Things I learned from todayís final test ride
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  1. #1
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    Things I learned from todayís final test ride

    I went back to the shops to try the final few bikes I had on my list today. After months of soul searching and test rides, I went in knowing that I prefer lighter more agile bikes and that I am probably never going to be thrilled about a 20+ pound rig even if it has comfort features and massive amounts of tire clearance. I openly acknowledge that there are plenty of great gravel bikes that fall into that category, but I now realize that if I go down that road again, I will always feel like the bike is missing a key ingredient.

    Based on that realization, I completely expected the Specialized S-Works Crux to carry the day. It provides all of the strengths the Ibis Hakka MX that I loved does, but in proven package that comes with a lifetime warranty. The only thing it sacrifices is 650b compatibility, which definitely interests me, but isnít near the top of the wish list. I also planned to re-test the Diverge (I will explain why later) and try the Trek Checkpoint everyone keeps raving about.

    First things first, all of the gravel bikes I have tested are outstanding; different, but all worth considering (the list includes: 2019 Salsa Warbird, 2018 Spec Diverge Carbon, 2019 Giant Revolt Advanced, 2019 Ibis Hakka MX, and Trek Checkpoint). One bike I was able to rule out right off the top was the new Warbird. While it was nice, there wasnít anything ďspecialĒ about it comparatively and itís fairly pricey for what you get imo. The bikes I loved are the Diverge, Ibis Hakka MX, and Revolt Advanced.

    I was concerned about weight with the Fact 9 Carbon Diverge, comfort with the stiff cx/race oriented Crux and Hakka, and the lack of Di2 compatibility and weight with the Revolt Advanced. Todayís test rides confirmed that I donít need to make the compromises that come with the Giant. Both of those issues are fairly big deals to me, so the Revolt is out.

    I also realized after taking the Checkpoint and Diverge on everything from snow, ice, a grass field, jumping off curbs, and rough roads, that at 44 years old, comfort is more important to me than I sometimes want to admit. I donít necessarily want to sacrifice weight or speed to get it, but it matters to me quite a bit and I am happier riding a more comfortable bike so long as it still feels snappy and fast. Accordingly, the Diverge and Checkpoint went into the final analysis as leaders.

    Out on the ride, both felt silky smooth, but the Diverge definitely felt a little smoother and ďquickerĒ when I laid power down. My gut said all of that future shock business was going to come with a weight penalty I couldnít live with though. This led us (me and the awesome salesman I worked with) to the scales. I was sure the 105 equipped Checkpoint was significantly lighter than the Diverge with the same groupset.

    I was wrong. The Checkpoint came in at around 21lbs stock in my size (52cm). The Fact 9 Diverge with the same groupset came in a pound lighter at right at 20lbs. I was shocked and really feeling the Diverge at that point, but still not impressed with the weight. I am guessing I could get it down to about 18.5-19lbs with a wheel change and a move to Ultegra, etc. I probably would be pretty satisfied with that. Not excited on the weight front, but satisfied given how much I enjoyed riding the bike.

    Once we started doing the math though, it dawned on me to take a closer look at the S-Works Diverge I had been eyeballing on the sly the whole time I was there. It turns out that the S-Works Diverge frameset comes in at an advertised 880g, thatís 20g lighter than the Crux and 100g lighter than the Hakka. Now, we were talking. We put it on the scale, and sure enough it came in at a little over 18lbs in a 56 with a dropper post, Di2, and a swat box. Can you say winner?!?!

    So, at the end of the day, I am going to trade in my Domane frameset and my old Ridley through Proís Closet and get an S-Works Diverge frameset. I am then going to throw my components and wheels from my Domane on with wider tires for the time being and then upgrade to lighter stuff over time. Thatís where I ended up after looking at most of the popular options and I couldnít be happier about it. Hopefully, this info benefits someone else.
    Last edited by Rashadabd; 11-25-2018 at 02:49 PM.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  2. #2
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    If your happy with it, that's all that matters. For me the Revolt hit it out of the park and that was the heavier version. Can't wait for mine to show up.

