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Trek Rear IsoSpeed experiences

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

Trek Rear IsoSpeed experiences

Old 12-15-18, 06:18 PM
  #26  
Campag4life
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Ah, the #41ier experience. Can't beat it.

Speaking of experience, in a thread looking for those with actual experience to share, it seems to be unanimously positive at this point. That should be good enough for the OP. On that note, I'll bow out now - there's not much more to add and doing so would only encourage more flapping of the lips from the have-nots.

Best of luck, OP.
No you should stay and be able to accept other's opinions. The Domane of all the endurance bikes, is perhaps the most popular. I would certainly prefer it to a Roubaix with FS. As you say IsoSpeed works pretty seamlessly.

I am simply sharing my opinion...that I have never felt a need for an articulating rear triangle on any road bike and I have owned a lot of road bikes. I kind of feel the same way about mountain bikes. I prefer a solid rear end unless the road is a mess.

People have their preferences. 'Need' for a pivoting rear triangle has never been anything I would consider.

Discussion about road bike preferences is an interesting one. Of course many know the redesigned Scott Foil...an aero bike..first gen known for its harshness, the redesigned Foil won perhaps the most grueling road bike race on the planet, the Paris Roubaix. When you ask people's opinion about ride quality...what they prefer, opinions vary greatly. Many don't want their Porsche to ride like a Lincoln. They want to feel the road. The road doesn't bother them as it does others who prefer to be more isolated from it. People vary and therefore opinions vary. I don't want an IsoSpeed coupler if I can avoid one. This shouldn't bother you. You like the coupler. Or...you believe the coupler is really incidental to the overall goodness of the Domane which may indeed be the overarching point.
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Old 12-15-18, 06:25 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by radroad View Post
What do you weigh? Heavy (200+ lbs) or very heavy (250+ lbs) riders require a stiffer frame. That's fine. But lighter riders or riders with joint injuries or riders on very rough roads generally want a more compliant frame. An owner of a local shop gave a talk recently and said she recommended a minimum of 28mm tires for anyone riding on local roads since they were in such bad shape.
Rad, I'm 180 lbs and an old man but fit. Agree that guys that ride rough roads need help. I have always received that help with tires and pressure.
Yes, 28c tires with reduced pressure on local roads makes sense..whether you have an IsoSpeed coupler or not. Maybe even wider if the roads are really torn up.
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Old 12-15-18, 09:25 PM
  #28  
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Oh my. I don't read the thread for a few hours and we are in the middle of a debate whether someone needs di2 or not. Hahaha..

I do appreciate all the inputs and on some level, I understand @Campag4life's opinion. I do not want the isospeed either. But I have no choice if I go with the carbon checkpoint. On gravel it might be more beneficial than on road and I trust Trek on this. I'm not a fan, but I find them one of the most innovative bike companies.
The difference between the current domane and the checkpoint is that you can't turn it off. So I will make sure I go on a proper test ride first. Thank you all!
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Old 12-16-18, 03:40 AM
  #29  
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I have had both an Emonda and now a Domane. The IsoSpeed on the Domane is not noticeable for me while pedaling on the same roads but the bike is definitely smoother. It is worth mentioning that I have 28mm Contis on my Domane and ran 25mm on the Emonda so this will account for some of the difference. Like others though, I prefer to ride my XC MTB when the roads are really rough though...
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Old 12-16-18, 05:27 AM
  #30  
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Let's for a minute take Isospeed off the table. To be happy with a bike, you really need to figure out its environment. You mentioned on pavement versus gravel and you are a miniscule 130 lbs. Man is that light. What kind of rider are you? Do you race or plan to?

I would start with a target for tire size. Do you have much experience riding gravel? I do. On rougher gravel, I vastly prefer an uber light carbon XC mountain bike...hardtail with front shock with 2" wide tires. But can live with a dropbar bike on smoother gravel. Most gravel road riding would promote a tire width minimum of 35c or so.

So I would try to figure out what kind of bike and tire clearance you need.

