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Curve GXR Steel thoughts?

Old 02-21-19, 04:49 AM
  #1  
sotoo
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Curve GXR Steel thoughts?

Looking into a steel gravel bike and have come down to a few final options.

Has anyone looked at the Curve GXR Steel, and what would be thoughts on this regarding value for money compared with a bike with similar features / use cases with light bikepacking/touring?

Edit... link here:
https://www.curvecycling.com.au/prod...teel-grovel-v3
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Old 02-21-19, 04:52 AM
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tangerineowl
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I had a Grovel v2 frameset in my hands at one stage, after a long search. Ended up swapping it for the same in ti.

If I was to do the same again I'd have a hard look at the Fairlight Secan frameset vs the Grovel v3.
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Old 02-21-19, 05:04 AM
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sotoo
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Originally Posted by tangerineowl View Post
I had a Grovel v2 frameset in my hands at one stage, after a long search. Ended up swapping it for the same in ti.

If I was to do the same again I'd have a hard look at the Fairlight Secan frameset vs the Grovel v3.
This came up in my search but I wrote it off as they didn't have stock, and didn't want to go to the trouble of importing and building up... what would differentiate it for you from the Grovel?
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Old 02-21-19, 05:16 AM
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tangerineowl
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Geo first. Spending a grand or two on a frameset, I want to make the sure the geo suits.
Looks also come into play for me. Tyre clearance/mounting points/build options: 1x.2x.

I think the v3 is still a Zona frame which is good enough in my eyes. The Secan is 853. I don't mind the flattened top tube look on the Secan.

The Curve guys have very good customer service after my experience with them.

v3 frame philosophy is long (longer than v2) with a shorter stem. Doesn't suit my proportions.

Pretty much non-existent in Oz a similar style/spec frameset as the Grovel.

Very happy with mine, as its my only bike.
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Old 02-21-19, 02:46 PM
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sotoo
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Originally Posted by tangerineowl View Post
Geo first. Spending a grand or two on a frameset, I want to make the sure the geo suits.
Looks also come into play for me. Tyre clearance/mounting points/build options: 1x.2x.

I think the v3 is still a Zona frame which is good enough in my eyes. The Secan is 853. I don't mind the flattened top tube look on the Secan.

The Curve guys have very good customer service after my experience with them.

v3 frame philosophy is long (longer than v2) with a shorter stem. Doesn't suit my proportions.

Pretty much non-existent in Oz a similar style/spec frameset as the Grovel.

Very happy with mine, as its my only bike.
Thanks! Did you look at any other locally available framesets? I've given some thought to the Bombtrack Hook EXT, Norco Search XR S, Jamis Renegade... there are some differences in the geometries but I guess I am looking at overall package as well (as built up bikes off the shelf), and value for money. Would anything stand out to you about them?
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Old 02-21-19, 05:01 PM
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Just a couple of initial geo comments about those three frames:-
1. The EXT has a taller standover which may or may not suit you. Seat tube angle is a bit low. Threaded bb which is good.
2. The Search's bb drop is only 57mm. You may prefer a lower, in-the-bike-feel. Press-fit bottom bracket. I'd always want a threaded for any frame.
Stack height for size is a bit aggressive which may or may not work for you. It does have a low standover which is good if you have a shorter inseam.
3. I think the Renegade fits a bit smaller tyre than the others.

Commuter Cycles has quite a few frames/bikes available. Could be worth looking there at options.
Also, there's Crust in Sydney, which has their 853 LightningBolt v2 framesets and 853 Dreamer.

Being in Perth, I had to purchase my frame unseen. I did know what geometry and frame spec I was chasing though, so it was fine buying that way.
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Old 02-22-19, 04:23 AM
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@tangerineowl thanks for the feedback - appreciate the advice. Will take a look at the crust options as well but Curve appears to be coming out on top as preferred option still. Cheers
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Old 11-22-19, 04:46 AM
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Hi Sotoo - did you end up getting the Kevin of Steel? If so, what are your thoughts on it? I'm also tossing up between a Fairlight Secan and the Kevin of Steel. I'm from Perth originally, but currently living in Sweden, so it's easier for me to access the Fairlight...

