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Entry level gravel bike

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This new breed of bikes seem a good option.

I have a full susp mountain bike (well the rear shock is stuck down at the mo but that's another story). But we have a lot of trails and country roads round here that are just hard work on a mountain bike. Particularly if I want a quick blast after work something that can go soundly on road but also go a little off road sounds perfect as I can't see myself becoming a roadie.

I haven't got £k s to spend though. Anyone got advice on a sub £1k gravel type bike? I'm 5ft 10 and about 15 stone

 cb294 04 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

Gravel bikes are great both for cruising around forest roads and for general commuting. I am a total convert after giving up my road cycling and selling my road bike a couple of years ago as I still want to live for a few more seasons.

I bought a two year old but brand new looking Specialized Crux with SRAM Red parts, carbon crank arms, Tune wheels, carbon handle bar for €1100, just around zour budget limit. 

Anything new in that price range would have been two to three level down.

CB

1
 Deleted bagger 04 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

I got one from Planet X in Sheffield a couple of years back. It's been a great success.

https://www.planetx.co.uk/c/q/bikes/gravel-adventure-bikes

1
 Wilderbeest 04 Jan 2020
In reply to Deleted bagger:

saw this in Evans last week and it looked great....

https://www.evanscycles.com/pinnacle-arkose-x-2019-gravel-bike-EV339949

In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

I got a a Boardman ADV 8.9 16 months and 3,400 kms ago - it has been a very good bike for my commute which is part on gravel tracks (canal tow path, or bridleways) and roads ranging from good to awful condition. I've also used it for longer rides for fun, including a couple of little bikepacking trips. I got that model (1000 quid) because I wanted hydraulic brakes, but the 8.8 is the same frame with slightly lower range bits on it, but still seems to be well liked. https://road.cc/content/review/243904-boardman-adv-88

I've changed tyres on mine, but that's it.

Post edited at 11:43
 Alyson 04 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

Decathlon sell the Triban 520 which gets really good reviews for the price. It's the only gravel bike I've seen under for £900 with high spec (it comes with the Shimano 105 drivetrain). 

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/triban-rc520-gravel-id_8504030.html

 Run_Ross_Run 04 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

Agree with comments re their versatility. I purchased a jamis renegade about a year ago and its my go to bike for so much of the riding I do. It is so comfortable and has enough mounting points for me to use it bike packing too. 

In terms of the 1k budget the cannondale topstones look really good. Could get a sora or tiagra spec for around the mark. 

https://www.cannondale.com/en-gb/bikes/road/gravel#sort=%40msrpraw%20descending

 ChrisJD 04 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

I built up a 1x 'gravel' bike, but with 780mm wide MTB bars and flat pedals. Useful for a blast out.

So I'd suggest keeping with the MTB bar ethos, much better stability off-road and it doesn't screw your MTBing up. For a challenge, I often ride the same stuff on it as I do on a full suss - can get 'interesting' pretty quickly, lol.

But i do find these gravel bikes frames all a bit short in reach, as now used to long, low, slack Geo on my main MTBs. 

This might be worth a look - you probably could get a demo in Hathersage:

https://www.alpkit.com/sonder/bikes/sonder-camino-al-[v3]-apex1-flat

Post edited at 13:01
1
 Deleted bagger 04 Jan 2020
In reply to Wilderbeest:

> saw this in Evans last week and it looked great....

Visually look very similar to my Full Monty from Planet X although mine has all Shimano Ultegra fittings. 

 Dave B 04 Jan 2020
In reply to Alyson:

Hi alyson

How do you find the triban as a women's fit? My wife is 'traditional long legs, short back', so needs something with not too much reach.

I was hoping they would do a womens version, but perhaps with the design they don't need to.

Anyone else know good women's fit bikes that aren't ridiculous money and rubbish components (it seems you pay an extra premium for a gravel bike atm IMHO) 

 DaveHK 04 Jan 2020
In reply to ChrisJD:

> I built up a 1x 'gravel' bike, but with 780mm wide MTB bars and flat pedals. Useful for a blast out.

I hate to break it to you but what you have there is a hybrid.

In reply to DaveHK:

Agree, I have had a hybrid bike for years and I cannot tell the difference at all. It has chunky off road tyres, a roadish style frame, no suspension but flat bars. 

I read in the cycling press some cynics saying it was just a way to shift the heavy frames by adding disc brakes and fatter tyres and convincing people about how you can now access different types of riding with one do it all bike....

I will admit it resonated with me, but it seems to be taking off so WTF do I know? Not a lot.

