Drop to Flat Back and Forth Conversion - Breakaway Outback

Hey ya’ll, I’m looking to get a Ritchey Breakaway Outback when the steel framesets are back in stock in January and need some advice on them. I have serious chronic neck pain made worse by my cycling on drop bars due to the head position they require. I’m working through that with my physiotherapist wife, but need some adaptations to bikes as well.

What I’m wondering is if anyone sees a problem with occasionally (1-2x/month) converting the Outback from flat to drop bars and back depending on what I’m doing with it. It’ll have quick-disconnects for all cables (mech-disc brakes) anyway and I’m planning friction shifters for the flats and 1x13 Ekar for the drops. Could this work? Both geometrically and mechanically.

I’m thinking flat most of the time (most of training and commuting), then drops when I want to do a gravel race or longer gravel club ride. What do ya think?

If you’re more comfortable on a flat bar bike why don’t you keep it like that at all times?

A comfortable rider is a faster rider, it’d also mean you could use hydraulic brakes instead. There’s no Ekar shifters that work with mechanical braking do you’d have to use crosstop levers instead.

Also each time you switch you’ll have to wrap/unwrap bartape and store it somewhere so it can be reused.

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I forgot that there is no mechanical brakes for Ekar, that would certainly complicate things. Hydro quick releases do exist but they’re not common nor perfect. Much of my hesitation is that I’ve basically never owned a flat bar bike, XC bike aside. Maybe staying flat for a year or so til I get the neck sorted would be the right move though. And the build would probably cost a bit less too.

I too have a major issue with my neck, and like most, it won’t simply disappear, regardless of therapy–lessened yes, erased, no. Have thought many a time of converting my roads to flat bars, since, as above, I don’t actually use the drops–but, I like the positioning of the levers on the drops, so I never have–instead, when I really want flat, I simply ride my MTB which I have “citified” by taking replacing the front shocks with a straight carbon fork, and putting on skinnier, lighter knob-less tires, among a few other things.

I wouldn’t go to the trouble of thinking you could convert your bike back and forth once or twice a month, somehow thinking that is going to have any impact on your neck–likely it won’t, and it would be a whole lot of hassle, each and ever time.

I just ride my roads with the bar a bit higher than most, so my position is a bit more upright, and never use the drops–much to the chagrin of a few diehards here (their way or no way), and keep up with the usual neck exercise therapy routine. Can ride centuries these days with no problems.

I used to do similar with converting my road bike to a TT bike. I had the entire cockpit replaceable from the stem forward (stem, base bar, aero bars, brake levers, shifters and cables). Reusable cable end caps and external cable routing made it about a 30 minute job, but I was only doing it once a year.

For your scenario though with the complications mentioned, I’d just be looking at an adjustable stem and call it a day.

I’m a bit confused. Is it the length of the cockpit that is a problem or the depth of the drop? Why not just get a rise/shorter stem? You could ride the tops and the hoods.

The general concept is that I commute 20ish days per month and want upright posture for that 40min each way (it’s my main source of training every week too) but then have the option to re-aggro the bike on occasion. I was thinking if it’s not too hard to pop everything free with quick connects and unbolt the handlebars then I could use a swept back bar to be very chill when commuting and a drop to go long/race on occasion.

I don’t have a ton of stem shortening to play with to achieve the same effect. But a shorter stem combined with a short reach bar (and maybe one that goes up a bit, like specializeds hover) may work.

Would be easier to get 2 bikes built with less fancy stuff than Ekar IMHO. Budget-wise I don’t know though.

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Yup…similar to @mrmatthewking i had an old Cervelo S2 road bike that I set up for “quick conversions”, but I went the extra step of putting in inline cable adjusters so I could more easily swap everything at the stem.

Even though I could do it relatively quickly (less than 20 min), I think I did it once. Just a PITA.