I will tell, I personally am not a fan of a gravel bikes...this genre. They are 'a Johnny come lately' addition to the party. Most if out on the road want a race bike or an endurance road bike with at least 28c tire clearance. On smooth dirt or light gravel, 35c tires will work as with a dropbar 'gravel bike'. But for rougher road more common gravel road riding,,,I lived on a gravel road for 5 years in my recent past...which is common out in the country, a flatbar XC racing mountain bike with rigid rear end and $800 lockable front fork every day. I have done tons of riding shredding average size gravel on a XC 29er which has no peer for this style of riding if you want to ride it aggressively.

So pick the bike that best suits you.

If there was a race that really defined gravel grinding at its pinnacle, it would be the annual Leadville CO race. Yes, some entrants are silly enough to enter dropbar gravel bikes into the race. The race is won each year on a racing flat bar mountain bike.

This video may shed some perspective. Watch it to the end:


Last edited by Campag4life; 12-16-18 at 05:32 AM.
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Old 12-16-18, 06:14 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by nemeseri View Post
I do not worry about frame flex. More like because of any bouncy effect of the rear IsoSpeed..
Looks like you've got plenty of responses hear, but will give you my experience since we're similar weight. The only time I've ever thought I had a bouncy rear, is when goofing off a climb. I was going slow with a pretty low cadence - just ****ting around with some bigger buddies. I thought I felt a bit of bounce, but who knows, it could have been b/c of my uneven pedaling in this case.
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Old 12-16-18, 08:06 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
No you should stay and be able to accept other's opinions.
....
I am simply sharing my opinion...that I have never felt a need for an articulating rear triangle on any road bike and I have owned a lot of road bikes.
Just wanted to point out for the sake of others that there is no articulating rear triangle. Again, your opinion is moored in ignorance and your justification reductio ad absurdum. Waste of time. Buh bye.
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Old 12-16-18, 10:46 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Just wanted to point out for the sake of others that there is no articulating rear triangle. Again, your opinion is moored in ignorance and your justification reductio ad absurdum. Waste of time. Buh bye.
Does this mean I am off your Christmas card list? Just because I reminded you that you succumbed to marketing and were sucked into buying a bike that only adds complexity but no value added?...when the bike would have been better without the Isogoofball-inator? At least they didn't put a spring on the front like Specialized did.

Plenty of gimmick bikes to choose from including the horrific Canyon with double decker handlebar.

Sorry to remind you for the sake of others as you point out as the record needs to be set straight. If you know anything about bicycles which is pretty clear by your choice of bike you don't, its the front of the bike that needs compliance and not the rear. Same in the mtb world. A gravel bike is just a mtb light as the video pointed out. Come back for another reminder if you like. Maybe next time Trek with mount a gravel polisher on the bike. You know, when you stop to rest, its a widget that is built into the top tube that will polish a piece of gravel you can have a keepsake. Nice to have a momento when riding in a new area. Would be a nice touch and I am sure you are the kind of the guy who would be first in line? Or maybe a bike with windshield wipers?...or a CB radio for emergencies?

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Old 12-16-18, 01:26 PM
  #34  
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Changed my mind. I am out on this one...

Last edited by yarbrough462; 12-16-18 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 12-16-18, 03:51 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by yarbrough462 View Post
Changed my mind. I am out on this one...
In that case I will summarize.
The Domane is one if not the most popular endurance bikes available. It has of course the IsoSpeed many believe contributes to improved ride quality.
OP, you are very light. Lighter a rider is, the less native flex there will be for a given frameset. Lighter riders generally put out less power. Quite certain that IsoSpeed would not an issue if you chose a bike with one.

My last post was having fun with WhyFi who tends to become hyperbolic when his point of view is challenged. I find it comical if not quaint or precious.
He failed to understand the broader point. The IsoSpeed maybe considered a net positive for a bike shopper...or not...whether he likes it or not. 99% of roadbikes don't have IsoSpeed. My point all along is, I always prefer a rigid rear triangle to one with more movement whether quibbling about deflection, lexicon, nomenclature, articulation, leaf spring, or semantical nonsense for guys like WhyFi who can't 'articulate' a salient point. Many believe that IsoSpeed is a solution in search of a problem...or rather a problem in search of a solution. I have been perfectly fine with hardtail mountain bikes I have owned as well. Others will prefer the IsoSpeed and the contribution to some level of deflection. I prefer the frame on the bike to be rigid. I have never met a road I couldn't tame with judicious tire selection. Of course for completely torn up roads and jumping logs, a dual suspension mountain bike is king. True suspension bikes have real suspension travel of course and not more rear triangle flexure Trek achieves with a pivot.

