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  1. #1
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    Cool New Bike, Need Advice...

    Hello All,

    I’m in a bit of a pickle. I’ve been given permission from my wife to purchase a new bike, and my budget is anywhere from $3k-$5k. I ride in the Midwest US and primarily on road / limestone railway trails, however since I’m spending this much on a bike I’d like to also have the tire clearance to run larger tires to do some of the gravel races / rides that are becoming more popular across the area.

    Ideally I’d be purchasing an ‘endurance’ type bike and run 28s to 32s half the time but has clearance to put on 38s+ for the gravel races and other type rides, potentially a couple bikepacking weekends, etc. Really I guess I’m looking for my unicorn..

    Some questions that have been bugging me late at night....
    (1) Does this bike exist? If so, what is it!??
    (2) I like the idea of Di2 or etap, but is it worth it?
    (3) Anything else I should consider as I narrow down what I’m looking for?

    I’ve done research for months on the following bikes, but I can’t pull the trigger / make a final decision as all have something ‘wrong’ with them, so hoping this post will pull in some good advice!

    Open U.P., Santa Cruz Stigmata, Orbea Terra, Canyon Endurace (but this wouldn’t give me the tire clearance needed), Specialized Crux, Scott Addict Gravel, Jamis Renegade, etc.....

    Thanks much in advance. Cheers.

  2. #2
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    Check out Norco's Search and Search XR.

    They are really well designed and can run standard 'road' wheels, and 38-40mm on 700c rimes, and in the case of the Search XR, run 650b' with up to 50mm tires. And because they are not a "premium" brand, you aren't paying extra for the logo on the downtube.

    I've been on a Norco Search since 2015, and this year, I decided to upgrade to a Search XR.

    Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.

    https://roadbikeaction.com/video-nor...ch-xr-ultegra/

    Norco Search XR Carbon Review, Force 1 - BIKEPACKING.com
    Last edited by Finx; 01-30-2018 at 08:17 PM.

  3. #3
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    $3-5K will get you a lot of bike! In fact, $2-3K will probably get you all the bike you need. Gravel bikes! Yes, there is a vastly increasing field here and for good reason. They are nearly as fast as road bike and can go off-road with ease! Two that especially stand out are:

    Jamis Renegade
    GT Grade

    I like these because they have external cabling and have full Shimano groupos, not a cheaper crankset like some other brands. Disclaimer: I own a Jamis Renegade Exploit (Reynolds 631 CroMo) and love mine! The Jamis will accept 40mm tires. The GT will only accept 35mm tires.

    As far as Di2 or Etap, I personally don't think it's worth the extra $$, but that's just me. In fact, I have bikes with 105 5800 and Ultegra 6800 and can't tell the difference - they both shift flawlessly.

    Naturally, you will get many opinions here. You best bet is to read reviews, then go to bike shops and test ride lots of bikes to see what wows you and what feels best. Find a shop that is willing to spend time to fit you properly.

    Online reviews here:

    18 of the best 2018 gravel & adventure bikes — super-versatile bikes that are at home on lanes, potholed streets and dirt roads | road.cc
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by aellis28 View Post
    my budget is anywhere from $3k-$5k.
    With $5k, you can get 2 decent bikes. One per each riding style or one fancy bike and one bad weather bike.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    With $5k, you can get 2 decent bikes. One per each riding style or one fancy bike and one bad weather bike.
    ^This.^
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    With $5k, you can get 2 decent bikes. One per each riding style or one fancy bike and one bad weather bike.
    I agree on this, but at the same time, the reason my budget is higher is so I could maybe add Di2 and some carbon wheels. I'm not going to get this chance again from my wife, so I was hoping to get a bike that I could really upgrade.

    If I don't add those items, then I'd be more in the $3k range.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by aellis28 View Post
    I agree on this, but at the same time, the reason my budget is higher is so I could maybe add Di2 and some carbon wheels. I'm not going to get this chance again from my wife, so I was hoping to get a bike that I could really upgrade.

    If I don't add those items, then I'd be more in the $3k range.
    Those items come to around $2K and aren't worth it IMO. I'd rather have a second bike for that same money.

    As any wise investor will tell you, don't put all your eggs in one basket.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finx View Post
    Check out Norco's Search and Search XR.

    They are really well designed and can run standard 'road' wheels, and 38-40mm on 700c rimes, and in the case of the Search XR, run 650b' with up to 50mm tires. And because they are not a "premium" brand, you aren't paying extra for the logo on the downtube.

    I've been on a Norco Search since 2015, and this year, I decided to upgrade to a Search XR.

    Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.

    https://roadbikeaction.com/video-nor...ch-xr-ultegra/

    Norco Search XR Carbon Review, Force 1 - BIKEPACKING.com
    Thanks for the suggestion, the Norco looks like quite a nice bike. Will check this one out more and add it to the possible list!

  9. #9
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    Are you likely to lose a race due to a fluffed shift or the extra 20 grams? If not then electronic shifting is a luxury. A luxury dirty bike? Forget it.
    https://salsacycles.com/bikes/warbir...carbon_ultegra
    Red is the fastest color after all.

  10. #10
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    Sometimes it is just fun to get something that you don’t quite need I guess... I also want to get a power meter and I’m sure that’s a better use of the money then Di2.

