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  1. #1
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    Is a rigid 26er a potential road/gravel bike?

    Here's the thing, if I were to strictly have only one bike, is building up my 26er mtb a good candidate for a do-it-all rig? Its purpose is to allow me to ride road and some light trails with just a wheelset swap. It should be capable of doing about 60% road-40% trail use. By road, I mean some 100 milers, some mixed surface rides and trail--well, the typical dirt roads to mild singletrack. The frame can take a 700x25c road tire for sure, and I reckon a 28c will fit as well. So, is it even worth my time to build a separate 700c wheelset for road rides? I was aiming to take advantage of that wheelsize whenever I roll with my buds on their roadies for group rides. The reason why I'm still considering the MTB frame is because I want to keep the option of being able to slap on full fatties when we hit the trails.

    And on another note, drop-bar that thing or not? If I was going to, I'm trying to decide between the midge or cowbells. The current stem I'm using is 140mm with a 7 deg flip and an inch worth of spacer to bring up the bars to seat level. As far as cockpit is concerned, I'm hoping I can use 2 stems if I do drop bar this thing, one for a more road oriented set up where I want the hoods level with the seat, and another so that the drops are brought up for off road use.

    FYI, I'm planning to use MTB cranks in 48-36-26 and keep the slx derailleurs that I already have. This would also be MTN BB7 equipped so wheelset swaps should not pose issues.

    I know, the bike seems confused like me. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    CS2
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    Sounds like a great idea. 26" wheels with road tires can move you pretty fast if you have the legs. What are you going to use as a frame?
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

  3. #3
    Ride da mOOn Moderator
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    This is a very good project...
    ...any time you can get more than one use out of your ride it is a big plus!

    I don't know how you would feel about riding your MTB with drops, but you could do add-ons like horns or bar ends which would not only give you more hand positions, but still leave the straight bar position also!

    Good Luck

  4. #4
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    "Sounds like a great idea. 26" wheels with road tires can move you pretty fast if you have the legs. What are you going to use as a frame? "

    Well, I got 1.5" slicks which i use during road tours. I was just hoping that I could roll faster with the 700c wheels. About the frame, it is a medium giant atx with a rigid mosso fork. So that brings me to another question..would that type of geometry be efficient enough to pick up and maintain a good pace?


    "This is a very good project...
    ...any time you can get more than one use out of your ride it is a big plus!

    I don't know how you would feel about riding your MTB with drops, but you could do add-ons like horns or bar ends which would not only give you more hand positions, but still leave the straight bar position also!

    Good Luck "

    Thanks for the encouragement. I've been contemplating about drop bars since on-road, it will get me to a more aggessive position during sprints or steep climbs. I currently have flat bars with barends which I'm on most of the time. It seems that my hands prefer to be parallel to the frame rather than across it when I hold on to the grips. I've experimented on long rides to have my hands on the barends for majority of the ride, and they seem to be less fatigued. Problem is, I don't have immediate access to the brakes when things go bad fast, so I have to be extra alert. I also love the leverage having my hands oriented that way when hammering away. Well, a bit of it stems from the novelty of having a drop barred MTB too

  5. #5
    Linoleum Knife
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    Just running the slicks is going to be the best bang for the buck to sort-of keep up on road rides. Everything else you're listing will have little to no benefit.

    I understand the Quest For The Perfect Do-All Bike, but if you think about it logically, the money and storage (to keep extra wheels, etc) you will spend would be better off going to separate road and MTB's. Doing what you are suggesting will leave you with a bike that sort-of does everything, but doesn't do anything all that well.

  6. #6
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    Ride what you want, how you want to.
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride have no legs...
    Road riders who don't mountain bike have no soul...

  7. #7
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    I have actually gone through that same scenario and now I have just my FS and a road bike.

    Let me explain.

    I had a HT MTB. A Yeti ARC to be exact. The I got myself a FS and then found myself riding the FS off road all the time and thought that I could get myself a MTB disc hub with 700c rims and stick on road tyres just so that I can ride the ARC on the road. I was using Ergon grips.

    I was fine up to distances of 30 miles. (ARC with 700C 28mm Gatorskins) Beyond that, my back would hurt. I was already using 100mm stem. The effective top tube on a MTB frame is much longer than a road bike. 21.5" ETT road bike frame and 23.5" ETT MTB bike frame. A MTB frame is also designed to run with the head tube higher than a road bike. So the bars are higher than on a road bike. When you put on a rigid fork, the A-C length is shorter and so the bars are now lowered. The bottom bracket of a MTB frame is also much higher off the ground and when you ride on the road, you tend to put your saddle much higher. ie In the ideal position to pedal, ie sitting on the saddle, no bend in the knees, your heels should just touch the pedal.

