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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #1 
Ok so after reading lots of threads here since Easter I bought my first gravel grinding bike. A 2016 Raleigh Tamland. After my first mt. climb on it t 25.15 lbs with Shimano mt bike pedals on it for sure it doesn't climb like my Lemond Victoirre triple.

For that reason tonight I had my LBS put on 11 x 36 Sram rear cassette with a Road link extender. I am not the weight weenie guy and so I will never own Dura Ace unless I win the lottery(I don't play)

Since Ted Guitar help Raleigh design this bike maybe he or others can give me some advice. I really luv the bike. I only wish it was a couple of lbs. lighter.

Every upgrade I want/will make on the bike can be mid grade not cheap but not the most expensive either.

This thread is all about wheel sets. I would like to ask how much difference(weight wise) would I see if I replaced the steel fork with a carbon fork. Would I be losing some comfort switching from steel to a carbon fork?

My LBS tonight said there is a local shop that he sends wheels to get built up for guys that ride the Hilly Billy etc. He mention Hed Belgium wheels with possible Ultegra or 105 hubs since they can be rebuilt. I know nothing about bike wheels and reading up on it tonight.

I guess I do need a different rim/wheel build up since I have disk brakes on the bike right.

I will always probably be in the 185 lbs lightest to 200 lbs. weight class 

Here are some wheels/hubs I saw tonight

Hed Belgium C2 with White T11 32 hole Sapim CX-Ray bladed spokes laced 3t

Alchemy hubs

Reynolds Dv46

Velocity A23's with white hubs.

I think I have a set of Velocity's A23's built up for my road bike right now.

What makes the Hed Belgium's so popular?

How much difference is therein weight between the brass nipples and alloy nipples? How much stronger is the brass than the alloy?

I probably won't be pulling the trigger on these wheels until over the winter. My LBS mentioned that years ago custom built wheels were so much better than mail order wheels. But now online wheels are almost as good as custom wheels. If this is the case does anybody know of any good online wheel builders that might have sales over the winter to clear their inventory out or to make money over the winter when wheel building is slow.

BTW I entered my 1st Gravel Grinding ride/race. Farmer's Daughter I didn't expect it to be Easy Peasy but I read a ride report and the guy said in 25+  years of riding that it was the hardest ride he had ever done. What did I get myself into. lol Looks like a 6-7 hr. suffer fest. 

Thanks for any help.
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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oleritter

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Reply with quote  #2 
You have a lot of questions.  I'll throw out a few thoughts/answers.

Brass nipples weigh as much as 1 gram more than alloy.  Multiply by number of spokes, and it can be significant.  As significant as 60 or so grams can be.  I build mostly with alloy.

Carbon forks can be pretty comfortable to ride, but they aren't all created equally.  You might be able to lose a pound from your bike switching to carbon.  

Cartridge bearing hubs tend to weigh the least, and loose ball the most.  True loose ball are user servicable, but cartridge bearings are replaceable also.  The best cartridge bearings last a long time.  Usually it is water intrusion that does them in.  White Industries and other high end hubs use cartridge bearings.

There are a lot of great rims for disc wheels that have eclipsed the A23, IMO.  Even the Velocity Aileron.  Hed Belgiums are great, and Hed was a pioneer in the wide rim phenomenon, but there are some strong competitors now.

Don't know what you have for wheels currently, but in many cases one can lose a pound from their bike with a wheel change.  Tires is another place some weight can be shed.  And rolling resistance.




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DrSpoke

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Reply with quote  #3 
As Keith Bontrager has been purported to have once said - "strong, light, cheap - pick two."  That goes for frames, complete bikes, wheels and just about everything else related to bikes.

The first analogy that comes to mind is Porsche and Volkswagen.  That is, you can put Porsche wheels, brakes, seats, steering wheel, etc. on a VW but it's still a VW.

