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Converting S-Works 29er to gravel bike...
Last Post 11/16/2020 09:06 PM by Cosmic Kid. 24 Replies.
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huckleberry

Posts:576

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11/09/2020 06:37 PM
Been driving myself crazy. I have a 2012 S-Works Hardtail 29er - it's a lightweight missile. I don't do much technical riding anymore and would like a gravel bike, but that is not in the cards. Thinking of switching out to a rigid Ritchey WCS carbon fork and putting narrower gravel tires on, but the real sticking point is I would love drop bars, but so far all of my options for drop bars require getting a new gruppo, which is just too much expense. The present components are very nice and in great condition SRAM XX. If only SRAM would make a 31.8 clamp for the bar levels - a $14 part, I would be set, but alas they don't - or not that I could find in my intensive search. Nor are there flared drops with a 31.8 stem clamp area and a 22.2 brake lever surface. I have found a pair of flat, flaired bars that are very cool - Koga Denham bars, but they are hard to find and am not sure I want to go with flat. Is there something I am not thinking of to give me the ability to maintain my groupset and get drop bars? I have seen that Pauls has manufactured a part to attach your rear shifter, but that is useless when I still have to accommodate the front shifter and brakes. Thanks in advance for your help. Chris
longslowdistance

Posts:2189

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11/09/2020 09:17 PM
Looks like you are way ahead of me, and correct me if I'm wrong, which I probably am: SRAM nailed this Goldilocks years ago, allowing their road shifters to work with their mtb drivetrains. Shimano dropped the ball on that issue.
I've been pounding a SRAM 10 speed 2x10 XO drivetrain with drop bars and their brifters with carbon levers for thousands of miles of gravel (sorry don't recollect their exact brifter model, but doubt that's an issue) and I just can't wear it out. Of course I keep the chain and cassettes fresh. Maybe because I sealed all shifters and mechanical brake cables with full length housing?
Just probably jinxed my entire ride with this post, but up to now it's been a pleasure not thinking about breakdowns. Toyota meets Range Rover.
Orange Crush

Posts:3132

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11/09/2020 09:27 PM
Not helpful to your query but keen them gravel tires wide.

Really liking my beefy WTB Resolutes.
longslowdistance

Posts:2189

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11/09/2020 10:23 PM
Yes on that. Fat and softish is more pleasant to ride AND faster. Who cares if it's heavier, unless the ride is only a steep uphill TT on pavement.
6ix

Posts:375

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11/10/2020 11:03 AM
I wrestled with doing the same thing with my Scott carbon Scale 29'er. While on paper it seems like the easiest solution is to switch to a rigid fork and drop bars, what you may be forgetting is the geometry is going to be very different and not ideal for drop bars. You see, you'll be reaching REALLY far forward relative to what the bike is designed for. Steering will be strange and probably very, very slow. Not necessarily a bad thing but something to consider.

I suggest just adding some of those RideFar aerobar things and maybe some bar-ends. And just stick with what you have. maybe the rigid fork.
huckleberry

Posts:576

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11/10/2020 11:12 AM
Thanks, guys.

6ix - I was in between sizes when I bought the bike(used) and opted in buying a smaller size(19). The reach is exactly what my road bikes are from tip of saddle to center of bar, as is my setback from the BB. I am not too worried about the change reach because of that - the steering may be another issue. Another bonus of the smaller size is that I have quite a bit of flexy carbon seatpost sticking out for a tad bit of dampening.

My present though is to go with the Koga Denham bar or lay out something similar to that with inward bar ends 40-42 cm apart to mimic my hood position.

I may have to give up the drops, but from what I've been reading and thinking of where I spend most of my hand position time, that this configuration may work best for me. We'll see. I'm going to experiment a little bit today with mock positions.
huckleberry

Posts:576

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11/10/2020 11:15 AM
I would like to try something in the 700x45 range, but I will have the 2.25's to go back to if desired. Also have another set of wheels so that I can go both directions.

I already have an Ibis Hakkalugi - that I love - and am able to get 38's on it. It is my go to bike. I just thought that I would try and make the Specialized into something that can handle tougher terrain than the Ibis and in more comfort - but as fast as possible ; )
Orange Crush

Posts:3132

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11/10/2020 11:27 AM
700x45 is good target.

The Resolutes on the Search are 42s that measure as 45s for the rough stuff. You’d only need wider if you need extra traction like when it’s super sandy.

For a mix road graveller something in 32 to 38 range.

Cosmic Kid

Posts:3319

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11/10/2020 12:03 PM
What if you went with something like the old-school moustache bars? COuld still run MTB brake levers...not certain if there is a 31.8 stem diameter version, though.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
huckleberry

Posts:576

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11/10/2020 12:03 PM
Those Resolutes have been at the top of my list - glad to get your recommendation. Will definitely go that direction.

As the hoods on my drop bar bikes seem to be my main position, I am trying to justify that if I buy short inner bar ends(like short bull horns inward of your grip) separated by 40 to 44 cm, I can mimic that hoods position and have the outer grips for better control on the descents, and more hand positions overall than the standard flat bar.

Am I just trying to rationalize away my desire for drop bars ; ) More so, the cost of the transition.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:3319

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11/10/2020 12:05 PM
26.0 clamp area....but you could also just run that size stem.

https://www.citygrounds.com/products/origin8-tiki-bar-handlebar?variant=31358689214575&CAWELAID=120088260000058000&CATARGETID=120088260000067009&CADevice=c&gclid=CjwKCAiAkan9BRAqEiwAP9X6UTr48sazRXgDg9dRov3gKjJo1Nag0Wr_pe5fL9RIaB_cmzlywU4kuxoCKswQAvD_BwE
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
huckleberry

Posts:576

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11/10/2020 12:06 PM
I need to learn more about this - read reviews, etc., but it may be a great product for me if I go to a rigid fork...

https://redshiftsports.com/products/shockstop-suspension-stem
huckleberry

Posts:576

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11/10/2020 12:24 PM
CK - I just don't see a good mix of comfortable/familiar hand positions and lever mount positions on that type of bar to make it work for me. Granted, I have never used a bar like that and may be ignorant of it's positives.
Orange Crush

Posts:3132

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11/10/2020 01:01 PM
Like yourself I ride mostly on the hoods so yes replicating that position would be key. Mini bar ends could do the trick, they work great on my flatbar commuter. I rarely take my commuter out on super long rides but when I do I notice that my upper back and arms get strained from the wide grip. So relatively narrow flat bars, similar to width of drop bars would also seem key.

When I am on technical or steep stuff with my gravel bike, I often think flat bars would create greater control so I am curious whether the setup you are contemplating actually works.
huckleberry

Posts:576

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11/10/2020 01:05 PM
OC - look up that Koga Denham bar. I may end up with that, but at first I am going to try and replicate the aspects of it that I like the most before I decide, and spend the money.

The thing I most like is the inner placed bar ends - they are spaced 40cm apart on the Koga, I may go a little wider on my mock-up as I'm a bigger guy, and I like the outer space for grips - to have that control on the descents - just not sure if I like how much they flare back.
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