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Who makes the lightest steel frame bikes?

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Who makes the lightest steel frame bikes?

Old 12-31-21, 09:49 PM
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I think the question the OP should have posted should be:

Who makes the lightest steel frame bikes that are enjoyable to ride?

Some very talented frame builders took a while to figure out what was the best use for 753 tubing.
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Old 12-31-21, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by fishboat
What he said.. Nice choice on the Lemond and multiple bikes...pretty much my route also. Lemond bikes are hard to beat in very nice steel bikes that are readily available and built up well..if stock(except for the wheels..for me at least). It always surprises me how many are still like new. I did a 6hr (one way) drive for my Maillot Jaune..in showroom condition..long day, but I'd do it again.

I'm also surprised the CdF doesn't take 28mm tires at least. Both my road bikes run 28mm GK slicks(that tend to run a little over 27mm).
Iím surprised too. Iím riding 28mm 5000gp that measure right at 28 mm on my Zurich. Not even very close really.
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Old 01-01-22, 04:00 PM
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I'm in the process of searching out a lighter weight steel gravel bike and stumbled across this thread. Lots of amazing options out there.
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Old 01-01-22, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by BCSC
I'm in the process of searching out a lighter weight steel gravel bike and stumbled across this thread. Lots of amazing options out there.
Rodriguez by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

At 21.5 pounds sans brakes. It looks like A 1x but has a gear range of 20 to 140 gear inches thanks to the 4 pound Sturmey Archer CS-RK3 rear wheel & Son dynamo front hub. The only SRAM parts are the second hand 3x triple trigger shifter & Quarq power meter. The only Shimano parts are an XTR derailleur & the rotors.

I know can build the bike up a lot lighter. I've had a THM Clavicula SE with power meter option on order for about 3 months now. I'm not rich, but sometimes working as a bike mechanic has it's perks when cool stuff floats on by. Stan's Grail rims are in a box in my closet as is a Ritchey 350 gram fork.

Conventional 2x gearing options would also make it a lot lighter than the Sturmey Archer. As luck would have it, a full Dura-Ace hydraulic/mechanical group set & XTR9000 post mount brakes landed in my lap. So why not put it to good use? I could make use of it all if Extralight ever gets around to manufacturing their HyperRear3 28 hole hub so I can lace up the Grail rims.

Extralite & I have exchanged emails. They discontinued the HyperRear2 at a really inconvenient time as I was buying/researching parts. They assure me the HyperRear3 is to be available soon.

The substitute 28 hole 135mm QR White Industries hub I was considering from ProWheelBuilder is 12 weeks to fulfillment & has been so for over a year now. 3 months ago I ordered a rim from them that they claimed was in stock. It has yet to ship & I have not been contacted. Such a configured hub is no longer offered on White Industries website unless I want to buy the wrong thing & swap end caps. I don't think PWB has figured this out yet. I'm not confident PWB is a legit enough operation to give them another order. So for now, I sit & wait to see if the lead time ever changes.

It would take an email/phone call to White Industries itself to get the lesser hub. Discounting Tune & Chris King as heavier, & without White's titanium free hub body, or DT Swiss as both over(stupid)priced & unavailable with out crossing the same hurdles as White,

In the meantime I'm patiently waiting & building the Bandito up as best I can until the supply chain makes it make sense to reconfigure.

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Old 01-02-22, 10:24 AM
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Lots of people posting road bikes with rim brakes and 25s or 28s. As has been repeated a few times now, the OP does not want a road bike. The OP is looking for a steel gravel bike. Rim brakes will not fit 42s, period. The OP is looking at a disc brake bike.

The OP should be aware that what he's looking for is very niche and almost certainly going to expensive. The OP does not seem to me to be the type of hyper-enthusiast, steel fetishist who's going to hire the likes of Rob English. A critical question to the OP: lots of hyper-expensive custom options have been posted, but based on the limited information you've provided, you seem to be looking at far less costly options. Are you willing to spend thousands of dollars on a custom frame from a small maker? If not, it's going to be even tougher to come up with options.

