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Newbie need advice on bike choice.

Old 10-18-17, 10:53 PM
  #1  
KLion22
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Newbie need advice on bike choice.

Hi all,

I am looking for a bike where I will mostly ride on paved roads but would also like to be able to go off road once in a while (nothing big, just some dirt). I would also like some strength in the frame where I can put in a back rack with panniers and put in some weight once in a while, perhaps for grocery shopping. So that would rule out a strict road bike with skinny tires. Nor do I want to go with a heavy touring bike as I never plan on doing long tours. Would also like to be able to push hard on paved roads so that so much weight doesn't hold me back but would like some strength in the frame. Would also prefer a drop down handle bar instead of a straight bar. Budget is around $1,000 but willing to go up to $1,500ish.

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-19-17, 01:12 AM
  #2  
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Sounds like you need a cyclocross bike to me.
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Old 10-19-17, 02:34 AM
  #3  
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What the guy above me said
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Old 10-19-17, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by KLion22 View Post
Hi all,

I am looking for a bike where I will mostly ride on paved roads but would also like to be able to go off road once in a while (nothing big, just some dirt). I would also like some strength in the frame where I can put in a back rack with panniers and put in some weight once in a while, perhaps for grocery shopping. So that would rule out a strict road bike with skinny tires. Nor do I want to go with a heavy touring bike as I never plan on doing long tours. Would also like to be able to push hard on paved roads so that so much weight doesn't hold me back but would like some strength in the frame. Would also prefer a drop down handle bar instead of a straight bar. Budget is around $1,000 but willing to go up to $1,500ish.

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

Virtually every manufacturer makes their own version of this, though achieving it for $1,000 is more difficult. The Diverge E5 ticks all the boxes.

Kona Rove is another option in that price range.
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Old 10-19-17, 11:59 AM
  #5  
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Fuji Yari, Diamondback Haanjo ... really about any endurance-geometry bike (for slightly slower steering) which fits tires up to about 38 mm should do fine. You will have to stick with Al frame/CF fork probably to get rack mounts.

I looked hard at the Yari and ended up with a Fuji Sportif for exactly that role. The Sportif was a little more road oriented but can certainly handle packed-earth trails, and can carry the groceries (and has done so.)

If you shop at Nashbar or Performance Bike wait for the big sales ... I got triple points back which amounted to almost $300 savings---$300 in accessories and such really, but I got a fluid trainer, a really nice rack, and all the bottles, cages, lights .... all stuff I would have bought anyway.

An alternative is to put the points towards a second wheelset so you can run street tires and have some more aggressive off-road tires mounted and ready if you want to do more challenging terrain. But with slick 28s I'd take my Sportif anywhere .... from paved road to dirt road and back, no problem.
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Old 10-19-17, 12:06 PM
  #6  
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Addendum: I wouldn't look at "gravel bikes" if more than 75% of your riding will be pavement. You will be getting too specialized and overbuilt ... too high bottom brackets, too heavy frames ... and you just won’t need it.

I’d look at the popular “endurance-geometry” offerings: Cannondale Synapse, Giant Contend, Specialized Roubaix, Trek Domane, I don’t know what all—and then compare similar offerings from smaller manufacturers. I did and I found the Diamondback, Nashbar, and Fuji bikes (and Ribble and Wiggle and whoever else) were just as good and a little cheaper.

if you plan to ride 75 % gravel and just ride the roads to get to the dirt—if you plan to ride mild singletrack—if you plan to bomb down steep rocky descents, yes, the greater strength and clearance of a gravel bike might be worth it.

