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Best Steel & Titanium Road Focused Gravel Bike for Around $2k

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Best Steel & Titanium Road Focused Gravel Bike for Around $2k

Old 09-28-20, 10:13 AM
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NickOnABike
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Best Steel & Titanium Road Focused Gravel Bike for Around $2k

Good Day,

I like steel bikes and want a bike with generous tire clearances for gravel but that is fast and designed with a road focus. It may become a rando bike. I'm prepared to spend around $2,000 US. I thought I wanted to Surly Midnight Special as I have a Disc Trucker and Big Dummy and love them both. However, Ribble has a titanium CGR that is customizable but comes with a carbon fork and Shimano 105 for about $2,500. That seems hard to pass up. What do you all think? Is there anything similar that I should be considering?

Thanks!
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Old 09-28-20, 12:03 PM
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All-City Cycles are beautiful bikes. I live in NYC and I see them all the time. They are incredibly appealing.
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Old 09-28-20, 12:09 PM
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Have you considered a Jamis Renegade in steel (with carbon fork)? I've been quite happy with mine for both road and gravel (with appropriate tires).
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Old 09-28-20, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Mulberry20 View Post
All-City Cycles are beautiful bikes. I live in NYC and I see them all the time. They are incredibly appealing.
The design and look of AC bikes is incredible.

The spec is woefully underwhelming for the price. A Cosmic Stallion costs $2600 and comes with mechanical bb7 brakes. I have done numerous theoretical builds where buying various AC framesets and building with online purchased components comes out cheaper and with higher level spec.
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Old 09-28-20, 01:35 PM
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You are already aware of ribble. I was going to suggest the 725 cgr, but im sure you've seen it.
good clue for quality.
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Old 09-28-20, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
The design and look of AC bikes is incredible.

The spec is woefully underwhelming for the price. A Cosmic Stallion costs $2600 and comes with mechanical bb7 brakes. I have done numerous theoretical builds where buying various AC framesets and building with online purchased components comes out cheaper and with higher level spec.
That I agree with but how many people buying a bike this price would care.

The Zig Zig frame is 1200 bucks. My guy at NYC Velo said it is good enough to really dress up with higher level components. I am tempted that one color scheme with blue orange and yellow really pops. Have you seen one in person? They have great detail and even better paint.
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Old 09-28-20, 02:00 PM
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I just ordered a Twin Six Standard Rando. you can have it built up with 700C wheels and 40mm tires (up to 43mm) or 650B wheels with 47mm tires. it's designed to be a do-all road bike. no personal experience with it yet because it has not arrived.
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Old 09-28-20, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Mulberry20 View Post
That I agree with but how many people buying a bike this price would care.

The Zig Zig frame is 1200 bucks. My guy at NYC Velo said it is good enough to really dress up with higher level components. I am tempted that one color scheme with blue orange and yellow really pops. Have you seen one in person? They have great detail and even better paint.
Yeah, the zigzag frames are very nice. Last year's purple fade zigzag was fantastic.
That is actually one of the frames I did a theoretical build on(cosmic stallion being the other) where for the same cost, it was higher spec and it was equal spec for lower cost if you built it in your garage. All with new components, no crazy 1 time sales either.

