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Willard worthy of upgrade?

Old 06-11-19, 09:29 AM
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BluFalconActual
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Willard worthy of upgrade?

So, I am a roadie at heart. I started out a couple years ago just riding for enjoyment and then it slowly became a more and more competitive thing as I got faster and better at it. I noticed the past couple months I have just been burnt out of riding road because I am constantly trying to improve my ftp, save watts, chase KOMís, etc. I have a Raleigh Willard 4 that I bought a little over a year ago for commuting and I have kind of fallen back in love with cycling due to the laid back nature of the whole gravel sub-genre.

There is a lot to love about the Willard. I like the geometry, I LOVE the fact that it has a threaded BB, and it already has a carbon fork and full 105. There are things I want to change, like getting rid of the TRP brakes and going hydraulic. I was filling my shopping cart with the new Shimano GRX stuff that is supposed to be coming out in a week but I honestly donít know if a bike from Raleigh is even worth the $$ of getting a new shifters and brakes (or a full groupset) or even and possibly a new set of wheels.

I am new to this whole gravel thing but any opinions would be appreciated.
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Old 06-11-19, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by BluFalconActual View Post
So, I am a roadie at heart. I started out a couple years ago just riding for enjoyment and then it slowly became a more and more competitive thing as I got faster and better at it. I noticed the past couple months I have just been burnt out of riding road because I am constantly trying to improve my ftp, save watts, chase KOM’s, etc. I have a Raleigh Willard 4 that I bought a little over a year ago for commuting and I have kind of fallen back in love with cycling due to the laid back nature of the whole gravel sub-genre.

There is a lot to love about the Willard. I like the geometry, I LOVE the fact that it has a threaded BB, and it already has a carbon fork and full 105. There are things I want to change, like getting rid of the TRP brakes and going hydraulic. I was filling my shopping cart with the new Shimano GRX stuff that is supposed to be coming out in a week but I honestly don’t know if a bike from Raleigh is even worth the $$ of getting a new shifters and brakes (or a full groupset) or even and possibly a new set of wheels.

I am new to this whole gravel thing but any opinions would be appreciated.
Wow you sound just like me.

Quick question: will you be riding gravel roads? Knowing where you will ride your Willard will help frame the advice.
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Old 06-11-19, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
Wow you sound just like me.

Quick question: will you be riding gravel roads? Knowing where you will ride your Willard will help frame the advice.
I think I probably sound like a lot of people which is why the whole gravel thing has taken off.

Right now Iím stationed in the desert so most ďgravelĒ routes are sandy trails. Because of that, 75 percent of my riding is on paved roads.
I should be headed back to San Diego after this which has a huge amount of dirt/gravel trails on base. Even when Iím riding on road though, I found itís nice to not worry about PRís and just be comfortable and enjoy the ride
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Old 06-11-19, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by BluFalconActual View Post
There is a lot to love about the Willard. I like the geometry, I LOVE the fact that it has a threaded BB, and it already has a carbon fork and full 105. There are things I want to change, like getting rid of the TRP brakes and going hydraulic. I was filling my shopping cart with the new Shimano GRX stuff that is supposed to be coming out in a week but I honestly donít know if a bike from Raleigh is even worth the $$ of getting a new shifters and brakes (or a full groupset) or even and possibly a new set of wheels.

I am new to this whole gravel thing but any opinions would be appreciated.
So you want to get hydraulic brakes. Thats all you really list in terms of changes(plus possibly new wheels).

If you like everything but not having hydraulic brakes, then by all means get some new brakes and matching shifters.
If you want new wheels, by all means get them too.

I get not wanting to 'waste' money on something that isnt nice enough, but if its nice enough to you(and it seems to be), then its absolutely worth updating/upgrading.
You could get a new bike which at that group level will cost a could grand give or take. On that will be almost for sure be some OEM generic wheels that will effectively be the same level quality as your current wheelset. So if you want wheels now, you will probably want wheels for the new bike too. I mention this because effectively the wheels are a wash.

