The Kinesis G2 looks pretty good value. No experience of this model, but I've had a Crosslight CX for the last 8 years and its been a great bike. I have others, but I still rate it highly. Its a bit over your 1500 limit though.
Don't you have any contacts with local bike shops, etc ? I nearly bought an ex hire gravel bike last summer from a local bike hire here in the Champsaur for around a 1000 Euros when it seemed difficult to buy new in the local shops. In the end I bought one new but paid more than your budget.
> Don't worry too much about the bike for price, get a decent frame, you can upgrade parts later,
I suspect Enty has forgotten more about bikes than I know so doesn't need advice from me, so this is a more general response to your point above. I've come to the conclusion it's not really true at least at the price point we're talking about here. My gravel bike - Boardman ADV 8.9 - has the same frame as the lower priced ones, but I was happy to spend a grand on it to get better kit, in particular I wanted hydraulic brakes over cable, and the 8.9 comes with Tiagra hydraulic rather than Sora and cable actuated brakes. I don't regret it at all. The brakes are superb and the shifting good also. I have upgraded the wheels to Hunt but only after something failing in the free hub on the original and finding the hubs on the Boardman wheels couldn't be serviced. And they had done 2 years and maybe 7000 kms of gritty grotty half on half off road riding - mainly commuting when I'm far from perfect about cleaning the bike! But the Hunt wheels were a third of the price of whole bike I think. So not the type of thing you just replace with hardly a second thought.
I'm sure as you get into the multi thousand pound bikes, the groupset and wheels become a smaller part of the total price compared to the frame. But at around a 1000 quid the frame is probably quite a lot less than all the other bit attached to it.
I agree about tyres though. I've recently found the tyres on my Sonder MTB are cheapy WTB ones only sold to bike manufacturers and aren't designed to use tubeless. I had the same with the Schwalbes that came on my Boardman. So if you want to ride tubeless, probably worth budgeting on an additional 60 to 90 quid for better tyres!
I have had a voodoo nakisi (sold in Halfords) for a few years and you get a lot of bike for <£600. Not light or fancy by any stretch of the imagination but solid and does the job, especially if you are left with budget to get a set of nice tyres etc. which make such a huge difference
About two weeks ago I bought a Specialized Crux with hydraulic disc Shimano 105 2x11 groupset. Used (and maybe abused) and therefore for a very reasonable 400 Euros. So far I've put in 350 Euros to make it ridable again and I expect to spend a little bit more over the next year to make it a 1x11 with as many GRX components as possible but still don't expect to spend 1500 Pounds on it.
Granted, this is not for everybody but even then, 1500 Pounds should buy you a good lightly used gravel bike I would say.
Picked up a used E5 Specialized Diverge, with the aluminium (budget end) frameset, and am very impressed with the way the frame rides and handles. It comes equipped with Shimano Claris (8spd) and Tektro cable actuated brakes so clearly at the bottom end equipment wise. The gearing was hopelessly inadequate for "proper" offroad riding so I swapped out the following:
Chainset and BB for a Shimano MT6000 double (26/36 10 spd)
Shimano 10spd chain.
Shimano 10spd MTB front derailleur (Deore low mount model)
Shimano HG50 11-34 8spd cassette (original cassette was budget rubbish)
Initially I was unsure if the eight and ten systems would "mesh" but was chuffed to find it works well.
Then swapped the wheels out for Fulcrum Rapid Red 5's and run WTB Raddler 44mm tubeless at 35psi (running anything much less than 45mm tyres and you are wincing and mincing on rocky stuff!).
Sorry for the long winded detail but it maybe illustrates that you probably will have to swap out a bit of kit, as people have already expressed above, to get a capable bike at that budget. This came in at well under a thousand...... although I'm still left with cable discs but they're manageable just now
I ride several bikes (road and mountain biking background) including a Planet X SLX crosser (carbon), Planet X "Fatty" fatbike and too many vintage steel road machines from custom built sharp handling terrors to 27x11/4" equipped touring machines so do have a good base for objective comparison.
Gravel is definitely the way to go! Far more relaxing than running the gauntlet of the SUV driver paying more attention to the phone than the road
> That is really a bit cheeky. I would have expected less sneakiness from Sonder/Alpkit.
Yeah, I was bit peeved as well. It was one of the designers who specced them who answered my question in the Sonder owners group on FB, so from the horse's mouth so to speak. Annoyingly there is an option when you order to have "tubeless setup". Having set up lots of wheels tubeless now, I though 40 quid for a 15 minute job? Ridiculous! So ignored it. But of course it seems that they're not charging 40 quid for sticking some sealant in and pumping them up, it 40 quid because they must need to put 'proper' tubeless ready tyres on over the cheaper manufacturer-only versions. As decent tyres all seem to be around 40 quid each, I would have happily paid them to do from new. When I got the bike new last summer, I almost straight away took the tubes out and put sealant in and for the first few big rides like that it worked fine. I was only on day 2 of my three day Howgills/Dales bikepack that the back started losing air and needed more sealant and regular pumping. Then when I rode the bike through autumn and winter (not much admittedly) both front and back were losing pressure each ride.
Just before I put the question on FB maybe a month back and found this out, I had added more sealant to my tires anyway, thinking maybe I just hadn't added enough. And almost seemingly to spite Sonder the back at least seems to have sealed! There is still a bit of weeping coming through the front, but even that one is now holding air much better. I know people say you can basically make any tire tubeless with enough sealant, so I guess this is what I've done by accident.
But I was going to ask you for some advice on what you think is good, not too delicate side-walled tire for year round Peak riding, that once I cough up for I should be able to hopefully fit and forget for some time at least. I'd definitely consider inserts too.
That's a bit annoying to say the least ... Poor show Sonder.
Tyres: I'm loathe to recommend anything on a forum as every rider (and their dog) will chip in and give their views as to why not to use x-y-z and why you must use a-b-c etc etc; it gets dull very quickly.
On my hardtail for thrashing about, I tend to go DH or Enduro cased tyres with liner; but they weigh a ton. I have an XC set up as well (that I used last year during Achilles rehab), but they get super sketch if it gets to challenging; but they roll well !
As an in-between compromise, in summer, I'd suggest you could try the Vittoria Martello (Trail casing); for winter Vittoria Mazza (Trail casing). These are often poorly referenced by sellers, so make sure you exactly what you are buying! [Avoid the early versions of the Martello].
I'd run the Enduro casing Versions of these on the rear, on both my HT and FS, with liner. But I hate punctures, like to run lower pressures and prefer the extra side wall support they give. ... and I'm not that bothered by weight (the latter is important, lol).
I have a 650b Nukeproof Ard liner you can have. Been using Ards on both HT and FS since they came out: they are simple, light and effective enough (can rattle at times).
It can be, especially if you let an LBS do everything (which does have its advantages). The obvious advantage of upgrading to better components is that it allows you to spread out expenses, especially if you start with a decent second hand frame.
Also, if you like a bit of tinkering and researching it can be great fun - but frustrating at times.