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Gravel bike for a full Ironman?

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Gravel bike for a full Ironman?

Old 10-30-19, 09:38 PM
  #1  
NyoGoat
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Gravel bike for a full Ironman?

The answer is always N+1, but i'm budget concious. I currently ride a CAAD10 that I was going to put clip on bars. Now that it's getting into the winter i'm looking at a used Trek Checkpoint gravel bike. It's spec'ed about the same as the CAAD10 with 105 component level, but it's carbon. Will I notice much difference in time on one bike or the other? From what I understand clip ons and aero position make more of a difference than the aero bike frame.

I can probably justify having both bikes, but the checkpoint is an upgrade to a CF frame. It's easier to sell the higher price to my wife if I sell the CAAD10. The main drive in getting a gravel bike is for winter riding, I'm really looking for a cheap CX bike that I can leave fenders on but I came across what looks like a good deal on the checkpoint
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Old 10-31-19, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by NyoGoat View Post
The main drive in getting a gravel bike is for winter riding
Do you mean winter riding on paved roads? Not sure that a gravel bike will offer you much over a road bike on the pavement in the winter.

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Old 10-31-19, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by NyoGoat View Post
Will I notice much difference in time on one bike or the other?
Either one will be fine for a 112 mile bike ride. Even if there is a time difference, who cares? The guys up front will all be on triathalon bikes.
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Old 11-01-19, 11:29 AM
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A TT bike would be noticeably faster, but you'll be absolutely fine on a gravel bike, particularly if you install clip on aero bars and road bike tires. The only thing stopping you will be making the cutoff time.

If it were me, I'd put on some 25mm GP4000 or GP5000 road tires for the event.

I have a gravel bike also (Topstone aluminum) on 37mm tires (Gravel King slicks) and really enjoy riding it on the road. I say go for it.
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Old 11-02-19, 12:02 PM
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My real dilemma is a struggle between a desire to have a car free life as much as possible and a desire to race. Different bikes for those. I've had a road bike for a few years and every winter get frustrated because I can't get good fenders and I usually want knobby tires. With the one bike thought process i'm wondering if a gravel bike could solve my winter problems and still let me race.

I do want to get a TT bike but I don't know if I have the budget for it. There is a perception that you can buy performance by getting a better bike. I understand that the engine is the most important part will give the most gains. I'm justy rying to balance. out competing bike life and competition bike desires and wondering if i'll be sad if I tilt the balance towards the bike life balance when i'm racing.
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Old 11-02-19, 09:41 PM
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People have raced tri's on far more ridiculous bikes.
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Old 11-04-19, 01:10 PM
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Well I ended up getting the gravel bike I was looking at. I might hang on to my other road bike until after the race next year though
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Old 11-04-19, 02:10 PM
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Stack on a gravel bike might be tough to overcome with buying cheap super-drop stems or using clip-ons.

I'd say for sure you'd be looking at buying a pretty negative rise stem to get the stack down enough to be worth it.

Gravel/cross bikes have a lot more front end than do road race or even endurance road bikes.

IMHO, now that you bought it I'd sell that road bike and pickup a "project" bike to fix up.

FWIW I pretty much now own an older "super bike" TT bike because I was willing to do carbon repair on something someone else wanted to trash.

If you learn to do stuff like that, and shop sales or Ebay and learn what "open mold" parts to trust........you can get an awesome setup for a good price.

I've got about a $1k total in a Felt DA with disc, trispoke, and integrated modern cockpit.

You can find used decent condition P2 framesets for like $350. About one of the fastest budget tri bikes you can do.
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Old 11-05-19, 10:30 AM
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IMHO, now that you bought it I'd sell that road bike and pickup a "project" bike to fix up.
That's a great idea. I was looking at cheap TT bikes before I went the gravel route. How difficult is it to do carbon repair? I'm fairly handy but carbon has left me feeling a bit intimidated
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Old 11-08-19, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by NyoGoat View Post
That's a great idea. I was looking at cheap TT bikes before I went the gravel route. How difficult is it to do carbon repair? I'm fairly handy but carbon has left me feeling a bit intimidated
I personally would leave carbon repair up to the experts. Depending on how severe the damage, it might not be worth repairing. There are a lot of options on used tri bikes as they turnover quickly. Look over at slowtwitch. There are always tri bikes a few years old...
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Old 11-12-19, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by NyoGoat View Post
That's a great idea. I was looking at cheap TT bikes before I went the gravel route. How difficult is it to do carbon repair? I'm fairly handy but carbon has left me feeling a bit intimidated
Based on your desire for a car free life, maybe your focus should be on getting a bike better suited for utility even more than the gravel bike??? ..... something you can put rack and fenders on and still have good sized tires?
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Old 11-18-19, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
Based on your desire for a car free life, maybe your focus should be on getting a bike better suited for utility even more than the gravel bike??? ..... something you can put rack and fenders on and still have good sized tires?
This is the exact reason I went with a gravel bike. It can take a rack and fenders and tires up to 40's.
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Old 11-21-19, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
People have raced tri's on far more ridiculous bikes.
Ive once seen a Gal use a beach cruiser on a sprint triathlon.

Only a 8 mile ride but it was fun to see someone charging it!
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Old 12-10-19, 07:18 AM
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I am using a Fuji Sportif 2.3 (with 2x10 gears, i might add ) for my tris. Works fine for me. Before this I used a 1987 Peugeot Triathlon bike in 501 steel. Downtube shifters. Worked fine also.
Just make sure the bike fits you. And replacing the wheels (as in, having training/commuter wheels, and "race" wheels) will do a LOT for a bike. Most times getting a good set of wheels realtively cheap is doable, espescially if people buy a new bike and have already way better wheels at home. Just keep an eye on CL or your local equivalent.

Have fun!
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Old 12-12-19, 06:39 PM
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I read a lot of stuff about aero and IIRC, the biggest win comes from the position (aero bars plus fitting). Second would be the wheels. I may be wrong but aero wheels on a gravel bike ay be better than box rim wheels on an aero frame. But yes, aero wheels are not cheap! Also, something often overlooked is the helmet. From my readings, it's one of the best bang for the buck.

Just my 2 cents. Hope it helps.
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Old 01-05-20, 10:58 AM
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Remember, when Ironman started the tri bike didn’t exist. You can absolutely use a road or gravel bike for an IM, but it will be slower and you’ll want good road tires with latex tubes. Also, ride in the drops with elbows bent as much as possible.
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Old 01-28-20, 06:50 AM
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If you're worried about what kind of bike to use... this should be an interesting read.

https://www.triathlete.com/2013/11/f...-15-bike_90224

What matters most is being comfortable in the saddle and ending the ride still being able to run, so whatever suits you is fine.

Last edited by WebFootFreak; 01-28-20 at 06:57 AM.
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