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Gravel bike?

Old 07-15-21, 09:26 AM
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Wrecks24
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Gravel bike?

This has probably been answered many times over, but my computer sucks and I wanna know.....

I started road cycling last year and bought a decent used carbon road bike. I bught used to see if this is something I would enjoy and now I have put several thousand miles on it since last summer. I love the sport and am ready to look at new more expensive bikes. I should mention that I live in East Tennessee and we have an abundance of "off road" trails...ie Tweetsie trail and the Creeper trail. So I am looking at the Specialized Diverge gravel bike. There are a couple of guys in our group rides that ride this bike on our 25-30 mile road rides, but they also take them down the gravel trails. The furthest I ride road is 50-60 miles at a time. Before I dump a bunch of money into the Diverge, I wanted some thoughts on it. Do you think this bike would suit me well for mostly road rides and occasional trails?

Thanks in Advance.
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Old 07-15-21, 09:41 AM
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I ride a Santa Cruz Stigmata roughly 90% road and the rest dirt (single track, fire road, "gravel", etc.). I love the ability to add and mix my routes up with the trails we have available here in the California Bay Area. I've done 80 mile full road rides and I've done mixed rides where I've hit multiple open space preserves.

I did mountain biking exclusively for over 25 years and wanted a road bike that I could still trail ride on and my bike is perfect for that. I never feel held back on the road and I suspect that would be the case for you as well if you chose the Diverge.

Tires and your gearing will make a difference. I have a 2x GRX drivetrain and I'm riding the 38mm Specialized Pathfinder Pro tires (tubeless) - they have a solid center ride so in a straight line its like a slick but in the dirt there are knobs for traction on the sides.

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Old 07-15-21, 09:48 AM
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It really depends on the condition of your trails and your expectations on said trails.

Hardpacked gravel or dirt can be very fast and a lot of people have no qualms about riding those kinds of surfaces even with 23 or 25mm tires. The more loose and chunky things get, though, the more bigger/wider tires will help. At that point, it becomes a personal question of compromise. If I'm going to do a ride that's primarily gravel, I'm going to want 38mm+ tires. If the trails are hardpacked, though, and the ride is mostly pavement, I'll probably be happier with 28s and just easing up a little on the dirt/gravel.
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Old 07-15-21, 09:59 AM
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Oh for sure… Tweetsie and Creeper are rail trails, right? Yeah, you’ll be crushin’ those; the Diverge isn’t the most gravelly of gravel bikes in terms of geometry, so it’ll feel like a road bike. Stick some file tread rubber on there, like between 28c and 35c, and you’ll be good to get after it!
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Old 07-15-21, 10:15 AM
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Modern Cayo---racy endurance frame--https://www.bicyclingaustralia.com.au/bikes/focus-cayo-ultegra

2021 Diverge-https://www.specialized.com/us/en/diverge-sport-carbon/p/175286?color=290945-175286&searchText=96220-6044

Interesting bit here: riders suggest reason to buy or not buy the Diverge: https://www.bikeride.com/specialized-diverge/

Seems to me that if you want to ride serious trails, but not so seriously that you need real front suspension, the Diverge is decent. Not as good on pavement as the Cayo .... so keep both.

The tire clearance is amazing, but you would have to have at least two sets of wheels (optimally one for 28-32, one for 37-47, and a 650b set.

The people who can tell you most are the guys who actually ride them.

But .... for "occasional trails" I might see what width of tires i could fit on the Cayo. The only real differences between casual gravel bikes and road bikes are wide tires and Maybe lower gearing (IMO.) The Diverge is a much more serious gravel bike---personally I wouldn't buy one unless the majority of my riding was going to b off-road.

