Sunday, January 19, 2014

Journey of the Boardwalk: Part 37 - Installing the new Drop Bar, Handlepost and Stem

To follow up on the previous blog post, where the new FSA Vero compact drop bar, new Fnhon handlepost and new stem were introduced, I will now show the installation of these new parts.

Two different 31.8mm stems were shown; the gold coloured stem and the silver coloured one-piece stem. Before I decided on the stem to use, I installed them on the new handlepost and drop bar to try it out.

This is how the gold coloured stem looks. It is very similar to the LitePro stem, with the only difference being the clamp diameter of 31.8mm for oversized handlebars.

Gold coloured 31.8mm stem on the new 27cm Fnhon handlepost

Side view

This is how the new stem will be used. Instead of extending the reach, the stem is used to increase the height of the handlepost. The reason for using the stem this way is because I want to maintain the clamping height of the handlepost. The previous ABR drop bar was clamped directly to the top of the 31.5cm Fnhon handlepost. As I am now using the new stem for mounting an oversized drop bar, the handlepost needs to be shorter in order to maintain the same height. 27cm handlepost + 4.8cm stem gives an overall height of 31.8cm, which is almost the same as the 31.5cm Fnhon handlepost.

Height of the Fnhon handlepost + stem is about 31.5cm, similar to the previous setup.

The gold coloured stem matches nicely with the black colour of the handlepost and drop bar.

I also tried out the other one-piece stem, to see if it is better than the gold coloured stem. This stem is lighter and stronger than the gold stem, due to its one-piece design. The only downside is that the colour does not fit in as nicely with the rest of the bike.

Side view of the one-piece stem. Strictly speaking it is not one piece as there are 2 face plates on top, but the rest of the stem is machined as one-piece.

Open clamp design makes it easy to set up the handlebar

Putting on the new FSA Vero compact drop bar

Another side view of the stem and drop bar

Top view of the stem. Note that there are many clamp bolts here! 8 in total.

Overall height of handlepost + stem is about 31.7cm, which is almost the same as the 31.5cm Fnhon handlepost

Overall view of the drop bar, stem and handlepost.

It was time to make a decision. To use the gold coloured stem, or the silver coloured stem? In the end I decided to go with function over aesthetics. The silver one-piece stem was chosen for its better stiffness and lighter weight. The open clamp design will also be very useful if I need to remove the handlebar from the handlepost.

Before I installed the new components onto the bike, I compared it with the existing setup on the Dahon Boardwalk.

New compact drop bar on the right. See the difference in the angle and height of the drops. The compact drop bar has a much shallower drop which should be more comfortable.

Similar width of 400mm

Another picture comparing the shape of the drop bars.

Side by side comparison of the new setup (on the left) and the old setup (on the right). Distance between the centre of the drop bar and the base of the handlepost is the same.

Old setup before it was taken off the bike

New setup! Just swap the entire handlepost unit, together with the new stem and drop bar. To see how to install the handlepost, check out the guide here.

The drop bar manual says that this drop bar is designed to have the drops parallel to the ground

Fixed the drop bar and stem positions as shown.

Positioned the Ultegra Di2 road shifters such that the hoods are tilted up slightly for better comfort.

Since I had to remove all the brake cables, I took the chance to swap out the brake outer casing for the new Dura-Ace 9000 outer casing. This is to make the braking action even smoother and lighter.

Swapping the brake cable housing

After wiring up everything! The handlebar extension mount was carried over from the previous drop bar and installed on the new drop bar.

New Cane Creek Crosstop levers. Installed slightly nearer to the centre of the drop bar compared to the previous setup,

New stem and 4 bolt handlepost clamp. The Di2 satellite switch is now mounted over the clamp band of the Cane Creek brake levers. It fits perfectly!

Setup looks very similar after the upgrade.

As the handlepost is now shorter, I have to mount the two Moon Comet Front Lights horizontally instead of vertically.

Showing the new curves of the drop bar. Shorter reach to the shifters, and also a more shallow drop. Looks much more comfortable than the previous drop bar!

