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Kalashnikirby

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Hi there and greetings from Germany,

First off, let me say that I've always wondered why manufacturers just don't give their road bikes a little more tyre clearance for some more fun off-road!
Anyways, I've been looking for a new bike for a total beginner, a friend of mine who has to give up running because of knee problems. As he says, he just wants to ride everywhere and at any given time, and I know a MTB wouldn't make sense where we live. So I soon took a gravel bike into consideration - and pretty much presuaded that, being a dentist, most cyclocross bikes with their low positioning are too much of a pain for his back (I know what I'm talking about, 'cus I happy to study the same thing [wink] ), thus we should be looking for some kind of endurance geometry.

I'm talking about bikes like the Felt VR30 and Kona Esatto Deluxe, which could be ordered for about 1300€. While these aren't fully advertised as gravel bikes, they can fit 35mm G-Ones which should be perfect for our roads and woods.
Now there aren't too many "true" gravel bikes on the german market, maybe we can call these "adventure" bikes? I did find the Bulls Grinder though - a German brand, apparently they're now selling in the USA too? - but it it would be 200€ more expensive with 105 hyd. spec, like the bikes mentioned above
Lastly, what would be your advice for a 189cm tall guy with longish arms and legs? I think my friend doesn't know what he exactly needs, being a beginner and all, although road bikes seem to be more than long enough in my eyes. I've ridden MTB before I got to road biking though, so I might be biased [wink]

Many Thanks!
Christian
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BluesDawg

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Reply with quote  #2 
The less experience you have, the more you will benefit by taking these questions to a bike shop and working with them to get your friend on a good bike for him and get it set up so that it fits him right.

It does sound like you are thinking along the right lines as for what type of bike will work for him.
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oleritter

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Have you looked at Planet X and On One?
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Kalashnikirby

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
The less experience you have, the more you will benefit by taking these questions to a bike shop and working with them to get your friend on a good bike for him and get it set up so that it fits him right.

It does sound like you are thinking along the right lines as for what type of bike will work for him.


Well, easier said than done, as the LBS here don't really have nice gravel bikes, let alone one and the same model in both L and XL, so he won't have the opportunity to compare them on his own. However, from my own experience, as I also have somewhat longer arms and legs, I suppose XL is actually the better choice for many bikes, as he might feel more "cramped" on L ones - I'll talk with him on monday, he's already sat on a few.

I haven't considered Planet X so far, however the Full Monty looks awesome. Will have to consider that too!
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oleritter

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalashnikirby


Well, easier said than done, as the LBS here don't really have nice gravel bikes, let alone one and the same model in both L and XL, so he won't have the opportunity to compare them on his own. However, from my own experience, as I also have somewhat longer arms and legs, I suppose XL is actually the better choice for many bikes, as he might feel more "cramped" on L ones - I'll talk with him on monday, he's already sat on a few.

I haven't considered Planet X so far, however the Full Monty looks awesome. Will have to consider that too!


just noticed name, Kalashnikrby, hmmm...


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owly

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Reply with quote  #6 
The Alpkit Sonder Camino Alu is 1149euro for a Rival1 hyd setup. Might be worth a look.

If you're considering purchasing a bike without riding it, I'd get your friend to measure themselves up using a fit calculator like the CompetitiveCyclist one. Then check out the frame geo match when looking at bikes.
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Kalashnikirby

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Reply with quote  #7 
I've tried the Canyon bike fit calculator, but wasn't too convinced, as changing the arm and leg length didn't affect the outcome as much as it should.

Alpkit looks promising, too, but due to the brexit I wouldn't order from GB (one of the very first negative consequences....), who knows how warranty and after sales service will work in 2 years?

I'm ging to suggest my friend to try out a roadbike with a similiar endurance geometry and have me judge which one looks like the better fit. Maybe after a few years in MTB and Roadbikes I might have an idea - though it is fascinating how some people manage on far too large or small rides for sure [wink]
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalashnikirby
I've tried the Canyon bike fit calculator, but wasn't too convinced, as changing the arm and leg length didn't affect the outcome as much as it should. Alpkit looks promising, too, but due to the brexit I wouldn't order from GB (one of the very first negative consequences....), who knows how warranty and after sales service will work in 2 years? I'm ging to suggest my friend to try out a roadbike with a similiar endurance geometry and have me judge which one looks like the better fit. Maybe after a few years in MTB and Roadbikes I might have an idea - though it is fascinating how some people manage on far too large or small rides for sure [wink]


Well I have always ridden 57 cm Lemond road bikes. I do have long arms so in a dress shirt my sleeve length is 34/35. That being said the Raleigh Tamland 1 that I bought the 56 cm is the right fit so every bike company's bikes fit different is my guess.

