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Higher end gravel bikes- e.g., Warbird and...what else?

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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.

Higher end gravel bikes- e.g., Warbird and...what else?

Old 01-19-20, 04:44 PM
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MinnMan
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Higher end gravel bikes- e.g., Warbird and...what else?

Will anybody help me do some virtual window shopping?

The bike I currently use for gravel is more like a cx bike, geometry-wise, and also kind of a heavy steel rig. I like it a lot, and I've done gravel centuries on it with no problem. So I don't really need a new bike, but of course....

I'm signed up for a couple of events this coming summer, including one above a double century, and I'm thinking about maybe dropping some large coin on a proper gravel bike that has more comfortable geometry and is lighter. But I don't know much about this part of the bike market. This could be just me dreaming, but an actual purchase is not out of the question.

So, if you were buying a true gravel bike for some distance events, and you had a budget of say, $3k-$5k, what would you consider?
I don't need a bike that would do double duty (i.e., a gravel/road adventure bike). The intention would be pure gravel
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Old 01-19-20, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Will anybody help me do some virtual window shopping?

The bike I currently use for gravel is more like a cx bike, geometry-wise, and also kind of a heavy steel rig. I like it a lot, and I've done gravel centuries on it with no problem. So I don't really need a new bike, but of course....

I'm signed up for a couple of events this coming summer, including one above a double century, and I'm thinking about maybe dropping some large coin on a proper gravel bike that has more comfortable geometry and is lighter. But I don't know much about this part of the bike market. This could be just me dreaming, but an actual purchase is not out of the question.

So, if you were buying a true gravel bike for some distance events, and you had a budget of say, $3k-$5k, what would you consider?
I don't need a bike that would do double duty (i.e., a gravel/road adventure bike). The intention would be pure gravel
Lynskey titanium would be nice. You could also get a really nice Ocoee DI2 carbon bike for 4k (Ocoee is affiliated with Litespeed and is the carbon, consumer direct arm). For 4k that is a screaming deal.

Dave
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Old 01-19-20, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by bonsai171 View Post
Lynskey titanium would be nice.
Seen this one and the reply they received from the manufacturer?
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Old 01-19-20, 05:45 PM
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I keep waiting for a good long term review of Niner's MCR gravel bike. This video is the closest I've seen to a real world review but the reviewer seems more interested in singletrackish stuff to exploit the full sus rather then "here's how it did on a gravel century vs a std bike".


The reviewer notes the bike weight was a little over 25lbs for a 59cm, and that's the higher end version he has. The 2 star version with GRX 10 speed is $4,700.

No doubt you would get an extremely nice "conventional" bike past the $4k point. For Gravel in the Midwest it seems like over kill. However if you could run narrower tires and higher pressure, plus limit body fatigue maybe this could be a killer rig for those ultra long days.
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Old 01-19-20, 06:47 PM
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OPEN U.P. or OPEN U.P.P.E.R.
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Old 01-19-20, 07:50 PM
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What specifically dont you like about your cx bike? Is the steering too twitchy(and if so, what is the head tube angle and fork offset)? Is the tire clearance too tight? What level components are on it?

Do you want 1x or 2x drivetrain?

Do you want a specific frame material or not want a specific frame material?

There are plenty of options in carbon, steel, and aluminum that will be nice in that price range. Some will feel too twitchy or too slow though, depending on what you like. No point in 1x suggestions if you want 2x and vice versa.


Me personally- I would build up a frame. Gets you exactly what you want and often it wont be a lot more $ since after initial purchase, many often buy aftermarket wheels/tires/saddle/bars/stems for their new gravel bikes.
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Old 01-19-20, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
What specifically dont you like about your cx bike? Is the steering too twitchy(and if so, what is the head tube angle and fork offset)? Is the tire clearance too tight? What level components are on it?
I do like the bike - it's a 2016 Masi CXGR. Reasons to think about upgrading are (a) it was marketed at a compromise between a cx and a gravel bike, but it's closer to a cx or road bike in geometry, that is to say, it's more aggressive with less upright position than a pure gravel bike. Also, it's steel and about 25 lbs. (Masi advertised it at 24 lbs, but that was for the 51 cm model, and I'm riding something closer to a 56). It has a very nice 105 5800 road drive train, but the newer 1x drive trains seem pretty attractive.

Regarding frame material, my first thought is carbon, but Ti seems like an interesting idea.
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Old 01-19-20, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by avrilboazmoss View Post
Seen this one and the reply they received from the manufacturer? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRX98HXQz10
Funny you post this. Lynskey has absolutely horrible QC. My buddy had a helix frame swapped out 3 times because of issues with the rear triangle. Every replacement they sent had something wrong with it.
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Old 01-19-20, 11:09 PM
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My observation on the thread so far....


