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Scandinavian_dirt

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Reply with quote  #1 
I've found a really good deal on a GIANT TCX SLR 2 cyclocross bike. Alloy frame, carbon fork, tiagra 20 speed 46/36 and the RS405 hydro brakes with 12 mm thru axles front and rear, tire clearance about 45 mm.
How would it work as a strictly gravel bike? I am only interested in riding gravel, not cyclocross. Is it to stiff? A to racy geometry?

It is a quite common bike so I expect a few of you gravel people out there would know!
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OTHRider

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Reply with quote  #2 
I love mine and have had it for three seasons.  It has never been used in a cyclocross event and never will.  It was simply my less-expensive option to try this gravel grinding thing.

After 7 years of nothing but full suspension MTB riding, I found the ride to be extremely harsh.  Everything hurt after long, aggressive rides.  We don't have many mild gravel friendly rides around here, so I was normally riding my regular MTB routes. 

I loved the explosive acceleration and hated the jarring downhills.  After the first season, I had to chose between retiring the TCX or making some serious changes.  This is what worked for me - 

1.  Upgrade to a Lauf Grit fork.  Whether you like or hate the "look" there is no denying that it completely changes the handling and harshness of the ride.  My arms and shoulders felt better instantly and I could carry almost any dirt corner faster with the improved tire contact.

2.  Upgraded the POS Giant wheels to Belgium+ rims with 360 hubs.  Over 2k miles later and the rims are as straight as the day they went on.  I'm 180# and run (tubeless) 30psi front and 36 rear.  This really muted the stiff rear end and improved the loose dirt handling.

3.  With so many steep climbs on my routes, I switched to a 11-40 rear cog with a Wolf link and mid-cage RD.  My knees now love me and I easily keep up with my MTB buddies.

Me - 57 with a lifetime of accidents, broken bones, really bad knees, etc.  If you're 25 or a lifetime road rider, you may not need such "comforts".  For me, it made riding SO much nicer (I'm only riding my MTB once or twice a year)

I've run Rebecca's Private Idaho, the Lost and Found and Chino Valley Grinder since the upgrades with no issues or regrets.  This past summer I started bikepacking and the TCX is proving to be bombproof.

If money were no object, I would move onto the Cutthroat without blinking.  Good luck
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JSinLR

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Reply with quote  #3 
i looked at the Giant back in the spring but ended up buying the 2018 Trek Crockett 5 when it came out. I got a good deal at the time. Alloy frame, carbon fork SRAM Rival 1 drive train, etc. I'm of the opinion if you are just trying to get in for cheap (which I did) any of these bikes are great.

Once you put on some beefier tires (I went with 40c Kenda Flintridge) that you can run at lower pressures it makes the bikes very smooth. You'll want to eventually upgrade the wheelset since they come with sturdy but heavy stock rims. You'll also want to change out the cassette for better climbing like OTHRider says.

I really dug in and did research on geometry and optied for the Trek as it seemed to have a little more gravel friendly geometry (American CX geometry vs. Belgian CX like the Giant). However, all these bikes work great on Gravel...I was only splitting hairs at the time and got a good deal on the Trek due to a spring sale by Trek. There are lots of things you can do to make a CX bike an excellent Gravel machine.

If you are only riding for gravel make sure your bike has: the big 3 - disc brakes, thru-axles front and back, good tire clearance (at least 40c size clearance)
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