Don't ask why, don't ask how much but this is what I'm aiming at:

  • 29er entry level MTB with light Al frame stripped down
  • Carbon rigid MTB fork (for clearance)
  • Carbon drop-bar handle bars
  • 35c tires
  • Road levers
  • Convert the 3x8 to 1x8 (46T x 11-42T)
  • Disc brakes

Since I've sold my road bike a year ago (after triathlons) I kinda missed the pure fast aerobic workout of a road bike but still have some gravel roads around me and wanted the versatility of CX/gravel to do some mellow XC around (for real off-road I'll use my friend's FS :) )

Gravel / CX market here is sooo pricy and I cannot get a good deal even on a used bike. So this beast would be way cheaper than that.

Me: 1.83m (~6'), weighs 95kg, Since I really liked the road bike aero position I thought about getting size M (17.5") as it will allow me to get low and forward on the handlebar.

My question is, would it be fun? would I go reasonably fast on paved roads? What do you think?


  • You'll have to consider brake and shifter compatibility with that mix of road and MTB components, and the frame geometry might not be ideal (much of that fixable by playing with the stem, but not all). Only you can answer whether it's fun though. – Chris H Jul 29 '18 at 12:53
  • Updated now, sure, I'll also change the levers to road ones. – user3510526 Jul 29 '18 at 12:57
  • Doesn't sound like it's going to be costing less than a second hand gravel bike with a proper 1x10 or 1x11, but more fun for sure. – gaurwraith Jul 29 '18 at 16:37
  • Compared to any entry level road bike or budget fixie, the thing will be heavy and clumsy. Sounds like you've already decided, so have fun. – ojs Jul 29 '18 at 20:31

It will be a fun bike to ride, but it won't feel as fast as a road bike.

I've been building up variations of this bike for the last 15 years and there is simply no replacing the feel and acceleration of skinny tires and light wheels. Geometry also matters. Head angle, trail and wheelbase can be very far off the dimensions of a "normal" road bike.

Much of the "feel" of a road bike is not it's absolute top speed, but it's ability to accelerate quickly and be nimble in it's handling. Any changes you make in tire width and geometry will be compromises. The question that only you can answer is "Is it good enough?".

Tire choice will make a big difference in how fast the bike feels. Tires in the 35c range are all over the place in terms of weight, tread and rolling resistance. A light skinwall 35c tire with smooth tread can be reasonably fast and certainly makes bad roads and the occasional trip off the road's shoulder much easier. I really like having a bike that I can easily pull off into a dirt should and not worry about loosing control.


Sure, why not. You're essentially building a ghetto Salsa Fargo or Cutthroat.

Here's some inspiration: http://www.gravelcyclist.com/bicycle-tech/featured-bike-lynskey-monster-cross-bike/

Some thing to be aware of though:

  • MTB 29er frames are generally longer BB to front hub axle than road or CX frames because flat bars place rider's hands closer to the head tubs than drop bars do. You need a short stem which will slow down steering response.

  • If you are planning to use existing MTB drivetrain and brake calipers with drop bars and shifters/brake levers you will need to research and figure out all the compatibility issues. For Shimano road and MTB derailleurs use the same cable pull ratios up to 9 speed. Brakes I'm not sure about.

  • 8 speeds in the rear not really viable for a 1x system, unless you are in a very flat area or are willing to sacrifice either low or high gear ratios.

  • tnx, I'm using Shimano so no problem there. For the frame size - thats why I'm taking a medium size frame so I don't have to play with things too much. 8 speed spanning from 11 to 42 is a good range, although the gear change would be quite significant it will still provide me with good top/bottom ends – user3510526 Jul 30 '18 at 5:38
  • 11-42 is a huge range and you'll have big jumps between gears. Kudos to you if you can handle that – Argenti Apparatus Jul 30 '18 at 12:07

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