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New bike decision paralysis

Old 03-07-21, 01:55 PM
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The_EL
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New bike decision paralysis

Im having a bit of bike buying decision paralysis so Im hoping the bike forums community can steer(ha!) me in the right direction here.

I cant say that biking is new to me. I have been using an older road bike with down tube shifters for a long time. Probably about 15+ years now. Causal rides, about 10-20 miles just cruising along the beach bike path. Recently Ive been pushing it further and onto the roads. Regularly doing 20-40 miles with climbs involved and its not hard to see where a newer bike would feel much more comfortable doing so. I also recently bought bibs and a jersey and Im pretty sad I waited so long to embrace the supple feel of spandex.

All of this is to say Im in the market for a new bike. Like most people these days, the gravel/cyclocross style of bike looks the most appealing to me. I've always dreamed about doing some bike packing trips(I do a lot of week long backpacking trips in the sierras and am already setup with that gear) so Id like to get something with rack mounts and good gearing(I know nothing about gearing) for getting around easily and doing some climbing. In reality most of my riding is 75% road and 25% fire roads/dirt trails(I think its called single or double track?) but it would be nice to take some trips where Im only on the fire/dirt roads.

Im currently looking at the Trek Domane, State Bicycle Co Black label all-road, and the POSEIDON X. Im open to suggestions. There are probably 20+ bikes in this realm that I have looked at. Ive been surfing my whole life and like to support the small local shapers so It'd be nice to support the smaller bike makers if I can. I know most bikes are back ordered these days so it doesn't seem like the little guys are hurting I guess.

Id like to spend between 1k-2k. I know Id like disc brakes but cant decide between hydraulic or mech. Pretty sure I'd like a 2x setup.

I feel like anything I get will be a huge step up from my current rig. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Looking forward to geeking out on here and asking a lot of stupid questions.
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Old 03-08-21, 11:48 AM
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Man this is tough question because there about 5,000 bikes to choose from. But I think you're on the right track. 2X makes sense, mounts make sense, gravel bike makes sense. The only sticking point I see is that you might find it difficult to get hydro for under $2k. But honestly, hydro is so much better than mech, if you can swing it budget wise.
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Old 03-08-21, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
Man this is tough question because there about 5,000 bikes to choose from. But I think you're on the right track. 2X makes sense, mounts make sense, gravel bike makes sense. The only sticking point I see is that you might find it difficult to get hydro for under $2k. But honestly, hydro is so much better than mech, if you can swing it budget wise.
Its nuts. The original list of bikes has since changed and expanded. It's really hard to nail one down, let alone find one in stock.

Thanks for confirming some of my thoughts. I think I may have found a bike that fits the bill. It has everything Im looking for only caveat is that its a quick release instead of a through axel, which now seems to be all the rage. Trying to find out today if it's actually available...
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Old 03-08-21, 01:06 PM
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Like above there are so many bikes to choose from so I will only concentrate on one brand. The Trek Domane is an endurance fit bike that can do gravel but is not really a gravel bike. Typically the Domane would be my recommendation for most people if it was an 80/20 or higher split. For 75/25, you might want to look at the Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 (slightly above your budget but it is 11 speed vs 10 speed for the ALR4 (within your budget). Plus with the ALR 5 you get hydro brakes which is a big plus for me. The components are GRX which are gravel specific which is another plus in the gravel side. Things like a sub-sub compact crankset is beneficial especially if entering any singletrack. Comes with 40 mm tires for those adventure days. If you do those camping trips, then this again might be a better bike than an endurance fit bike.

I own the Domane SL and even have done gravel on it and it was just fine. I did use a second set of wheels with larger volume tires which helped. I am now looking for a gravel bike and I happen to like the Trek Checkpoint, just can't find one in stock and won't be built until January 2022. My point being your choices might be limited.

Others will chime in and it will be interesting to read what advice they give.

Good luck in your search.

Edit:
Just read your latest post. Why quick release? Thru axles are the way to go especially with disc brakes. You couldn't pay me to use quick release anymore.
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Old 03-08-21, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by The_EL View Post
Its nuts. The original list of bikes has since changed and expanded. It's really hard to nail one down, let alone find one in stock.

