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Help me find a Gravel Bike with Road Endurance Manners

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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 find a Gravel Bike with Road Endurance Manners

Old 03-19-19, 11:04 AM
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HarborBandS
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Help me find a Gravel Bike with Road Endurance Manners

I've decided to throw this out to the collective knowledge of BF members to see if I'm missing anything in my search for a gravel bike, or endurance road bike with wider tire clearance. I ride mainly crushed-limestone paths near my house and paved roads--nothing too harsh. But I have found that 35c-40c wheels are ideal for my riding conditions, and would like the option to switch wheelsets for road rides as well. I really like the Trek Domane, but it only clears 700 x 35c. The Trek Checkpoint has been at the top of my list, but it is not available with the adjustable rear IsoSpeed (compliance is fixed) . So while I figure out if this is a deal breaker or not, I am considering some other options.


Here are my criteria:

Geometry like an endurance road bike (stable handling, low bottom bracket).

Clearance for up to 700 x 40c tires.

Endurance road bike gearing (2 x 11 with 50/34 up front and 11-34 in the back seems ideal).

Weight that approx. 20 lbs with a 56cm frame, or that can be upgraded easily to be under 20 lbs. Something 21-22 lbs stock will be fine. This probably rules out a lot of steel bikes or heavy touring rigs. I would like to use this bike as a road bike with a second wheelset and lighter 28c tires, so I don't want a tank.

A smooth ride that soaks up vibrations. Not squishy, but not jarring.

Hydro disc brakes and thru-axle wheels.

Budget: $2,000-$3,000

Shimano 105 R7020 hydro is sort of my target zone.


What I've ruled out: The Specialized Diverge, due to maintenance requirements for the Futureshock. I like to do my own maintenance and will never bring a bike back to a shop for anything, so something like that is a deal breaker. The Canyon Grail because of it's wacky dual handlebar. I'm still thinking about the Giant Revolt, but have to figure out why it's so heavy. Perhaps it can be salvaged by swapping out some Giant proprietary parts.


What awesome bikes am I neglecting to look at? Mason? Kona? Others? I can also do a frameset, as I enjoy building up a bike from scratch.


Thank you in advance for your replies!

Last edited by HarborBandS; 03-20-19 at 07:20 AM. Reason: Clarifying weight comment and issues with Futureshock.
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Old 03-19-19, 11:19 AM
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I dunno...under 20 pounds for under $2000 is going to rule out most aluminum bikes on weight & many carbon on cost.

Under 25 pounds might be making in-roads to possibilities for metal bikes. Leaning on the $3000 upper bound might likewise open up carbon.

"Gravel" bikes are trendy marketing. A good CX bike from a few years ago might be a good place to look if you are flexible about requiring that the bike be absolutely new.

If it is disc, many people have had good luck with 650b (27.5) wheels. Just factor that into your cost equation & you might be surprised at how many bikes qualify.

My Scattante (store brand Fuji) was $500 and now weighs under 24 pounds with Gatorskins & fenders. All it required was new everything, but even so, much less than $2-3k

How much does a pound or 2 matter to you?
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Old 03-19-19, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by base2
How much does a pound or 2 matter to you?
Budget is up to $3,000.

My baseline is the Trek Checkpoint SL5 ($2,800), which weighs in at 21.17 lbs in a 56 cm.

Giant Revolt Advanced 0 is also under $3,000 and in the low 20’s.

The Checkpoint SL5 has 105 on it, so I feel like I could realistically get it under 20 lbs with lighter wheels, 28c road tires, and some key component upgrades. I am hoping to have two wheelsets for this bike--one for gravel with 40c knobby tires, and one for road with 28c or 32c slick tires.

Last edited by HarborBandS; 03-19-19 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 03-19-19, 11:39 AM
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The 1st generation Turner Cyclosys is worth a look I think. https://www.turnerbikes.com/bikes/cy...08050537109375
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Old 03-19-19, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 5teve
The 1st generation Turner Cyclosys is worth a look I think. https://www.turnerbikes.com/bikes/cy...08050537109375
Thanks, that one was definitely not on my radar!