Otherwise, an endurance-geometry bike with room for extra-wide tires should suit you well.
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Old 10-20-17, 12:08 AM
  #7  
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Thanks for the input guys. What are your thoughts on the Surly Cross Check?
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Old 10-20-17, 07:05 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by KLion22 View Post
Thanks for the input guys. What are your thoughts on the Surly Cross Check?
It has been around a long time. Good all around bike. The Cross Check has cantilever brakes. Straggler is basically the same bike but with disc brakes. If it fits you, go for it.
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Old 10-20-17, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
It has been around a long time. Good all around bike. The Cross Check has cantilever brakes. Straggler is basically the same bike but with disc brakes. If it fits you, go for it.
So it fits my criteria in that it's a pretty fast bike on the road (not TOO heavy) yet still strong enough frame wise to do SOME touring with a back rack and can go off road a bit?
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Old 10-20-17, 10:46 AM
  #10  
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i think overkill, but certainly you will never want for sturdiness in any application ....
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Old 10-21-17, 04:59 AM
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Bike choice

I would say a Gravel bike. It can go offroad, Has longer chainstays for panniers( no heel strike), and generally good all round bike. I have one and their excellent and mostly 4130 chromoly steel, you wont break them!
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Old 10-21-17, 05:24 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by KLion22 View Post
Thanks for the input guys. What are your thoughts on the Surly Cross Check?
Sounds perfect for your description of your needs. I think some years have v-brakes vice canti brakes, both work. I like canti for drp bar because you aren't restricted to long pull brake levers and could use road integrated shift/brake levers if you want. Not hard to switch.
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Old 11-04-17, 05:10 PM
  #13  
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Hey guys, any thoughts on the Co-op ADV 1.1 for my criteria? I checked our REI today and a guy at the store recommended that bike to me. It's a touring bike but not that heavy at 29 lbs with the rack and on sale for $900.
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Old 11-04-17, 05:32 PM
  #14  
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local bike shop if you have one
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Old 11-04-17, 05:53 PM
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Something like this: (included pictures on included because not enough posts. apparently pictures are also URLs and not allowed yet) roycerson dot wordpress dot com is where you'll find them.

I put a lot of time on my bicycle for transportation but am not very involved in bicycle culture. I bought a mountain bike for 70 bucks. What you're looking at is 600 dollars and a couple years. I could use some higher gears and don't need the lower ones even loaded while climbing admittedly tiny Oklahoma mountains because then I am standing anyway and can easily keep a steady pace without them. It's not a big enough deal for me to spend the 120 bucks to go 10% faster downhill. Build it yourself, start with a frame you like. No one actually manufactures a quality bicycle for grocery shopping because there's no market for it. Thousand dollar bikes are designed for people who load them in cars and drive them to another location before using them. That's what people choose to do so that's what people sell. Also choosing and shopping for parts is tons of fun, you'll learn a lot and you'll know every inch of your bike.

I see a lot of brand naming but very little about features you oughtta be looking for. I could use those answers too. How many teeth on front sprockets for maintaining what speed? What was enough when I first started is no longer enough so if I'd bought a new one with less experience I'd still have the wrong front sprockets for now. what kind of tires? Telescoping fork for off-road? If so does it need to lock stiff for on road efficiency? I think so. I don't know if those other bikes have that but if I were going to do more off-road than I do I'd have kept my telescoping fork or more likely upgraded to one that can be made stiff (I swapped mine out for a touring fork, increased the wheelbase thus comfort and stability especially while loaded. I think that fork is a big decision right now because it's a significant cost consideration.

I regularly ride my bicycle with bags from my house to the place downtown where most people drive their bikes too. Then I travel faster and farther along the river than groups of weekenders dressed like power rangers on faster, lighter, more expensive bikes. THEN I ride 15 miles back home and call it a Saturday morning. I'm reticent to give much credit to anything those weekend warriors in tights have to say about the bike I should be riding. Their experience is clearly far different than mine. They're mostly too good to talk to me. I'm not bicyclist enough for them lol.