So OP, buy what you like. Test the bike and see if you like it. Test others as well. A lot of different bikes on the market.
Good luck in your search.

Last edited by Campag4life; 12-16-18 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 12-16-18, 04:15 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
My point all along is... I always prefer...I have been perfectly fine...I prefer the frame on the bike to be rigid...I have never...
Good luck in your search.
Your problem is you keep repeating the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over. Your spamming is way out of control. You've never ridden it and never will. You don't need to post the exact same thing 10 times in one day.
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Old 12-16-18, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by radroad View Post
Your problem is you keep repeating the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over. Your spamming is way out of control. You've never ridden it and never will. You don't need to post the exact same thing 10 times in one day.
Never ridden it? I invented it. I created it for guys like you. Trek came to me and asked, what possible bogus feature could we add to a bike whereby we could make some profit when it wears out by selling replacement hardware and we could use it as a marketing gimmick to suck in saps like you who don't know anything about bikes.

That's when it came to me. Yes, there has been outcry. Many have accused the Domane of having a split personality, not unlike many of its owners...a bike too compliant in back and too stiff in front. I told Trek to relax and just go with it. The type of rider who will buy it isn't a performance rider and won't be able to tell anyway.

Btw, they recently contacted me and asked, what can we do to get more 'marketing run' out of IsoSpeed. I said, voltage regeneration. Use the small displacement of the pivot as a means to recharge cell phones and LED lights and other ancillary electrical devices and they said, that is brilliant. They did question if it would work however. I said...phhht...doesn't matter. It will be just like IsoSpeed, a gimmick that doesn't work either. Think of the demographic who would buy such a bike. They conceded I was right again. So look for the Regenerative version of IsoSpeed in the spring. Not sure what the encore maybe after that. Maybe hair removal feature built into the top tube along with the gravel polisher. That should bring in the customers.
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Old 12-16-18, 05:35 PM
  #38  
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Old 12-17-18, 09:23 PM
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Thread reopened. Campag4life please remain out of this thread.
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Old 12-18-18, 03:31 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Which is coming from a position of ignorance, unless I'm mistaken and you've logged some significant miles on an IsoSpeed frame. It's great "suspension" for people that don't like suspension (something that we have in common).
Agreed.

10,200km this year and counting - 9,500km on the Domane SLR running 28c at 65-70psi, and the balance on an aluminum (no IsoSpeed) Trek Checkpoint with 34C tires.

For those that don't appreciate isospeed on 28c or narrower tires, they perhaps don't log enough miles, or at least enough long rides. For my 200km+ rides, I like every ounce of comfort I can get - isospeed is orders of magnitude more meaningful than my electronic shifters. So. are my bar-end rear-view mirrors for that matter.

Last edited by SkepticalOne; 12-18-18 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 12-18-18, 03:36 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Never ridden it? I invented it. I created it for guys like you. Trek came to me and asked, what possible bogus feature could we add to a bike whereby we could make some profit when it wears out by selling replacement hardware and we could use it as a marketing gimmick to suck in saps like you who don't know anything about bikes.

That's when it came to me. Yes, there has been outcry. Many have accused the Domane of having a split personality, not unlike many of its owners...a bike too compliant in back and too stiff in front. I told Trek to relax and just go with it. The type of rider who will buy it isn't a performance rider and won't be able to tell anyway.

