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Gravel Bike Buying Advice

Old 03-01-20, 04:46 PM
  #1  
ivoramos
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Gravel Bike Buying Advice

Hello All,

I am thinking in buying a Gravel Bike with a price range between 2000 and 3000€. Currently I looked to Canyon Grail 8.0 and Specialized Diverge X1. I am thinking in Carbon bike but then got some people saying that it will be more important to use the 3000€ in a AL bike with top brakes and gears. Going one step back I am a beginner that wants to use the bike mainly in road and sometimes off-road but smooth off-road. So after evaluation cross-country, endurance or gravel I think Gravel maybe the best option for me.

So with those assumptions can you give me advices and recommendations on the best bike to buy?

Thanks.

Ivo Ramos
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Old 03-01-20, 05:40 PM
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tyrion
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Originally Posted by ivoramos View Post
Hello All,

I am thinking in buying a Gravel Bike with a price range between 2000 and 3000€. Currently I looked to Canyon Grail 8.0 and Specialized Diverge X1. I am thinking in Carbon bike but then got some people saying that it will be more important to use the 3000€ in a AL bike with top brakes and gears. Going one step back I am a beginner that wants to use the bike mainly in road and sometimes off-road but smooth off-road. So after evaluation cross-country, endurance or gravel I think Gravel maybe the best option for me.

So with those assumptions can you give me advices and recommendations on the best bike to buy?

Thanks.

Ivo Ramos
Any 3000€ bike is going to have great brakes and gears.

If you live around hills, I'd learn about gearing and get a bike that has low gears (e.g. a bike with 46/30 chainrings and 11-36 cassette). Note: expensive drivetrain components usually don't have low gearing because they're for racers who don't need low gearing. Another issue is how high the handlebars are in relation to the saddle (understand the "stack" measurement which gives you an idea of how high the handlebars will be) - race oriented bikes have lower handlebars and I think starting off you want to have higher handlebars.

Last edited by tyrion; 03-01-20 at 05:44 PM. Reason: more clear on what "stack" means
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Old 03-01-20, 07:14 PM
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Depending on your level of wealth it might make sense to get a less expensive aluminum-framed bike first. Aluminum frames are almost as light as carbon at a fraction of the price. You might hear their ride is "harsh" but that's nonsense. Tire size and type has a lot more influence on plushness than frame material. Carbon is also a finicky material and requires more technical knowledge to adjust and maintain. It's also more likely to break if you fall. A common mistake people make is to get a bike slightly too large the first time. Your first bike is an opportunity to see how well you like this activity and gauge your needs regarding sizing, riding position, and gear range for the locations you ride. You'll also have to spend a good chunk of money on bike racks, clothing, components and accessories, so don't go all-out on your initial purchase. After riding your first bike awhile you'll know from experience what kind of bike to splurge on the next time, and you can sell or give away your initial bike.

I agree with tyrion's post on gearing. A double 46/30 and 11-40 cassette is about ideal even for very steep mountainous trails. 11-36 is probably good enough if you're young and thin.

Last edited by duckhuntr; 03-01-20 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 03-01-20, 07:45 PM
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Steve B.
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One issue is what can you get now, if that’s your time frame. In theory, possibly some delays on products made in China, and most bike frames are Chinese. Thus either pick a model a shop or online has in stock or can get, or maybe wait.

If you wait, you might get a Shimano GRX group, which gives you a bit more options on cassettes than a road group gets you, including 11-40, 42 etc... Not as many options yet for the GRX groups on bikes.

You can also do aluminum and then a 2nd set of wheels with road tires and gearing. This is how I set up my Cannondale Topstone 105.
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Old 03-01-20, 09:59 PM
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If you are spending in that price range you will not find many well-known aluminum options, you will be finding better steel options and carbon from the main makers. That is because if you want to make a GOOD aluminum frame it gets as expensive as a lower-end carbon frame and is quite a bit heavier so very few are willing to buy it. Yes, you can get a good aluminum frame gravel bike, but you get a better deal with a lower-end carbon frame. Merckx was a great example with the Strassbourg; it was aluminum but priced at the range of a decent carbon bike. No one bought it and they switched over to a carbon frame instead a year later at the same price. Most popular aluminum gravel bikes are well under 2,000 Euros..

You will not find many 'top' aluminum bikes with high end Shimano or SRAM components. And either way, with the very high quality of bike components today to maximize my budget I'd go for a good carbon frame with decent wheels and a Tiagra groupset which other than weight really is an excellent component group for the money.

Last edited by gravelslider; 03-01-20 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 03-01-20, 10:50 PM
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Bulls makes a high end aluminium gravel bike with their Grnder 3. You don't seem many of them, but they are out there.

