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A gravel build or Franken-Bike, advise please

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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.

A gravel build or Franken-Bike, advise please

Old 03-21-21, 01:24 AM
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A gravel build or Franken-Bike, advise please

Hey everyone,
read a lot , but donít post much.
I do most of my riding in zwift. I had back surgery and just donít ride outside as much, that being said Iím ready to get back out there. Seems like gravel and 1x are all the craze. I have 3 bikes, a 2005 specialized sequoia elite 3x9, a 2019 trek Fx-1 with 7 speed Altus and 35mm, and a 2014 Novaro which I have a 2x10 older Ultegra group set on. This bike lives in the trainer, and itís just too small. Would like some wider tires for some flat trail riding. I am looking for a bike I can grow with. From the wahoo kickr to going around town, to doing some forest roads. Should I sell all the bikes and start over? Iíve built all these bikes, except the Fx-1 which was given to me. My budget is probably sub $800 after I sell everything. Just not sure what to do! I can convert the sequoia to a 2x11(?) but is it worth it? I think it can only handle 35mm tires. All these bikes are rim breaks too. Or do I build out the Fx-1? Droppers and all? Or do I purchase something like state, Poseidon, Marin bike?

is it cheaper to build or buy built? Iíve not bought a bike in a while and it seems rather expensive for $1,300 to be getting a sora/tiagra groupset on a bike..

i ran a 1x10 46t 11x28 on my Zwift bike for a while had no problems with gearing...
so do I get a bike frame and Frankenstein something together? Or sell it all start fresh??
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Old 03-21-21, 10:14 AM
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I don't view Poseiden as a higher quality alternative to what you have.
Maybe the State bike is quality in some ways, but that is super entry level too and I have no desire to use sensah shifters that rotate 90 degrees to shift and aren't well reviewed for diability.
Marin has some nice entry level options.

https://www.marinbikes.com/bikes/2021-gestalt-1
$1250. Carbon fork, thru axles, sora drivetrain.

Online option that will be available in a couple months- https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...avel-bikes.htm


All seriousness, you need to decide what style bike you want. You've mentioned drop bar and flat bar(improving your fx1). Which style do you want, then look for anything in your size and price range(I'm guessing it's $700 for used bikes plus $700 in cash for $1400 total which is why I posted the Marin).
There is no point in considering a bike that isn't in stock in your size.

And get over Sora/Tiagra costing $1300 on bike shop retail brands. That's just reality now. Current Sora and Tiagra are fantastic quality and work just as fine as 9sp/10sp from 10-20 years ago.

I personally would take your 2x10 drivetrain and build up a frameset. Could be disc or could be rim brake- I wouldn't care either way..
New Albion Privateer for example. https://www.modernbike.com/new-albio...es-road-frames
https://www.modernbike.com/product-2...QaAqyVEALw_wcB

The State 4130 looks to have have few sizes for sale still with shipping next month.
https://www.statebicycle.com/product...saAqtdEALw_wcB

Black mountain cycles frames are available in 52, 54, 58, 60, 62 sizes for $740 with headset included. You can use your current road wheels and drivetrains. Just add cantilever brakes.
https://blackmtncycles.com/frames/monstercross-frames/
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Old 03-22-21, 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Dontouchmytape
Seems like gravel and 1x are all the craze.
I wouldn't make configuration choices based on what's "the craze." Figure out the riding that you actually want to do, and set up the bike around that.

"Gravel" doesn't refer to any one thing in particular. Some gravel is smooth. Some gravel is chunky. Some gravel is flat. Some gravel is mountainous. Some people want to ride just on gravel. Some people want to incorporate gravel into road rides. Some people like riding gnarly single-track on gravel bikes. Some people think that's stupid.

Would like some wider tires for some flat trail riding.
I admit that I'm not really familiar with the Portland area, but is there really a lot of stuff in the area that you'd need a gravel bike for that's "flat"? I'm in the Seattle area, and nearly all of the good gravel up here is in the Cascades foothills, and is mountainous.

I can convert the sequoia to a 2x11(?) but is it worth it?
I don't know. What are you trying to accomplish?