OP: I like my CX bike, but it's kinda heavy
and also kind of a heavy steel rig
guy that rides heavy bikes : what don't you like about it , is it twitchy?
Is the steering too twitchy
OP: It's kinda heavy!
. Also, it's steel and about 25 lbs.
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

you said you didn't need multi purpose so the Warroad might be better for you than the Warbird? I really don't know what size tires fit on the warroad, I also haven't looked at it's geo, I just know it's their lighter stiffer version. something to look into.

there are many good carbon choices at 3-5 grand.

Giant Revolt Advanced.
Niner RLT RDO
Cervelo aspergo
Cannondale Topstone Carbon
Canyon Grail
Lauf True grit
GT grade carbon
Norco Search XR
3t Exploro
Open UP

and more....

for straight up distance events, Just riding... I would go with the Cannondale Topstone Carbon.

Last edited by Metieval; 01-22-20 at 12:08 AM. Reason: CLARITY!!
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Old 01-20-20, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post

there are many good carbon choices at 3-5 grand.

Giant Revolt Advanced.
Niner RLT RDO
Cervelo aspergo
Cannondale Topstone Carbon
Canyon Grail
Lauf True grit
GT grade carbon
Norco Search XR
3t Exploro
Open UP

and more....

for straight up distance events, Just riding... I would go with the Cannondale Topstone Carbon.
thanks, this list is very helpful
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Old 01-20-20, 09:07 AM
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I would start with the size tires you hope to run and use that to narrow down your choices. “Gravel” means different things to different people in different parts of the country.

Some of the bikes on the above, excellent list take only 38s and are conceived of as gravel “race” bikes (Aspero, Warbird, Exploro explicitly. I’d put the UP in that category as well.). These might appeal to the part of you that wants a lighter bike. But they will also have geometry closer to a road bike.

The part of you that wants a more comfortable ride might want to look at bikes that take wider tires, have more upright geometry, and/or build in some sort of suspension. The Lauf Grit, Topstone Carbon, and MCR probably lead that category. Other types of suspended frames include the Specialized Diverge and Trek Domane. In the comfort through big tire clearance column are the Salsa Cutthroat, Open UPPER, Rodeo TrailDonkey, not to mention the Evil Chamois Hagar. These can be built up lighter than your current steed, but lightweight and outright speed is not their intent.
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Old 01-20-20, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
thanks, this list is very helpful
Ok, reading again, I see the first post is all about your 1 bike. Sorry for the confusion, I took your first post to mean you have 2 bikes- 1 that's more cx geometry and 1 that is heavier steel. This is why I asked what you dont like about the CX bike.
Apologies for the confusion.

Old geometry charts show your frame size has a 72degree head tube with a 45mm fork offset. Using 40mm tires, that is 68mm of trail.
Use this measurement to compare your current bike's steering to what you are considering. A trail measurement more than 68mm will make the bike less 'twitchy' and make it slower steering.
your bike also has 65mm of bottom bracket drop which is for sure a CX design compared to most gravel bikes right now. 70-75 is more common.

Your bike has 378mm of reach and 575mm of stack height. If that is too aggressive, look for a bike with more stack height and/or less reach which will get you in a more upright position.

The fork trail, chainstay length, head tube angle and seat tube angle, as well as stack and reach heights all seem pretty middle of the road. the bottom bracket drop is really the only outlier that i see. Nothing seems too aggressive, though we all like something different on gravel.

The list of 10 or so bikes is a good place to start. Compare the geometry of those bikes to what yours is and narrow down the list. Thatd be a good way to reduce the time spent drooling over a bike that is faster steering or lower stack than your current setup.
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Old 01-20-20, 10:55 AM
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I will add another mention of the OPEN new U.P. I'm embarrassed to say that I've owned Trek, Salsa, Lynskey, and Niner gravel bikes and all are great, but have their strengths and weaknesses. I've been riding the OPEN new U.P. for nearly a year now and I have yet to find any weaknesses. It's a great bike! (The U.P.P.E.R. is the same geometry, just lighter -- and more expensive.) The only "problem" with the OPEN U.P. is that, after you own one, you may not ride your road bike anymore. The U.P. is also a fast, comfy bike for smooth pavement.
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Old 01-20-20, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
Giant Revolt Advanced.
Niner RLT RDO
Cervelo aspergo
Cannondale Topstone Carbon
Canyon Grail
Lauf True grit
GT grade carbon
Norco Search XR
3t Exploro
Open UP
there are many great choices for a really nice gravel bike these days, and this list is a good starting point. I have owned the Lauf True Grit since it came
out over two years ago and I still love it. I have over 10,000 miles on the bike, including 2 DK200’s. The front fork is really nice - you don’t notice it like a true suspension fork (like a fox), but it definitely takes the edge off of the rough stuff, especially on long rides. Late last Summer I upgraded the drive train to the SRAM AXS Mullet build, with AXS Force 1x in the front and AXS Eagle 10-50 in the rear. I did a 100 mile event with the new setup in the Fall and love the range of the gearing (I had SRAM 2x11 on it previously).

