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I wanted to buy a custom boutique bike...

Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

I wanted to buy a custom boutique bike...

Old 05-29-19, 09:09 PM
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Junkbeast
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I wanted to buy a custom boutique bike...

But I'll probably have to buy something more mainstream. I prefer to get products that are of good quality but generally aren't well known. I might not be able to this time.

I've been wanting to get a new bike for a few years now but had too many other priorities. We've spent a hard couple years becoming debt free and foregoing a lot of things we've wanted to do or buy. Now we're in a position to do a lot more. My wife told me to figure out what I wanted in a bike and then make my plan to get it. She didn't specify how much I could spend and she has no idea about bikes or their components and costs.

Naturally I started looking at builds around $5K. I figured that since this is my first "really good" bike then I might as well go big and just do it right even if it's overkill for what I ride (400-500 miles per month March-ish to October-ish). I was looking at things like the Rodeo Labs Flaanimal, Open U.P., Canyon Grail, Di2, carbon wheels, custom paint, all of that and more!

When I started to casually mention these prices along with paint jobs and new accessories, she balked pretty hard since she really didn't know things cost that much and she thinks other things like home upgrades could be neglected if I buy a bike like that. Soooo, I could probably push and push and get my way but I'm not going to do that to her. She's probably right anyway, I don't need a $5K bike and a lot of bikes will be a huge upgrade over my current bike anyway (2006 Trek FX 3.1). I'm going to have to come down quite a bit but I can still probably spend a few thousand total for a bike and accessories (pedals, shoes, gloves, GPS, etc.).

It's possible that I could still buy a frameset and then slowly collect the parts to build it up over the next year but that's not ideal for me. I'd like to get something this summer and be able to ride it a few months before it gets too cold.

I really need some ideas and insight into bikes that I can get fully built from LBSs. I ride mostly road but want to spend more time on gravel if I can (think like 75/25 road/gravel). I'm like 6'-2" and range from 220-250 lbs. (always gain weight in winter then drop in summer...aiming to get down to 200 this summer) so I'll never be on super skinny tires. I'm interested in steel but I have CDO and I do worry about rust; carbon is great but not a deal breaker. I'd prefer internal cabling. I'm pretty sure I want a 2x crankset.

Really the best ones I can think of now are some kind of Jamis Renegade or a Fuji Jari. I'm just not that interested in stuff from Specialized or Trek or Giant for some reason.

Please provide some opinions and options. Thanks!
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Old 05-29-19, 09:14 PM
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You told your wife what a bike costs?

Mods, move this thread to the beginners forum.
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Old 05-29-19, 09:34 PM
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Here is how I did this:

1. Break your ankle in such a way that it requires emergency surgery on a holiday if you ever plan to walk again.


2. Show her the off-the-rack $10K+ specialized and Trek bikes.


3. Then show her one of these: https://caletticycles.com/bikes/

Of all my gratuitous purchases, this one was by far the best-justified five years later. Besides, compared to sending the first of three kids to college, it was spit in the ocean.
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Old 05-29-19, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
You told your wife what a bike costs?

Mods, move this thread to the beginners forum.
Hahaha! So true.

But, yeah it is what it is. Gotta get into something around $3K.
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Old 05-29-19, 10:25 PM
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Im in a similar boat as you. Debt free other than the mortgage which is so cheap I could pay it and our bills working part time at Mcdonalds (I do have my own company... and its not a restaurant). That being said, we have 4 kids and wifey isnt really keen on 5k for a bike.

To find the right bike (and I haven't found the "perfect" bike yet) and support my habit, I have just spent a bit of time trolling the internet. In doing so, I have been able to find some good deals and slowly build up from there.

The first solid find was an older (2013) Ridley Helium. I found it on craigslist through regular searches. It was kind of funny how it happened. The story was that the owner was a runner. He had a knee injury, bought the bike and rode it for one season (less than 1000 miles he said) and then it sat for 3 years and he decided to sell it.

The owner lived in another state. I had a friend that lived nearby and was willing to go check it out. The funny part is that the guy selling it happened to be the lawyer for the company my friend worked for. Anyways... 1200.00 later and I have a Ridley Helium with Ultegra and an updated set of HED Ardennes LT wheels. He sent all the paperwork that came with the bike purchase. On paper it was over 3.5k for the bike and another 700 for the wheels.

