Guidance on next bike (is Gravel style the right one?)



julesburm

New Member
Feb 25, 2023
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Hello!

Thanks for reading in advance! I'm no bike expert by any means but I do get a lot of enjoyment from biking.

Here's where I'm at. I have a Specialized Sirrus x-comp with Roubaix tires. I love the bike and use it for commuting 11 miles each way to work. I'm also recovering from a lower back disc injury and just put a rack and panniers on the back in order to stop wearing a back pack for the time being.

What I realized though is that I now want a different bike for my non-commute days or weekend rides. The Sirrus was pretty perfect for me as the new tires made it significantly faster but now I've stupidly compromised it with the rack.

I'm pretty infatuated with the concept of a gravel bike but I've been struggling to find the right one. The Specialized Diverge and Santa Crus Stigmata are the most prevalent brand where I live but here's what I'm hoping to find in a gravel bike:
- fast on pavement
- fire road capable
- relaxed geometry/comfortable more upright back positioning/wider handle bars
- capable of absorbing a decent amount of road chatter
- I live in a hilly area so need appropriate gearing although I've survived with the 1x11 on the Sirrus.

The only bike that I read about that seems to fit the description with one review (I think Bike Radar) is the new Bianchi Arcadex although other reviewers state it's stiff as can be. I think my biggest conundrum is that I like going fast on pavement, but also just want to be comfortable and not feeling every bump in the road.

Thanks so much, any guidance is much appreciated.

Cheers!
 
There's really not much difference in speed between carbon bikes in the >$1,500 price that are setup to be fast. Everything else the same, including riding position, geometry, fit, most of the perceive differences is only placebo and mental conviction.

Probably not what you want to hear but >$1,500 bikes, setup to be fast, speed differences will be marginal between bikes if you ignore 'human mental conditioning factor'. Popular manufacturers will certainly try to make their products quick and efficient at those price range and above.

So concentrate instead on the geometry you want and comfort. Comfort is a subjective matter (and so does speed) so you'd want to browse different products and size up their reviews on the subject of comfort and of course quality / durability. A more comfortable bike might actually give you higher average speed even if the model is 'slower' because you'll finish stronger in a long ride. Unless, the discomfort is forcing you to pedal faster so you can get home sooner to relieve the discomfort!:D
 
Hello, you beat me by 3 days registering to this forum. :) about 37 years experience riding. I would recommend with the low back injury and the desire to smooth out the bumps you definitely need to go with a carbon fiber frame and fork. I have ridden thin tube/thick tube aluminum, steel, and carbon fiber. Go with carbon. It has an amazing ability to soak up those bumps. Gravel and cyclocross bikes are essentially the same thing. Just go with the one that fits your budget, etc. As cobbwheels said geometry is important. I would go with 2 chainrings. If you get a better deal on a 2x10 as opposed to a 2x11 go with the 10. It does'nt really matter. Disc brakes with cable pull as opposed to hydraulic is fine. You don't need hydraulic. I ride my cross wheels with Clement Crusade PDX 33 mm on the front, and Clement MXP 33 mm on the rear, both are clinchers with tubes. Nice knob pattern, awesome grip in mud, dirt etc, they also roll nice on pavement. If the rims come with that cheap plastic rim tape, get rid of it. They slide around and cause flats. Wrap those rims with a double layer of Stans (no tubes) yellow rim tape. If it's in your budget you can buy an xtra wheelset with road tires and just switch out the wheels any time you want. Just make sure the rear wheel on both wheels has an identical cog set up. I like being self sufficient so always ride with an xtra tube as well as a patch kit, chain breaker, small screw driver for derailleur adjustments, spoke wrench, and correct size hex wrenches to make adjustments, tighten bolts. If you are unaware how to use any of these tools just look at youtube. Only thing that compares to being able to fix your own bike miles from home, is having the ability to help another : ). I like Shimano components and you can save money by going with Shimano 105. It's good stuff. I ride with a Salsa handlebar with flared drops. If you're unaware of any of these terms simple enough to search them. I'm 5"6" and have had good luck over the years finding greatly discounted bikes at the end of the year from Performance Bike. Good luck, and one last word of advice...If you are married, have a partner, whatever, remember this. When it comes to spending money on a bike sometimes it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission.
 
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Gravel bikes are really versatile and can handle a variety of terrains, so they might be a good choice for you. However, it also depends on what kind of riding you're planning to do. Are you looking to do long rides on paved roads or take some off-road trails? The best way to figure out what type of bike is right for you is to think about your goals and test ride a few different styles to see what feels most comfortable. Good luck and happy riding!
 
There's really not much difference in speed between carbon bikes in the >$1,500 price that are setup to be fast. Everything else the same, including riding position, geometry, fit, most of the perceive differences is only placebo and mental conviction.

Probably not what you want to hear but >$1,500 bikes, setup to be fast, speed differences will be marginal between bikes if you ignore 'human mental conditioning factor'. Popular manufacturers will certainly try to make their products quick and efficient at those price range and above. Here.

So concentrate instead on the geometry you want and comfort. Comfort is a subjective matter (and so does speed) so you'd want to browse different products and size up their reviews on the subject of comfort and of course quality / durability. A more comfortable bike might actually give you higher average speed even if the model is 'slower' because you'll finish stronger in a long ride. Unless, the discomfort is forcing you to pedal faster so you can get home sooner to relieve the discomfort!:D
I agree that everyone has their own criteria in choosing a bike! For some, the price is a priority, and for some, the geometry and other parameters of the bike!
 
Hey there! You're absolutely right, everyone has their own priorities when it comes to choosing a bike. Price is definitely a big factor for some, while others focus on the bike's geometry and other parameters. It's all about what works best for each individual rider. However, I always suggest doing thorough research and testing out different bikes before making a decision. That way, you can be confident that you're getting the best bike for your needs. Happy cycling! :)
 
Aha! I see you're enjoying your Sirrus, but seeking a different ride for leisure. Have you considered a road bike for touring? It'd be lighter, and with smoother tires, you'd glide on tarmac. But, mind the aerodynamics and bike fit, crucial for long-distance touring. And, about that back injury, have you thought about a dropper post? It's a game-changer for comfort on those long rides. Just a thought! ;)
 
A road bike for touring sounds like a great idea! It would definitely provide a different experience compared to the Sirrus. The lighter weight and smoother tires would make for a more efficient and comfortable ride on tarmac. But remember, finding the right bike fit and considering aerodynamics are key for long-distance touring. As for the back injury, a dropper post could potentially be a game-changer in terms of comfort during those extended rides. Just something to consider! ;)
 
A road bike for touring sounds like a fantastic idea! It opens up a whole new world of cycling adventures. The lighter weight and smoother tires would definitely make long-distance rides on tarmac more efficient and comfortable. But let's not forget about finding the perfect bike fit and considering aerodynamics for those epic journeys. And hey, have you considered the potential comfort boost of a dropper post? It could be a game-changer for those extended rides. Just something to ponder! Keep exploring and enjoy the open road! ‍♂️