I think that for $2600, people will care about having bb7 disc brakes, considering there are alternatives at the price range with hydraulic.
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Old 09-28-20, 08:02 PM
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Black Mountain Cycles are very well made and competitively priced.
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Old 09-28-20, 09:10 PM
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love my litespeed
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Old 09-29-20, 12:29 PM
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Thanks all! That more or less lines up with what I've seen. I prefer the Midnight Special over the All City bikes due to spec and price point, though they are gorgeous. I think the steel and titanium Ribbles are probably the best options for me personally. Everyone loves Litespeed but the price is a bit more than I am looking to pay. I'm going to get a fitting this weekend and see what frames seem best after that.
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Old 09-29-20, 04:06 PM
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Did you check bikesdirect.com? I bought my titanium road bike with Ultegra there. After 3 years of riding it I'm still quite happy. It cost $2,700 at that time, now it is cheaper since it is rim brakes.
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Old 09-29-20, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by tankist View Post
Did you check bikesdirect.com? I bought my titanium road bike with Ultegra there. After 3 years of riding it I'm still quite happy. It cost $2,700 at that time, now it is cheaper since it is rim brakes.
What's the story with Bikes Direct? Are they just like a generic online retailer? Are they legit? I have stumbled across their site before but just wasn't sure what to make of it. I would definitely consider that.
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Old 09-29-20, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by NickOnABike View Post
What's the story with Bikes Direct? Are they just like a generic online retailer? Are they legit? I have stumbled across their site before but just wasn't sure what to make of it. I would definitely consider that.
Nobody knows what to make of that site- its a relic from a quarter century ago.
The bike are real though. higher cost = higher quality and vice versa, its pretty straight forward. They have a lot of cost cutting measures that you can Google and read all about if you want to waste hours. But yes, they are real bikes.
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Old 09-29-20, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Nobody knows what to make of that site- its a relic from a quarter century ago.
The bike are real though. higher cost = higher quality and vice versa, its pretty straight forward. They have a lot of cost cutting measures that you can Google and read all about if you want to waste hours. But yes, they are real bikes.
Yeah I think I will shy away from that for this bike as I want it to be my best bike and the name on the bike matters to me. But if ever I want a crit bike, fat bike, or kids bike I may look there.
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Old 09-29-20, 06:25 PM
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Yeah, their site is an ancient design. But who cares if it works and saves them (and you) money?

I and 2 of my friends all bought titanium bikes from them more than 3 years ago. 2 roads and 1 gravel. All bikes had to be finally assembled by the recipient. For me it is not a big deal - I like to wrench on my bikes. So I finished mine and one of the friend's. Ideally it only involves to put on wheels and straightening and tightening of the headset. But mine was not so lucky - I had to adjust the front dérailleur because the cable was slack. Also some spokes on the wheels were not tightened correctly. I fixed the front wheel myself and gave the rear one to LBS.

So far I put more that 7K km on my bike. I had zero problems with it, so I cannot tell if bikesdirect warranty is any good. My friends had normal wear and break-in problems like tightening cables for derailleurs after months of riding, but nothing exceptional.

Quality wise the frames looked fine - nicely done welds, double butted tubes with variable profiles to handle load better. Made in Taiwan by a well known titanium company ORA. So far I think this purchase was the best bang for the buck. Especially compared to my other bike - Bianchi Infinito, which was almost twice as expensive but had many problems during the 4 years I rode it.
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Old 09-29-20, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by tankist View Post
Yeah, their site is an ancient design. But who cares if it works and saves them (and you) money?

I and 2 of my friends all bought titanium bikes from them more than 3 years ago. 2 roads and 1 gravel. All bikes had to be finally assembled by the recipient. For me it is not a big deal - I like to wrench on my bikes. So I finished mine and one of the friend's. Ideally it only involves to put on wheels and straightening and tightening of the headset. But mine was not so lucky - I had to adjust the front dérailleur because the cable was slack. Also some spokes on the wheels were not tightened correctly. I fixed the front wheel myself and gave the rear one to LBS.

So far I put more that 7K km on my bike. I had zero problems with it, so I cannot tell if bikesdirect warranty is any good. My friends had normal wear and break-in problems like tightening cables for derailleurs after months of riding, but nothing exceptional.

Quality wise the frames looked fine - nicely done welds, double butted tubes with variable profiles to handle load better. Made in Taiwan by a well known titanium company ORA. So far I think this purchase was the best bang for the buck. Especially compared to my other bike - Bianchi Infinito, which was almost twice as expensive but had many problems during the 4 years I rode it.
Thanks for the info. It is a crazy deal.
I was just looking a a titanium bike on their site with Ultegra and they had toe clips on the pedals.... I had to laugh at that. Nobody rides that bike with plastic toe clips.
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