Gravel bike shopping-bot

Riding bicycles inappropriate for off road terrain off road

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Claire
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Location: Saanich

Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by Claire » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:38 pm

Go ahead - mock me now to get it out of your system. But, as someone who likes riding bikes and is in need of a new winter ride, I'm seriously considering just taking the plunge and getting myself a good ol' all-round gravel bike. Something with which I can meander the trails, pavement dirt and gravel that surrounds us - and that can take me on longer-distance adventures to unexplored lands. And, in a pinch, I might even slap road tires on it and use it as a winter road bike (one with the glorious braking power of discs!).

I've been reading about AI and chatbots (like "Woebot" who helps people talk through their emotional challenges) and find myself wishing there was a gravelbikebot that knew my preferences and could present me with all the best options.

So, if any whiz-bang coders out there want to whip one up for me, I'll gladly test it for free. And, in the meantime, if anyone has done some recent research and is willing to share their insights on the models, options, prices, priorities, and so on, I'd love to hear from you.

Claire

Fozzy
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by Fozzy » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:40 am

Budget?

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Alan
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by Alan » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:07 am

When in a snarky mood my Alanbot would say: Buy a bike. Ride the bike. Don't overthink this.


“We do not measure a culture by its output of undisguised trivialities but by what it claims as significant.”
― Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Robgrant
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by Robgrant » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:32 am

Somehow my detailed reply disappeared into the ether.....this will be less detailed 'cus I don't have the time to do it twice.

Look for big tire clearance, at least 1:1 gear ratio, lots of attachment points for bottles and racks (especially on the carbon forks for racks) and fender attachments. Get hydraulic brakes, not cable actuated discs. 12mm thru axels seems to be the standard now as are flat mount brakes.

I bought my wife a Trek Checkpoint which meets all of these criteria. Comfy, fast, flexible in set-up. Women's/ mens only differs in saddle and handlebars. Nifty dropped chain stay frame to accommodate wide tires (45mm x 700C). 650B are the trend now for gravellers, these will fit, though not officially supported. Bill @ Trek loves his. Al or carbon.

Norco Search with similar dropped chain stay frame design. Specialized Diverge with the front 'shock' (not sure if you can put non-Specialized fenders), Ibis Haka, Santa Cruz Stigmata, Divinci Hatchet (less wheel clearance), Open U.P. (original 'plus' gravel bike with dropped chain stay).
Happy shopping
Rob

rduncan
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by rduncan » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:38 am

I’m continually impressed with the value for bike wirh Giant. They have released a new gravel series this year called Revolt. However since it’s new you won’t find it on sale. All the LBSs right now seem to have 15% off most things in stock so it’s a good time to buy.

My preferences are
- flat mount disk brakes (eventually all bikes will have this)
- tubeless tires for running lower tire pressure and radically reducing flats. Just carry a tube if you really do flat out and then it’s practislly the same as a clincher.
- room for 40c tires. If you’re not doing cross the extra width is far more comfortable.
- 34/50 or 32/48 double in front. With 11-32 or 11-34 in back. Cross gearing is way different and if you’re wanting all around I’d stick with a double chainring up front.


Aside from that I think it’s just finding a price that works for you.
Rob Duncan

tenmile
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by tenmile » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:59 am

About this time last year I had the same thoughts. After doing a bunch of research and looking around I decided to plan and build my own bike. I found the Riding Gravel forum http://ridinggravel.com/forum/?p=post%2 ... da-8254658, and decided on building up a gravel bike based on the Carbonda CFR505 which is a gravel specific carbon frame that can take a 700c tire at something like 45mm or a 650b tire over 50mm. 12/15mm thru axles and tons of mounting points for bottles, fenders, flat mount discs etc... They have a newer model now the CFR696 with additional mounting points and some changes to the rear end. I linked to the specific discussion on this frame as there is now something close to 60 pages of photos, mouth watering custom builds, and builders who have even scoped the internals of the frame. There were a few ridden in the Dirty Kanza this year as well.

I built mine with a 2x Shimano 105 hydraulic groupset 50/34, 11-34 HG800 cassette). I used a 29-er MTB tubeless wheelset and currently have a 40mm tubeless setup for winter, but will go back to a 30mm tubeless in the summer. Finished by build in August and have roughly 2000kms on the bike - a mix of road, CX and commuting. Depending on wheels/groupset the bike can be made as light as 17lbs. Mine came in at roughly 19.5lbs but is north of 20 right now with the bigger tires, fenders etc...

Using all new parts, the bike set me back just over $2k. Frame, fork, seatpost and axle-set all shipped in roughly 10 days for $590US - I wasn't charged any duty. You can order it with your own custom paint scheme (anything you want) for an additional $70 but the build/shipping takes several weeks longer (I'm kicking myself for not doing a custom paint job). The other components I sourced locally.

Just a thought for you -- as it lets you put thought into each component selected to build something exactly the way you want.
Terry P

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JTyre
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by JTyre » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:10 pm

Claire wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:38 pm
Go ahead - mock me now to get it out of your system.
You can't ask to be mocked, Claire. It just happens. Sorry.