But that's just me. I find it easy to tell other people how to live and even easier to spend their money. https://www.cervelo.com/en/aspero-5
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Old 07-15-21, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Oh for sure… Tweetsie and Creeper are rail trails, right? Yeah, you’ll be crushin’ those; the Diverge isn’t the most gravelly of gravel bikes in terms of geometry, so it’ll feel like a road bike. Stick some file tread rubber on there, like between 28c and 35c, and you’ll be good to get after it!
Yes...Glad to hear. The only trails I would use it for would be trails like the Creeper/Tweetsie. Very simple gravel/dirt paths, but can still ride the bike on the road.

Thanks
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Old 07-15-21, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Modern Cayo---racy endurance frame--https://www.bicyclingaustralia.com.au/bikes/focus-cayo-ultegra

2021 Diverge-https://www.specialized.com/us/en/diverge-sport-carbon/p/175286?color=290945-175286&searchText=96220-6044

Interesting bit here: riders suggest reason to buy or not buy the Diverge: https://www.bikeride.com/specialized-diverge/

Seems to me that if you want to ride serious trails, but not so seriously that you need real front suspension, the Diverge is decent. Not as good on pavement as the Cayo .... so keep both.

The tire clearance is amazing, but you would have to have at least two sets of wheels (optimally one for 28-32, one for 37-47, and a 650b set.

The people who can tell you most are the guys who actually ride them.

But .... for "occasional trails" I might see what width of tires i could fit on the Cayo. The only real differences between casual gravel bikes and road bikes are wide tires and Maybe lower gearing (IMO.) The Diverge is a much more serious gravel bike---personally I wouldn't buy one unless the majority of my riding was going to b off-road.

But that's just me. I find it easy to tell other people how to live and even easier to spend their money. https://www.cervelo.com/en/aspero-5
Not for serious trails for sure, I do have a mountain bike for that, but I like the ergonomics of a road bike and the ability to ride both surfaces if I want. Where I live I could ride road for 20 miles then jump on the Creeper trail and ride it another 10-15 miles, then ride road on my way home...!
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Old 07-15-21, 11:57 AM
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I have gotten quite fond of my Cayo, however it doesn't have disk brakes or anything. But I will be keeping it and using on rides where I know for a fact I won't be hitting a trail. My wife likes to casually ride the Creeper/Tweetsie trails with her bike and with the diverge I could use it to ride with her.
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Old 07-15-21, 12:27 PM
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To be clear, the E5 alloy Diverge has less slack geometry than the carbon fiber Diverge, specifically in terms of head angle and trail. The E5, therefore, should feel more at home on pavement, I think.
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Old 07-15-21, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Wrecks24 View Post
Not for serious trails for sure, I do have a mountain bike for that, but I like the ergonomics of a road bike and the ability to ride both surfaces if I want. Where I live I could ride road for 20 miles then jump on the Creeper trail and ride it another 10-15 miles, then ride road on my way home...!
I have a Cervelo C3, it's a road bike that can take 33 mm tires. Probably 35. But very much a road bike. Similar to what you're looking at. I love it. Wouldn't take it down a MTB trail, but I don't have to turn around just because the pavement ended. I prefer riding pavement, but I like having more options.

Can you rent or borrow one for a weekend?
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Old 07-15-21, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Wrecks24 View Post
...I am looking at the Specialized Diverge gravel bike. ... Do you think this bike would suit me well for mostly road rides and occasional trails?
My only bike is a Diverge, which I ride mostly on paved roads and occasionally on unpaved roads. I'm riding 38c tires, and the bike rides well on roads. I've done a century on it, but mostly ride 15-20 miles a day. I also ride a weekly group ride and have no problems keeping up with others who are on road bikes. I enjoy riding it on pavement and like having a bike I can take off-road if I want to. Sounds to me like a Diverge would work well for you.

One caveat: my cycling son tells me that if I had a road bike, I'd be 1-2 miles an hour faster. I have no good evidence on that, but the only drawback I can see is that other bikes might be faster. My Diverge does feel fast when I ride it, but I don't have another bike for comparison.
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Old 07-15-21, 09:03 PM
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People here don't get it.
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