After that summer, I went a winter without riding and talked my wife into getting a bike and riding with me the next spring. She has no problems with bike riding. She loves the exercise. The only issues (like many women) she would have is a road bike and the "Costume". A black or other colorless bike would make her less likely to enjoy going for rides. So it was important to find a bike that complimented her as a woman.

We visited lots of shops and went back and forth between her getting an electric bike (to keep up with me without having to work too hard) and a regular bike. She wasnt sure she wanted a road bike with a costume but wouldnt keep up with me on a hybrid and she was sure an electric was out (mostly because of cost) I found a 2017 Diamondback Airen in the exact size in a pretty blue color from Bicycle Blue Book on ebay. Bike was brand new and they were asking 1400. Still a little steep for my wifes liking. I waited a week and the bike was relisted. I offered 1200 and they accepted. Brand new Airen 5c with Ultegra for less than half the list price.

At the end of that summer I decided I needed a winter bike. I looked high and low and was out bid many times on ebay and just couldnt find a bike that fit my requirements on craigslist. Looked at many bike shops and asked around a bit. Finally after a few months I found a Blue Competition bike that perfectly fit the bill. It was from random bike parts. I knew it was leftover stock, but could do the work to check everything over when I got the bike and it came with a 30 day guarantee. RBP was actually really great doing business with. I had a 10% off coupon from ebay, bid 1200 on the bike (Gravel/Endurance bike with Ultegra) and they accepted. So for 1100.00 I had my winter bike.

In between the bike purchases I have upgraded parts and pieces here and there. New wheelset for the gravel bike, new seats, tires, helmets, jerseys, bibs... it never ends.

Sorry for the long story but botttom line is... set out your specific needs, stick to them, start searching, be patient and stick to your budget.

Ive been able to pick up 3 mostly new carbon bikes with Ultegra over an 18 month period for the cost of one high end bike. And I have mo issues keeping up with the guys in the group rides. At least no issues with equipment.... legs are another story

We are in a market now with bikes where the interest is high but not as many big spenders as the amount of high end product. Being patient you can find some great deals on mid to high end bikes that are slightly used or last years model.

They are out there. Just gotta be patient.

-Sean
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Old 05-30-19, 01:51 AM
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di2 is way overkill, it is fun for the first few month, but after, it is more troublesome since you have to worry about the battery. gravel bike is the way to go, having the ability to run 23mm to 40mm tires makes the bike super versatile
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Old 05-30-19, 03:29 AM
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2019 Fuji Jari 1.1 carbon for $3k when it comes out should do nicely.
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Old 05-30-19, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Junkbeast View Post
Naturally I started looking at builds around $5K. I figured that since this is my first "really good" bike then I might as well go big and just do it right even if it's overkill for what I ride (400-500 miles per month March-ish to October-ish). I was looking at things like the Rodeo Labs Flaanimal, Open U.P., Canyon Grail, Di2, carbon wheels, custom paint, all of that and more!
You're never going to get one of those frames with custom paint, Di2, and carbon wheels for $5K. That would be more like $10K.

Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Of all my gratuitous purchases, this one was by far the best-justified five years later. Besides, compared to sending the first of three kids to college, it was spit in the ocean.
Yep, a bling custom bike is cheap compared to a decent college education. That's why I started saving for college when my kid was a fetus...Now she's a sop****re and the costs have zero impact on my monthly budget and lifestyle.

OP: diminishing returns get pretty steep after you spend $3K or so on a new bike, so you aren't sacrificing much by spending that amount of money. And if your house needs improvements, that is a smarter investment anyway.
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Old 05-30-19, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
You're never going to get one of those frames with custom paint, Di2, and carbon wheels for $5K. That would be more like $10K. OP: diminishing returns get pretty steep after you spend $3K or so on a new bike, so you aren't sacrificing much by spending that amount of money. And if your house needs improvements, that is a smarter investment anyway.
Not necessarily all of those options on one bike, but was looking at those things in general. However there is a shop selling Open U.P.s with Di2 for $5.2K and one can get a basic custom paint job for $300-$600 which seemed "reasonable" for that bike. But you're right about the diminishing returns after a certain point; I was just caught up in the fun of these dream bikes.