    With a MTB off-road, you actually ride in a more relaxed upright position. Using the MTB frame and road tyres, the result is the posture was all wrong when I tried to ride efficiently.

    The Ergon grips is still much wider than when you place your hands on the hoods of a drop bar. I tried changing to a smaller frame ... Yes At one time I had a Yeti ARC frame sized M and S. I am 5' 10". I stuck with it for awhile and when I was consistently doing about 50 miles and wanting to go quicker ... naturally ... it was getting too difficult and painful.

    I have since sold both the frames. BTW my road bike is 3kg lighter than my ARC. I still have both sets of wheels and am using them on my wife's MTB. Both wheelsets are using Hope Pro II disc hubs and DT Swiss rims. 1 set using the old XR4.2D 26" rims and the other using the TK7.1D 29" rims.

    Using it as a commuter it is ok. But you did mentioned 100 miles ...

    Is a rigid 26er a potential road/gravel bike?-20070902-yeti-arc-69er-htr-04-forum.jpg

    Is a rigid 26er a potential road/gravel bike?-20110730-yeti-arc-700c-46-forum.jpg
    Last edited by chinaman; 09-13-2012 at 12:34 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by random_thought View Post
    By road, I mean some 100 milers...


    ...it will get me to a more aggessive position during sprints or steep climbs...
    Seriously, you have a regular routine of centuries, and are thinking about aggressive positioning during sprints.... Get a road bike. Two bikes not one. Hell maybe a cross bike. Dont try to make a MTB fit this style of riding. Just my thoughts.

  9. #9
    CS2
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    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch rides a SS View Post
    Ride what you want, how you want to.
    Amen!
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

  10. #10
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    Like Crosby, Stills and Nash - "If you can't be with the one you love then ride the one you're with!"

  11. #11
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    I would get a cross bike. There are some talented individuals that can rip up a lot of single track on a cross bike. Stuff that I have trouble doing on my full suspension 29r. A wheel swap and you have a road bike. I have 3 mountain bikes and a cyclocross bike. I have used the cross bike for road races, triathlons, gravel grinders, baby trailer pulling, and even a little single track and the only things I have done to make it work for the different things is slap aero bars on it for the tri and road wheels for the asphalt. It is a pretty good multi-purpose bike.

    It won't work so well for you if you plan on hucking the bike when you are on the single track. But it doesn't sound like that is your main purpose.

  12. #12
    Life Is Short
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    The quest for the perfect bike is like the saying, "Perfection is the enemy of the good".

    I have a 26er that I converted to 650b and put 1.5 (650b) Continental Tour Ride tires on it, there's plenty (1")
    space between the tires and frame/fork. Faster too than 26er with slicks (already tried that)
    Good luck

  13. #13
    My Brain Hurts!
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    Quote Originally Posted by forkboy View Post
    Just running the slicks is going to be the best bang for the buck to sort-of keep up on road rides. Everything else you're listing will have little to no benefit.

    I understand the Quest For The Perfect Do-All Bike, but if you think about it logically, the money and storage (to keep extra wheels, etc) you will spend would be better off going to separate road and MTB's. Doing what you are suggesting will leave you with a bike that sort-of does everything, but doesn't do anything all that well.
    Been there, done that. And this quoted above is my recommendation as well. I tired the one bike does all bit, sorta. When I got back in to biking I had as cheepo Big Box mtn bike. I rode it everywhere.

    The gearing sucks for any speed, at any distance when on the road. Also, a set of rims and slicks would have cost as much as that particular bike if I used cheapo rims and tires! The space needed to store the tires is almost as much space as one would need for a second bike. Having to change the wheels out every time I went from road to mountain (or vice versa) would have eventually peeved me off too.

    I now have a road bike and a mountain bike and a bike for boppin around town too and couldn't be happier!
    Remember when we were kids and our Mom's said we could not play in the mud? I'm making up for it now!!

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all your replies. I'll definitely keep that 2nd bike option open..most likely a cross or a road frame that can take tires up to about 32c. Can't get the wifey to "approve" the budget for a 2nd bike, so it looks like the only reasonable and cost effective upgrade for now is to train the legs which propel the bike. Now where's that piggy bank i've stashed away for a rainy day when you need it?

    to Chinaman- Nice bike you got there. I've always been a big fan of rigid MTBs with flat bars and bar ends.

  15. #15
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    Quote Originally Posted by random_thought View Post
    ... Can't get the wifey to "approve" the budget for a 2nd bike, so it looks like the only reasonable and cost effective upgrade for now is to train the legs which propel the bike ...
    That needs work. Brownie points needed there ... Or get your second bike in the same colour as your first bike and make sure you keep both your bikes in a place where the misses do not go. Only works if she is not a cyclist ...

    The rigid (when using off road tyres, was a 69er) was good as a town bike, though I did bring it to a trail centre in Wales. Quite a workout that was.

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