Given the above, my opinions:
1. Sub 20 lbs, steel with room for 42s is simply not going to happen unless you go hyper esoteric, three-year-waiting-list, $13K finished bike. That's the fact of the matter. Room for 42s implies disc brakes. Disc brakes + steel + big tires does not equal sub 20 lbs unless you start buying weird German carbon parts that cost more than aerospace components.
2. Sub 20 lbs, Ti and room for 42s is somewhat more likely but again not going to be cheap. There are some options here that will work from Lynskey and the like, though. BikesDirect used to sell a Ti gravel bike, but it doesn't seem to be available now.
3. I would recommend the OP stop worrying about five pounds of weight. A few pounds of bike weight is highly overrated as a performance attribute of a bike. This is especially true for recreational cyclists, you are not going to notice the difference at all. 25 lbs, steel, fits 42s and doesn't cost the world is very, very achievable.

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Old 01-02-22, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11
Lots of people posting road bikes with rim brakes and 25s or 28s. As has been repeated a few times now, the OP does not want a road bike. The OP is looking for a steel gravel bike. Rim brakes will not fit 42s, period. The OP is looking at a disc brake bike.

The OP should be aware that what he's looking for is very niche and almost certainly going to expensive. The OP does not seem to me to be the type of hyper-enthusiast, steel fetishist who's going to hire the likes of Rob English. A critical question to the OP: lots of hyper-expensive custom options have been posted, but based on the limited information you've provided, you seem to be looking at far less costly options. Are you willing to spend thousands of dollars on a custom frame from a small maker? If not, it's going to be even tougher to come up with options.

Given the above, my opinions:
1. Sub 20 lbs, steel with room for 42s is simply not going to happen unless you go hyper esoteric, three-year-waiting-list, $13K finished bike. That's the fact of the matter. Room for 42s implies disc brakes. Disc brakes + steel + big tires does not equal sub 20 lbs unless you start buying weird German carbon parts that cost more than aerospace components.
2. Sub 20 lbs, Ti and room for 42s is somewhat more likely but again not going to be cheap. There are some options here that will work from Lynskey and the like, though. BikesDirect used to sell a Ti gravel bike, but it doesn't seem to be available now.
3. I would recommend the OP stop worrying about five pounds of weight. A few pounds of bike weight is highly overrated as a performance attribute of a bike. This is especially true for recreational cyclists, you are not going to notice the difference at all. 25 lbs, steel, fits 42s and doesn't cost the world is very, very achievable.
This.
Pretty obvious from the get
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Old 01-02-22, 03:53 PM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by Hiro11
Lots of people posting road bikes with rim brakes and 25s or 28s. As has been repeated a few times now, the OP does not want a road bike. The OP is looking for a steel gravel bike. Rim brakes will not fit 42s, period. The OP is looking at a disc brake bike.

The OP should be aware that what he's looking for is very niche and almost certainly going to expensive. The OP does not seem to me to be the type of hyper-enthusiast, steel fetishist who's going to hire the likes of Rob English. A critical question to the OP: lots of hyper-expensive custom options have been posted, but based on the limited information you've provided, you seem to be looking at far less costly options. Are you willing to spend thousands of dollars on a custom frame from a small maker? If not, it's going to be even tougher to come up with options.

Given the above, my opinions:
1. Sub 20 lbs, steel with room for 42s is simply not going to happen unless you go hyper esoteric, three-year-waiting-list, $13K finished bike. That's the fact of the matter. Room for 42s implies disc brakes. Disc brakes + steel + big tires does not equal sub 20 lbs unless you start buying weird German carbon parts that cost more than aerospace components.
2. Sub 20 lbs, Ti and room for 42s is somewhat more likely but again not going to be cheap. There are some options here that will work from Lynskey and the like, though. BikesDirect used to sell a Ti gravel bike, but it doesn't seem to be available now.
3. I would recommend the OP stop worrying about five pounds of weight. A few pounds of bike weight is highly overrated as a performance attribute of a bike. This is especially true for recreational cyclists, you are not going to notice the difference at all. 25 lbs, steel, fits 42s and doesn't cost the world is very, very achievable.
did you read thru the thread? The initial post is from 19 months ago and the OP even came back to update the thread with what was purchased.
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Old 01-02-22, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11
Lots of people posting road bikes with rim brakes and 25s or 28s. As has been repeated a few times now, the OP does not want a road bike. The OP is looking for a steel gravel bike. Rim brakes will not fit 42s, period. The OP is looking at a disc brake bike.

The OP should be aware that what he's looking for is very niche and almost certainly going to expensive. The OP does not seem to me to be the type of hyper-enthusiast, steel fetishist who's going to hire the likes of Rob English. A critical question to the OP: lots of hyper-expensive custom options have been posted, but based on the limited information you've provided, you seem to be looking at far less costly options. Are you willing to spend thousands of dollars on a custom frame from a small maker? If not, it's going to be even tougher to come up with options.

