Convert existing Road Bike (Cheap 105) for CX, or just get cheap 29er w/ 2.1" Tires- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Convert existing Road Bike (Cheap 105) for CX, or just get cheap 29er w/ 2.1" Tires

    I'm partially in existential crisis mode, but mostly realized that the road bike I bought earlier this year works great and on paper is all I could hope for out of a road bike for under $1000 - but each time I ride it I wind up still wishing I was riding on dirt.

    For giggles, I did take it (slick cheap road tires and all) on some mountain bike trails, and only had to hike it a few spots. Stupidly enough this is the most fun I've had on this bike, and now I'm trying to figure out if I'm crazy, dumb, or just not a road biker.

    For reference, it's a 2014 Scattante (Performance Bike) R570 [Shimano 105] in size ridiculous (XL).

    Should I look into converting the bike I have into a part-time CX rig?
    Should I instead trade it in towards a basic hardtail 29er?


    I have another excellent true mountain rig that could probably suffice for all my needs, but I do enjoy going very quick on pavement/gravel/smooth dirt trails, or being able to put in 30+ mi rides if I feel like going on adventures and have the pedaling efficiency to get there. I just don't want to have the idiot puppy feeling of watching other dogs at the dog park each time I'm riding along on the road and see somebody off either side on a dirt trail and be excessively jealous.

    The issues I have are budget (cheaper is why I have a very basic road bike), and mostly that I'm outright abusive on wheels (260lb with water/spares/pack/pumps in gear). The brakes on it now are actually pretty adequate for how I'm using it, but I'm not exactly proficient as a road biker (and still prone to stupidity even on normal flat bars).

    I have a set of Maxis Aspen 2.1's leftover, and I know they'll do as a solid adventure-ish hardtail budget setup rubber, so the price of moving to a new frame entirely isn't really that much more than trying to CX convert the bike I already have.

  2. #2
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    First, frame / tire clearance will be a big issue on a road bike, look at the clearance between your current tire and fork.

    Secondly, the road brakes hug the tire very tightly, and since the frame doesn't have posts for cantilever brakes, you'll basically be stuck with slicks.

  3. #3
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    For me, the big driver would be tire clearance.

    The Michelin Mud 2 is a 30 mm tire. Probably a little more if you include the knobs. Can you fit that in your bike?

    Personally, I prefer a more generous tire. I use a 34, partly because I could get it on team form at the right time. If I was building a gravel/singletrack road bike and choosing from the whole internet, though, I'd be thinking bigger. The Panaracer Fire Cross comes in a 45; Conti has something in 42. The specs read like they're pretty nice tires, despite being an intermediate size that usually tends to get garbage.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    One possibility is finding a cheap cx frame and fork and moving all parts over. You would have to buy new brakes but those are not expensive. Depending on part compatibilty, nashbar frame and fork are about $200. Assume you could sell your frame for same amount if needed, thus making it a wash.

    Could get some 35mm tires and ride some light singletrack

  5. #5
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    Right now I'm looking at abusing the PerformanceBike trade-in and moving to an Overdrive Carbon (yeah, it's more money in, but I could throw some Asspens on there and roll plenty fast for my needs, and then make that into my pavement/easy single track bike and be happy.

    The other deal-breaker for me is brakes - I'm big and go fast, so disk brakes if possible are awesome. Disk brakes would mean running a different mechanical disk setup (or ideally shimano hydros), and that negates enough value of wanting to more the 105 grouppo to a different bike (for the relative cost).

    We don't have much in the way of gravel roads, or mud frequently (central NM), so a CX tire that clears mud isn't ideal - I just can't get over the idea that wheels good enough to roll quickly and survive my fat arse are going to cost more than the difference of moving to a carbon hardtail; and I figure I still have the ability to fold them into tacos more easily than a cheap 25mm mountain rim - same with being able to avoid pinch flats running a tire that's about 53mm.

    The more I look at parts separately, the more I realize that a basic mountain 2x10 setup, hydraulic disk brakes, and even a flat bar are what I prefer - taking this long to figure it out probably just means I'm dumb, but at least I'm becoming less ignorant about the ways I am dumb.

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Seems like getting another mountain bike is moving pretty far into the territory of being the same as the mountain bike you already have. Nothing wrong with having more than one mountain bike - I do - but you start the thread by saying you like having something to tap out distance on on mixed surfaces.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Seems like getting another mountain bike is moving pretty far into the territory of being the same as the mountain bike you already have. Nothing wrong with having more than one mountain bike - I do - but you start the thread by saying you like having something to tap out distance on on mixed surfaces.
    And you'd be right - it's more of a case that I'm happy to have a really less-than-ideal road/gravel bike as far as speed if it means I don't have to be as concerned about my fat arse making the wheelsets into folded tostadas.

    In a different budget range I'd be looking at a carbon CX bike with some fat 40+mm tire, but under $1500 being able to find a carbon XC Hardtail 29er was hard to ignore.

    The other reason this thread is misleading (on my part) is that on greater reflection, the most fun I've had with my road bike was taking it on a trail that a hardtail 29er is actually designed for, and that the most fun I've had riding a bike on a road was taking my FS 29er on 100% pavement for a 32mi ride to a neighboring town up in the mountains.

    I could still monstercross this bike fairly comfortably with just a fork/handlebar change at pretty minimal cost, but I might just be too much of a mountain biker to be worth an expletive on road/CX stuff.

  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    People over worry the durability of road rims.

    No comment on the other stuff - it's your existential crisis.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    Since you already have a mountain bike, and you like riding a road bike on trails, you should just get a full on cyclocross bike. Mine has a set of Stan's Arch EX wheels just like you find on a 29" mountain bike. A lot of cross bikes have rims that constrained by the need to run rim brakes, but if you get a bike that runs discs then you can just throw a normal mountain bike wheelset on there. If you are setting up a cross bike for riding off-road then drop bars that are designed to work off-road are good choice.

    You could just get a Salsa Fargo 3, which is a drop-bar 29" mountain bike. $1699.

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