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bopApocalypse

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Reply with quote  #1 
Finally starting my search for a new bike in earnest, and I feel like I've had a bit of a revelation:

Since I'm not racing on the road anymore, maybe get a 'gravel'/'adventure'/'latest-marketing-buzzword' bike that can cover what I had previously thought would be a quiver of 3+ bikes?

The maybe-unfortunate reality is that 90+% of the time, the bike will be used as a plain-old-road-bike, probably on 28s - so my biggest question is:

How bad (or not) is a bike that's built to fit 40c (or bigger) tires, going to be for normal road riding, on normal road tires?

Terrible?  No worse than a 15-year old aluminum Kona?  Not as good as a purpose-built road bike, but just fine for all but the most discerning bike owners?



Assuming that I'll be happy primarily using a gravel bike on the road, "what bike"?
My near-requirements are pretty short:
  • "aspirational" frame material - carbon fiber, maybe Ti.
  • clearance for 40c minimum.
  • disc brakes
My nice-to-have list is a lot longer:
  • Provisions for mounting front/rear racks
  • Bosses for fork-mounted bottle cages
  • Under-downtube bottle cage bosses
  • Double chainring (the Power2Max powermeter I've got on my road bike now will be going onto the new bike, so it'd be nice if I don't have to change more than just a BB)
  • SRAM doubletap preferred

My short list so far includes the Salsa Warbird, Niner RLT 9 RDO, Why Cycles R+, and Jamis Renegade.

Longer list includes the Specialized Diverge, Ridley X Trail, GT Grade, maybe 'cross bikes? (I've already got a CX race bike...)

Other bikes I should be looking at?  Recommendations?
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JGamm

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Reply with quote  #2 
I used a Specialized Tricross for 10 years as my road, cross, gravel, and light touring bike. I had two sets of wheels one with road tires and one with cross/gravel. About 5 years ago I bought a Specialized Roubaix and started using that as my road bike and still ended up riding the Tricross on the road just as much if not more. About a month ago I decided to buy a Why Cycles R+ and absolutely love it. I am getting ready to sell the Roubaix to buy a second set of wheels and get back to a single bike for most of my road duties be it gravel or paved.

See my post in the "Show us your gravel bike" section for details on the R+, it is a really fun and versatile bike and the customer service is top notch.
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shoota

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Reply with quote  #3 

Oh boy here we go again [smile]

My first thought when reading your list was a carbon, disc Specialized Crux or Cannondale SuperX.

What's your CX race bike?? Sounds like you may already have the bike you seek.

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dangle

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Reply with quote  #4 
I like shoota's response of 'what cx race bike do you already have' since they usually aren't too far off from a road bike. My Raleigh RXC performs admirably as a road bike with 28/30's.

The fork mounts for bottles are going to be really hard to come by on something that will ride close to a road bike.

If you're looking for all of the above (except fork mounts) The Rodeo Labs Trail Donkey is worth a look. They do a SRAM 22 build and I promise that bike will get lots of attention. It can also do the 650b thing if that's of interest. Otherwise, your list has you on the right track.

I had a Diamondback Haanjo Trail that rode pretty well as a road bike and the stock wheels were excellent with road tires. That meets everything except fork mounts and SRAM doubletap. They are priced very well with no weak points in the spec though. The bottom bracket will accept any crank too.

I also like shoota's response of '...here we go again."
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bopApocalypse

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shoota
What's your CX race bike?? Sounds like you may already have the bike you seek.

Custom filet brazed steel that doesn't fit quite the way it should, cantis, 130 rear spacing, 32c tires occasionally rub. [frown]

As much as I wish it were, it's definitely not the droid I'm looking for.  Certainly most any modern CX bike hits the carbon/clearance/discs requirements, but without any of the touring/bikepacking features, the tire clearance isn't nearly as important to me.

That said, looking at the Crux again (my club is partnered with a Specialized shop, so...), they actually do have the 3rd set of bottle bosses...  And, would potentially allow me to ditch my current 'cross bike that I'm not super happy with...  [idea]

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shoota

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bopApocalypse

That said, looking at the Crux again (my club is partnered with a Specialized shop, so...), they actually do have the 3rd set of bottle bosses...  And, would potentially allow me to ditch my current 'cross bike that I'm not super happy with...  [idea]



Yep, and I'm no Specialized fan, but that's a great bike.
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JGamm

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Reply with quote  #7 
My wife uses her Crux for cross and gravel she loves it. She will be tackling Kanza on it this weekend as well. Good fast bike.
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bopApocalypse

Custom filet brazed steel that doesn't fit quite the way it should, cantis, 130 rear spacing, 32c tires occasionally rub. [frown]

As much as I wish it were, it's definitely not the droid I'm looking for.  Certainly most any modern CX bike hits the carbon/clearance/discs requirements, but without any of the touring/bikepacking features, the tire clearance isn't nearly as important to me.

