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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.

Gravel bike input

Old 08-13-19, 06:05 PM
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isuhunter
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Gravel bike input

Searching for my bike (started my search a couple years ago and never purchased)..... I want to be able to pull the burly, run our GSP on the gravel roads of Iowa and limestone trails, and ride paved trails/rides. I've ridden 4 bikes so far and here are my thoughts... Does anyone have any other suggestions on bikes to try? I'd like to keep my price at 1000 ish but willing to spend more if its TRULY justifiable.

Cannondale Topstone Sora - I really liked the bike! Fit me well and also had a bit more of an upright position that I liked. Is it worth going to a 105 for 400$ for a "hobby rider"

Felt Broam - I really like the feel of the bike and the price is right!! $1000 However, the extended position didn't feel as comfortable as the Topstone but on the "back" side of the bars it felt great. I like the idea of 2 more low end gears than the Topstone but the extended position was such a negative that I'd rate it 2nd on my list. To the 'center' of the shifter it was a 1" greater distance than the Topstone but the rear of the bars was the same.

Salsa Vaya - it was nice but nothing stood out about it like the others did and seemed very heavy

Trek Checkpoint - it was ok but it was uncomfortable posture compared to my wife's FX
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Old 08-13-19, 09:50 PM
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Not sure what 'gsp' stands for.

Of the 4, looks like you have a clear favorite.

The topstone 105 gives you name brand rims, better tires, a nicer(lighter) crank, and 3 more gears within the same range.

Is that stuff worth the $ difference? No idea- it's different for each of us.
I would say smaller jumps between gears is noce(which you get on the 105). The branded rims and better tires isn't something I would care too much about as the wheels on the 105 still aren't exactly light and are still machine built.


I assume you are looking at 2019 models based on the prices you mention. Looks like the 2020 models are priced a bit higher.
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Old 08-13-19, 10:13 PM
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Don't buy a bike which doesn't fit. You will regret it for a long, long time.

The Vaya is a great bike but it is designed more for bikepacking and adventure/wilderness riding.


-Tim-
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Old 08-14-19, 07:16 AM
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Poseidon X is under 1K
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Old 08-14-19, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by tdilf View Post
Poseidon X is under 1K
Interesting- hadn't seen this before. Pretty worthless geometry chart, considering it's expected most everyone order sigh unseen. Lack of detail is head sctratching.
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Old 08-14-19, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by isuhunter View Post
Searching for my bike (started my search a couple years ago and never purchased)..... I want to be able to pull the burly, run our GSP on the gravel roads of Iowa and limestone trails, and ride paved trails/rides. I've ridden 4 bikes so far and here are my thoughts... Does anyone have any other suggestions on bikes to try? I'd like to keep my price at 1000 ish but willing to spend more if its TRULY justifiable.

Cannondale Topstone Sora - I really liked the bike! Fit me well and also had a bit more of an upright position that I liked. Is it worth going to a 105 for 400$ for a "hobby rider"

Felt Broam - I really like the feel of the bike and the price is right!! $1000 However, the extended position didn't feel as comfortable as the Topstone but on the "back" side of the bars it felt great. I like the idea of 2 more low end gears than the Topstone but the extended position was such a negative that I'd rate it 2nd on my list. To the 'center' of the shifter it was a 1" greater distance than the Topstone but the rear of the bars was the same.

Salsa Vaya - it was nice but nothing stood out about it like the others did and seemed very heavy

Trek Checkpoint - it was ok but it was uncomfortable posture compared to my wife's FX
Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Not sure what 'gsp' stands for.
GSP = German Shorthaired Pointer.

OP - what size Topstone are you looking at? Also, I'm assuming you're in Ames?
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Last edited by shoota; 08-14-19 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 08-14-19, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
GSP = German Shorthaired Pointer.