Btw, they recently contacted me and asked, what can we do to get more 'marketing run' out of IsoSpeed. I said, voltage regeneration. Use the small displacement of the pivot as a means to recharge cell phones and LED lights and other ancillary electrical devices and they said, that is brilliant. They did question if it would work however. I said...phhht...doesn't matter. It will be just like IsoSpeed, a gimmick that doesn't work either. Think of the demographic who would buy such a bike. They conceded I was right again. So look for the Regenerative version of IsoSpeed in the spring. Not sure what the encore maybe after that. Maybe hair removal feature built into the top tube along with the gravel polisher. That should bring in the customers.
Can't believe you have the time on your hands to draft this garbage. Get off the internet and go ride your bike. Perhaps ride down to your local library and get yourself a copy...


Last edited by SkepticalOne; 12-18-18 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 12-18-18, 12:01 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by nemeseri View Post
Long story short, I'm thinking about buying a Trek Checkpoint bike. The carbon version has rear IsoSpeed, but it can't be adjusted to be firmer than the factory default. I saw a few opinion on this forum where people complained about too much flexing, especially on pavement: https://www.bikeforums.net/cyclocros...decoupler.html

IsoSpeed has been around for a while now. Does anybody have issues with too much flexing or moving around too much on the saddle during hard efforts?

If there is too much flex, maybe it's better to go with the alloy version of the frame. I plan to use the bike both on gravel and pavement and I've never had issues with comfort or the compliance of a frame. (I guess this might has something to with my relatively low weight (<60kg / < 130lbs)).
Wow! This forum seems to get pretty cranky in the wintertime!

I'm the guy who complained about the Checkpoint SL Isospeed in the thread you linked. Although I don't like the Checkpoint's Isospeed, that doesn't mean you won't like it. You and I are very different riders. My LBS says about 30% of his customers don't like it on the Checkpoint, but the other 70% seem to love it. Some who love it on the Domane or Madone hate it on the Checkpoint. When reading the various passionate opinions in this thread, though, keep three things in mind . . .

1. The Checkpoint SL Isospeed is NOT adjustable (as it is on some of the bikes described in this thread) and, in fact, the Checkpoint's is set up to be the FLEXIEST Isospeed to date. So, description of Domane Isospeeds is probably not relevant to you. They are set up with different degrees of flex than the Checkpoint's.

2. I weigh 175 pounds. You weigh less than 130. That, in itself, would give us very different experiences of the Checkpoint's Isospeed. I'm exerting a LOT more force on the Isospeed than you would be. When I flex mine 10mm, you might not flex the same Isospeed at all. In other words . . . MY experience of the Checkpoint's Isospeed is probably not relevant to you, either.

3. Keep in mind that the Checkpoint's Isospeed isn't suspension or a leaf spring or any other technical marvel. What is it? It's an extra long seat tube that is designed to flex. (A flexible lever would be a better description.) Where the extra-flexy seat tube passes the top tube, Trek installs a fulcrum -- a bolt and bearings -- that secures the seat tube and allows it to pivot freely fore/aft (but not side-to-side) when it flexes. When your saddle flexes backwards, the lower portion of the seat tube flexes forwards -- it pivots. And when your saddle flexes forwards, the lower portion of the seat tube flexes backwards. It's basically a flexible lever with the lower end anchored at the bottom bracket and the upper end topped by your saddle. It's like a teeter totter with a REALLY BIG guy on the other end. And if you aren't heavy enough to flex the seat tube, you won't feel any effect at all.

The key, though . . . try before you buy. I wish I had.
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Old 12-18-18, 05:32 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by nemeseri View Post
Oh my. I don't read the thread for a few hours and we are in the middle of a debate whether someone needs di2 or not. Hahaha..

I do appreciate all the inputs and on some level, I understand @Campag4life's opinion. I do not want the isospeed either. But I have no choice if I go with the carbon checkpoint. On gravel it might be more beneficial than on road and I trust Trek on this. I'm not a fan, but I find them one of the most innovative bike companies.
The difference between the current domane and the checkpoint is that you can't turn it off. So I will make sure I go on a proper test ride first. Thank you all!
You're engaging in a lot of conjecture and your uncertainty can be cleared up rather easily with a simple test ride.
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Old 12-18-18, 10:08 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
The key, though . . . try before you buy. I wish I had.
Thanks for your explanation. Seriously. I'll definitely try it and thank you in general for sharing the issue you had in your original thread.

