Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational)
Reload this Page >

Steel, hydro disc gravel frame or complete

Notices
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.

Steel, hydro disc gravel frame or complete

Old 03-03-16, 03:46 PM
  #1  
garciawork
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Lewisburg, TN
Posts: 1,356

Bikes: Mikkelsen custom steel, Santa Cruz Chameleon SS, old trek trainer bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 70 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Steel, hydro disc gravel frame or complete

Hey all, been reading a bit and searching, and trying to see what my options are.

I moved to Idaho last year, and want to explore some gravel roads, and get a disc road bike at the same time. Now that Shimano hydro brakes are available on mechanical drivetrains, I am ready to start shopping.

So, I am looking for a steel or Ti disc frame, with ample tire clearance. I honestly don't know what the minimum should be, as I am new to gravel, but I figure at least 40c should work, and more would be better? So far, I have found the Surly Straggler (ruled out due to the rear dropouts, I don't need anything complex), the Cotic Escapade (like a lot, not sure how it rides), the Soma Wolverine (people seem to love it, frame only so I can build how I want). I would love to go Ti, but it'll probably cost too much even for just a frame.

Then for completes the Marin 4 Corners (SRAM, but I can deal), Bikes Direct Century Ti (with Shimano brakes, no ride reports, but a lot of bike for the money, and I LOVE Ti), and the Kona Roadhouse (was my favorite, but I have heard reports that it is VERY stiff, not what I am after in a steel bike). There are others that are close, but I want Shimano brakes, not TRP (rules out the Jamis Renegade and Raleigh Tamland unfortunately).

So, if I build the bike myself, I will go 105 or Ultegra mechanical with hydro brakes, November Nimbus Ti CLD wheels (tubeless is a must), and a lot of the rest will come from my parts bin. If I buy complete... well that is pretty easy, but it looks like I will get a little less value.

Any suggestions, or frames/completes I am missing? The most expensive on my list is the Roadhouse at $2400, and I could save up more if it is worth it, but not too much over $2400 would be preferable.
garciawork is offline  
Old 03-03-16, 04:55 PM
  #2  
rms13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: SoCal
Posts: 6,517
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 276 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 3 Posts
One of the guys on the forum just bought the Moto Century Ti and I'm also waiting anxiously for a ride report
rms13 is offline  
Old 03-03-16, 05:50 PM
  #3  
Andy_K 
Senior Member
 
Andy_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 14,068

Bikes: Yes

Mentioned: 481 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2794 Post(s)
Liked 2,502 Times in 1,011 Posts
I was in the market for a similar bike recently. A couple of others that I considered, beyond those you've mentioned, were the Niner RLT steel, the Zen AR45 and the Kona Rove (thinking of all as framesets). I ruled out the Niner because people said it was really stiff, but it's a beautiful bike. The Niner and the Zen are also both pretty expensive -- more than half your budget for just the frame and fork.

I ultimately decided on a 2015 Kona Jake the Snake (which hardly fits any of your criteria) because I wanted to be able to use the bike I got for CX racing. I'm holding out for Gevenalle brakes and shifters for this one (keeping the stock components until the Gevenalle stuff is available), but I did put the Shimano RS685 brakes with Ultegra deraileurs on my 2013 Jake commuter. (Yes, Ultegra is overkill for commuting, but the price difference relative to 105 was pretty small.)

A friend has a Ti Kona Rove and it's just beautiful, but the frame alone goes for $2000 putting it outside of even my budget.

I might still end up picking up a Wolverine frame if I can sell a few of my current bikes. Those things look sweet. Something to think about with the sliding dropouts on the Wolverine is that besides providing a path to singlespeed (which you may not care about), they also give you the ability to modify the chainstay length on the fly. So you could move the wheels in for a more nimble ride on the road and move them back for a more stable ride (and more tire clearance) on gravel.
__________________
My Bikes
Andy_K is offline  
Old 03-03-16, 07:01 PM
  #4  
Velocivixen
Senior Member
 
Velocivixen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: The Great Pacific Northwest
Posts: 4,515
Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 399 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 22 Posts
A bike shop in Boise called Bike Tourine News has everything you'll need for your bike as well as touring, back roads, gravel & bike camping information. They're awesome folks.

