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  1. #1
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    New Endurance/Gravel bike

    Hi all,

    Looking for a new Endurance/Gravel bike that is Carbon, 105 or 'better', compact gearing (50/34), at a reasonable (to me) price point. What else should be on this list, and is there anything on that list that shouldn't be, vice-versa? Do you have any feedback on any of these?


    • Giant Anyroad Advanced 1
    • Jamis Renegade series
    • GT Enduroad Grade Carbon Expert
    • Specialized Men's Diverge Sport
    • Trek Domane SL 5 Disc


    Disclaimer #1: I don't know a heckuva lot about frame geometry.. but I'm interested in being educated!
    Disclaimer #2: I plan on test riding all, or as many of these, as I can, before taking the plunge. Currently -7 in Montreal, so those rides will be indoors!

    Thanks, I appreciate the input, Robert

  2. #2
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    My local shop (Brands, Long Island, NY), has an ‘18 Trek Domane SL5, Carbon, disc, 105 at $2100. Supposed to take up to a 32mm tire, comes with 28’s. That’s a good deal if you could find one locale.

  3. #3
    Adorable Furry Hombre
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    What kind of gravel do you have up there? Chipped stone on dirt? Dumped pea gravel? Mud MMR? Terrain and conditions determines your need for tire clearance.

    Some people consider "gravel" stuff that can be ridden on 28s or 32s...As in chipped limestone rails/trails.... Our gravel, here in Nebraska/Iowa/Kansas etc, your 32s will not even get you out of the parking lot.



    After that budget. The other thing, if you're in the "I need/want 40mm clearance" category...50/34 gearing is too high. The bigger the tire, the larger the circumference, the higher the gearing. For perspective a 700x23c tire with a 50x12 is roughly equivalent to a 46x11 with a 700x40c. A roadie compact is a common choice to save $$$ by OEMs-but results in pointless/useless overgearing you'll never use even on 6% paved descents with bigger tires.

    After that frame features. For longer gravel events, most people need frame bags or spare water bottles beyond just 2 or 3. My build, I intentionally shopped a frame/fork that would allow pannier racks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
    My local shop (Brands, Long Island, NY), has an ‘18 Trek Domane SL5, Carbon, disc, 105 at $2100. Supposed to take up to a 32mm tire, comes with 28’s. That’s a good deal if you could find one locale.
    Like so, re: tire size.
    "Refreshingly Unconcerned With The Vulgar Exigencies Of Veracity "

  4. #4
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    All of these bikes are decent candidates. A few notes:

    Giant Anyroad Advanced 1 - The most budget friendly. Mechanical disc brakes rather than hydraulic are a minus. If I'm getting a disc brake bike, I would want hydraulic - much better modulation and never need adjusting once set up. The mechanical discs are what keep the price of this bike down. Internally routed cables can be a PITA to replace if you do your own wrenching:

    https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/anyroad-advanced-1

    Jamis Renegade Expert - A well-specced bike with room for up to 40mm tires, hydraulic disc brakes and externally routed cables are definite pluses on this one. My 1st choice:

    http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/renegadeexpert.html

    GT Enduroad Grade Carbon Expert - Hydraulic disc brakes and external cables are pluses. Minuses are only has room for 35mm tires. Crankset is a 52/36 rather than the compact 50/34 on most of the other bikes. If you live in a hilly area, this may be an issue as you can't get as low a low gear as the others:

    http://www.gtbicycles.com/usa_en/2018/bikes/pavement/enduroad/grade-carbon-expert

    Specialized Men's Diverge Sport - On the plus side, the drivetrain of a 48/32 crankset and an 11-34T cassette will give you nice low gearing to get you up just about any hill! On the minus side, it only has Tiagra 10-speed, not 105 11-speed if that matters to you. That and mechanical disc brakes are what keeps the price of this bike down. Internally routed cables, only room for 35mm tires:

    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/mens-diverge-sport/p/152240?color=239522-152240

    Trek Domane SL 5 Disc - Pluses are Isospeed couplers which dampen road vibrations and hydraulic disc brakes. Minus would be internal cable routing and only room for 32mm tires, so not really good for anything except hardpack:

    https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bikes/road-bikes/performance-road/domane/domane-sl/domane-sl-5-disc/p/1447000-2018/

    As you can see, all of these bikes have their highs and lows. You are correct to test ride all before buying.

    All of the links I added include specs on components as well as frame geometry specs. When you look at frame geometry specs, the most important thing to look at are the specs for STACK and REACH. These will give you a clue as to how upright the bike is. A bike with a HIGH STACK and LOW REACH numbers will be more upright. A bike with a LOW STACK and HIGH REACH numbers will be a lower, more aggressive race geometry. That being said, all of these bikes are relatively upright, some more than others.

    And I say (repetitive), the best bike will be the one that fits you best and the one you like the feel of best. No matter what you buy, sooner or later, it will break. If you love the bike, you won't mind spending the $$ to repair it.

    Also, make sure you get a good shop that will take to time to fit you. A good fit is one where they will put you and your new bike on their trainer, watch you pedal and make adjustments to dial in your fit just right.

    Good luck! With the weather the way it's been, you will have plenty of time to think about this.
    Last edited by Lombard; 01-07-2018 at 08:07 AM.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    What kind of gravel do you have up there? Chipped stone on dirt? Dumped pea gravel? Mud MMR? Terrain and conditions determines your need for tire clearance.
    My first 'big' ride with the bike this year will be May on the Katy trail in Missouri, so crushed gravel? I ride mostly on roads, so I don't think I'd need more than 32.

