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Opinions Wanted: Do It All Bike

Old 04-09-17, 12:54 PM
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Opinions Wanted: Do It All Bike

So, I'm looking for opinions on which bike you would choose if you had $5,000 for a bike to handle gravel, road and singletrack. I'm looking for a bike that could be toured or taken on some mountain bike trails. Two that are on my list to check out are Salsa Cutthroat and Cannondale Slate. What bikes would be on your list and why?
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Old 04-09-17, 03:51 PM
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For that budget pretty much anything goes. I'd be very tempted by the Slate for the lefty monoshock. But I'm also intrigued by the Lauf fork so I'd look for something that could be retrofitted with a Lauf, since it seems foolproof and zero maintenance.

Either way, some form of modest suspension would be a must since I have a permanently damaged C2 vertebrae that limits my riding on rough stuff. I don't do any tricks but rough chipseal and bombed out pavement and gravel can force me to take days off to recover from back and neck strain. Even wider, softer tires don't help quite as much as I'd like, but my comfort hybrid with simple Suntour spring suspension fork is a bit heavy.

I'd also look for something with a longer wheelbase/chainstay that could handle light camping/touring with at least short panniers, so that rules out cross bikes. I'd hoped to use my old rigid Univega MTB for that but there's too little clearance from heel strike even with short panniers.

And I'd go steel or aluminum. Nothing against carbon fiber but I'd save that for road-only. If it's a do-it-all bike I'd feel more confident in steel or aluminum. Might even consider a Co-Motion and retrofit with a Lauf fork.
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Old 04-09-17, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Might even consider a Co-Motion and retrofit with a Lauf fork.
Interesting suggestion. Thanks.
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Old 04-09-17, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rickyk76 View Post
...Cannondale Slate.....
Slate looks like it has no rack mounts in back and the lefty fork might make adding bags in front a real challenge. You could go bikepacking setup I suppose. Even then its nice to have some fork options for bottles or gear. Overall the Slate seems more built for speed.
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Old 04-09-17, 08:11 PM
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There's no bike that can do all that...well. The disparity between a good road bike and good mtb/tourer is just too great.
That being said if I had $5000 and could only have one bike it would be the new SuperX with a second wheelset.
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Old 04-09-17, 08:25 PM
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I would go for a Marin Four Corners or Trek 920 Disc and turn it into a longtail cargo bike for the ultimate sightseeing/touring rig.
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Old 04-09-17, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
There's no bike that can do all that...well. The disparity between a good road bike and good mtb/tourer is just too great.
That being said if I had $5000 and could only have one bike it would be the new SuperX with a second wheelset.


My SuperX is awesome and 2 sets of wheels allow me to run 35mm knobby and 32mm all weather tubeless street.
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Old 04-09-17, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by dgodave View Post
Slate looks like it has no rack mounts in back and the lefty fork might make adding bags in front a real challenge. You could go bikepacking setup I suppose. Even then its nice to have some fork options for bottles or gear. Overall the Slate seems more built for speed.
This would definitely need a bikepacking setup which would be fine.
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Old 04-09-17, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
There's no bike that can do all that...well. The disparity between a good road bike and good mtb/tourer is just too great.
That being said if I had $5000 and could only have one bike it would be the new SuperX with a second wheelset.
I'll definitely look into the SuperX. Thanks.
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Old 04-09-17, 09:08 PM
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Are you going to be doing all those types of terrain on a single trip? Seems like you'd be better off with 2 $2500 bikes that are each more specialized to one type of ride than one bike that can do everything (though I get the appeal).
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Old 04-09-17, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by rickyk76 View Post
...Salsa Cutthroat...
Actually this looks like a great choice. You could just dial in the tires. The bikes seems quite off road capable, and I bet it wouldnt suck on the road if you went with skinnier tires. And it seems to be designed with bikepacking in mind, for what thats worth.
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Old 04-09-17, 10:53 PM
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For those conditions I would probably want a few criteria:

-Rigid frame and fork
-2" MTB tire clearance to make it singletrack-able
-Wide gearing (likely a 2x) for high road gears and low offroad climbinb gears
-Rack and fender mounts for touring (although bikepacking bags work too)

That would steer me toward these models:

Soma Wolverine (I'm biased,I have one)
Rawland Ulv (3" tire capable)
Raleigh Stuntman (no fork mounts but you can get a great deal through Raleigh corporate)
Surly Ogre/Troll/Karate Monkey/ECR (never ridden them but everyone loves them. Limited to MTB bars I believe)
Jones Plus
Velo Orange Piolet (3" tire capable)
Salsa Fargo
Specialized AWOL

For $5000 you can also look into Why Cycles, Ren Cycles, Stinner, and a load of titanium brands. Personally I think one of the above with a MTB wheelset and a road/gravel wheelset would be awesome (a good road/gravel tire is the Schwalbe G-One that can be run tubeless and comes in many sizes).