Given the above, my opinions:
1. Sub 20 lbs, steel with room for 42s is simply not going to happen unless you go hyper esoteric, three-year-waiting-list, $13K finished bike. That's the fact of the matter. Room for 42s implies disc brakes. Disc brakes + steel + big tires does not equal sub 20 lbs unless you start buying weird German carbon parts that cost more than aerospace components.
2. Sub 20 lbs, Ti and room for 42s is somewhat more likely but again not going to be cheap. There are some options here that will work from Lynskey and the like, though. BikesDirect used to sell a Ti gravel bike, but it doesn't seem to be available now.
3. I would recommend the OP stop worrying about five pounds of weight. A few pounds of bike weight is highly overrated as a performance attribute of a bike. This is especially true for recreational cyclists, you are not going to notice the difference at all. 25 lbs, steel, fits 42s and doesn't cost the world is very, very achievable.
FWIW: I spent the day tinkering on the disc braked steel frame gravel bike I posted a pic of a post or two up. It now has a standard 2x11 drive train. A Quarq power meter crankset, a Powertap Power meter (because I do not own a nonPowertap disc wheel) & dynamo on 32 spoke aluminum rims.

It weighs 20.6 pounds. All that's left to do is bleed the brakes & ride as is while I wait for some hubs, the crankset I ordered & decide if I want to install the fork that is 300 grams lighter or not.

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Old 01-03-22, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11
Lots of people posting road bikes with rim brakes and 25s or 28s. As has been repeated a few times now, the OP does not want a road bike. The OP is looking for a steel gravel bike. Rim brakes will not fit 42s, period. The OP is looking at a disc brake bike.

The OP should be aware that what he's looking for is very niche and almost certainly going to expensive. The OP does not seem to me to be the type of hyper-enthusiast, steel fetishist who's going to hire the likes of Rob English. A critical question to the OP: lots of hyper-expensive custom options have been posted, but based on the limited information you've provided, you seem to be looking at far less costly options. Are you willing to spend thousands of dollars on a custom frame from a small maker? If not, it's going to be even tougher to come up with options.

Given the above, my opinions:
1. Sub 20 lbs, steel with room for 42s is simply not going to happen unless you go hyper esoteric, three-year-waiting-list, $13K finished bike. That's the fact of the matter. Room for 42s implies disc brakes. Disc brakes + steel + big tires does not equal sub 20 lbs unless you start buying weird German carbon parts that cost more than aerospace components.
2. Sub 20 lbs, Ti and room for 42s is somewhat more likely but again not going to be cheap. There are some options here that will work from Lynskey and the like, though. BikesDirect used to sell a Ti gravel bike, but it doesn't seem to be available now.
3. I would recommend the OP stop worrying about five pounds of weight. A few pounds of bike weight is highly overrated as a performance attribute of a bike. This is especially true for recreational cyclists, you are not going to notice the difference at all. 25 lbs, steel, fits 42s and doesn't cost the world is very, very achievable.
Rim brakes include cantilever, V, and miniV all will take 42's without issue, there are more than a few center pulls that will also take 42+ tires.
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Old 01-03-22, 07:04 AM
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Honestly, look for an old MTB from the 1990's. An old Bianchi Grizzly RC frame came in at close to 1.5 kg. Some others even came close to 1.3 (Toad).

Converting that to gravel would be cheap and most likely make a great gravel bike...
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Old 01-03-22, 08:22 AM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by vespasianus
Honestly, look for an old MTB from the 1990's. An old Bianchi Grizzly RC frame came in at close to 1.5 kg. Some others even came close to 1.3 (Toad).

Converting that to gravel would be cheap and most likely make a great gravel bike...
A 90s MTB frame that weighed close to 1300g?
...was it made for adults?

Also, what is a Toad?...Does that mean 'OffRoad Toad'? If so, it was 2 sizes and a couple hundred frames a year.
Oh yeah- and the OP found a bike per the update.
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Old 01-03-22, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
A 90s MTB frame that weighed close to 1300g?
...was it made for adults?

