Dual Road and Gravel bike

Alright Team,

I’m looking into a disc road bike that has clearance enough for either 650B wheels and some bigger tires or just run 32mm on the 700C wheels.

I wonder how big of tires the Specialized Allez Sprint Disc can handle? 32mm on 700C?

Is there another predominantly road bike that can deliver the comfort and versatility on gravel while still being light and aero enough to hang with the local bike group on road at 23-24mph over a 30 mile ride T/Th? Giant TCR, Cannondale, Crux?

Bottom Line - Knowing that I want to ride gravel and road. Is there a single bike and setup that will let me do it all well enough? or do I have to buy two bikes? Tarmac and Crux

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Some good discussion here:

The new Roubaix is supposed to be about as aero as the current Tarmac. It fits bigger tires and has the FutureShock for gravel comfort and control.

The 3T Exploro is a ripper gravel bike that could hang with the right wheel set on road.

A timely article just released (and I have not read yet), but maybe relevant.

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Have a friend who uses his cross bike on the local road loops with us. Doesn’t see to slow him down although he is a 5wkg specimen. Makes you stronger with the higher rolling resistance

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Check out the Cervelo Aspero. It fits big 650s and 700s, is aero, and has close to traditional road race geo. This would be an excellent dual purpose bike imo.

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I recently decided to get the 3t exploro in the hopes that it’d be this type of bike. However I’m stuck deciding on if I should do a 1x or 2x groupset. What are you leaning towards?

Slight tangent - what are people’s experiences of how easy it is to run multiple wheelsets on these bikes? Love the idea of a bike where I can just swap out a 650 wheel with a chunky tire for a 700 with a road tire. But in practice it seems that my friends who are on disc brakes are spending a lot more time messing about adjusting calipers than I’d like.

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I ran a CX bike as my only multipurpose bike for 2 yrs or so with 3 wheelsets

700x28mm road, 700x40c CX, 650bx47c gravel

If you take the time to get your hubs/freehubs all lined up (or the same model ideally), and run the same discs & cassettes, it was easy to swap. No fiddling

I went for 2x on this bike as it was fast road (even crits) all the way down to climbing 15%+ on gravel. I did opt for 46/36t CX chainrings though, and 11-32t rear cassettes on all wheels

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Keep to the same hub spec in both wheelsets.

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Check the Rondo HVRT, An aero frame with the option to use 700c wheels or 650b.
Max tires sizes for 700c was 30 or 32 mm. For the 650b it’s 47mm.

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If 700x32 is acceptable for you then having a frame capable of 650b clearance isn’t really necessary

Also, note that a gravel bike isn’t simply a road bike with wide tyres. The whole geometry and often component spec is different. I think something like an Allez sprint with 32mm tyres for gravel would be ridiculous unless you’re riding dusty tracks rather than gravel.

If it were my choice, I’d choose a gravel or cyclocross bike. They would handle road duties better than a road bike would handle gravel. I’m currently considering consolidating my road and cx bikes in to 1, and getting a trek boone.

PS. I have a TCR disc and max tyre clearance is 28mm. The new Domane might also be worth checking out. It looks a bit aero and has decent tyre clearance etc

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I use a Trek Checkpoint as a dual-purpose bike. 700x32 slicks for the road, 700x40 knobbies for gravel. The non-Di2 models will take up to 700x45, and I’ve heard tell of people swapping in 650s, but it’s not officially compatible according to Trek. Mine has a 50/34 11-34 drive train, so I don’t feel like I’m hampered on the road (but I also don’t have a 24mph group ride, heh).

Like other folks have said, geometry might be a bigger factor for you than tire clearance. 99spokes and Bike Insights can help with that.

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Went through a similar thought process to you. I have just placed an order for an Orbea Terra M-30D from LBS. I’m getting my carbon aero road wheel rebuilt with disc hubs at the same time, and LBS will get wheels set up so they can be an in and out swap with no faffing.

I will be able to use this bike for road riding with the carbon wheels, mixed/gravel riding with the 38mm Vittorias that come on the OEM wheels, and will get CX tyres put on tubeless for the season when it comes round next year.

I’m getting rid of my current mountain bike (just don’t use it) and my current CX bike (won’t need it) and will keep hold of my 2014 Felt Z85 (good commuter and nice to have a back-up) and my Tri bike (lives on the trainer most of the time for ease). This will be far and away the most I’ve ever spent on a bike by about 2.5x but with a three month old baby at home my options are going to be more limited and having one go-to bike will be great.

It will be faster than my current road bike, faster and lighter than my CX bike, and I’m so impressed by how gravel tyres roll on the tarmac so it will open up options for rides in an area when I can quickly transition from roads to canal path to forestry track and straightforward single track.

Can’t wait to get the bike delivered in January!

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I am having some 30mm Vittoria Corsa Control TLR’s delivered today that I’m going to install on my Allez Sprint Disc with the stock wheels so I can update you on if they fit and, if so, how much clearance there is.

Plenty of options if 35-38s are acceptable. I ended up with a Canyon Endurace - which can fit tires in that range. Very much on road side, but stable enough for fast descending on smoothish gravel. Short wheelbase makes it a bit more skiddish, bigger tires and short front center means toe overlap, and steeper head tube makes for more active steering. I wouldn’t want to use it for super rough stuff, but fit what I was looking for (light, stiff, aero-ish – more roadish).

On the more road bike side of spectrum there is the Allied All Road, Cervelo Aspero, new Roubaix, maybe new Domane, Vault, and Diverge (shortish wheelbase, slightly steeper headtube than most). Gravel side, there are many - Giant Revolt, Felt Breed, Stigmata, Topstone, Checkpoint, Hakka, etc.

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I was looking at the Checkpoint actually, how do you like it? I like the idea of the isospeed in the rear and extra mounts on top and bottom as well.

I like it a lot, no regrets. It doesn’t feel at all twitchy even with the rear dropouts on the shorter setting, which gives me and my lack of bike handling skills a lot of confidence cornering and descending. I swear the front wheel finds its own way through gravel climbs, it’s like magic. Definitely give it a test ride if you’ve got a Trek shop in the vicinity.

I’ve got an ALR 5, so no Isospeed, but I love all the mounts. I want to start bikepacking, and those will help a ton.

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damn you must be strong. my bikes are so different that it’s not even remotely possible to use the same bike, let alone the same gearing. I do use my gravel bike as a MTB though, and the cockpit is way different than my road bike, and I use MTB gearing as well.

Edit: OP, friends of mine like the Thesis OB1. I haven’t tried it myself, as my cockpit is way too different with wide bars and a high stack, that it’s not really possible to use one bike (for me).

I faced this same decision last year. I ended up getting the Donnelly G//C (https://www.donnellycycling.com/collections/gravel-bikes/products/g-c-force-1). I have not regretted this decision one bit.

It can handle up to 45mm on 700C and can handle 650B wheels. When I want to do a group ride on the ashphalt I run 30mm on 700C (Donnelly X’PLOR CDG) and I can easily hang with the group and still get a very comfortable ride.

I have a Fuji Sportif 1.3 as a dual purpose bike. I had to do a little bit of additional massaging of the dimples at the chain stays, but now have it fitting a 37mm WTB Riddler.