Last edited by Roycerson; 11-04-17 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 11-04-17, 06:05 PM
  #16  
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Is there a recreational bike club (as opposed to racing club) in your area? A local bike shop will have a contact person. Ask the club if they will help you choose a bike. The idea of dropping $1,000 to $1,500 on a bike when you really don't know what you need leaves me cold. My first "real" bike was a used Italian road bike that served me well for a couple of years before I was knowledgeable enough to spend the equivalent of what you are proposing. Maybe they can help you find a used bike that fits and then after you have ridden a while buy the bike that will suit you for years to come.
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Old 11-04-17, 06:08 PM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by KLion22 View Post
Hey guys, any thoughts on the Co-op ADV 1.1 for my criteria? I checked our REI today and a guy at the store recommended that bike to me. It's a touring bike but not that heavy at 29 lbs with the rack and on sale for $900.
It's a touring bike. I love touring bikes, and it meets your criteria, but you said in your first post that you didn't want a touring bike.
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Old 11-04-17, 06:32 PM
  #18  
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People equate 'touring bike' with huge freight trains. That's not the case at all. People get all bent up about weight... which on a well designed bike, you won't notice in the real world.
What you need to be looking for is the geometry of the bike ie, a bike designed to do what you want to do. While cyclo-cross bikes would have been the answer a few years ago, they are now so race orientated you're essentially looking at a road bike, but not necessarily. Different companies have different answers to the same requirements and so two bike designed for the same 'market' can be quite different which is why shopping by label can be very misleading.

Don't ask on the internet. Go to a number of bike shops (as many as you can), and ask them. You'll get shops just trying to sell what they have in stock, but you'll also get shops trying to help you (those are the ones to listen to). This is why you need to go to as many shops as you can because it fine tunes your personal filters and allows you see the bikes on offer more clearly. Sometimes, reality changes your perceptions and you find yourself going in a direction you didn't expect, especially considering you're a novice. You can't actually tell what a bike is like until you've sat on it and believe me, they ALL change once you ride them. That's the sort of feedback you only get in real life.
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Old 11-04-17, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by KLion22 View Post
Hey guys, any thoughts on the Co-op ADV 1.1 for my criteria? I checked our REI today and a guy at the store recommended that bike to me. It's a touring bike but not that heavy at 29 lbs with the rack and on sale for $900.
What do You think of it? Have you looked at it? Did you like it?

There are a few similar bikes out there selling for similar prices, and I hope after two weeks you have looked at all the names and numbers and figured out what most of them mean. This one has decent numbers and names .... does it work for You?

Personally I don't like bar-end shifters. Serious tourers usually choose them because they can be repaired a lot more easily that brifters. This bike has 10-speed MTB derailleurs which I don't think work with most road shifters. This gives you a lot of gearing options which road drive trains can't match--42-32-22 chain rings and up to 36 teeth in the back.

However, unless you plan to do serious loaded touring over mountains, a lot of that would be overkill.

I think you are Way overthinking all this.

Originally Posted by KLion22 View Post
I am looking for a bike where I will mostly ride on paved roads but would also like to be able to go off road once in a while (nothing big, just some dirt). I would also like some strength in the frame where I can put in a back rack with panniers and put in some weight once in a while, perhaps for grocery shopping. So that would rule out a strict road bike with skinny tires.
So get a road bike with fat tires.

My main commuter has 23-mm tires and an 18-speed drive train. For anything I want to do on the pavement, including carrying a full load of groceries—and if I bolt on the front rack it would work fine for loaded touring for anything but serious hilly/mountainous terrain.

My rain bike/main grocery getter is a Fuji Sportif. It has 28-mm tires and room for more. I have it for touring, gravel, rain, road rides, anything. It really could do about anything. it has a 2x11 drive train with a 34x32 low gear ... again, fine for loaded touring for anything but serious hilly/mountainous terrain.

If you plan to do mostly road-riding with an occasional weekend trip and also run errands/get groceries, and on top of that do some dirt roads .... you need a road bike.

People use the term “road bike” like it denotes some fragile, spindly, delicate device which can’t carry more than a pack of tissues and a small bottle of water.

That is only because manufacturers want to sell you two or three bikes.

In fact, you can take about any “road bike” onto dirt with zero issues. The only question is how wide the tires are and how low the gearing goes.

Even a skinny-tired road bike can handle dirt, but obviously a wider tire will float more and dig in less. Also, dirt is less efficient so you might want slightly lower gearing if you rode a lot on dirt ... but for what you describe, you would just use the lower end of your gear range.

I’d suggest you look at something like the Fuji Sportif or the Giant Contend. Or any Al-frame-CF fork bike with rack mounts. Go with 50-34 chain rings (or 48-32) and an 11-32 or 12-34 cassette or whatever is available.

