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Gravel bike recommendation

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Gravel bike recommendation

Old 03-13-21, 04:22 PM
  #26  
OddJack
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Are there any 1X gravel bikes? I am a true believer in 1X
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Old 03-13-21, 05:39 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by OddJack View Post
Are there any 1X gravel bikes? I am a true believer in 1X
Uh, yeah. Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo all offer 1x for gravel.
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Old 03-14-21, 09:11 AM
  #28  
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Never any love for Giant, love my Revolt Advanced, fantastic gravel bike. Even makes a decent road bike with a second wheelset.
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Old 03-14-21, 10:41 PM
  #29  
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I have a checkpoint. I find it to be a fun ride. I generally use it for commuting and weekend gravel riding. Its a good all-rounder. I went ahead and did the conversion to tubeless, which has turned out to be a great investment. I um.... accidently rode over a cactus on one of my first "gravel" rides and ended up with about 15 needles in the front tire, and they all sealed. I have nothing but good things to say about it except that it is a little on the heavy side. But Im satisfied with it.
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Old 03-15-21, 07:54 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I had one. Great bike for the long distance and occasional forays off pavement. I don't know that you'd be unhappy either way, but the IsoSpeed method of smoothing out the rough stuff appealed to me more so than the FutureShock method.
So you had one and now don't? Didn't like it?
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Old 03-15-21, 07:55 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by guachi View Post
I have one and a second on order. I didn't know if I could handle a more aggressive geometry bike so I bought an SL5 in 2019. Now I'm getting a SLR7 and will sell/give away/put the SL5 on a trainer. I have no other road bike to compare it to but some combination of the iso speed and 32mm tires makes riding poor quality roads not terrible and it can actually handle a dirt path without feeling too squirrely.

But the wider clearance of the 2020 and 2021 is a great feature and with the Domane being such a good seller there are 20 different models from $950 to $12500, four of which are ebikes. As far as I know, all the models allow for bigger tires except maybe the cheapest model that has rim brakes. Finding anything in stock is a different matter but in principle there are lots of options.

With bikes being in such short supply just finding the right bike will be tough so having a bike (whether it's a Domane or something else) that can plausibly do two different things with a change of wheels (or wheels and tires) is a definite plus in my book.
Thanks for the info. The ability for wider tires and doing a wheelset swap for road or gravel is what has me interested in this bike.
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Old 03-15-21, 07:56 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
Never any love for Giant, love my Revolt Advanced, fantastic gravel bike. Even makes a decent road bike with a second wheelset.
Press fit bottom bracket. If it was threaded I may have an interest in this bike.
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Old 03-15-21, 08:31 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
So you had one and now don't? Didn't like it?
Oh, I really liked it for what it's designed for, but I had a change in focus and limited budget.

I started doing more spirited group rides and my current Cervelo is a little more snappy - quicker to change speed and direction. The Domane is more stable, though I wouldn't say it's sluggish. Whereas I could be leisurely about riding no-hands on the Domane, whether taking off a vest or unwrapping a snack, the Cervelo needs a little more attention. The Domane was also more comfy on the same wheels/tires/psi - if you want to feel as fresh as possibly after 8+ hours in the saddle, the Domane does that exceptionally well. The Cervelo isn't harsh by any means, and long days aren't a problem, but it's no magic carpet ride.

While I felt that the Domane leaned more towards long days in the saddle and the Cervelo towards town sign sprints, there was still significant overlap and it made sense for me to only keep one (edit: I also had/have a dedicated gravel bike, though it's not as nice, so I didn't need the Domane to cover that use case).
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Old 03-26-21, 03:43 PM
  #34  
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Hello all,

I'm back. I'll called about a dozen shops, and the only bike avaiable in my size is a Jamis Renegade S2 ($2100) and a Giant Revolt ($2450).

The Jamis did feel a little bulky with higher rolling resistance. But, I rode right into a pothole with no problems. This just eats up the bumps. I'm assuming that's the tubeless tires. There were pumped to 50-60PSI. The 1x was super nice. I was in the 2nd to highest gear a slight decline, so I can see some situations where I run out of gears on the high end (not a big deal, I just coast in that situation). In terms of the cockpit, the hoods/tops are great. The drops felt a little close (not stretched out enough) and I'm definitely not used to the flared drops. It felt a little twitchy in the drops. I guess I just have to get used to that.

The Giant Revolt was not nearly as cushy feeling. The tires were pumped to 50-60 PSI. This bike had less flare on the handlebars and felt a bit more nimble overall. Surprisingly, the seat felt super hard and probably just didn't fit me.

So out of the 2, the Jamis is better. I would love to test ride a 3rd bike, but there are none available for < $3500. And I don't want to test ride a bike I can't afford.

So, I guess I have a 2 options.
  1. But the Jamis Renegade
  2. Wait for later summer when supposedly some more stock comes in, but take a Risk that the Jamis will be gone and that no other bikes actually arrive.
Thanks.
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Old 03-26-21, 04:38 PM
  #35  
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For whatever it's worth - I have a 2018 Jamis Renegade Exploit (similar level to an S2), and I've been quite happy with it. My only complaint is that it has road gearing (50/34-11/32) - I would rather have the 1x on the S2. I almost never need the high end but I do often want a slightly lower gear for steep dirt climbs. You'll probably get used to the handlebars, but it's also not too hard to swap them (I replaced mine with narrower, less-flared bars as I found the stock bars too wide). The bike feels heavy when I pick it up but I don't notice the weight when riding it. I rode it to and from a 2-night work retreat - 75 miles each way, all on the road, with one good climb in the middle - just after I got my Renegade, and I didn't have trouble keeping pace with my coworkers who were on lighter carbon or aluminum road bikes. These days my riding is often 15 miles on the road each way to get to 15-20 miles of gravel and dirt, and the Renegade is a great fit for that.