Any other suggestions for off the rack bikes and what levels of parts I can aim for? Are there other lesser known brands that are sold at shops that are still good or should I just stick to mainstream manufacturers? Does anyone think buying something like a Flaanimal frame and building it over time for next season would be worth the effort and wait?
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Old 05-30-19, 08:39 AM
  #10  
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I am like you in being drawn to lesser known companies and that was one of the factors when I got my Flaanimal earlier this month. My complete build directly from Rodeo Labs with a Shimano 105 hydraulic groupset, Easton EA50 cockpit, WTB Nano tires mounted on Easton EA70AX wheels and setup tubeless, and Praxis Alba cranks came in it $3200 shipped. I feel like this build is all I can ever ask for from a bike and it is significantly less than the original $5k you mention.
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Old 05-30-19, 10:13 AM
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That sounds like a pretty solid bike, still light years ahead of my Trek. How's the Flaanimal working out? Is it really good and worth it?
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Old 05-30-19, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Junkbeast View Post
That sounds like a pretty solid bike, still light years ahead of my Trek. How's the Flaanimal working out? Is it really good and worth it?
I absolutely love it so far!
Just this past weekend I went on my longest ride ever, 88 miles 80-85% unpaved, and I don't have a single complaint about it. Even when I got caught up in some deep, nasty, sticky mud it still performed terrific without any shifting or braking issues afterward.

With smaller companies, you are going to pay a bit more than you would from a bigger company for a similarly spec'd bike, but I definitely think it is worth the premium.
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Old 05-30-19, 02:31 PM
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I'm on a gen 2 Santa Cruz Stigmata I bought on closeout at the LBS. It's the most comfortable bike I've ever owned and its fast. I've looked at the brand new SC Stigmata that came out last month that fits 700x45c/650b x 2.1 combos. the Rival 1 build spec is $3599 and well worth it in my opinion. I would seriously consider this bike if were shopping still.
As far as boutique brands, a company in my home state of Arkansas called Allied Cycle Works is making some gorgeous bicycles and have 2 allroad/gravel models. https://alliedcycleworks.com/ They do range in that $5k-10k range but for a custom bike 100% made in the USA, I drool every time I see even a picture of one. Their bikes I've seen at the LBS are almost too good looking to ride! I WILL own one one day.
https://alliedcycleworks.com/pages/allied-alfa-allroad 700 x 23-38 tires
https://alliedcycleworks.com/pages/allied-able 700 x 43-650b x 47
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Old 05-30-19, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Chi_Z View Post
di2 is way overkill, it is fun for the first few month, but after, it is more troublesome since you have to worry about the battery.
Ah come on... The battery gets charged, what twice, three times throughout the year? How often do you charge your Garmin? Granted, making it home without the Garmin is much easier than making it home stuck on the small cog, but is having to charge a battery twice a year really that bothersome?
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Old 05-30-19, 02:53 PM
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I have to guess he has a dealer for those brand lines , he can see and test ride ..

not just saw the pictures on line.. ///
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Old 05-30-19, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Chi_Z View Post
di2 is way overkill, it is fun for the first few month, but after, it is more troublesome since you have to worry about the battery. gravel bike is the way to go, having the ability to run 23mm to 40mm tires makes the bike super versatile
My Di2 requires dramatically less service and adjustment than my manual drivetrain (both Ultegra). A battery charge lasts for months (I charge it 2-3 times a year), I can tweak my adjustments while riding, and shifting is uniform and precise. I've been running a Di2 bike for 5 years now, and won't go back.

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Old 05-30-19, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I have to guess he has a dealer for those brand lines , he can see and test ride ..

not just saw the pictures on line.. ///
The dealers around here are mostly Trek and Specialized, then a couple places have Fuji, Jamis, Kona, Raleigh. If I drive an hour or so some other brands become available. The few I've been interested in have not even been available to ride either due to not having one or not having a big enough one to try. So, I've ridden a couple other 58-61cm bikes. Buying online is a gamble but I was thinking of getting a proper fitting done and then trying to incorporate the numbers into the geometries of bikes online (if I do end up buying that way). I think for me it's a trade-off I can stomach and as long as I get the right size I think I can be happy on a bike from just pictures. It's not ideal but it's doable. I would always prefer to actually sit on the thing and spend a little time with it.