 ChrisJD 04 Jan 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Nope, defo a gravel bike. 

Call it my FrankenX

Post edited at 15:59
 krikoman 04 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

> This new breed of bikes seem a good option.

> . But we have a lot of trails and country roads round here that are just hard work on a mountain bike.

Isn't that just more exercise? I've always found the, carbon frame, lightest this and that, a bit strange if what I'm trying to achieve is more fitness.

 ChrisJD 04 Jan 2020
In reply to krikoman:

> a bit strange if what I'm trying to achieve is more fitness.

That is just so 'roadie'

Maybe, just maybe, he's not trying to achieve 'more' fitness. He said he wanted something that is a quick blast on non-tek trails.

OP: Particularly if I want a quick blast after work something that can go soundly on road but also go a little off road sounds perfect as I can't see myself becoming a roadie.

 DaveHK 04 Jan 2020
In reply to ChrisJD:

> Nope, defo a gravel bike. 

You're in denial. Embrace it for what it is, enjoy it and don't worry if it fits into some modern niche.  

 krikoman 04 Jan 2020
In reply to ChrisJD:

> That is just so 'roadie'

> Maybe, just maybe, he's not trying to achieve 'more' fitness. He said he wanted something that is a quick blast on non-tek trails.

> OP: Particularly if I want a quick blast after work something that can go soundly on road but also go a little off road sounds perfect as I can't see myself becoming a roadie.

You can still have a quick blast on a mountain bike, even a full susser, on either of those places, surely Beef you legs up a bit!!

For the record, I can't ever see me being roadie either, there's no fun at all in it, as far as I can see.

Post edited at 16:59
 Alyson 04 Jan 2020
In reply to Dave B:

Hi Dave. I tried something in Decathlon which the cycling assistant told me was the women's equivalent of the 520 but now I'm struggling to see it on their website! It wasn't too reachy but the handlebars were narrower than I wanted. I agree, from my own fairly limited searching, that the women's bikes still unfortunately seem lower spec'd.

I ended up at JE James choosing a supposed 'mens' frame but going down a size, and in the end the bike I most liked the feel of is marketed as a cyclo cross bike instead of a gravel bike! But it ticked all my boxes so I'm very happy.

 ChrisJD 04 Jan 2020
In reply to krikoman:

> You can still have a quick blast on a mountain bike, even a full susser, on either of those places, surely Beef you legs up a bit!!

Not really, I've got a big travel FS, a long travel HT and a gravel bike. Each is different and I take the pick depending on what I fancy doing.  The gravel bike is fun to get out and do some miles on easy tracks and gives a different perspective on the trails.

 ChrisJD 04 Jan 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Nope, no denial, it's a gravel bike.  The genre is not defined solely by the type of bars you choose to stick on it. 

1
 cb294 04 Jan 2020
In reply to DaveHK:

Not really. A gravel bike can have any handle bar you like, even a wide MTB bar or some other abomination.

IMO, though, straight bars and flat pedals are for mountain bikes and nothing else. Putting them on a gravel bike is a style crime. Almost better to use ape hang chopper bars.

Regulations are only for cyclo cross, where there are "official" races. AFAIK handlebars can be straight, but no wider than 50cm, which is why most use slighly modified down curved road bars. Some of the new, integrated carbon cockpits like the Canyon carbon double decker are race legal but look so stupid they should be banned for aesthetic reasons....

CB

Post edited at 19:42
In reply to ChrisJD:

> The genre is not defined solely by the type of bars you choose to stick on it. 

This is a completely pointless and unwinnable argument - but hey! It's UKC! - that's never stopped us before. ;-) So I disagree, a gravel bike IS defined by its bars. Put flat bars on a gravel bike and it's not a gravel bike anymore.  Even those weirdo woodchipper or cowchipper or whatever-the-hell the bearded-plaid-shirt wearing weirdos who insist on using them call them ones are pushing the boundaries of being drop bars.

1
 DaveHK 04 Jan 2020
In reply to ChrisJD:

> Nope, no denial, it's a gravel bike.  The genre is not defined solely by the type of bars you choose to stick on it. 

You're not going to convince me so you must be trying to convince yourself. ;) 

 Alyson 04 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

> This is a completely pointless and unwinnable argument - but hey! It's UKC! - that's never stopped us before. ;-) 

He he! I'm reading this discussion thinking I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles with some of these distinctions. I've seen some shops separate out 'gravel' from 'adventure' bikes and really the only difference I can see is whether they'll take panniers. Anyone would think the manufacturers of bikes are just trying to sell us more bikes ;)

 Padraig 04 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

Another poster who thinks "gravel bikes" are satansbike manufacturers way of taking your money.....

