Hello all. I am brand new to the forum here so thanks in advance for sharing your expertise.
I am also fairly new to the gravel biking world, and I'm in the midst of shopping for a new bike. My god, who knew that bike shopping would be harder and more stressful than shopping for a new car?! I would love your thoughts on my options here and any other relevant advice you might have.
6'3", 210lbs. A thoroughly amateur biker. A wannabe weekend warrior. I love to get out onto the bike paths and trails when I can. It's a therapeutic reprieve from the pressures of a family, house and a sedentary desk job. My current ride is a full suspension GT hybrid with MTB gearing. It's heavier than hell and rides like your grandpa's Cadillac. Big, squishy and comfortable but slow. I usually ride 25-28 miles when I go out. Mostly, I'm on the street and paved bike trails. Flat gravel once in a while, but I'm too old to be screaming through the trees on two wheels anymore! (44, with a history of back and knee issues.) My goal is to be faster while staying relatively comfortable and having fun.
For my new bike, I have a max budget of $2,000. (I am learning that mid-summer is not the best time to get a bike! But I don't want to wait for new models and sales in the Fall.) In terms of specs, I'm aiming squarely at the sweet spot of Shimano 105. Not really into the SRAM double click thing. Carbon fork (if not full carbon/composite) would be great. I really like the internal wiring that most of these bikes have. Other than that, I just want the lightest and best machine I can get for my 2 Gs.
Right now, I am waiting on my favorite local shop to give me a proposal for upgrading one of the lower end Kona Rove models with 105 components and maybe better wheels/tires. Other than that, here are the bikes on my radar:
- Specialized Diverge Comp E5
- Specialized Sequoia Elite 105
- Raleigh Tamland 2 (Why does Raleigh name all their models after weathermen?! Who brilliant marketing idea was that?! Though props for the 'Anchorman' reference.)
One challenge I am having is that it seems very few shops stock 60cm+ frames which makes it hard to ride a bunch of bikes before I decide. Also, I really like my local shop. It's not a chain and the people are great. But they don't sell any of the manufacturers above except Kona and Raleigh. I could always buy online and pay them to assemble and service it for me... I feel torn!
Many thanks for your advice on these rides. Any others I should really consider? I look forward to your thoughts.