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Gravel bike vs cross bike for do it all bike

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Gravel bike vs cross bike for do it all bike

Old 03-07-16, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Drummerboy1975
I just got rid of my full carbon Fuji road bike and a Raleigh RX 2.0 CX bike to get this brand new Ridley X-Night. It shares the same geometry as Ridleys Helium SL road bike, but accepts bigger tires ans has disc brakes. Sure you could get a Salsa Warbird or any other Gravel bike but, Gravel bike have a more relaxed, upright geometry, where as a CX bike has more of a road bike geometry. My bike is now my one stop, do it all bike.
How big of a tire do you think will fit?
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Old 03-07-16, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by loquacious
Tamland?
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Old 03-07-16, 10:00 PM
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I'd suggest the Kinesis Racelight 4S Disc, or the Mason Resolution if you've the desire to double the spend.

For the kind of riding the OP is talking about, the Brits own that category if you ask me, with several cool makes offering road geo but accommodation for larger tires, fenders, and discs.

I have a Racelight 4S rim brake for just that type of riding, too, and it works perfectly for the application, delivering good road manners (if not quite as crisp to jump as a thoroughbred) and nimbleness and confidence on fast dirt roads with a 30c tire.

This is not a very good pic, but you can get the idea of my setup. 52/34 mid-compact crank with an 11-27 11spd cluster gives me plenty of range for my rolling terrain, even on high drag mud, and wide-ish 18.1mm internal width tubeless AC Victory30 wheels shod with Schwalbe S-One yield a really versatile wheelset for fast dirt and all but the fastest pavement. I sized up a bit over my preferred road frame size in order to get the extra wheelbase for smoothing rough and loose climb traction.


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Old 03-07-16, 10:39 PM
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To me, the one bottle cage is the only down fall of the bike but, you have options there. First off, if your riding an event, say a 50 or 100 mile ride, theres plenty of rest stops to refill. Secondly, you can always where a hydration pack, and thirdly, you can mount a seat mounted bottle cage that holds one or two bottles, like you see on TT bikes.

As for geometry, mine is identical to the Helium SL. I'll be putting in a set of Gatorskin 700x28s for a ride this weekend. I'll report back.

Originally Posted by fietsbob
The Ridley is a Belgian design . Cross is Big There .. QBP distributes the Brand, here
Originally Posted by Ben I.
As I remember, Ridley especially has higher bottom brackets which to some, throws the geometry a bit off. Also a lot of cross bikes, mainly those geared strictly towards racing, only have one water bottle mount which would be less than ideal on longer rides/hotter days.

I originally was 100% set on getting the same model X-Night that Drummerboy bought but I changed my mind and bought an Ridley X-Trail instead. The more I thought about it, the more annoyed I got about only having one bottle cage which to me is a deciding factor. After a few discussions with a friend of mine, I decided on the X-Trail and absolutely love it and it feels pretty similar to my road bike (Ridley Fenix). Point being - "gravel grinder" doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be really upright.

Whatever you lean towards, just check out geometry charts and so forth then narrow it down from there.
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Old 03-07-16, 10:40 PM
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I'm hoping a 40, but would be happy with a 38. 42 would be even better though.


Originally Posted by fietsbob
The Ridley is a Belgian design . Cross is Big There .. QBP distributes the Brand, here
Originally Posted by TimothyH
How big of a tire do you think will fit?
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Old 03-08-16, 09:40 AM
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Anyone have experience with Felt FX3? I've seen a couple of used ones for decent price. Full carbon, 6800 group and hydraulic discs.
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Old 03-08-16, 10:02 AM
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actual UCI Cross max tire is at 33mm of course gravel road club meets have nothing to do with international regs.

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Old 03-08-16, 10:11 AM
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Gravel bike is just a marketing term for what used to be called cross bikes or touring bikes, with perhaps a few innovations such as disc brakes. As with any bike/frame, the most important issue is to find one that fits you properly. All other considerations are secondary. Some cross bikes are clearly designed for racing with aggressive geometry and no mounts for water bottles or fenders. However, there are many cross bikes that would be perfect as gravel grinders with room for larger tires, relaxed geometries, and mounts for fenders, racks and bottles.

