Notices
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.

Entry Level Gravel Bike

Old 03-24-20, 09:22 PM
  #1  
cnrdrn7
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Entry Level Gravel Bike

Hi Folks,
Having some trouble deciding on an entry level Gravel Bike and hoping to enlist some help. For some context, I havenít owned a bike since I was in school and now in my early 30ís, my team sports days almost over and running/jogging not so appealing, Iím eager to buy a bike and keep the fitness up that way. Iíll be using the bike primarily on roads, paved trails and gravel trails. I donít think Iíll be hitting too much rough terrain just yet but would the bike to maybe have the ability to handle it if I did. Based on the that and the bit of research Iíve done, Iím figuring an entry level Gravel Bike is the best route to go. Iíve narrowed my choices down to a few options that Iíve listed below, open to other options too of course, but honestly donít have much knowledge about the specs & components and thatís where I was hoping for your advice based on your knowledge/experience. Thanks


Salsa Journeyman Claris 700C Ė This bike continually comes up when searching for best Gravel Bikes at this range and I like the look with more upright riding position. Not so sure about the quality of the components and non-compatibility with tubeless tires

Giant Revolt 2 2020 Ė Seems to be a decent spec at that price point

Trek Checkpoint AL 3 Ė I really like the look of this bike and thereís one available in my size at a local Bike Shop. Just unsure if the other options are better/similar for a lesser cost
cnrdrn7 is offline  
Old 03-24-20, 10:01 PM
  #2  
base2 
Senior Member
 
base2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 1,172

Bikes: N+1

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 619 Post(s)
Liked 148 Times in 101 Posts
Ah, the springtime and the help me buy "______"

Kudos for thinking on how you intend to use the bike.

My thoughts are this: If you don't know the differences, then by definition all options & thus outcomes are the same.

I'm not a fan of Claris. But to be sure there's nothing wrong with it. My experience is that the groupset is heavy, clunky, & unrefined. But as with all things, cheap/low grade of today is the best, most top of the line was few product generations ago. My experience may be dated. I'm sure it's fine.

Things you might want to look for are rack & fender mounts. Tire clearance, overall gear range & general bike fit.

Some guys in the local cycling group have the Trek Checkpoint Al 3. They seem to like them. As far as road at least, it doesn't seem to hold them back. I think they run 25mm wide tires for spirited group rides & have wheels with 35 or 37 mm wide for running on forest service roads.

Seriously, it's hard to buy junk at the price point you are at. Go with what feels best during the test ride. Tires, rims, offer huge character to a bike & as a bonus they are essentially wear items to be upgraded & changed as experience & preference dictate.

I'd go for the Trek. Sora level shifters are a tier better than Claris. Also I had bad luck with the FSA Vero crankset (on the Giant) once having a bent spider arm that colors my judgement. The Trek's Spyre brakes are reasonably decent, as well.

Last edited by base2; 03-25-20 at 12:14 AM.
base2 is offline  
Old 03-24-20, 10:06 PM
  #3  
Cpn_Dunsel
Member
 
Cpn_Dunsel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Southeast USA
Posts: 34

Bikes: N+1

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Liked 15 Times in 11 Posts
If you willing to expand your search, very good deal here on a good all around gravel/commuter/touring bike. Runs 650b wheel set.

https://www.the-house.com/qbzdoppro5...zer-bikes.html
Cpn_Dunsel is offline  
Old 03-24-20, 11:07 PM
  #4  
katsup
Senior Member
 
katsup's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,028

Bikes: 1991 Diamond Back Apex 91 Fuji Sundance 1989 Trek 970 Soma Fog Cutter

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 350 Post(s)
Liked 151 Times in 83 Posts
The Trek is local, have you tried testing riding it?