that said, I am sure I would be happy on any of the bikes listed above. Although, I would probably still want a Lauf fork if the geometry accepted it.
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Old 01-20-20, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
heavy bike rider :
not sure why you felt it necessary to refer to me by my weight, but it isnt a surprise.
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Old 01-20-20, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
I do like the bike - it's a 2016 Masi CXGR. Reasons to think about upgrading are (a) it was marketed at a compromise between a cx and a gravel bike, but it's closer to a cx or road bike in geometry, that is to say, it's more aggressive with less upright position than a pure gravel bike. Also, it's steel and about 25 lbs. (Masi advertised it at 24 lbs, but that was for the 51 cm model, and I'm riding something closer to a 56). It has a very nice 105 5800 road drive train, but the newer 1x drive trains seem pretty attractive.

Regarding frame material, my first thought is carbon, but Ti seems like an interesting idea.
My buddy is selling his very lightly used 56cm Warbird, he'd make you a heck of a deal (He listed it at $2700 but I know he'd go lower). Currently set up single speed but at this price you have plenty left over for the drivetrain of your choice. I have the same year Warbird and let me tell you it's flipping awesome, I love it.


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Old 01-20-20, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
thanks, this list is very helpful
FYI..The Lauf framesets are 1x only. There's no frame stop for an FD.

Had a mate discover this the "oh &^%$" way.
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Old 01-20-20, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
FYI..The Lauf framesets are 1x only. There's no frame stop for an FD.

Had a mate discover this the "oh &^%$" way.

I thought they had a bottle opener where the front derailleur would go unless you wanted 2x in which case you unbolt the bottle opener and replace with a front derailleur.
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Old 01-20-20, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
FYI..The Lauf framesets are 1x only. There's no frame stop for an FD.

Had a mate discover this the "oh &^%$" way.
Luaf is 2x compatible. Remove the bottle opener to install the front derailleur hanger. It does need to be wireless (SRAM), which limits the size of the rear tire to 40mm due to the SRAM battery.
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Old 01-20-20, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by DoJoMN View Post
Luaf is 2x compatible. Remove the bottle opener to install the front derailleur hanger. It does need to be wireless (SRAM), which limits the size of the rear tire to 40mm due to the SRAM battery.
True...OTOH you're not meeting OP's budget parameters with an eTap bike.
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Old 01-20-20, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
True...OTOH you're not meeting OP's budget parameters with an eTap bike.
Not true. Wireless is only required if the OP wants 2x, as Lauf does not support a wired front derailleur. However the OP stated he thought 1x was attractive, and Lauf does support a wired rear derailleur. Lauf sells wired 1x starting at $3700, and wireless AXS starting at $5500
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Old 01-20-20, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
not sure why you felt it necessary to refer to me by my weight, but it isnt a surprise.
If I was referring to you I would have said cyclist.

I was referring to the 'bike', but read it how you want I guess.

It just stands to reason that a guy that likes heavy bikes would BLATANTLY ignore the bike being heavy bit in the original post.
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Old 01-20-20, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
My buddy is selling his very lightly used 56cm Warbird, he'd make you a heck of a deal (He listed it at $2700 but I know he'd go lower). Currently set up single speed but at this price you have plenty left over for the drivetrain of your choice. I have the same year Warbird and let me tell you it's flipping awesome, I love it.

mmm. Looks purty. I'm probably missing out here, but I'm looking to buy new, with a warranty and all. Thanks, though.
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Old 01-20-20, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
Funny you post this. Lynskey has absolutely horrible QC. My buddy had a helix frame swapped out 3 times because of issues with the rear triangle. Every replacement they sent had something wrong with it.
Good to know. Guess I won't consider Lynskey anymore. :-p
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Old 01-20-20, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
If I was referring to you I would have said cyclist.

I was referring to the 'bike', but read it how you want I guess.

It just stands to reason that a guy that likes heavy bikes would BLATANTLY ignore the bike being heavy bit in the original post.
Edited.
metieval- my apologies for mistaking your post as being a recap of the op and me. When you said 'heavy bike rider', I assumed you referred to a heavy bike rider who has posted in this thread since it's a recap of the thread. But now i see that when you said 'heavy bike rider', you were referring to the bike and you just typed 'rider's for no reason. I guess your recap was of a conversation between the op and a heavy bike and I missed those comments made by the heavy bike in this thread.

Makes perfect sense.***

Thank you for clearing up that comments by 'heavy bike rider' wasnt a person in the thread and actually just a bike.

Last edited by mstateglfr; 01-20-20 at 09:44 PM.
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