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Help - I'm drowning in information and confusion!

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 :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Help - I'm drowning in information and confusion!

Old 07-25-19, 10:21 AM
  #26  
BluFalconActual
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Originally Posted by bjn74 View Post
Yep - that's the one! Looks great! I'm looking forward to my next ride this weekend.



Interestingly I have been looking at the Canyon bikes too. I love the look of the Grail CF. Yes, even the hover bar! Just a bit uncertain as I can't test ride those bars. I also like the look/value of the Grail AL 7. That's about the same weight as the carbon bikes I'm looking at. And way cheaper with budget to spare for other stuff.



If only I was in Atalanta - I do have a good espresso machine so could have done that deal! You'll have to come to Dallas for the coffee and ride.


Thanks for all the other comments and inputs too! Will keep doing test rides. I'm not in a rush (intend to purchase in the next 2-8 weeks). Have been slow to reply as apparently I can't post more than 5 times in 24 hours.

Any comments on the whole Aluminum vs Carbon frame issue? I initially assumed carbon = lighter weight. Apparently not the case. So why spend a $1000 more for a carbon frame for no weight savings? As mentioned above something like the Canyon Grail AL 7 with 105 running gear for $1700 seems attractive. It's about the same weight as all the carbon bikes I'm looking at and leaves a lot in my budget for other stuff (like a set of lighter road wheels). More information to digest!

I did see more information on the new 2020 Trek Domane too. Looks pretty nice! And will take a 38mm tire with 4mm to spare either side.
Carbon can be lighter than AL, but the reason for a carbon gravel bike is because you can also engineer it to do things like flex a lot more than metal which makes it really comfortable. When you take the Revolt for a ride, push down on the rear of the saddle and you’ll be able to see the entire seat post flex. It’s really noticeable when riding on rough roads. Also carbon frames from a lot of manufacturers have a lifetime warranty because they don’t degrade and break after a certain amount of time like AL frames can.
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Old 07-25-19, 11:51 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by bjn74 View Post
If only I was in Atalanta - I do have a good espresso machine so could have done that deal! You'll have to come to Dallas for the coffee and ride.
I'll let you know if I ever head out that way.

Good luck with your choice.


-Tim-
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Old 07-25-19, 12:28 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post

As for compliance, bikes can be pretty plush in the rear (especially with a goo seat post). Most complaints are in the front.

I stopped by the trek and spec. store yesterday. Dang, that diverge has lots of tire clearance. I do think it is odd that the trek had the iso-decoupler in the rear, but not the front. I would put a (mini) suspension on the front rather than the rear (just like a mountain bike – ever hear of a rear suspension and ridged fork?).

Personally, I don’t put much weight on my front hands, so I don’t really notice my front stiff end (other than the precision when CX racing or threading a tight course). Still, if you are doing any rough road riding, it is a benefit. If you are doing a lot of pavement and out of the saddle accelerations – maybe not.
I totally agree that the front of the bike is the place where we should seek for more comfort and not the back. I did some testing to find out how big is difference in terms of front and back vibration and in general front of the bike can provides up to 4 and a half more vibrations to our body than the back (see my test here: https://gravelbikes.cc/features/wher...iding-comfort/ ). Thas is a huge difference and this is why we should embrace solutiuons like redshift suspension stem and Specialized Futureshock. Hopefully in near future we will see more of them...
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Old 07-25-19, 03:16 PM
  #29  
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Canyon AL grail is a great choice (and easier to custom fit).

I like my aluminum bikes as they are pretty responsive and durable. I like a stiff frame with a softer tires, compliant fork/stem, and compliant seat post.

Carbon has the advantage of possibly being super stiff where you need it and more compliant where you don’t (although hydroformed aluminum is starting to do that too). My carbon is a little more fragile in that scratches and dings pretty easy too.

With the Grail – its mostly a weight factor, although this AL bike will be a little stiffer.



Tim – the unboxing and assembly is rather fun. The reboxing if you need to send it back is a PITA.
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Old 07-25-19, 03:47 PM
  #30  
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I am also considering many of these same bikes, and have test ridden a few of them. I quickly ruled out the Diverge. I absolutely did not like the spongy front end with the FutureShock. However, others clearly do like it.

But the new 2020 Trek Domane is now taking my gaze away from many of those that have been marketed as "gravel bikes".