To complete the analogy, for me, the frame and fork is the essence of the bike.  Others opinions will differ though as some focus more on the components and want very nice parts on average frames.  I'd prefer a high quality frame w/average parts to a low quality frame w/high quality parts.  You can easily upgrade any or all of the parts but it's still a Tamland.  And that's not a bad thing as I'm sure it's a very nice bike.  And, in my opinion, the mid range priced bikes these days are very high in quality and value.  So you have a Tamland - accept that and enjoy it.  Accordingly, a new fork is not something I would consider.  Upgraded components, other than items like a saddle or pedals, would be something I would do if I broke something.

Complete bikes are generally built to a price point which is why you won't find Dura-Ace, for example, on a $2k bike.  I think you have already done the best upgrade that you can do as re gearing.  That said, generally wheels are an area where manufacturers cut costs to reach their price point.  So usually that is a great place to look for an upgrade.  Even better, often a nice set of wheels can be transferred to another bike in the future.  Also, especially with gravel bikes, I think it's nice to have at least two sets of wheels set up w/different tires and gearing to suit different purposes and conditions.

Since you're not planning to buy for a while, you have time to research.  The first step is to find out what you have as far as axles (thru or QR), axle length (dropout spacing) and freehub.  I'm not up to speed on the Tamland but most gravel bikes these days come w/thru axles, 15x100 front and 12x142 rear and 11-sp road freehubs.  So be sure any wheels you buy or build are compatible.  Or can be converted hopefully inexpensively.

Only a couple of years ago there was hardly any hubs/wheels with the above spec.  I ended up buying mtn bike wheels and converting the freehub from 10-sp mtn to 11-sp road.  But now there is a lot of product available.  That said, when you start looking at HED, White, Sapin, CX-Ray you are looking at the top of the food chain.  Which is fine but see Bontrager quote above.  Also remember that, especially if it's a 2nd set of wheels, you will have to purchase a set of tires, a pair of rotors and another cassette - easily at an additional $200 or more.

For me, I would keep the frame/fork and components pretty much as purchased.  I would treat it as a great entry level bike as I learn about the sport with the probability of an upgrade down the road if I enjoy it.  If I trashed a derailleur I'd probably upgrade the replacement.  When the chain and cassette wears out, I'd probably upgrade the replacement.

But I would definitely be looking for a wheel upgrade as you are doing.  I'd probably be looking at about a $600 set of wheels w/another $200 for the other parts.  What I did last year was to buy DT Swiss XR 1501, lightweight mtn bike wheels, on eBay.  I was fortunate to find a couple of sets around $600 and then had to upgrade the freehub for another $120.  And then add the rotors, tires and cassette.  So now I've got 3 set of wheels - one a road set w/25c tires, an all purpose set w/30c tires and a dirt oriented set w/35c tires.  Also, two cassettes - an 11-32 and 11-36.  So I've got most bases covered and a very versatile bike.

BTW, congrats on signing up for your first event.  I expect you will love it.  My big event of the year is next Sunday - the Belgian Waffle Ride.  I've done the full distance the last two years but my fitness isn't that great this year so am planning to do the shorter one.  But expect to enjoy it a lot.

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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSpoke
As Keith Bontrager has been purported to have once said - "strong, light, cheap - pick two."  That goes for frames, complete bikes, wheels and just about everything else related to bikes.

The first analogy that comes to mind is Porsche and Volkswagen.  That is, you can put Porsche wheels, brakes, seats, steering wheel, etc. on a VW but it's still a VW.

To complete the analogy, for me, the frame and fork is the essence of the bike.  Others opinions will differ though as some focus more on the components and want very nice parts on average frames.  I'd prefer a high quality frame w/average parts to a low quality frame w/high quality parts.  You can easily upgrade any or all of the parts but it's still a Tamland.  And that's not a bad thing as I'm sure it's a very nice bike.  And, in my opinion, the mid range priced bikes these days are very high in quality and value.  So you have a Tamland - accept that and enjoy it.  Accordingly, a new fork is not something I would consider.  Upgraded components, other than items like a saddle or pedals, would be something I would do if I broke something.