I have a Ritchey Breakaway Cross that is a perfect gravel bike for my purposes, and it handles and rides equally well on the road and off -- with the appropriate tires. It has mounts for fenders, racks and bottles and could handle at least 35 mm tires and probably 40s. I also have a Soma Saga touring bike that is equally comfortable on gravel and dirt, with lots of mounts and room for at least 40 mm tires. Both of these bikes have canti brakes, which have worked well for me when equipped with KoolStop salmon pads.

If you are set on disc brakes, that's no big deal as many well-known cross and touring bikes are now available with disc or canti brakes. Eg, the Soma Saga and Soma Double Cross can both be bought with either type of brake, but their new Wolverine gravel model only comes with discs. The Raleigh Tamlin is another nice gravel bike only available with disc brakes, and several of my friends ride them.
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Old 03-08-16, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Drummerboy1975
I'm hoping a 40, but would be happy with a 38. 42 would be even better though.
Thanks.

Originally Posted by Drummerboy1975
To me, the one bottle cage is the only down fall of the bike but, you have options there. First off, if your riding an event, say a 50 or 100 mile ride, theres plenty of rest stops to refill. Secondly, you can always where a hydration pack, and thirdly, you can mount a seat mounted bottle cage that holds one or two bottles, like you see on TT bikes.

As for geometry, mine is identical to the Helium SL. I'll be putting in a set of Gatorskin 700x28s for a ride this weekend. I'll report back.
I admired the X-Night and looked at the Ridley website based on your pictures. Nice bike but a single bottle cage is not going to cut it for me.

Supported rides are only a small percentage of the miles most people put on their bikes. Some of us don't like hydration packs because of the wear they place on expensive jerseys and jackets.

If one pays attention to the fit of the bottle to the cage so that the bottle doesn't eject then seat mount cages are okay for the road. I use one on long fixed-gear road rides but I'm not so sure about bumpy off road nd it seems likely to eject bottles from all but the tightest cages. Have you used a seat mount cage off road? I'm open to correction from anyone who has.

Really nice ride you have but for me a single cage isn't going to cut it. Disappointed too, because it is a nice bike and I was really excited to see it. I might give the X-Trail a second look.
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Old 03-08-16, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
I'd suggest the Kinesis Racelight 4S Disc, or the Mason Resolution if you've the desire to double the spend.

For the kind of riding the OP is talking about, the Brits own that category if you ask me, with several cool makes offering road geo but accommodation for larger tires, fenders, and discs.

I have a Racelight 4S rim brake for just that type of riding, too, and it works perfectly for the application, delivering good road manners (if not quite as crisp to jump as a thoroughbred) and nimbleness and confidence on fast dirt roads with a 30c tire.

This is not a very good pic, but you can get the idea of my setup. 52/34 mid-compact crank with an 11-27 11spd cluster gives me plenty of range for my rolling terrain, even on high drag mud, and wide-ish 18.1mm internal width tubeless AC Victory30 wheels shod with Schwalbe S-One yield a really versatile wheelset for fast dirt and all but the fastest pavement. I sized up a bit over my preferred road frame size in order to get the extra wheelbase for smoothing rough and loose climb traction.

That frame was on my short list if I build. How is the ride? I've heard the Racelight Athenia is pretty stiff. Is rhe 4s compliant?
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Old 03-08-16, 03:06 PM
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Last year, I looked at a lot of flat bar gravel road/adventure bikes and in the end I settled for a GT Eightball.

It had all of the things I was looking for: endurance geometry, hydraulic brakes, IGH, and ability to accept wider tires - it took 42 c tires with no problems.

I think when you look for a do it all bike, you'll want something lighter than a 29er and that lends itself to all day rides.

I've owned a CX bike in the past and my view is a gravel/adventure road bike has a more practical geometry and really tracks rough terrain much better than a CX bike.

In a word, if you have to choose between a gravel road/adventure bike and a classic road bike, I would go for the former because it can do so much more and take you to places you could never go before.
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Old 03-08-16, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH
Thanks.



