My mountain bike conversion
A year and a bit ago, I got my hands on a department store aluminum mountain bike frame. At the time I built it up with drop bars as a single speed, with some 26x1.9" smooth tires and called it monster bike. It was fun, although the tires were quite heavy and slow, so it wasn't something you'd want to ride for long distances.
I got into cyclocross this year, and road my faithful touring stead Waldo for the first few races. It worked well enough, but it's too nice to destroy racing cross so I started thinking of alternatives. I decided to turn monster bike into a cross bike to see how well a mountain bike frame would fare with drop bars as a cross bike. I kept the bars and wheelset. I bought a 8 speed bar end shifter and put a 11 to 28t cassette on the back wheel and slapped a dérailleur on it. I put a set of schwalbe cx pro 26x1.35" tires on it, and a sugino 165mm crankset. The tires really lowered the bottom bracket of the bike. Having the shorter cranks really helped reduce pedal strike and were way lighter than the triple crankset I had on before.
I took it out yesterday for the weekly race. It handled really well. I definitely think a real cyclocross bike would be better for cross racing, and I'm planning on getting one next season, but monster bike wasn't too shabby. I could definitely use some lighter wheels, the wheelset I have on there now is quite heavy. I think it might be a touch small for me, but overall, tons of fun.
I have plans to build a second fixed wheel for it, and going mountain biking with it at some point.
Here's a photo of the finished product and one of me riding.