I have been under the impression that the newfangled "Gravel Bikes" were more like road endurance geometry, with more relaxed head angles, longer wheelbases, and lower bottom brackets, while "Cyclocross" implied more of an off-road race geometry with fast handling and a higher bottom bracket. So I've largely ignored bikes classified as "Cyclocross". But this Turner actually has a pretty relaxed head angle and long wheelbase.
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Old 03-19-19, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by HarborBandS
I have been under the impression that the newfangled "Gravel Bikes" were more like
"Cyclocross" implied more of an
Bicycle categories are extremely fuzzy.
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Old 03-19-19, 01:33 PM
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cross posted from another thread-

https://www.diamondback.com/road-bik...-7c-carbon-d41 $2160 shipped. Carbon, good components, relaxed HTA with pretty standard road STA.

https://fairlightcycles.com/product/...v=7516fd43adaa A Fairlight Secan is $1200 for the frameset. 2161g frame weight in your size and 425g fork. So just under 2600g total which is 5.75#.
This could be built into a bike thats under 21# with Ultegra Hydraulic drivetrain, wheels that weigh 1650g or less, and quality 40mm tires that weigh 375g or less each. Thats very realistic.
The Secan geometry is pretty road oriented- 77mm bb drop with a 72 HTA and 73.5 STA.and 61mm of trail. 853 main triangle, shaped stays, light carbon fork- pretty killer.
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Old 03-19-19, 02:06 PM
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This is what I'm riding. I also bought a set of November Bicycles RCG36 carbon wheels, running Schwalbe Pro One 30mm road tires on them. Run 38mm G One All Arounds on the stock wheels. They are interchangeable, just had to add one disc shim to the Stans hubs to align with the DT Swiss hubs.

https://www.bikebling.com/Niner-RLT-...4-18-47-55.htm
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Old 03-19-19, 02:21 PM
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cannondale superx QR would easily get you in the range, 40c will clear but not by much depending on tread and be under $2k
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Old 03-19-19, 02:48 PM
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I can walk to a Cannondale dealer, and apparently have a Niner dealer a half hour away. Might make for a fun Saturday some time soon.
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Old 03-19-19, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by HarborBandS
What I've ruled out: The Specialized Diverge, due to Futureshock issues and the recall. I like to do my own maintenance, so something like that is a deal breaker.
The future shock has a lifetime warranty and requires little to no maintenance. Whatever noise concerns the future shock had were short lived and have mostly gone away. The recall was a simple collar replacement. The system is pretty easy to work on once you get the process down. Really a non-issue at this point.
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Old 03-19-19, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Bryan C.
The future shock has a lifetime warranty and requires little to no maintenance. Whatever noise concerns the future shock had were short lived and have mostly gone away. The recall was a simple collar replacement. The system is pretty easy to work on once you get the process down. Really a non-issue at this point.
I'm sure I'd be happy with the Diverge at first. But I tend to keep bikes (or at least frames) for a long time, and do all of my own maintenance. And I often swap out parts over time. Not having the ability to swap out a headset or fork myself to something else is a deal breaker for me. I'd rather just have a standard headset and steerer tube.

This is an even bigger issue with the Canyon Grail. If I can't change the handlebars and stem myself, I'm not buying the bike. But at least with the Specialized, I can try it out first at a local bike shop.

I also saw somewhere that the Futureshock (maybe on this forum) needs a polymer replacement every 500 miles. Is this a false internet rumor?
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Old 03-19-19, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by HarborBandS
I'm sure I'd be happy with the Diverge at first. But I tend to keep bikes (or at least frames) for a long time, and do all of my own maintenance. And I often swap out parts over time. Not having the ability to swap out a headset or fork myself to something else is a deal breaker for me. I'd rather just have a standard headset and steerer tube.