So its pay however many hundred dollars for new brakes and shifters for your bike or pay a couple thousand for a new bike.

The frameset is certainly worth keeping in terms of quality. Its hardly low end and whats most important- it fits you.

Is the new GRX stuff really better than whats currently available from Shimano? That is what I would look into. Whats the difference in cost versus the difference in design.
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Old 06-11-19, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
so you want to get hydraulic brakes. Thats all you really list in terms of changes(plus possibly new wheels).

If you like everything but not having hydraulic brakes, then by all means get some new brakes and matching shifters.
If you want new wheels, by all means get them too.

I get not wanting to 'waste' money on something that isnt nice enough, but if its nice enough to you(and it seems to be), then its absolutely worth updating/upgrading.
You could get a new bike which at that group level will cost a could grand give or take. On that will be almost for sure be some oem generic wheels that will effectively be the same level quality as your current wheelset. So if you want wheels now, you will probably want wheels for the new bike too. I mention this because effectively the wheels are a wash.

So its pay however many hundred dollars for new brakes and shifters for your bike or pay a couple thousand for a new bike.

The frameset is certainly worth keeping in terms of quality. Its hardly low end and whats most important- it fits you.

Is the new grx stuff really better than whats currently available from shimano? That is what i would look into. Whats the difference in cost versus the difference in design.
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Old 06-11-19, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by BluFalconActual View Post
Right now Iím stationed in the desert so most ďgravelĒ routes are sandy trails.
Any chance you are part of the AF cycling team that assists on RAGBRAI?
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Old 06-12-19, 05:13 AM
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Thanks all for the advice. I have a lot to think about.


I’m not in the Air Force. I’m a Marine
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Old 06-12-19, 06:59 AM
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If you like the geometry, Accell's frames are decent quality. They aren't grade A, top shelf, prime stuff, but those come with a 5 figure price tag. Most of Accell's frames are worthy of whatever components you elect to attach to them. Get some Shimano Ultegra brifters and calipers and upgrade at will. If you buy the previous generation stuff, you could save a bit of money & I don't know if there is a huge difference. I have the ST-RS685 brifters with BR-RS805 calipers. My only complaint, and I don't know if it is limited to this model or not, is brake fade on longer gravel descents. On tarmac this is not a problem because I rarely use the brakes, so they are always cool when I do use them.

I took a look at the specs of your Willard 4, and I am a huge fan of the drivetrain setup. All too often, it seem that manufacturers tried to bring the 46/36 cyclocross standard over to their gravel bikes, with (until recently) the biggest range cassette available being a 11-32. It is my opinion that a gravel bike should have a minimum of a 1:1 gearing available. Raleigh seems to have hit the mark on this with plenty of gearing for both ends.
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Old 06-12-19, 07:52 AM
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Awesome. Thanks! As of right now, I have the following in my shopping cart:

-A set of Mercury carbon G1 wheels
-Shimano 105 hydraulic shifters
-Shimano RS785 calipers (post mount)
-Shimano XT 160 mm rotors

The price is 1600, which is about 500 bucks less than a new Canyon Grail AL after shipping and sales tax. I have no doubt that the AL frame of the Willard is probably in the same realm as the Canyon, but one says Canyon on the down tube.

Pull the trigger or is that too much bling for the frame?
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Old 06-12-19, 10:35 AM
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A Grail AL 7.0 cost $1800 including tax shipped, right?
The Grail wheelset is, from what i can see and read, quite nice for a stock wheelset. 1800g, good spokes, nice wide ranging rim profile.

But if you wanted to put the carbon wheels on a Grail, then that would change the total out of pocket costs a HUGE amount. A comparable wheelset to what the Grail has would cost $450. So if you want to compare apples, then use that amount of money for wheels when figuring out if its a good cost decision to upgrade.

