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Mountain to gravel conversion

Old 05-17-21, 12:05 PM
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favabean1982
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Mountain to gravel conversion

I was just handed a project and thought I'd get some feedback-I was given this old Ultimax Snipe mountain bike (look it up!) with the request to try and convert it into a gravel bike. Not sure how this might be achieved, or if it can only be done partially, but it might be something to attempt, thoughts on a fairly inexpensive route to go with this? I do know it had some work done last summer with replacing the chain and cassettes and hasn't been used much since.
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Old 05-17-21, 02:04 PM
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Happy Feet
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Originally Posted by favabean1982 View Post
I was just handed a project and thought I'd get some feedback-I was given this old Ultimax Snipe mountain bike (look it up!) with the request to try and convert it into a gravel bike. Not sure how this might be achieved, or if it can only be done partially, but it might be something to attempt, thoughts on a fairly inexpensive route to go with this? I do know it had some work done last summer with replacing the chain and cassettes and hasn't been used much since.
I've tried Googling it but no success with pics. Can you post a picture or describe?

If it's an old rigid mtb I've done a similar conversion. If so I'll post a link when I get home this evening.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 05-17-21 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 05-17-21, 02:43 PM
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I was also unable to pull an image of your bike but these are items i would recommend for anyone doing this --- Most mountain bikes have longer top tubes than road bikes, so attempts to do drop bar conversions are not satisfying to me aesthetically in most cases --- because they were not designed to use drop bars -- to get a workable position, people typically use stems that are really tall and really short, so it looks cludged up (my opinion of course )

And i like bikes that are aesthetically pleasing most of the time -- although some modern bikes are not -- (Salsa Cutthroat is an example of an odd looking bike, but its cool in a monster truck sort of way)

So here are some items to consider -- tires can make or break it. Rene Herse makes some serious gravel 26" tires , as well bars like the Jones H bar (there are a handful of competitors making similar bars as well ) retain your MTB position, but give options to stretch out -- you would need a stem adapter and a shorty 31.9 stem as the 135mm stems common on a lot of old MTB's is too long for this setup

But thats really it ----- good tires and a good cockpit and youre set


26″ x 1.8″ Naches Pass TC Tire – Rene Herse Cycles

Store - H-Bars - Page 1 - Jones Bikes
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Old 05-17-21, 06:31 PM
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favabean1982
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Thank you! Heres some pics I was provided-Id take some myself but Im at work. Bundt cake not included, LOL!
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Old 05-17-21, 06:40 PM
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When you said bundt cake, I thought you were referring to the saddle. my bad haha
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Old 05-17-21, 08:20 PM
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Ah yep rigid 26'r

As promised here's my thread on converting one to a gravel bike: 26" Frankenbike gravel build... just because I could.

Tldr, bullet form:
  • Took the paint down to bare metal and Gun Blued the frame. Added faux faded graphics. Top coated with clear enamel.
  • Went 1x with a wide ratio rear cassette. Added a granny bailout ring up front I could put the chain on manually if I encountered a big hill.
  • Ground the big chain ring down to a bash guard.
  • Added thin gravel tires 1.75 Panaracer Pasela's.
  • Added a flipped North Roads bar to get a more road like stance.

Fun bike. Fast.

Since then I've reworked it into a commuter and then again into a loaded touring bike: Another 26" mtb - touring conversion

The phases of a bike:






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Old 05-17-21, 10:09 PM
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Step 1: Ride your mountain bike on gravel

fin
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Old 05-18-21, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by SalsaShark View Post
Step 1: Ride your mountain bike on gravel

fin
That pretty much sums it up.
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Old 05-18-21, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
That pretty much sums it up.
If a hard tail then replacing the front suspension maybe given your not planning to do rough descents
If full suspension then maybe get a gravel or CX bike
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Old 05-18-21, 12:09 PM
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There's a long running thread in the Classic & Vintage subforum about turning old mountain bikes like this into drop bar bikes.
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Old 05-18-21, 12:15 PM
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Old 05-18-21, 12:49 PM
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Just put some different (faster) tires on it.

Maybe a different bar (or ends) if you find it uncomfortable on longer rides.

If the gearing ends up too low, maybe a crankset with bigger rings, or replace the rings you have. But I would only bother with this if you are spinning out in your highest gear.
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Old 05-18-21, 01:01 PM
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SalsaShark pretty much sums it up in post 7. There is no need to overthink this.

That said if you want to make a 26 inch rigid MTB a bit better for gravel, run different tires and find handlebars that give you more hand positions. Trekking bars like I have on my '92 Trek 950 are easy to install as the old levers and shifters will fit. It gives you a lot of hand positions. Drop bars can work but this requires changing out brake levers and shifters.




1992 Trek 950

1992 Specialized Stumpjumper
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