 Dave B 04 Jan 2020
In reply to Alyson:

Ta

 GerM 04 Jan 2020
In reply to Alyson:

While we're at it, can anybody explain the difference between bikepacking and touring?

In reply to krikoman:

But there has to be an element of enjoyment. If it was just fitness I'd just stick a bike on rollers in the garage. 

 I just find riding a full sus on the roads or smooth trails an unenjoyable experience. 

 DaveHK 04 Jan 2020
In reply to GerM:

> While we're at it, can anybody explain the difference between bikepacking and touring?

Beard oil and checked shirts.

Post edited at 21:30
 krikoman 04 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

>  I just find riding a full sus on the roads or smooth trails an unenjoyable experience. 

Fair enough, each to their own

I agree everything is better outside.

 Dave the Rave 04 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

What’s a Gravel Bike. A Cyclocross?

Is my Surly Crosscheck, that can take panniers , a cyclocross a tourer or a gravel bike? 

Post edited at 22:21
1
 GerM 04 Jan 2020
In reply to Dave the Rave:

> Is my Surly Crosscheck, that can take panniers , a cyclocross a tourer or a gravel bike? 

Yes.

In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

Just finished converting an old Marin Bear Valley SE into my dream Gravel / commuter bike. All in cost about £200 (including original bike) and a few hours of time researching / building. Looking for to riding Tomorrow. 

It's an option, but probably not as good as a modern off the shelf. In classic UKC style, I can't make a useful suggestion but am loudly bragging about what I own. 

In reply to GerM:

> While we're at it, can anybody explain the difference between bikepacking and touring?


Yep, easy. Rack(s) = touring. No racks = bikepacking. Those everything cages that fit to the bottle bosses that are on your forks don't count as racks - obvs - because only proper bikepacking bikes have them. ;)

In reply to TobyA:

> Yep, easy. Rack(s) = touring. No racks = bikepacking. Those everything cages that fit to the bottle bosses that are on your forks don't count as racks - obvs - because only proper bikepacking bikes have them. ;)

This is like that 'Where does soloing begin and bouldering end?' thread.

 ChrisJD 05 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

If you can't find one to demo and you'd like to try one before you leap, you're welcome to take mine out for a spin (Ladybower Dams is a good one to start on, or a loop round Causeway/Houndkirk).

.. Did we go to Llandegla a good few years back?

 Epic Ebdon 05 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

> I bought a two year old but brand new looking Specialized Crux with SRAM Red parts, carbon crank arms, Tune wheels, carbon handle bar for €1100, just around zour budget limit.

Oooh - can I ask where you found that please? I tried some gravel bikes out at the canyon factory yesterday, but I'm wondering if it wouldn't be a better option to try out the genre by going second-hand. The problem is, I don't really know where to look...

 cb294 05 Jan 2020
In reply to Epic Ebdon:

Summer 2018  off the classified ads run by that auction site that must not be named, over here Germany. I actually looked at two rather similar bikes and bought one of them off a guy who was about to leave for two years in Tajikistan and decided to take only his mountainbike. The other one had even better specs but was a bit more worn out.

CB

edit: just realized that if you visited the Canyon factory you must be over here as well. The place to look for used stuff is e...-kleinanzeigen.de

Post edited at 16:56
 Epic Ebdon 05 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

Perfect - thanks. I've used e-kleinanzeigen plenty for getting rid of old stuff, but I'm not sure I've bought anything from there. It would probably be the first place I would have looked, but I thought you might have found it somewhere more bike- specific. By the sounds of it though, there must be decent stuff to be had! 

Post edited at 17:46
 cb294 05 Jan 2020
In reply to Epic Ebdon:

Just make sure you don't get ripped off as I did when buying my mountain bike. Lost the 1000 Euros I transferred to some Berlin wanker who pulled off an identity theft and opened an account at n26 bank. Police were not too interested on the Berlin end.

Have bought ton of bike parts since, though, including everything I needed for assembling my wife's Santa Cruz Bronson (all parts used except chain and grips).

CB

 Epic Ebdon 05 Jan 2020
In reply to cb294:

Don't worry - I'm picky about bikes so would be unlikely to buy anything I haven't sat on. This means it would probably be something local and lead me to paying cash in the time honoured German fashion ;-) I think my biggest concern would be buying a bike that's been nicked! 