Zman

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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalashnikirby
Hi there and greetings from Germany,

most cyclocross bikes with their low positioning are too much of a pain for his back (I

I'm not sure that lower back comfort and CX bikes are mutually exclusive. At least for me. I've been riding and racing road bikes since 1958. I had to quit racing 9 years ago, a little after my 65th birthday - mostly because of chronic lower back pain. About a year ago, I took up riding on rural unpaved roads in my area. At first, I purchased a relatively inexpensive DB Haajno Comp gravel grinder. Nice bike for the money. But, owing to my long experience with sleek light weight racing road bikes, I found the bike clunky. I switched to a Ritchey Swiss Cross Canti CX bike which I built up with high end wheels and components. It weighs slightly under 20 pounds, handles the dirt roads around here with no issues, and is one of the most comfortable of the many bikes I have owned over the years. Unless you plan to shred on some nasty trails, given your requirements, I think that some of the CX bikes on the market today will better meet your needs, than some of the heftier so called gravel grinders that all the manufacturers a pumping out.
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Smooth2o

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Reply with quote  #10 
Rose makes a nice gravel bike.  German made....
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GHC

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Reply with quote  #11 
Ridley Xtrail ..... produced right next door in Belgium.

Website shows dealers throughout much of Germany.

I ride an Xtrail carbon and love it.....  700x36 max tubeless. 

https://www.ridley-bikes.com/us/en/bikes/allroad
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NoCoGreg

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Reply with quote  #12 
One man's opinion regarding fit and a method of fitting...

I setup my CX and gravel bikes to be very similar to my road bike.  
The seat-to-bottombracket position on all my road/gravel/CX bikes is identical.  I want the same pedal motion and same muscle extension etc...
Seat to bar length is very similar between road and gravel - typically 1 to 1.5 shorter on the gravel bike.
Handlebar drop relative to seat is typically 2 to 2.5 cm less (ie bars are higher on the gravel and CX bikes.
My gravel/CX bars have slightly less drop and reach than my road bikes - I'm guessing about another cm or so. 

Since you cannot find any gravel bikes to demo or get fitted on, my suggestion on finding the right frame size would be to get a proper fitting on a road bike and use these dimensions to guide the gravel bike selection.  There is no reason a shop cannot provide a more upright and relaxed fit on a road bike.  Once you are confident in the road bike fit, now find a gravel bike of similar proportion.   The additional fork offset (rake) and longer chain stays will change the ride and handling of the bike, but really have no affect on the fit.

BTW - I'm also quite impressed with the On One. It provides a lot of bike for (IMO) a very good price.  Unfortunately for me the clearance for the rear tire (38mm I believe) is too little.  I'm actually thinking of moving to 42 or 45 mm for a bit more float in the soft gravel I occasionally encounter.

Happy shopping,
Greg
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCoGreg
One man's opinion regarding fit and a method of fitting...

I setup my CX and gravel bikes to be very similar to my road bike.  
The seat-to-bottombracket position on all my road/gravel/CX bikes is identical.  I want the same pedal motion and same muscle extension etc...
Seat to bar length is very similar between road and gravel - typically 1 to 1.5 shorter on the gravel bike.
Handlebar drop relative to seat is typically 2 to 2.5 cm less (ie bars are higher on the gravel and CX bikes.
My gravel/CX bars have slightly less drop and reach than my road bikes - I'm guessing about another cm or so. 

Since you cannot find any gravel bikes to demo or get fitted on, my suggestion on finding the right frame size would be to get a proper fitting on a road bike and use these dimensions to guide the gravel bike selection.  There is no reason a shop cannot provide a more upright and relaxed fit on a road bike.  Once you are confident in the road bike fit, now find a gravel bike of similar proportion.   The additional fork offset (rake) and longer chain stays will change the ride and handling of the bike, but really have no affect on the fit.

BTW - I'm also quite impressed with the On One. It provides a lot of bike for (IMO) a very good price.  Unfortunately for me the clearance for the rear tire (38mm I believe) is too little.  I'm actually thinking of moving to 42 or 45 mm for a bit more float in the soft gravel I occasionally encounter.

Happy shopping,
Greg


Greg:

Thanks for this info as I am still trying to learn lots at my end. All these adjustment/measurements I guess you learned from the school of hard knocks trial and error. Would you say that most people kind of have the same set up. I understand the bottom bracket to seat adjustment being the same as you do for sure want to have the same pedal stroke on all of your bikes.

You stated that the seat to bar length was 1.5 and I guess you still  mean cm and since 2.54 cm equals one inch we are taking less than a 1/2" right. Do you have this closer so you can be more responsive in sketchy stuff gravel riding than you wouldn't necessarily have when road riding. 

I am not sure what you mean on the handle bar drop. I guess the best way for me to explain what I think it is that the Ram Horn handlebars are turned up more. I thought you would always want the top of the hoods kind of level so you didn't have as much pressure on your hands while riding in the hoods.

At my end I was diagnosed with Shingles this morning and am in major pain. I am a little bit pissed to say the least because.

1. I asked the Doc for the shot last check up and he wouldn't give it to me.

2. I am now not able to go to the Farmer's Daughter ride this weekend in Chatham NY which was going to be my 1st ride/race.

It started out with some pain in both side of my neck and then moved down into my right collar bone overnight. To say I was in major pain would be an understatement. Earlier today I had trouble even moving my right arm.

