Gravel Bike Recommendations

lewie15
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Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby lewie15 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:44 pm

I'm looking at purchasing a gravel bike and have narrowed it down to the models below. I have a budget of $2500 - $3500 (I can get the Diverge Comp for a better price than the RRP). My questions are mainly around frame material and tyre clearance. I will be using the bike for gravel roads and possibly some bike packing. I've done a few bike packing trips with my Giant Propel, which isn't really suited to endurance riding. I would like to do the Mawson Trail this year and some of the gravel road loops throughout the Adelaide Hills. The Norco Ultegra model is heavily reduced and the specs look good. My only query is on the tyre clearance, as it only has clearance for up to 35c wheels and comes with 32c wheels. Will this tyre clearance be big enough for the type of riding that I want to do? Also I know a lot of people prefer steel frames for gravel and touring. Is this worthwhile considering. I've owned a few carbon bikes and feel that the perceived fragility of the material is overstated. Any advise would be appreciated.
http://www.99bikes.com.au/bike18-norco- ... rival-grey
http://www.99bikes.com.au/bike18-norco- ... c-ult-blue
https://www.specialized.com/au/en_AU/me ... 510-129079
https://www.specialized.com/au/en_AU/me ... 508-128909

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RonK
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby RonK » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:04 pm

No doubt it is heavily discounted because the Norco Search XR Ultegra is about to arrive. Full carbon frame with clearance for up to 700 x 45c (or 650B x 2.1”) tyres, and $4499 RRP.

99 Bikes is also expecting the Merida Silex 6000 to arrive in March. It also has a carbon frame with Sram Apex 1x11, and $2999 RRP.

Having become accustomed to the high fronted comfort of my Salsa Fargo I prefer the geometry this bike, but I'm mostly attracted to its low weight which should make it a very capable all rounder.

From BikeRumour: Merida Silex goes all road with new gravel road bike in carbon or alloy
"Tire clearance is a big part of the versatility of the Silex. It officially fits a 42mm wide 700c tire or 50mm wide in 650b. Take that to 700c x 35mm with full coverage fenders. Those might be conservative numbers though, as Merida says they have fit 2.25″ Schwalbe Thunder Burts on the bike, and even 47mm WTB Horizons with fenders."

Here is a review by offroad.cc on the Silex 9000 (which won't be offered here). SILEX 9000 TESTED BY OFFROAD.CC
Last edited by RonK on Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:15 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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lewie15
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby lewie15 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:11 pm

http://www.99bikes.com.au/bike18-norco- ... -ult-slate Thanks for the reply Ron. Looks like the model you have mentioned has already arrived. Unfortunately it's a bit out of my price range. I'm still tempted to go with the Ultegra Search in my original post, unless someone can convince me that I need bigger tyres than 35c for the type of riding that I want to do.

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RonK
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby RonK » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:24 pm

lewie15 wrote:http://www.99bikes.com.au/bike18-norco-search-xr-c-ult-slate Thanks for the reply Ron. Looks like the model you have mentioned has already arrived. Unfortunately it's a bit out of my price range. I'm still tempted to go with the Ultegra Search in my original post, unless someone can convince me that I need bigger tyres than 35c for the type of riding that I want to do.


Well only you know where you will ride. If you are dead certain to stick to gravel roads and fire trails, 35 mm is probably wide enough, but my experience is that once you go off the sealed road, more and more adventurous trails beckon, so you could have regrets.

I have ridden my touring bike over gravel on 32 mm tyres and it took a lot of concentration to avoid the front washing out on the loose stuff.