-Fits 38mm tires with room (or 35mm with fenders)
-Cool storage compartment could eliminate saddle bag
-More of a road geometry with steeper head angle, short seat stays, etc--but still good straight line capability. Could be fun on some of my hilly courses with tight turns.
-Front AND rear IsoSpeed
-It's almost... Aero?
-Fit in better with snobby roadies.**

**Okay, nah, won't happen. Not an Emonda or Madone with race geometry and a slammed stem. Oh well.

I have always liked the Domane, but didn't want to deal with the lower tire clearance on the 2019 and earlier models. Now that issue has evaporated. Might even be able to fit 40's or larger on it.

Wait, is this new Domane a gravel bike? I can't tell. It's not green, orange, or brown and it doesn't have WTB tires on it!
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Old 07-25-19, 04:25 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by HarborBandS View Post
I am also considering many of these same bikes, and have test ridden a few of them. I quickly ruled out the Diverge. I absolutely did not like the spongy front end with the FutureShock. However, others clearly do like it.

But the new 2020 Trek Domane is now taking my gaze away from many of those that have been marketed as "gravel bikes".


-Fits 38mm tires with room (or 35mm with fenders)
-Cool storage compartment could eliminate saddle bag
-More of a road geometry with steeper head angle, short seat stays, etc--but still good straight line capability. Could be fun on some of my hilly courses with tight turns.
-Front AND rear IsoSpeed
-It's almost... Aero?
-Fit in better with snobby roadies.**

**Okay, nah, won't happen. Not an Emonda or Madone with race geometry and a slammed stem. Oh well.

I have always liked the Domane, but didn't want to deal with the lower tire clearance on the 2019 and earlier models. Now that issue has evaporated. Might even be able to fit 40's or larger on it.

Wait, is this new Domane a gravel bike? I can't tell. It's not green, orange, or brown and it doesn't have WTB tires on it!
To me, the greatest improvement to that bike is going with a threaded T47 BB. I have luckily had 0 issues with the BB90 in my Emonda but I am really glad the industry seems to be going back to a simple threaded bb
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Old 07-26-19, 07:28 AM
  #32  
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My riding is similar to what you are describing. Majority (~65%) pavement, but a significant amount of dirt path and dirt/gravel roads. Here is my take:

Get something that will clear at least 38mm tires. There are some very light and fast 32-38mm slick tires out there that give up only a little on the pavement, due to the increased aero drag (but they roll just as fast). I run 35-38mm Compass tires and literally NEVER miss smaller tires on pavement.

I have also not felt the need for a second wheelset with different tires. Large, supple, slick tires work very well for me on both pavement and gravel. The only time I have felt the need for “gravel” tires with tread is in on slick or muddy gravel/dirt roads, but realistically those sections are short enough that I would still rather be on my slicks on pretty much all the rides I do.

I would not even consider suspension on a bike for this purpose. Just another thing to maintain and futz with. I’ve got nothing against suspension and even used an 80mm fork on an adventure bike I built yeas ago, but for the intended purpose here it seems silly to me.

So of the three you mention, the Giant Revolt is the one that would most interest me.

Last edited by Kapusta; 07-26-19 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 07-26-19, 08:15 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I have also not felt the need for a second wheelset with different tires. Large, supple, slick tires work very well for me on both pavement and gravel. The only time I have felt the need for “gravel” tires with tread is in on slick or muddy gravel/dirt roads, but realistically those sections are short enough that I would still rather be on my slicks on pretty much all the rides I do.
Another good post by @Kapusta.

Even a supple, light file tread tire like the Shwalbe G-One Allaround is going to perform incredibly well on the road and give up little off pavement except for wet/muddy conditions.

Paired with a light wheelset and there really is no need for a second set of wheels outside of truly fast race simulation roadie group rides.


-Tim-
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Old 07-26-19, 08:28 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by HarborBandS View Post
I am also considering many of these same bikes, and have test ridden a few of them. I quickly ruled out the Diverge. I absolutely did not like the spongy front end with the FutureShock. However, others clearly do like it.

But the new 2020 Trek Domane is now taking my gaze away from many of those that have been marketed as "gravel bikes".

-Fits 38mm tires with room (or 35mm with fenders)
-Cool storage compartment could eliminate saddle bag
-More of a road geometry with steeper head angle, short seat stays, etc--but still good straight line capability. Could be fun on some of my hilly courses with tight turns.
-Front AND rear IsoSpeed
-It's almost... Aero?
-Fit in better with snobby roadies.**

**Okay, nah, won't happen. Not an Emonda or Madone with race geometry and a slammed stem. Oh well.

I have always liked the Domane, but didn't want to deal with the lower tire clearance on the 2019 and earlier models. Now that issue has evaporated. Might even be able to fit 40's or larger on it.