Complete bikes are generally built to a price point which is why you won't find Dura-Ace, for example, on a $2k bike.  I think you have already done the best upgrade that you can do as re gearing.  That said, generally wheels are an area where manufacturers cut costs to reach their price point.  So usually that is a great place to look for an upgrade.  Even better, often a nice set of wheels can be transferred to another bike in the future.  Also, especially with gravel bikes, I think it's nice to have at least two sets of wheels set up w/different tires and gearing to suit different purposes and conditions.

Since you're not planning to buy for a while, you have time to research.  The first step is to find out what you have as far as axles (thru or QR), axle length (dropout spacing) and freehub.  I'm not up to speed on the Tamland but most gravel bikes these days come w/thru axles, 15x100 front and 12x142 rear and 11-sp road freehubs.  So be sure any wheels you buy or build are compatible.  Or can be converted hopefully inexpensively.

Only a couple of years ago there was hardly any hubs/wheels with the above spec.  I ended up buying mtn bike wheels and converting the freehub from 10-sp mtn to 11-sp road.  But now there is a lot of product available.  That said, when you start looking at HED, White, Sapin, CX-Ray you are looking at the top of the food chain.  Which is fine but see Bontrager quote above.  Also remember that, especially if it's a 2nd set of wheels, you will have to purchase a set of tires, a pair of rotors and another cassette - easily at an additional $200 or more.

For me, I would keep the frame/fork and components pretty much as purchased.  I would treat it as a great entry level bike as I learn about the sport with the probability of an upgrade down the road if I enjoy it.  If I trashed a derailleur I'd probably upgrade the replacement.  When the chain and cassette wears out, I'd probably upgrade the replacement.

But I would definitely be looking for a wheel upgrade as you are doing.  I'd probably be looking at about a $600 set of wheels w/another $200 for the other parts.  What I did last year was to buy DT Swiss XR 1501, lightweight mtn bike wheels, on eBay.  I was fortunate to find a couple of sets around $600 and then had to upgrade the freehub for another $120.  And then add the rotors, tires and cassette.  So now I've got 3 set of wheels - one a road set w/25c tires, an all purpose set w/30c tires and a dirt oriented set w/35c tires.  Also, two cassettes - an 11-32 and 11-36.  So I've got most bases covered and a very versatile bike.

BTW, congrats on signing up for your first event.  I expect you will love it.  My big event of the year is next Sunday - the Belgian Waffle Ride.  I've done the full distance the last two years but my fitness isn't that great this year so am planning to do the shorter one.  But expect to enjoy it a lot.



Curious as to what kind of bike you ride Dr. Spoke. Btw thanks to you and all others for your advice. I will tell you a little bit more about myself so you can get a better feel on how to advise me. I have a super Sweet Lemond Victoirre 2006 model that I did RAAM(Race Across America) on. It's lightweight and with the triple is a great climber. I am not a weight weenie per say and understand the analogy of light,cheap,strong pick two. I doubt I will ever own Dura Ace gearing it's just not me or for me. My bike has the cheapo Bontrager Race light wheels that came standard with the bike. It has around 20,000 miles on it now and about 5000 or so miles ago the wheel split around the nipples on the rear about 4-5 places and I bought a used rim just like it at a LBS.

I think I posted before that I was hit by a drunk back in Jan. by his mirrors that struck me on my left side around the waist. I don't feel as comfortable riding the roads anymore after dark on my favorite mt. route that I have ridden for years. It probably doesn't help that a guy was hit on this same road while walking and was killed about 3-4 miles up the road from where I was hit.

Money was a deciding factor in buying the Tamland 1 as I didn't want to spend $2000+on a bike and then not maybe not like the graveling grinding sport but I am inclined to think I will really enjoy it. I think I would really luv my bike if it was about 2 lbs. lighter. I will know better after I climb my local 3 mile mt. climb with the new gears as I really struggled climbing that Mt. and that is something that really hasn't happened to me on my road bike.

I also see the Salsa warbird coming up all the time but if I have done my research reading right it doesn't have any bosses on the back to put a rack on and since I want to go tent camping in the future an all gravel grinding bike that can't go tent camping is probably out for me. What other lightweight bike frames(carbon I guess) has the capability of doing the tent camping and what kind of money are we talking about?