    Re the warbird, I love the bike but for some reason I can’t get over the externally run brake cable. I really like the clean look of minimal cables showing.

  11. #11
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    If you ride in the dirt mostly, then electronic shifting means never or rarely needing to change cables or futz with the shifting due to dirt in the housing.

    Worth it ?, dunno, it's about $500 more for the Di2 Ultegra group as opposed to mechanical. I recently did an 8050 Di2 upgrade and like others have stated, once you try it you never want to go back to mechanical.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by aellis28 View Post
    I can’t get over the externally run brake cable. I really like the clean look of minimal cables showing.
    Okay https://www.ibiscycles.com/bikes/hakka_mx/ still fast red, cheers. FWIW, IBIS Customer Service is friggin brilliant.

  13. #13
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    That looks like a pretty nice bike.

    The more research I've done recently, for the price, the value seems pretty good on the Jamis Renegade Elite. Doesn't have Di2, but has most everything else and many people are raving about the American Classic wheels. Also seems to have the clearance needed and some rack availability if I get a few chances to go away for the weekend. May be the winner, but as always it'll take me another month before I feel it's the right choice...almost too many options.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by aellis28 View Post
    many people are raving about the American Classic wheels.
    As I was doing research on them I just found out they are closing shop...maybe not the best choice for wheels.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by aellis28 View Post
    As I was doing research on them I just found out they are closing shop...maybe not the best choice for wheels.
    Quality is right up there. I wouldn't switch choice based on AC wheels. They couldn't compete with direct sourced Chinese products basically.

  16. #16
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    I'd strong suggest that you do not try anything carbon on wheels. Di2 seems doable but frame specific is required. Aluminum or steel frame gives you steady performance when you on bike-packing way. You can find many from branded on the market. As for the clearance I think it is constrained by fork. I know that one of the GT gravel bike have that but need double check. An bike-packer is saying here to you.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braavos View Post
    I'd strong suggest that you do not try anything carbon on wheels. Di2 seems doable but frame specific is required. Aluminum or steel frame gives you steady performance when you on bike-packing way. You can find many from branded on the market. As for the clearance I think it is constrained by fork. I know that one of the GT gravel bike have that but need double check. An bike-packer is saying here to you.
    Unless the OP is looking for a close out of a NOS bike/frame, anything recent is likely to be Di2 ready for internal wiring. At least in the price range he is looking.

  18. #18
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    Thanks all for the advice thus far.

    I was talking to a local bike shop today that mentioned the Parlee Chebacco (PARLEE Cycles | Chebacco LE) - never heard of this brand, any thoughts?

    Also just read the Peloton buyers guide that came in the mail and it mentioned the Fezzari Shafer. Seems to tick the box on most items...?

  19. #19
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    Never heard of anyone ever regretting buying a Parlee. Good recommendation from the shop.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by aellis28 View Post
    Thanks all for the advice thus far.

    I was talking to a local bike shop today that mentioned the Parlee Chebacco (PARLEE Cycles | Chebacco LE) - never heard of this brand, any thoughts?

    Also just read the Peloton buyers guide that came in the mail and it mentioned the Fezzari Shafer. Seems to tick the box on most items...?
    Really like that Parlee and they've been around a while. I would see if you can find an Ultegra Di2 model at $5,000. Pretty much a do everything bike.
    Last edited by Steve B.; 02-02-2018 at 05:28 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braavos View Post
    I'd strong suggest that you do not try anything carbon on wheels. Di2 seems doable but frame specific is required. Aluminum or steel frame gives you steady performance when you on bike-packing way. You can find many from branded on the market. As for the clearance I think it is constrained by fork. I know that one of the GT gravel bike have that but need double check. An bike-packer is saying here to you.
    Usually, it's the chain stays that are the limiting factor of tire width.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Usually, it's the chain stays that are the limiting factor of tire width.
    Yap, front and rear.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    With $5k, you can get 2 decent bikes. One per each riding style or one fancy bike and one bad weather bike.
    Just thought more about this, and basically what I'm trying to do is buy my fancy bike. I have a Ridley X-Trail Ultegra that I love, but would also enjoy never having to do a trainer switch again. In the winter I don't go outside because I don't want to clean my bike again before it goes back on the trainer. Go figure.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by aellis28 View Post
    Just thought more about this, and basically what I'm trying to do is buy my fancy bike. I have a Ridley X-Trail Ultegra that I love, but would also enjoy never having to do a trainer switch again. In the winter I don't go outside because I don't want to clean my bike again before it goes back on the trainer. Go figure.
    I have 2 road bikes, one "fancy" and one bad weather (has disc brakes) bike which also doubles as commuter bike. It makes cycling easier and I end up doing more of it.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    I have 2 road bikes, one "fancy" and one bad weather (has disc brakes) bike which also doubles as commuter bike. It makes cycling easier and I end up doing more of it.
    So do you make sure your fancy can do everything (i.e., have the tire clearance and rack mounts for gravel / bikepacking) or do you have it just go fast? That's 1/2 of my dilemma at this point that I can't figure out what's best.

    1/2 of me wants the Canyon CF SLX 8.0 Disc Di2 and the other 1/2 of me wants a combination of the Jamis Renegade Elite, Orbea Terra, Parlee Chebacco, or Open U.P.

    That is honestly my biggest hurdle at this point.

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