Notable Differences
The Trek and Giant have Sora components while the Salsa has Claris (Sora is 1 tier higher and 9sp vs 8sp)..
The Trek and Salsa (I think) have a threaded bottom bracket while the Giant is press fit.
katsup is offline  
Old 03-25-20, 06:22 AM
  #5  
fishboat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 589

Bikes: Lemond '01 Maillot Jaune, Lemond '02 Victoire, Lemond '03 Poprad, '79 AcerMex Windsor Carrera Professional(purchased new), '06 Bianchi Volpe, '88 GT Tequesta(purchased new), '01 Bianchi Grizzly

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 222 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 46 Times in 25 Posts
A bit of a wildcard, but for $500-$800 you could pick up a Lemond Poprad. 2004 and up models will have Shimano 105 components or better. Reynolds 853 or Platinum OX steel tubing(excellent tubing..great ride quality). Lightweight, fits up to a 38 or 42mm tires(depending on make), great road bike and can handle gravel too. The later year models (2006, 2007?, maybe 2005) had disc brakes. A Poprad would be a heck of a "entry level" ride..one that you'd probably keep if you ever felt the need for another bike. It'll hold it's value over time as it has a very strong reputation.

There's a somewhat "hip" one on ebay right now. There's lots of them out on the used market..in you're area one will pop up..
fishboat is offline  
Old 03-25-20, 07:36 AM
  #6  
chas58
Senior Member
 
chas58's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 4,039

Bikes: too many of all kinds

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 880 Post(s)
Liked 131 Times in 106 Posts
I thought of the Lemond route. They are rare around here, and don't go for less than $800. That is a lot for a bike that is 15 years old. It may be worth the money, but isn't entry level. But if I could find one in good shape for $500, heck yeah...
chas58 is offline  
Old 03-25-20, 09:04 AM
  #7  
shoota 
Senior Member
 
shoota's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: not sure
Posts: 6,742
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1200 Post(s)
Liked 114 Times in 90 Posts
Originally Posted by cnrdrn7 View Post
Hi Folks,
Having some trouble deciding on an entry level Gravel Bike and hoping to enlist some help. For some context, I haven’t owned a bike since I was in school and now in my early 30’s, my team sports days almost over and running/jogging not so appealing, I’m eager to buy a bike and keep the fitness up that way. I’ll be using the bike primarily on roads, paved trails and gravel trails. I don’t think I’ll be hitting too much rough terrain just yet but would the bike to maybe have the ability to handle it if I did. Based on the that and the bit of research I’ve done, I’m figuring an entry level Gravel Bike is the best route to go. I’ve narrowed my choices down to a few options that I’ve listed below, open to other options too of course, but honestly don’t have much knowledge about the specs & components and that’s where I was hoping for your advice based on your knowledge/experience. Thanks


Salsa Journeyman Claris 700C – This bike continually comes up when searching for best Gravel Bikes at this range and I like the look with more upright riding position. Not so sure about the quality of the components and non-compatibility with tubeless tires

Giant Revolt 2 2020 – Seems to be a decent spec at that price point

Trek Checkpoint AL 3 – I really like the look of this bike and there’s one available in my size at a local Bike Shop. Just unsure if the other options are better/similar for a lesser cost
How much is the Trek? Assuming it's $1200 like their website states then this would be my choice. Because 1) you can test ride it, and 2) you already like it. The extra couple hundred bucks over the others will mean NOTHING in a few months, but having a bike you really like will mean everything for the coming years you'll be riding it. I've gone the cheap route and it's just not worth it unless you love the bike.
__________________
2014 Cannondale SuperSix EVO 2
2015 Cannondale SuperX Hi-Mod
2019 Salsa Warbird

Last edited by shoota; 03-25-20 at 09:07 AM.
shoota is offline  
Likes For shoota:
Old 03-25-20, 10:41 AM
  #8  
cnrdrn7
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by base2 View Post
Ah, the springtime and the help me buy "______"

Kudos for thinking on how you intend to use the bike.

My thoughts are this: If you don't know the differences, then by definition all options & thus outcomes are the same.

I'm not a fan of Claris. But to be sure there's nothing wrong with it. My experience is that the groupset is heavy, clunky, & unrefined. But as with all things, cheap/low grade of today is the best, most top of the line was few product generations ago. My experience may be dated. I'm sure it's fine.

Things you might want to look for are rack & fender mounts. Tire clearance, overall gear range & general bike fit.

Some guys in the local cycling group have the Trek Checkpoint Al 3. They seem to like them. As far as road at least, it doesn't seem to hold them back. I think they run 25mm wide tires for spirited group rides & have wheels with 35 or 37 mm wide for running on forest service roads.

