First road bike - converting a CX bike into a road bike?


New Member
Apr 17, 2013
Okay, I'm a newbie cyclist raring to get going on the road (not new to sport though - running my first marathon this weekend) and I've been hunting around for my first road bike for about a month or so now.
I'm 19, 5'7" and around 118lbs, and initially I was looking at the Scott Contessa Speedster range with my eye on another Genesis bike -
My budget is £700 and the Scott is bang on the right price.
I went back to my LBS this morning with a more informed view about what to buy, and the guy I spoke to today was really helpful but suggested something a little out of the ordinary; a few weeks ago they had a customer who asked if they could order in the Moda Legato CX bike with some specific tweaking she asked for. The sale fell through and she bailed on them, leaving them with the deposit and a small framed bike (48/49 cm) with no owner.
The Legato retails at £1500, but because they can't shift it, the guy is willing to let me have it for £700 (!!) with a pair of road bike tires and a bit of tweaking.
I'm still a little ignorant when it comes to comparing specs, but I'm reliably informed that the Legato is top notch, but I'm a bit wary of the 46/36 chainring. The shifters and the chainset are SRAM Apex and I think they do different ratios so I think there's the opportunity to change it.
Anyway, in my very long-winded and roundabout way of asking, will there be a significant difference between the two, and will I be at a disadvantage if I take the Legato? I'm looking for a bike that's nippy, one I can get a lot of mileage out of (I'm looking into doing sportives once I build my legs up) and one fit for racing. I'm off to university in September and my Uni has a fantastic road racing society. I'm looking to be competitive in racing (even if it is just at Uni level) and I don't want to be distracted by such an amazing deal and buy the Legato when potentially the Scott or the Genesis would suit me better.
I know there's a difference in geometry and usually weight when comparing road bikes and CX, but the Contessa actually weigts in at 21lbs and the Legato at 18 lbs (after it's been tweaked).
The guy I spoke to also said there's always the option of tweaking the handlebars and saddle position into a more aggressive position once I get used to the bike, and that there would be little to no difference between the two. If anything, the Legato would be better. I am a little wary that he could have just been giving me a top notch sales pitch, though.
I'm going back tomorrow to test ride the Legato and the Genesis as the Scotts aren't in stock at the moment, but having just thrown a leg over the Legato casually today, I found I was quite comfortable on it.
If you've managed to read through the entirety of this post, I salute you! Thanks very much for reading my ramblings, any input would be much appreciated!
Well I'm not sure exactly what questions are buried in that post, but yeah there's no problem putting road tires on 700c cyclocross wheels or just swapping in complete road wheels onto a cyclocross bike. I do it all the time. The only downside is that cantilever cross brakes don't have a ton of finesse compared to good road calipers and the bike may or may not be set up in the same position but as you mentioned that can be changed with stem changes and perhaps saddle position changes.

Don't let the weight difference bother you, a decent cyclocross bike is plenty fast, especially when mounted up with road tires.

Yes (as daveryanwyoming has noted), you can use smaller tyres (e.g., 700x23) on a bike which has the ability to use larger tyres (e.g., 700x32) ...

  • you cannot use larger tyres on a bike which is only designed for "Road" tyres ...
  • and, unless things have changed (which they may finally have) then most carbon fibre Road forks still cannot accommodate modestly large 700x28 tyres.

FWIW. Although 'I' am not keen on SRAM shifters, a lot of other people are ...

With that caveat, I would opt for the MODA Legato ...

  • as I have stated to the probable consternation of others, I would change the shifters to a set of 10-speed Campagnolo shifters ... it should be a relatively easy, direct DIY swap ...
  • unwrapping the handlebar tape & re-wrapping it will take the longest time & effort
  • the greatest inconvenience is that you will probably need to buy a T25 wrench if you get a set of the 'new' (i.e., current) style Campagnolo shifters
[*] if you buy the shifters via eBay, then you may net spare change in your pocket due to a lack of demand for Campagnolo shifters ... figure on £120-£160 (maybe, less if you are wise shopper!) minus whatever you sell the SRAM APEX shifters for.

Don't worry about the gearing which comes with the bike ... if you can push a 46t chainring + 11t cog when you aren't 'drafting' someone then (IMO) you're way ahead of the pack.
Thank you for the replies! I eventually went with the Legato - with some road tyres on and the brakes brought forward a little (my teeny hands struggled to depress them all the way down. I'll say this for the Genesis - bloody brilliant brakes, so responsive!) it makes for a very nippy, great road bike.
On my first proper outing this afternoon, I managed to get it up to around 28-30mph, according to my friend driving behind me anyway.
Very happy with it. Now to sort out this bum-ache . . .