That said, looking at the Crux again (my club is partnered with a Specialized shop, so...), they actually do have the 3rd set of bottle bosses...  And, would potentially allow me to ditch my current 'cross bike that I'm not super happy with...  [idea]



What size frame are you looking for?

Zman

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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #9 
I come from a similar background of road racing. To my delight, I've found that my Ritchie Swiss Cross Canti. fills the dual (triple if you include CX) of a fast road bike, and very adequate gravel grinder. At first, I was using 2 wheels sets - one with Panaracer 38mm GK Tubeless for gravel, and one with Conti GP 4000 IIS's with Vittoria Latex tubes for pavement. Lately, I've discovered that 35mm Compass Bon Jon's with Challenge latex tubes, can handle both paved roads, and dirt and gravel equally well. No need, really, for 2 wheel sets. One bike to rule them all!
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Gronck

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Reply with quote  #10 
I have a Trek Domane for the road,but, it is defenitly not a gravel bike, so I decided to build one. I started with a Kona Rove TI frame (they're made by Lynsky) Enve fork, 40mm Schwalbe g-ones run tubeless on Industry 9 wheels, Jones H-bar, Shimano hydraulic discs. Also, because we have some steep gravel went to a Scram 42/28 chain ring with a Shimano 10 speed 11/32 cassette for max climbing power. This bike is still quick on the road and outstanding on gravel. The combination of low pressure (I run around 45 pounds and I am 165 pounds) seems to work well in most conditions so I am not fiddling with tire pressure. The Jones gives lot of hand positions and much better control than drop bars,
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DerekJ_MI

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Reply with quote  #11 
I bought a Lynskey GR250 gravel bike to be an all road bike.  I purchased the bike with 650b rims and I run 2.1 WTB Nano's on it for early spring when things are sloppy.  I bought a second and third sets of wheels too.  One for dry gravel (700 by up to 45's) and a set for the road (700 by 25).  I'm not racing.  No desire to so comfort is king.  This combination is spot on.  Great all around set up.  I also put a Lauf fork on it and an Ergon seat post and that combination sucks up gravel vibration as well as pavement issues just fine. 
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Smale Rider

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Reply with quote  #12 
Diverge might get good with the next version. SCS hub standard made it a terrible bike. New diverge is going to be better http://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/is-this-the-2018-specialized-diverge

I ride a Niner RLT RDO. I like it for being a good gravel bike for short people. No under mount for bottles, I think it would create collision issues with the BB cable routing hatch. Bottle mount on the seat tube is total nonsense, a band clamp for the FD passes through the mounting points, so you need to bodge some spacers to put bottles there. If you want sram, you're going to get rival, but I think that is true of any gravel bike really. Power2Max power meter ~should~ work, I run a 46/30 chain ring that replaces the spider on my Rotor 3D+ cranks, that is the same position as the powermeter would be.

As I built my bike its sitting at a little over 18lbs with pedals, rocking some fat 38's
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slo_rider

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bopApocalypse
...Since I'm not racing on the road anymore, maybe get a 'gravel'/'adventure'/'latest-marketing-buzzword' bike that can cover what I had previously thought would be a quiver of 3+ bikes?

The maybe-unfortunate reality is that 90+% of the time, the bike will be used as a plain-old-road-bike, probably on 28s - so my biggest question is:

How bad (or not) is a bike that's built to fit 40c (or bigger) tires, going to be for normal road riding, on normal road tires?

Terrible?  No worse than a 15-year old aluminum Kona?  Not as good as a purpose-built road bike, but just fine for all but the most discerning bike owners?...
 


Although I'm new to this forum, I've been cycling since the mid-1980s...  

In a nutshell, my short answer to your question is "not bad at all, and maybe even better than a crit bike w lightening fast/'twitchy' handling".  About 15+ years ago, while riding a sweet Indy Fab steel Planet X mounted w/ road tires, I had my "aha!" moment when I realized the Planet X felt just as lively on the road as some of the better road bikes I had ridden.  

Fast forward to today, and my carbon 'cross/gravel bike (disc brakes, thru axles) can fit 40+mm tires, but I've currently got a nice pair of 25mm road tires (Conti GP 4000S II) mounted.  And I'm enjoying it's feel on the road just as much if not more than the carbon Spec Tarmac I owned a few years ago--the slacker HA and longer CS are noticeably more stable especially when descending mountain roads.   

