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N+1 Help (justification) - Gravel CX Monstercross lusting

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N+1 Help (justification) - Gravel CX Monstercross lusting

Old 12-17-20, 10:55 AM
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N+1 Help (justification) - Gravel CX Monstercross lusting

Hi Team,

I need a nudge in one direction or the other, I don't think I can justify two projects (today). I haven't really mountain biked in years, but the widest tires I have now are some 700x35s going on a Miyata Triplecross townie project that should be ready to ride soon, and some 700x38s on order, because they'll fit under the fenders I ordered (hopefully).

I'd like to do a drop bar gravel project next... I have a lead on a 26" Miyata Ridge Runner - as well as a 700c Bianchi Project 5 (sorry for the catalog pics). The Miyata is a Miyata, Deore XT groupset, 26x2.1 or 2.3 I imagine is what will fit. The Bianchi is 'cool' in a sense that it was forward thinking for it's time (wide 700s), Suntour XT LTD group set, should fit 700x47s. Both have cantis. Seems that most of the parts on both are all original. Hoping I can get away with tubes, cables, seat, stem, bars, and maybe cockpit/STI stuff if I'm feeling flush that day. Cost: the Miyata is 33% the cost of the Bianchi, but neither is expensive.

As for looks... I like them both, but the grey Miyata will probably make more sense for longer behind my eyelids, while the Bianchi is definitely a smile maker with eyes open. One cool (or not) thing about the Miyata is I have my eye out for one of the black/gold 912s with the 600 arabesque group that are floating around out there and they would kind of match...

Anyone riding around on two similar options/conversions? Anyone move from one to the other? Any input on what I'm giving up or gaining by going for one or the other? Component group thoughts?

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Old 12-17-20, 11:00 AM
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Here is the Bianchi spec page:
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Old 12-17-20, 11:01 AM
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You're not going to go wrong with either bike but at that price, I'd get the Miyata. It's a cheaper, has better parts, and quite possibly "better" frame tubing. I don't know the specs off hand though of the frame tubing but the Bianchi is not the top of the line and this Miyata must be with that parts group. And I'm a fan of Miyatas.
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Old 12-17-20, 11:02 AM
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And the much less elegantly snipped Miyata specs:

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Old 12-17-20, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
You're not going to go wrong with either bike but at that price, I'd get the Miyata. It's a cheaper, has better parts, and quite likely a "better" frame. No knock on the Bianchi Project but the 5 is near the bottom of their line up, right? And I'm a fan of Miyatas.
Right in the middle of the Projects, but looks like the same frame as the upper tier 7. I'm also a fan of Miyatas it turns out.
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Old 12-17-20, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by loudbay View Post
Right in the middle of the Projects, but looks like the same frame as the upper tier 7. I'm also a fan of Miyatas it turns out.
I like vintage MTBs for gravel bikes. You can run them with trekking bars which is a really cheap and effective mod to give you more hand positions or you can run them with drops.
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Old 12-17-20, 11:12 AM
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while I am not a gravel bike guy (yet) I am a Miyata guy; Miyata all the way

one thing to think about or ask people who know about the subject is frame geometry and how it affects the ride. I have gotten the impression that "gravel bikes" are closer to classic road bike geometry than MTB geometry and that most run 700c wheels.....with lots of tire clearance for bigger tires

but that said Miyata all the way
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Old 12-17-20, 11:31 AM
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Well... I just got some more photos, and the Miyata has frame damage. Not huge, but not something I want to deal with. I'm definitely leaning toward another 26" option. The Bianchi may be too close to my Triplecross, although they'd be build differently it's not quite the N+1 justification I can live with. Stumpjumper, Rockhopper, Bridgestone, maybe an old Cannondale... I used to be really fond of my old Jamis hardtail as well. Any other ideas out there?

Cheers!
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Old 12-17-20, 11:35 AM
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I'm building up a 1992 Stumpjumper as a drop bar gravel bike. It had paint issues but the frame was sound, the parts group good, and the price was right.

You can't go wrong with any top end vintage MTB assuming the price is right. Bikes from the late 80s and early 90s tend to work a bit better as drop bar conversions as top tubes tended to lengthen out a little later in the 90s but that's not a hard and fast rule obviously as there is so much variation. Plus a lot depends on your dimensions as well.

There are a lot of cool flat bars out there that make a conversion a heck of a lot easier but you may have to get a threadless adapter to use most of them (other than a trekking bar).
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Old 12-17-20, 12:19 PM
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Iíve spent way more time on 26Ē bikes over the years and I never appreciated their lack of toe overlap until I started trying to do off-roady things with 700c bikes. Whenever Iíve crammed big 700c tires, and maybe some fenders, on anything and tried to pedal around a trail obstacle, or switchback, my toe catches on something and I get annoyed, or worse. 26Ē usually leaves room for big tires, big fenders, and big toes!
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Old 12-17-20, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I'm building up a 1992 Stumpjumper as a drop bar gravel bike. It had paint issues but the frame was sound, the parts group good, and the price was right.