Bike Touring News

3853 N. Garden Center Way
Boise, ID 83703
208-806-2111

Bike Touring News Contact Information|Bike Touring News


I'm no relation but met then when North American Handmade Bike show was in Portland a few years ago.
Velocivixen is offline  
Old 03-03-16, 07:36 PM
  #5  
NormanF
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,737
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 147 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
I paid $900 for my GT Eightball... hydroformed alloy frame, IGH and plenty of clearance for 40 c tires.

You could also consider the BD Omni Strada, Fairdale Weekender Drop, Salsa Vaya, the GT Grade, Schwinn CX, Giant Anyroad.

Lots of choices for an adventure/gravel road bike out there. Good luck
NormanF is offline  
Old 03-04-16, 01:54 AM
  #6  
jfowler85
Senior Member
 
jfowler85's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Zinj
Posts: 1,826

Bikes: '93 911 Turbo 3.6

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 109 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
I paid $900 for my GT Eightball... hydroformed alloy frame, IGH and plenty of clearance for 40 c tires.

You could also consider the BD Omni Strada, Fairdale Weekender Drop, Salsa Vaya, the GT Grade, Schwinn CX, Giant Anyroad.

Lots of choices for an adventure/gravel road bike out there. Good luck
The OP means hydraulic disc brakes.

OP, just buy a road bike a get on a trail. There's nothing wrong with skinny tires on hardpack...I take 23s and 28s gravelbiking on a regular basis...a heavy gravel bike will be okay on trails and a pain on the road. Buy a cx bike and throw some 30s on it.
jfowler85 is offline  
Old 03-04-16, 08:00 AM
  #7  
Sullalto
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Cascadia
Posts: 1,206

Bikes: Jamis Quest Comp

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 169 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
The OP means hydraulic disc brakes.

OP, just buy a road bike a get on a trail. There's nothing wrong with skinny tires on hardpack...I take 23s and 28s gravelbiking on a regular basis...a heavy gravel bike will be okay on trails and a pain on the road. Buy a cx bike and throw some 30s on it.
When I lived in Texas I was perfectly fine with 28s on gravel roads. Now that I'm in western Washington and there are lots of muddy logging/fire roads and even hardpack has erosion problems...I'm shopping for something with wider tires.
Sullalto is offline  
Old 03-04-16, 10:53 AM
  #8  
garciawork
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Lewisburg, TN
Posts: 1,356

Bikes: Mikkelsen custom steel, Santa Cruz Chameleon SS, old trek trainer bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 70 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
The OP means hydraulic disc brakes.

OP, just buy a road bike a get on a trail. There's nothing wrong with skinny tires on hardpack...I take 23s and 28s gravelbiking on a regular basis...a heavy gravel bike will be okay on trails and a pain on the road. Buy a cx bike and throw some 30s on it.
I see what you are saying, however my plan will be to end up with two sets of wheels, one with gravel/wide tires, and another with road tires. I have a steel roadie now, and compared to my old Tarmac, I am actually faster on this bike, so the weight had little impact, I just got faster. And, I do not plan to use this bike for offroad, I want disc brakes, and getting a new bike is an excuse to finally get them.
garciawork is offline  
Old 03-04-16, 08:30 PM
  #9  
NormanF
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,737
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 147 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
The OP means hydraulic disc brakes.

OP, just buy a road bike a get on a trail. There's nothing wrong with skinny tires on hardpack...I take 23s and 28s gravelbiking on a regular basis...a heavy gravel bike will be okay on trails and a pain on the road. Buy a cx bike and throw some 30s on it.

My Eightball has hydraulic disc brakes, meeting one of OP's requirements for the bike.
NormanF is offline  
Old 03-07-16, 07:03 AM
  #10  
redcon1
Senior Member
 
redcon1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: South Central PA
Posts: 542

Bikes: Focus Arriba, Specialized Roubaix Expert, Bianchi Impulso Allroad

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 106 Post(s)
Liked 82 Times in 53 Posts
Check out Fairdale bikes, my buddy bought one this winter and it's a great gravel bike. Spec'd with 42mm tires so plenty of clearance.

2016 Weekender Drop | Fairdale Bikes
redcon1 is offline  
Old 03-10-16, 12:33 AM
  #11  
shawnriffhard
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by redcon1 View Post
Check out Fairdale bikes, my buddy bought one this winter and it's a great gravel bike. Spec'd with 42mm tires so plenty of clearance.

