converting Hardtail to gravel ?

Discuss light weight issues concerning mountain bikes & parts.

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iva
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2020 10:27 am

by iva

Hello
I like off-roads gravel rides, but most of the gravel bikes are too stiff for me so after long rides my hands hurts (i am not so young anymore) and also new gravel bike are so expensive this days even with cheap spec.
I am thinking to buy a used light hardtail (with font suspension) and just converting the handlebar and the tires for gravel rides for more confort rides yet fast.
Any ideas of good light hardtails that i will look for ?
Thanks
Iva

stoney
Posts: 407
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:26 am

by stoney

I converted my 2015 Scott Scale for gravel duty. When the front suspension fork went I replaced it with a carbon rigid fork. For tires I've been running the fast rolling Conti Race Kings which work great for chunky gravel. If your course has lots of pavement you might want a lesser tire.

by Weenie


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zscs
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:05 pm

by zscs

I'm using my old Canyon CF SL MTB as a gravel bike and really love it. Replaced the fork with an old(er) Niner carbon fork (15x100mm thru axle), put my old carbon XC wheelset and using a 2.25 Racing Ralph + 2.1 Aspen (rear) as tubeless. Super cool bike, also usable on 'real' XC terrain. ;) ...and for hunting KOMs of course. :D

Image
(not measured the weight, it's about 8 kgs I guess)

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IrrelevantD
Posts: 855
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:47 pm
Location: Near DFW Airport

by IrrelevantD

iva wrote:
Tue Sep 27, 2022 8:13 am
Hello
I like off-roads gravel rides, but most of the gravel bikes are too stiff for me so after long rides my hands hurts (i am not so young anymore) and also new gravel bike are so expensive this days even with cheap spec.
I am thinking to buy a used light hardtail (with font suspension) and just converting the handlebar and the tires for gravel rides for more confort rides yet fast.
Any ideas of good light hardtails that i will look for ?
Thanks
Iva
I find that a lot of the "comfort" comes from tire selection and pressure. What size tires are you running for gravel and at what pressure? I'm about 100kg, running 40mm tires, and I noticed a huge difference in comfort just dropping from 45psi down to 37. Also, hand pain can also come from your position on the bike. If the bars are too far forward or too low, it can cause you to have your weight shifted too far forward and put more weight on your hands than you need.

That being said, I have a Trek Procaliber that I've always thought would make a great monster gravel bike with a rigid fork and drop bars. I wouldn't go with MTB suspension for a gravel conversion. For most gravel, I personally don't think you need any more suspension than you'd get from a set of 2.4" tires, but for those that want it, I'd look at something like a Lauf or one of Rockshox or Fox's gravel forks. There is really no reason to have more than 30-40mm of travel, it just adds weight that you will never use unless you hit the singletrack. That being said... when you start to look at "light" options beyond just a frame and rigid fork, you start getting into the price of a mid to high end gravel rig.
* There is a 70% chance that what you have just read has a peppering of cynicism or sarcasm and generally should not be taken seriously.
I'll leave it up to you to figure out the other 30%. If you are in any way offended, that's on you.

Alolympic
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:23 pm

by Alolympic

I am currently building a bike up on the same idea.
I have a fast, light gravel bike, with tyre clearance up to 45mm. I also have a Cannondale Fsi with 2.2" tyres, weighing approx 8.5kgs.
I am trying to build a bike that combines the best of both. I love the wider tyres, but also prefer drop bars.
So, I figured I would try and build my own moster gravel bike, to stop me drooling over a Lauf Seigla any longer.

You just need to be careful with Geo, so you will be on a good position with the drop bar, where most XC frames are designed with a flat bar obviously. Typically, you want to size down, and go for a reasonable head tube length to give you a viable stack and reach.
I have gone with:
Focus Raven Max frame - 925g - non boost frame - so I can always swap wheels interchangeably with my gravel bike if need be.
Brothers cycles rigid mtb fork - 550g
Pro Discover 44cm flared carbon gravel bar
Mt Zoom stem and seatpost
Berk Lupina saddle
Sram XX1 crank with 38T Absolute Black ring
Sram Force shifters, calipers and rear mech
Garbaruk 10-45T 11 speed cassette
Crankbrothers eggbeater pedals
JRA Monitor XC wheels
Kenda Rush 29 x2.2 tyres
Stripping paint currently and it will be lacquered bare carbon in the end

Hopefully under 8.5kgs

kervelo
Posts: 699
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:58 am
Location: Finland

by kervelo

iva wrote:
Tue Sep 27, 2022 8:13 am
Any ideas of good light hardtails that i will look for ?
Lael Wilcox has used a bike based on the Specialized Epic Hardtail.

Unbound gravel 2021
Image

Tour divide 2019
Image

Granfondo magazine built a bikepacking bike based on Epic HT too.
https://granfondo-cycling.com/specialie ... 20-review/

spartacus
Posts: 791
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:53 pm

by spartacus

The epic is light and accelerates like a road bike. Curious how it rides with drop bars. I used to have one but let it go for the same reason grandfondo mentions:

"We do have to admit that with its super light carbon frame, the Specialized is likely too fragile for adventures in remote destinations, far away from any bike shops or carbon repair specialists. No one wants to cut their adventure short just because their fully loaded bike fell over and hit a rock."

Never happened but you definitely can't haphazardly lean the loaded bike on anything...

I would strongly advise keeping the suspension fork. When I tried rigid on my MTB it was every bit as harsh as my gravel bike.

Anyway if you like the epic check out the chisel too.

by Weenie


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stoney
Posts: 407
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:26 am

by stoney

I have the Specialized Epic carbon hardtail, not the S-Works version, and it seems to be a very robust frame. I've been riding it on singletrack for over 2 years with no issues at all and I weigh 195 pounds.

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