 Rigid Raider 06 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

On Saturday I bought a new Specialized Roubaix Comp. Did a 30 miler yesterday in horrible wet conditions and took 13 minutes off last Wednesday's time for the same route on the old 2014 Roubaix SL4. The Roubaix is so comfortable and well-designed that I have no doubt it will serve me well on forestry tracks when we move to Scotland later this year, maybe with some slightly more knobbly tyres fitted.  The modern trend for fatter tyres, disc brakes and some form of mild suspension is a good one for people who want a wide range of uses from their road bike.  I've considered the Specialized Diverge but that 1x drivetrain is just too weird for me. 

Post edited at 09:22
 galpinos 06 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

Ribble CGR AL?

https://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/ribble-cgr-al/

I have the CGR 725 (feel of steel etc). My first foray into a bike that's not a mountain bike since being a child. I love it. Got it to commute to work, now make up excuses to go for a ride. Mine is fully puntered up with pannier rack and kiddie seat bracket, tool bag etc but it's a joy to ride. I do have flat MTB pedals on it though as it's used as much for popping to the shops as commuting/going for a ride.

 ChrisJD 06 Jan 2020
In reply to Rigid Raider:

So are you now known as 'Slightly-Damped Raider'

 ChrisJD 06 Jan 2020
In reply to galpinos:

They look nice and tidy!

And even a flat bar Gravel Bike option, lol

 galpinos 06 Jan 2020
In reply to ChrisJD:

I think they are classed as an "adventure" bike, with CGR standing for Cross, Gravel, Road.

The joys of marketing. I'd have gone with "A do most things bike that's a joy to ride".

 Rigid Raider 06 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

What happened to fat-tyre bikes? They flourished and disappeared, I reckon people found them so dismally slow they've all ended up in the backs of people's sheds. 

 ChrisJD 06 Jan 2020
In reply to Rigid Raider:

> What happened to fat-tyre bikes? They flourished and disappeared, I reckon people found them so dismally slow they've all ended up in the backs of people's sheds. 

I tried an early 'mid-fat' HT, but was getting through a tyre a ride with wafer thin side walls. Beefed up tyres at 2.8 just way too heavy.

Have now settled on 2.5/2.6 DH cased tyres on my current HT, which are working out great.

In reply to Rigid Raider:

Re: Fat bikes

Having not seen any for ages I have seen 3 over christmas... 1 riding rhrough buxton town and then 2 more actually out in the wild

 Moley 07 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

I know nothing about bikes, but bought a giant tough road (drop handle bars model) a year ago, it was about £1k retail less 20% for previous year's model. I wanted an alternative to fell running as age is catching up and joints becoming painfull, the biking is easier on the limbs whilst still out in the hills.

I am lucky to have hundreds of miles of hilly forest tracks on my doorstep, chosing a bike was a bit of a leap in the dark but the gravel bike does all I want. I can ride short trips to town for shopping comfortably (8 miles each way) or out as long as I want in the forests. 

This event takes place here, so I'm a bit spoilt for biking! https://gritfest.co.uk/

 kathrync 07 Jan 2020
In reply to Dave B:

> Anyone else know good women's fit bikes that aren't ridiculous money and rubbish components (it seems you pay an extra premium for a gravel bike atm IMHO) 

My commuter is a Liv Invite. Certainly not spec'd as well as the Triban (then again, little at that price is), but it fits me a lot better - and for commuting and the odd evening bimble it does what I want. I don't want to leave anything too shiny lying around the university campus anyway!

 Dave B 07 Jan 2020
In reply to kathrync:

We looked at those too, as Liv and generally well thought of... it was a bit of a let down in terms of groupset. If it fits thats the starting point.. Thanks for your help.

 IceBun 08 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

On the premise that you have to spend to save how about stretching your budget to this https://www.canyon.com/en-gb/road-bikes/gravel-bikes/grail/grail-al-6.0/2369.html?dwvar_2369_pv_rahmenfarbe=SR%2FBK&dwvar_2369_pv_rahmengroesse=2XS Then you have hydraulic brakes, grx groupset and a bike that is quite light for the money. Good reviews too. You know it makes sense😉

 kathrync 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Dave B:

Yeah, I agree that the groupset was a bit of a let down, but for what I use it for (~10 mile round trip daily commute on a fairly flat bike path) the fit was more important. It really depends on what you want it for.

 malk 08 Jan 2020
In reply to IceBun:

for that money you could get the new GT grade expert al 2020 (105) with detached seat stays for super compliance. press-fit  BB tho.. (why is this such an issue?)

i have an older sora version with original frame (half price at £400) from jejames that i like riding and thinking of upgrading. the original carbon grade can be had for <£1000 so may go for that (tyre clearance limited to ~35mm tho- new frame to 42)

carbon version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VO5oxJT6tpU&

Post edited at 14:10
 JimR 08 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

> This new breed of bikes seem a good option.