Good luck!
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Old 04-10-17, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by rickyk76 View Post
...a bike to handle gravel, road and singletrack. I'm looking for a bike that could be toured or taken on some mountain bike trails.
Lots of people recommending what they'd buy, not a lot sharing what they currently ride.

I've had a lot of fun using my soma double cross disc for these types of rides. 700x40 tires and wide-rim road wheelset. Position set up for comfortable road riding but it works great for single track too.

It's almost as fast as a my regular road bike on the road. It's not nearly as fast as my mountain bikes on the trail but is about as fun. Similar to riding rigid v. suspension, you can go fast but it's more about finding a smooth line. My usual trails are rocky, rooty singletrack with a lot of elevation change so it's a good litmus test - I've tried other carbon/aluminum bikes and they do not handle the rough stuff nearly as well as the steel frame/fork.

I've also had it set-up with a front rack and frame bag and can get about 15 pounds of luggage before the ride becomes too much work to keep tracking down the road. It handles gravel ok but I'd probably go full bikepack if I were doing a lot of singletrack with luggage - loaded it tends to resist lean/turning and then dive into the corner - disconcerting on singletrack.

It's not $5000, although honestly I'm not the sure there's a multi-surface bike with features available to justify that purchase price. Bikes in that price range are generally just trying to convert the road racer market over to dirt using marketing and R&D concepts that capture their attention but are usually specious for unpaved riding.

No one really wants to hear "buy a cheaper steel cross bike" so I'll recommend the Diamondback Haanjo EXP or the Raleigh Stuntman because they're really well engineered bikes and both offered for sale at a great discount.
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Old 04-10-17, 05:49 AM
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For $5,000 have a custom frame made.
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Old 04-10-17, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
Are you going to be doing all those types of terrain on a single trip? Seems like you'd be better off with 2 $2500 bikes that are each more specialized to one type of ride than one bike that can do everything (though I get the appeal).
Most likely not, but was looking for something that could handle all of it with maybe just a wheel set change.

Originally Posted by dgodave View Post
Actually this looks like a great choice. You could just dial in the tires. The bikes seems quite off road capable, and I bet it wouldnt suck on the road if you went with skinnier tires. And it seems to be designed with bikepacking in mind, for what thats worth.
That's why it's on the list and a frontrunner. Thanks!
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Old 04-10-17, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by biggus duckus View Post
For those conditions I would probably want a few criteria:

-Rigid frame and fork
-2" MTB tire clearance to make it singletrack-able
-Wide gearing (likely a 2x) for high road gears and low offroad climbinb gears
-Rack and fender mounts for touring (although bikepacking bags work too)

That would steer me toward these models:

Soma Wolverine (I'm biased,I have one)
Rawland Ulv (3" tire capable)
Raleigh Stuntman (no fork mounts but you can get a great deal through Raleigh corporate)
Surly Ogre/Troll/Karate Monkey/ECR (never ridden them but everyone loves them. Limited to MTB bars I believe)
Jones Plus
Velo Orange Piolet (3" tire capable)
Salsa Fargo
Specialized AWOL

For $5000 you can also look into Why Cycles, Ren Cycles, Stinner, and a load of titanium brands. Personally I think one of the above with a MTB wheelset and a road/gravel wheelset would be awesome (a good road/gravel tire is the Schwalbe G-One that can be run tubeless and comes in many sizes).

Good luck!
Thanks! I'll look into and add some of the ones I'm interested in onto my list and then start to narrow it down.
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Old 04-10-17, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Lots of people recommending what they'd buy, not a lot sharing what they currently ride.

I've had a lot of fun using my soma double cross disc for these types of rides. 700x40 tires and wide-rim road wheelset. Position set up for comfortable road riding but it works great for single track too.

It's almost as fast as a my regular road bike on the road. It's not nearly as fast as my mountain bikes on the trail but is about as fun. Similar to riding rigid v. suspension, you can go fast but it's more about finding a smooth line. My usual trails are rocky, rooty singletrack with a lot of elevation change so it's a good litmus test - I've tried other carbon/aluminum bikes and they do not handle the rough stuff nearly as well as the steel frame/fork.

I've also had it set-up with a front rack and frame bag and can get about 15 pounds of luggage before the ride becomes too much work to keep tracking down the road. It handles gravel ok but I'd probably go full bikepack if I were doing a lot of singletrack with luggage - loaded it tends to resist lean/turning and then dive into the corner - disconcerting on singletrack.

