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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I have been looking to get into gravel riding for a while now, and I have heard some people say they love a hardtail XC bike with drop bars for this.

I have a cracked 2011 carbon Stump Jumper with a 90mm brain fork. I have priced out a really reputable carbon repair pro and considered getting the frame repaired, putting drop bars on it, and using it as a gravel bike.

Just wondering if anyone has done anything similar, or if any people with a better understanding of geometry can tell me if this would be a good idea.

I think all said and done it is going to cost me around $1000 to get it built up, so I'm not entirely sure if it would be worth it as opposed to shelling out a bit extra for a true gravel bike.

Also, I already have a road bike, so I'm not worried about having a gravel bike that doubles as a road bike.
 

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An MTB conversion is nice because you have a ton of tire clearance, but the geometry is not suited well for drop bars, without consideration. Just putting drop bars on the stem you used to ride with flat bars will end up with a really low stack in the drops and a super long reach. Generally the MTB frame needs to be sized down, but if it's on the small side for you and you had a long-ish stem on it could work. Take a look at your geometry, then take a look at a gravel bike geometry chart for your size, you'll notice the top tube is 50-60mm shorter. This is because drop bars have ~60mm reach to them. If you currently have a 100mm stem, maybe you can go to a 50mm and be fine. May be worth taking a gravel bike for a spin at your LBS, looking up the geometry, and then figure out how to match your MTB frame to it.

Stack is the other issue. A gravel bike will have a higher stack then an MTB when sagged (or a rigid suspension correct fork is used). The drops are usually around 100mm, so just imagine your hands 4" below where they were on the MTB. You can either use a high rise stem (which may not be possible if you need to use a short stem) or an alternative bar like the Soma Condor 2.

I don't have direct experience with this yet, but I am planning on building up a drop bar MTB so I've been doing a bunch of research on it recently.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
An MTB conversion is nice because you have a ton of tire clearance, but the geometry is not suited well for drop bars, without consideration. Just putting drop bars on the stem you used to ride with flat bars will end up with a really low stack in the drops and a super long reach. Generally the MTB frame needs to be sized down, but if it's on the small side for you and you had a long-ish stem on it could work. Take a look at your geometry, then take a look at a gravel bike geometry chart for your size, you'll notice the top tube is 50-60mm shorter. This is because drop bars have ~60mm reach to them. If you currently have a 100mm stem, maybe you can go to a 50mm and be fine. May be worth taking a gravel bike for a spin at your LBS, looking up the geometry, and then figure out how to match your MTB frame to it.

Stack is the other issue. A gravel bike will have a higher stack then an MTB when sagged (or a rigid suspension correct fork is used). The drops are usually around 100mm, so just imagine your hands 4" below where they were on the MTB. You can either use a high rise stem (which may not be possible if you need to use a short stem) or an alternative bar like the Soma Condor 2.

I don't have direct experience with this yet, but I am planning on building up a drop bar MTB so I've been doing a bunch of research on it recently.
I got this advice elsewhere as well, and after looking at the relevant geo numbers and the price gap between building this out and bringing home something like a NukeProof Digger, my N+1 is itching.
 
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