Wait, is this new Domane a gravel bike? I can't tell. It's not green, orange, or brown and it doesn't have WTB tires on it!
Yeah - there's a lot to like about the new Domane (at least on paper!). I'll see how soon I can test ride one. 38mm tires on this could be a great bike for my needs.

Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
My riding is similar to what you are describing. Majority (~65%) pavement, but a significant amount of dirt path and dirt/gravel roads. Here is my take:

Get something that will clear at least 38mm tires. There are some very light and fast 32-38mm slick tires out there that give up only a little on the pavement, due to the increased aero drag. I run 35-38mm Compass tires and literally NEVER miss smaller tires on pavement.

I have also not felt the need for a second wheelset with different tires. Large, supple, slick tires work very well for me on both pavement and gravel. The only time I have felt the need for “gravel” tires with tread is in on slick or muddy gravel/dirt roads, but realistically those sections are short enough that I would still rather be on my slicks on pretty much all the rides I do.

I would not even consider suspension on a bike for this purpose. Just another thing to maintain and futz with. I’ve got nothing against suspension and even used an 80mm fork on an adventure bike I built yeas ago, but for the intended purpose here it seems silly to me.

So of the three you mention, the Giant Revolt is the one that would most interest me.
Thanks for this input. My mate pretty much tells me the same thing. Suspension may feel comfortable when you just jump on for a quick ride but once you get more serious and spend more time on the bike, it'll be a waste and a disadvantage for the majority of the riding you do. I really like the revolt. Looking forward to seeing it in the color and size I like this weekend and going for a test ride.

Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Another good post by @Kapusta.

Even a supple, light file tread tire like the Shwalbe G-One Allaround is going to perform incredibly well on the road and give up little off pavement except for wet/muddy conditions.

Paired with a light wheelset and there really is no need for a second set of wheels outside of truly fast race simulation roadie group rides.


-Tim-
I certainly don't intend to be chasing wet/muddy conditions, especially if the wife joins me! It'll be fair weather riding. So thanks for the comments.
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Old 07-26-19, 08:31 AM
  #35  
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I recently rode most of those bikes, except the Giant. In addition i rode a Jamis Renegade and Surly Straggler. I ended up choosing a Checkpoint ALR5. I wanted the good spec and didn't feel the need for carbon or the isocoupler rear. I use it mostly for commuting on rough roads and i hav about half a mile of dirt path on the way. It rides great. The Checkpoint is on the snappier end of the spectrum. It feels fast and responsive which i like. It can also fit 2.0 mountain bike tires! Some guy on here i think posted pics of it. Or maybe mtbr.com.

I also enjoyed the Jamis Renegade quite a bit. The Straggler had a very low front end, too low for me. The Diverge wasn't as inspiring and i think the specs were low for the price if i remember right.
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Old 07-26-19, 08:44 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by bjn74 View Post
Yeah - there's a lot to like about the new Domane (at least on paper!). I'll see how soon I can test ride one. 38mm tires on this could be a great bike for my needs.
.
I did not realize the new Domane took 38s. Well then, I would definitely NOT rule that one out.

One of the reasons I went with a Soma Fog Cutter a few years ago was that the geo (or at least the handling-related numbers) was more "road-like" than most other bikes that could clear big tires at the time I was looking. If the Domain is similar, then it would definitely interest me... except I don't think the stack and reach numbers work well for me personally (I have odd fit needs).

I have no illusions of my bike receiving anything but snickering scorn from roadies, but that's fine by me. I love hearing them whine about the conditions of roads that I don't even give a second thought to.
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Old 07-26-19, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I did not realize the new Domane took 38s. Well then, I would definitely NOT rule that one out.

One of the reasons I went with a Soma Fog Cutter a few years ago was that the geo (or at least the handling-related numbers) was more "road-like" than most other bikes that could clear big tires at the time I was looking. If the Domain is similar, then it would definitely interest me... except I don't think the stack and reach numbers work well for me personally (I have odd fit needs).

I have no illusions of my bike receiving anything but snickering scorn from roadies, but that's fine by me. I love hearing them whine about the conditions of roads that I don't even give a second thought to.
Yep - an interesting decision by Trek. Unless you need a lot of clearance for mud and stuff and you spend all your time on gravel, I struggle to see why you'd get the checkpoint over the Domane on 38mm tires. The new Domane looks cool too!
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Old 07-27-19, 02:52 PM
  #38  
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The nice thing about vintage bikes is they fit bigger tires. But hub and bottom bracket standards have changed so much in the last few years parts are getting tough to find. I was looking for nice set of 135mm rim brake wheels. Talk about hard to find. All I see are really crappy or really expensive. Disc and Boost have taken over and the market jumped on the new standard. To me that’s the hardest part of selecting a new bike.
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Old 07-28-19, 07:16 PM
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So had an interesting day out test riding yesterday.