  3. #3
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    Good News: You're happy!


    Even better news...you didn't buy a 2019 Salsa Warbird. I've heard rumor of a stop-selling order and a possible recall.
    "Refreshingly Unconcerned With The Vulgar Exigencies Of Veracity "

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallboy1959 View Post
    If your happy with it, that's all that matters. For me the Revolt hit it out of the park and that was the heavier version. Can't wait for mine to show up.
    I agree 100%. This is all subjective and personal preference. There is no one right answer in my opinion. I really could have been "fine" with any of these bikes (well maybe except the Warbird after the information shared by Marc, definitely glad I dodged that bullet... ). Like I said, they are really nice bikes just slightly different. It comes down to finding what works best for you.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Good News: You're happy!


    Even better news...you didn't buy a 2019 Salsa Warbird. I've heard rumor of a stop-selling order and a possible recall.
    Thanks man. Surprised to see that, it seems like Salsa has had a pretty good run and a rock solid reputation up to this point.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    I agree 100%. This is all subjective and personal preference. There is no one right answer in my opinion. I really could have been "fine" with any of these bikes (well maybe except the Warbird after the information shared by Marc, definitely glad I dodged that bullet... ). Like I said, they are really nice bikes just slightly different. It comes down to finding what works best for you.
    Yea one gent over on BF's Gravel/CX board went to buy a 2019 Warbird and was told "no" a week ago:

    https://www.bikeforums.net/cyclocros...arbird-v4.html
    "Refreshingly Unconcerned With The Vulgar Exigencies Of Veracity "

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Yea one gent over on BF's Gravel/CX board went to buy a 2019 Warbird and was told "no" a week ago:

    https://www.bikeforums.net/cyclocros...arbird-v4.html
    Wow, that sounds pretty serious. It seems like it has something to do with the fork. I heard some more bad news at the shop today. It sounds like the new tariffs could start impacting the prices and builds on new bikes soon.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    I went back to the shops to try the final few bikes I had on my list today. After months of soul searching and test rides, I went in knowing that I prefer lighter more agile bikes and that I am probably never going to be thrilled about a 20+ pound rig even if it has comfort features and massive amounts of tire clearance. I openly acknowledge that there are plenty of great gravel bikes that fall into that category, but I now realize that if I go down that road again, I will always feel like the bike is missing a key ingredient.

    Based on that realization, I completely expected the Specialized S-Works Crux to carry the day. It provides all of the strengths the Ibis Hakka MX that I loved does, but in proven package that comes with a lifetime warranty. The only thing it sacrifices is 650b compatibility, which definitely interests me, but isnít near the top of the wish list. I also planned to re-test the Diverge (I will explain why later) and try the Trek Checkpoint everyone keeps raving about.

    First things first, all of the gravel bikes I have tested are outstanding; different, but all worth considering (the list includes: 2019 Salsa Warbird, 2018 Spec Diverge Carbon, 2019 Giant Revolt Advanced, 2019 Ibis Hakka MX, and Trek Checkpoint). One bike I was able to rule out right off the top was the new Warbird. While it was nice, there wasnít anything ďspecialĒ about it comparatively and itís fairly pricey for what you get imo. The bikes I loved are the Diverge, Ibis Hakka MX, and Revolt Advanced.

    I was concerned about weight with the Fact 9 Carbon Diverge, comfort with the stiff cx/race oriented Crux and Hakka, and the lack of Di2 compatibility and weight with the Revolt Advanced. Todayís test rides confirmed that I donít need to make the compromises that come with the Giant. Both of those issues are fairly big deals to me, so the Revolt is out.

    I also realized after taking the Checkpoint and Diverge on everything from snow, ice, a grass field, jumping off curbs, and rough roads, that at 44 years old, comfort is more important to me than I sometimes want to admit. I donít necessarily want to sacrifice weight or speed to get it, but it matters to me quite a bit and I am happier riding a more comfortable bike so long as it still feels snappy and fast. Accordingly, the Diverge and Checkpoint went into the final analysis as leaders.

