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Offroad capable commuter for tall rider

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Offroad capable commuter for tall rider

Old 05-21-20, 09:55 AM
  #1  
RoadKill
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Offroad capable commuter for tall rider

Background is that I have an XL Specialized AWOL elite with front/rear racks, fenders, dynamo hub with headlight and tail light that I use for commuting and offroad excursions on pretty rough terrain. This has been a great do everything bike but a few days ago the frame cracked at the dropout. It's a fairly common problem, but they don't make the frame any more. Specialized has a great warranty, but since the AWOL isn't made any more they offered a replacement of 2021 Diverge Base Carbon. Now that looks like it's a great bike, but I'm not convinced it can be everything I want... but maybe it can, I don't know yet.
Right now I'm trying to find what other bikes out there can do what I want and are tall enough for me at 6'6".

A couple bikes I like are the Salsa Marrakesh and Trek 920, but neither of these comes in a frame large enough.
I found the Salsa Fargo might possibly be big enough, and I think another location of the LBS that currently has my AWOL might even have the Fargo XL size in stock.

Does anybody have suggestions on other bikes in a similar category that come in at least a 61cm frame?
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Old 05-21-20, 01:55 PM
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Bummer. I'd be tempted to see if a framebuilder or welder in your area could fix it, but then you're out $$ and out of recourse if something does happen.

It might help if you gave us a few more parameters to work with. How "offroad" is offroad? Gravel, dirt, singletrack, something else? IOW, how wide a tire do you want or need to ride? I'm guessing you'll want mount points for a rack and fenders? Anything else we should know before you get a complete listing of "bikes with a frame larger than 61 cm"?
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Old 05-21-20, 02:00 PM
  #3  
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Get the Fargo and switch the bars out for VO Rando bars to stretch out the cockpit some. Maybe look into a layback seatpost.
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Old 05-21-20, 02:55 PM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by RoadKill View Post
Background is that I have an XL Specialized AWOL elite with front/rear racks, fenders, dynamo hub with headlight and tail light that I use for commuting and offroad excursions on pretty rough terrain. This has been a great do everything bike but a few days ago the frame cracked at the dropout. It's a fairly common problem, but they don't make the frame any more. Specialized has a great warranty, but since the AWOL isn't made any more they offered a replacement of 2021 Diverge Base Carbon. Now that looks like it's a great bike, but I'm not convinced it can be everything I want... but maybe it can, I don't know yet.
Right now I'm trying to find what other bikes out there can do what I want and are tall enough for me at 6'6".

A couple bikes I like are the Salsa Marrakesh and Trek 920, but neither of these comes in a frame large enough.
I found the Salsa Fargo might possibly be big enough, and I think another location of the LBS that currently has my AWOL might even have the Fargo XL size in stock.

Does anybody have suggestions on other bikes in a similar category that come in at least a 61cm frame?
Cannondale Quick CX - This line comes in sizes up to 2XL.

I am 6'3", and ride an XL comfortably. In the 2XL size, I imagine at 6'6" it would be a great fit.

The Quick CX line is designed for on-and-off road; smooth surfaces and groomed trails. The lower the number in the line, the higher end it is, so the Quick CX1 is higher-end than the Quick CX3, for example.

The Quick CX frames have mount points for fenders and racks. I have a Tubus Fly Evo rack, and a Tubus Cargo Evo rack. Both have been mounted on my Quick CX at one time or another. When I have the fenders mounted, the "Cargo" is an easier fit. When I remove the fenders, I could mount the Fly for a lighter rack. With a rack I carry one or two panniers for commuting, shopping, or outings with my kids. I think that the older frames (mine is 2014) had two mount points by the rear drop-outs, whereas pictures I see of current models there are one set of mount points. So you may have to double-up if you install a rack and fenders at the same time for your commuter. That's pretty common nowadays though.

For on-road I mount 32mm Conti GP4Season tires. For mixed with off-road, I mount some WTB 40mm Nano tires. Both fit just fine. I could probably go up to 42mm, and even then I would probably come back and say "I bet I could go to 44mm." But I'm happy with the 40mm tires on it for when I ride trails.

My bike is a Quick CX3. I see that REI has stopped carrying the "3" and now just has the 1 and 2, but on the other hand, the price of the 2 has come down to where the 3 was a year ago.

Anyway, it's worth a shot. Find a bike store that carries the bike in a 2XL size, though. That's a little hard. Or find a shop that will order it and let you swap the size if 2XL isn't quite right.