Apart from all of the great information you're getting here, I suggest chatting with Rene and Parker at Broad Street Cycle. They are very knowledgeable and will give you all the time in the world even if your intention is not necessarily to buy their product.

p.s. I agree with Rob on his "lots of attachment points" point. I wasn't looking for those when I bought my carbon frame and should have. Tubeless tires have changed my life, as well as hydraulic disks.

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Roland
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by Roland » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:22 pm

compete: 1620, from Fr. compéter "be in rivalry with"

Bosie
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by Bosie » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:37 pm

Just buy a new bike. Dont over think it :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4QzhSlqmqg
Craig B.

Claire
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Location: Saanich

Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by Claire » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:38 am

Thanks, helpful clubmates! Lots of good info here for me to look over, and good suggestions for folks to talk to.

:D

Claire
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Location: Saanich

Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by Claire » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:42 am

Alan wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:07 am
When in a snarky mood my Alanbot would say: Buy a bike. Ride the bike. Don't overthink this.
Why all the unnecessary words, Alanbot?

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Rolf
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by Rolf » Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:40 am

Craig's video is worth 1,000 pieces of advice featuring numbers or names. The Alanbot has clearly fed Craig's video into its algorithms. But it's best to tailor one's selection process to match the colour of your rainbow, cut of your jib etc.

If I didn't know you, Claire, I'd suggest focusing on two things: making sure it fits you, and trying to patronize a local business, or a do-gooder cooperative like MEC. Bikes kick ass these days and—as long as you're not shopping at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Walmart, or the like—spending over a nominal amount should get you something that lets you enjoy the brighter (dirtier) side of life.

But since I know you a little bit, I'll suggest you ignore me completely (and AC too, obvs.) and instead read advice from people like the Robs and Terry above, before posting in four or five more locations and then rolling about in all the complexity and details of the answers you receive. 8) (Because even though you want a gravelbikebot to do all the work for you, I think you may also relish the chase...?)

Oh yeah, and since you've wandered onto the CX sub-forum, here's a a little GIFfio to get you started on the right foot! After spending his whole career baffling buffs with the illusions of consumer choice, here's how Don Draper shopped for bikes (minimize preferences, maximize potential for positive outcomes):

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Steven
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by Steven » Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:01 pm

Hey Claire,

This looks like a sweet do-it-all steel frame gravel adventure bike https://www.rodeo-labs.com/flaanimal4/# ... 44c92-4637 by the folks at Rodeo Labs.

They also have a carbon frame https://www.rodeo-labs.com/product/traildonkey-2-1/

And the Spork 2.0 fork is amazing, with provision for every conceivable configuration, very clever design https://www.rodeo-labs.com/product/rode ... ycle-fork/ more here on the Spork 2.0 fork https://www.rodeo-labs.com/rodeo-spork-2-0/

I'm planning on building a gravel adventure bike in the Spring, and still undecided on what frame and build (2x or 1x) to go with.

Have fun planning your build :)
Last edited by Steven on Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Alan
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by Alan » Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:25 pm

Think armaments for that gravel bike.
Never underestimate wildlife hazards.


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schouten
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by schouten » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:04 pm

I just went through the gravel bike shopping process this August. I ended up going with the Giant ToughRoad. I was close to getting the Ridley X-Trail but, In the end, the value from Giant won me over and I have been super happy with it. Dumb name though. Sounds like a Tonka Truck...

1x11 = awesome
hydraulic disc brakes = super awesome
tubeless tires = super, duper awesome

You get the picture.
Ron - that guy with the beard.

mfarnham
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by mfarnham » Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:47 pm

Minimize preferences? Choice is bad?

If I were dead, I'd be turning in my grave.

Martin (the economist)

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JTyre
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by JTyre » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:33 pm

But Dear Professor Martinham, does your your economic modelling take into account the paradox of choice?

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roadflasj
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by roadflasj » Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:42 pm

Hi Claire,
There are a ton of options out there but the most important will be fit and comfort. I've been looking for a new bike (not there yet, darn kids) and found this at MEC just a few months back. I like that even the shifters are specified as short reach size small or lower down to xx-small (very rare to find) which will be important for clearance and maneuverability. The tire size is 650b so think wider/lighter feel with better flotation. I've found my cross bike is not enough even with 38-40c tires based on my mtb background that I recall you also share. As an old shop rat I'll be the first to support local business but I've also taken advantage of the no questions asked mec warranty that even supersedes a manufacturers policies. The Victoria store has one if you wanted to at least have a look. https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5059-432/ ... il-Bicycle
Kenji Jackson

mfarnham
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by mfarnham » Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:59 pm

Dear Professor Tyre,

My economic modelling is #1, at least where cycling is concerned.
https://www.uvic.ca/socialsciences/econ ... inners.php

Martin

p.s. You could have shown that a "choice sucks" modelling approach is better, but paradoxically you chose not to enter. I think I'll spend my winnings on a new gravel bike. If only I could decide...

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JTyre
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Re: Gravel bike shopping-bot

Post by JTyre » Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:28 am

Congratulations on your win, Martin! When I see curve-fitting like that I get downright woozy,

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