    Out on the ride, both felt silky smooth, but the Diverge definitely felt a little smoother and ďquickerĒ when I laid power down. My gut said all of that future shock business was going to come with a weight penalty I couldnít live with though. This led us (me and the awesome salesman I worked with) to the scales. I was sure the 105 equipped Checkpoint was significantly lighter than the Diverge with the same groupset.

    I was wrong. The Checkpoint came in at around 21lbs stock in my size (52cm). The Fact 9 Diverge with the same groupset came in a pound lighter at right at 20lbs. I was shocked and really feeling the Diverge at that point, but still not impressed with the weight. I am guessing I could get it down to about 18.5-19lbs with a wheel change and a move to Ultegra, etc. I probably would be pretty satisfied with that. Not excited on the weight front, but satisfied given how much I enjoyed riding the bike.

    Once we started doing the math though, it dawned on me to take a closer look at the S-Works Diverge I had been eyeballing on the sly the whole time I was there. It turns out that the S-Works Diverge frameset comes in at an advertised 880g, thatís 20g lighter than the Crux and 100g lighter than the Hakka. Now, we were talking. We put it on the scale, and sure enough it came in at a little over 18lbs in a 56 with a dropper post, Di2, and a swat box. Can you say winner?!?!

    So, at the end of the day, I am going to trade in my Domane frameset and my old Ridley through Proís Closet and get an S-Works Diverge frameset. I am then going to throw my components and wheels from my Domane on with wider tires for the time being and then upgrade to lighter stuff over time. Thatís where I ended up after looking at most of the popular options and I couldnít be happier about it. Hopefully, this info benefits someone else.
    Sounds like you did a very thorough evaluation of the options vs your needs, congrats on the new ride!
    Gravel Rocks

    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    Trek Crockett

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    Wow, that sounds pretty serious. It seems like it has something to do with the fork. I heard some more bad news at the shop today. It sounds like the new tariffs could start impacting the prices and builds on new bikes soon.
    Already have on the Giants.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    Sounds like you did a very thorough evaluation of the options vs your needs, congrats on the new ride!
    Thanks man! Right now, I am trying to choose a paint scheme. Green, Stealth Black on Black, and Grey Camo are the options. I like the grey most I think, but it could get old after the novelty wears off. Black is classic but has been overdone. Not feeling the green. Decisions....
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  11. #11
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    My Search XR came with a dropper post. After a season of riding, and never using it once, I took it off to save weight (those things are *HEAVY*).

    Congrats on the bike. Please post pics ASAP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finx View Post
    My Search XR came with a dropper post. After a season of riding, and never using it once, I took it off to save weight (those things are *HEAVY*).

    Congrats on the bike. Please post pics ASAP.
    Thanks! I have no interest in them either. Cons outweigh the pros for me too. Will do. I think I have settled on the grey camo.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    Thanks! I have no interest in them either. Cons outweigh the pros for me too. Will do. I think I have settled on the grey camo.
    Are you buying the Frameset or a built bike?

    Wheels? Groupset? Cockpit?

    C'mon man, spill the beans!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finx View Post
    Are you buying the Frameset or a built bike?

    Wheels? Groupset? Cockpit?

    C'mon man, spill the beans!
    Lol, itís in the last paragraph of my initial post. I plan on going frameset and using my components I currently have on my Domane for a bit and then shift to an Ultegra or Ultegra Di2 build.

    If I catch a hydro DA group on a closeout/discount after I get the frameset, I may go that route as well. Thinking Roval C38 or Hunt Carbon wheels and a standard carbon seatpost. Gearing TBD, but my current thought is that 1x still has too many kinks for me to go that route. I like the concept, but the execution doesnít seem like an ideal fit for lots of climbing and descending at the moment.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    Lol, itís in the last paragraph of my initial post. I plan on going frameset and using my components I currently have on my Domane for a bit and then shift to an Ultegra or Ultegra Di2 build.