I have used both 42mm and 2.1" tyres on my Fargo. I've concluded the 2.1" tyres were overkill for the routes I have ridden and that a 42-44mm tyre would give a good balance of rolling resistance, ride comfort and grip.
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baabaa
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby baabaa » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:47 pm

Tyre fit is such a tricky thing with real gravel type tyres running some sort of small shoulder tread to quite large knobs. I have done several '000 ks on gravel with Clement 35 mm X’Plor USH and I think they look and size slimmer than 35 and ride more like a 32 file tread cx tyre but they work well in dry and wet. Spose I have run them down to the high 20 psi but they prefer around the 40 plus mark.
But if I start packing the bike up with frame bags they do get a bit flighty so I then for a minimal tread continental touring, (contacts 2 maybe? ) at 37mm which fit much the same as a normal 35.
So width is such a hard thing to call unless you really ping down a type of tread and casing you like.... see guitar teds pages and his forums http://ridinggravel.com/forum/?p=%3F
I don't really see the need to go wider than 37mm but I am 75/ 78 kgs and if I need to go wider than 1.9 inch I then grab a different bike.

I agree with Ron the norcos do look good at that price and if me would try and avoid any x1 up front and go a double ring with a l/h brifter so that you can try a single if you wish and just use it for braking. A new shift and brake lever would cost plenty if you do not like x1 (which I tend not to) Have fun these type of bikes do make a lot of sense, just don't worry what the frame is made of they will get rubbished by branch scratching and frame bag rub anyway.

lewie15
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby lewie15 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:01 pm

Thanks Ron and Baabaa for your knowledgable advice. I think you make a good point Ron about possibly regretting not having the ability to go wider than 35c for more adventurous trails. The Diverge takes tyres up to 700x42mm, so maybe this puts it ahead over the Norco Ultegra. The two Diverge models have the same 105 components and gearing, but the more expensive version is carbon and has hydraulic disk brakes ($1600 more expensive). It doesn't seem like there is an extra $1600 of value when I look at the specs of each bike. I've heard good things about the Tektro Spyre mechanical disk brakes that come with the alloy diverge, and in the back of my mind i'm thinking an alloy frame might be a more sensible option than carbon.

Alloy version - https://www.specialized.com/au/en_AU/me ... 508-128909
Carbon version - https://www.specialized.com/au/en_AU/me ... 510-129079

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RonK
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby RonK » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:13 pm

I would go carbon because I want a bike that is a better all rounder than my Fargo. Even with a carbon fork the Fargo is 12.5 kg, so 4 kg heavier than the Merida Silex 6000. With my arthritic knees that 4 kg makes a big difference.

My Fargo has TRP Spyres and they are quite good as cable brakes go, but I would prefer hydraulic. I can see the extra value in the Diverge Comp.

So I'm thinking Silex 6000 which I think would enable me to keep up with bunch rides around the city and still get still be good on out of town back roads with a few bikepacking bags attached.

But of course I would still have the Fargo for more adventurous rides.
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lewie15
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby lewie15 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:09 pm

The Giant TCX is another one to throw into the mix in my price range. I've seen some videos on YouTube with people recommending the TCX as a gravel bike.
https://www.bikeexchange.com.au/a/cyclo ... /103312759

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Ross
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby Ross » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:56 pm

lewie15 wrote:Thanks Ron and Baabaa for your knowledgable advice. I think you make a good point Ron about possibly regretting not having the ability to go wider than 35c for more adventurous trails. The Diverge takes tyres up to 700x42mm, so maybe this puts it ahead over the Norco Ultegra. The two Diverge models have the same 105 components and gearing, but the more expensive version is carbon and has hydraulic disk brakes ($1600 more expensive). It doesn't seem like there is an extra $1600 of value when I look at the specs of each bike. I've heard good things about the Tektro Spyre mechanical disk brakes that come with the alloy diverge, and in the back of my mind i'm thinking an alloy frame might be a more sensible option than carbon.

Alloy version - https://www.specialized.com/au/en_AU/me ... 508-128909
Carbon version - https://www.specialized.com/au/en_AU/me ... 510-129079


I've ridden a friend's Crux with the Tektro Spyre brakes and IMO they are rubbish. My alloy rim brakes on my road bike stop heaps better - in the dry, probably different story in the wet. My CX bike has the Shimano hydraulic discs which are noticeably better than both other brakes, so my advice would be to get them. Should be able to retro-fit hydraulic for way less than $1600 if you can do some/all of the work yourself.

