Dropbar Hardtail Thoughts

There’s no point in doing it to run “thin tires” and try to make it a road bike. If you want a road bike get a road bike or a cross bike, if you want a drop-bar MTB with fat tires that can handle anything and feels fast and fun to ride go for it. I think you want to figure out what you’re trying to do before you start. How much gravel do you ride? Or plan to ride? Is it rough? Unless you’re riding very rough gravel or a lot of singletrack a cross bike with 40-45mm tires would probably be more fun and a lot cheaper.

I converted a 2013 Charge 29er hardtail. Used mechanical discs and 9-speed to keep the cost down. Total cost was something like $160-ish but only so low since I got the shifters used and got the rest of the parts on winter-sales or from the UK. If I had to buy new shifters it would be closer to $225, new parts or US parts closer to $300. Here’s what I replaced:

  • Stem ($20)
  • Bars ($20)
  • Brake Calipers ($35)
  • Shifters ($30)
  • Shifter Cables ($3)
  • Shifter Housing (7)
  • Brake Cables ($3)
  • Brake Housing ($14)
  • Rear Cassette ($13)
  • Rear Derailleur ($18)

It’s a total blast to ride, I’ve been riding and racing it since early April and it’s my favorite bike. Works great on everything from smooth gravel to the roughest singletrack. It can be a handful to ride at times as the short stem and relatively narrow bars make the steering very quick. The flip side is that riding a fast, clean run is very rewarding.

I also converted a 26″ hardtail and although that was a better overall ride the 29er is better on singletrack so I kept it and took the 26″ back to flat bars and MTB parts.

Charge Cooker Hi29er Drop Bar

I guess March is new bike month. I really liked riding and racing this bike as a mountain bike but the Raleigh Tekoa I picked up last week is just so much better with┬ámore advanced features so I decided to convert this one to my drop bar MTB. I wasn’t really happy with how my drop bar Thunder Comp fit and how the 26″ wheel rode so this is a big improvement.

40mm stem was too short or I didn’t give myself enough time to adapt to it. Either way I went back to 60mm like on my previous drop bar MTB and it felt much better. I’ve got three gravel events coming up where I’ll be racing this bike, it’s going to be a lot of fun.