Last question I see everybody talking about the muck and mud in some of these rides. I just bought a new pair of Shimano wide mt. bike shoes but I am not sure I want to destroy them right away in a gravel ride.

Thanks for you help
Good luck on your Waffle ride
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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DrSpoke

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Reply with quote  #5 
Nice update - thanks.  The main thing I gather is that you are not a typical newbie.  Big respect on the RAAM - I've been following that since the Lon Haldeman days.  There are a few guys from around here that did it last year and a few more that like the Silver State 508.

I'm sorry to hear about your accident.  I just received the latest issue of Bicyling Magazine today and it has a huge feature on car/bike interactions (to put it mildly).  I've been fortunate, knock wood, over my 45+ years of cycling to have avoided that.  But have many friends who have not been so fortunate.  It's certainly part of the reason I enjoy mtn biking and to a large extent my gravel riding even though there is still a lot of road on most of those rides.  I sort of break gravel into two categories - wilderness adventure and urban adventure w/the urban part including much more pavement, see below.

As for me, I just turned 66.  I started riding, in a transportation sort of way, after graduating HS in '69 and heading off to college.  It was right at the start of the early 70s "10-speed" bike boom.  I bought a Schwinn Varsity, took it all apart, painted the frame and then couldn't put it back together.  With a little help from the Schwinn shop I was mobile.  After a couple of years I bought a Follis and rode that around campus.  Later I started a little more exploring and after graduation moved to Colorado and got more serious.  I worked in a pro bike shop for a time and bought my first pro road bike - an Alan Super Record w/Campagnolo Nuovo Record.  That was in around '76 - about the time LeMond won his junior World Championship.  A few years later, I moved to CA and bought my first mtn bike in '82 - the 2nd year of the Stumpjumper.  After a divorce in '96, I bought my first serious mtn bike, a Bontrager Privateer.  Then a few years back bought a cyclocross bike - a Scott Cx Team.  I didn't ride it much until just before the 2015 Belgian Waffle Ride.  After that ride I realized I needed lower gears, wanted hydraulic brakes and preferably a carbon frame.  That all came together in late 2015 with a Ridley X-Trail C30.  Since then I've upgraded it to carbon components, light wheels and UDi2.  Great bike.

Like you, I don't need the latest and greatest.  But I do appreciate quality even if I can't fully use it.  That usually puts me in the Ultegra/XT range for Shimano.  My road bikes are and always have been Campagnolo so the groupset for those varies from Daytona/10, a recently acquired Serotta w/Chorus/8, Record/10 and (very recently) Super Record/11.

When I was looking for a gravel bike, around May of 2015, I was focused on the then new carbon Warbird.  I waited for months but was unable to get one.  By then the X-Trail had been announced though w/o much detail.  When I couldn't get the Warbird, by then the Ridley was in production w/more frame details.  I'd always like Ridley, so I bought one of the first X-Trails in the country - through Performance Bikes.  And used it for the 2016 BWR.

As far as bikepacking, that's something I've not done but looks appealing.  In fact, I've been assembling a lot of the gear for it.  And last year, I bought a Niner RLT 9 Steel, sort of on a whim.  It's a IMBA Edition which was a special auction to benefit IMBA - and a very nice bike.  This bike is much more suitable for bikepacking though the max tire size may be a bit small for some rides around here.  Anyway, as per above re wilderness vs urban adventure, these two bikes cover the gravel range between road and mountain rather well.  That is, a lighter faster carbon gravel bike and a heavier, tougher, larger tired trail bike.  As far as a bike that does both well, there may be a few but they are certainly a different focus - weight, frame materials, max tire size, frame angles, wheelbase, etc.  I think the Warbird could do both and the Cutthroat probably too though with more of a trail focus.  Personally, I like the road style frames such as the X-Trail and the Diverge.

Don't worry about destroying the shoes - that's what they're made for [smile]  Riding won't hurt them much but you will appreciate them when having to hike-a-bike.  The lugged soles are easier to walk in and the cleats won't pack up with dirt or mud. 
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