IMO, for anyone who doesn't need a cutting edge racing bike, I don't think there is any downside whatsoever to getting a versatile frame that can accommodate tires up to 40mm wide and have the ability to mount fenders +/or racks, multiple water bottles, etc.  

As others have posted, it just comes down to finding the frame that ticks most of your boxes and is within your budget.   For dirt, I tend to ride the widest tires that I can fit into whatever frame I'm riding, so the newer frames that can accommodate both 700x40+ and 27.5 x 2.1 tires, like Why's R+ would be on my shortlist.   

Quote:
Originally Posted by dangle
...If you're looking for all of the above (except fork mounts) The Rodeo Labs Trail Donkey is worth a look. They do a SRAM 22 build and I promise that bike will get lots of attention. It can also do the 650b thing if that's of interest. Otherwise, your list has you on the right track..."


Hadn't seen Rodeo Labs before.  Thanks dangle--I just went to Rodeo's site, and the Flaanimal is sexy AF!  Reynolds 725 steel, a crap ton of tire clearance, and mounts galore, incl fork mounts for bottles:   
[MG_1980-1046x696]
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DerekJ_MI
I bought a Lynskey GR250 gravel bike to be an all road bike.  I purchased the bike with 650b rims and I run 2.1 WTB Nano's on it for early spring when things are sloppy.  I bought a second and third sets of wheels too.  One for dry gravel (700 by up to 45's) and a set for the road (700 by 25).  I'm not racing.  No desire to so comfort is king.  This combination is spot on.  Great all around set up.  I also put a Lauf fork on it and an Ergon seat post and that combination sucks up gravel vibration as well as pavement issues just fine. 

Looks like a nice solution to the do everything equation. BTW, I was looking at the Lynskey web site yesterday -- they are having a 35% off sale one frames and complete bikes. Might be a good time to buy. Very tempting!
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PMC

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Reply with quote  #15 
I tried with my Warbird and ran Challenge Paris Roubaixs on it but eventually bought another road bike.  Actually bought a new carbon aero road and rebuilt a Vamoots that I haddn't ridden in a while.  If I'm on pavement or only hitting short sections of gravel on a ride I much prefer a road bike.


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dangle

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by slo_rider
Hadn't seen Rodeo Labs before.  Thanks dangle--I just went to Rodeo's site, and the Flaanimal is sexy AF!  Reynolds 725 steel, a crap ton of tire clearance, and mounts galore, incl fork mounts for bottles:


Yeah, I really like what Rodeo Labs is doing.

My Raleigh RXC Pro was my 'road' bike last year when wearing one of four wheelsets. I liked the RXC with a 120 stem on the road and most gravel rides, but it was awful for off-road or cx racing where I wanted to move around the bike more. I typically ran a 100 (and sometimes a 110) fairly upright for CX races. Tired of switching stems so often, I sold an older bike, added some money sitting around from side work, and bought a BH Ultralight this year. A 17 lb road bike with a fairly short wheelbase has been a lot of fun, but I really don't feel like the RXC gave much up to it for road rides. I sort of prefer the slightly longer wheelbase of the RXC for solo rides.
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Marinerecon

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bopApocalypse
Finally starting my search for a new bike in earnest, and I feel like I've had a bit of a revelation:

Since I'm not racing on the road anymore, maybe get a 'gravel'/'adventure'/'latest-marketing-buzzword' bike that can cover what I had previously thought would be a quiver of 3+ bikes?

The maybe-unfortunate reality is that 90+% of the time, the bike will be used as a plain-old-road-bike, probably on 28s - so my biggest question is:

How bad (or not) is a bike that's built to fit 40c (or bigger) tires, going to be for normal road riding, on normal road tires?

Terrible?  No worse than a 15-year old aluminum Kona?  Not as good as a purpose-built road bike, but just fine for all but the most discerning bike owners?



Assuming that I'll be happy primarily using a gravel bike on the road, "what bike"?
My near-requirements are pretty short:
  • "aspirational" frame material - carbon fiber, maybe Ti.
  • clearance for 40c minimum.
  • disc brakes
My nice-to-have list is a lot longer:
  • Provisions for mounting front/rear racks
  • Bosses for fork-mounted bottle cages
  • Under-downtube bottle cage bosses
  • Double chainring (the Power2Max powermeter I've got on my road bike now will be going onto the new bike, so it'd be nice if I don't have to change more than just a BB)
  • SRAM doubletap preferred

My short list so far includes the Salsa Warbird, Niner RLT 9 RDO, Why Cycles R+, and Jamis Renegade.

