I have this exact setup (alloy Topstone with 30mm slicks) alongside a Supersix running 25s. It’s very different, but partly because the Supersix has a slightly unique geometry for a road bike. anyway. I’d say it is definitely on the stable/safe side, but it’s mega fun. It doesn’t feel lazy, just that it wants to ‘sweep’ through turns rather than diving into them at the last second. It’s been great as a winter tool on rubbish British roads when not using it on gravel. Lower gearing is great for easy riding uphill, though I have spun out on rare occasions, nothing problematic at all though.
Not the same bike, but I ride my Giant Revolt almost all the time these days. My Tarmac is faster, but the Revolt has more comfortable geometry and soaks up the bumps better. I don’t race and tend to ride solo, so I don’t miss the extra speed most of the time. I also love having walkable SPD’s.
Don’t forget you can always change your handlebar, and I almost always do. I wouldn’t let my bars be a limiting factor on what bike I buy unless you’re getting stuck with a proprietary bar/stem combo.
Thanks - I did used to run a 42 bar (again 6 degree flare) offroad purely for handling, usually with a slightly shorter stem than on road (based on fact my road and CX bikes had virtually same reach/stack in my setup).
i have a systemsix and have had topstone now diverge;
my feedback is similar to those above, the more race centered geo makes the supersix/systemsix purposefully unstable but allows it to handle like on a knife edge.
The gravel bikes are far more stable, which can come across as lazy, but its just more stable and predictable. With slicks or a gravel tire with slick center you can do some good speed on road.
if i had to have one bike it would be the gravel bike, easy decision.
I had a Topstone AL 105 for 2 years and only sold it when I got a Ti bike. This is a great bike on the road. With the same wheels and similar position, it was just as fast as my Canyon CF Endurace but a few pounds heavier.
As folks mentioned, it’s probably more “stable” than “snappy” because of the geometry but I had no issue hanging with group rides on the Topstone. My fastest time on a common route was on the Topstone with 28mm GP 5000TL (20.4 mph over 28 miles…that’s good when you’re 6’5", solo, and 240 lbs at the time!!)
My main bike is a Condor Super Acciaio, may not mean much to those in US, but is a stiff steel racer. I’d love something a little less focussed and comfortable for everything but the hardest solo rides.
What about a Super X. I use mine for everything with 40mm tyres for most duties and 32mm if I’m going to be on the road a lot. The other Super X in one of the pics is my sons who also uses it as a do it all bike.
Unfortunately a SuperX doesn’t make sense for me - not just for the fact the cheapest 2x model (Superx 1) is £1800 more than the Topstone 1 I was looking at, but the ai rear end appears totally unnecessary and I’d not like to touch another non-threaded Cannondale BB again if possible.
Unless you are racing or prioritise acceleration and fast handling I would say gravel bikes are a great option on the road anyway. You will get used to any slight differences in handling within a few weeks, you will be more comfortable on long rides and with the right tyre choice you will enjoy being able to link gravel sections whenever you please.
The only real decision is what type of gravel bike and just how capable you want it to be off-road. Personally I went for a custom ti Monster Cross (similar geo to a Salsa Cutthroat) and have not regretted it. I used it with 38mm Gravel King tyres for the Transcontinental race (and was a day quicker than on my road bike the first time I did TCR) but regularly put on some MTB tyres and use it for single track and XCM events.
It’ll make a fine road bike with the right tires. The only thing that stands out here is that the head tube is quite a bit taller (so less stem spacers for the same fit). The front wheel is 45mm further out and you’ll sit 7mm higher, so it won’t draft as well (you’ll be 45mm further out of the draft and the height issue depends on your riding buddy).
The handling things above are nonsense - on the same tires, it’ll handle the same. The slacker head tube means you won’t be able to be able to carve a SUPER tight corner well at like 2mph (like parking a big car vs a little one), but means nothing underway - it does change the PERCEIVED handling and weight distribution (1% more rearward maybe) a bit though.
Otherwise, there’s nothing to make it a slower bike if you’re using road tires. Acceleration/climbing/handling/braking will all be the same except for the extra 1.5lb of weight and the shorter gearing.
I have a Topstone Carbon 5 and I think it handles great on the road. Stable as a motorcycle on descents. I am not much of a bike handler and ride pretty conservatively through corners, so that’s maybe the reason I like the added stability.
with the big leaps forward in gravel bikes, unless you are racing CX now, buying a CX bike at this point doesn’t make a ton of sense. You dont get the tire clearance you might want, and they are less compliant, plus they have less options/price points to choose from. it’s really become a bit of a niche category now.
Agreed 100% for all the reasons you note…plus CX bikes have a higher BB, which IMO, is not great for a gravel bike. it can work (and I have ridden CX bikes for gravel for many, many years) but now that I have a gravel-specific frame, the difference is significant. Just no reason to use a CX bike for gravel (unless you also race CX).
I agree with some of your points but the Super X is a little different to a lot of cx bikes. The back end can be a pain but if you know a good wheel builder, they can reddish your wheels easily. I’ve got 40mm rubber on mine (700cc) with room for more. The op wants a bike that handle roads well, I’ve done club chaineys with ease on mine, I’ve also dropped people on 29er mountain bikes on technical descents. I also have use to my sons topstone Al, it’s nice but I’d take the Super X every time given a choice.
This looks great! Do you run this with 2 wheel sets (one for slicks and one for the gravel tyres)? and if so how easy it to swap between them? I am looking at getting a top stone 3 and would appreciate any advice on working out which road tyres/wheels are compatible.
Thanks for any help!