    If I catch a hydro DA group on a closeout/discount after I get the frameset, I may go that route as well. Thinking Roval C38 or Hunt Carbon wheels and a standard carbon seatpost. Gearing TBD, but my current thought is that 1x still has too many kinks for me to go that route. I like the concept, but the execution doesnít seem like an ideal fit for lots of climbing and descending at the moment.
    Check Ebay for a like new pair of Reynolds Assault LE's. They come stock on the Canyon's and the pull-offs are pretty easy to find on Ebay for less than $1000.

    There is no point in spending any money on Dura Ace. Especially on a gravel bike. The only real difference is weight. You *might* splurge on a crank for some additional weight savings, but the rest of it is just bling.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finx View Post
    Check Ebay for a like new pair of Reynolds Assault LE's. They come stock on the Canyon's and the pull-offs are pretty easy to find on Ebay for less than $1000.

    There is no point in spending any money on Dura Ace. Especially on a gravel bike. The only real difference is weight. You *might* splurge on a crank for some additional weight savings, but the rest of it is just bling.

    Thanks, I will check that out. If I can get it at a comparable/decent price, I would like to save the weight. If not, I am more than fine with Ultegra. Thinking 46/30 or 48/32 FSA crankset in the front and 11/34 in the rear given the climbing I typically face. Thatís about it.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

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    For those less concerned about weight or without old bikes to trade in, getting the Diverge Carbon Sport and blinging it out with an Ultegra groupset and a nice moderately priced sub 1600g alloy or carbon wheelset could still result in a really nice bike. My guess is it would be around 18.5-19lbs and ride REALLY well. You could also just get the Expert model and upgrade the wheels or the Force 1x model, which already comes with carbon wheels and probably spend about the same.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

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    I went 11-36 on the back. I would love to have a 30-46. For the 14-20+ percent sections but those cranksets are hard to find and pretty pricey. I'm going to try the 11-36 and see how that works.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallboy1959 View Post
    I went 11-36 on the back. I would love to have a 30-46. For the 14-20+ percent sections but those cranksets are hard to find and pretty pricey. I'm going to try the 11-36 and see how that works.
    Keep us updated on how that works out. Iím intrigued.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  20. #20
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    Here's a nice Red Etap 1x build someone built up to 17lbs. That's as light as many road bikes out there, including some that are being raced regularly, but with 38mm tires and futureshock level compliance. Extremely nice....

    https://weightweenies.starbike.com/f...c.php?t=148020
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

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    Here's a grey camo build in a larger size.

    https://www.bespokecycling.com/build...e-custom-build

    and another one (it looks really good with the gum wall tires in my opinion):

    https://insta-stalker.com/post/BlIWv7xgeCy/
    Last edited by Rashadabd; 11-27-2018 at 07:19 AM.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  22. #22
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    And here's the satin carbon stealth frameset built up to a complete bike.

    https://www.sigmasports.com/item/Spe...Bike-2019/JGPV
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  23. #23
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    More detail on the weight for different models for those that are interested and/or considering the Diverge as a potential option. You can definitely get the Fact 9r carbon models down to at least 18.5 pounds without a ton of effort.

    https://www.cyclingabout.com/2018-sp...touring-bikes/

    So, at the end of the day, you are talking about roughly a 1.5 pound difference between the Fact 11r S-Works and Fact 9r carbon models. I think it will be tough (or at least fairly expensive) to get the S-Works bike much lighter than 17lbs and the same to get the Fact 9r model much lighter than 18.5.
    Last edited by Rashadabd; 11-27-2018 at 03:39 PM.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

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    Interesting how so many of the weights you've listed come in higher than I'd expect. Must be stock heavy wheelsets?

    Have you finished your S-works build? Sounds like it's going to be pretty nice!

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    After putting some miles on the new bike, I will not be going 30-46. With the 32-48 I find while riding on the road that I am in the big ring quite a bit. We weren't able to make the 11-36 work in the back. I may try that again I. A month or two. I do love the bike. Am half afraid to ride the gravel bike with a set of road wheels on it.

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