Originally Posted by radroad View Post
You're engaging in a lot of conjecture and your uncertainty can be cleared up rather easily with a simple test ride.
You are absolutely right. Although, if I didn't read the original thread, I might have ordered the carbon checkpoint without even thinking about the IsoSpeed. After that thread, especially, after realizing that there were at least two people complaining about IsoSpeed there, I was simply started researching alloy and other alternatives.

With all the positive experiences in this thread, I realized that I have to try both and see it myself. This involves extra time, traveling to find a bike in my area, etc. Hence the reason for the thread. I do think that it might be useful to others in the future.

Last edited by nemeseri; 12-19-18 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 12-19-18, 05:14 AM
  #45  
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I've stayed out of this thread as it refers to the Checkpoint. FWIW I have a Domane SLR9 and love the IsoSpeed. At first I thought it did nothing. Going down a hill I hit the grooves (wake up strip?) on the side of the road, at high speed with my carbon FUJI and thought I was a goner. Did the same thing with the Domane and could ride them all day long. I suspect the great handling was due in no small part because of the ISO.
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Old 12-19-18, 08:03 AM
  #46  
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So I rode a Domane for 3 years until I went to a Ridley Helium. Honestly, I could not tell the difference. I ran tubed on the Domane and I am running tubeless on the Helium. The front end on my Helium feels better than the front on the Domane.

I will say that in the time I had my Domane and many thousands of miles, I never had a problem with the iso speed.
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Old 12-19-18, 09:28 AM
  #47  
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I have a large network of "rails to trails" crushed limestone bike trails running through the center of my town, and am getting tired of nearly getting picked off by inattentive drivers on the roads, so I have been looking at "gravel bikes" or endurance/touring bikes with greater clearance to make greater use of the trail system. I do notice that the vibration from gravel trails affects my hands and wrists as I get older, so the IsoSpeed decoupler is something I am interested in (and this is coming from a guy who used to race hard-tail mountain bikes in the '90's). I thought dialing in the bike fit would fix the issue, but it hasn't.

I recently tested a Checkpoint at a local bike shop. I am about 195 lbs these days, and really powered in to some sprints, but didn't notice any undesirable flex. To be honest, I didn't notice the IsoSpeed decoupler at all. If it does anything at all, it is very subtle. But I was only able to try it on some paved roadways and a mildly sloping hill, so perhaps the effects are more pronounced on bumpier terrain. My main criticism is that the bike is a bit heavy for full carbon. But the Checkpoint still appeals to me since I have found 35's or 38's to be optimal tire widths on our crushed limestone paths, and I could have a second wheelset with 28's on it for road rides. And it's hard to nitpick a couple pounds of bike when I could stand to lose 15 pounds off my body.

A good friend of mine has had a Domane for a couple of years, and he is about 180 lbs. He really loves the bike, and doesn't notice frame flex when applying pedaling force.

It seems to me that the only advantage of the Checkpoint over the Domane is greater tire clearance. Trek had a "Domane Gravel" a year or two ago, and it was panned for lacking clearance for larger tires. But with the Domane, you get the front IsoSpeed and have a few more options.

If you are planning on doing crits or hours of climbing, get an Emonda. But I live in Illinois, not Colorado--and my racing days are long behind me.

Last edited by HarborBandS; 12-19-18 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 12-19-18, 11:34 AM
  #48  
Caliper
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
I will tell, I personally am not a fan of a gravel bikes...this genre. They are 'a Johnny come lately' addition to the party. Most if out on the road want a race bike or an endurance road bike with at least 28c tire clearance. On smooth dirt or light gravel, 35c tires will work as with a dropbar 'gravel bike'. But for rougher road more common gravel road riding,,,I lived on a gravel road for 5 years in my recent past...which is common out in the country, a flatbar XC racing mountain bike with rigid rear end and $800 lockable front fork every day. I have done tons of riding shredding average size gravel on a XC 29er which has no peer for this style of riding if you want to ride it aggressively.
I wouldn't call gravel bikes late at all. Consider that the original 700C tire (way back when C stood for the tire width) was about 700x40mm. Funny how that's right where most gravel bikes are equipped... To me, it's really just a modern version of what road bikes were before pavement was everywhere, like in some of the very old TdF photos.