Thanks for confirming some of my thoughts. I think I may have found a bike that fits the bill. It has everything Im looking for only caveat is that its a quick release instead of a through axel, which now seems to be all the rage. Trying to find out today if it's actually available...
We could all list off options, but many may not be in stock in your size in your area. And since you dont know about geometry/fit, its tough to gauge much online from geometry charts.
See what is in stock in your size within 50mi of you and quickly compare those bikes for how they are spec'd then go ride them. Thats my best advice since you are starting from a place without preconceptions.



As for QR or thru axle, QR is considered dead tech, but that doesnt mean it doesnt work. You ride with DT shifters which have been dead tech for 30 years, but they still work. Its really just a matter of how much you want to spend to get certain features.
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Old 03-08-21, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by blakcloud View Post
Like above there are so many bikes to choose from so I will only concentrate on one brand. The Trek Domane is an endurance fit bike that can do gravel but is not really a gravel bike. Typically the Domane would be my recommendation for most people if it was an 80/20 or higher split. For 75/25, you might want to look at the Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 (slightly above your budget but it is 11 speed vs 10 speed for the ALR4 (within your budget). Plus with the ALR 5 you get hydro brakes which is a big plus for me. The components are GRX which are gravel specific which is another plus in the gravel side. Things like a sub-sub compact crankset is beneficial especially if entering any singletrack. Comes with 40 mm tires for those adventure days. If you do those camping trips, then this again might be a better bike than an endurance fit bike.

I own the Domane SL and even have done gravel on it and it was just fine. I did use a second set of wheels with larger volume tires which helped. I am now looking for a gravel bike and I happen to like the Trek Checkpoint, just can't find one in stock and won't be built until January 2022. My point being your choices might be limited.

Others will chime in and it will be interesting to read what advice they give.

Good luck in your search.

Edit:
Just read your latest post. Why quick release? Thru axles are the way to go especially with disc brakes. You couldn't pay me to use quick release anymore.
Its just how the bike was built. Its a 2018 or 2019 breezer pro. Seems like it has good components minus the QR. Would that be a deal breaker for most these days? Ive read about how QR and disk brakes can be a danger.

And yea, I actually meant the checkpoint vs the domane. Its so hard to keep up!

Whats the general consensus on aluminum frames? Im trying to go for a steel frame but it seems like aluminum is all over the place. To top it all off, I'm 6'4" which always makes sizing things interesting.
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Old 03-08-21, 03:08 PM
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If you can find one, the Jamis Renegade S3 would be ideal for what you described with light backpacking. Lots of mounts, lots of tire clearance, strong frame / OE wheels for carrying a load, and easy gearing.
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Old 03-08-21, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by The_EL View Post
Im having a bit of bike buying decision paralysis so Im hoping the bike forums community can steer(ha!) me in the right direction here.
OK, I'll go with a different perspective. The harder it is to make a decision the more it doesn't matter. At even moderate price points all bikes are good and they're all more alike than different. I really really hate to sound like Lance Armstrong, but it's really not about the bike. Get something available that you like and just ride the thing.

Im currently looking at the Trek Domane, State Bicycle Co Black label all-road, and the POSEIDON X. Im open to suggestions. There are probably 20+ bikes in this realm that I have looked at. Ive been surfing my whole life and like to support the small local shapers so It'd be nice to support the smaller bike makers if I can. I know most bikes are back ordered these days so it doesn't seem like the little guys are hurting I guess.
If you prefer smaller, local framebuilders, Trek is the complete opposite. Don't know about Poseidon and State.
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Old 03-08-21, 09:05 PM
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Poseidon may be fine, there are a few here with that bike, but the geometry is so abhorrent that if I were in the market for a new bike it would be eliminated.
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Old 03-08-21, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by zen_ View Post
If you can find one, the Jamis Renegade S3 would be ideal for what you described with light backpacking. Lots of mounts, lots of tire clearance, strong frame / OE wheels for carrying a load, and easy gearing.
Absolutely! Or maybe a Renegade S2 as well...
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Old 03-09-21, 03:48 PM
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I recently bought a Specialized Diverge Elite E5.

