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Yet a new bike category? Salsa’s new Warroad (no bird required)

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.

Yet a new bike category? Salsa’s new Warroad (no bird required)

Old 04-03-19, 09:17 AM
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There's nothing inherently more comfortable about a gravel bike frame versus a road bike or endurance road bike frame. In reality most gravel bikes are significantly less comfortable than a comparable road bike because they feature larger diameter tubing formed for strength/durability which adds significant stiffness as does the oversized headtubes/steerers.

A road bike that fits 32s is much more comfortable than a gravel bike on 32s. Hell the gravel bike I won is as stiff and possibly stiffer than the track bike I own.
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Old 04-03-19, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
How do you know the Trail. Do they post it,or did you calculate it? Specialized is good about posting trail, but I can’t always get their numbers to match up to the calculations.
I calculate. My calculations also don't match up with the manufacturers', so when I compare, I compare between my calculated values.
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Old 04-03-19, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
There's nothing inherently more comfortable about a gravel bike frame versus a road bike or endurance road bike frame. In reality most gravel bikes are significantly less comfortable than a comparable road bike because they feature larger diameter tubing formed for strength/durability which adds significant stiffness as does the oversized headtubes/steerers.

A road bike that fits 32s is much more comfortable than a gravel bike on 32s. Hell the gravel bike I won is as stiff and possibly stiffer than the track bike I own.
In theory I think you're probably right. But all that goes out the window when you add 40mm tires at 35psi. Someone posted recently about the impact of high volume, low psi tires and the vast majority of the vibration/impact reduction of a bike is found in the tires.
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Old 04-03-19, 11:19 AM
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There's no theory, just experience, measurements and math. Headtubes and steerers are almost 60% greater in diameter, rectangular downtubes/chaninstays and toptubes that are almost the exact same measurement between mtbs and gravel bikes. If you're bored one day, take a measuring tape or caliper to REI or your LBS or whatever and measure the tubes. The wall thickness for almost all aluminum tubing used in bikes is the same - the area of the tube is what matters and where stiffness/compliance comes from. My gravel bike has a 52mmx48mm downtube. This is enormous and is slightly larger than my hardtail from the same year. It's ridiculous.

Bigger tires and lower pressures aren't magic, especially once speed increases. There's no way to make a production bike with an oversized 44mm+ steerer, headtube and fork have the same compliance as a similar bike with regular 1 1/8" components. A big driver for road plus was to get overbuilt rigid mountain bikes posing as gravel bikes back to a comfort level of the previous generation of converted cross bikes/early gravel bikes. When a frame is built stiff enough to act as a pivot point for a suspension fork but is actually a road bike you need 47mm+ tires to get anything approaching acceptable ride quality. And even then it's only in the same area and often not as compliant or comfortable.

There's an old saw about if you're really so into frame/fork compliance ride your bike without tires and see how it matters. The reality is, ride your bike with 23mm tires at 5% sag and see how much it matters. It matters a bunch and the current generation of gravel bikes are a big step backward in terms of ride quality, regardless of whatever marketing and brand iconography we've all internalized.

Keep in mind a big part of the brief for frame/fork design of production bikes is passing european/ISO fatigue testing. It's part of the reason standard tubing went away during the steel years, why 1 1/8" steerers happened and why oversized headtubes are appearing on any bike meant for non-paved riding. You can see some of the tests here, the do not prioritize ride quality.


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Old 04-03-19, 12:07 PM
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Ok
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Old 04-03-19, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
There's no theory, just experience, measurements and math. Headtubes and steerers are almost 60% greater in diameter, rectangular downtubes/chaninstays and toptubes that are almost the exact same measurement between mtbs and gravel bikes. If you're bored one day, take a measuring tape or caliper to REI or your LBS or whatever and measure the tubes. The wall thickness for almost all aluminum tubing used in bikes is the same - the area of the tube is what matters and where stiffness/compliance comes from. My gravel bike has a 52mmx48mm downtube. This is enormous and is slightly larger than my hardtail from the same year. It's ridiculous.

