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First Gravel/Adventure Bike. Please help me decide.

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.

First Gravel/Adventure Bike. Please help me decide.

Old 05-20-19, 02:26 PM
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dulayr80
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First Gravel/Adventure Bike. Please help me decide.

I am interested in getting into cycling/adventure/gravel and light touring and want to get a suitable bike, but have a limited budget and I think buying used would be the best route for me atm. I have two CL listings for contenders and hope the community can help me make an informed decision. I’m not able to provide links or post pictures, but I put as much info as I could.

Thanks in advance...

2013 Masi CX Comp. $550. The listing doesn’t provide a spec sheet, but comparing the pictures to the Masi catalog, the bike looks to be stock. From catalog: Chromoly frame, Shimano Sora components, 50/34 crank and 8spd 11-32t cassette, Weinmann XP27 wheels, Tektro CR510 cantis,

Surly XC. $1100. From listing: Deore 2x10. Shutter Precision genny hub on an Alex Adventurer wheel and hooked to Busch & Mueller lights. WTB Volt saddle. Race Face Chester pedals. Panaracer Pasela 38c tires. Handsome Mudbutler fenders. Ortlieb bar bag (I'm keeping the frame bag and feed bags in the pics). New cassette, chain, rear derailleur. Tubus front rack
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Old 05-20-19, 03:17 PM
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Well, age and condition matter - as maintenance can be expensive (unless you DIY).

For me the biggest things are fit, and what size tire I can put on there. what is the max size for those?
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Old 05-20-19, 05:10 PM
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See if you can find a Cross Check to test ride. The fit isn't for everyone. I have one, and while I've ridden the heck out of it on all manner of surfaces, I'm waaaaay more comfortable riding any kind of gravel/dirt/rough stuff on a more relaxed geometry(like my other bike a Kona Rove). You might like the short head tube, somewhat aggressive position of the 'Check though.
Cross Checks are versatile--mine's been a singlespeed with riser bars, and a 1x with both flat bars and drops. The only downside is no disc brakes.
EDIT: my CC has Surly Knard 41s on it, and I think Surly says you can go up to 45(?) so that's also a feature--you can get decently big tires on there.

Last edited by pbass; 05-20-19 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 05-20-19, 05:29 PM
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The Masi CX may be a pure competition bike. If so, it may have clearance for no bigger than 33c tires since that is the competition limit. The bottom bracket may also be quite high (so the chainrings clear barriers). The classic touring and modern gravel bikes have low BBs for stability. That said, my old Peter Mooney has a quite high BB and now wears 38c/35c tires so that BB is up there. It handled beautifully on the 5000' of vertical gravel descent I did this weekend.

Another avenue to consider - look at one of the earlier '89s Japanese (and American, etc, similar) sport bikes. Many were designed around 27" tires. Running 700c allows nice clearance. They usually come with fender eyes. A lot were built with nice tubing and make very good rides.

Ben
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Old 05-20-19, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
The Masi CX may be a pure competition bike. If so, it may have clearance for no bigger than 33c tires since that is the competition limit. The bottom bracket may also be quite high (so the chainrings clear barriers). The classic touring and modern gravel bikes have low BBs for stability. That said, my old Peter Mooney has a quite high BB and now wears 38c/35c tires so that BB is up there. It handled beautifully on the 5000' of vertical gravel descent I did this weekend.

Another avenue to consider - look at one of the earlier '89s Japanese (and American, etc, similar) sport bikes. Many were designed around 27" tires. Running 700c allows nice clearance. They usually come with fender eyes. A lot were built with nice tubing and make very good rides.

Ben
The masi catalog says it come with 700x35 tires.

I will look out for for a 27” vintage bike. I did come across a 1992 trek 930 drop conversion. Would that be a suitable contender?
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Old 05-20-19, 06:07 PM
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Check out the Cannondale Topstone Sora. https://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/Bi...5-fb806888b5aa Much better choice for the money than the used Surly. Also Salsa Journeyman, various component choices. Buying from a shop will help you get correct fit if you aren't familiar with all that.

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Old 05-20-19, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Check out the Cannondale Topstone Sora. https://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/Bi...5-fb806888b5aa Much better choice for the money than the used Surly. Also Salsa Journeyman, various component choices. Buying from a shop will help you get correct fit if you aren't familiar with all that.
I agree--fit is everything. I've spent more $ chasing down comfort than I care to admit, and it's mainly because I didn't test ride enough different bikes to suss out what kind of geo works for me.
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Old 05-21-19, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by dulayr80 View Post
The masi catalog says it come with 700x35 tires.

I will look out for for a 27” vintage bike. I did come across a 1992 trek 930 drop conversion. Would that be a suitable contender?
Dang. I would say no. Well, I've seen good ones go for ~$100 so at that price maybe. 26" tires are getting hard to come by these days (limited selection). But, its a mountain bike. maybe. Idunno. the MTB geometry in those days was great for gravel and it is steel... Those things had such short head tubes you really had to put a steep riser stem on them to get them comfortable with drops. So, I'm skeptical (unless it is mint, $100 and has flat bars, lol).

Those cross bikes may be great for you. I love how agile a cross bike is. Personally I don't like the upright stable feel of a pure gravel only bike. But everyone is different.

I do think it is critical to know your reach and stack. More specifically - how long a top tube you need, and how much lower your bars are than the seat (if any).

Unless you have a handling characteristic you really like/hate - most of us will quickly adapt to how a new bike handles.
(if it doesn't fit right - that can be impossible to adapt to).
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Old 05-21-19, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Check out the Cannondale Topstone Sora. https://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/Bi...5-fb806888b5aa Much better choice for the money than the used Surly. Also Salsa Journeyman, various component choices. Buying from a shop will help you get correct fit if you aren't familiar with all that.
Exactly what I would have suggested if someone else hadn't got there 1st !!
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Old 05-22-19, 03:32 PM
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Rei adv 3.1

Steel frame, 650b, mechanical discs and bar end shifters? Currently $1100 during the anniversary sale. Should this be a contender?
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Old 05-22-19, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by dulayr80 View Post
Steel frame, 650b, mechanical discs and bar end shifters? Currently $1100 during the anniversary sale. Should this be a contender?
Those REI bikes look really good in person. Never ridden one though. I have the Spyres and I love those brakes, but bar-end shifters I feel like are a bit of a tough sell for most folks, if you plan to ride much off-road. But, that's what you'd get on a stock drop-bar Cross Check (I made mine a drop bar 1x11 with a Gevenalle shifter, so it can be changed...)

I'm admittedly a Kona fanboy, but if you're looking around that price point, take a look at the Roves: https://www.konaworld.com/platform_rove.cfm

Last edited by pbass; 05-22-19 at 07:47 PM.
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