Oh- and the Grail's geometry is really stretched vs the Raleigh. Just mentioning that since you said you love the fit of the Raleigh.
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Old 06-12-19, 10:42 AM
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The Grail is $1799 before tax and shipping. Out the door price would be right around $2050 for me.

I really appreciate the help and guidance
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Old 06-12-19, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by BluFalconActual View Post
I have no doubt that the AL frame of the Willard is probably in the same realm as the Canyon, but one says Canyon on the down tube.
Ahhhh..now we're getting to the heart of it. This is a big reason I sold my Tamland too. The name on the downtube will never change, and I wouldn't want to put money into that if it would bother me. Also, you're spending money on an "outdated" standard with the post mount calipers. It seems like you'd be better off getting the bike you'll enjoy riding long term.
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Old 06-12-19, 01:56 PM
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I'm old enough that I don't mind the Raleigh brand on my Tamland, though I understand there is no connection to our old favorites. The post mount calipers and 15mm thru axle are unfortunate, but I love the pale green color! I might put a GRX crank on it but other upgrades are unlikely. TBH, I don't get to ride gravel as often as I'd hoped.
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Old 06-12-19, 02:12 PM
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I didn’t even realize the 15mm thru axle. That’s a major bummer. That solves that then. Now I need to decide if I can convince the wife to let me get the Ibis Hakka MX
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Old 06-13-19, 02:44 PM
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Thought about it, researched, thought about it some more and ended up buying this. 2020 Giant Revolt Advanced 2. Wheels are probably boat anchors but they are set up tubeless already which is cool. Now I just have to patiently wait a week in order for the shop to get it and assemble it.
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Old 06-13-19, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by BluFalconActual View Post
Thought about it, researched, thought about it some more and ended up buying this. 2020 Giant Revolt Advanced 2. Wheels are probably boat anchors but they are set up tubeless already which is cool. Now I just have to patiently wait a week in order for the shop to get it and assemble it.
Nice dude, I think that was a good choice.
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Old 06-14-19, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by BluFalconActual View Post
Thought about it, researched, thought about it some more and ended up buying this. 2020 Giant Revolt Advanced 2. Wheels are probably boat anchors but they are set up tubeless already which is cool. Now I just have to patiently wait a week in order for the shop to get it and assemble it.
I was going to suggest the Revolt Advanced 2, I love mine! And with a second wheelset, it makes a great road bike. The 105 hyd brakes are fantastic (I ordered a '19 because I wanted the orange, and had my shop put on the 105 hyd levers/brakes)! And while the stock wheels are heavy, I had no problems offroad, the Crosscut tires performed great. The d-fuse seatpost and bars, combined with 40mm tubeless, makes for an extremely comfortable ride. I also like that there's a third cage mount under the downtube, great place for a repair kit. It's odd that in most pics I see of the Revolts, the users aren't utilizing this mount, makes me wonder if they don't know about it?

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Old 06-14-19, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
I was going to suggest the Revolt Advanced 2, I love mine! And with a second wheelset, it makes a great road bike. The 105 hyd brakes are fantastic (I ordered a '19 because I wanted the orange, and had my shop put on the 105 hyd levers/brakes)! And while the stock wheels are heavy, I had no problems offroad, the Crosscut tires performed great. The d-fuse seatpost and bars, combined with 40mm tubeless, makes for an extremely comfortable ride. I also like that there's a third cage mount under the downtube, great place for a repair kit. It's odd that in most pics I see of the Revolts, the users aren't utilizing this mount, makes me wonder if they don't know about it?

beautiful bike. I wish they still had that color.
The third bottle mount was a selling point for me living in the desert.
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Old 06-15-19, 04:15 AM
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I don't get the 15mm through axle issue. Even if it were an issue, you mentioned a new wheelset, so why not go for a new Lauf Grit fork with 12x100? Too late now, but maybe you'll want to give me a sweet deal on the Willard - my wife would be so impressed if I were to bring another bike home

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