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Gravel bike recommendation

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Gravel bike recommendation

Old 03-11-21, 12:47 PM
  #1  
Zebra Tempest
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Gravel bike recommendation

Hey all,
I'm looking to buy a gravel style bike to complement by vintage road bike. I think this is the right forum for some questions.

I'm looking for major manufacturer recommendations for the following style:
  • 70% road
  • 20% dirt rail trail and country dirt roads.
  • <10% fooling around, cutting through dirt paths, a bit rougher (maybe unoffiical trail)
I'm also looking to ride it on multi-day rides, staying at hotels (i have no camping gear, and I'm a bit older). But, to be honest, I've never gone on a multi-day ride.
Last year, i biked ~1500 miles.

Here's a link to a ride that made me convinced I need to get a different bike. The road in Mountain Lakes park totally killed me on my road bike (set to 80+ PSI on 28 mm).
ridewithgps.com/trips/57469906

So, I think the above mix translates to a gravel bike oriented a bit more for road than for dirt, maybe?

Thanks, in advance, for any input.
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Old 03-11-21, 12:56 PM
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Budget?

Not marketed as a gravel bike, but the 2020 and newer Trek Domane SL/SLR would be great if you're looking for something biased towards endurance rides but able to handle the gravel and not-too-gnarly off-road.
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Old 03-11-21, 01:01 PM
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Domane would be a great choice.

Cannondale Topstone (aluminum) with Sora is a great value.
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Old 03-11-21, 01:02 PM
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You might want to ask a moderator to move this into the Cyclocross and Gravelbike subforum.
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Old 03-11-21, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
You might want to ask a moderator to move this into the Cyclocross and Gravelbike subforum.
Honestly, it'll probably get a lot more traction here and it's not like it's inappropriate given the needs and intended use.
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Old 03-11-21, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Honestly, it'll probably get a lot more traction here and it's not like it's inappropriate given the needs and intended use.
Yeah, that occurred to me after posting. I was just thinking that probably everyone in the C&G subforum has a road bike, and not everyone in Road will have a gravel bike.
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Old 03-11-21, 03:46 PM
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Cervelo Aspero all day.... same geometry as the R5. Will take a 650b with a 2.1 tire or 40 on a 700cc wheel. Can be built under UCI weights.

Last edited by Hapsmo911; 03-12-21 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 03-11-21, 08:07 PM
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Specialized Diverge. Plenty of attachment points for racks and bags. Future Shock gives excellent comfort for longer days on rough roads. Have taken mine all through South East Asia as well as long distance Europe self supported rides.
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Old 03-12-21, 12:08 AM
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I am buying a new Domane because I can put larger tires (up to 38mm according to specifications) on and ride on a few dirt and light gravel paths.

Being able to buy a separate, basic pair of wheels and put gravel tires on it seems cheaper than buying a separate bike for the limited dirt/gravel riding I'd do.
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Old 03-12-21, 12:10 AM
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List a budget.
Then list available bikes in your size in your area.

We can name off a dozen options, but if they aren't available in your travel region in your size, it does no good.
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Old 03-12-21, 07:41 AM
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What's your budget? What's available around your area?

I bought one (Giant Revolt) last weekend. I had narrowed down my choices between the Giant Revolt and the Specialized Diverge, and I opted for the Revolt given that it offered a better quality-price ratio. Not only it was cheaper, but it's also equipped with a better group set.
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Old 03-12-21, 07:51 AM
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Trek Domane would be my first suggestion. It's more of a road bike that can take bigger gravel wheels. Given you plan to spend 70% of your time on the road, it seems like it makes the most sense to me.
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Old 03-12-21, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by guachi View Post
Being able to buy a separate, basic pair of wheels and put gravel tires on it seems cheaper than buying a separate bike for the limited dirt/gravel riding I'd do.
Just carry a pair of gravel wheels with you. When the urge strikes to go gravel swap out the wheels. Always be prepared.

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Old 03-12-21, 10:34 AM
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80% road kind of begs for a carbon endurance bike that can take a 32mm tire for dirt path/gravel bike trail kind of riding. Gravel bikes (I've a C-Dale Topstone 105 that I love) might be 5 lbs heavier than my carbon road bike (22.6 lbs v. 17.5 lbs). Even as a clyde, I do notice the weight sometimes. I still love riding my Topstone about 1/2 the road mileage but I use 32mm slick road tires. I can and do ride gravel roads on these tires and they're OK, but when I know I'm doing significant dirt and gravel, I switch to the wheels that have 42mm gravel tires and I'm much happier.

A Domane or a C-Dale Synapse with wide tires might be the ticket.
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Old 03-12-21, 01:29 PM
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Thanks for the cool replies so far. I'm a fairly new member so I couldn't reply yesterday (a 5 post/day limit).

