did if for his Mrs.)
Not the drop bars but close enough and with equally good brake lever grip.
 
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JRA

Well-Known Member
All you need to do is to fit the remote is this:


Or easy enough to make one also if you just cut a short section of 22.2mm bar flat as opposed to radiused as above it will zip tie nicely to the side of a brake hood and be easily accessible.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
All you need to do is to fit the remote is this:


Or easy enough to make one also if you just cut a short section of 22.2mm bar flat as opposed to radiused as above it will zip tie nicely to the side of a brake hood and be easily accessible.
that’s a nice compact one. many ways to do this, but the real question is how appropriate the geometry of the frame is to drop bars. every drop to flat conversion i’ve ridden has been way off, for me at least, and i’d imagine the opposite to be true also.
 

SupremeTorch

New Member
Region
USA
My Vado SL is already a tad too small for me, so I'm hoping that the geometry oddness can end up working in my favor here.
In terms of the remote control, my dream would be to get a di2 brifter and wire it to change the assist levels
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
My Vado SL is already a tad too small for me, so I'm hoping that the geometry oddness can end up working in my favor here.
In terms of the remote control, my dream would be to get a di2 brifter and wire it to change the assist levels
yep, people have definitely done that hack with the di2 switches.
 

Rás Cnoic

Well-Known Member
yep, people have definitely done that hack with the di2 switches.
A quick & relatively cheap change (to try out drops) could be to buy a set of Surly Corner Stop drop bars which are designed for flat bar brake levers etc. you might need new gear shifters, not sure about the existing ones on the SL but much cheaper then changing entire drive train to road configuration.

 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
A quick & relatively cheap change (to try out drops) could be to buy a set of Surly Corner Stop drop bars which are designed for flat bar brake levers etc. you might need new gear shifters, not sure about the existing ones on the SL but much cheaper then changing entire drive train to road configuration.

If not Surly stupidly made the clamp diameter of 25.4 mm while it should be 31.8 mm. Add to it, the handlebar remote is a ring, not a clamp.
(Trust me, I considered all the options to come to the understanding nothing will replace a true gravel bike).
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I've got a new idea.
Why do you need drop bars in the first place? To reduce the aerodynamic drag and keep your arms closer apart.

Redshift Aerobars (Model L) are the answer. Fitting the 31.8 mm central part of flat handlebars around the stem. (I asked Redshift Sports and they confirmed the aerobars will fit my handlebars).
1655476848464.png


I just need to buy Redshift Accessory Mount first, to move my GoPro mount off the bars:
1655477023952.png

With the "LeMond bars" (as we call them in Poland: "lemondki"), the rider can assume an aerodynamic position, relieve the bum, and pedal more efficiently. Who in the earth needs drop bars?!
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
…. Who in the earth needs drop bars?!

anyone who wants to control their bike while going moderately fast!

aerobars are not suitable or safe for riding on the uncontrolled road except in a straight line. the contact point with the bar is too close together, hands too far forward, too hard to see, etc. and then there is the small matter of your hands being nowhere near the brakes. they’re not even allowed by most organized rides here, simply too dangerous.

great for going super fast on a straight flat surface though!!! or a triathlon with a closed, well-practiced course.

be careful, @Stefan Mikes
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
anyone who wants to control their bike while going moderately fast!

aerobars are not suitable or safe for riding on the uncontrolled road except in a straight line. the contact point with the bar is too close together, hands too far forward, too hard to see, etc. and then there is the small matter of your hands being nowhere near the brakes. they’re not even allowed by most organized rides here, simply too dangerous.

great for going super fast on a straight flat surface though!!! or a triathlon with a closed, well-practiced course.

be careful, @Stefan Mikes
Haven't you seen the Tour Divide Ultra video? Big number of gravel cyclists ride on aerobars!
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Haven't you seen the Tour Divide Ultra video? Big number of gravel cyclists ride on aerobars!
doesn’t mean it’s safe for general use. seriously. the last time a cyclist killed a pedestrian in new york, they were riding with aerobars. not a coincidence.

Unfortunately, riders often insist on using aerobars during group rides, despite of the mounds of evidence proving the dangers involved in doing so. While there is no “cycling law” against the use of aerobars during group rides, any cyclist with common sense knows that it is a bad idea.

Aerobars can be considered less safe for a few reasons: mostly because your hands are not on the brakes while riding in the aerobars. It also takes more practice and skill to maintain a straight line in the aerobars (especially in cross winds) due to how close your arms are together. And so during the traditional road bike races the riders are only allowed to use tradition road bikes.

Yes, a cyclist killing a pedestrian on any type of bicycle is an aberration, but the last person who managed to do so in New York City was riding in Central Park on a bike equipped with aerobars.

Steering control is severely compromised when using aero bars. They're not considered safe when riders may be racing in close proximity - a slight wobble could cause a major takedown. They're not great for cornering either. Hence the reason they're illegal in most events, except triathlon and time trials, where riders are mostly spread apart and riding fairly straight courses.

seriously stefan, if you’re going to do this, only use them when you’re nowhere near other riders, cars, or pedestrians. there is a reason drop bars are the way they are - so you can still control the bike and the brakes while in the drops.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
seriously stefan, if you’re going to do this, only use them when you’re nowhere near other riders, cars, or pedestrians. there is a reason drop bars are the way they are - so you can still control the bike and the brakes while in the drops.
Mark,
My buddy Staszek made a 553 km gravel ultramarathon using aerobars anywhere on the pavement outside cities. I myself saw a guy riding aerobars on a flat handlebar gravel e-bike on a 10 km straight stretch of a forest gravel road on one of my group rides. Staszek tells me aerobars are very good outside cities and it is where I mostly ride. He only instantly grabs his handlebar hoods when he can see a pothole, a pedestrian etc.

I understand the dangers, and thank you for telling me about them! There are so frequent situations where I ride long stretches of no-traffic paved roads here, and I hate the wind drag... And I would love to straighten my back! :)
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Mark,
My buddy Staszek made a 553 km gravel ultramarathon using aerobars anywhere on the pavement outside cities. I myself saw a guy riding aerobars on a flat handlebar gravel e-bike on a 10 km straight stretch of a forest gravel road on one of my group rides. Staszek tells me aerobars are very good outside cities and it is where I mostly ride. He only instantly grabs his handlebar hoods when he can see a pothole, a pedestrian etc.

I understand the dangers, and thank you for telling me about them! There are so frequent situations where I ride long stretches of no-traffic paved roads here, and I hate the wind drag... And I would love to straighten my back! :)

just resist the urge to use them when you’re not all alone in the woods!

i’ve done the “aerobar” position on my drop bar bikes on straight stretches of road or the local cycle track when it’s empty. it does indeed make a big difference. you can test it out without the bars, just lean forward and rest your arm just below the elbow on the handlebars 😳😳
 
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