2X chainring, hydraulic disc brakes, 35mm tires (but you can go bigger) about $1,700.00

It's billed as a gravel bike which it would be good for, but I bought it to use for foul weather, bad roads and loaded touring. I also use it when I just want the comfort of the fatter tires. If it's slower than my carbon road bike, it's not by much. I think a bike like this meets what your looking for.
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Old 03-09-21, 03:54 PM
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$2k budget? I'd definitely get something with the Shimano GRX 800 groupset, hydraulic brakes and full carbon frame and fork. Why even consider something like the Poseidon X when you have more leeway to go high end?
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Old 03-09-21, 04:28 PM
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Trek Chekpoint ALR or Canyon Grail AL are total no brainers at this price point. They are solid bikes, with great geometries and good components that you won't go wrong with.
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Old 03-09-21, 08:06 PM
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Also a Bombtrack Hook 2 meets all of your criteria and they are a small but very high quality brand. They are pretty available if you can find a dealer...
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Old 03-10-21, 10:51 AM
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Just to pile on: I agree the Checkpoint is a great option and have a friend with an AL4 that he loves (I ride an SL7 as my primary bike, but that's a bit above your budget). Another option is the Priority Apollo, which is all internally geared and has a carbon belt drive so it's more or less maintenance free compared to more traditional chain & derailleur.
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Old 03-10-21, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
$2k budget? I'd definitely get something with the Shimano GRX 800 groupset, hydraulic brakes and full carbon frame and fork. Why even consider something like the Poseidon X when you have more leeway to go high end?
He won't find that spec for $2k. The Giant Revolt Adv 3 is $2100 with Tiagra and GRX400 for example. $2k for a Tiagra bike!
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Old 03-10-21, 10:17 PM
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Checkpoint ALR 5 would be the way to go.

You'll get the flexibility to do touring/ bikepacking with all the mounts. The drivetrain is a solid GRX groupset, and not just the rear derailleur... it's the whole set. The tires are wirebead, but aren't awful. You can swap them for something from WTB, Rene Herse, or even Bontrager if you'd like to go tubeless. Not to mention Trek has a lifetime warranty on the frame and fork.

Once you start stepping down much below the $2k mark, you're really going to start giving up a lot on the components. Shifting won't be as smooth and precise, you'll be limited to a 2X10 drivetrain which will be limiting when you start hitting hills... You said you're starting to venture out more, so look at a bike that is going to meet your needs down the road, and not just today. Cry once, buy once.
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Old 03-10-21, 11:14 PM
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Thanks everyone for the replies. I've learned a lot about bikes in the process. Stars aligned today after spending the last couple of days calling bike shops getting denied and even laughed at I luckily found a bike in my size, in my budget, and even with a pretty decent set of components. After riding it in the parking lot at the shop for probably wayyy too long and then taking it on its maiden short but sweet 6 mile ride I am blown away by the modern bike technology. Looking forward to putting many miles on her. Thanks zen_ for mentioning it. I had come across the Jamis Renegade in my searches but didn't think much of it at the time. Then on second look it seemed like it really fit the bill. Now a proud new owner of a Jamis Renegade S3. Id share a picture but apparently I need to have a couple more posts to do so.
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Old 03-10-21, 11:23 PM
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I suggest you check the youtube channel Path Less Pedaled. Lots of bike reviews and evaluations of bikes meant for gravel. I believe the Poseidon and the State are reviewed, as well as the Trek Checkpoint and others. Two key factors for me would be gearing range and the ability to run wider tires, wider than say, 700x45.
Edit: just saw your last post. Congrats!!! My main pavement/gravel bike is a carbon Jamis, six years old. You will love yours.