What deficiencies does the Sequoia's current 3x9 drivetrain have for your gravel riding? How are you planning for a 2x11 drivetrain to solve those deficiencies?

My gravel bike has a 3x8 drivetrain, and there aren't really any standard 2x11 configurations that I'd rather have on that bike, even if cost were no factor.

is it cheaper to build or buy built?
Generally built.

I’ve not bought a bike in a while and it seems rather expensive for $1,300 to be getting a sora/tiagra groupset on a bike..
Why? What are you basing this on?

i ran a 1x10 46t 11x28 on my Zwift bike for a while had no problems with gearing...
How similar is your Zwift riding to the real-world gravel riding you want to do?
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Old 03-22-21, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev
I wouldn't make configuration choices based on what's "the craze." Figure out the riding that you actually want to do, and set up the bike around that.

"Gravel" doesn't refer to any one thing in particular. Some gravel is smooth. Some gravel is chunky. Some gravel is flat. Some gravel is mountainous. Some people want to ride just on gravel. Some people want to incorporate gravel into road rides. Some people like riding gnarly single-track on gravel bikes. Some people think that's stupid.


I admit that I'm not really familiar with the Portland area, but is there really a lot of stuff in the area that you'd need a gravel bike for that's "flat"? I'm in the Seattle area, and nearly all of the good gravel up here is in the Cascades foothills, and is mountainous.


I don't know. What are you trying to accomplish?

What deficiencies does the Sequoia's current 3x9 drivetrain have for your gravel riding? How are you planning for a 2x11 drivetrain to solve those deficiencies?

My gravel bike has a 3x8 drivetrain, and there aren't really any standard 2x11 configurations that I'd rather have on that bike, even if cost were no factor.


Generally built.


Why? What are you basing this on?


How similar is your Zwift riding to the real-world gravel riding you want to do?
my zwifting is more on the extreme end of speed. Going fast doing a lot of TTT, probably averaging 25MPH with top speeds in the 50mph plus on down hills, sprints get to about 34-35MPH.
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Old 03-22-21, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Dontouchmytape
my zwifting is more on the extreme end of speed. Going fast doing a lot of TTT, probably averaging 25MPH with top speeds in the 50mph plus on down hills, sprints get to about 34-35MPH.
Okay. Are you planning on riding your gravel bike in 25mph-average TTTs with top speeds in the 50mph plus on downhills and sprints at 34-35mph? If not, what will your gravel riding look like?
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Old 03-22-21, 12:58 AM
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Thanks everyone

Wow made such a long response and it would let me post a link!
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Old 03-22-21, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev
Okay. Are you planning on riding your gravel bike in 25mph-average TTTs with top speeds in the 50mph plus on downhills and sprints at 34-35mph? If not, what will your gravel riding look like?
I am planning on riding it on the trainer in Zwift yea, but not on the road. Iím sorry I have made two long responses and both times they did not post!!
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Old 03-22-21, 01:24 AM
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Sequoia 2005 specialized elite

I also have this bike given to me: Iíve made three responses all deleted when trying to respond to someone with links in the quote.

Zwift bike: got this after surgery when I knew nothing of bikes and only had an old 1961 Bianchi 10-speed I fixed up and restored all original. I was sold a road bike from a local used LBS, and it was a womens large bike they said it would be fine. And it is not. But I worked on it anyway. Itís a 10 speed with Ultegra 6600 cranks BB and RD, flight deck 10 speed brifter 50t 11-28. The front DR is broken soooo been using it as a 1x for 3 months and it literally has not changed anything in the way I rideX if the route is more hilly I alter the difficulty on the trainer.

seqouia: 2005 9 speed all 105 dura ace 6600 hubs, thinking would be great as a 1x11. Or 12? I like the simple look and idea of 1x.
would I have to change cranks? BB? New wheels?

as stated I can get a state bike or Poseidon bike with a 1x11 ready to roll out of the box, for less than $1,000. My budget on this build is like $700. And hoping if I use this sequoia frame I can get some more decent components.

