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Looking for Bike #2 for Rougher Surfaces

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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.

Looking for Bike #2 for Rougher Surfaces

Old 03-27-20, 08:04 PM
  #1  
Boatdriver
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Looking for Bike #2 for Rougher Surfaces

I had been a road biker until a couple years ago when I bought a carbon Trek Domane (700x35). I ride with my wife on rail/trails and do some credit card touring. I also dabble in Olympic tris and cx. I have since started doing some gravel events which include some double track fire roads and a bit of single track. I find I am getting beat up on the Domane, often feeling I am on the edge of control while descending rough gravel and have started looking for a more appropriate bike. I would also like to do some limited bike packing (not across Tajikistan or anything).

I will be keeping the Domane for the rail/trail and road type stuff, but wondering what to consider for a second bike that would be better for the more demanding riding described above. I rode the Salsa Cutthroat on some smooth gravel and liked the comfort and stability there, but couldnít really ride it on rough stuff. That is the leading contender in my search. The Flaanimal looks interesting, but donít know of any local dealers (Virginia, US) to test ride it. Also looked at Niner RLT (Steel or RDO), but that is a little out of my price range. I am hesitant to go with a bike that only support 700x45, thinking that would be too close to the Domane. Am I right, or does the increase from 35 to 45 along with geometry changes make a big difference? Thoughts on what to consider? Budget in the low $3K range.
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Old 03-27-20, 11:14 PM
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Do you have a photo of the "rough gravel"? Sometimes this type of terrain is just better on a mountain bike.

For a gravel bike, I'd look for one that can fit 50-60mm tires, at least in the front, to give you more riding options.
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Old 03-28-20, 07:12 AM
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I think the difference between 35mm and 45mm is huge, at least for the kind of gravel I seem to encounter. Will wider help even more? I agree with Katsup, itís a hard question to answer without seeing what sort of roads you ride. For where I ride, Iíd say not much.

Still, I think a cutthroat would likely work for almost anything considered an actual ďroadĒ...they are common enough here in Kansas. If youíre going to be doing frequent, really rough, fast descents, you could opt for something with front suspension, but barring that itís a great versatile bike. I know the one I tried out last fall came with 2.2s, and I think they can go even wider. If you decide you donít need that wide, you could always put some narrower tires on.
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Old 03-28-20, 09:39 AM
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If a Cutthroat, with 29x2.4 tires max width is not enough, I recommend you consider the Trek 1120, a 29 Plus bike. I love riding mine on gravel forest service roads, as gravel of most any size does not impede the rollover. Ruts are not a problem. The 29x3 stock Chupacabra tires do well on everything except pavement, on which they are slow.
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Old 03-28-20, 10:52 AM
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The Cutthroat will accept a 100m suspension fork, 10 minutes to swap out for the original fork if you go gravel touring and need the attachment points
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Old 03-28-20, 12:48 PM
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Thanks for all the insights. I have been racing (near the back of the pack, but staying ahead of DFL) the stretches where I thought more bike would be useful, so not many pictures. I'm an older guy (63) and have never been on a mountain bike, so I feel more comfortable with staying with a drop bar. I like the suggestion of the Cutthroat, and if I keep going harder and rougher, popping in a suspension fork. I don't think it will get there because I have no issues walking past short rock gardens. Safely navigated the rocky stream crossing below on my Domane, but slowed down more than many of the others. (oops, won't let me post pictures yet)
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Old 03-28-20, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by DeadGrandpa View Post
If a Cutthroat, with 29x2.4 tires max width is not enough, I recommend you consider the Trek 1120, a 29 Plus bike. I love riding mine on gravel forest service roads, as gravel of most any size does not impede the rollover. Ruts are not a problem. The 29x3 stock Chupacabra tires do well on everything except pavement, on which they are slow.
Hadn't thought of a bike like that. Very interesting. Not sure I'm ready for flat bars, but if I get someplace where a Cutthroat is't doing it, I appreciate the suggestion of the 1120.
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Old 03-28-20, 12:55 PM
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Slow stream crossing.

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Old 03-28-20, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Boatdriver View Post
Hadn't thought of a bike like that. Very interesting. Not sure I'm ready for flat bars, but if I get someplace where a Cutthroat is't doing it, I appreciate the suggestion of the 1120.
The stock bars have a sweep angle back of about 25 degrees, rather than the straight bars on most mtbs. I swapped them for some Jones bars and they are great. And I forgot to mention that you can ride some singletrack with the bike, if it's not too gnarly or technical. The bike has some adjustment in the rear dropout, for variable chain stay length, short to medium. The design is based on the Trek Stache and I love the way it climbs and corners.
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Old 03-28-20, 05:32 PM
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I'd say something that suppports 640b wheels for sure. Theer are a lot of choices.
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Old 03-28-20, 07:01 PM
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Waheela S Otso Cycles

Waheela S was designed from the ground up to be the most versatile gravel bike available. The first suspension-corrected gravel bike on the market, the
Waheela S can run a suspension or rigid fork. If you're riding terrain that requires suspension, you'll also need a frame with giant tire clearance. The Waheela S can fit up 29" x 2.1" or 700c/650b x 53mm tires
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Old 03-29-20, 04:41 PM
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I just bought a Cutthroat about 2 weeks ago, and in my opinion, it is virtually a light (22lb) hardtail mountain bike with drop bars. It’s very comfortable in rough stuff.
Good luck.




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Old 03-30-20, 06:17 AM
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Boatdriver
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Beautiful scenery, sarhog. Thanks for the recommendation.
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Old 03-30-20, 09:58 AM
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Add current model Diverge and Cannondale Slate to your list.
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