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Old 03-11-21, 05:34 AM
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Congratulations on the new Jamis, enjoy the ride!!!
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Old 03-11-21, 10:26 AM
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Congratulations on the new bike! I also bought a bike recently with the same Shimano GRX 400 group set and from what I've read, GRX 400 doesn't come with it's own front chainring and crank, hence why most bike builders use something like an FSA front setup. Your frame/fork and tubeless wheels are great and should give you plenty of upgrade potential down the road. I'm not sure where you ride, but sometimes I wish there was an 11th gear on the rear cassette. If you're going up a hard hill, you just have to grind up using the 10th gear! Enjoy the bike!
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Old 03-11-21, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by The_EL View Post
I had come across the Jamis Renegade in my searches but didn't think much of it at the time. Then on second look it seemed like it really fit the bill. Now a proud new owner of a Jamis Renegade S3.
You'll really like it, and it will be every more comfortable after spending a few bucks on a carbon seatpost and better ~40-43c tires that are setup tubeless. Something like a 700x42c Specialized Pathfinder Pro might be ideal for what you mentioned with mostly road riding that sometimes ventures off into double track type stuff.

I built up Renegade from the S1 frameset over the winter and was very happy with the whole process. A Jamis rep went out of his way to help me get one, and the whole package is just simply very well engineered, and the build quality from Maxway is excellent. One thing I noticed compared to my Tamland (very similar steel bike) is how much better the fork is on the Jamis. The lateral chatter over rough stuff, and big rocks is so much better, but it's not a spaghetti noddle fork either.
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Old 03-12-21, 03:03 PM
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Did 30 miles on the renegade this morning and holy hell Im blown away. So much smoother, safer, and just all around more enjoyable than my old bike. Mostly road miles but went to a park with some trails and it handled it really well. Really happy with the purchase and looking forward to putting more miles on it. The only down fall of the bike is the saddle, might just replace it with the one from my old bike for now. Im assuming a carbon seat post, like the carbon fork, dampens the ride a bit? Also it took a bit to get used to the wider handlebars but not that big of a deal, by the end of the ride I hardly noticed it. Stoked!

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Old 03-12-21, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by The_EL View Post
Did 30 miles on the renegade this morning and holy hell Im blown away. So much smoother, safer, and just all around more enjoyable than my old bike. Mostly road miles but went to a park with some trails and it handled it really well. Really happy with the purchase and looking forward to putting more miles on it. The only down fall of the bike is the saddle, might just replace it with the one from my old bike for now. Im assuming a carbon seat post, like the carbon fork, dampens the ride a bit? Also it took a bit to get used to the wider handlebars but not that big of a deal, by the end of the ride I hardly noticed it. Stoked!
Very good to hear! A bike you enjoy is going to be used a lot more than one thats...meh.
A carbon seat post is supposed to mute vibrations, but no idea how much of a %. There are some cool carbon seatposts on the market that are designed to flex a good bit to help with comfort. Personally, tubeless tires at a good pressure is enough damping for how/where I ride so Ive never given serious consideration to a carbon seatpost. Im sure others here have though.
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Old 03-12-21, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by The_EL View Post
Did 30 miles on the renegade this morning and holy hell Im blown away. So much smoother, safer, and just all around more enjoyable than my old bike. Mostly road miles but went to a park with some trails and it handled it really well. Really happy with the purchase and looking forward to putting more miles on it. The only down fall of the bike is the saddle, might just replace it with the one from my old bike for now. Im assuming a carbon seat post, like the carbon fork, dampens the ride a bit? Also it took a bit to get used to the wider handlebars but not that big of a deal, by the end of the ride I hardly noticed it. Stoked!
A carbon seatpost does take quite a bit of the buzz out of the seat, even if you don't have a ton of seatpost sticking out. I was honestly pretty shocked how noticeable it was compared to an alloy seatpost; it's a no brainer change for any kind of riding that isn't on perfectly smooth pavement. Just get one from a reputable brand (like the Ritchey comp carbon) for safety reasons, and use fiber grip.

Gravel bikes also usually come with flared bars that make the drops wider, which may or may not be something you want. Most people like it for more leverage off-road, but there's no rule that says you have to use one.
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