28mm tires will work on dirt, in a suffer through it sense, but if all your riding is on dirt/gravel roads (by which I mean actual roads, not trails) then something wider really is faster. Now, before the gravel bike boom, tell me where I could find a sporty road bike that would clear a 40mm tire? 35-45mm of tire is about the sweet spot for all the dirt roads anywhere near me (which vastly outnumber the miles of pavement) and it's absolutely faster than my dropbar 29er, probably because I'm not lugging around an extra two pounds of suspension fork that spends its life locked out.

Originally Posted by nemeseri View Post
I really appreciate your input on this, very insightful, especially your comments on the tires.
I plan to use it for gravel rides with 40+ tires and for wet commutes with 28mm tires and fenders. Also I would like to ride the bike to the trailheads... I like my bikes fast and responsive I fear that IsoSpeed would make it feel like a truck. Even on 28mm tires. I will most definitely try out one with isospeed.
Well, I was one of the complainants on the other thread. You are lighter than me (175-180 when I test rode a Checkpoint) so maybe it would be less bouncy for you? Definitely do a test ride. I drove about an hour to test ride the bike and was glad I did. Considering the cost of a carbon Checkpoint, the time invested is worth it. The Checkpoint does have massive tire clearance though. I honestly think a 50mm tire could fit in the back... But, if you're really going offroad you should consider that it has a lower BB than some other bikes. To me, I love the feel of a low BB and that was a big reason I test rode it, but I'm not riding down singletrack much. The low BB gave it a very playful and "in the bike" feel that felt great. If the bike were lighter and had adjustable isospeed then I may have gone for it...
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Old 12-19-18, 01:31 PM
  #49  
HarborBandS
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
I wouldn't call gravel bikes late at all. Consider that the original 700C tire (way back when C stood for the tire width) was about 700x40mm. Funny how that's right where most gravel bikes are equipped... To me, it's really just a modern version of what road bikes were before pavement was everywhere, like in some of the very old TdF photos.


28mm tires will work on dirt, in a suffer through it sense, but if all your riding is on dirt/gravel roads (by which I mean actual roads, not trails) then something wider really is faster. Now, before the gravel bike boom, tell me where I could find a sporty road bike that would clear a 40mm tire? 35-45mm of tire is about the sweet spot for all the dirt roads anywhere near me (which vastly outnumber the miles of pavement) and it's absolutely faster than my dropbar 29er, probably because I'm not lugging around an extra two pounds of suspension fork that spends its life locked out.

I agree. It seems to me that a "gravel bike" is basically an endurance bike (similar to what we used to call "sport touring"--a road bike with predictable straight-line handling, but still lightweight without all of the classic "touring" add-ons), but with wider tire clearance. I can barely get 28's on my road bikes, and that simply won't do on the crushed limestone trails I have around here. Yes it's possible, but sandy areas get precarious, and the ride is quite harsh. I also don't like to max out the tire clearance on a frame. A small twig getting picked up by the wheel can cause catastrophe. The trails I ride are cut through wooded areas, so trail debris is common and hard to avoid.


I will admit, I was immediately skeptical of so-called "gravel bikes" when I first saw them introduced, and had a kneejerk negative reaction. And the similarities to cyclocross rigs are confusing to most people. But they have perhaps found a sweet spot for the type of riding that a lot of people like to do, and it turns out, a type of riding that is very convenient for me in my current location--a traffic-choked large metro area with a well-developed system of crushed gravel bike trails. I'll still keep at least one road bike, though.
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Old 12-21-18, 03:27 PM
  #50  
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I have an 2018 Trek Domane SL5 Disc and I'll be darned if I can feel any difference because the bike has ISO Speed. I would think that 32mm tires would be the most important contributor to a smoother ride. At any rate, I can't tell that the ISO Speed does anything. If it does, so much the better because it's on the bike.
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