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Help Me Pick a Bike to Buy

Old 07-11-19, 12:27 PM
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tsippycup
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Help Me Pick a Bike to Buy

Hi everyone,

For four years I've ridden a MTB (a used Specialized Stumpjumper) around Philadelphia. I didn't know anything about bikes when I bought it, and just wanted something cheap and durable for Philly's pothole-filled streets. Flash forward a few years, and I'm biking 15-20 miles a day and looking to join some more group rides / bike a little faster than my MTB will allow me to. I cannot keep pace on road rides -- my bike is just too heavy. I know the initial thought is to get a road bike, but to me, they are still sort of limiting. I have had a few people recommend hybrid bikes (like a Trek Multitrack) that can do it all, but my fear is they will be too heavy / similar to my MTB on the road. I've also had people recommend gravel bikes (Cannondale Topstone), although I feel like that's the same thing as a hybrid, hah. I have no idea what a cyclocross bike is.

So! Please help me out here. Looking for a lightweight and fast bike on the road, but something that won't fall apart when I hit dirt or gravel. Is the solution to get...two more bikes? One road, and one gravel? Or one "do-it-all" bike? I will still be using my MTB for bikepacking and off-road biking -- so keep that in mind. I'm happy to spend a good amount of money on one bike that will be fantastic for a while, or spend less money on two individual bikes.

Happy to hear any / all suggestions, thank you in advance!!!
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Old 07-11-19, 01:33 PM
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What's your budget?

Do you want drop bars or flat?

My initial thoughts are you could pick up either a road bike that fits wider tires for those city rides or a gravel/cyclocross bike that fits road sized tires for the out of town rides.

If you dont want drop bars look for a lightweight hybrid or similar unless you just want a faster mountain bike.

Most important, once you decide what style of bike you want to ride, is to make sure you have a good idea of what size frame will fit you well. If the bike frame doesnt fit a good deal on a bike is worthless.

-Sean
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Old 07-11-19, 01:46 PM
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Carbon framed Sirrus comes to mind...
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Old 07-11-19, 01:54 PM
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Hey! Thanks for responding. My budget is probably around $1,000 -- but I'd prefer to buy a used bike / definitely prefer to spend less money, haha. I've never ridden with drop bars -- so I'm not sure, but it might be nice to have the drop bar for road rides.

Regarding a road bike with wider tire clearance -- what size would that look like? 700c tire clearance? -- or is it more depending on the space between the wheel and frame?

Agreed regarding the frame size! I won't buy a bike that doesn't fit well
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Old 07-11-19, 04:31 PM
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Your current bike is geared for off-road riding and probably has 26 X 1.75" knobby tires unless you replaced the original tires with smoother city tires. That may be part of the reason you can't keep up with road bike riders in a group ride. Not only may their road bikes be a lot lighter but they are geared higher so you don't run out of gears at the top end on downhill runs and their tires are much narrower which usually means a bit faster. If you buy anything other than a road bike the gear range is going to be lower than on most road bikes.

Buying used is a great idea but only if you can make an informed choice about the value of the bike compared to the asking price. If you don't already know much about bikes find someone who will advise you or stick with a new bike. You can always uses your old bike for off-road and keep your good road bike for strictly use on-road. It will last a lot longer that way.
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Old 07-11-19, 05:40 PM
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Look at the Salsa Journeyman gravel bike series. With drop bars. I'm assuming your Stumpjumper is a 3x. Test ride a 1x or 2x Journeyman if you can find one in a shop. Either 650b or 700c wheels.

Getting another bike is ALWAYS a solution for life.

eric/fresno, ca.
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Old 07-11-19, 06:30 PM
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How about a flat bar road bike like a Giant Fastroad? You could check out the Specialized Sirrus or a Cannondale Quick as well.
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Old 07-11-19, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by tsippycup View Post
I have had a few people recommend hybrid bikes (like a Trek Multitrack) that can do it all, but my fear is they will be too heavy / similar to my MTB on the road.
Agreed.

Originally Posted by tsippycup View Post
I've also had people recommend gravel bikes (Cannondale Topstone), although I feel like that's the same thing as a hybrid, hah. I have no idea what a cyclocross bike is.
A gravel/adventure bike might be the ticket, so long as you are okay with drop bars. It will be a bit more built up for riding on rough roads, gravel, and non-technical dirt. You can always change out the tires to road slicks for group road rides and such. If you want to get snazzy you can even get a second wheelset so you have one for road and one for gravel.

Cyclocross bikes are used for racing cyclocross, which generally involves a lot of riding fast laps around in the grass and mud in the fall. Gravel bikes got popular in part because they took some of the desirable features of cross bikes but them a bit more suitable for long-distance road use.
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Old 07-11-19, 09:24 PM
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I'd think about a cyclocross bike plus a 2nd pair of lighter narrow-tire wheels for the speedy road rides. Cyclocross bikes are pretty close to road bikes though with wider tires for dirt/mud roads. To go fast on the road you want narrow tires & drop bars. In past few years 'cross bikes have been quite popular, I'd think it wouldn't be hard to find a nice used one. Some 'cross bikes have rack/fender mounts so can be used for light touring too.
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Old 07-11-19, 09:44 PM
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Seems you like your Specialized Stumpjumper I would stick with Specialized. Look at the Diverge line. I have the E5 Comp and the bike is built tough. Silent over the road. With comfort. Specialized has a wide range of sizes, too. I'm only 5' 6" and the 52cm fits great. Enjoy the search.
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Old 07-12-19, 05:17 AM
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I got my cross bike for 400 bucks , look for a cheap cx bike and run gravel tires , if you need flat bars you always swap for pennies
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Old 07-12-19, 06:31 AM
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@birdsBikesBinocs -- I do love my stumpjumper, but the diverge e5 comp is a bit out of my price range, unfortunately.

