Gravel Bike Help - GROAD catergory

Hi, All - I spend a great deal of time in Steamboat, CO and have typically split my time between road riding and mountain biking. There are so many great routes there mixing pavement and gravel that I would like to replace my road bike with a new ‘groad’ bike. With multiple young kids my rides are now shorter (40-60 mi), so I do like to put the pedal to the metal when I head out and pack in as much as I can in a short time.
While I’m not sure I can overcome the odd look of the lauf grit fork, I was intrigued by the recent field test review of the Lauf Siegla (which was conducted in Steamboat nonetheless). The value of the ‘race wireless’ build is tremendous, though I have reservations about ordering a bike without ever having sat on it.

Bikes I’m currently considering (based somewhat on availability) are:
–Cervelo Aspero (GRX 815 Di2 vs Rival XLPR). I’m not convinced the aspero-5 is worth the added cost.
–OPEN UP (they have an EKAR build that is in my price range; though I’d prefer a wireless drivetrain for ease of maintenance)
–Lauf Siegla Race Wireless
–Rodeo Labs Trail Donkey 3.1 (Rival XPLR) - while not as road oriented as the others on this list, their shop is in my backyard which is intriguing. Unfortunately, I can’t find much in the way of reviews so I’m interested if anyone has experience with this bike.

The new Factor Ostro gravel rig looks amazing but is out my price range. I’ve also considered the Crux but the Aspero seems to be a much better value.

I’d love to hear thoughts on the above selections or if there are other bikes I should be looking at in the 5k-6.5k range.

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What about Trek Checkpoint or Scott Addict? Both have CT reviews as well. Additionally I‘d just watch the gravel worlds tomorrow as the course is similar to what you described

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I’ve looked at both but haven’t been able to find either in my size or desired build.

The BMC Kaius 01 Three would be in your price range and looks like it’d meet your criteria.

Maybe check out the Revel Rover. Another Colorado company.

Have you checked with Sports Garage in Boulder? I’m not sure what they have in stock right now, but a couple years ago when I was considering a new gravel bike they were willing to do a decent price on a Parlee Chebacco or a Santa Cruz Stigmata, both of which are quite well-liked bikes.

I don’t think you really need a bike like the Lauf or Rodeo Labs for the gravel around Steamboat. They don’t call it champagne gravel for nuthin’!

My Aspero was fantastic this year for SBT….couldn’t imagine a better bike for those roads. Now, if you also want to take in some trails, then perhaps the Lauf or Rodeo Lab might be of benefit.

Have you considered what they call endurance bike? These days most gravel bikes are overkill for riding on gravel, especially those with suspensions and the newest gen of endurance bike have enough clearance to use 35 to 38mm gravel tires.

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I own a Lauf Siegla Race Wireless and it is a fantastic bike. It is really best for hard-core gravel and even some single track. It is available with or without the suspension fork and It is single-speed only - no accommodation for a front derailleur. In my view a “groad” bike and “all-road” bike are kind of along the same spectrum. I think that either of these are better equipped with a 2x drivetrain, or at least the ability to run 2x if desired. The Seigla has way more tire clearance than you need for a “groad”/“all-road” bike. They do have two other models which may be better suited to what you describe. I have a couple of custom all-road / groad bikes. I have these made with clearance for up to 38mm tires and a slightly slack front end as compared to a pure road bike. For these bikes I use a 2x drivetrain with 48/32 cranksets and a cassette with a 30 or 33 largest cog. My gravel bikes have an even shallower head tube angle and more tire clearance and 1x drivetrains. My “adventure” bike has the geometry similar to my “groad” bikes with a tire clearance of 700/45 or 650b/55 (approx.) and a 2x drivetrain. I think you can really do most gravel type rides with 30-35mm tires, realistically. But doing a substantial road ride on 45mm gravel tires is not as fun…

Steamboat Springs - well that is easy - get a Bingham and mount a Lauf SL
Or then a Moots … :grinning:

As someone else said, some of the endurance road bikes provide the tire clearance you need. I bought a groad bike for very similar reasons (a Ridley Kanzo Fast with Ekar). Compared to my dedicated road setup, I primarily only notice the weight difference - especially on paved climbs (about 1.3Kg diff). My recommendation for your purpose is that you pay attention to the weight of the bike you plan to buy - and account for pedals, cages, etc. A lot of the gravel bikes out there can get real heavy and you will notice it if your plan is to groad. I’ve used my Ridley for a few road fondos when the forecast called for heavy rain and discs with 32mm tires is just perfect. Also, the choice of 1X with Ekar is great. I have a bike with the setup as per the link below and it offers more range than a 50/34 with 11-28. The 13 cogs are well thought out and I haven’t missed a 2X setup when riding it. With just over 6000Kms, I haven’t had to adjust anything either - it has been trouble free. Perhaps take that Open with Ekar for a spin if it has the right price.