2016 Weekender Drop | Fairdale Bikes
Wow, that's great frame. Love the chrome fork. The build is interesting with the 11-40 cassette, but I wouldn't want to deal with the BB7 brakes. The MSRP for the frame is $519, so starting from there, you could build a killer all road ride.
shawnriffhard is offline  
Old 03-10-16, 09:03 AM
  #12  
idc
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Virginia/DC
Posts: 1,454

Bikes: quite a few

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I wouldn't go with a Roadhouse for tire clearance reasons anyway (30mm tires, up to maybe 35mm max in the rear), it's more like the Salsa Colossal. (Renegades do have Shimano hydros - but yeah only for the carbon frame models.) I loved the look of it too but my research came up with the same conclusions as you (plus tire clearance), although my LBS still has one in my size hanging up begging for a test ride...

I have a buddy with a Rove Ti and he loves it and rides it everywhere (including Idaho gravel!) but he spent a pretty penny building it up. I know a couple folks on carbon Renegades who love them. I'd consider a steel Rove if you don't mind a heavier frame, I think it'd build up to a great endurance bike. I like the look of the Wolverine but it's also probably a little heavy I imagine, the only guy I know with one made it a belt drive fixed gear!

Ideal tire width depends a bit on your weight and riding style (as well as likely conditions). Some of my riding pals prefer 40s or so, whereas I'm fine on 32mm tires (which actually measure more like 34mm on my Stans rims, and have a lot of volume) but I tend to descend a bit slower than them. I wouldn't necessarily rule out racier CX frames (which may only clear 35mm) - personally I have always felt comfy on my racier aluminium CX frames on gravel and if you're going tubeless that makes the ride quality even better.

Personally my next "dream" build would be a light frame (carbon, high end steel or Ti) with thru brakes, hydros and... 10 speed. Yeah, probably nothing out there.

FWIW, my Raleigh SSCX has TRP Hylex hydros and I love them but they're brakes only (no shifters). Better than the Shimano XT brakes that came on my MTB, and probably the best drop bar brakes I've ever used. I'm also curious about the Gevenalles which use the Hylex internals (but are out of stock).

Another option might be the Volagi Viaje. Steel or Ti and super comfortable from what I've ridden (I have hmm... at least 5 friends with them). Not cheap but I was really impressed when I borrowed a friend's. They clear 40s (just) - plenty of rider submitted pictures on their website.




(The Eightball actually has hydraulic brakes... huh. That'd be a cool urban/utility bike to have.)
idc is offline  
Old 03-10-16, 10:52 AM
  #13  
garciawork
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Lewisburg, TN
Posts: 1,356

Bikes: Mikkelsen custom steel, Santa Cruz Chameleon SS, old trek trainer bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 70 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
idc: the Rove Ti would probably be the best bet, but likely unattainable in price for a while, especially given the bikes direct Ti complete bike being only 300 more than a Rove Ti frame! That fairdale looks pretty nice, but I would likely just get the frameset. Roughly the same price as the wolverine in that case.
garciawork is offline  
Old 03-10-16, 11:29 AM
  #14  
jtbadge
Senior Member
 
jtbadge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 459

Bikes: Newish steel.

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 117 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
The new All-City Macho King comes in at $2699. Reynolds 853 frame. Whisky carbon fork. Thru Axles. Rival 1 hydro. Clearance for 40c tires.



I would be riding one of these if I was looking for a new gravel/cross bike today. Hydraulic brakes and thru axles are significant upgrades over last year's spec.
jtbadge is offline  
Old 03-10-16, 03:51 PM
  #15  
garciawork
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Lewisburg, TN
Posts: 1,356

Bikes: Mikkelsen custom steel, Santa Cruz Chameleon SS, old trek trainer bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 70 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by jtbadge View Post
The new All-City Macho King comes in at $2699. Reynolds 853 frame. Whisky carbon fork. Thru Axles. Rival 1 hydro. Clearance for 40c tires.



I would be riding one of these if I was looking for a new gravel/cross bike today. Hydraulic brakes and thru axles are significant upgrades over last year's spec.
Unless I am missing something that may be the best deal out there for a "steel is real" guy like myself. I have always wanted to own an 853 frame.
garciawork is offline  
Old 03-10-16, 06:10 PM
  #16  
gflex
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
All City Macho King still has mechanical brakes and QR on their website. Is that upgraded one the 2016??

Edit: Blog post says you can't buy that new Macho King until "next cross season."

Last edited by gflex; 03-10-16 at 06:23 PM. Reason: added stuff
gflex is offline  
Old 03-10-16, 07:07 PM
  #17  
jtbadge
Senior Member
 
jtbadge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 459

Bikes: Newish steel.