i watched the YouTubeís, RJ, the path less pedaled, read about mullets and 1x13 and all that.
Im just overwhelmed. I can fit 700c x35mm on the seqouia, I am thinking more of a cross type bike, but a little more comfy I want a bike I can take bike packing, not bomb down trails. A bike that is easy on my back so shocker seatpost would be a nice add.

is it worth converting or sell it all and buy new? I do like to tinker and build and have tools and not afraid. I also enjoy recycling.

would I need new cranks, new BB, new wheels? New freehub on my trainer (11-speed shimano free hub RN) is 35mm good enough for soft easy trails, and maybe some bike packing? Or is it a must I have tubeless 45mm 650b and all that???

sorrry, and thanks for your patience. This should be exciting but itís making me sick of it all.

i have time between terms right now to work on it so Iíd like to get it done.
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Old 03-22-21, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Dontouchmytape
The front DR is broken soooo been using it as a 1x for 3 months and it literally has not changed anything in the way I rideX if the route is more hilly I alter the difficulty on the trainer.
Okay, let's back up a second here. If you're going to be riding this bike in the real world, there will not be a "difficulty setting" to adjust the effect of the gradient.

If you want to do gravel riding in your area, start by figuring out what that gravel riding actually is. Then choose your gearing based on that. Not based on what you use on your difficulty-adjustable trainer, or what you use for TTTs, or whatever.

You keep asking about various solutions, but I have no idea what the problem is that those solutions are for.

If you've got these "soft easy" trails that are "flat", have you tried just riding them on one of your existing bikes? If not, why not? If yes, then what shortcomings did you experience, if any?

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Old 03-22-21, 08:22 AM
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If you've got these "soft easy" trails that are "flat", have you tried just riding them on one of your existing bikes? If not, why not? If yes, then what shortcomings did you experience, if any?
^ this. Just buy some 35mm tires and ride the Sequoia around for a few weeks and a couple hundred miles. If the handling is good and comfortable, then look into changing the drivetrain like you want. If the handling and/or comfort is lacking, then you know you need something else.

The Sequoia with 35mm tires could be everything you need for how you want to ride. No idea why you would want to change it to 1x12 though. If its just because you dont want a 3x front, then why not go Shimano 2x11 and have reliable shifting and plenty of range to use on Zwift and riding outside?
Also, is 1x12 even available with rim brakes? I dont keep up on SRAM very much, but I would assume their 1x12 is disc only. Campy has 12sp rim brake, but its a 2x crank. That kinda seems important to sort out because you may be wanting options that arent possible. And frankly, they arent necessary, but we all want what we want.
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Old 03-22-21, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
^ this. Just buy some 35mm tires and ride the Sequoia around for a few weeks and a couple hundred miles. If the handling is good and comfortable, then look into changing the drivetrain like you want. If the handling and/or comfort is lacking, then you know you need something else.

The Sequoia with 35mm tires could be everything you need for how you want to ride. No idea why you would want to change it to 1x12 though. If its just because you dont want a 3x front, then why not go Shimano 2x11 and have reliable shifting and plenty of range to use on Zwift and riding outside?
Also, is 1x12 even available with rim brakes? I dont keep up on SRAM very much, but I would assume their 1x12 is disc only. Campy has 12sp rim brake, but its a 2x crank. That kinda seems important to sort out because you may be wanting options that arent possible. And frankly, they arent necessary, but we all want what we want.
the more I look into it the more I like the idea of 1xeven if I donít need it.. maybe Iíll start a separate post about building out the seqouia? Or is it a better idea to get a cross frame?
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Old 03-22-21, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Dontouchmytape
the more I look into it the more I like the idea of 1xeven if I donít need it.. maybe Iíll start a separate post about building out the seqouia? Or is it a better idea to get a cross frame?
Thats great, go 1x, but you need to know what is possible. If you keep your Sequoia, then 12sp is not possible(that I know of) since 1x12 is disc brake. If you get a modern cross/gravel frame, then 1x12 is possible since you will have disc mounts.
As for if its better to get a cross frame...we have no idea. You would be the one that decides if the Sequoia on 35mm tires will work well for what you want to do.
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