Bigger tires and lower pressures aren't magic, especially once speed increases. There's no way to make a production bike with an oversized 44mm+ steerer, headtube and fork have the same compliance as a similar bike with regular 1 1/8" components. A big driver for road plus was to get overbuilt rigid mountain bikes posing as gravel bikes back to a comfort level of the previous generation of converted cross bikes/early gravel bikes. When a frame is built stiff enough to act as a pivot point for a suspension fork but is actually a road bike you need 47mm+ tires to get anything approaching acceptable ride quality. And even then it's only in the same area and often not as compliant or comfortable.

There's an old saw about if you're really so into frame/fork compliance ride your bike without tires and see how it matters. The reality is, ride your bike with 23mm tires at 5% sag and see how much it matters. It matters a bunch and the current generation of gravel bikes are a big step backward in terms of ride quality, regardless of whatever marketing and brand iconography we've all internalized.

Keep in mind a big part of the brief for frame/fork design of production bikes is passing european/ISO fatigue testing. It's part of the reason standard tubing went away during the steel years, why 1 1/8" steerers happened and why oversized headtubes are appearing on any bike meant for non-paved riding.
All quite interesting and something that I continue to watch from afar and wonder about. Coming from 80s steel road bikes with traditional tubing and having a gravel bike with steel OS tubing as well as a road bike with steel OS tubing, i see the 44mm head tubes and huge tubing of so many bikes and wonder at what point are the returns diminished. I get that aluminum tubes need to be larger than steel due to material difference, but current steel gravel frames with a huge front end(44mm head tube, gussets, etc) and the similar sized carbon and aluminum frames just seem like overkill. Given the amount of suspension now built into some frames(futureshock stem, isospeed frame, or various rear suspension mechanisms on the seat stay), it seems like frames are overly stiff to the point of needed suspension to then be designed in.

I am 235# and my OS steel frame gravel bike hasnt ever felt noodly. Even though it hasnt felt noodly, would a 44mm head tube and OOS tubing feel better? Or would it be too stiff? Thats something that would be frame and bike specific and would only be answered with extensive riding, which isnt realistic without buying the frame/bike.

My current steel frame design(still subject to change many more times, im sure) is a mix of OS and OOS tubing to hopefully make a slightly stiffer frame than what I have, which still being far smoother than what I would otherwise get if buying something already made.
An OS seat tube, head tube, and top tube matched with an OOS downtube. That downtube would hopefully help offset the oval chainstays i will use since oval bent stay will naturally flex laterally more than the round stays that are crimped on my current bike.
The only settle is that I will use a carbon fork with straight steerer so thatll limit me to a Woundup or Ritchey...and the Woundup has a longer steerer which i will need, so i guess ill go with that. At the same time, to get a different carbon fork would require a 44mm head tube and giant tapered steerer which is all probably more stiffness than I need.
I ride gravel solo and a 15mph average on a 30+ mile route is a really good day. I wont set records and wont ever snap cranks due to Herculean power. Pretty sure a front end and bottom bracket can eventually be too stiff for my benefit.


Anyways, interesting points you bring up. I didnt realize there is someone else who sees the tubing diameters of some frames right now and questions the claims of comfort.
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Old 04-03-19, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
There's nothing inherently more comfortable about a gravel bike frame versus a road bike or endurance road bike frame. In reality most gravel bikes are significantly less comfortable than a comparable road bike because they feature larger diameter tubing formed for strength/durability which adds significant stiffness as does the oversized headtubes/steerers.

A road bike that fits 32s is much more comfortable than a gravel bike on 32s. Hell the gravel bike I won is as stiff and possibly stiffer than the track bike I own.
Huh?.

First of all, a gravel bike will have a stack measurement thay sets up the handlebars up to 2 inches higher than a road bike for a more comfortable riding position on long day rides that are more common on gravel bikes. (more comfortable)

Second, Gravel bike frames are built to be stiff laterally, but have much more vertical compliance to absorb road vibration. (Take a back view if a Warbird for example) (more comfortable)

Third, Gravel bikes can accomodate tires up to 40 or more MM, while few road bikes can fit even 32mm (more comfortable)

Fourth, gravel bikes ALL are built for Disc brakes, and until recently almost all road bikes came with caliper brakes (Maybe not more comfortable, but certainly easier on your hands on a long decent)