Cheers!
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Old 11-22-19, 05:58 AM
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I think the latest GXR will be available through GiroCycles in the UK. You could contact Curve to see if they have other stockists in Europe.
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Old 11-22-19, 06:12 AM
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Cheers for the suggestion mate - I'll look into it.

Have your thoughts on the Secan vs. GXR changed much since you posted earlier? The Secan seems like a great option, with the one exception that the fork doesn't have the 3 eyelets for mounting an Anything rack (or similar) that the GXR fork has. Other than that, they seem pretty difficult to separate. I don't know enough about alloys/tubesets to differentiate 853 vs. Zona...
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Old 11-22-19, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by silaw View Post
Cheers for the suggestion mate - I'll look into it.

Have your thoughts on the Secan vs. GXR changed much since you posted earlier? The Secan seems like a great option, with the one exception that the fork doesn't have the 3 eyelets for mounting an Anything rack (or similar) that the GXR fork has. Other than that, they seem pretty difficult to separate. I don't know enough about alloys/tubesets to differentiate 853 vs. Zona...
Ill hop in with some thoughts since I own a Secan and have built with Zona tubing.

First- this is a a good website to compare geometry - https://geometrygeeks.bike/compare/c...ecan-2018-56r/
I selected a few sizes, but you can choose up to 3 different bikes or up to 3 different sizes within bikes. This is helpful since so many bikes are totally different between sizes. A gravel bike in XS has entirely different geometry from one in L or one in XL, so its no surprise that one person may find the bike to be stable and another find it to be twitchy, for example.

Anyways, some thoughts on the bikes you mention-
- the fit and finish of my Secan frame is exactly what I would expect. The front triangle of 853 tubing is neatly welded and the rear triangle of formed 4130 tubes is brazed. Everything is square(i measured some), head tube and seat tube are reamed round, and the bottom bracket is cleaned up(not sure if chased or not, but either way the threads were clean).
- the Curve GXR Steel looks like a really well thought out and designed frameset.
- Curve geometry- 68mm bottom bracket drop is not a lot. Thats pretty high, to me. Certainly gets a feel of riding on top of the bike vs in the bike.
- Curve geometry- why is the fork offset not listed?!? Thats absurd. Its a critical measurement because fork offset + head tube angle + tire size = trail. Trail is a really important measurement because it is primarily what makes a bike feel twitchy or slow steering(or anywhere between). This is one of those things that is a strong preference for cyclists when they hop on a bike so its something that pretty much everyone has an opinion on.
- Curve geometry- the chainstay uses a yoke to get tire clearance instead of shaped stays. Zona comes in a ton of pre-bent S stay designs, so its interesting that none of those were good options to get the tire clearance.
- Secan geometry- 77mm bottom bracket drop is a lot. Its certainly on the high end of gravel bikes. I like it as I like the feeling of 'in' the bike, but I have noticed I get some rock strike more often than I did before when I had a frame with 70mm of drop. It isnt actually the pedal striking the ground, but loose gravel thats in the air striking the pedal, so it doesnt actually affect riding/safety/how I ride.
- the geometry of both bikes is not exactly in line with current trends in gravel frames- neither are as slack as a lot of bikes have gone in the last 2 years. The geometry of both bikes is much more along the lines of a wide tire road bike. I like that a lot, but many want super slack geometry, so just know what you like and get something that matches.

Frame materials-
- The Secan uses 853 for the main tubes that is formed, and 4130 stays that are bent. I like the look a lot and the bent stays allow for a ton of tire clearance. 4130 was used for the stays because it is easier to manipulate(bend) without collapsing and truly- any tubing can be 'strong enough' in the diameters that were used for the stays. All tubing flexes the same amount when its the same thickness(gauge and diameter), so using a more malleable material both keeps costs down and allows for the same overall quality frame. The frame is plenty light, but it is not as light as a custom gravel bike could be using 853 tubing. This is because Fairlight has to go thru a bunch of failure certification and so the frame is overbuilt for many people's needs. Based on my actual frame weight, I would guess its 200 grams heavier than if I built a frame for myself, and a good bit of that would be due to the 44mm head tube vs the smaller head tube I would use. I suspect the 853 butting isnt aggressive in profile, especially since what they use is 853 DZB for the down tube and that is also used on mountain bikes.
Luckily, frame weight is only part of an overall package and I think geometry is more important when it comes to feel of a frame when riding. I say all this because yes it uses great tubing, but that doesnt necessarily translate to featherweight.