Also, what is a Toad?...Does that mean 'OffRoad Toad'? If so, it was 2 sizes and a couple hundred frames a year.
Oh yeah- and the OP found a bike per the update.
Yeah, should have read the thread but yes, made for an adult! People forgot how companies tried to push steel to the lightest possible weight in the early 90's. A Grizzly RC with Columbus tubing was 3.1 lbs in a medium. There were lots of companies making frames out of Ultrafoco that were crazy light.

I would also argue that in most all cases, they were failures as mountain bikes.Too light and too flexy for most men. With that said, my wife still rides her Grizzly RC but she is 115 lbs!
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Old 12-02-22, 09:32 AM
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the question had no mention of cost ------- cost is always the determining factor. New there are a few, used you are on the right track with older lighter frame with wide stays in the rear and a fork that has a wider berth. for instance, my '73 Motobecane Champion Team (orig orange, yes) accommodated 700x35c tires when I bought it, I didn't know they would work before I saw it. I bought the bike as a fixie, converting it back to multi speed dura ace 7400sti w/32c tires.


The older treks, as the Frek example showed, can come close in weight. expect 21-22lbs and ride.


new? Breadwinner. B Road gets you under 20lbs with cf wheelset, ultegra components, up to 52mm tires w/650b, (who really needs more than 35-42 though?), their new A Road is up to 38c. and yes, R English frames are lighter, but also more than twice the price for the frame as are Speedvagen.


stock bikes available new were mentioned, ritchey is a good bet and factory built as well -------- the road disc version is only up to 32 I think. the outback heavier, bigger tires as are the swisscross. find an older swisscross, they ride well on the road and are canti, light enough.


I laughed when i saw the beautiful Weigle, quite possibly one of the lightest and nicest all road bikes ever built BUT impossible to get and terribly expensive if you can find one.


I've owned and sold most of the 2001 - 07 Lemonds over the years before going to my breadwinner, most were very light but of course those who post steel race bikes with rim brakes here to tout the low weight without considering the large tire capacity are not understanding the question or end goal: larger tires for comfort with speed, and lightweight.
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Old 12-02-22, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by cycledog1

I've owned and sold most of the 2001 - 07 Lemonds over the years before going to my breadwinner, most were very light but of course those who post steel race bikes with rim brakes here to tout the low weight without considering the large tire capacity are not understanding the question or end goal: larger tires for comfort with speed, and lightweight.
I had/have the black Rodriguez from a few posts up. The supply chain straightened out & all the parts ordered/purchased during the pandemic got installed.
From another thread.
This bike will fit at up to 45mm tires.
To go full gravel, a rear derailleur swap (XT/XTR with TanPan) and a monoblock cassette would be all that is needed. All of which I have leftover from various projects. Though from a strictly technological standpoint, I suppose in hindsight an XD freehub body makes available a big range of SRAM cassettes available too. But that would mean buying stuff.

Honestly, I have enough capable gravel bikes & the Stan's Grail wheel set with Berd spokes is sublime enough that larger than 25mm tires just isn't necessary. It would amount to swapping parts for the sake of swapping parts.

The only change I have made since the other thread was to nix the pictured Absolute Black chainrings in favor of Extralite chain rings.

With pedals, bottle cages, & copious amount of sealant: 16 pounds 4 ounces.
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Old 12-02-22, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11
Lots of people posting road bikes with rim brakes and 25s or 28s. As has been repeated a few times now, the OP does not want a road bike. The OP is looking for a steel gravel bike. Rim brakes will not fit 42s, period. The OP is looking at a disc brake bike.

The OP should be aware that what he's looking for is very niche and almost certainly going to expensive. The OP does not seem to me to be the type of hyper-enthusiast, steel fetishist who's going to hire the likes of Rob English. A critical question to the OP: lots of hyper-expensive custom options have been posted, but based on the limited information you've provided, you seem to be looking at far less costly options. Are you willing to spend thousands of dollars on a custom frame from a small maker? If not, it's going to be even tougher to come up with options.

Given the above, my opinions:
1. Sub 20 lbs, steel with room for 42s is simply not going to happen unless you go hyper esoteric, three-year-waiting-list, $13K finished bike. That's the fact of the matter. Room for 42s implies disc brakes. Disc brakes + steel + big tires does not equal sub 20 lbs unless you start buying weird German carbon parts that cost more than aerospace components.

Reading through this thread again and find it kinda funny.