Fifth, gravel bikes normally have a longer wheelbase and slacker head angle compared to a road bike. This adds to comfort and creates stability, where road bikes have shorter wheelbases and steerer head angles for quicker maneuverability. (more comfortable)

And sixth, gravel bike riding is cool and growing fast while road bikes are a dying category!
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Old 04-03-19, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen View Post
Yeah, I've probably tried a gravel bike or two in the past. They were nice and I liked them, but not snappy/fast enough to replace my Tarmac; and not versatile enough to replace my Cutthroat. I guess I could dig up an excuse to fit an expensive purpose built modern gravel bike in between the two (nothing wrong with more bikes!), but honestly not sure if I would get enough miles on it to justify.
I hear you. A gravel bike would split the difference between a Cutthroad and a Tarmack.. A Cutthroat with the right tires wll work pretty well as a gravel bike though and save the expense of another steed.
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Old 04-03-19, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
Huh?.
Not to be rude but based on what you've written and the terms you're using we're obviously not on the same level of communication here. "Laterally stiff and vertically compliant?" c'mon man.
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Old 04-03-19, 09:44 PM
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Isn't road geometry with bigger tires basically just a CX bike? My Swiss Cross is essentially a Road Logic with a higher BB, longer chainstays, 10mm shorter reach, and a 1.5º more slack headtube. But the Cross will just fit a 38 in back, while the Road Logic will just fit a 30. I've absolutely zero complaints about the comfort of my Ritchey. It is unquestionably my "all roads" bike.

I just looked at the geometry for the Warroad in my size-- no thanks. That's way more relaxed and upright than what I like. That's long before I get to the bonkers pricetag. It's priced at least $1,500 over what it's worth.
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Old 04-04-19, 05:21 AM
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That's funny, this interview with Tom Ritchey is what originally got me more interested in modern frame design and why it's so different than the past. Starts at 33:00 but relevant to here at 34:40.

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Old 04-04-19, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Isn't road geometry with bigger tires basically just a CX bike? My Swiss Cross is essentially a Road Logic with a higher BB, longer chainstays, 10mm shorter reach, and a 1.5º more slack headtube. But the Cross will just fit a 38 in back, while the Road Logic will just fit a 30. I've absolutely zero complaints about the comfort of my Ritchey. It is unquestionably my "all roads" bike.

I just looked at the geometry for the Warroad in my size-- no thanks. That's way more relaxed and upright than what I like. That's long before I get to the bonkers pricetag. It's priced at least $1,500 over what it's worth.
Depends on what you mean by "CX Bike". CX used to mean a fairly specific set of properties e.g. 65mm BB drop and being in compliance with what the UCI allowed for racing (since CX is well a race), which of course was after CX specific rigs became a thing and people weren't just training offroad on their road bikes (using the wrong tool for the wrong purpose as a training aid)...nowadays it is very wishy-washy.

As opposed to "gravel bike" which has never really meant anything at any point. Whether OS tubing or not.
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Old 04-04-19, 09:30 AM
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That is funny, I've found gravel bikes to be relatively compliant. But stiff carbon bikes of 10 years ago, or Aluminum bikes of 20 years ago may not be the best benchmark. ;-) Back in the day stiffness was where it was at.

These days bikes are more likely to be " "Laterally stiff and vertically compliant." To me, this means a stiff bottom bracket area that applies my power efficiently, but the fork, bars, seat stays, seat tube, seat stem can all be compliant, making the bike comfortable on the road.

Just with my bikes, my track and gravel bike have similar stiffness where it counts, and similar acceleration, but my track bike is a nightmare on anything less than velodrome smooth. I was shocked doing 20mph on some horrid washboard on my gravel bike with 32mm tires - and I was just cruising along without realizing how bad it was. None of my older bikes can do that.

I have some old bikes that really twist under power. I can see the crank arms and the bottom bracket twist, and if my tire is too big it will rub against the frame.

Disk brakes don't seem to be a friend of ride quality though. Those older forks with the J bend had suspension built into them. These days with straight blade forks, necessitated by the torque of disk brakes, require other creative solutions to get a little front end compliance in them.
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Old 04-04-19, 12:39 PM
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I run a Surly Straggler steel disc brake fork, and it's great. My old KHS had a straight-blade CF fork with an aluminum steerer, and it was the very manifestation of the word rigid.

