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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Help me pick a gravel bike

Old 11-02-15, 09:00 PM
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KonaRider125
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Help me pick a gravel bike

Here is the deal, I've saved up about $3500 to spend on a gravel bike. I've been looking at offerings from Niner, GT, Ridley, Santa Cruz, Charge and cannot decide. My primary use is a comfortable go anywhere bike, used for long all day multi terrain rides.

Any exceptional values right now on the gravel bike market I might be missing?
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Old 11-03-15, 12:01 AM
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Hard to answer without knowing more about what you want.
I've found that different people have very different definitions of "go anywhere". What does your "anywhere" include and what priorities do you place on different parts of that "anywhere"? Do you have a minimum tire width requirement? Is handlebar to saddle height important to you? Do you have a preference of frame material? How important is weight to you?
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Old 11-03-15, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by KonaRider125 View Post
Here is the deal, I've saved up about $3500 to spend on a gravel bike. I've been looking at offerings from Niner, GT, Ridley, Santa Cruz, Charge and cannot decide. My primary use is a comfortable go anywhere bike, used for long all day multi terrain rides.

Any exceptional values right now on the gravel bike market I might be missing?
I didn't spend that much! I bought a GT Eightball for $900 and set it up as a comfortable go anywhere bike. The city bike marketing didn't deter me once I knew could install larger and more suitable tires on it. For me, the Shimano Alfine 8 Speed IGH sealed the deal. A bike with clean lines and a stable geometry where exactly what I thought an ideal flat bar gravel road/adventure bike should be. I've ridden it on hardpack alleys around town and it holds the line. I didn't need to spend a great deal of money to get a nice riding bike.
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Old 11-03-15, 07:27 AM
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Keep in mind that a gravel bike will get beaten and abused - lots of paint chips, rocks hitting the downtube, mud covering, etc. You certainly can spend $3500 on one, but realize that it will be difficult to keep it at all clean or new-looking for more than a few rides. There are many bikes in the $1500-$2k range that are nicely equipped, but not too nice - the kind of bikes you can beat the crap out of and not feel bad about.
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Old 11-03-15, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
Hard to answer without knowing more about what you want.
I've found that different people have very different definitions of "go anywhere". What does your "anywhere" include and what priorities do you place on different parts of that "anywhere"? Do you have a minimum tire width requirement? Is handlebar to saddle height important to you? Do you have a preference of frame material? How important is weight to you?
What I am looking for is a bike that is most importantly comfortable on long road rides, yet can fit a 40c+ tire and be ridden on rougher dirt/gravel roads. I want a more upright geometry, no preference for frame material, and weight is of little importance.
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Old 11-03-15, 09:33 AM
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I like the Niner RLT9 geometry a lot. The bike works great on pavement, gravel, single-track -- just about anything. Very quick and stable. (It has a longer wheelbase that makes it a close cousin to a non-suspended MTB.)
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Old 11-03-15, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by KonaRider125 View Post
What I am looking for is a bike that is most importantly comfortable on long road rides, yet can fit a 40c+ tire and be ridden on rougher dirt/gravel roads. I want a more upright geometry, no preference for frame material, and weight is of little importance.
My bike came with stock Schwalbe Kojak 35 c slicks. To ride on dirt/gravel roads, I upgraded them to Schwalbe Marathon Dureme 40 c all-round tires. It has an endurance road bike upright geometry, rugged aluminum frame and fork and the weight of the IGH hub is of little importance thanks to the aluminum frame. For me, it was a good deal and required only a few changes to upgrade it from a city bike to a flat bar gravel road/adventure bike.
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Old 11-03-15, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I like the Niner RLT9 geometry a lot. The bike works great on pavement, gravel, single-track -- just about anything. Very quick and stable. (It has a longer wheelbase that makes it a close cousin to a non-suspended MTB.)
I've been thinking about the Niner RLT 9 for quite a while, and it is still on the top of my list of. Hows the ride quality on the road with the aluminum frame? Also what gearing do you run on your 1x setup?
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Old 11-03-15, 09:49 AM
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1x is a good setup.

