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  1. #1
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    Gravel race bike suggestions

    I am looking to reduce my stable of bikes from 4 to 3. I will keep my hardtail 29er and my Trek Madone for road racing and fast group rides. Therefore, I'm looking to replace an old cx bike, which I use for, in the order of importance:

    1. indoor training/zwifting, both on the rollers and trainer.

    2. road riding when the weather isn't ideal. I ride the cx outdoors pretty much exclusively from November-March because of the salt in MN. I never ride the madone if there is rain forecasted either.

    3. Gravel races. I do some long 4-7 hour gravel races every year with a lot of climbing and some pretty steep hills.

    4. Slow road rides, like B paced rides and rides with my wife. The madone doesn't like to go slow.

    5. Cyclocross races. I've never done one, but they look fun and I might jump in this fall. Not good for my motor though.

    Budget is about $1,100, and I need a 61cm or above, since my inseam is 37 freaking inches. Would prefer to buy used for better value.

    I think I'm looking for aluminum, because carbon is too expensive and doesn't mesh well with hours on a trainer, and steel melts in the salty MN roads and under my sweat from said indoor trainer. I would like something as light as possible. Clearance for at least 35-38mm tires is a must.

    I think something like the bmc gf02 disc would work, but I don't know what else to look for. I found a 2015 61cm gf02 disc 105 used for $1,100. I also have a good friend who is also 6"4, and has ninja status on Trek U. The crockett 5 disk is therefore in my price range, or I could get a crockett frame and transfer the parts from my old cx to it.
    I like to ride fast.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    A Crockett doesn't have a lot of clearance for a gravel bike in my opinion, but it depends on what your gravel looks like I suppose. To me a gravel bike needs to be capable of 40mm tires with clearance for mud build up.
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    Trek Domane
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  4. #4
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    Yeah, I would agree, but my priorities are such that I can't have a dedicated gravel bike, and I mostly ride my cross bike on the road. I've only ridden gravel on 35mm, at 45-55 psi, because a 38mm won't fit in the rear of my current cross bike, and that's been fine for me. Greater clearance is certainly good, but MN gravel isn't too bad- we don't have super chunky fire roads, and even if we did, and I did a ride on them, I'd use my 29er. Not sure I'd even use a 40mm for gravel here if I had the choice; some guys do, but they're usually slower than me;)

    What about the specialized Diverge? I guess I'm looking for a reasonably fast endurance road bike that can fit 35mm tires.
    I like to ride fast.

  5. #5
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    I ride my Niner on the road all the time in bad weather, including snow during the winter, and on the trainer - so it's not a dedicated gravel bike but it is certainly a very capable serious gravel bike when I want it to be. It doesn't hurt having extra clearance, and it's got good endurance geometry. If you really get bit by the gravel bug you may end up riding outside MN in gravel where you want bigger tires. Not trying to talk you into big clearance bikes, just pointing out its not limiting and may open options you want later.
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    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Trek Crockett

  6. #6
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    A Niner RLT 9 would be amazing, but I doubt I'll find a 62cm used for around a grand. That's a good suggestion though.
    I like to ride fast.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by marathonrunner View Post
    Yeah, I would agree, but my priorities are such that I can't have a dedicated gravel bike, and I mostly ride my cross bike on the road. I've only ridden gravel on 35mm, at 45-55 psi, because a 38mm won't fit in the rear of my current cross bike, and that's been fine for me. Greater clearance is certainly good, but MN gravel isn't too bad- we don't have super chunky fire roads, and even if we did, and I did a ride on them, I'd use my 29er. Not sure I'd even use a 40mm for gravel here if I had the choice; some guys do, but they're usually slower than me;)

    What about the specialized Diverge? I guess I'm looking for a reasonably fast endurance road bike that can fit 35mm tires.
    I have the Diverge DSW with Tiagra, I run 32s with no problem, plenty of room for 35s. It retails for ~$1400, so you should definitely be able to hit your price point.

    Rear wheel is a standard(?) QR, so you should be ok with the trainer as well.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by marathonrunner View Post
    A Niner RLT 9 would be amazing, but I doubt I'll find a 62cm used for around a grand. That's a good suggestion though.
    Competitive Cyclist has a 62cm frame set for sale for $1050, move parts from you cross bike to it.
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    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Trek Crockett

  9. #9
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    what about a surly cross-check

  10. #10
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    i vote crockett. it can fit 40mm tires no problem. i currently have mine set up 1x11 with a 40t up front and 11-36 in the rear. gevenalle shifters, wtb cxi19/dt350 wheels. super fun bike, quicker than youd expect. i use it basically as you intend to you use, it goes on my trainer, it goes outside when salt is on the road, i train on it, do tempo rides on it, hob curbs, ride down stairs. its really a sweet bike. trek just released the 2018 crockett yesterday so you can probably get a deal on a 2017 if you poke around
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  11. #11
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    It's way over budget, but I went Firefly for my gravel bike. I'll probably keep it a life-time

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    Competitive Cyclist has a 62cm frame set for sale for $1050, move parts from you cross bike to it.
    Hmmm...looks like they do have a 62cm, but 1050 is right at my budget, that's a lot for a frameset, and I wouldn't be able to move my wheels over. nor my bb and crank without an adaptor.