I admired the X-Night and looked at the Ridley website based on your pictures. Nice bike but a single bottle cage is not going to cut it for me.

Supported rides are only a small percentage of the miles most people put on their bikes. Some of us don't like hydration packs because of the wear they place on expensive jerseys and jackets.

If one pays attention to the fit of the bottle to the cage so that the bottle doesn't eject then seat mount cages are okay for the road. I use one on long fixed-gear road rides but I'm not so sure about bumpy off road nd it seems likely to eject bottles from all but the tightest cages. Have you used a seat mount cage off road? I'm open to correction from anyone who has.

Really nice ride you have but for me a single cage isn't going to cut it. Disappointed too, because it is a nice bike and I was really excited to see it. I might give the X-Trail a second look.
Same reasons I decided against the X-Night. Although you can certainly get by with just one bottle cage, it's a lot more convenient to have two cages in the first place. I've never thought about wear on jerseys but I HATE the sweaty back that a hydration pack causes. And reaching behind me for water seems awkward, and possibly dangerous especially on bumpy roads but to each there own.
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Old 03-08-16, 05:10 PM
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What about a Ridley X-Bow? How does that relate? Or is the Aluminum frame not a good choice?
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Old 03-09-16, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13
My budget for this bike/build is going to be $2000 max
Cannondale SuperX

Rival1, hydros, full carbon, well under 2K. If you can find one I'd love to know how it rides. None of the local shops I've been able to check so far have them in stock.
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Old 03-09-16, 02:26 PM
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Want to fit a 42 ? Go Monster cross .. it's a 29er thing.

What about a Ridley X-Bow? How does that relate? Or is the Aluminum frame not a good choice?
are your peers all riding carbon frames and you will feel inadequate in not being able to spend as Much as they did?
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Old 03-09-16, 03:13 PM
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Wait, what? I'm asking that as another option. From what I've read on the x-bow, it's got space for big tires, two water bottle braze ons and is disc friendly.
And I'm riding a steel Schwinn Tempo with dt shifters and other scavenged bits. Great bike!
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Old 03-09-16, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Drummerboy1975
To me, the one bottle cage is the only down fall of the bike but, you have options there. First off, if your riding an event, say a 50 or 100 mile ride, theres plenty of rest stops to refill. Secondly, you can always where a hydration pack, and thirdly, you can mount a seat mounted bottle cage that holds one or two bottles, like you see on TT bikes.
Fourthly, you can carry a small, light water filter, and refill from creeks and even ponds.
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Old 03-10-16, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by sleepy
Wait, what? I'm asking that as another option. From what I've read on the x-bow, it's got space for big tires, two water bottle braze ons and is disc friendly.
And I'm riding a steel Schwinn Tempo with dt shifters and other scavenged bits. Great bike!
Dont take Bob's responses to heart. Take em with a grain of salt, if you take em at all. Interpreting Haikou-esque responses is never easy.
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Old 03-10-16, 09:17 AM
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If you're used to handling on the racier road frames and prefer that riding style you're probably fine with a CX bike. I bought my CX bikes for gravel, commuting and CX racing and rarely run anything bigger than 34mm tires (as measured) which all CX frames will clear afaik. I don't go quite as fast as some of the really experienced offroad folks on long gravel descents but appreciate the snappiness and lower weight in CX races, and although I will do centuries/etc my riding style leans more towards race than relaxed.

That said I haven't spent much time on a gravel specific bike. The lower BB, longer chainstays and more relaxed geo is supposed to improve the handling/comfort.

I will say, if I do upgrade to a really nice light CX bike, I'd have no reason to own a road bike as I don't race crits and have been fine riding road with 23mm tires on my CX bike (with a different wheelset).
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Old 03-11-16, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13
That frame was on my short list if I build. How is the ride? I've heard the Racelight Athenia is pretty stiff. Is rhe 4s compliant?
@rms13 Yes, I think compliant is a fair way to call it. In fact, as this is my first aluminum bike since the early '90s, I've been really surprised by the nice ride quality, because I was expecting something harsh, which it isn't.

While a lot of the smoothing comes from the fork, the frame is calming as well, and really on par with the steel I'm most experienced with, in terms of vibration or buzzing. It does have more vagueness to it, but honestly, while riding, I'm never thinking of the frame material, so that's saying something.