You can compare the price with a carbon bike of your choice to see which has better specs to give you an idea of where your money is going.
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Old 03-02-20, 01:00 AM
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Are there any models local you can test ride?
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Old 03-19-20, 08:00 PM
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I was faced with a similar decision to get the Specialized Diverge Comp E5 (aluminum frame with Shimano 105 components) or
the Mens Diverge (carbon frame with Tiagra components additional $500). Rode them both back to back and sorta preferred the
feel of the aluminum frame. However I was still hung up on the 'gotta have carbon' thing. Then on a group ride I got into a conversation
with a rider who was going thru a nervous frenzy because he thought that he may have a fracture in his carbon frame. That did it for me,
thats more I need to worry about. Why pay $500 more for that headache ?? I bought the aluminum frame and I love it.
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Old 03-26-20, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by gravelslider View Post
I'd go for a good carbon frame with decent wheels and a Tiagra groupset which other than weight really is an excellent component group for the money.
With that in mind, deals can be had for the 2019 Salsa Warbirds w' Tiagra groupset. Not hard to find them for less money than the frameset.
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Old 03-26-20, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by biglmbass View Post
With that in mind, deals can be had for the 2019 Salsa Warbirds w' Tiagra groupset. Not hard to find them for less money than the frameset.
and you can always upgrade the components.

i prefer a single chainring on a 1x11 system and got the entry-level SRAM Apex. Easy to upgrade the derailur, crankset, and cassette when I’m ready.
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Old 03-29-20, 06:36 AM
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I will give another vote for a test ride on a Topstone 105 alloy. I've had the bike now for about 5 months and have enjoyed it very much. Not saying it is perfect for you but worth a test ride if you can find one near you. It is my go to bike now as it fits my conditions and requirements. Just a suggestion and what ever you end up with have fun and ride it till the wheels come off.
Frank


.
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Old 04-02-20, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Helderberg View Post
I will give another vote for a test ride on a Topstone 105 alloy. I've had the bike now for about 5 months and have enjoyed it very much. Not saying it is perfect for you but worth a test ride if you can find one near you. It is my go to bike now as it fits my conditions and requirements. Just a suggestion and what ever you end up with have fun and ride it till the wheels come off.
Frank


.

I fully agree! I've had my Topstone for just about a year, and have enjoyed it so much and found it so "multi-purposeful", that I've since sold my FS mountain bike and another back-up commuter bike. Plus, adding a second wheelset now gives me a road-bike option. Granted, I'm not winning any races with it, but that was never my intent. It was a very capable and comfortable ride for last year's STP.

Shown below is winter wet-weather commuter mode. I'll be removing the fenders within the month.




And gravel mode:

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Old 04-02-20, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by westrid_dad View Post
I fully agree! I've had my Topstone for just about a year, and have enjoyed it so much and found it so "multi-purposeful", that I've since sold my FS mountain bike and another back-up commuter bike. Plus, adding a second wheelset now gives me a road-bike option. Granted, I'm not winning any races with it, but that was never my intent. It was a very capable and comfortable ride for last year's STP.

Shown below is winter wet-weather commuter mode. I'll be removing the fenders within the month.




And gravel mode:

Nice looking setups. What wheels did you get for the road tires? Also what tires did you go with?
Be safe, Frank.
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Old 04-02-20, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Helderberg View Post
Nice looking setups. What wheels did you get for the road tires? Also what tires did you go with?
Be safe, Frank.
Hey, Frank.

Last year I bought a second wheelset (DT-Swiss CR1600s) and mounted 28mm Continental GP5000s (tubeless) on them. I ordered them from https://www.bike-components.de/en/, and along with brake rotors and a cassette I spent a little under $600 USD, including shipping.

This has been a great setup for longer road rides, and is much easier exchanging wheelsets versus swapping tires on the same rim, especially running tubeless. When it is time to replace the Continentals, I'll likely stick with the GP5000s, but go up to the 32mm size. As I get older, I'm appreciating a little more suppleness wherever I can find it. Also, as a side note, I did install some wheel shims between the two wheelsets to eliminate the need to re-adjust brake calipers every time I swapped out wheelsets. That was the only annoying part for me about switching back and forth.

Take care,
Todd
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Old 07-27-20, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by altondavis2 View Post
I was faced with a similar decision to get the Specialized Diverge Comp E5 (aluminum frame with Shimano 105 components) or
the Mens Diverge (carbon frame with Tiagra components additional $500). Rode them both back to back and sorta preferred the
feel of the aluminum frame. However I was still hung up on the 'gotta have carbon' thing. Then on a group ride I got into a conversation
with a rider who was going thru a nervous frenzy because he thought that he may have a fracture in his carbon frame. That did it for me,
thats more I need to worry about. Why pay $500 more for that headache ?? I bought the aluminum frame and I love it.

Go with the carbon - if you can afford to spend 3G on a bike, another $500 isn’t that much at this price level. And you’re going get better quality upgraded components for the money - more bang for your buck.
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