If you are on a budget now maybe get the bike with the TRP brakes and upgrade them to the Shimano hydraulic later when you are more financial. You can then sell your TRP setup to help finance.

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Defy The Odds
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby Defy The Odds » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:27 pm

I just went through this and ended up purchasing a Giant Toughroad SLR GX 0.

For the money they are a fantastic bit of kit. Full SRAM APEX 1x with hydraulic disc brakes.

3 bottle mounts (size medium and up), fit up to 50mm tyres and very comfortable for long rides.

Edit: $2,399 - excellent value and I prefer the 1x gearing as others either have cyclocross gearing or road gearing, this has a 42t cog which I tested up a mountain this morning

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queequeg
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby queequeg » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:50 pm

If you are quick, this will just scrape in under your budget, even with the GST:

https://lynskeyperformance.com/2018-gr- ... l-pricing/
'11 Lynskey Cooper CX, '00 Hillbrick Steel Racing (Total Rebuild '10), '15 Cervelo S5

NASHIE
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby NASHIE » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:11 pm

queequeg wrote:If you are quick, this will just scrape in under your budget, even with the GST:

https://lynskeyperformance.com/2018-gr- ... l-pricing/


Geez some big price slashing across their current range. Wonder why ?

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queequeg
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby queequeg » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:38 am

NASHIE wrote:
queequeg wrote:If you are quick, this will just scrape in under your budget, even with the GST:

https://lynskeyperformance.com/2018-gr- ... l-pricing/


Geez some big price slashing across their current range. Wonder why ?


It’s a start of season special on a few bikes. They do this every year around this time. It’s how I got my Cooper CX back in 2011.
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby owly » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:44 am

If I was looking at an alu frame then I'd be pushed toward the Giant over the Diverge (and the old Norco) due to the 50mm or so tyre clearance. You're always going to pay more for a Spec bike than a Giant with similar spec (the Spec tax).

You can always purchase a Redshift Shockstop stem if you want some more cush up front.

The Diverge range does have a shorter reach than the Giant; one may fit you better.

Ideally you'd have a ti frame with huge clearance :wink:
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baabaa
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby baabaa » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:56 am

AUD is doing a bit of a dance at the moment but have a look across all of bike24 and hibike stocks, lots of euro stuff we never see here.
Take out the vat it may make your budget
If you wish to make a bike up I would be swooping on one of these
https://www.bike24.com/1.php?content=8; ... =1000,4,34
https://www.bike24.com/1.php?content=8; ... 0,2,99,101
https://www.bike24.com/1.php?content=8; ... 0,2,99,101

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singlespeedscott
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby singlespeedscott » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:57 pm

I wouldn’t be touching any gravel bike unless it can takes 45mm. Any less on a ride like the Mawson Trail I think you will regret. My mate, Smith Street, has a Diverge and it is very nice. However max tyre he can squeeze in is a 38mm. He’s looking to do the Mawson trail and has got himself a titanium Curve GMX. running 2.1” 650B tyres. I think a a longer ride like that, especially with a rigid fork, I would be looking for some fat rubber too. For general dirt roads I think 45mm is fine.
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RonK
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby RonK » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:38 pm

singlespeedscott wrote:My mate, Smith Street, has a Diverge and it is very nice. However max tyre he can squeeze in is a 38mm.

That is the first model Diverge. The current model takes 42mm tyres.
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Defy The Odds
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby Defy The Odds » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:39 pm

When I was looking for a gravel bike I wanted hydro discs not mechanical. The Diverge was top of my list however the mechanical Tektro brakes is quite disappointing. It was exactly the same price point as the Giant.

Also, max tyre clearance is 42mm.... the Giant comes with 40mm tyres and though adequate, I'd prefer the option of 50mm if need be.