If you are in Colorado you have innumerable options for factory bikes, as have been mentioned. But of course if you want local
you also have tons of options - Bingham/Erickson, Dean, Moots just name a few of the more custom fabricators. Dean is actually under the umbrella of Janus, which also owns Merlin and Ionic. I recently received a custom Dean Ti all-road bike with Paragon z-couplers for travel and it’s been great - 38mm clearance and hydraulic disc brakes. 2x drivetrain. I also have a No 22 Ti gravel bike with a 1x setup and clearance for 45mm tires - also absolutely fantastic. Too many options out there! I think first decide what tire clearance you realistically need and what drivetrain setup is best match for your needs. Do you want a bike you can use for spirited group road rides and the occasional light gravel or do you need a gravel bike that’s passable for an occasional road ride? I’m not sure there is truly one bike that is perfect for both…hence the all-road/groad category. Another way to look at it is to ask the question if you looking to do road and gravel on the same ride, or do you need a bike to do gravel and road but not on the same ride. With an AXS group, for example, you could set the bike up for gravel with wide 650b tires, 1x, dropper post, suspension stem for gravel. For an upcoming road ride you could change to narrower 700c wheels/tires, 2x drivetrain, non-dropper post, and fixed stem. Kind of a pain to do all that, but certainly doable on a seasonal basis.

SB

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I would strongly recommend the Niner RLT RDO (RDO being the carbon option of the RLT, vs the Steel or Alloy) lineup. Same frame across all build levels, but with an opportunity to pick a pre-catered spec.

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These Tommaso Sentiero gravels excellent bike. I’m a casual bike rider. I use it for exercise and leisurely riding. This bike fits both those needs. It’s also a nice looking bike. If making one complaint, it would be the discomfort of the seat. I don’t know if this is specific to this model or any other model, but when you ride for an hour or longer, your rear end pays a price. Overall, a purchase I wouldn’t hesitate to make again.

Another option to consider is the Allied Echo in their new EX Rival build. Rival AXS, threaded BB, non-proprietary stem and handlebar. It has the ability to change geometry so you can run 30mm tires in “road” mode or 40mm tires in “gravel” mode. Seems like most people just leave it in gravel mode and it behaves just like an endurance bike. It’s right in your budget as well.

You mentioned you thought about the Crux, its expensive as a built bike, i bought mine as a frame and built it in a similar spec for less ( still expensive).
It does make a fantastic Groad bike though, very light and it handles beautifully.
might be worth another look ?

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I agree that the EX Echo looks like a great option. It has similar geometry (in gravel mode) to the Crux, and is close in weight.
@James_Huang did a great review of it, although he noted that “I’d like to see a steeper seat tube angle in smaller sizes” but when I look at the size 52, the Echo has the same ST angle as the Crux (74) and James’ review of the Crux was very positive. So maybe Allied steepened the ST angle since James review.

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Another option is the Time ADHX. It’s more of an “all road” bike vs a burley gravel specific bike. I’m very seriously thinking of selling my Ultimate and getting either the Time or the Allied echo to go along with my Allied Able that is used for pure gravel

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Among your choices I’d check out Rodeo Labs then maybe the Aspero. I’ve owned both GRX and AXS and would recommend GRX if you want the most gearing range. AXS is great if you travel with the bike and need to take it apart.

But if you have Rodeo Labs in your backyard it seems silly not to at least call them and see if they have a build that sits your needs. My recent build was a Ti groad bike and I went to a builder, Sage, that is one state away from me. Dave, the owner of Sage, has replied to every one of my emails within an hour or two and provided lots of suggestions and technical support while I built the bike from the frameset myself. I love that level of service and likely will go boutique from here on out.

Did you make a decision?

I definitely favor a gravel bike with road geometry that can fit 45mm tires. You can easily run 32mm GP5k on one wheelset and 38-45mm tires on another. Run GRX di2 and you are set. I would not do the groad build using only one wheelset.