Best Racing Gravel Bike 2024

This is what I did when I replaced the PF BB in my T-Lab. Wheels with serviceable bearings. Little more work than threaded, a LOT less work than PF.

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You got it. Thread-togsther with serviceable bearings. Buy the 40$ bearing press and its pretty much hassle free.

I’ve only ridden number 5 on the OP list. Cervelo Aspero 2022 model. Most beautiful looking bike I’ve ever ridden. But it was stiff, jarring, and felt like riding my wife’s Cervelo S5 on gravel.

Mind you, this was Santa Monica / SoCal “gravel” which my 2020 Scott Spark WC 900 would probably be faster on. Sure it’s 3 pounds heavier, but the suspension with twinloc takes care of that. The SoCal gravel fundraiser event I did down there last year was a bunch of gravel bikers riding a smooth-ish MTB course. Mostly rocky, rutted, access roads with chunk rock. I still swear there is a gap in the market for a racy ‘gravel’ bike that has serious suspension. I think the gap exists because nobody wants a drop bar bike with 100mm front suspension except me, my wife, and Lael Wilcox.

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I know there’s a thread on it somewhere, but probably before 12 speed. What’s the feeling on 1x these days for a Gravel that (as part of the justification for n+1) will also double as a winter road bike.

Road use will be predominantly club spins but perhaps some sportives including RVV - 40-44 sounds great for the Koppenberg and Patterberg, but there’s another 200+km so will 40-10 be enough the other end?

fwiw I really like the new grail, but the SL is my price point, and I really wanted the internal storage so probably back to building something up!

I really like my 1x gravel, but it really depends where/what you ride. It’s my bike where I don’t need to think ever, one button makes it harder, one button makes it easier. Never had a chain drop.

That said, flat rides bore me, if I’m spending more than 5 minutes in the wind, managing cadence vs speed, I’m usually not riding it. If you do more of the latter, maybe think about 2x.

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It will be predominantly gravel, and that generally means hilly fireroads. I’m 99% sure 1x is the right choice - I won’t really be doing those group rides on the road over winter.

I’ve fully divested from the front derailleurs across all my bikes and I don’t miss 'em. I’m running SRAM XPLR 10-44 cassettes with 40t chainrings on both my gravel and all-road bikes, and it works great for me. I mostly ride the road for winter training and much of that is solo, so maybe if I were riding with groups I’d find jumps between gears more annoying, but as the other poster said it’s really nice to just have a “harder” and an “easier” button and never have to think about front shifting or cross-chaining. 40/10 on 35mm tires gets you ~29MPH at a cadence of 90 RPM, which is all I ever need.

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After deciding the Orbea Terra checked pretty much all my boxes, I found one at Contender Cycles in Utah. 25% off (it’s the current year color, not the just-launched new colors), no tax plus free shipping made it hard to pass up. I actually got a Shimano 1x11 build, separately picked up SRAM AXS Force/Rival group, and got it built up over the weekend. If anyone needs a heavily discounted brand new GRX 1x11 group, message me! 18.6lbs as pictured.

Only one short ride, and I need a shorter stem, but overall I’m very pleased. Tons of tire clearance (rated for 45s, pretty sure it’d clear 50s), frame storage, round seat post, hidden cables with weather-shielded entry into the headset, but not PITA fully internal routing. Plus it’s not another Specialzed/Trek/Cervelo and has a weird matte/gloss combo paint scheme that I dig; I always enjoy having a slightly unusual bike.

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S-Works Pathfinders, how pedestrian :rofl:

Nice bike. I’m also not missing front derailleur with 40T and 10-44, but only flatland. Going to install 46 front and 10-52 rear, and go ride to the foothills for f the mountains and see how that goes.

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I’m really, really trying to not buy another bike.

