I have an entry-level 27.5 mountain bike and I will be moving to London this summer. Since I won't be riding it on trails anymore I thought I can keep the frame and wheels and build a commuter bike or road bike. I also read lots of posts where people suggest buying a proper road bike than struggling with building something that will be mediocre in the end, but I want to keep my frame at least, since I am attached to it.

What parts should I buy on a budget? I must mention that it would be really nice if I can get a 1x10 or 11 setup.

The bike:https://www.insportline.eu/26274/mountain-bike-devron-riddle-h1-7-27-5-2018

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    While you wouldn't be able to turn it into a road bike (as it's normally defined) without spending more than it'sworth on parts, you may well get something good for commuting. What are your requirements for a commuter bike? We've probably covered them before and can point you in the right direction
    – Chris H
    Apr 19, 2020 at 9:20
  • As for commuting, it would need to be fairly comfortable, and somewhat faster than how it is now(15 to 20 mph at highest effort). Drop bars would be on my list also. As for the budget, I wouldn't go more than £300. Apr 19, 2020 at 9:56
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    For drop bars you’d also need road bike brakes/shifters which could be incompatible with the MTB derailleurs.
    – Michael
    Apr 19, 2020 at 10:21
  • Be aware that MTB frames with flat bars have significantly different geometry than road bikes with drop bars, so creating a drop bar bike from an MTB frame is a non-starter. Apr 19, 2020 at 11:48
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    If you've got £300, it's worth picking up a cheap road bike second hand. It will be better than anything you can do to your current bike. Either sell the MTB or have 2 bikes. I wouldn't go for a 1x drivetrain on a bike used for commuting (especially in fairly flat London). It would make the bike look modern and attractive to thieves
    – Chris H
    Apr 19, 2020 at 12:15

2 Answers 2


On a budget:

  1. Get slick tires with low rolling resistance (maybe with some puncture protection if you’ll ride a lot in the city).
  2. Lock the fork and optimize your seating position for better aerodynamics and power.
  3. Maybe get cleatless pedals and shoes.
  4. Get cycling clothes. More comfort, better aerodynamics.

For commutes you might want to add a rear rack, mud guards and good, street-legal lights. Don’t forget to get a strong lock (U-Lock or high quality folding lock) if you plan to leave the bicycle unattended in the city.

Changing the gears to 1x10 or 11 will be expensive since you’ll need a new rear hub, cassette, shifters, chain and crankset. It doesn’t gain you a lot, except maybe some convenience and weight reduction (on a bike which is so heavy that it doesn’t really matter). So I wouldn’t go for it. If you want faster or slower gears it’s relatively easy and cheap to change gear ratios. Just get chainrings or a cassette with a different number of teeth. For example if you need faster gears you could change the large 42 teeth chainring for one with 48 teeth or even better change all chainrings together from 42-34-24T to 48-38-28T.

If you’d pour a lot of money into this cheap mountainbike you’d end up with a mediocre road bike with a heavy mountainbike frame and strange (for a road bike) wheel size.

  • New rear hub would not be required as this is a 8 speed bike. Would be true if it was 7 speed and had narrower freehub body. Apr 19, 2020 at 11:34
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    Good point about a 1x10/11 drivetrain not making the bike any better for commuting. If I were the OP I'd buy slick, narrower tires and see how the bike works on the road. If it's not working out start thinking about getting a road oriented bike. Apr 19, 2020 at 11:43

London is a popular location for bike thieves. Expect to spend a lot on locks, or find a way to store your bike inside securely.

Frankly because of that risk, I'd spend as little as possible on an entry-level MTB.

First, just do your commute with the bike as it is now. Then think as you ride what could be improved. If the weather is bad then consider mudguards/fenders. If the tyres are quite knobbly then consider replacing them with smoother ones. If you get a lot of punctures then consider puncture-resistant tyres or similar.

If you think you need a road bike, buy a road bike. The costs sunk into messing up your MTB will add up, and then you're left with a kludgy-bike that is not good at anything.

The only reason for having one bike is if your storage is limited.

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