Longer list includes the Specialized Diverge, Ridley X Trail, GT Grade, maybe 'cross bikes? (I've already got a CX race bike...)

Other bikes I should be looking at?  Recommendations?
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thegreatdelcamo

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Reply with quote  #18 
I’d look at the 3T Exploro. It’s on the go fast part of the equation. Or, as they say, go slow, faster.  http://exploro.3tcycling.com

[frame-white-tab] 
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #19 
I ended up buying they Raleigh Tamland 1(because of the cost $799)at my end which weighs right at 24.5 lbs in a 57 cm frame. There was a 56 cm Jamis Renegade Expert on Ebay for 1/2 the cost. It was a 2016 and with what the tires looked like it looked like it was hardly ridden. If you want something for a rear rack I think the Salsa Warbird is out. It also depends on what price range you are looking at. If you are looking at the $1500 - $2500 range you probably could get a good ti or carbon bike. If you are looking in the $800 - $1500 range you are probably looking for steel. Looking back over you bike lists I see you are in the upper cost range so my suggestion would be go ride some and see which one has your name all over it. [biggrin]

Good luck
Zman

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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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NoCoGreg

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Reply with quote  #20 
FWIW - The weight difference between a high end road frame and a similar quality gravel/CX frame is only about a pound. A CF road and CX fork will have a quarter to a half pound difference.

The point is that one can get a GG/CX bike which till be nearly as light, responsive and as fast as a road bike. The greatest difference IMO will be in the wheels. As previously mentioned, the longer wheelbase and more predictable steering IMHO is great and one of the reasons I spend so many miles on my Dean Torres CX.

For all the folks riding 25c Conti 4000s II (or similar), I'd suggest trying some 28c tires for an even smoother and more plush ride on the road.
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #21 
NoCoGreg when I go on my road bike I want to go really fast or as fast as I can. 28c tires have too much rolling resistance. I have found other ways to get a smoother ride. The biggest difference I have found so far right now on my gravel grinder is because of the wider tires I could ride the bike one handed all day even though I wouldn't want to do do that. My road bike the distance might be 20 - 30 ft. [biggrin] On another note I tried making my Raleigh Tamland 1 stock tires last night tubeless. The front worked but the back didn't as the tires aren't to be tubeless ready and they aren't made for that. Should I just leave the front tire tubeless now? I looked at some tubeless tires tonight. The Clement mso 700 x 36 aound $55 - $65 a piece(really expensive.) The other tire I looked at was the Gravel King SK they were cheaper at the $40 range. Decisions decisions

Zman

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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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dangle

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCoGreg
FWIW - The weight difference between a high end road frame and a similar quality gravel/CX frame is only about a pound. A CF road and CX fork will have a quarter to a half pound difference. The point is that one can get a GG/CX bike which till be nearly as light, responsive and as fast as a road bike. The greatest difference IMO will be in the wheels. As previously mentioned, the longer wheelbase and more predictable steering IMHO is great and one of the reasons I spend so many miles on my Dean Torres CX. For all the folks riding 25c Conti 4000s II (or similar), I'd suggest trying some 28c tires for an even smoother and more plush ride on the road.


While the frame and fork weight is getting pretty even on the high end, it's closer to 2-2.5 lbs for total bike weight though. It's not common to see an elite level cyclocross bike under 17lbs. You can buy a sub 17 lb road bike off the shelf under 3k easy. Does 2lbs matter? Ehh.

I agree entirely about preferring longer wheelbase and more stability for longer rides. "Predictable" might mean different things to different people. I sort of feel like a sharper handling bike feels more 'predictable' to me. Definitely agree with the bigger tires. My cx bike with 31mm (measured) Schwalbes in the 50-60 psi range is wonderful.

Zman, wider tires having more rolling resistance is the exact opposites of what testing shows. This becomes even more so apparent as the road surfaces are rougher and vertical oscillation (more of a running term, but fits here) is a factor in rolling.
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dangle


While the frame and fork weight is getting pretty even on the high end, it's closer to 2-2.5 lbs for total bike weight though. It's not common to see an elite level cyclocross bike under 17lbs. You can buy a sub 17 lb road bike off the shelf under 3k easy. Does 2lbs matter? Ehh.

I agree entirely about preferring longer wheelbase and more stability for longer rides. "Predictable" might mean different things to different people. I sort of feel like a sharper handling bike feels more 'predictable' to me. Definitely agree with the bigger tires. My cx bike with 31mm (measured) Schwalbes in the 50-60 psi range is wonderful.