Currently have a Salsa Warroad 2x Rival AXS 48/35 x 10-36 w/ two wheelsets (Hunt Limitless 48 w/ 30mm GP5K and 650b w/ 47 Pathfinders) that’s both my road bike and gravel bike. It can clear 700x35 or 650x47 (47 is tight). On the road and light/med flat gravel, it’s great. BUT I do a few events where the climbs are pretty steep and the gearing was pretty brutal (I’m also ~200lb).

Currently looking at the Lauf Seigla Rigid w/ Force AXS XPLR. However, I would probably swap it to SRAM Transmission with a 52t. I did just pick up a older Highball w/ 12spd 11-50 cassette, so I could run that in those events, but it’s pretty heavy (aluminum, heavy groupet, alloy wheels).

Warroad + Seigla seems too redundant as there’s not enough gravel around here to justify a chunky gravel bike with MTB tires. Maybe a lighter hardtail with faster tires would be better if I sell the Highball?

Here’s the bike with some Vittoria road tires, euro-ish tires to match the euro-ish bike?

Another 40 miles this morning, mostly asphalt, and we’re going to get along just fine. The only quibble is the FSA K-Wing bar; I had high hopes, but I think it’s trying too hard. All that shaping around the hoods feels great in a very specific hand position but lousy in any other, and I find frequent hand movements to be key on longer rides. But the bike is great!

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It sounds like what you really want is just a gravel bike that you can put road tires on, e.g. a Warbird instead of the Warroad. Maybe consider selling the latter and getting a nice carbon bike that can take 45mm tires? Or grab a frame that can and move your parts over.

Re: gearing, eThirteen makes a 9-45 cassette that works with SRAM flattop chains and XPLR derailleurs. I have one on my Lauf, it gives you the same total gear range as an Eagle cassette without having to change over to an MTB drivetrain. Watt weenies will tell you the 9t cog is terribly inefficient, but I only use it on fast descents during group rides, so efficiency be damned.

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Why not swap out the spider and chainrings?
You could go to 46-33 or 43-30. That would give you MUCH better gearing, and your current front derailleur is compatible.

I’m running the 43-30 on a regular (not WIDE) crankset and everything works great. I can explain the nuances of the front derailleur setup if you want…

Crux

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Would an R5-CX be a silly idea for long gravel races?

My concerns would be 1) tire clearance? It’s build for 33mm cross tires but also presumably has a bunch of mud clearance so guessing it’d clear 40+ just fine. And 2) many cross bikes have pretty high BBs. Not the end of the world but this would make the bike a bit less stable on multi-hour rides. In general I think it’d probably work just fine but would not be the bike I’d buy for this unless you also wanted a CX race bike.

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Yup, reportedly 40mm clears well enough. The BB is giving me a bit of pause, as is the general geometry of a bike like this for long gravel rides/races. I’ve got a Tarmac for the road and this is probably a bit too similar.

@RecoveryRider If you’re looking for one bike for road and gravel duty, maybe check out the Alchemy Lycos. It’s got a nice geometry happily between endurance road bike and gravel, clearance for 50mm tires, and they have builds with SRAM Transmission. Their site is a bit of a mess but they respond quickly to customer inquiries.

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It sounds like what you really want is just a gravel bike that you can put road tires on, e.g. a Warbird instead of the Warroad. Maybe consider selling the latter and getting a nice carbon bike that can take 45mm tires? Or grab a frame that can and move your parts over.

Honestly, not even sure what I want. I came from a Cannondale Slate + Tarmac SL7 combo to wanting one bike. Those two bikes were so dissimilar that I really wanted one bike dialed in and could swap wheelsets. I think ideally I’d like another road bike (for road group rides, general road riding) and a 1x gravel bike with a 52t cassette on the back. But buying two bikes and only selling one is not possible right now.

An option for a one bike solution: Crux with SRAM wide crank with 46 or 48 front and 10-52 rear cassette and get two wheelsets (one gravel and one road). This is assuming you can handle the cadence changes between gears and make the long gravel climbs with the gearing.

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