Everyone likes what they own, and I'm no exception. But my use cases seem a lot like yours: Commuting, road riding, and trail riding. It's a fantastic commuter. Sturdy, but still fun to ride. My commutes are 5-miles each way if I just ride to the light rail. But on nice days I'll leave a little early and ride the entire way home, which is closer to 19 miles, with rack, panniers, and sometimes fenders.
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Old 05-21-20, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by RoadKill View Post
they offered a replacement of 2021 Diverge Base Carbon.
If they're replacing it with that frame, why not ride it and see how it does? They seem to be very popular, can take wider tires to accommodate your off-road needs and it's nearly free to you. Where's the downside?
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Old 05-21-20, 06:10 PM
  #6  
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Thanks for the comments.
My "offroad" is that I have an alternate commute path with some pretty aggressive rocky singletrack. It's full on MTB stuff but on a loaded up commuter with no suspension it's slow and I have no problem with slow.
My thought on the Diverge is that it seems mostly capable, maybe slightly less off-road than my AWOL. I currently have 700cx42 on the AWOL, the Diverge supports up to 700cx47. The biggest issue with Diverge is that I'm out the money of having to buy racks and if I want a dynamo lighting system I have to start from scratch building that. So probably $600 or more to get it outfitted how I want it.
The AWOL elite was basically a $1500 AWOL that Specialized loaded up with $1000 worth of accessories, the Diverge is a $2500 bike without any accessories. I'm not sure if they will let me keep the racks or even the lights since that is what made it the elite model. If I can keep that stuff then really the dynamo hub front wheel is all I will be out, which I guess is my best case scenario.
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Old 05-21-20, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
If they're replacing it with that frame, why not ride it and see how it does? They seem to be very popular, can take wider tires to accommodate your off-road needs and it's nearly free to you. Where's the downside?
+1, Those are my thoughts too.
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Old 05-21-20, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by RoadKill View Post
Thanks for the comments.
My "offroad" is that I have an alternate commute path with some pretty aggressive rocky singletrack. It's full on MTB stuff but on a loaded up commuter with no suspension it's slow and I have no problem with slow.
My thought on the Diverge is that it seems mostly capable, maybe slightly less off-road than my AWOL. I currently have 700cx42 on the AWOL, the Diverge supports up to 700cx47. The biggest issue with Diverge is that I'm out the money of having to buy racks and if I want a dynamo lighting system I have to start from scratch building that. So probably $600 or more to get it outfitted how I want it.
The AWOL elite was basically a $1500 AWOL that Specialized loaded up with $1000 worth of accessories, the Diverge is a $2500 bike without any accessories. I'm not sure if they will let me keep the racks or even the lights since that is what made it the elite model. If I can keep that stuff then really the dynamo hub front wheel is all I will be out, which I guess is my best case scenario.
I would think that they would let you keep the accessories.

But look at it this way, your frame broke and you are getting a replacement. If you go with a different brand of frame then that cost is on you. It will cost you more than $600 for any frame that you want.
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Old 05-21-20, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
If they're replacing it with that frame, why not ride it and see how it does? They seem to be very popular, can take wider tires to accommodate your off-road needs and it's nearly free to you. Where's the downside?
I'm considering this, but my thought was that if I could find another bike that I really want and am more enthusiastic about then I could request a smaller frame Diverge that will be quicker to sell and possibly get more out of it. If I get the 64cm Diverge and decide to sell it there isn't exactly a huge number of people who are looking for something that size. If I were shorter this wouldn't even be an issue. It might still be worth getting the Diverge then if I don't like it sell knowing I will probably have to ship it and sit on it longer. It's not too big of a rush since I'll be working from home for quite some time so a commuter isn't critical right away.

At this point I think if they give me the racks and lights off the AWOL I'll take the Diverge and adapt what I can to it. If I don't like it, cut my losses and just sell.
Thanks everybody for helping me think through this.
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Old 05-24-20, 11:09 PM
  #10  
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Roadkill my experience with buying and selling big framed bikes here in Sacramento CA is that there is a market for extra large used bikes. On Craigslist I notice that older steel road frames in the 64-68cm sizes usually command higher prices than the same or similar bikes in smaller sizes. I think this is because there aren't that many very large frames out there. I see modern aluminum and carbon bikes in XL, XXL sizes commanding high dollars on Craigslist. I don't know your market in AZ. But it is something to look at. I'd like to believe that frame warranty just covers the frame but I don't know your manufacturers warranty. I wouldn't be surprised that they replace the frame and swap components. If the components don't readily swap over then they may give you a complete new bike, Hallelujah. They'll want the old frame one way or another. I know several people that broke aluminum road frames and that was how they were handled. Let us know how the warranty swap goes please.
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Old 05-25-20, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by RoadKill View Post
I'm considering this, but my thought was that if I could find another bike that I really want and am more enthusiastic about then I could request a smaller frame Diverge that will be quicker to sell and possibly get more out of it. If I get the 64cm Diverge and decide to sell it there isn't exactly a huge number of people who are looking for something that size. If I were shorter this wouldn't even be an issue. It might still be worth getting the Diverge then if I don't like it sell knowing I will probably have to ship it and sit on it longer. It's not too big of a rush since I'll be working from home for quite some time so a commuter isn't critical right away.

At this point I think if they give me the racks and lights off the AWOL I'll take the Diverge and adapt what I can to it. If I don't like it, cut my losses and just sell.
Thanks everybody for helping me think through this.
I suspect that you'll just get a frame and they'll just swap parts but there is a problem there. The wheels on your Awol look to be quick release and the Diverge is through axle. I'm not sure how they are going to make it all work. And the Diverge looks like it can mount fenders and a rack but it doesn't appear to have any upper mounts for the rack. Not much of a problem on a metal bike but I'd be dubious of using any kind of external clamp on carbon. Kind of a dumb design.

Additionally If the bike were small, you could use a rack mount on the seat clamp but a 64 cm bike has a seat clamp that is up in the stratosphere, comparatively. There aren't many rack that will allow you to use a seatpost clamp.
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Old 05-25-20, 04:42 PM
  #12  
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LBS has confirmed Specialized is swapping a complete Diverge for my AWOL, I guess it's because they don't really offer anything comparable and wheels (QR vs 12mm) would be a big expense that I shouldn't have to face.

Right now my biggest concern is that it will cost me to get a dynamo hub and lights set up. I can recover most of that cost by selling the new wheels I had on the AWOL for about 2 weeks before the frame broke.
The next biggest concern is getting a rack to work, but my employer has said we can work from home for the rest of the year so I have time to figure out the commuting aspect of things. If it doesn't work out I'll sell and take a hit, but I still haven't really found anything else that meets my wants and needs like the AWOL did, closest will probably be to build up a rigid MTB.
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