OP - what size Topstone are you looking at?
Ha! Thats fantastic- i figured you were joking until I re-read the first post. Is that a thing- abbreviating the breed so its common knowledge? I would just say, 'I want to run my dog', but I am an admitted simpleton.
Strong work on the interpretation.
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Old 08-14-19, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Ha! Thats fantastic- i figured you were joking until I re-read the first post. Is that a thing- abbreviating the breed so its common knowledge? I would just say, 'I want to run my dog', but I am an admitted simpleton.
Strong work on the interpretation.
GSPs are the only breed I see consistently referred to this way. *shrug*
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Old 08-14-19, 12:31 PM
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I've seen GSD a lot. German Shepard Dog. It doesn't make a whole lotta sense to me. The "dog" part seems redundant.
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Old 08-14-19, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
GSP = German Shorthaired Pointer.

OP - what size Topstone are you looking at? Also, I'm assuming you're in Ames?
Correct on the German shorthair

Size large Topstone

I try to be in Ames in game days but like NE of there now.
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Old 08-14-19, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Not sure what 'gsp' stands for.
Georges St-Pierre - one of the greatest MMA fighters.
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Old 08-14-19, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Don't buy a bike which doesn't fit. You will regret it for a long, long time.

The Vaya is a great bike but it is designed more for bikepacking and adventure/wilderness riding.


-Tim-
As a Vaya owner I'd agree wth that directionally. I've done 50 mile gravel fondos on my Vaya Claris and it does just fine...but it was a days work to do it. It rides like a Buick and weighs nearly as much which can make long and hilly rides taxing. But for 25 mile mixed terrain rides that might involve a brewery stop in the middle? Nothing finer...
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Old 08-15-19, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
I've seen GSD a lot. German Shepard Dog. It doesn't make a whole lotta sense to me. The "dog" part seems redundant.
In my world, the “GSD” is the Harvard Graduate School of Design, a well regarded architecture school. I know this because attendees never tire of reminding everyone that they went there.
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Old 08-15-19, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by HarborBandS View Post
In my world, the “GSD” is the Harvard Graduate School of Design, a well regarded architecture school. I know this because attendees never tire of reminding everyone that they went there.
True for anyone who went to Harvard, tbh.
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Old 08-15-19, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
True for anyone who went to Harvard, tbh.
Now changed to the "Harvard Design School", apparently. I'm sure the old-timers are still calling it the "GSD".
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Old 08-16-19, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by isuhunter View Post
Searching for my bike (started my search a couple years ago and never purchased)..... I want to be able to pull the burly, run our GSP on the gravel roads of Iowa and limestone trails, and ride paved trails/rides. I've ridden 4 bikes so far and here are my thoughts... Does anyone have any other suggestions on bikes to try? I'd like to keep my price at 1000 ish but willing to spend more if its TRULY justifiable.

Cannondale Topstone Sora - I really liked the bike! Fit me well and also had a bit more of an upright position that I liked. Is it worth going to a 105 for 400$ for a "hobby rider"

Felt Broam - I really like the feel of the bike and the price is right!! $1000 However, the extended position didn't feel as comfortable as the Topstone but on the "back" side of the bars it felt great. I like the idea of 2 more low end gears than the Topstone but the extended position was such a negative that I'd rate it 2nd on my list. To the 'center' of the shifter it was a 1" greater distance than the Topstone but the rear of the bars was the same.

Salsa Vaya - it was nice but nothing stood out about it like the others did and seemed very heavy

Trek Checkpoint - it was ok but it was uncomfortable posture compared to my wife's FX
1. "hobby rider" is pointless and irrelevant. The question is, do you like "nicer" things? Do you buy the $1 can opener that makes you cuss opening every can, or do you buy a higher quality can opener? Do buy the Bosch cordless drill, or do you buy the $20 China made cordless from amazon that has you speaking fluent **** *****. apply the same logic to your bicycle purchases that you apply to other purchases and you'll be fine (happy with it).

2. The Salsa Journeyman will be a lot lighter than the Vaya, but be close to it in fit/feel. So if Sora is acceptable for you, then look at a sora Journeyman. Other wise the aluminum Topstone gets my vote. IMO the Journeyman will be closer to feeling like the posture of the Trek FX out of any of them.
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Old 08-19-19, 08:55 PM
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Thank you for all the input everyone! I bought the Topstone Sora today and can't want to go out with the family.
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