Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Talk about anything.

Moderators: Bearbonesnorm, Taylor, Chew

Post Reply
ChrisF
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:54 am
Location: Peak District

Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Post by ChrisF » Thu May 16, 2019 1:46 pm

I’d like to convert my Genesis Day One to a gravel type bike. Questions:
The frame has clearance for 38mm tyres. I’ll use it for a mix of stuff, not just fire roads, mostly in the Peak where I live. I’ll avoid anything too rocky. Is 38 a bit small? What are people using?
It has horizontal dropouts, I’m thinking of rebuilding the back wheel around a hub gear. I’ve never used one. Trying not to spend too much so an Alfine 8 speed looks possible. Any thoughts?

Lazarus
Posts: 386
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:49 am

Re: Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Post by Lazarus » Thu May 16, 2019 1:55 pm

UCI limit is still 32 c so yes that is fine

Never ridden proper off road with anything bigger than 32 but I advise tubeless or getting used to pinch flats at those sizes

Landslide
Posts: 303
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 5:00 pm

Re: Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Post by Landslide » Thu May 16, 2019 2:19 pm

Tyres - I ride round the Peak quite happily on 38c G-Ones (actually come up as 40.5mm) in the summer, WTB Resolutes in the winter (43mm actual). At the weekend I managed the Plantation descent at Stanage, Shatton Moor/Bradwell Edge, Chapel Gate, Jaggers Clough, Winstone Lee Tor and Devil's Elbow on the Resolutes. I did however get a hole in the sidewall coming down off WLT just before the Ladybower Inn. If you're planning on staying away from the rocky stuff I reckon you'll be fine.
Alfine 8 - I can't stand the bloomin' things.

ChrisF
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:54 am
Location: Peak District

Re: Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Post by ChrisF » Thu May 16, 2019 2:44 pm

Alfine 8 - I can't stand the bloomin' things
Dare I ask why?

Landslide
Posts: 303
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 5:00 pm

Re: Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Post by Landslide » Thu May 16, 2019 2:54 pm

I've ridden two, both on borrowed bikes.

The first bike was horrendously neglected, the chain was worn to the extent it kept coming off the sprockets, and the shifter cable was utterly gunged up, so I couldn't release tension on it to shift into lower gears - I had to stop at the bottom of each climb to pull it through manually at the hub end. This is probably not the truest review of their performance, but...

The second one, the hub had just been serviced, and was running fine. It just felt like pedalling through treacle though. I didn't find the shifting very precise either. By comparison to a derailleur mech, even if the indexing goes out of whack slightly, I can usually shift by "feel" - slowly adding a little more pressure to the shift lever/slight over-shifting, that kind of hing. I couldn't do that with the Alfine.

All that said, there seem to be plenty of fans out there.*

Landslide
Posts: 303
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 5:00 pm

Re: Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Post by Landslide » Thu May 16, 2019 2:54 pm

*They're just wrong.

ChrisF
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:54 am
Location: Peak District

Re: Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Post by ChrisF » Thu May 16, 2019 3:28 pm

I get the message :grin:
Maybe I should look at a bolt on mech hanger for a horiz dropout frame....

Dan_K
Posts: 1268
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:09 pm
Location: Croydon, Surrey
Contact:

Re: Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Post by Dan_K » Thu May 16, 2019 3:55 pm

I've got an alfine 8 on my Pinnacle Arkose.
I maintain it well and have had zero issues with it. 5000 miles in and it's had 2 new chains (cheap single speed ones).
Just had it back from it's first hub service and the mechanic showed me photos of the internals. It looks as new as the day it left the factory.

It's not as direct feeling as a derailleur but it has advantages - cost, ease of maintenance and you can shift gear when stationary at traffic lights.

I use this bike for commuting, touring and gravel riding/light off road.

jameso
Posts: 2652
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:48 pm
Location: Chilterns

Re: Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Post by jameso » Thu May 16, 2019 5:39 pm

ChrisF, let me know if you do convert it, the Day One Alfine was my work* when I was at Genesis and I have the non-turn washer numbers and chainline references somewhere if needed.

*Sorry Landslide :grin:

ChrisF
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:54 am
Location: Peak District

Re: Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Post by ChrisF » Thu May 16, 2019 6:42 pm

Cheers James, I didn’t know there was a Day One Alfine. :-bd

Gregsie
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 3:15 pm
Location: Edge of the Peak.

Re: Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Post by Gregsie » Thu May 16, 2019 9:34 pm

Ride down lots of things in the Peak on my single speed crosser which has 35mm tyres. Can tackle most things apart from rock gardens like Cave Dale and the Beast.

Use Schwalbe Landcruisers and inner tubes. Cheap, heavy, but the sidewalls are as stiff as a board which means I hardly get any pinch flats.
The man who was never was lost never went very far. GHB Ward

User avatar
htrider
Posts: 2104
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:51 pm
Location: Fife
Contact:

Re: Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Post by htrider » Thu May 16, 2019 10:31 pm

Conti AT rides are worth a look - described as 40mm but actually 38 and pretty cheap. Don't bother with tubeless as the weight saving is minimal so its more hassle than its worth. I run the above with tubes on the straggler and have thoroughly battered them over various rocky trails without issue other than sore hands :???:

They also go up to 80 psi which makes them good on the road. On dirt I run them at 50-60 and have never pinch flatted (as yet)

Asposium
Posts: 1055
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:39 pm
Location: Hull

Re: Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Post by Asposium » Fri May 17, 2019 7:27 am

Also run AT Ride, albeit it tubeless on Mavic Open pro UST disc rims.

As said, a good tyre, and very cheap

Landslide
Posts: 303
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 5:00 pm

Re: Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Post by Landslide » Fri May 17, 2019 9:30 am

Asposium wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 7:27 am
Also run AT Ride, albeit it tubeless on Mavic Open pro UST disc rims.
These do look good. They don't seem to be specced as tubeless, did you have any problems setting them up?

Asposium
Posts: 1055
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:39 pm
Location: Hull

Re: Advice please - Converting a commuter to a gravel bike

Post by Asposium » Fri May 17, 2019 9:51 am

Landslide wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 9:30 am
Asposium wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 7:27 am
Also run AT Ride, albeit it tubeless on Mavic Open pro UST disc rims.
These do look good. They don't seem to be specced as tubeless, did you have any problems setting them up?
No worse than fitting any other non-tubeless tyre.
These rims help.
Once seated they work a treat. Only had one issue of them leaking; that was at WRT when I put in too much air and slightly unseated the bead.

Post Reply