Have questions or want to discuss cycling? Join Now or Sign In to participate in the BikeRide community.

New: Take part in the June Giveaway for a Foldylock Pride bike lock by Seatylock

Casati Laser gravel bike conversion
I'm in the process of converting an early 2000s Casati Laser steel road bike into...not quite a full-on-gravel bike, but with wider tires and lower gears that gravel riding tends to require.


The first step was to fit Hutchinson Sector 28s to Velocity Spartacus wheels. I found, to my pleasant surprise, that this worked. It really was a surprise because the Hutchinson Sectors - designed for Paris-Roubaix and which can be run tubeless or with tubes (my setup) - measure a generous 28mm across.


I'm also replacing the stem to one that is a little longer (130mm) and with a slight rise (6 degrees), and also to bars with a shallower drop to suit my ageing back. The stem and a new chain are being shipped to me.


Meantime, last night's time suck was removing the 50/34 chainrings to clean them up, and to address two of the chainring bolts that "bottomed out" and would not tighten fully. This resulted in slightly out-of-true chainrings and an annoying click under load. I bought some FSA chainring bolts that use Torx heads on both the bolts and nuts to hopefully avoid what plagued me up to now - bolts that wouldn't fully tighten, but which also wouldn't loosen easily because the two-spronged chainring nut spanner wouldn't grip the nut completely, and when it did it would slip and round off the notch. Two glasses of beer, some prodigious cussing and a truckload of frustration later, they finally came loose thanks to some Channel-Lock pliers.


I also found some brand new Campagnolo Centaur brakes, dual-pivot front and rear, on closeout. I'm replacing the Centaur Skeleton brakes I had on there previously with these new calipers. Nothing really wrong with the Centaur Skeletons, except that they use a single-pivot rear brake. There's not a big mechanical or functional difference, but with taking the wheels off with the wide Huntchinson Sectors, the rear brake can get bumped out of alignment easily, and you need a 14mm spanner to center the single-pivot rear brake. The dual-pivots center easily just with your hand. (Yes, I know I would avoid this situation with disc brakes!)

So if you're looking for a deal on some slightly used Centaur Skeleton brakes, let me know! I'll update everyone on the bike's progress.
BikeRide.com - The Ride Starts Here!
Well the bike is complete, and I did a ride this weekend on mixed terrain leaving right out my front door. My "driveway" is more like a double track path, and in its current state with a massive rut down the middle caused by rainwater improperly draining, barely passable by our 4WD Subarus and more suited to a Land Rover! So any bike that I use to negotiate it must have low gearing (the grade hits 15% on gravel for a short distance!) and wider tires for traction and sure footing going down the same hill coming back home.

The Casati, of course, is a road racing thoroughbred through and through. But by adding a compact crankset and the Hutchinson Sector 28c tires, I've got a machine that can eat up miles on pavement and not choke on those gravel stretches that I like to include on my rides, as well as my own driveway.


If I were building a bike for a true "gravel grinder" event like the D2R2 gravel event in Massachusetts, I'd create a bike with more tire clearance, possibly even lower gearing than my 34x30 low gear on this bike, and disc brakes. I rode the D2R2 several years ago and used my cyclocross bike, which was perfect with its 700x35c Ritchey Speedmax tires.

But this bike reminds me of a truly classic road bike in many ways, the kind that used to handle gravel roads in European stage racing (there used to be a lot in the 1950s-1970s, before gravel's recent re-introduction as a trend), and of course Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders and any of the cobbled classics before teams started using special bikes.

My goal is to ride the Paris-Roubaix sportive before I get too long in the tooth, and this is the bike I will do it on!
BikeRide.com - The Ride Starts Here!

Possibly Related Threads...
Last Post

Forum Jump:

10 Latest Posts
Finding replacement for a bent Samox dri...
Yesterday 01:10 PM
Shimano forced to shut Malaysia factory
Yesterday 11:47 AM
I talk with Aaron Gwin about the infamou...
Yesterday 10:01 AM
2021 Pro Road Cycling
Yesterday 09:56 AM
Mountain Bike Grip shift is stuck in one...
06-12-2021 11:53 AM
Shimano Light Action
06-12-2021 10:48 AM
Tubeless users: do you still carry a fla...
06-12-2021 09:16 AM
Cannondale Criterium Value?
06-12-2021 06:34 AM
Requesting ID/worth for Bianchi
06-11-2021 11:34 PM
06-11-2021 09:11 PM

Top 5 Posters This Month
no avatar 1. ReapThaWhirlwind
52 posts
no avatar 2. Jesper
13 posts
no avatar 3. Zviedrs
10 posts
no avatar 4. Nikko
10 posts
no avatar 5. JoJoJo
9 posts