Can I Turn My Mountain Bike Into A Gravel Bike

Are you an avid mountain biker looking to get into the world of gravel biking? You may be wondering if it’s possible to convert your current mountain bike into a gravel-riding machine. The answer is yes!

With some simple modifications, you can turn your mountain bike into a gravel bike in no time at all. In this article, I’ll discuss what you need to do and provide tips on how to get the most out of your newly converted ride.

So let’s dive right in!

The Benefits Of Gravel Biking

I love mountain biking, but I have been considering taking my riding to the next level with a gravel bike. Gravel biking offers many advantages over traditional road cycling and mountain biking, including saddle comfort and better bike fit.

When it comes to saddle comfort for long rides, a good gravel bike can make all the difference. With wider tires than a standard road bike, you get more cushioning on rough terrain that not only makes your ride smoother but also helps keep your posterior happy after hours in the saddle! The right geometry of the frame will also ensure maximum comfort by providing an ideal balance between speed and stability.

In addition to improved saddle comfort, another advantage of gravel bikes is their ability to provide a great bike fit. A properly fitted bicycle puts less strain on your body while maximizing power transfer from rider to machine. This allows riders to go longer distances without as much fatigue or discomfort.

And because every cyclist has individual needs when it comes to finding the right size of frame, having adjustable components such as handlebars and seat posts gives you greater flexibility for tweaking your setup depending on where you’re going and how far you plan to ride.

By upgrading from a mountain bike to a gravel bike, I know I’ll be able to enjoy more comfortable rides in different terrains – enabling me to explore even further!

Tire Selection

Yes, you can turn your mountain bike into a gravel bike!

The first step is to select the right tires. Depending on the rim width and wheel size of your current setup, there are many different tire sizes available that will fit your mountain bike frame and give it some more traction in terrain beyond just dirt trails.

For instance, if you have wider rims (30mm or greater) with larger wheels (29 inches or bigger), then you could opt for a 2.1 – 2.4 inch wide tire to really increase grip off-road.

Alternatively, if you want to stick with narrower tires that don’t sacrifice too much speed when going over pavement, then something like a 35c – 40c tire would be perfect for riding both on-and-off road while still providing enough cushioning from rocky surfaces.

With this type of set up, however, you may need to switch out your inner tubes as well since thinner tires require smaller diameter valves.

No matter which option you choose for your gravel bike conversion, make sure to test them out thoroughly before hitting any big trails or roads! You’ll want to feel comfortable with how they ride and handle in all kinds of situations so that you get the most enjoyment out of every adventure.

Gear Ratios

I’m thinking of converting my mountain bike into a gravel bike, and I know that gear ratios play an important role in this.

Can anyone tell me more about the different types of gear ratios?

And how do I calculate the right gear ratio for my bike?

I’m really hoping to get some good advice on this before I take the plunge and make the conversion.


Types Of Gear Ratios

I’m sure many of us have looked at our mountain bike and thought, ‘can I turn this into a gravel bike?’ The answer is yes! It’s all about the gear ratio. Gear ratios can be used to adjust your speed or power output so that you can use your bike for different types of terrain.

When it comes to gearing up for gravel riding, you’ll want to look for bike fits and frame designs that are geared towards off-road riding. This means having a lower bottom bracket height and shorter chainstays than those found on traditional road bikes. By doing this, you’ll create a more stable ride with better traction when hitting bumps in the trail.

Additionally, you may want to get higher tooth count cassettes that offer wider range gears so that you can tackle any kind of terrain with ease.

No matter what type of biking you do – whether mountain biking, road cycling, commuting or gravel riding – understanding how gear ratios work is essential if you want to make the most out of your rides. Choosing the right combination will ensure an enjoyable experience each time you hit the trails!

Gear Ratio Calculations

To get the most out of your gear ratios, it is important to understand how to calculate them.

First off, you’ll need a gearing chart so you can determine which gears will best suit your terrain and riding style.

Mudguards are also key for gravel riding, as they help protect against dirt and debris that could otherwise cause damage to internal components or jam up in between sprockets.

Once you have all the necessary information ready – such as wheel size, number of teeth on chainrings/cogs, cassette range etc., calculating your gear ratio becomes easy.

You just take the number of teeth on each cog multiplied by the distance traveled per revolution (wheel circumference divided by pi) and divide it by the total number of teeth on both cogs.

This gives you what’s known as your ‘gear inch’ – an indication of speed based upon pedaling force outputted over time.

These calculations may seem complicated at first but with practice they become second nature and can be used to create custom-tailored set ups for any type of trail conditions or rider preferences.

And remember: when it comes to gear ratios, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach – experiment until you find what works best for you!


Moving on from gear ratios, let’s talk about handlebars.