Zman, wider tires having more rolling resistance is the exact opposites of what testing shows. This becomes even more so apparent as the road surfaces are rougher and vertical oscillation (more of a running term, but fits here) is a factor in rolling.


Different strokes for different folks. Yeah I did have a set of 28cm tires built up with the aero spokes on a race set of wheels for me. Are they fast heck yes. Do I need them out on a training ride, probably not? For the average rider that is going to go out and do a century ride I don't think it's a big deal. For ultra distance riders or racers yeah I think it's a big deal. If you like the latest bling it is also nice. Truth be told and I consider myself in that group losing a few lbs. off the engine is a lot better bang for the buck than the newest blingy tires/wheels that will cost you $500+ Just my thoughts.

Zman

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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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slo_rider

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Reply with quote  #24 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dangle

While the frame and fork weight is getting pretty even on the high end, it's closer to 2-2.5 lbs for total bike weight though. It's not common to see an elite level cyclocross bike under 17lbs. You can buy a sub 17 lb road bike off the shelf under 3k easy. Does 2lbs matter? Ehh.


^^^My carbon thru axle cross/gravel frame weighs ~1100g, and fork weighs ~450g, which is only about 300+g (ie, less than 1 lb) heavier than a high end road racing frame + fork.  

However, as built w/ mostly Rival components, 30+mm deep alloy wheels w/ road tires, mechanical disc brakes, but without pedals (as most bike weights for comparison sake seem to omit pedals), it weighs about 18 lbs.  

AG028_01.jpg 

As shown above, with road tires, 400+ g mtb clipless pedals, small saddle bag (incl mini-tool, tire levers, and patch kit), it weighs ~19.1 lbs--and will be heavier still w/ a decent set of gravel tires.  

So I'm at least 2.5 lbs heavier overall (and ~3 to 3.5+ lbs heavier w/ gravel tires) than a typical carbon road bike, but the increased tire clearance, disc brakes, and more stable geometry are more valuable to me than saving ~3 lbs for overall bike weight.
 


Quote:
Originally Posted by dangle
Zman, wider tires having more rolling resistance is the exact opposites of what testing shows. This becomes even more so apparent as the road surfaces are rougher and vertical oscillation (more of a running term, but fits here) is a factor in rolling.
 

Yep--Bicycle Rolling Resistance compared rolling resistance for Conti GP 4000S II tires in various widths here.  All else being equal, wider tires have slightly less rolling resistance than their narrower counterparts.  Surprisingly, a 29x2.35" (ie 60mm wide) Schwalbe Big One LiteSkin designed for beach racing had a rolling resistance of 11.8 watts @ 55 psi, which is slightly less than the 12.2 watts resistance from a 25mm Conti GP 4000S II @ 120 psi.

And, all else being equal, wider tires have slightly more aero resistance than their narrower counterparts, as November showed here (using seconds gained/lost in a 40km TT, as opposed to watts of drag).  I'm not sure which savings trump the other, since it's an apples to oranges comparison (i.e. do watts saved in rolling resistance trump watts lost in aero resistance, or vice versa?).  

Zman, you said "28c tires have too much rolling resistance"--just wondering if what you felt on your 28mm tires was related more to tire construction (ie, rubber compound, sidewall thickness, casing threads per inch, etc) than actual width.  For example from that BRR site, a 25mm Conti Gatorskin has considerably more rolling resistance (20.2 watts @ 100 psi) than a 25mm GP 4000S II (12.9 watts @ 100 psi), ie 2 tires with the same width and psi can generate significantly different rolling resistance values.     
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #25 
I ride a 2006 Lemond Victoirre which is a carbon/ti bike with a triple. It's a sweetheart of a bike and a climber for sure. I still have the stock wheels on it after around 20,000 miles even though the rear went out about 4000 miles ago 5-6 splits around the nipples. I found another used just like it at a LBS. My test tells me the big difference is in the wheel and in the spokes and the weight of the wheel  versus tires. The new wheel set that I had built up had the Saphim race lite aero spokes on it and yes you can tell a big difference. I still contend though that most people would get much better results from losing a few lbs off the engine to go faster. If you want blingy wheels/tires that is another issue. I try not to get too techy or read into things and just go out and ride my bike. I do know before I bought the Lemond Victoirre that 110 - 120 lb guys use to pass me on downhills because they had a better rear free wheel hub. On my rides now I have no problem at all passing riders that weight more than me and I weigh right around 200 lbs.


Zman

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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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