Front view of the new setup

After trying out the new setup, I found that my riding position has really been improved, to become more comfortable. The shorter reach to the shifters means that I don't stretch out as far, while the shallow drops make it easy for me to stay in the drops for longer distances. In short, the ergonomics and comfort of riding has been improved with this new drop bar setup.

As for the stiffness of the new setup, it feels similar to the previous one-piece 31.5cm handlepost. Although the addition of a stem should make the handling feel less stiff, the wider position of the stem clamps and the oversized drop bar compensates for this. Most importantly, the comfort has been improved!

Overall view of the new setup


  1. Hi steve,

    does changing the brake noodle help in braking performance?
    Its not like motorcycle where u chng to steel braided cable instead of rubber cable. (If u know wat i mean)

    1. I don't think there will be any difference between brake noodles, as they are already made of metal. There will be a bigger improvement with a fresh set of inner cable and outer casing, with good smooth cable routing.

  2. Hi Steve,

    Interested in how to run the Cane Creeks brake levers. How is it done? A separate brake cable or somehow actions on the same cable between the shifters and calliper brake? Cheers, James Ng (D8 from TernOut)

    1. There is just a single brake cable running from the road shifter/brakes to the brake calipers. The difference is that the outer casing for the brake cable is split at the secondary brake levers.

      How it works is that on the secondary brake lever, instead of pulling the inner cable, it pushes out the outer casing instead. By extending the outer casing length, it has the same effect as pulling inner cable, so the brake caliper will be activated.

  3. I also wanna do this, Steve- How to explain this to LBS? Perhaps you might consider doing a feature on this? I asked a few people but didnt know how you did this :) Cheers

    1. Look for Kian Lim at MBS. I'm sure he can help with this. If not, ask him to call me and I can explain to him.

  4. Hi. Whats the speed of the bike after you modified it.

  5. If you are referring to the number of gears, it was at 20 speeds long ago, ever since I added an FD.

    If you are referring to the traveling speed of the bike, it really depends on the rider. For me of average fitness, I can maintain a cruising speed of 25-28 km/h on the road.

  6. First of all congratulations on your blog, extremely helpful. I'm na enthusiast about folding bikes like, i rode a Mu P24 modified with 451 wheels/STI/Bulhorn/CONTROLTECH carbon fork. I'm interested in buying a 31.8/25.4 stem, but besides de CONTROLTECH model i can't finding it anywhere. Can you help me?

    1. I would say the controltech model is the better one. There are other brands such as LitePro on, but they are not so good.

  7. Hi steve, I recently purchased a Tern D8. I was also planning to use road levers for it. Do you know any compatible road levers for the Neos 1.0 8spd rd? Or, is there any RD that I can swap out with my Neos that doesnt require any RD hanger?

    1. The Neos RD has a cable pull ratio that is compatible with Shimano MTB shifters only. Some other brands of shifters are made to the same cable pull of Shimano MTB and thus can be used.

      However, drop bar road shifters have a different cable pull and cannot be used with the Neos RD. There are no other RD I know of that uses the same mounting as the Neos RD.

      What I suggest is to get a RD hanger from Tern, and get a road RD. Then you can use a compatible road shifter for it.

  8. Hi there, do you still keep the link for the one-piece stem? I tried to search all over Taobao but had no luck. I'm searching for a decent stem-extender and really like the bolt-head design but seems they don't sell that any more. If you give me the link or the seller' s name that'll be great, at least I will stand a chance.

    1. It does not seem to be available anymore. The one piece design is good, however it is not strong enough and it actually broke. Check out the link below for more details.

  9. Hi Steve, just wanted to know what happened when you fold the bike, will it still be able to fold well? I have speed P8, can I put a drop bar and still fold it as before? do you think I could upgrade it to claris groupset with appropriate wheelset?

    1. When folded, it will be wider due to the drop bar folding outside. If compact folding is important, better stick to flat handlebar and inward folding.
      Changing to 8 speed Claris groupset is possible but probably better to just change to 1x10 speed drop bar. 2x10 speed will require FD and FD mounting which is more troublesome.


Every comment is moderated before publishing due to spam bots. If you don't see your comment yet, it is likely that it is currently being reviewed. Thank you for your patience!