Drop Bar Mountain Bike Conversion aka “The Eldorado”: Built in 2015 for Taming Gnarly Gravel!

drop bar mountain bike conversion

Meet a drop bar mountain bike converted to the rigors of gravel in 2015 – aka the “El Dorado” – created in the interest of a safer experience for taming the gnarlier side of gravel. Events, races and gravelly roads in states such as North Carolina and West Virginia can push the limits of conventional gravel bike designs. Circa 2020, many manufacturers have addressed some of those concerns with bikes featuring huge tyre clearance, but in 2015, those bikes weren’t readily available.

drop bar mountain bike conversion
Where this El Dorado gets its name… Cadillac

One of the members of the Gravel Cyclist crew, K-Dogg, now at the spritely age of 65, has always been a star rider when the road tilts uphill. Descending isn’t K-Dogg’s forte, and this bike was built to help him navigate tricky gravel roads with bigger tyres if desired, and the option of swapping the Niner RDO carbon rigid fork, for an MTB suspension fork by Fox.

drop bar mountain bike conversion
Suspension fork ready to go at a moment’s notice!

K-Dogg’s converted MTB to drop bar gravel stomping machine has taken age group victories at several marquee gravel races, meaning it doesn’t sit around his house looking pretty.

drop bar mountain bike conversion
Dura-Ace 7900 series 10-speed shifters are solid performers

This bike is further proof that you don’t need to spend a ton of money on a bike for gravelly roads. Most of the drivetrain on this machine is 10-speed Shimano Dura-Ace, kindly handed down to K-Dogg from his lovely wife, Mrs K-Dogg. You may not have the luxury of a trickle-down effect from a spouse or loved one, but older generation parts are just fine for building a bike of your own. Additionally, this bike eschews the established rules of bike design, something our fan club at USA Cycling or the UCI would frown upon. Keep gravel fun!


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  1. Avatar Don

    How much did it cost to convert to a drop bar

    • JOM JOM

      The owner pretty much built it from scratch. It isn’t difficult to figure out the cost… drop bars, road shifters and so on if you are doing a conversion.., you may need to add derailleurs as well.

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