The stack is quite high but reach is almost identical to the Defy. If you take out the spacers and slam the stem on the Toughroad GX 0 you would have very similar geometry to the Defy with the lower bottom bracket.

If you don't want aluminium though I would strongly consider the Giant TCX SX also which is more aggressive in geo though

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/au/tcx-advanced-sx

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mogwaiboi
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby mogwaiboi » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:24 pm

I got a 2016 TCX ADVANCED PRO 2 last year on run out to use as a gravel bike. I put 40mm Clement X'Plor MSO tyres on it (still plenty of clearance at the front and a bit at the back) and an XT derailleur with 42T cassette. It's been bombproof on MTB tracks around Lysterfield Park, goat trails around Bunyip State Park, Mt Everard in Kinglake. I'd definitely recommend. The wheels are heavy as hell but I'll try and abuse them, then upgrade when I get the money.
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cyclotaur
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby cyclotaur » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:51 pm

singlespeedscott wrote:I wouldn’t be touching any gravel bike unless it can takes 45mm. Any less on a ride like the Mawson Trail I think you will regret. My mate, Smith Street, has a Diverge and it is very nice. However max tyre he can squeeze in is a 38mm. He’s looking to do the Mawson trail and has got himself a titanium Curve GMX. running 2.1” 650B tyres. I think a a longer ride like that, especially with a rigid fork, I would be looking for some fat rubber too. For general dirt roads I think 45mm is fine.

I wouldn't be buying a 'gravel bike' for a Mawson Trail ride. Gravel bikes, to my mind, are basically all-road bikes, 'road' being the operative word. For 'general dirt roads' I think 35mm is fine.

I have a 2018 Diverge and have just put 35c Schwalbe Marathon Mondials on (it came with slick but heavy 30s) ahead of a tour in March, It's an all-road tour with a fair stretch of gravel roads involved. It makes it fairly hefty at 10.6kgs without bottles/spares/pump but with pedals. It will cope with the rougher gravel sections without imposing to much penalty on sealed roads and climbs.

The Schwalbe 35 tyres on the new Diverge wheels sit significantly wider than on the 2011 wheels they were on previously. They run well on seal and are just knobbly enough to cope with rougher gravel roads. For tours it's obviously different paced riding and you have some gear on board also, so the actual bike weight is less important than overall weight and lower gearing. The Diverge has 48/32 chainrings and comes with 11-32 cogs. It could take a 34t cassette quite easily, possibly even a 36t.

I now also have a lighter wheelset (with 25c tyres) for pure road-riding days, which drops the weight by 1.3kgs. For me, if the bike weight gets anywhere over 10kgs I really start to feel it on road rides, though the lightest bike I've ever had was still low-8 kgs, depending on wheels/tyres.
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lewie15
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby lewie15 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:47 pm

Thanks for all the replies so far. Has anyone had any experience with the Scott Addict Gravel Disc (link below). It seems to tick all the boxes for and fits within my budget.
https://www.bikebug.com/scott-addict-gr ... 78611.html

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mogwaiboi
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby mogwaiboi » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:31 am

Bit of a harsh ride going by the review of a similar model on CyclingTips https://cyclingtips.com/2017/10/scott-a ... -spectrum/
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owly
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby owly » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:01 am

Didn't think they were available in Aust, but they are in a few places: 2018 Jamis Renegade.

I'd have a look at the alu and the steel Reynolds 631 model. 700 or 650b depending on frame size.
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lewie15
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby lewie15 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:27 am

owly wrote:Didn't think they were available in Aust, but they are in a few places: 2018 Jamis Renegade.

I'd have a look at the alu and the steel Reynolds 631 model. 700 or 650b depending on frame size.


Thanks for that. I've been struggling to find reviews on the Scott.

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Defy The Odds
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Re: Gravel Bike Recommendations

Postby Defy The Odds » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:54 pm

Another bike that has had good reviews online is the GT Grade Carbon... Good value for money

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