Not too different from IGH.

The Fairdale Weekender is also based on the 1x setup but it has a double-butted cromoly frame.

And for 2016, it can take up to 45 c tires.
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Old 11-03-15, 10:00 AM
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Ride quality on the road is excellent. The smallest tire I use on the bike is 28mm wide. With the 28mm tire and longer wheelbase, it rides a lot smoother on the road than my BMC TeamMachine SLR01 did.

Gearing depends on what I'm doing. I keep an 11-42T cassette on back. If I want a range comparable to a road compact, I can mount a 44T chainring. For most gravel, I go with a 40T. I think anything between 40T and 44T is pretty versatile and can be used anywhere.

Full disclosure: I'm having a custom gravel bike made by Lynskey and should take delivery this month. I spec'd the Lynskey custom based on the geometry and tire clearance of the Niner RLT9 -- so clearly, I like the geometry and the handling of the RLT9. Besides the fact that the Lynskey is titanium, the changes from my RLT9 are through axles, a lower seat tube water bottle mount, and a slightly more sloping top tube (for a little more stand-over clearance). I will be selling the Niner frameset once the Lynskey is ready for action.

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Old 11-04-15, 08:55 AM
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Awesome. Good to hear the RLT 9 is nice on paved roads. I am thinking about waiting for Niners 2016 model with thru axles to be available and build it it up with SRAM 1x. I've got 1x on my 29er and am absolutely sold on it.
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Old 11-04-15, 11:06 AM
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There is a steel RLT, too, (in addition to the aluminum) which would probably be slightly better suited to meet comfort demands.
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Old 11-04-15, 12:20 PM
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Diamondback Haanjo Trail Ultegra. $2k on backcountry and REI right now.

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Old 11-04-15, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Diamondback Haanjo Trail Ultegra. $2k on backcountry and REI right now.
I've seen that. Looks like a nice bike for the money!
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Old 11-04-15, 09:15 PM
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For $3500 you can get a Litespeed G5gravel which would stand up to travel on Mars. Is that go anywhere enough for you? Haha
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Old 11-05-15, 08:11 AM
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If I had that money to buy this type of bike right now, I would no question get one of the Jamis Renegade bikes. Personally I think I'd get the Exploit (steel with Shimano 105 11-speed) but if you like carbon then the Expert is for you. I haven't ridden one yet but they look really well designed and nicely spec'd too. Lots of cool details, check them out.

renegadeseries
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Old 11-06-15, 09:02 PM
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Salsa, norco

Check out the Salsa warbird and the Norco search. The latter is great bang for buck.
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Old 11-07-15, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Mapomatic View Post
Check out the Salsa warbird and the Norco search. The latter is great bang for buck.

For or long all day multi terrain rides I'd want more mounts than the warbird - that money is Ti Vaya territory, though (Ti Fargo, too, if you can find one).

I'd also look into a Habanero, but I don't know how long their build queue is.
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Old 11-07-15, 03:06 PM
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Check Police Auctions.
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Old 11-07-15, 05:50 PM
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Consider the Giant Anyroad

Originally Posted by KonaRider125 View Post
What I am looking for is a bike that is most importantly comfortable on long road rides, yet can fit a 40c+ tire and be ridden on rougher dirt/gravel roads. I want a more upright geometry, no preference for frame material, and weight is of little importance.
You should look at the Giant Anyroad Comax. That is what I am just getting going now. The geometry is good, and it comes with a good component set in the 105. And with your budget, you can upgrade the few things that need attention. You can also equip it with 2 wheelsets, one for road and one 40c for gravel. That is what I am doing.
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Old 11-08-15, 04:46 PM
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I think I'm pretty well decided on a Niner RLT 9 built up with SRAM Force 1 hydro brakes/1x11 drivetrain, with a 40t chainring and 10-42 cassette, Zipp 30 Course wheelset, 38-40c tires.
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