The fork, which they call Tracer 1.5, is really interesting, as it seems to deflect front to rear quite readily, sometimes giving a delayed, slightly disconnected feel over washboard, while maintaining good, accurate cornering and line holding. It definitely runs smoother than my other carbon road forks, including the vintage, narrow-legged Lemond one.

For these reasons, I actually prefer the bike for gravel over paved road, where the vagueness can manifest as smoothness rather than an absence of reactivity and feedback. The pavement manners are not bad, but it doesn't jump under pedal input like a racer would, which is something I prize in a roadie. For mileage and Tempo cruising it's fine, but probably the Aithen is the tool for group ride surges, chasing breaks, and hard sprints. And as pleased as I am with the 4S, adding an Aithein is an attractive notion!

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Old 03-11-16, 04:06 PM
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I ended up picking up the DB Haanjo Trail

Haanjo Trail (Road)

Just took it for a short 10 mile break in/fit adjustment ride and I'm pretty happy. At first I thought I would definitely want to swap out the FSA cross crankset but these cranks are pretty nice. They hollow forge and have a 4 arm spider that looks similar to Shimano. I don't even know if I will miss having a 50t because honestly the only time I get into 50/11 or even 50/12 or 50/13 is descending. I did hit 38mph descending today and was spinning out but the gearing is fine on the flats and even with 11-32 casette I was actually struggling on climbs which I attest to the tires.

That takes us to tires: 700x40 Kenda Happy Mediums. They are adequate on road but clearly more designed for off road. I will be getting some other tires and save the Kendas for specific use. I would love suggestion for something in 700x28-30 range that is more road orientated but can handle hard pack dirt

The ride was not harsh or buzzy whatsoever with the aluminum frame. The full carbon fork and the fact that I was rolling 700x40 tires at 60 psi helped I'm sure. But ride is plush but still stiff enough in the bottom bracket to translate pedals to the road.
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Old 03-12-16, 07:08 AM
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The Haanjo is nice, and is a very different bike from the 4S, more adventurer than racer. For my environs and type of riding, the 4S is spot on, and I hope the Haanjo serves you just as well. Congrats!
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Old 03-12-16, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
The Haanjo is nice, and is a very different bike from the 4S, more adventurer than racer. For my environs and type of riding, the 4S is spot on, and I hope the Haanjo serves you just as well. Congrats!
And different than anything I have owned. I've never had a endurance bike but I figured I would give it a shot. Honestly for the type of riding I do these days it's probably better since I don't and will never race. I was able to keep up with my friend cruising at around 22mph on the hoods with huge semi knobby tires. I also set a Strava PR on a 2.5 mile decent that I've done about 50 times. That is partially attributed to the weight of the bike but the descent was winding over patches of broken pavement and sand and where I had to be overly cautious on the road bike I was able to just go on this bike. The bike actually tracks around turns pretty nicely and the hydraulic brakes obviously help confidence. Tommorow I'm hitting a fire road climb popular with mountain bikers to see how that goes. I'll switch to more road oriented tire and see what that does for climbing and speed on pavement. Eventually I'll get a second light wheelset for road tires so I can quickly swap wheels/tires depending on the ride
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Old 03-12-16, 10:03 PM
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I agree, if you like road bike geometry, a CX is the way to go. I love mine. I've got 35's mounted and love the Clement X'Plor USH tires as a great road/gravel tire. Only thing I'd change since I'm not racing cyclocross is swap the cx crank for a compact.


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Old 03-13-16, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13

That takes us to tires: 700x40 Kenda Happy Mediums. They are adequate on road but clearly more designed for off road. I will be getting some other tires and save the Kendas for specific use. I would love suggestion for something in 700x28-30 range that is more road orientated but can handle hard pack dirt
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product//B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Clement MSO
These come in 32s and 40s. Not quite the 28-30 you mentioned, but 32 is really close.
I have the 40s and love them so far. On pavement, they roll well and i dont feel like they are dragging my speed down.
Admittedly havent tried the 32s, but its the same tread.
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