Giant dealer. Went and rode the Giant Revolt Advanced 2. The shop had the bike in my size and did a quick 'that's close enough' seat adjustment. Test ride was 'Go out that way to the car park. Just don't leave the pavement'. There were some quiet roads around so went for about a 1 mile paved road test. Bike felt comfortable. Loved the look. Nothing I didn't like. Just not a very robust test ride. Never hit any rough roads. Seems like a great value bike - $2300. Full 105 running gear and hydraulic brakes.

Trek dealer. They had the new Domane in stock! I wanted to look at the SL5 (105) in blue and they had that. The bike looks awesome. The SL5 was size 52. They put the bike on the training machine and got me to jump so they could fit it properly. Decided it was too small. They luckily had an SL7 (Di2) in size 54. They put that on the machine and spent about 15 minutes checking fit and adjusting the seat etc.

We spoke a bit about gravel bikes and what I was looking at. Spoke about the Checkpoint. He recommended the Domane over the checkpoint unless I was looking at wet weather gravel riding, mud etc (just due to tire size/clearance). He then suggested a 7 mile ride on the Domane that included about a mile of gravel, dirt, rock, ruts so I could see how comfortable the Domane was. It had 32c road tires on it. I must say I was a bit nervous taking a $6k road bike off-road! Loved the ride. Super impressed. Very comfortable. I think the SL5 will be the bike I get.

Will sit on it for a bit and go back for another ride to make sure but if you're looking for the same sort of bike I am, highly recommend a test ride on the new Domane. The only thing is that it's at the higher end of the major brand carbon bikes with 105 gear. $2900. Makes the Giant look like great value!
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Old 07-28-19, 09:29 PM
  #40  
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So, you like the Trek bike better and the Trek shop better.

As long as the frame is the same on the Trek you rode as the one you are are looking at buying, it sounds like an easy decision to me.
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Old 07-29-19, 07:48 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
So, you like the Trek bike better and the Trek shop better.

As long as the frame is the same on the Trek you rode as the one you are are looking at buying, it sounds like an easy decision to me.
Yep - the frame is the same, just different running gear!
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Old 07-29-19, 08:54 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by bjn74 View Post
Yep - an interesting decision by Trek. Unless you need a lot of clearance for mud and stuff and you spend all your time on gravel, I struggle to see why you'd get the checkpoint over the Domane on 38mm tires. The new Domane looks cool too!
I'm thinking its a bit like the difference between a touring bike and an endurance bike. Checkpoint is a little more heavy duty and build to be ridden loaded down. That is one reason the trail is so low - if you load down a slow handling bike, you really have to manhandle it with the extra weight.
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Old 07-29-19, 09:30 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by bjn74 View Post
So had an interesting day out test riding yesterday.

Giant dealer. Went and rode the Giant Revolt Advanced 2. The shop had the bike in my size and did a quick 'that's close enough' seat adjustment. Test ride was 'Go out that way to the car park. Just don't leave the pavement'. There were some quiet roads around so went for about a 1 mile paved road test. Bike felt comfortable. Loved the look. Nothing I didn't like. Just not a very robust test ride. Never hit any rough roads. Seems like a great value bike - $2300. Full 105 running gear and hydraulic brakes.

Trek dealer. They had the new Domane in stock! I wanted to look at the SL5 (105) in blue and they had that. The bike looks awesome. The SL5 was size 52. They put the bike on the training machine and got me to jump so they could fit it properly. Decided it was too small. They luckily had an SL7 (Di2) in size 54. They put that on the machine and spent about 15 minutes checking fit and adjusting the seat etc.

We spoke a bit about gravel bikes and what I was looking at. Spoke about the Checkpoint. He recommended the Domane over the checkpoint unless I was looking at wet weather gravel riding, mud etc (just due to tire size/clearance). He then suggested a 7 mile ride on the Domane that included about a mile of gravel, dirt, rock, ruts so I could see how comfortable the Domane was. It had 32c road tires on it. I must say I was a bit nervous taking a $6k road bike off-road! Loved the ride. Super impressed. Very comfortable. I think the SL5 will be the bike I get.