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 117 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by gflex View Post
Blog post says you can't buy that new Macho King until "next cross season."
Bummer.
jtbadge is offline  
Old 03-10-16, 09:08 PM
  #18  
gflex
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Bummer is right. I would totally buy one today.

I'm still looking for the "grail" gravel bike. Haven't found it yet.

Around $2500. Thru axles front and rear. Tubeless ready wheels. Non-aluminum (so looking for steel, carbon or ti). Full hydro brakes.

Lots of bikes come close and for some reason nobody can hit it. Kona would do it with the Roadhouse but it doesn't have the tire clearance. RLT9 Steel 2-star has mechanical brakes. There must be a carbon cross bike out there that fits these specs with decent clearance (up to 40 tires) but I haven't found it yet.

Not sure why bike companies have had so much trouble giving me this bike. Anyone have any ideas?

Last edited by gflex; 03-10-16 at 09:10 PM. Reason: Edit
gflex is offline  
Old 03-10-16, 10:12 PM
  #19  
MudvilleStomper
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: No Longer NOLA
Posts: 98

Bikes: Civilian Le Roi Le Veut

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The AWOL Comp with SRAM hydraulic 1x does it for me. I'm looking for a way to get approval from the wife.
MudvilleStomper is offline  
Old 03-11-16, 01:42 PM
  #20  
garciawork
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Lewisburg, TN
Posts: 1,356

Bikes: Mikkelsen custom steel, Santa Cruz Chameleon SS, old trek trainer bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 70 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Anything negative I should know about the Traitor Cycles Wander?

https://www.traitorcycles.com/2015/Bikes_Wander.cfm?Token={ts_2016-03-11_13:27:56**-d1f4bf3185decf23-077B1B01-EEE8-5900-23C62B0F52D54D41

The frame/for is obtainable for $349 right now, and I love the color. Thoughts and/or experience?
garciawork is offline  
Old 03-11-16, 08:30 PM
  #21  
Epicus07
Velophile
 
Epicus07's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 1,084

Bikes: See Signature.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Jamis Renegade Exploit is pretty sweet!
Epicus07 is offline  
Old 03-11-16, 10:04 PM
  #22  
garciawork
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Lewisburg, TN
Posts: 1,356

Bikes: Mikkelsen custom steel, Santa Cruz Chameleon SS, old trek trainer bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 70 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by Epicus07 View Post
Jamis Renegade Exploit is pretty sweet!
It does look like a pretty sweet bike. Are they selling at msrp or below?
garciawork is offline  
Old 03-11-16, 11:07 PM
  #23  
Epicus07
Velophile
 
Epicus07's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 1,084

Bikes: See Signature.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
You could pick one up without tax for 1800 in Portland
Epicus07 is offline  
Old 03-15-16, 12:39 PM
  #24  
natemeister
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 42
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I bought the Motobecane Century Pro Ti recently. Only needed to put on seatpost, adjust and tighten stem and handlebar, screw on front brake caliper, and finally adjust rear derailleur shifting.
It's been raining here, so only been able to commute with it. My road bike is a 2012 Scott CR1 Elite all carbon thing that is very light. The main differences, for road, is that the titanium feels a lot softer and plush - my tennis elbow thanks me for it. Hydro disc brakes are fabulous. The only "trail" riding I've done with it is on a grass field behind my house, so that reminds me, I should take it out to a trail
natemeister is offline  
Old 03-15-16, 04:20 PM
  #25  
garciawork
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Lewisburg, TN
Posts: 1,356

Bikes: Mikkelsen custom steel, Santa Cruz Chameleon SS, old trek trainer bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 70 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by natemeister View Post
I bought the Motobecane Century Pro Ti recently. Only needed to put on seatpost, adjust and tighten stem and handlebar, screw on front brake caliper, and finally adjust rear derailleur shifting.
It's been raining here, so only been able to commute with it. My road bike is a 2012 Scott CR1 Elite all carbon thing that is very light. The main differences, for road, is that the titanium feels a lot softer and plush - my tennis elbow thanks me for it. Hydro disc brakes are fabulous. The only "trail" riding I've done with it is on a grass field behind my house, so that reminds me, I should take it out to a trail
Well, I found out the shimano hydros I want likely won't work on the Wander I ordered, stupid IS mount/new flat mount "standards"!, so I may just continue saving up for that moto...
garciawork is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.