Last edited by nathand; 03-26-21 at 11:38 PM. Reason: corrected gearing (cassette is 11-32, not 11-34 as I originally wrote)
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Old 03-26-21, 11:00 PM
  #36  
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If the Jamis has high rolling resistance, just change the tires. A $90 change fixes your complaint.
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Old 03-27-21, 02:21 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
Never any love for Giant, love my Revolt Advanced, fantastic gravel bike. Even makes a decent road bike with a second wheelset.
That's because Giant is too popular! IMO, anyone with a tight budget or that wants the best bang for the buck should get a Giant.

I'm on my 3rd Giant race bike and they have all been great so far.

I bought a Revolt 2 a few weeks ago that should be arriving at my LBS anytime soon and I am sure it will be just as nice as the other ones I've owned. Its Specialized equivalence (Diverge E5) was more expensive and had a cheaper groupset.

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Old 03-27-21, 05:14 PM
  #38  
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I'm hijacking to see if anyone has experience with the Surly Straggler - I'm looking for something that can handle racks for commuting (I'm tired of the backpack), is good for light gravel and can handle a little rougher roads in pastures / fire roads. If I use it on the road, it will be with the family so speed isn't a concern (I have a nice road bike for that).
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Old 03-28-21, 06:28 PM
  #39  
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Bike Purchased

Thanks for all the conversation.

I purchased The 2021 Renegade S2 and after 1 quick ride I'm quite happy. The bike shop didn't have any pedals to sell me, so they lent me pedals until I could buy a pair at a LBS one town over

Now, I realize I have no idea how to maintain this bike. All the technology is new:

Downtube friction shifters --> brifter index shifting
Friction derailleur --> index
Rim Brakes --> Hydraulic brakes
Tube Tires --> Tubeless

Have a great riding season
quick release --> Thru-axle
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Old 03-28-21, 06:37 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Zebra Tempest View Post
Thanks for all the conversation.

I purchased The 2021 Renegade S2 and after 1 quick ride I'm quite happy. The bike shop didn't have any pedals to sell me, so they lent me pedals until I could buy a pair at a LBS one town over

Now, I realize I have no idea how to maintain this bike. All the technology is new:

Downtube friction shifters --> brifter index shifting
Friction derailleur --> index
Rim Brakes --> Hydraulic brakes
Tube Tires --> Tubeless

Have a great riding season
quick release --> Thru-axle
Once set up properly, most of the drivetrain can go quite some time without much attention.

The tubeless tires, if they're actually set up tubeless, will need some regular sealant checks to make sure that the sealant is still good (it should be the consistency of half&half, or thereabouts) and that you have enough of it (it can dry out over time and some of it also gets used whenever you get a puncture, many of which can go unnoticed). I would check it in a few weeks (sometimes new tires will absorb a good amount of sealant), top it off to the right volume and then check again 6 weeks or so after that. Once you get a feel for the rate at which you/your tires go through sealant, you can adjust the frequency of your checks. A tubeless sealant syringe (10-12 bucks on Amazon) is a great investment for this, though you may need to replace your valve stems (not all of the valve stems have the internal clearance to pass the tube of the syringe).
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Old 03-28-21, 11:15 PM
  #41  
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I'd confirm they're actually tubeless - my 2018 Renegade has as tubeless-compliant rims but came with tubes. I didn't realize this, however, because the tubeless-ready rims hold the tire more firmly than a standard clincher rim even when they're not inflated. I looked pretty silly when I got a flat on my second ride and having no familiarity with tubeless tires, stopped at a local shop to ask them to fix it, only to have them show me the tube inside.
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Old 03-29-21, 09:09 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by nathand View Post
I'd confirm they're actually tubeless - my 2018 Renegade has as tubeless-compliant rims but came with tubes. I didn't realize this, however, because the tubeless-ready rims hold the tire more firmly than a standard clincher rim even when they're not inflated. I looked pretty silly when I got a flat on my second ride and having no familiarity with tubeless tires, stopped at a local shop to ask them to fix it, only to have them show me the tube inside.
LOL. They usually come with tubes but are tubeless ready. You usually have to set it up tubeless yourself.
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Old 04-04-21, 06:32 PM
  #43  
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not set up tubeless

You all are correct. The bike is not set up tubeless. I'll hold off on that for a bit while I get used to everything else. I don't plan on running < 35 psi on 40 mm tires, so i think pinch flats are probably unlikely.
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Old 04-04-21, 08:20 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Zebra Tempest View Post
You all are correct. The bike is not set up tubeless. I'll hold off on that for a bit while I get used to everything else. I don't plan on running < 35 psi on 40 mm tires, so i think pinch flats are probably unlikely.
At least you will know what to do if you get too many flats.

Keep in mind that the sealant will also ''self-repair'' small punctures - it's another plus (and a big one if you ask!) of running a TL setup.
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Old 04-05-21, 07:01 PM
  #45  
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I currently ride a supersix, but have a 2021 domane sl5 on order, so that I can better tackle the hard packed / gravel paths near my house.
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