Seriously, it's hard to buy junk at the price point you are at. Go with what feels best during the test ride. Tires, rims, offer huge character to a bike & as a bonus they are essentially wear items to be upgraded & changed as experience & preference dictate.

I'd go for the Trek. Sora level shifters are a tier better than Claris. Also I had bad luck with the FSA Vero crankset (on the Giant) once having a bent spider arm that colors my judgement. The Trek's Spyre brakes are reasonably decent, as well.

I was definitely a little sheepish about posting as a newcomer with a 'help me buy' thread but I really appreciate your detailed response, it's the exact type of feedback I was looking for. I have done some comparisons and considered the things to look out for but as you say, I think the bike fit will be what it comes down to between the Trek and Giant, and which feels best
cnrdrn7 is offline  
Likes For cnrdrn7:
Old 03-25-20, 10:45 AM
  #9  
cnrdrn7
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Cpn_Dunsel View Post
If you willing to expand your search, very good deal here on a good all around gravel/commuter/touring bike. Runs 650b wheel set.


Thanks for the suggestion. I'll have a look into this one

Last edited by cb400bill; 03-25-20 at 04:33 PM.
cnrdrn7 is offline  
Old 03-25-20, 10:51 AM
  #10  
cnrdrn7
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
A bit of a wildcard, but for $500-$800 you could pick up a Lemond Poprad. 2004 and up models will have Shimano 105 components or better. Reynolds 853 or Platinum OX steel tubing(excellent tubing..great ride quality). Lightweight, fits up to a 38 or 42mm tires(depending on make), great road bike and can handle gravel too. The later year models (2006, 2007?, maybe 2005) had disc brakes. A Poprad would be a heck of a "entry level" ride..one that you'd probably keep if you ever felt the need for another bike. It'll hold it's value over time as it has a very strong reputation.

There's a somewhat "hip" one on ebay right now. There's lots of them out on the used market..in you're area one will pop up..
Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
I thought of the Lemond route. They are rare around here, and don't go for less than $800. That is a lot for a bike that is 15 years old. It may be worth the money, but isn't entry level. But if I could find one in good shape for $500, heck yeah...

Thanks for the suggestion. Going to do a bit of digging and see if there's one local I could check out!
cnrdrn7 is offline  
Old 03-25-20, 01:04 PM
  #11  
PureFix
Banned.
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 23
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
In my opinion you would need something with both front and rear hand breaks.
Apply the front and squeeze the rear.
PureFix is offline  
Old 03-25-20, 02:22 PM
  #12  
Miele Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,119

Bikes: Miele Latina, Miele Suprema, Miele Uno SL, Miele MTB, Bianchi Model Unknown, Fiori Venezia, VeloSport Adamas AX

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 754 Post(s)
Liked 329 Times in 228 Posts
Originally Posted by PureFix View Post
In my opinion you would need something with both front and rear hand breaks.
Apply the front and squeeze the rear.
I'd far rather have something with front and rear BRAKES. I don't like any breaks on my bicycle or components. LOL

Cheers
Miele Man is offline  
Old 03-25-20, 03:01 PM
  #13  
tyrion
Senior Member
 
tyrion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: San Diego, California
Posts: 2,673

Bikes: Breezer Radar

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1427 Post(s)
Liked 323 Times in 192 Posts
Originally Posted by Cpn_Dunsel View Post
If you willing to expand your search, very good deal here on a good all around gravel/commuter/touring bike. Runs 650b wheel set.

https://www.the-house.com/qbzdoppro5...zer-bikes.html
That's a heck of a deal.
tyrion is offline  
Old 03-25-20, 04:00 PM
  #14  
fishboat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 589

Bikes: Lemond '01 Maillot Jaune, Lemond '02 Victoire, Lemond '03 Poprad, '79 AcerMex Windsor Carrera Professional(purchased new), '06 Bianchi Volpe, '88 GT Tequesta(purchased new), '01 Bianchi Grizzly

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 222 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 46 Times in 25 Posts
Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
I thought of the Lemond route. They are rare around here, and don't go for less than $800. That is a lot for a bike that is 15 years old. It may be worth the money, but isn't entry level. But if I could find one in good shape for $500, heck yeah...
It would be "entry level" with respect to the price point he's considering in the other examples he offered. I picked up my Poprad for $550 with Ultegra shifters, derailleurs, brakes..with a triple crank on it. Love the bike..I have other "nicer" steel and titanium bikes, but I spend more time on the Poprad than any of them. Great all-rounder bike...road, gravel, or touring.