It's not $5000, although honestly I'm not the sure there's a multi-surface bike with features available to justify that purchase price. Bikes in that price range are generally just trying to convert the road racer market over to dirt using marketing and R&D concepts that capture their attention but are usually specious for unpaved riding.

No one really wants to hear "buy a cheaper steel cross bike" so I'll recommend the Diamondback Haanjo EXP or the Raleigh Stuntman because they're really well engineered bikes and both offered for sale at a great discount.
Thanks for the feedback. If I don't have to spend the whole budget, I'm all for that, but wanted to provide enough of an upper limit to get a good range of options. I'll most likely end up with something in the $2-3K range and look at a separate wheel set and put some money into new bags.
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Old 04-10-17, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Lots of people recommending what they'd buy, not a lot sharing what they currently ride.

I've had a lot of fun using my soma double cross disc for these types of rides. 700x40 tires and wide-rim road wheelset. Position set up for comfortable road riding but it works great for single track too.

It's almost as fast as a my regular road bike on the road. It's not nearly as fast as my mountain bikes on the trail but is about as fun. Similar to riding rigid v. suspension, you can go fast but it's more about finding a smooth line. My usual trails are rocky, rooty singletrack with a lot of elevation change so it's a good litmus test - I've tried other carbon/aluminum bikes and they do not handle the rough stuff nearly as well as the steel frame/fork.

I've also had it set-up with a front rack and frame bag and can get about 15 pounds of luggage before the ride becomes too much work to keep tracking down the road. It handles gravel ok but I'd probably go full bikepack if I were doing a lot of singletrack with luggage - loaded it tends to resist lean/turning and then dive into the corner - disconcerting on singletrack.

It's not $5000, although honestly I'm not the sure there's a multi-surface bike with features available to justify that purchase price. Bikes in that price range are generally just trying to convert the road racer market over to dirt using marketing and R&D concepts that capture their attention but are usually specious for unpaved riding.

No one really wants to hear "buy a cheaper steel cross bike" so I'll recommend the Diamondback Haanjo EXP or the Raleigh Stuntman because they're really well engineered bikes and both offered for sale at a great discount.

The Haanjo EXP looks like a great value for the $$$.
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Old 04-10-17, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by biggus duckus View Post
For those conditions I would probably want a few criteria:

-Rigid frame and fork
-2" MTB tire clearance to make it singletrack-able
-Wide gearing (likely a 2x) for high road gears and low offroad climbinb gears
-Rack and fender mounts for touring (although bikepacking bags work too)

That would steer me toward these models:

Soma Wolverine (I'm biased,I have one)
Rawland Ulv (3" tire capable)
Raleigh Stuntman (no fork mounts but you can get a great deal through Raleigh corporate)
Surly Ogre/Troll/Karate Monkey/ECR (never ridden them but everyone loves them. Limited to MTB bars I believe)
Jones Plus
Velo Orange Piolet (3" tire capable)
Salsa Fargo
Specialized AWOL

For $5000 you can also look into Why Cycles, Ren Cycles, Stinner, and a load of titanium brands. Personally I think one of the above with a MTB wheelset and a road/gravel wheelset would be awesome (a good road/gravel tire is the Schwalbe G-One that can be run tubeless and comes in many sizes).

Good luck!
Thats my bike. Its heavy but still feels like a road bike on the road rather than an re purposed mtb.

I strongly agree on the capacity to clear 2" tires if serious dirt is a possibility. I run 47c Trigger Sport tires and they roll nice on the road while offering just enough float on singletrack.
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Old 04-10-17, 08:09 AM
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Old 04-10-17, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by rickyk76 View Post
So, I'm looking for opinions on which bike you would choose if you had $5,000 for a bike to handle gravel, road and singletrack. I'm looking for a bike that could be toured or taken on some mountain bike trails.
What bikes would be on your list and why?
Multiple bikes would be on my list. As in I would want more than 1. Its been mentioned already, but no bike is going to do all this well and you will be limited in some fashion.

If you are really set on only 1 single bike, I would focus on the gravel/road side of things and make sure it could handle a wide tire for easy singletrack instead of looking at a mountain bike that could be kludged for road and gravel use.

I also wouldnt come close to spending that much money. $1500 gets some really incredible bikes.

This is only $1300 with the discount- https://www.raleighusa.com/stuntman-1591#
Get another wheelset for road riding and have fun. The 1x system isnt something I love, but it is probably as close to do it all as it gets.
- quality steel frame, disc brake, capable of a wide tire for singletrack, long chainstays and good geometry for comportable riding which is important when touring.