Zman

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phinphin

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IMG_2633.JPG
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phinphin

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Just added Pic of my new gravel ride. Merckx strasbourg 71 carbon. fast acceleration on the road and the clement MSO 36 seem more than adequate off road. Took it on the aqueduct trails today and it handled like a champ. A real quiver killer indeed!!! A little surprised I haven't seen any other user reviews on this forum. I guess the Merckx is a real sleeper?

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Kalashnikirby

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bobknh and Greg, thanks for the excellent input.
I've also suggested my friend to look for similiar bikes with rather comfort oriented Geo's. But being the newb that he is (we all start somewhere [biggrin]), he hasn't gained so much from that. Or maybe sat on the wrong bikes, dunno, wasn't there. I just strongly recommend him to look for XL frames, given that for gravel purposes, a 1cm shorter stem and different bars won't interfere with the cornering and general off-road performance like a 120-130m stem on a frame with too little reach would. In fact, I sometimes feel 100mm ist more than enough on my road bike, but of course this depends on personal preferences. Also, the bar drop will be too high on a L bike with less than 180mm Headttube length

He's pretty much settled for the Canyon Inflite - go check it out on their webiste - and I can't really recommend many other bikes, as the canyon is just such a universal one. Comfortable geo, pannier mounts, best spec and weight... What more could you ask for? There is enoguh room for cockpit changes if the initial setup isn't perfect. To be sure, I've told him to find his frame size on his own, but again this might prove difficult for a beginner - he's going to order it sooner or latter, we'll see if he tries something else before that. I'll keep you guys posted and I'm curious whether my sizing estimate is going to be correct. Should the bike not fit, he could even swap it for a different sized one.

Rose makes lovely bikes, but they've steadily increased in price over years. Their "biketown" is only a little more than 1 hrs away from us, however their gravel bikes are carbon machines for at least 2,5k€ and their CX bikes are all rather traditional in terms of Geo. Not that I would'nt go there, but in addition to that, you have to wait a whole 4 weeks until you receive your bike because you can chose different wheelsets, cockpits etc...
On One is problematic for the reasons mentioned above - what a shame. I wouldn't buy a Ridley online for a LBS price. My friend and I probably can't even afford looking at that Merckx, but what sweet bike it is!!
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oleritter

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phinphin
Just added Pic of my new gravel ride. Merckx strasbourg 71 carbon. fast acceleration on the road and the clement MSO 36 seem more than adequate off road. Took it on the aqueduct trails today and it handled like a champ. A real quiver killer indeed!!! A little surprised I haven't seen any other user reviews on this forum. I guess the Merckx is a real sleeper?



I'll take one in orange, please-

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Marinerecon

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
The less experience you have, the more you will benefit by taking these questions to a bike shop and working with them to get your friend on a good bike for him and get it set up so that it fits him right.

It does sound like you are thinking along the right lines as for what type of bike will work for him.
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NoCoGreg

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurichman

-snip-

You stated that the seat to bar length was 1.5 and I guess you still  mean cm and since 2.54 cm equals one inch we are taking less than a 1/2" right. Do you have this closer so you can be more responsive in sketchy stuff gravel riding than you wouldn't necessarily have when road riding. 

I am not sure what you mean on the handle bar drop. I guess the best way for me to explain what I think it is that the Ram Horn handlebars are turned up more. I thought you would always want the top of the hoods kind of level so you didn't have as much pressure on your hands while riding in the hoods.

At my end I was diagnosed with Shingles this morning and am in major pain. I am a little bit pissed to say the least because.

1. I asked the Doc for the shot last check up and he wouldn't give it to me.

2. I am now not able to go to the Farmer's Daughter ride this weekend in Chatham NY which was going to be my 1st ride/race.

It started out with some pain in both side of my neck and then moved down into my right collar bone overnight. To say I was in major pain would be an understatement. Earlier today I had trouble even moving my right arm.

Zman

Zman,
First, really sorry to hear about the shingles.  A couple other friends recently had shingles and the pain sounds excruciating.  My wife and I are planning to get the "shot"!

To answer your questions, yes all my dimensions were in cm.  I wanted a slightly more upright position. Moving the bars up reduces reach so the net of moving the bars back and up is a significant change in position.  

As for the reach of the bars, take a look at this link where the retailer specifies the reach and drop of the bars.  Drop is how much lower the flats are at the bottom versus the flats at the stem.  The reach is from the stem to the farthest point forward of the bars. The reach will give an indication of how much one will stretch out when moving from the flats by the stem to the brifters (brake levers).

https://www.competitivecyclist.com/fsa-wing-pro-compact-handlebar?skidn=FSA000G-GRYGR-S40CM&ti=UExQIENhdDpCaWtlIEhhbmRsZWJhcnM6MToyOmNjQ2F0MTAwNDg5

Gravel bars tend to have less reach and drop than traditional road bars.  To make things even more complicated and confusing, the dirt drop bars have an even different shape with lots of flair and are intended for a very different position.  Here's an intro...
http://g-tedproductions.blogspot.com/2008/10/drop-bar-for-mountain-biking-part-i.html


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