As for being pricey for a 15 year old bike..well..the way I viewed buying the three Lemonds I have..compare them(tubing, components, appearance, performance..) to new steel or titanium bikes, and the modest premium is actually a pretty good deal, in today's dollars. A 2007 Poprad listed for $1650 (in 2007 dollars). In 2019 dollars that would be $2000. New steel gravel bikes go for a good bit more than that from what I saw a couple years ago(when looking for a Poprad).

In any event..a Poprad is one option among many.


Good reference/comparison for steel gravel bikes:
https://www.bikeforums.net/cyclocros...el-frames.html

Last edited by fishboat; 03-25-20 at 04:08 PM.
fishboat is offline  
Old 03-25-20, 06:47 PM
  #15  
jfranci3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 161
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 65 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
A gravel bike is a great choice for a do it all bike. With road tires, it'll be just as fast as the any of the non-aero road bikes. With the right tires, you can go pretty far off road. Those are all fine, get the one with the nicest paint job.
Tires, normally I would just toss the stock tires. They are usually high rolling resistance. For about $75, you can put on a set of these, for example, and go 10% faster - https://amzn.to/3akTmxo That's how they make the expensive bike seem faster - $5 difference in tire.

You might want to throw a https://www.specialized.com/us/en/di...ext=95420-4244 in there too if you can find one on sales.
jfranci3 is offline  
Old 03-25-20, 08:01 PM
  #16  
chas58
Senior Member
 
chas58's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 4,039

Bikes: too many of all kinds

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 880 Post(s)
Liked 131 Times in 106 Posts
Originally Posted by fishboat View Post


In any event..a Poprad is one option among many.


Good reference/comparison for steel gravel bikes:
https://www.bikeforums.net/cyclocros...el-frames.html
i agree. I'm just jealous you found a nice one for $500!
chas58 is offline  
Old 03-28-20, 08:16 PM
  #17  
altondavis2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 225
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Keep in mind that the Giant Revolt has standard tubeless wheels/tires, in case that means anything to you.
altondavis2 is offline  
Old 03-31-20, 10:24 AM
  #18  
Happytrails1963
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 17
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
I think somebody mentioned it already but the Journeyman also comes with 650b and a Sora 2 x 9 option and a 650b Apex 1 x 10. You might want to have a look at Jamis Renegade, its similar to the Journeyman but think it might come with Tiagra groupset. Not sure if there is a 650b option. I've been looking at these bikes too, just can't make up my mind. 650b is appealing to me and the Journeyman can handle 2.1 maybe slightly wider tire. Also the Sora has a cf fork but I dont believe the Claris build does. A nice do anything kind of bike.

Last edited by Happytrails1963; 03-31-20 at 10:28 AM.
Happytrails1963 is offline  
Old 03-31-20, 12:49 PM
  #19  
DomaneS5
Fredly Fredster
 
DomaneS5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 599

Bikes: Trek Domane S5, Trek 1.1c, Motobecane Omni Strada Comp, Trek X-Caliber 6

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 198 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Treks are good bikes, but for $200 less... a Motobecane from Bikes Direct can be had with superior components Shimano 105, 40c tires, frame capable of 45c tires, etc.
DomaneS5 is offline  
Old 03-31-20, 01:18 PM
  #20  
pbass
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 564

Bikes: 2016 Surly Cross Check, 2019 Kona Rove ST

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 77 Post(s)
Liked 14 Times in 11 Posts
In that price range I'd definitely consider Kona's Rove line. For just a few $ more you could get the steel Rove ST, which is simply an excellent all-arounder, go-anywhere bike. I rented the aluminum NRB on a trip last year and it was great too (but steel is real!).
pbass is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.