As a mountain biker making the switch to gravel biking, one of your first considerations should be the width and shape of your bars. The ideal bar width for most riders is around 40-44cm wide with some room for personal preference depending on your style and body type. A wider bar gives you more control over the bike while riding off road but can feel cumbersome when navigating tight turns on narrow trails or roads.

The next consideration is stem length. You want it long enough so that you don’t have too much weight over the front wheel, causing it to dip down under braking or cornering. At the same time, you don’t want it so short that you feel cramped in the cockpit of your bike or experience any discomfort due to an unnatural body position. Most importantly, make sure that whatever set up you choose still allows you full range of motion while pedaling and doesn’t impede proper breathing technique.

When selecting a new handlebar setup for your gravel bike conversion, keep in mind what kind of terrain and conditions you plan to ride in as well as how comfortable and confident each option makes you feel before committing to a final decision.

Ultimately, finding the right combination of bar width and stem length will help ensure maximum performance out on the trails without sacrificing comfort or safety.

Brakes And Suspension

I had to make some major decisions when it came time to turn my mountain bike into a gravel bike. One of the most important was whether or not I wanted to convert from rim brakes to disc brakes. After doing some research, I decided that making this conversion would give me better control and braking power on any surface, so I went ahead with it.

The next step in turning my mountain bike into a gravel bike was upgrading its suspension capabilities. This meant replacing and adjusting parts like air springs, seals, dampers, bushings and more. It also involved switching out components like shocks and forks for ones that were designed specifically for gravel riding conditions.

With these upgrades complete, I knew I’d have improved handling while going over rugged terrain at higher speeds – something that’s essential when you’re cycling off-road!

All told, the process of converting my mountain bike into a gravel bike took several weeks of planning and execution. The improvements made through adding disc brake conversions and suspension upgrades gave me an incredible sense of confidence as soon as I hit the trails!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Best Gravel Biking Trails?

Gravel biking is a great way to explore the outdoors, and there are plenty of trails to choose from.

If bikepacking or road touring is your thing, then you’ll want to check out some of the best gravel biking trails around.

From coast-to-coast rides through America’s National Parks to European countryside routes that wind through vineyards and old castles, there’s something for everyone who loves getting off the beaten path on two wheels!

Are There Any Gravel Biking Clubs In My Area?

If you’re looking to find a gravel biking club in your area, there are plenty of options out there.

Many cities have local bike shops or cycling organizations that host regular rides where riders can meet and socialize with fellow cyclists.

When joining these clubs, it’s important to follow proper riding etiquette and maintain your bike regularly, as the terrain can be quite challenging for inexperienced riders.

Additionally, research online forums or websites dedicated to sharing information about nearby trails and special events related to gravel biking.

What Type Of Clothing Should I Wear For Gravel Biking?

When gravel biking, you want to make sure you have the right clothing and bike fit.

Wearing comfortable layers is key since weather conditions can change on your ride.

Make sure that whatever you wear doesn’t inhibit movement or become a distraction.

In addition to layers of lightweight fabric, it’s important to bring safety gear such as gloves, helmet, shoes and eye protection.

A good bike fit will ensure that your body is in an efficient position for pedaling so you don’t experience any discomfort during long rides.

Remember to stay hydrated and fuel up with energy snacks before heading out!

What Type Of Tire Pressure Should I Use For Gravel Biking?

The type of tire pressure you use for gravel biking is largely dependent on the weight of your bike and rider, as well as the terrain.

Generally, it’s best to keep tire pressure around 35-45 psi depending on those factors.

Make sure that the tread on your tires provides enough grip and road safety so you don’t slip or lose control when riding.

It may help to do a little research into what kind of tires are best for gravel biking before making any decisions about tire pressure.

What Is The Average Cost Of Converting A Mountain Bike Into A Gravel Bike?

If you’re looking to convert your mountain bike into a gravel bike, it will cost you on average around $500-$1000. This cost depends heavily on the type of components and gear ratios you choose for your new setup.

As far as brake choices go, disc brakes are considered the best choice due to their power and reliability when riding off-road. Additionally, they give more control in wet conditions than rim brakes do.

Ultimately, converting your mountain bike into a gravel bike is an investment but one that can pay dividends with increased comfort over long rides and better handling on mixed terrain.


Gravel biking is an exciting and fun way to explore the outdoors. You can easily turn your mountain bike into a gravel bike with just a few modifications.

With the right tires, clothing and tire pressure you’ll be ready for any terrain. And if joining up with other riders is what you are looking for, there may well be a gravel biking club in your area that will provide you with great camaraderie on your rides!

All it takes is some research, planning and enthusiasm to get started – so why not give it a try? Who knows where this adventure could take you!

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