Any thoughts on the Renegade Expert or Escapade? What can I cross-shop those with?
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Old 05-30-19, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Junkbeast View Post
Hahaha! So true.

But, yeah it is what it is. Gotta get into something around $3K.
You are a good man.

Unfortunately, too many lie to their wives and the rest of the men out there think that's OK, even funny.


-Tim-
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Old 05-30-19, 09:18 PM
  #19  
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$3k will net you a really nice bike and it can be from a smaller brand. Something at that price thats well spec'd and fits will be more bike than most any of us will ever need.
Carbon, aluminum, steel- pick a frame material and start from there. As good a place as any.
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Old 06-02-19, 06:32 AM
  #20  
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I just built a custom Soma Double Cross Disc bike and it added up quickly. I couldn't afford it all at once so what I did was buy a used 2011 Jamis Coda Elite 4 years ago, and spent the last 3 years upgrading almost everything on the bike, then bought the Soma frameset the other week, and transferred everything over. My parts list is below, and it added up to over $2K including $120 labor to do the parts swap from frame to frame. It's a 1x10 setup. Add in clipless pedals, shoes, a Garmin and some stuff and you are pushing 3K, so this is kinda a good idea of what you can get for your price point. I think the Wolverine is a similar price to the Double Cross Disc:

Frameset: Soma Double Cross Disc in Sky Silver with matching steel fork ($640)
Rims: H Plus Son Archetype
Hubs: Deore XT
Brakes: Deore XT Hydraulic Disc
Shifter: Deore XT
Rear Derailleur: Deore 10 speed
Cassette: Deore XT
Crank: Fuji Oval 730 narrow wide front chainring
Pedals: Exustar MB Platform
Seatpost: Easton's lightest aluminum seatpost
Seat: Brooks Cambium
Headset: Cane Creek 110 Premium
Tires: Panaracer T-Serv PT
Handlebars and Stem: Whatever came with the Jamis Coda Elite

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Old 06-02-19, 07:07 AM
  #21  
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Avoid custom your price point us excellent go shopping get s nice well known high end bike once you become jonny sleek and smooth and all things cycling then go custom. Titanium is my choice for you
moots are way cool 🤡
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Old 06-03-19, 12:28 PM
  #22  
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Lynskey GR270 and GR Pro with Shimano 105 mechnical sets are on sale for over 40% off. Wonder how long that will last...I don't know a thing about titanium or the brand. Would one of these with all the base options be better than a different bike with maybe some higher components? I mean they're like just over $3K from over $5K.
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Old 06-03-19, 04:29 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Junkbeast View Post
But I'll probably have to buy something more mainstream. I prefer to get products that are of good quality but generally aren't well known. I might not be able to this time.

I've been wanting to get a new bike for a few years now but had too many other priorities. We've spent a hard couple years becoming debt free and foregoing a lot of things we've wanted to do or buy. Now we're in a position to do a lot more. My wife told me to figure out what I wanted in a bike and then make my plan to get it. She didn't specify how much I could spend and she has no idea about bikes or their components and costs.

Naturally I started looking at builds around $5K. I figured that since this is my first "really good" bike then I might as well go big and just do it right even if it's overkill for what I ride (400-500 miles per month March-ish to October-ish). I was looking at things like the Rodeo Labs Flaanimal, Open U.P., Canyon Grail, Di2, carbon wheels, custom paint, all of that and more!

When I started to casually mention these prices along with paint jobs and new accessories, she balked pretty hard since she really didn't know things cost that much and she thinks other things like home upgrades could be neglected if I buy a bike like that. Soooo, I could probably push and push and get my way but I'm not going to do that to her. She's probably right anyway, I don't need a $5K bike and a lot of bikes will be a huge upgrade over my current bike anyway (2006 Trek FX 3.1). I'm going to have to come down quite a bit but I can still probably spend a few thousand total for a bike and accessories (pedals, shoes, gloves, GPS, etc.).