This is my gravel bike, a Tommasini X-Fire Gravel with 700x 43 Gravel kings (tubeless, measure out to 45), KRU carbon bars and stem, Zipp seat post, and Farsport carbon wheels with dt240 hub). EKAR groupset with 40T chainring and 9-42 cassette. As shown, with cages, pedals (old Crank Brothers Quatro), Garmin mount, phone mount, and pump frame holder the bike comes in at 8.51 kg (which is something like 19lbs). The frame itself is something in the 1700 gram range. Not that light in my mind but for good for rough terrain. The bike also is very much an aggressive gravel bike and as comfortable on the road as on gravel (73/73 geometry).

A key thing in the weight is the carbon wheels and the EKAR groupset - but honestly not hard to get a steel bike below 20 lbs. You are correct in that this was not cheap!

With all that said, bike weight is not that important and for gravel, a heavier bike gives a nicer ride.
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Old 12-04-22, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by vespasianus
Reading through this thread again and find it kinda funny.


This is my gravel bike, a Tommasini X-Fire Gravel with 700x 43 Gravel kings (tubeless, measure out to 45), KRU carbon bars and stem, Zipp seat post, and Farsport carbon wheels with dt240 hub). EKAR groupset with 40T chainring and 9-42 cassette. As shown, with cages, pedals (old Crank Brothers Quatro), Garmin mount, phone mount, and pump frame holder the bike comes in at 8.51 kg (which is something like 19lbs). The frame itself is something in the 1700 gram range. Not that light in my mind but for good for rough terrain. The bike also is very much an aggressive gravel bike and as comfortable on the road as on gravel (73/73 geometry).

A key thing in the weight is the carbon wheels and the EKAR groupset - but honestly not hard to get a steel bike below 20 lbs. You are correct in that this was not cheap!

With all that said, bike weight is not that important and for gravel, a heavier bike gives a nicer ride.

totally agree with you. the wheelset is extremely important, if they are looking to reduce weight after the other components are considered.

I'll mention, however, when ridden on the road, the gravel or all-road bikes do feel heavier when climbing, and thats the trade off if they don't get a higher quality frame. frames, no matter the material, are over-built for the masses unless made custom to the user's needs, weight, riding style.

the users budget, again, hasn't been divulged completely, and what someone is willing to pay for that 19-20lb steel disc all road frame AND the cf wheelset decides whether or not they do it. the run of the mill Niner steel RTL, for instance is 4k, its not custom and weighs about 21-22lbs. not heavy by 80's standards, in fact very light. but those looking for a steel bike like road bike weight from 2002 at 17-19lbs stock off the rack and 2-3k won't find it.

establish the budget, the use --------- which has been established in this case, and be realistic. your Tommasini X-Fire Gravel as beautiful as it is is in the multi thousands and custom or could be knowing Tommasini. my Breadwinner at 19 - 20 lbs is an 8k$$ bike, but its custom and has a great cf wheelset. you pay for the weight loss and dial in.
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Old 12-05-22, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by cycledog1
totally agree with you. the wheelset is extremely important, if they are looking to reduce weight after the other components are considered.

I'll mention, however, when ridden on the road, the gravel or all-road bikes do feel heavier when climbing, and thats the trade off if they don't get a higher quality frame. frames, no matter the material, are over-built for the masses unless made custom to the user's needs, weight, riding style.

the users budget, again, hasn't been divulged completely, and what someone is willing to pay for that 19-20lb steel disc all road frame AND the cf wheelset decides whether or not they do it. the run of the mill Niner steel RTL, for instance is 4k, its not custom and weighs about 21-22lbs. not heavy by 80's standards, in fact very light. but those looking for a steel bike like road bike weight from 2002 at 17-19lbs stock off the rack and 2-3k won't find it.

establish the budget, the use --------- which has been established in this case, and be realistic. your Tommasini X-Fire Gravel as beautiful as it is is in the multi thousands and custom or could be knowing Tommasini. my Breadwinner at 19 - 20 lbs is an 8k$$ bike, but its custom and has a great cf wheelset. you pay for the weight loss and dial in.
Agree and yes, the Tommasini is in that range. But, I would also argue that steel is steel and the weight difference is only 200-300 grams between a high end custom steel and regular steel. You can get a good steel frame for $1500-$2000, and with EKAR, some Farsport or similar wheels and the right other parts, get a gravel bike that easily falls in the <10kg range. Now, I agree that is not cheap as you are still talking ~$5K for a bike - but even with an off the shelf Carbon gravel bike, it will be similar.
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