What do you guys think about a 2016 Trek Crockett 5 Disc? A friend is selling his for $950, which includes a set of gravel tires and a set of road tires...seems pretty dope. I don't know much about the crockett 5, but he said it's a true gravel grinder, but light enough for the road. Is this a good deal? Shimano 105 groupset!
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Old 07-12-19, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by tsippycup View Post
@birdsBikesBinocs -- I do love my stumpjumper, but the diverge e5 comp is a bit out of my price range, unfortunately.

What do you guys think about a 2016 Trek Crockett 5 Disc? A friend is selling his for $950, which includes a set of gravel tires and a set of road tires...seems pretty dope. I don't know much about the crockett 5, but he said it's a true gravel grinder, but light enough for the road. Is this a good deal? Shimano 105 groupset!
I wasn't recommending the E5 Comp. What I said was... Take a look at the Specialized "Diverge Line-Up." Here....

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/shop/bikes/road-bikes/adventure--gravel-bikes/c/roadadventuregravel?sort=price-asc&q=%3Aprice-desc%3Aarchived%3Afalse%3AproductFamily%3ADiverge&show=Page#sort_form1

The Crockett you mention is a good bike but the gearing isn't great for a road bike. Like your buddy said... It's a grinding gravel bike. If it fits I would take a look at it. When it comes to used you need to ask yourself... Does it fit me.?? When you buy new it will fit you and fit is very important. Most important, really.

The good thing about your buddies bike is you can ride it before you buy it, meaning, ride it for a week. See if you really like the bike on the terrain you'll be riding.

Last edited by BirdsBikeBinocs; 07-12-19 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 07-12-19, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by tsippycup View Post

What do you guys think about a 2016 Trek Crockett 5 Disc? A friend is selling his for $950, which includes a set of gravel tires and a set of road tires...seems pretty dope. I don't know much about the crockett 5, but he said it's a true gravel grinder, but light enough for the road. Is this a good deal? Shimano 105 groupset!
I think that's a pretty nice bike. The gearing range is slightly more limited than a standard road setup, but is absolutely fine for everything except for very steep climbs and very steep descents (assuming you want to pedal fast down descents.) It would not be difficult to expand the range of the gears.

IMO, $950 is an fair deal if the bike is in excellent shape and fits you perfectly, but it's not a smoking hot deal.
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Old 07-12-19, 12:21 PM
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I think I could bring the bike down to maybe $875 -- but it is definitely in great shape.

My other option is a practically brand new Cannondale Topstone 105. The owner is selling it because he's upgrading to the Carbon version after only three rides...haha, must be nice. He's trying to sell it for $1350, but said he would consider lowering the price (because I asked nicely and just graduated). Thoughts on the Topstone 105 vs. the Trek Crockett 5? -- the Trek would come with road and gravel tires; the Topstone would just have its original tires on there.
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Old 07-12-19, 01:00 PM
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When a customer tells me they want to move into group rides, I always ask them "What are the people in the group riding?" If one plans on riding with a fast road group, a cross/gravel bike will work, but may need some modifications in gearing and tires/wheels.

If the group is a gravel grinding group, then a cross/gravel bike is appropriate.

I also let them know that a jack of all trades machine will do it all, but won't do any of it at peak levels of performance. There are compromises made with gearing, wheels and tires.

Back in my racing days a guy named Brandon did training rides with us on his Stumpjumper. He changed out the wheels and tires and was unusually strong. Once the speed went past the 25mph mark he would fade back as the gearing wasn't quite high enough. The bike worked well for most things, but only excelled off road. Compromises.
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Old 07-13-19, 05:42 AM
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Giant TCX Option

Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
When a customer tells me they want to move into group rides, I always ask them "What are the people in the group riding?" If one plans on riding with a fast road group, a cross/gravel bike will work, but may need some modifications in gearing and tires/wheels.

If the group is a gravel grinding group, then a cross/gravel bike is appropriate.

I also let them know that a jack of all trades machine will do it all, but won't do any of it at peak levels of performance. There are compromises made with gearing, wheels and tires.

Back in my racing days a guy named Brandon did training rides with us on his Stumpjumper. He changed out the wheels and tires and was unusually strong. Once the speed went past the 25mph mark he would fade back as the gearing wasn't quite high enough. The bike worked well for most things, but only excelled off road. Compromises.
That makes sense! Unfortunately, I'd love to do both gravel and road rides. I'm okay with having an awesome gravel bike that is subpar on the road -- as long as I can somewhat keep pace, I'm happy.

I have another option to consider, if you guys are willing to provide feedback on it!!

2014 Giant TCX Advance Carbon Cyclocross

- 15mm thru axle front fork and quick release rear
- shimano hydraulic disc brakes
- 1x11 shimano ultegra but can easily be converted back to 2x11
- comes with tubeless clincher wheels
- $900

Is this a good deal? I have no idea what clincher wheels are, but I'm assuming I'd have to buy my own road wheels if I wanted to convert to a road ride.

What do you think?
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Old 07-13-19, 10:26 PM
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"Clincher" rims/tires (whether tubeless or not) means for standard tires ie with a bead as opposed to "tubular" tires/rims which are mainly used for elite road & cyclo-cross racing.

I'd think about just getting a road bike for now--already set up for fast riding & they don't break on dirt/gravel, just a bit bumpier. Gravel or 'cross bike with extra wheels, new crankset & brake lever/shifter can get expensive & still a compromise esp w/gearing. So why bother when you already have a MTB for off-road?
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