    Cross check is steel, right? That won't work. Also want disk.
    I like to ride fast.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekninja View Post
    i vote crockett. it can fit 40mm tires no problem. i currently have mine set up 1x11 with a 40t up front and 11-36 in the rear. gevenalle shifters, wtb cxi19/dt350 wheels. super fun bike, quicker than youd expect. i use it basically as you intend to you use, it goes on my trainer, it goes outside when salt is on the road, i train on it, do tempo rides on it, hob curbs, ride down stairs. its really a sweet bike. trek just released the 2018 crockett yesterday so you can probably get a deal on a 2017 if you poke around
    How stiff is the crockett around the bb area compared to a 700 series carbon frame? Does the fork transmit every vibration to your hands or is it more forgiving?
    I like to ride fast.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekninja View Post
    i vote crockett. it can fit 40mm tires no problem.
    Not with much room between the tire and chain stays - a couple mm at most on the DS. I do like the Crockett, if the OP can get by with 35mm tires at the highside he's got enough clearance on the rear to clear a little mud or a broken spoke.
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    Trek Domane
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by marathonrunner View Post
    How stiff is the crockett around the bb area compared to a 700 series carbon frame? Does the fork transmit every vibration to your hands or is it more forgiving?
    With fat gravel tires its smooth, road tires not so much - it does have a carbon fork and steerer though you know. Double wrap the bars if you get too much buzz on the road.
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    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Trek Crockett

  16. #16
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    I'm 6'4" and use a 64cm frame emonda sl6 road. I'm also leggy like you and have about the same inseam. I picked up a trek crossrip 3. It's about $2k new, but it's aluminum, disk brakes, 105 components, and I've put 40mm tires on it with room to spare. It's a 61cm (largest size) and my fitter was able to give me the same fit on the crossrip as I have on the emonda. I haven't had much time on it yet as I bought it late season last year, though.

  17. #17
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    Ended up scoring a 2016 bmc GF02 disc 105 off ebay for 707 bucks including shipping. It's a 61cm, and the geo looks like it should fit. This one has hydraulic disks too. Pretty excited for it to come.
    I like to ride fast.

  18. #18
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    Does your cycle cross bike have disc brakes? If it does, you could check into 650B wheels.

    I took an old frame and converted it. I can run 38s without any issues. Would be an inexpensive way to have the best of both worlds

  19. #19
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    I have the Motobecane Omni Strada Comp from Bikes Direct for $1K. I've rode 3 rides with it (about 100 miles) and it's been great. The Motobecane has 105 components, aluminum frame and hydraulic disc brakes. After I received it from Fedex, I took it to the LBS (still in the box) to have it assembled and fine tuned. My Moto is a 55cm, but they are available in 61cm. Also.... it has clearance for 45c tires, but I really like the 40c WTB tires that came with it.
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  20. #20
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    Gravel race bike suggestions-img_20170413_084035855%5B1%5D.jpg

    For 700 bucks, this was a steal. Full 105 group with TRP hyrd brakes, less than 400 miles, and it even fits. It's pretty responsive and not the cushiest bike ever, and there is definitely not going to be clearance for 40 or even 38mm knobbies, but for my needs this should be great.
    I like to ride fast.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by marathonrunner View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    For 700 bucks, this was a steal. Full 105 group with TRP hyrd brakes, less than 400 miles, and it even fits. It's pretty responsive and not the cushiest bike ever, and there is definitely not going to be clearance for 40 or even 38mm knobbies, but for my needs this should be great.
    Absolutely agree, terrific deal on a nice bike. Enjoy it!!!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    A Crockett doesn't have a lot of clearance for a gravel bike in my opinion, but it depends on what your gravel looks like I suppose. To me a gravel bike needs to be capable of 40mm tires with clearance for mud build up.
    Apologies for resurrecting an old thread, but that hasn't been the case with me. Just putting someone else's experience out there just in case anyone is looking at the Crockett for a gravel bike. I say go for it. I have mine set up with 45mm WTB Riddlers on WCS i19 rims...no problem. This bike has more clearance than most CX bikes...eyelets for fenders too. I think it makes a great frame for gravel. The only area where the clearance is tight with the 45mm Riddler is just inside the chain ring dimple, where the inside of the stay dimples inward a bit too. I had about 1.5-2 mm there, but I re-dished the wheel slightly and now I have about 4mm. A little tight still for a muddy CX race for sure, but for me its a non-issue for gravel/single track/rain/snow/shine/etc. Re-dishing isn't typically the best approach on a disk wheel for me, its not a problem at all. Therefore, 40mm tires would have PLENTY of clearance without re-dishing. Some tires measure wider than stated compared to others of course so your experience may vary. Mine is a 2015 Crockett 7, so perhaps other Crockett models have tighter clearance.

    Other than that little area, there is LOADS of clearance in the rear triangle. Tons of clearance with the fork too...you could run a 1.95 mtb tire in there if you didn't have the space issue between top of the tire hitting the underside of the fork crown... Great candidate for 650B with a REALLY fat tire. In fact, I just bought some 650B wheels. Can't wait to try them with some 47mm WTB Horizons :-)
    If two people are in complete agreement, one of them is not necessary...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne77 View Post
    I had about 1.5-2 mm there, but I re-dished the wheel slightly and now I have about 4mm.
    too tight for my tastes - break a spoke on a fast rough descent or hit some mud and it's dragging. The Crockett can do a fair job in the right conditions, but I wouldn't buy it to use as a primary gravel bike, there's better options out there with more clearance and better geometry for gravel.
    Last edited by Srode; 18 Hours Ago at 02:06 PM.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by factory feel View Post
    I can't tell by looking, but what make/model is this bike? Could someone help a brother out?! Thanks

  25. #25
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    I think the OP already bought a bike, but I just noticed that BD has what looks like a reasonable gravel offering now for $1K if you want a steel (in this case Reynolds 520) frame:
    Save Up to 60% Off Disc Brake Road Bikes NEW Disc Brake Steel Road Bikes On Sale + FREE SHIP 48 Super Road, Disc Brake, High Grade Steel Bikes with CrMo Forks Motobecane Strada CM COMP, Shimano Ultegra 22 Speed Plus WTB TCS Tubeless Compatible Wheels

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