Someone asked about my budget. I'm a bit embarrassed I didn't include that, since it is the most important item.

My budget is $1500-$2250.
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Old 03-12-21, 01:50 PM
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I ordered a Trek Checkpoint ALR5. I'm supposed to get it in April. It is supposed to be a good bike for mixed road riding.
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Old 03-12-21, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Zebra Tempest View Post
Thanks for the cool replies so far. I'm a fairly new member so I couldn't reply yesterday (a 5 post/day limit).

Someone asked about my budget. I'm a bit embarrassed I didn't include that, since it is the most important item.

My budget is $1500-$2250.
Trek Domane SL4 - https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...rCode=grey_red
Trek Domane AL5 - https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...ode=grey_black
Jamis Renegade S3 - https://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/renegades3.html


There are a ton of possible bikes within this price range. Again though, there isnt much reason for people to list off various bikes if they arent available in your size in your area. You should check shops within 30mi of you or some distance and see what is in stock and then research the bike's varied geometry and components.

The bikes above would handle what you intend to ride without issue. Both have a 2x crank which I would guess you will want since its mostly paved road riding, but wider tires can be used for comfort/stability on unpaved roads. I picked 3 with different frame materials and component specs to show whats within your budget. Its quite varied.
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Old 03-12-21, 02:19 PM
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Those of you that mentioned Domane....Do you have one? I've been debating Domane or Diverge myself. But have been leaning towards the Domane.
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Old 03-12-21, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
I ordered a Trek Checkpoint ALR5. I'm supposed to get it in April. It is supposed to be a good bike for mixed road riding.
Checkpoint is a well equipped bike. I'd also tell the OP look at the Cannondale Topstone aluminum 105 and the Specialized Diverge. All in his price range. I believe all allow rear racks. The Topstone also has top tube bolts which use some really nice TT bags like the Revelate Mag Tank 2000. Racks and TT bags are really useful on multi-day supported tours.
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Old 03-12-21, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Those of you that mentioned Domane....Do you have one? I've been debating Domane or Diverge myself. But have been leaning towards the Domane.
I had one. Great bike for the long distance and occasional forays off pavement. I don't know that you'd be unhappy either way, but the IsoSpeed method of smoothing out the rough stuff appealed to me more so than the FutureShock method.
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Old 03-12-21, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Those of you that mentioned Domane....Do you have one? I've been debating Domane or Diverge myself. But have been leaning towards the Domane.
I have one and a second on order. I didn't know if I could handle a more aggressive geometry bike so I bought an SL5 in 2019. Now I'm getting a SLR7 and will sell/give away/put the SL5 on a trainer. I have no other road bike to compare it to but some combination of the iso speed and 32mm tires makes riding poor quality roads not terrible and it can actually handle a dirt path without feeling too squirrely.

But the wider clearance of the 2020 and 2021 is a great feature and with the Domane being such a good seller there are 20 different models from $950 to $12500, four of which are ebikes. As far as I know, all the models allow for bigger tires except maybe the cheapest model that has rim brakes. Finding anything in stock is a different matter but in principle there are lots of options.

With bikes being in such short supply just finding the right bike will be tough so having a bike (whether it's a Domane or something else) that can plausibly do two different things with a change of wheels (or wheels and tires) is a definite plus in my book.
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Old 03-13-21, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Trek Domane SL4 - https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...rCode=grey_red
Trek Domane AL5 - https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...ode=grey_black
Jamis Renegade S3 - https://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/renegades3.html


There are a ton of possible bikes within this price range. Again though, there isnt much reason for people to list off various bikes if they arent available in your size in your area. You should check shops within 30mi of you or some distance and see what is in stock and then research the bike's varied geometry and components.

The bikes above would handle what you intend to ride without issue. Both have a 2x crank which I would guess you will want since its mostly paved road riding, but wider tires can be used for comfort/stability on unpaved roads. I picked 3 with different frame materials and component specs to show whats within your budget. Its quite varied.

Great point. I'm going to call around to see what's available.
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Old 03-13-21, 09:07 AM
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thanks for the recommendation, the aspero is a bit out of budget. I should have said my budget up front ($1500-$2250)
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Old 03-13-21, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Zebra Tempest View Post
thanks for the recommendation, the aspero is a bit out of budget. I should have said my budget up front ($1500-$2250)
Might be a stretch, but I got my 1x Apex Aspero for $2400 otd. The 1x may put you off though. Might check your local bike clubs see who sponsors them. Cheap to join a club and the benefits are usually pretty good. My club gets 10-25% off bikes from different shops. Well worth a look.
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Old 03-13-21, 03:31 PM
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I would put the Canyon in the mix. They have both aluminum & carbon versions, but would also add Niner. Niner because of the versatility of 650 wheels.
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