24 hr/240mile/gravel bike race-Bike recommendation

Hi All!
As the title says, I’m doing a 24hr/240 mile gravel bike race…The DAMn. Day Across Minnesota in August.
I’ve done 3 Ironman, mountain and fat bike races. Looking for the most value bike let’s say around $1500 or less. See this website (Bikesdirect.com).

Also, my FTP is 250 if that makes any difference. I ride a 56cm road bike, I’m 48 and 170lbs. I’m a middle of the pack guy.

I rode the DaMN last year. The main thing I would look for if I were you would be clearance for at least 42’s.

If you already have one a hardtail mtb with the addition of aero bars would be a good choice. 2nd place last year rode just that.


I love my Salsa Warbird 105 gravel bike.


Some info around that price point here:


I would make sure to get a gravel bike that takes 650B wheels

I would say what ever bike has room for decent tire width and is the most comfortable. 24 hrs is a long time on the bike. comfort will trump everything else.

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I’m really bad at trying to recommend a bike at a certain price point – but I’ll give you some general info from my POV on gravel bikes, in case it helps.

Currently – my gravel bike is a Norco Search Carbon Ultegra, and I love it. It has clearance for 38mm tires. And I use 35mm Schwalbe G-One tires on it. I use it to race gravel as often as I can – which is 3-4 times per year.

However, when I bought that bike I wasn’t buying it as dedicated gravel rig, which is how I use it now. I was buying it as my gravel/road bike and swapping wheels. Now I have a dedicated road bike, so I only use it for gravel racing and cold weather training outdoors.

If I was going to buy a hybrid gravel/road bike today, I would take an enormously hard look at Allied Alfa Allroad. I have heard nothing but great things about it.

If I was going to buy a dedicated gravel whip today, I would definitely buy some version of the Open U.P. – for a bunch of reasons…not the least of which is the tire versatility, and it takes 700 and 650B tires. Most of the gravel I race on is hard dirt roads with some loose on top of it. But I’ve heard that Kansas, Iowa and Minnesota are much looser, deeper and choppier – I would want the 650B for that. If your course has any sandy patches or singletrack…you’ll want more volume.

I have also heard really good things about the new Trek Checkpoint. And I’ve always been a little fascinated by the Cannondale Slate – another bike that takes 650B and has some front suspension.

I know all of these are outside of your specified price range, but if you look them up and decide what feature will be most important to you…you can find a used, or less expensive bike, with some of those qualities.

One more thing you might consider – for a 24 hour race, I might think about using a hardtail mountain bike.

This whole endeavor sounds brutal and unappealing to me :wink:

Good luck!


I’m not doing DAMn this year. Too many other races. Next year I’ll be doing it on my Kona Rove NRB. I originally bought it with this event in mind. 650b alloy. Perfect for DAMn I think.

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I narrowed down my bike choices this year to a Specialized roubaix elite carbon 105 and a specialized diverge comp carbon 105 as the geometry’s both seem to be endurance based. I ended up with the roubaix as the dealer was clearing them out at 35% off where the best I could find a diverge is 10@ off. Worked out to 2507 for the roubaix and 3700 for the diverge. I absolutely love the geometry of the roubaix and also the future shock and flexing seat post. Most comfortable bike I have owned for long distance riding but I am coming from a Giant tcx slr2 cycle cross. I am now looking at the specialized diverge e5 comp 105, Same bike as above but an aluminum frame with mechanical discs. Being blown out up here in Canada for 1795 or around `1400.00 USA.
Good luck!

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I would personally buy cheaper/used aluminum gravel bike with plenty of tire clearance and install lauf grit fork on it.

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Yes Sir!
I purchased the Diverge Comp last Summer and am very happy with it. Super comfortable and the bike is bombproof.

I’d ride 24 hours on this bike without issue.

I believe the E5’s might fall into your price point.

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Surly midnight special or Salsa journeyman are both really good value and versatile.


I finished Trans Iowa, 345 miles, on my Salsa Warbird - aluminum version using 700x38 one year and 700x43 the next. I love that bike. Can’t wait to do the DaMN but I have a conflict this year.

All pretty good bike recommendations so far in the forum. My $0.02: get a recent dedicated gravel endurance bike like Salsa Warbird, Journeyman, Cannondale Topstone or Slate, Trek Checkpoint, Lauf, Donnelly, etc. Ideally find a dealer that has multiple options so you can compare (e.g., Warbird is more racy than Journeyman or Vaya). Depends on your budget! Used is OK if last few years. Tubeless is essential and I would ride at least 38c tires, 40-45c is common now.

A cross bike or the early generation cross/gravel bikes (i.e., up through about 2014) are not going to be that comfortable over 12 hours and tend to have skimpy tire clearance. I think that 650B is overrated, I like 700c, but if you want cushy wide, go for it.

Get in several long (100+ mile) rides leading up to it, and also make sure you invest in a great light system with backup options. With the midnight start, you have to run lights 5-6 hours at first, then potentially another 4+ the following night. Don’t trust battery life specs, they are often wrong, and a dead light can result in DNF.

Also a good option - 29er should be able to run wide 700c gravel tires. Bobby at Land Run actually says that something like a Surly Karate Monkey is a good choice, especially if you want to go single speed. (Just for kicks at DaMN, but an actual advantage at a muddy Land Run.)

Great advice! Thanks! I have a 29er so could put 42’s on it. I was also thinking of putting aerobars or drop bars like the cowchipper or woodchippers on it.

Hey Notso,
You are right about comfort! I did the Tuscobia Ultra Winter Marathon last year on a fat bike, took 15 hours!

Thanks Nashkato for the lights insight also. And the tire size recommendations too.
I have a 29er, so I’ll get some 40’s or bigger.

I’m pretty sure I’m gonna get a new fuji jari this year. I am leaning toward the carbon model, seems like a really good deal but the aluminum ones look solid. I think they’re 650/700 capable so that is a nice option to have.

AOlson and others,
Any thoughts on tires? If I use my 29er. I’m a novice so the rim says ETRTO 622x23C, ETRTO TIRE WIDTH 37-62mm. Recommend any specific tire and how does that compare to 650 and 700 as mentioned in other posts. If I were to buy a set of tires online, what dimensions should I get?

29er and 700c are the same diameter rim and the tires are compatible outside of extreme differences in width. Bontrager GR1, Bontrager XR1, WTB Riddler 45, and Compass Snoqualmie Pass are options you could look at depending on how much tread, or lack of, you want.