Looking at gravel bikes. Would like opinions.

pridesabtch
pridesabtch Posts: 2,311 Member
I used to road race, and I currently ride a Project Madone 7 49cm (I'm only 5'1"). My husband and I are planning to ride the Allegheny Trail from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington DC next year and we're looking to get some new gravel bikes. We live in West Virginia so there are a lot of options for gravel around here varying from crushed lime rail trails to rockier climbing routes.

He is definitely going carbon, because he wants to use it as a road bike also (different tires). I'm torn between alloy with a carbon fork and a full carbon. The alloy is about a pound heavier, but I need to lose more than a pound so that isn't a real issue. Ride comfort is an issue, but I'm not sure how big a difference the carbon makes over the alloy. The alloy comes in about 1k cheaper

Price point for the bike is $3000.

Things I've looked at: All Have hydraulic brakes and Ultegra, Shimano GRX/105 or SRAM Apex - I have dealers within 60 miles for Specialized, Salsa, Cannondale, Trek.

Canyon Endurace WMX CF SL Disc 7.0; Size 3X Color Burgundy Tinted; $2399 - OK no real info on brand. Can’t try before buying
Ribble CGR Shimano 105; Size XS (technically for 5'4" - 5'7"). Upside custom paint. Price with custom paint $2505 - Love the custom paint, but unsure about fit. Can’t try before buying.
Cannondale Topstone Carbon Women's Ultegra RX2; Size XS Color Black Pearl.- Slightly over budget @ $3300, semi-local bike shop
Specialized Diverge Carbon Sport; Size 48cm, color blue/ice. $2900 - Color is so-so, but local bike shop
Specialized Diverge Elite E5 - Alloy w/ carbon fork; size 48cm. color Satin Redwood. $1700 - not carbon. Local bike shop
Trek Checkpoint SL5 Carbon, Size 49 cm, color Orange. $2900 - Know it will fit, semi-local bike shop
Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 Alloy w/ carbon fork; size 49cm. Color Purple Abyss, $2100 - not carbon but love the color. Semi-local bike shop
Salsa Warbird Carbon Apex 1, size 49cm color Red. $2599 - OK - No real info on brand, local bike shop
Orbea Terra M30, size XS, custom paint. $2999 – Like the custom paint, can’t physically try before buying. Not familiar with the brand.


Any info you have good or bad about any of these bikes would be appreciated.
-Nikki

Replies

  • Just_Ceci
    Just_Ceci Posts: 5,926 Member
    I used to road race, and I currently ride a Project Madone 7 49cm (I'm only 5'1"). My husband and I are planning to ride the Allegheny Trail from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington DC next year and we're looking to get some new gravel bikes. We live in West Virginia so there are a lot of options for gravel around here varying from crushed lime rail trails to rockier climbing routes.

    He is definitely going carbon, because he wants to use it as a road bike also (different tires). I'm torn between alloy with a carbon fork and a full carbon. The alloy is about a pound heavier, but I need to lose more than a pound so that isn't a real issue. Ride comfort is an issue, but I'm not sure how big a difference the carbon makes over the alloy. The alloy comes in about 1k cheaper

    Price point for the bike is $3000.

    Things I've looked at: All Have hydraulic brakes and Ultegra, Shimano GRX/105 or SRAM Apex - I have dealers within 60 miles for Specialized, Salsa, Cannondale, Trek.

    Canyon Endurace WMX CF SL Disc 7.0; Size 3X Color Burgundy Tinted; $2399 - OK no real info on brand. Can’t try before buying
    Ribble CGR Shimano 105; Size XS (technically for 5'4" - 5'7"). Upside custom paint. Price with custom paint $2505 - Love the custom paint, but unsure about fit. Can’t try before buying.
    Cannondale Topstone Carbon Women's Ultegra RX2; Size XS Color Black Pearl.- Slightly over budget @ $3300, semi-local bike shop
    Specialized Diverge Carbon Sport; Size 48cm, color blue/ice. $2900 - Color is so-so, but local bike shop
    Specialized Diverge Elite E5 - Alloy w/ carbon fork; size 48cm. color Satin Redwood. $1700 - not carbon. Local bike shop
    Trek Checkpoint SL5 Carbon, Size 49 cm, color Orange. $2900 - Know it will fit, semi-local bike shop
    Trek Checkpoint ALR 5 Alloy w/ carbon fork; size 49cm. Color Purple Abyss, $2100 - not carbon but love the color. Semi-local bike shop
    Salsa Warbird Carbon Apex 1, size 49cm color Red. $2599 - OK - No real info on brand, local bike shop
    Orbea Terra M30, size XS, custom paint. $2999 – Like the custom paint, can’t physically try before buying. Not familiar with the brand.


    Any info you have good or bad about any of these bikes would be appreciated.
    -Nikki

    I know nothing about gravel bikes, but I have an Orbea road bike that I love.

    I have a favorite local bicycle shop, that is great for servicing the bike. This heavily influenced my decision to buy Orbea. The custom paint sealed the deal.
  • I know a couple of people who ride Canyon bikes and both love them and the level of spec they got for their money. Neither have had any problems with them but I guess that is the biggest risk with them, if you do get problems there is no local dealer to sort it out.
  • pridesabtch
    pridesabtch Posts: 2,311 Member
    thanks for the brand info. It’s good to hear from people who have first (or second) hand experience
  • Btw, I added a gravel bike to my collection earlier this year but not had chance to ride it too much as yet.... I got a 2nd hand one of these, I would say probably quite a bit heavier than you are looking at but this will give you an idea of what a gravel bike is capable of... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUNahi2IECk
  • pridesabtch
    pridesabtch Posts: 2,311 Member
    Cool thanks!
  • plcarpenter
    plcarpenter Posts: 83 Member
    I have a specialized diverge comp, I totally love it, I also made it tubeless and it handles awesome in some technical sections.
  • GrindGravel
    GrindGravel Posts: 49 Member
    Canyon is great bang for the buck. I have a friend with one and she loves it. The Salsa Warbird is a super popular choice in the gravel scene, they ride nice, but more racey. I'd suggest you also check out the Salsa Cutthroat which can race, but has a bit of utility as well. The Warbird was actually my second choice when I bought my Kona Libre. The Libre won out due the comfort of ride, the ability to race it, commute with it and bike pack with it. It's super light and has a million mounts. The others are fine as well. The decision should boil down to your needs and how it rides.
  • pridesabtch
    pridesabtch Posts: 2,311 Member
    Thanks @GrindGravel

    I'm leaning toward a Scott Contessa Addict for fit. I'm really short and the dimensions suit me well. Unfortunately, it looks like I'll have to wait for them to release their 2021 line. Totally bummed, I loved the 2020, but there are zero XS frames out there.
  • GrindGravel
    GrindGravel Posts: 49 Member
    Yeah, bikes especially in rare sizes are hard to find at the moment. Scott is another brand that offers good value/performance balance.
  • pridesabtch
    pridesabtch Posts: 2,311 Member
    Well I have officially given my bike budget to my daughter to buy a single scull. With Covid affecting rowing, they are going to be racing more singles, and our team doesn’t have a light weight single so Tim & I are going to postpone our bike tour and spend the cash on her boat. I feel good about this.