    Thanks, Lombard, for the great breakdown. I have a lot to consider, and like you said, lots of time to do that before the weather starts to cooperate!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    All of these bikes are decent candidates. A few notes:

    Giant Anyroad Advanced 1 - The most budget friendly. Mechanical disc brakes rather than hydraulic are a minus. If I'm getting a disc brake bike, I would want hydraulic - much better modulation and never need adjusting once set up. The mechanical discs are what keep the price of this bike down. Internally routed cables can be a PITA to replace if you do your own wrenching:

    https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/anyroad-advanced-1

    Jamis Renegade Expert - A well-specced bike with room for up to 40mm tires, hydraulic disc brakes and externally routed cables are definite pluses on this one. My 1st choice:

    http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/renegadeexpert.html

    GT Enduroad Grade Carbon Expert - Hydraulic disc brakes and external cables are pluses. Minuses are only has room for 35mm tires. Crankset is a 52/36 rather than the compact 50/34 on most of the other bikes. If you live in a hilly area, this may be an issue as you can't get as low a low gear as the others:

    http://www.gtbicycles.com/usa_en/2018/bikes/pavement/enduroad/grade-carbon-expert

    Specialized Men's Diverge Sport - On the plus side, the drivetrain of a 48/32 crankset and an 11-34T cassette will give you nice low gearing to get you up just about any hill! On the minus side, it only has Tiagra 10-speed, not 105 11-speed if that matters to you. That and mechanical disc brakes are what keeps the price of this bike down. Internally routed cables, only room for 35mm tires:

    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/mens-diverge-sport/p/152240?color=239522-152240

    Trek Domane SL 5 Disc - Pluses are Isospeed couplers which dampen road vibrations and hydraulic disc brakes. Minus would be internal cable routing and only room for 32mm tires, so not really good for anything except hardpack:

    https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bikes/road-bikes/performance-road/domane/domane-sl/domane-sl-5-disc/p/1447000-2018/

    As you can see, all of these bikes have their highs and lows. You are correct to test ride all before buying.

    All of the links I added include specs on components as well as frame geometry specs. When you look at frame geometry specs, the most important thing to look at are the specs for STACK and REACH. These will give you a clue as to how upright the bike is. A bike with a HIGH STACK and LOW REACH numbers will be more upright. A bike with a LOW STACK and HIGH REACH numbers will be a lower, more aggressive race geometry. That being said, all of these bikes are relatively upright, some more than others.

    And I say (repetitive), the best bike will be the one that fits you best and the one you like the feel of best. No matter what you buy, sooner or later, it will break. If you love the bike, you won't mind spending the $$ to repair it.

    Also, make sure you get a good shop that will take to time to fit you. A good fit is one where they will put you and your new bike on their trainer, watch you pedal and make adjustments to dial in your fit just right.

    Good luck! With the weather the way it's been, you will have plenty of time to think about this.
    If you want a bike that will not break/disposable, buy any quality titanium bike or frame.
    My one Ti bike was hit hard with a hammer because a guy helping build it tried to put the headset in crooked and thought the answer was a bigger hammer. He then swung the hammer poorly and hammered my top tube instead very hard.
    It left a temporary black dirt mark. 25 or 30 years later you can not even n tell. Looks new.
    KTM 300XC- This must be what it is like to be on Crack without the side effects!
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    Good riding to you!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikerva1 View Post
    If you want a bike that will not break/disposable, buy any quality titanium bike or frame.
    My one Ti bike was hit hard with a hammer because a guy helping build it tried to put the headset in crooked and thought the answer was a bigger hammer. He then swung the hammer poorly and hammered my top tube instead very hard.
    It left a temporary black dirt mark. 25 or 30 years later you can not even n tell. Looks new.
    So this is a great reason to buy a Ti bike? I think a much better solution is to not let hacks build your bike.
    "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
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikerva1 View Post
    If you want a bike that will not break/disposable, buy any quality titanium bike or frame.
    False. Titanium can break/fail.

    My one Ti bike was hit hard with a hammer because a guy helping build it tried to put the headset in crooked and thought the answer was a bigger hammer. He then swung the hammer poorly and hammered my top tube instead very hard.
    Now THAT is funny. (That you'd let someone incompetent try to fix his F' up with a bigger F' up)

    FYI: You can his carbon with a hammer too.
    Custom Di2 & Garmin/GoPro mounts 2013 SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Team * 2004 Klein Aura V

  9. #9
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    Five months after this thread was started I just assembled and rode my new bike which fits most of the criteria in the OP: a Trek Checkpoint SL5. "Pebbles" (I mean, really, what other name truly fits?) can handle up to 45mm tires, though I am ordering some Panaracer Gravel King 38s for her. Not the SK knobby version but rather the standard version with herringbone tread. That will work better on the pavement/hardpack and should be wide enough to do reasonably well on softer gravel. She came with Kenda Flintridge Pro 35mm tires which look like they are 40mm and are fairly knobby so I can put them back on if I am planning a ride on a trail that is really rough.

    I like the fact that I can lengthen the wheelbase so as to use her for light touring and the IsoSpeed seattube decoupler does make for a comfortable ride (I already have a rim brake Domane from 2013, so I was sold on that long before this bike came on the market). I did put a lightweight set of carbon handlebars on her, which so far seems to have smoothed out the vibration at the front end.

    All in all, I think that I have found the perfect bike for trails like the Katy Trail or George Mickelson Trail.
    Life is short... enjoy the ride.

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