I just bought a Tiagra 4700 triple chain ring--brand new old stock--for about $67 including shipping .... 50-39-30—so my low on that bike will be 30x28 or 30x32 ... plenty low for almost everything except pulling a trailer up the Rockies and not bad for that.

You wouldn’t even need all that. There are a lot of bikes out there which can fit a rack—and that is all you really need: You need a bike which can fit 28- 32 mm tires and a rack. That’s it.

You don’t need a gravel bike or a cyclocross bike or a touring bike or a hybrid or a specialty bike from Salsa or Surly. Nothing wrong with any of that, and if some particular bike looks really right to you, go ahead and buy it. At worst, you can sell it if you are wrong.

If I were you—and I mean that, if it were me looking for a bike to do what you describe .... I’d buy a Fuji Sportif on a triple points sale. It cost about $800 off a $1100 list ... I had to pay the higher price but I got $300 in free gear—which is good because I bought an extra set of wheels so I could always have a set ready with dirt tires and road tires.

I wanted a bike to do what you describe and that is what I bought.

I would look for exactly what I found with the Sportif: display weight about 23 lbs, Spyre mechanical discs, 105 components, rack mounts, for under $1000. Bigger brands will sell you the same bike with the same gear (like the Cannondale Synapse) for a couple hundred more, so I would look at DiamondBack or Performance Bike or even Bikes Direct.

It is all up to you.

Last edited by Maelochs; 11-04-17 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 11-04-17, 11:19 PM
  #20  
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1.1 should work fine. Take a look at the 3.1 as well. I have the predecessor, the Mazama, it is a wonderful mixed use bike, about $100 cheaper, and comes in about 25# sans rack. It gives up about 1MPH compared to my 21# 23mm road bike, decked out with plush 35mm tires and fenders.

Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Personally I don't like bar-end shifters. Serious tourers usually choose them because they can be repaired a lot more easily that brifters. This bike has 10-speed MTB derailleurs which I don't think work with most road shifters. This gives you a lot of gearing options which road drive trains can't match--42-32-22 chain rings and up to 36 teeth in the back.
I'm not a "serious" tourer (at least compared to most in the touring subforum) and I like them for everyday use. IMO far more intuitive than brifters, and nice to throw the lever half the cassette at a time. Plus, nearly unlimited trim up front. No issues with the MTB RD either, although you are correct the spacing between 10spd road and MTB is different.
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Old 11-04-17, 11:29 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by KLion22 View Post
Thanks for the input guys. What are your thoughts on the Surly Cross Check?
If you are looking at Cross Check and Straggler, I would look at Soma as well. I have just built Double Cross disc and really like it. Another great steel bike. Maybe not as stiff as Straggler.
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Old 11-05-17, 12:22 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by KLion22 View Post
Hi all,

I would also like some strength in the frame where I can put in a back rack with panniers and put in some weight once in a while, perhaps for grocery shopping. So that would rule out a strict road bike with skinny tires.
I think you and an awful lot of other people underestimate how much of a beating road bikes with skinny tires can actually take.
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Old 11-06-17, 11:07 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by KLion22 View Post
So it fits my criteria in that it's a pretty fast bike on the road (not TOO heavy) yet still strong enough frame wise to do SOME touring with a back rack and can go off road a bit?
Yes, to the touring with back rack. Spouse used a cross check for loaded touring this summer on two of the tours we did, the last one being a pretty hilly route. Bike is a versatile all arounder.
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Old 11-07-17, 03:03 PM
  #24  
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Wouldn't hurt to look at a salsa marrakesh. Got mine for $1056 at an end of year sale. A lot of bike for the $. Just one persons experience, but I love mine.
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Old 11-07-17, 03:31 PM
  #25  
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gravel bike is what you need (with hydraulic disc brakes and thru axles).... some guys use these on 1000 + mile audax rides with apidura bags, dynamo hub/light etc (and I want one)

look at tubeless ready rims aswell ....and choose tyres that will suit the roads that you plan to ride

here's a Cannondale SuperX SE



we have some nice UK built gravelbikes and I'm having a very close look at these

and forget about pannier racks etc ..... this is what you need:


Last edited by dim; 11-07-17 at 03:46 PM.
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