...But I am biased and would spend a bit less to build what I already have- a black mountain cycles monstercross frame. 11 speed 105 shifting 46/34 double mated to an 11-36 cassette. I would have 2 identical H Plus Son Archetype wheelsets- 1 with a 45-50mm quality tire and 1 with a 32mm quality tire. Some gravel drop bars for control on gravel and single track.
Only downside(for some) would be lack of disc brakes.




I ride a lot, but am simply not advanced enough to require the latest in trends such as 1x, hydraulic brakes, or full carbon frame and fork.
Take all the savings- and use it for some fun adventures!
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Old 04-10-17, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by 09box View Post
The Haanjo EXP looks like a great value for the $$$.
This is why I posted this post. I hadn't heard of this bike, but it looks like it could be a great starting point with some upgrades.

Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post

If you are really set on only 1 single bike, I would focus on the gravel/road side of things and make sure it could handle a wide tire for easy singletrack instead of looking at a mountain bike that could be kludged for road and gravel use.
This is the direction I'm looking at. I know that no bike will actually do it all well, but wanted feedback as to which bikes people think would be the best all-around bike for all three. I'm getting some good responses that are opening my options for research. Thanks!
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Old 04-10-17, 09:02 AM
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Old 04-10-17, 10:26 AM
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I think your choice will depend on whether you will be using the bike primarily for offroad with a bit of road thrown in, or primarily road/gravel with some offroad thrown in. If the former, something like the Cutthroat seems ideal but it's really upright and slack for road use. If not, then one of the bikes with its roots more in the cyclocross world would probably do better like the Haanjo, Renegade, RLT, etc.

I'm personally pretty interested in the Specialized Sequoia Elite, which is $2k and falls more into the cyclocross category. It can fit 45 mm 700c tires or larger 650b tires, comes with nice low gearing for off road or carrying weight, and has lots of features for bikepacking or light touring. My only gripe would be that I wish it came with the Ultegra level shifter/brake levers and calipers. Also the handlebar seems a little funky but that's a pretty inexpensive swap.
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Old 04-10-17, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by rickyk76 View Post
So, I'm looking for opinions on which bike you would choose if you had $5,000 for a bike to handle gravel, road and singletrack. I'm looking for a bike that could be toured or taken on some mountain bike trails. Two that are on my list to check out are Salsa Cutthroat and Cannondale Slate. What bikes would be on your list and why?
My Peter Mooney comes close. It was designed to be ridable in the lower 48 states 12 months of the year with whatever wheels and tires were available. (In 1978 when I ordered the bike, it was not obvious what standard was going to reign, 700c or 27" or if 700c would even be available in say backwater Maine. Had to be able to tour, do fast group rides. I set it up with cantilevers and a 53-42-28 x 13-19 5-speed triple. Front stayed roughly the same over the years, rear got two more cogs. Bike has a high bottom bracket to suit the just retired racer who pedaled through a lot of corners on his high BB criterium bike.

September, this bike will be ridden fix gear at Cycle Oregon which will feature 40 miles of gravel. The bike will get 35c tires (which just barely go on the bike without deflating to get into the horizontal dropout. That dropout spec'ed so the bike could be ridden fix gear. 38 years later, it is. (Love that high bottom bracket. What foresight!)

The one place where my bike falls way, way short on your criteria. The price. I still have a thousand or three that needs to get spent. Oh well.

Edit: the drawback to my approach is that the bike that can do anything doesn't do much really well. About 12 years ago, I started getting bikes to do specific things well and the Mooney went to the last spot on the rack. A really high end Farmer's Market bike. Until I saw this year's Cycle Oregon route, for which it is perfect. My Raleigh Competition has the length of the Mooney and tire clearances, feels more secure on downhill corners, (but low BB, not a fix gear bike at all!) My good fix gear has racing geometry, a much simpler system of big hear changes and more flexibility, but cannot handle the tires big enough to make 15 miles of grave a sane choice. My good geared bike: BB is high enough, tires almost big enough but vertical drops, hence no fix gear.

All that said, there is one thing my old Mooney did really well - provide me with the platform to ride whenever and wherever I had to ride to stay sane over the crazy post head injury years. That it has found a new life is just icing on the cake. It paid its way in full a long time ago.

2nd edit: I asked about LowRider mounts when I ordered the bike. Peter said he wouldn't drill fork blades. 4 years later I had crashed the original fork and ordered new ones. Peter said he had considered using generator mounts as those would not require drilling, just a little filing on each rack. Love em. With canti brakes, using old-fashioned racks with a single brake-bolt attachment works well.

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 04-10-17 at 11:15 AM.
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