Seeing the fork flex under heavy braking is a little disconcerting the first few times. Sure does ride nice, though.
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Old 04-04-19, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
There's no theory, just experience, measurements and math. Headtubes and steerers are almost 60% greater in diameter, rectangular downtubes/chaninstays and toptubes that are almost the exact same measurement between mtbs and gravel bikes. If you're bored one day, take a measuring tape or caliper to REI or your LBS or whatever and measure the tubes. The wall thickness for almost all aluminum tubing used in bikes is the same - the area of the tube is what matters and where stiffness/compliance comes from. My gravel bike has a 52mmx48mm downtube. This is enormous and is slightly larger than my hardtail from the same year. It's ridiculous.
I heard somewhere Tom Ritchey doesn't believe in oversized/tapered head tubes for gravel bikes because it makes them too stiff.

#notAllGravelBikes
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Old 04-05-19, 07:43 AM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
I heard somewhere Tom Ritchey doesn't believe in oversized/tapered head tubes for gravel bikes because it makes them too stiff.

#notAllGravelBikes
It's in that video above basically. Tom is so old school, it clouds his thinking. I love that guy. He makes me want to buy all of his bikes.
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Old 04-05-19, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
That is funny, I've found gravel bikes to be relatively compliant. But stiff carbon bikes of 10 years ago, or Aluminum bikes of 20 years ago may not be the best benchmark. ;-) Back in the day stiffness was where it was at.

These days bikes are more likely to be " "Laterally stiff and vertically compliant." To me, this means a stiff bottom bracket area that applies my power efficiently, but the fork, bars, seat stays, seat tube, seat stem can all be compliant, making the bike comfortable on the road.

Just with my bikes, my track and gravel bike have similar stiffness where it counts, and similar acceleration, but my track bike is a nightmare on anything less than velodrome smooth. I was shocked doing 20mph on some horrid washboard on my gravel bike with 32mm tires - and I was just cruising along without realizing how bad it was. None of my older bikes can do that.

I have some old bikes that really twist under power. I can see the crank arms and the bottom bracket twist, and if my tire is too big it will rub against the frame.

Disk brakes don't seem to be a friend of ride quality though. Those older forks with the J bend had suspension built into them. These days with straight blade forks, necessitated by the torque of disk brakes, require other creative solutions to get a little front end compliance in them.
Yep, anything more compliant than my old '86 Cannondale and my old Scott Foil is compliant in my book. Those two bikes were shockingly rough. But, man, that Foil was a flipping rocketship.
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Old 04-05-19, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
I heard somewhere Tom Ritchey doesn't believe in oversized/tapered head tubes for gravel bikes because it makes them too stiff.

#notAllGravelBikes
I'm of the same mindset. I had read all the whitepapers and forum posts (written by road industry personas) about how frame/fork was a minor part of compliance compared to other parts of the bike and the tires. Then I started riding my gravel bike on mtb trails and paying attention to how much worse it rode than my cross bike. Double OS steerer/fork with MTB frame tubes - "gravel bike." Then I saw the Ritchey video which made me cut up some of my broken frames to measure the wall thickness, then I started measuring and weighing the new gravel bikes and frames when they came into the shop and now here I am arguing on the internet about it.

Funny too, I rode a early 90s Cannondale R900 aluminum frame/fork that had a reputation for being extremely stiff and uncomfortable but a great racing bike. That frame has thinner tubing, smaller diameter tubes and is almost a full pound lighter than most gravel frames on the market right now. It's kind of a "duh" thing to say but it illustrates how the acceptable compliance window has shifted significantly now that we've all been marketed heavier stiffer frames and forks but with much wider tires than 25 years ago.
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Old 04-05-19, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
It's in that video above basically. Tom is so old school, it clouds his thinking. I love that guy. He makes me want to buy all of his bikes.
Ah, I didn't see that video. Interesting comment about carbon forks needing to be overbuilt.
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Old 04-05-19, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
I'm of the same mindset. I had read all the whitepapers and forum posts (written by road industry personas) about how frame/fork was a minor part of compliance compared to other parts of the bike and the tires. Then I started riding my gravel bike on mtb trails and paying attention to how much worse it rode than my cross bike. Double OS steerer/fork with MTB frame tubes - "gravel bike." Then I saw the Ritchey video which made me cut up some of my broken frames to measure the wall thickness, then I started measuring and weighing the new gravel bikes and frames when they came into the shop and now here I am arguing on the internet about it.