> I have a full susp mountain bike (well the rear shock is stuck down at the mo but that's another story). But we have a lot of trails and country roads round here that are just hard work on a mountain bike. Particularly if I want a quick blast after work something that can go soundly on road but also go a little off road sounds perfect as I can't see myself becoming a roadie.

> I haven't got £k s to spend though. Anyone got advice on a sub £1k gravel type bike? I'm 5ft 10 and about 15 stone

I'd get a hardtail mtb with lockable front suspension and put less aggresive tyres and lower gearing on it for that purpose. A second hand Scott Scale would fit the bill perfectly IMHO

 Levy_danny 08 Jan 2020

I have a Genesis CDF and absolutely love it, have done a substantial amount of touring across Europe on it as well. I'm a big steel fan when it comes to bikes though.

 malk 08 Jan 2020
In reply to JimR:

i've converted my dawes galaxy into a gravel bike by fitting more aggressive tyres, a brooks saddle and flared randonneur bars

 cb294 08 Jan 2020
In reply to Rigid Raider:

Fat bikes are only good for cycling on snow, so they fell victim to climate change...

CB

 IceBun 08 Jan 2020
In reply to malk:

But mechanical disks rather than hydraulic, go hydraulic every time. What about this nice beast, stretching the budget even more but https://winstanleysbikes.co.uk/kinesis-g2-2019-bike?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0uPUl4L15gIVRrTtCh2thQ9zEAQYASABEgLz8vD_BwE#kinesis-g2-2019-bike-57cm

 peebles boy 08 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

A year ago i was the first to slag off my mates who were buying gravel bikes ("they're just 1990's mtn bikes with curly bars"). Against my better judgement, i bought an NS RAG+ .... you know.... just to see what the fuss was all about. 

It's been my go to bike since then...!! 1x11 setup, disc brakes, lightweight, but strong enough for proper off road, and able to swap out the "skinny wheels" for 27.5inch mtn bike wheels if you know you need extra cushioning for certain rides.  

Go on...do it... (I'm 5ft 8, and have a medium, so i reckon the Large on offer below would be right up your street)

https://www.stows.co.uk/14165/products/ns-bikes-rag-2-2019-gravel-bike-in-black.aspx?currency=GBP&chosenAttribute=651415&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIkZfiuof15gIVBrDtCh00wwYgEAQYBSABEgIG2_D_BwE 

 IceBun 08 Jan 2020
In reply to peebles boy:

Snap, I have the very same bike. Superb fun and amazing value at that price

Wow... Thanks for the input everyone, some really helpful advice and lots to mull over. 

Still not sure I can justify the outlay for a second bike but pretty sure if I do that it will be a gravel bike.

In reply to ChrisJD:

Yes we did.... Thanks for the offer, I presume I'll have a few bikes within climbing club I can test drive but if not i may get in touch

 cousin nick 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Rigid Raider:

My wife has the Specialized Diverge (comp carbon) with Ultegra hydraulic groupset. It is a superb bike, and such a shame that she's significantly smaller than me. I can ride it, but it feels like a kids bike and my toes can hit the front wheel if I'm not careful.

N

 felt 09 Jan 2020
In reply to malk:

> press-fit  BB tho.. (why is this such an issue?)

Nasty creaking, for starters, although I've had OK BB30 and BB90s (luck of the draw)

 geomickb 13 Jan 2020
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

I was going to say Planet X Full Monty but they seem to have disappeared. They would be a good budget option.

I have a Planet X XLA (caught it in a sale for £500 )which is strictly a CX bike but I have been using it off-road (and pushing it) and it is great.  I also use it for club rides with the local tri club and it can hold it's own on the road.

https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/EBPXCXXLA1/planet-x-xla-sram-apex1-cyclocross-bike

London Road may also be a good option:

https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/EBPXLDNRDA1M/planet-x-london-road-sram-apex1-road-bike

Keep your eyes out for a sale, they will be on offer for £500 at some point.

A few of the club members have Sonder Caminos (Derek and Andy), they look great but I would not consider them to be entry level.

https://www.alpkit.com/sonder/bikes/sonder-camino-al-v3-apex1-mechanical

Welcome to try my XLA sometime.

Mick

 cb294 13 Jan 2020
In reply to cousin nick:

This is the bike I wanted but could not afford...

CB


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