This is an even bigger issue with the Canyon Grail. If I can't change the handlebars and stem myself, I'm not buying the bike. But at least with the Specialized, I can try it out first at a local bike shop.

I also saw somewhere that the Futureshock (maybe on this forum) needs a polymer replacement every 500 miles. Is this a false internet rumor?
I can understand the issues revolving around proprietary parts. The longevity, or lack thereof, of some of these new designs is certainly something to consider when buying a new bike as well.

As for the service interval for the future shock I believe it is 500 hours of use. And then it is only regreasing and checking for wear. If the cartridge itself is disassembled by anyone other than a specialized dealer they will void the warranty. The cartridge can be removed without disassembly, as well as the helper spring can be replaced by removing the stem and a screw in cap.
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Old 03-19-19, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97
cannondale superx QR would easily get you in the range, 40c will clear but not by much depending on tread and be under $2k
No one is buying a new SuperX for under $2000. Maybe a CaadX but not a SuperX.
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Old 03-19-19, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Dominae

No one is buying a new SuperX for under $2000. Maybe a CaadX but not a SuperX.
sorry that wasn't clear, i meant used which is why I specified QR
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Old 03-19-19, 06:22 PM
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Cannondale Topstone 105

https://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/Bi...ntid=undefined


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Old 03-19-19, 06:41 PM
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How about building up one of the two gravel frame types from Carbonda ?

Good thread on the RidingGravel forum.
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Old 03-19-19, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Bryan C.
The future shock has a lifetime warranty and requires little to no maintenance. Whatever noise concerns the future shock had were short lived and have mostly gone away. The recall was a simple collar replacement. The system is pretty easy to work on once you get the process down. Really a non-issue at this point.
From what I saw a while back, the warranty was dependent on quite high service intervals by a Specialized dealer which throws the maintenance cost up a lot and doing any work / maintenance yourself would automatically invalidate the warranty.

Whilst in theory it seems good on paper, the service intervals cost you a lot so you're just paying for the lifetime warranty indirectly when it may not be necessary .... no such thing as a free lunch.

Disclaimer: This may have changed in the last year since I looked at it and discounted buying one on that basis.
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Old 03-19-19, 07:20 PM
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I continue to be very happy with My SL5 Checkpoint. I'm quite impressed with the IsoSpeed. Riding near the edge on some pretty bad chip seal roads and it smooths out the ride. I have a friend that has to stay in the middle of the same road and look for the smooth spot on his 28's to avoid being jarred into the next county.
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Old 03-19-19, 07:27 PM
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Are Merida Silex's available where you are, they have a few in their range that may be worth looking at depending on cost / preferred gearing.
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Old 03-19-19, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Witterings
Are Merida Silex's available where you are, they have a few in their range that may be worth looking at depending on cost / preferred gearing.
merida is a no go on this side of the pond. Its called specialized here.
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Old 03-19-19, 08:51 PM
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One of the Jamis Renegade models?


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Old 03-19-19, 09:18 PM
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Man, this is pretty much exactly where I'm at. It's like I wrote the original post. *following*
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Old 03-20-19, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by HarborBandS
Thanks, that one was definitely not on my radar!

I have been under the impression that the newfangled "Gravel Bikes" were more like road endurance geometry, with more relaxed head angles, longer wheelbases, and lower bottom brackets, while "Cyclocross" implied more of an off-road race geometry with fast handling and a higher bottom bracket. So I've largely ignored bikes classified as "Cyclocross". But this Turner actually has a pretty relaxed head angle and long wheelbase.
Yeah, Dave was ahead of the curve with this bike, not for the first time either. It's a gravel bike but there wasn't really such a catagory then, hence the "Cyclo" name. I was seriously interested in one for a while but I need a bike with fender mounts.

It can be made even gravelly-er by running 650bx47; it is compatible. Scroll down a bit here: https://www.cxmagazine.com/turner-cy...sea-otter-2017
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Old 03-20-19, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH
This seems a logical choice, at least for consideration.
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