- I built a road frame with Zona and considered building a gravel frame with Zona before buying the Secan frame. Zona is really nice product that is consistent(from observation and consistent praise by builders) that builds into strong and light frames. There are a lot of variations of Zona though, which allows frames to be built to the rider. Zona comes in butting thats 7/5/7 and 8/5/8. Bigger numbers = thicker tubing that will be stiffer and heavier. That stiffness and heaviness is very incremental though. Most production steel gravel frames are 8/5/8 or 9/6/9 even. Also, the butting profile of Zona is different depending on the tube model. Zona butting is sometimes longer than other tubes and sometimes shorter too. Basically- the butting length varies depending on which model tube is used.
All this is to say that two identical looking frames with Zona tubing could weigh and feel different due to the inside butting and design of the tubes.
Zona tubing in general is excellent- it builds into a strong and light frame.

- I wouldnt think twice to have a gravel bike with Zona tubing(I have one) and dont view it as 'worse' than 853 at all.
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Old 11-22-19, 04:24 PM
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silaw,

mstateglfr commented on the bb drop. I was thinking about this recently with my 70mm drop bike. I play around with wheels/tyres way too much and feel that at 5' 9.5" (running a 172.5mm crank) once you get over a 700x35mm the ride position feels tall; not 'in the bike'. 650b anywhere from 42mm to 2.2" feels great.

I noticed recently the Diverge frame has an 85mm? drop, which if it had larger clearance would be a great feel on the larger 700c tyres like up to a 50mm.
It could be a good idea to test ride one of those in your size to get a feel for how 'in the bike' it is, as they come with 700x38.
The Nordest Albarda ti frameset is a couple hundred more than the Secan, but it has very similar frame geometry to the Diverge, apart from the slacker 70deg. head tube (similar bb drop, chainstay, stack&reach fairly close).

That 77mm drop on the Secan in my mind would be a good option running 700x35mm+, or a large 650b.

But as mentioned above, frame geo is very important. That's my number one when choosing. I do lean toward a frame that has some nimbleness to its ride (Not a fan of the recent longer top tube trend).

There's a few Spirit tube frames out there in Europe also, though they're a bit more expensive, like the Cinelli who do custom geo for a little more.

Last edited by tangerineowl; 11-23-19 at 01:18 AM. Reason: txt
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Old 11-25-19, 07:25 AM
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First off - thanks heaps mstateglfr and tangerineowl - I really appreciate all your thoughts and feedback!

The GXR ticks many boxes with the rack options on the fork being one of the primary separators for me. The high bottom bracket is a bit of a concern, as I too like the feel of being "in" the bike, rather than on top of it. I currently ride a Diverge E5, and really enjoy the ride qualities but wish to upgrade due to its lack of tire clearance (max out at 38 mm with my model) and mounting options on the fork. I would mostly be riding the GXR with 2.2" tires on a 650b wheelset, which tangerineowl suggests would suit the high bottom bracket of the GXR, so perhaps this isn't too much of a concern. Curve state themselves that the GXR has quite a high standover height, (quite a bit higher than my current bike) and a long top tube, even though the reach is actually shorter than my Diverge, so it's a little difficult to rationalise how these measurements will translate to ride quality.

The offset of the Curve fork is 51 mm (found it on their website), so with a head tube angle of 71 and running 650b wheels and 2.2" tires, the trail would be 67 mm. This sits nicely between my Diverge (63 cm) and the Secan (69 cm), which seems like a good compromise - I prefer the stable steering associated with these higher trail numbers (though I never found the Diverge too twitchy).

I really appreciate getting the thoughts on 853 vs Zona tubing, as I'm unlikely to be able to notice the difference between the two, it's allowed me to focus more on differences in geometry etc.

Thanks again.
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Old 11-25-19, 12:10 PM
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you know the frame is gonna be good when it is designed by furniture designer. Their Instagram game is also on point

"Steve has had a long history racing, riding and working on 2 wheels. Steve's background in furniture design helped form Curve's ethos for well designed products. His eye for detail and technical knowledge allowed Steve to take his passion a step further to launch his own range of products and form Curve Cycling."
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