It's possible that I could still buy a frameset and then slowly collect the parts to build it up over the next year but that's not ideal for me. I'd like to get something this summer and be able to ride it a few months before it gets too cold.

I really need some ideas and insight into bikes that I can get fully built from LBSs. I ride mostly road but want to spend more time on gravel if I can (think like 75/25 road/gravel). I'm like 6'-2" and range from 220-250 lbs. (always gain weight in winter then drop in summer...aiming to get down to 200 this summer) so I'll never be on super skinny tires. I'm interested in steel but I have CDO and I do worry about rust; carbon is great but not a deal breaker. I'd prefer internal cabling. I'm pretty sure I want a 2x crankset.

Really the best ones I can think of now are some kind of Jamis Renegade or a Fuji Jari. I'm just not that interested in stuff from Specialized or Trek or Giant for some reason.

Please provide some opinions and options. Thanks!
LBS sometimes have new bikes from 2 or even 3 years back. Check for this. Otherwise, I would recommend a used bike. A $5K bike probably worths close to $3K after 3 years of normal use. You could end up with a very well equipped bike. But it takes time and patience to find the right bike. Good luck!
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Old 06-03-19, 07:29 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Junkbeast View Post
Lynskey GR270 and GR Pro with Shimano 105 mechnical sets are on sale for over 40% off. Wonder how long that will last...I don't know a thing about titanium or the brand. Would one of these with all the base options be better than a different bike with maybe some higher components? I mean they're like just over $3K from over $5K.
Have you ridden a Ti bike before?

I haven't, but my understanding is they're a bit unique, ride-wise. Maybe that only applies to older bikes, but might be worth keeping in mind.
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Old 06-03-19, 07:39 PM
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PedalingWalrus
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You could balk at house improvements and the two of you will have soo much more money.

Pure happiness, to have house improvement projects and to chase around construction crews...sign me up! 😁




Originally Posted by Junkbeast View Post
But I'll probably have to buy something more mainstream. I prefer to get products that are of good quality but generally aren't well known. I might not be able to this time.

I've been wanting to get a new bike for a few years now but had too many other priorities. We've spent a hard couple years becoming debt free and foregoing a lot of things we've wanted to do or buy. Now we're in a position to do a lot more. My wife told me to figure out what I wanted in a bike and then make my plan to get it. She didn't specify how much I could spend and she has no idea about bikes or their components and costs.

Naturally I started looking at builds around $5K. I figured that since this is my first "really good" bike then I might as well go big and just do it right even if it's overkill for what I ride (400-500 miles per month March-ish to October-ish). I was looking at things like the Rodeo Labs Flaanimal, Open U.P., Canyon Grail, Di2, carbon wheels, custom paint, all of that and more!

When I started to casually mention these prices along with paint jobs and new accessories, she balked pretty hard since she really didn't know things cost that much and she thinks other things like home upgrades could be neglected if I buy a bike like that. Soooo, I could probably push and push and get my way but I'm not going to do that to her. She's probably right anyway, I don't need a $5K bike and a lot of bikes will be a huge upgrade over my current bike anyway (2006 Trek FX 3.1). I'm going to have to come down quite a bit but I can still probably spend a few thousand total for a bike and accessories (pedals, shoes, gloves, GPS, etc.).

It's possible that I could still buy a frameset and then slowly collect the parts to build it up over the next year but that's not ideal for me. I'd like to get something this summer and be able to ride it a few months before it gets too cold.

I really need some ideas and insight into bikes that I can get fully built from LBSs. I ride mostly road but want to spend more time on gravel if I can (think like 75/25 road/gravel). I'm like 6'-2" and range from 220-250 lbs. (always gain weight in winter then drop in summer...aiming to get down to 200 this summer) so I'll never be on super skinny tires. I'm interested in steel but I have CDO and I do worry about rust; carbon is great but not a deal breaker. I'd prefer internal cabling. I'm pretty sure I want a 2x crankset.

Really the best ones I can think of now are some kind of Jamis Renegade or a Fuji Jari. I'm just not that interested in stuff from Specialized or Trek or Giant for some reason.

Please provide some opinions and options. Thanks!
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