Will sit on it for a bit and go back for another ride to make sure but if you're looking for the same sort of bike I am, highly recommend a test ride on the new Domane. The only thing is that it's at the higher end of the major brand carbon bikes with 105 gear. $2900. Makes the Giant look like great value!
Slightly OT but it drives me crazy when I hear stories of an LBS refusing to allow test rides, or only allowing virtually useless test rides, or refusing to try to find a bike in the right size that someone can test.

Would you buy a car if you could only drive it around the parking lot? Hell there are some dealerships that will let you take the car home for a few days to try it out.

I get that they're trying to protect their inventory but it's completely myopic and short sighted. As OP has shown, he's much more likely to buy a bike from the LBS that actually took the time to make sure he was on a bike that fit, rather than buy a bike from the store that did a cursory saddle height adjustment and then said "don't take that gravel bike off of the pavement."

I'm fortunate that my LBS will even order a bike in your size just so you can test ride it. No deposit or anything. LBS like the Giant shop that OP went to are shooting themselves in the foot--in a retail environment in which they can't afford to make mistakes like this.
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Old 07-29-19, 09:33 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
Slightly OT but it drives me crazy when I hear stories of an LBS refusing to allow test rides, or only allowing virtually useless test rides, or refusing to try to find a bike in the right size that someone can test.

Would you buy a car if you could only drive it around the parking lot? Hell there are some dealerships that will let you take the car home for a few days to try it out.

I get that they're trying to protect their inventory but it's completely myopic and short sighted. As OP has shown, he's much more likely to buy a bike from the LBS that actually took the time to make sure he was on a bike that fit, rather than buy a bike from the store that did a cursory saddle height adjustment and then said "don't take that gravel bike off of the pavement."

I'm fortunate that my LBS will even order a bike in your size just so you can test ride it. No deposit or anything. LBS like the Giant shop that OP went to are shooting themselves in the foot--in a retail environment in which they can't afford to make mistakes like this.
I agree 100%. I really like the Giant and if I could have had a longer test ride, and found some rough/gravel roads I'm sure I would have been impressed. At $2300 it seems like great value too. But it was an underwhelming LBS experience and pushed me towards Trek,
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Old 07-29-19, 12:19 PM
  #45  
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So here's a question about the Grail ordering.

Say I know my ideal reach (480mm total counting frame and stem). Will Canyon replace the funky bar at no cost when I order the bike to accommodate that? Grails have a longer reach so most ideal combo would be a L with a 60mm stem.

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Old 07-29-19, 12:26 PM
  #46  
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I'd call or visit Canyon in Carlsbad and ask them.
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Old 07-30-19, 11:21 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
So here's a question about the Grail ordering.

Say I know my ideal reach (480mm total counting frame and stem). Will Canyon replace the funky bar at no cost when I order the bike to accommodate that? Grails have a longer reach so most ideal combo would be a L with a 60mm stem.

Yes in Europe
No in USA.

They will sell you a replacement bar for ~$400, and tell you that you can ebay the spare bar. ;-)
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Old 07-30-19, 10:08 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by bjn74 View Post
Super impressed. Very comfortable. I think the SL5 will be the bike I get.

Will sit on it for a bit and go back for another ride to make sure but if you're looking for the same sort of bike I am, highly recommend a test ride on the new Domane. The only thing is that it's at the higher end of the major brand carbon bikes with 105 gear. $2900. Makes the Giant look like great value!
Funny, I am leaning the same direction after considering and testing a lot of the same bikes as you. The Domane just checks all of the boxes for me.

The new Domane SL5 is a little heavy for a road bike, but not so much for a gravel bike. I need to investigate where the bulk is coming from. I suspect the stock wheels are boat anchors...
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Old 07-31-19, 07:26 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by bjn74 View Post
First post here! I've not cycled for about 15 years and when I did I pretty much just did mountain bike riding. HELP!!!
Mountain bike riding: is that a mountain bike riding or just a mountain bike used for general riding?

Fifteen years: When you get back in shape by lots of riding, then you will know more about which bike to get. Right now its the cart before the horse. Your $3,000 budget may not be the same after all.

Wifey: she may forgive you for all the riding you do without her.
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Old 07-31-19, 07:46 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
Mountain bike riding: is that a mountain bike riding or just a mountain bike used for general riding?

Fifteen years: When you get back in shape by lots of riding, then you will know more about which bike to get. Right now its the cart before the horse. Your $3,000 budget may not be the same after all.

Wifey: she may forgive you for all the riding you do without her.
It was mountain bike riding - mostly cross country mixed with downhill. I am torn about getting a cheap bike to get started vs spending the money I have allocated and getting a nice $3k bike now!
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