Funny too, I rode a early 90s Cannondale R900 aluminum frame/fork that had a reputation for being extremely stiff and uncomfortable but a great racing bike. That frame has thinner tubing, smaller diameter tubes and is almost a full pound lighter than most gravel frames on the market right now. It's kind of a "duh" thing to say but it illustrates how the acceptable compliance window has shifted significantly now that we've all been marketed heavier stiffer frames and forks but with much wider tires than 25 years ago.
After reading a few of these comments, im curious to heat what you are riding right now?

Oh- and what was the 2OS frame you refer to?
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Old 04-05-19, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Ah, I didn't see that video. Interesting comment about carbon forks needing to be overbuilt.
He doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in carbon does he?
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Old 04-05-19, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
He doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in carbon does he?
But all his forks are carbon!

https://us.ritcheylogic.com/us_en/bike/forks
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Old 04-05-19, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
But all his forks are carbon!

https://us.ritcheylogic.com/us_en/bike/forks
All 6 forks are carbon, but they also all come in 1 1/8 steerer, and only 2 of the 6 even offer a tapered steerer option. Certainly seems to go with his view on headtube diameter.
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Old 04-05-19, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
All 6 forks are carbon, but they also all come in 1 1/8 steerer, and only 2 of the 6 even offer a tapered steerer option. Certainly seems to go with his view on headtube diameter.
They make a 1 1/4" tapered fork too. But not 1 1/2" as far as I know.

edit: I'm dumb, but I'm agreeing with you. I don't know if that was clear. It's been a long day.
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Old 04-05-19, 10:13 PM
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Spoonrobot 
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
After reading a few of these comments, im curious to heat what you are riding right now?

Oh- and what was the 2OS frame you refer to?
I have a variety of bikes I use for gravel - for racing on flatter courses I ride a Soma Double Cross Disc - OS tubing 8/6/8 tt & 9/7/9 dt. I also have a drop-bar hardtail that is double OS 31.8 tt/35 dt that I ride in the mountains where 15-20 minute descents are normal. I had a cheap suspension corrected steel fork for testing last year but since moved on to other stuff and just ride it as a hardtail.

The frame I was referring to was a 2016 Diamondback Haanjo Comp - should have said "basically 2OS" as there isn't really a direct comparison for steel with hydro-formed aluminum tubes IMO. But it rides slightly stiffer than the double OS hardtail referenced above, 1.5" steerer and 1000+ gram fork in a 53cm frame size. It's beastly and I go out of my way not to ride it on gravel. It's passable on the road with 38mm tires but still much too stiff. I bought it before I knew better, next bike will be something like the Black Mountain Road+ or Monstercross. I'm at the point where there's no reason to buy a bike without knowing the tubing specs of bare frame/fork weight.

Also note that a double OS steel frame is pretty rare for modern production bikes. Companies avoid that configuration because it looks odd at the tubing junctures and can create issues with road components. Most common seems to be changing the butting profile to stiffen up the frame with regular OS tubing. VO Polyvalent does this as does the Midnight Special and Masi Speciale Randonneur - frame weights of 5.7, 5 and 4.9 pounds respectively. Regular "good" steel cross/allroad disc frame would be 4.1-4.3 pounds.

Here's an interesting post by the co-owner of VO discussing why the Polyvalent is so heavy: Link

The tubing is probably overbuilt if you're comparing it to a lightweight randonneur, which is a tough standard to achieve for a production bike that has to pass a very high EN testing level, especially when the intended use of this bike is fairly broad. Though, I know it makes an undeniably fine bike for brevets, cc touring, and long distance gravel rides.
I think it's a pretty rough bike for long distance gravel or brevets. Very stiff, very unforgiving and heavy. EN testing strikes again.

If you haven't seen Reed Kennedy's ultrasonic tubing measurement spreadsheet it's interesting reading if you've ridden a few of the frames listed and can mentally compare or order your experiences: Link
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