You can't go wrong with any top end vintage MTB assuming the price is right. Bikes from the late 80s and early 90s tend to work a bit better as drop bar conversions as top tubes tended to lengthen out a little later in the 90s but that's not a hard and fast rule obviously as there is so much variation. Plus a lot depends on your dimensions as well.

There are a lot of cool flat bars out there that make a conversion a heck of a lot easier but you may have to get a threadless adapter to use most of them (other than a trekking bar).
This. There's a whole thread on this; Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions
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Old 12-17-20, 12:38 PM
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26ers are fun and capable. i have six of them! and, of course, it's all preference and discovering/knowing what that is for you. but, me?....i'd go 700c on a gravel road bike for the stability and momentum the longer contact patch and lower bottom bracket gives. i like hauling a**, though. and, down the hills and curving roads with loose terrain, i think the 700c's have the advantage.
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Old 12-17-20, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by bOsscO View Post
This. There's a whole thread on this; Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions
Dang that thread to heck.
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Old 12-17-20, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by loudbay View Post
Dang that thread to heck.
I feel your pain. It has cost me a lot of money over the years. Still looking for the right one to build up.
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Old 12-17-20, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
26ers are fun and capable. i have six of them! and, of course, it's all preference and discovering/knowing what that is for you. but, me?....i'd go 700c on a gravel road bike for the stability and momentum the longer contact patch and lower bottom bracket gives. i like hauling a**, though. and, down the hills and curving roads with loose terrain, i think the 700c's have the advantage.

Tough decision... I found a lugged Trek 930 around here... about the same price as the Bianchi. Do you think that the Bianchi's 47s will feel a lot different than my Triplecross's 38s? This triplecross has / will have VO porteur bars, front VO porteur rack, VO steel fenders, as many 105 components as I could cram on there, etc. It will definitely not be a gravel bike despite it's potential. Rack, bottom bracket, bar end shifter spacers (dang me for not reading notes before ordering the adapters) all arrive today and fender fitting will be last. Obligatory pic incoming.
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Old 12-17-20, 01:53 PM
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What "gravel" do you have access to? If it is truly gravel roads, go 700c. If some single track type stuff, go 26". My understanding is that the early 90s higher spec RockHoppers like the Comp shared the same frame with the regular StumpJumpers.
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Old 12-17-20, 02:00 PM
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Miyata triplecross in progress

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Old 12-17-20, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
What "gravel" do you have access to? If it is truly gravel roads, go 700c. If some single track type stuff, go 26". My understanding is that the early 90s higher spec RockHoppers like the Comp shared the same frame with the regular StumpJumpers.
To be honest... there isnít a spot of Ďgravelí anywhere near me, but I am trying to adventure more this year... it will likely be light trail and fire road type stuff. Iíve lived in Denver for the past couple years and really missing my Boulder county trail system. Thatís most of this project. Justification to do something more than bar hop or go out to eat on bike.
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Old 12-17-20, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by loudbay View Post
Do you think that the Bianchi's 47s will feel a lot different than my Triplecross's 38s?.
oh, heck yeah

i've read it tossed around that the ideal gravel road size is 40-42mm ...balancing speed, stability, and comfort. i'd have to agree for the most part. otoh, there's a large gravel interest in my area. i see guys/gals riding even bigger. i've got some 45's set for my mongoose crossways. can't wait to try'em once i get it finished
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Old 12-17-20, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
oh, heck yeah

i've read it tossed around that the ideal gravel road size is 40-42mm ...balancing speed, stability, and comfort. i'd have to agree for the most part. otoh, there's a large gravel interest in my area. i see guys/gals riding even bigger. i've got some 45's set for my mongoose crossways. can't wait to try'em once i get it finished
Perfectly contradictory not helpful, maybe I should buy both, kind of answer. I like it.
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Old 12-17-20, 03:11 PM
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There is a much greater variety of tires for 700c (and 650b) than 26". Many of us are looking for "Goldilocks" tires that are decent off road but not too inefficient on pavement, and tire vendors seem to be responding, but that's mostly in 700c and 650b sizes.
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Old 12-17-20, 05:00 PM
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Great thread- I'm in the middle of the same decision: I have both a Specialized 700c hybrid frame and a Schwinn Moab 26' frame waiting to be built up, and can't decide which to do first. I'm thinking that both will be rigid fork/ drop bar bikes, but that could change for the Schwinn.
Hmmm, choices.
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Old 12-17-20, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by beicster View Post
I feel your pain. It has cost me a lot of money over the years. Still looking for the right one to build up.
Rather than spending my budget on buying the "right" bike and spending as little as possible on any upgrades, I went the opposite route for the Mongoose; buying the bike for very little and then blowing my budget on upgrades.
Not saying one way is right or wrong, better or worse, as neither are as cheap as I'd expected.
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Old 12-17-20, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by loudbay View Post
Nice colour; is that dark blue or purple?
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Old 12-17-20, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bOsscO View Post
Rather than spending my budget on buying the "right" bike and spending as little as possible on any upgrades, I went the opposite route for the Mongoose; buying the bike for very little and then blowing my budget on upgrades.
Not saying one way is right or wrong, better or worse, as neither are as cheap as I'd expected.
this is my style. I have adult ADD and the build or planning is definitely part of the fun!
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