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Deciding to build gravel bike - Reynolds 853 + GRX 400 vs Carbon + 105 5800

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Deciding to build gravel bike - Reynolds 853 + GRX 400 vs Carbon + 105 5800

Old 08-10-21, 04:44 PM
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jonathanf2
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Deciding to build gravel bike - Reynolds 853 + GRX 400 vs Carbon + 105 5800

I'm looking at buying either a Reynolds 853 frame set (thru-axle, flat mount brakes, tapered headset tube, 27.5mm seat post, external cabling) with carbon fork + DT Swiss C1800 wheels - OR - picking up a carbon bike with Shimano 105 5800 shifters + rear derailleur, TRP hy/rd disc brakes and FSA 50/34t crank and 11 speed 11-32t cassette. Both bikes are 700c and clear 40c tires.

- If I go with the Reynolds 853 frame, I'll swap components from my current alloy GRX 400/600 groupet bike to build out the steel frame. I'll either keep the alloy frame/covert it to SS or sell it.

- If I go with the carbon bike, I'll keep my alloy GRX bike as-is and just use the carbon bike as a flat terrain lightweight gravel bike with it's smaller cassette and put GravelKing slicks on it.

Part of me thinks getting the carbon bike will give me a more oriented road bike, but with the ability to go gravel and I'll still have my GRX gravel bike with it's GoatLink and wide range cassette (11-42t) to tackle the hills/mountains. Though I've read Reynolds 853 steel to be very good and it would be incredibly easy swapping all my GRX parts due to near-matching specs of my current bike.

Honestly I don't have much experience with either frame material, so I'd be curious hearing opinions. Thanks!
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Old 08-10-21, 10:30 PM
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I have an 853 gravel frame with flatmount brakes, thruaxle, carbon fork, 27.2 seatpost, external cabling, etc.
Fairlight Secan.

I got it because I like the company's design decisions, the frame finish is quality, and it has the geometry I wanted.

It is not a featherweight, even though it's 853. Any 853 production frame will be overbuilt to meet Euro safety/failure standards. Basically, a production 853 frame just means you will have an absurdly strong frame when compared to 631 or even generic double butted cromoly with the same butting profile. Also, mine doesn't have the thinnest of stays.



Carbon won't make your new frame more road oriented compared to steel.
What will make the frame feel more road oriented is geometry that is similar to your road bike. Similar tube angles, similar trail, similar wheelbase, etc.
That all comes from geometry and not frame material.
Also, not many carbon gravel frames these days have external cables.

A carbon gravel frame will weigh 900-1200g depending on size, paint, quality/intent, etc.
An 853 production gravel frame will weigh 2000-2300g depending on size, paint, etc.
An 853 frame built 1 off by a framebuilder that doesn't have to go thru failure testing will cut a couple hundred grams off, maybe more.
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Old 08-11-21, 10:11 AM
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I'd go with the 853 and go full hydraulic - are you getting the steel Mulekick?
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Old 08-11-21, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
Part of me thinks getting the carbon bike will give me a more oriented road bike
Why?
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Old 08-11-21, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Elvo View Post
I'd go with the 853 and go full hydraulic - are you getting the steel Mulekick?
Thinking about it. I can swap all my current GRX 400/600 10 speed components, seat post, drop bars, etc. and since it's externally routed I won't have to bleed the hydraulic GRX brakes, it should be fairly bolt on.
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Old 08-11-21, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
Thinking about it. I can swap all my current GRX 400/600 10 speed components, seat post, drop bars, etc. and since it's externally routed I won't have to bleed the hydraulic GRX brakes, it should be fairly bolt on.
I would not let the issue of opening a hydraulic line drive my frame decision. You can have a shop bleed a hydraulic brake line for $25 - $30 if you are not comfortable with the procedure. And maybe you might be due a fluid change anyway...
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Old 08-11-21, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
Thinking about it. I can swap all my current GRX 400/600 10 speed components, seat post, drop bars, etc. and since it's externally routed I won't have to bleed the hydraulic GRX brakes, it should be fairly bolt on.
The mulekick has higher level grx components. Why would you remove those for 10sp?
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Old 08-12-21, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
The mulekick has higher level grx components. Why would you remove those for 10sp?
I'm actually looking at the Whipshot and it's frame/fork/wheels only. I also have the 10sp GRX complete groupset to do a swap over.
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Old 08-12-21, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
I'm actually looking at the Whipshot and it's frame/fork/wheels only. I also have the 10sp GRX complete groupset to do a swap over.
Gotcha. Thats the same frame as the mulekick, its just 1x or 2x. Didnt realize its listed as a frameset and wheels elsewhere on that confusing site.
Really great deal if the geometry works.
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Old 08-12-21, 04:31 PM
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Are the 853 frame/wheels still available?

I vote 853 btw out of thosex2 options.

I doubt I ever go back to 50/34.

Smaller gears, bigger tires is win! maybe my age is showing.
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Old 08-13-21, 05:50 PM
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I do not have much experience with Reynolds 853 for a gravel bike but I do have one friend with one. He does say it is pretty stiff compared to his previous steel bike, which generally is not what most people are looking for in a gravel ride. I wonder if that is why there are not nearly as many 853 gravel frames out there as there are in lower steel grades like 631?
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Old 08-13-21, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
I do not have much experience with Reynolds 853 for a gravel bike but I do have one friend with one. He does say it is pretty stiff compared to his previous steel bike, which generally is not what most people are looking for in a gravel ride. I wonder if that is why there are not nearly as many 853 gravel frames out there as there are in lower steel grades like 631?
An 853 and 631 frame will be identically stiff if they have identically sized and butted tubes.
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Old 08-15-21, 10:38 AM
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Both of these would surely be lovely. I personally prefer 853, all else comparable, because it's fairly light, feels good to ride, and it's pretty much bulletproof. A decent 853 frame should last approximately forever, even with the odd scrape or ding. Carbon, not so much.

(My gravel/bikepacking bike is 853.)
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Old 08-17-21, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by scubaman View Post
Both of these would surely be lovely. I personally prefer 853, all else comparable, because it's fairly light, feels good to ride, and it's pretty much bulletproof. A decent 853 frame should last approximately forever, even with the odd scrape or ding. Carbon, not so much.

(My gravel/bikepacking bike is 853.)
After thinking about it, I'll probably hold off on purchasing another N+1 bike! As much as I want the 853 steel frame, my current alloy frame is dialed in and I might be better off just getting a lighter wheelset.
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