Groadie as main bike

I think a few people may be doing this, so I’m asking if anyone has any feedback on it: has anyone gone for a ‘groadie’ or ‘groaval’ setup as their main bike?

For a variety of reasons, I’m contemplating a Factor LS or an Open UP. The idea would be to have 2 wheelsets, one with slick 28s for road use, with another setup with 38-40 gravel tyres.

I’d anticipate the bike spending c.70% of its time on the road.

Has anyone got any experience on doing something similar?

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I’m using a mason bokeh this way. Use it for all but the wettest weather when the winter bike comes out with mudguards.

Has to be said I am not quick and tend to carry the kitchen sink. I’m more interested in comfort and going anywhere.

My road tyres have crept up from 32mm to 38mm. I don’t know where it will stop.

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Bit more old-school, but I bought a cross style frame about 15 year ago before gravel was the thing. It has been used with everything from 23 mm shod dura-ace wheels through to CX tyres and those in between. Probably used about 4 different sets of wheels on it. Throughout it’s lifetime it has had racks, mudguards, saddle bags etc on and off it, and varied between triple and double chainsets with different size chainrings. Had clip on tri bars and multiple lights on it for night rides. Various power meters too. Used it on my rollers and static trainer. Not much it hasn’t done.

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I do exactly this, have two wheelsets, am very happy with this!

70% on road or my rollers with my “road setup”
Rest of the time: Gravelsetup for crossbiking or more comfy rides with my family or in the city.

Recently I have even changed my setups from 52 Ultegra to 46 GRX and love it so far. I do not need top speed anymore.

I have to confess that I have several other bikes too, but this is the one that does not have limits in terms of practical use.

I want to do it and I ordered Giant TCX Advanced Pro 1. I ordered all parts need to convert it into 2x setup. There is a topic on the forum: “One bike to rule them all” (or sth similar) It really depands on your needs. I know many people use their gravel bikes as a road bike but they are not race oriented so for them those bikes are good enough on the road. For me the bike should be light (around 8kg), race oriented and with at least 35mm clearance, 38mm optimal. My first choice was Ridley Kanzo Speed but it’s not available right now, the second Rondo HVRT but too many things to change to meet my needs and I finished with Giant TCX. We will see. But I want to have my road bike too. In just haven’t found the one capable to race on it in the road races and gravel races at the same time. TCX will be for training and my trips with the bike to be able to get everything from the trips: on road and off road. But I don’t think I can replace my race bike (Giant TCR Advanced Pro Disc) with the one.

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This is what I did with my Topstone. Was fun to ride for a few weeks, but then realised I was spending nearly all my time on he road with it anyway. Good trails weren’t really accessible or worth the effort to travel too basically.

Through on some Campag Zondas and GP4000sII, slammed the stem, chained chainset to 105 and added a power meter.

Turned into some odd franken bike. Great fun though! Took it everywhere, did crazy stuff on that bike, funnily enough my longest ride ever was on it (140 miles). It put me into that distance riding mentality because you can throw on a lot of bottles or kit on a cheaper, metal bike, and it’s more upright so comfy to boot.

At the time was moving around a lot, so ended up selling my carbon race bike and TT bike, and just kept that. Didn’t miss the road bike at all either.

Of course these things go full circle, back on a race bike again. But if I wasn’t moving around a lot, I’d definitely have kept that gravel/road hash of a thing!

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I suppose it might help if I outline my rationale. I won’t ever be racing but would plan on doing sportives and do like to ride fast (for me). My other half and daughter are getting into gravel and I would like to join them, as well as introducing more variety into my own training and riding. For some reason, really good one do-it-all bike appeals. My thinking was that the Factor or Open wouldn’t hold me back on the road with the right tyre and wheels but (again with the right tyres) should be more than capable enough for the light-ish gravel we have round here.

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I ride my aspero as my main bike

If you flip the front tabs on the front it handles like a crit bike

I was obsessed with that when I had the gravel bike - seeing how fast the bike was on road wheels/tyres compared to the race bike! Have a tons of rides I could post and won’t bore you, but basically… it’s still quick IMO. (Note my Topstone Sora frankenbike was over 10kg)

Range of distances and power. Area is pretty windy and roads are rough. Tyres are 28mm GP4000sII which soaked up the rough pretty good I thought, but still rolled well.

8 Speed Topstone Sora Gravel Bike on Road Wheels/Tyres 28mm

11 Speed S5 eTap on Road (Training) Wheels/Tyres 25mm [Note this is the same ~40 mile route, just lived a little further out on the S5 rides)

Have some rides on the S5 on fast wheels (404s) and that does make difference, but looking at the gravel v road bikes on regular training wheels. Honestly, are you seeing much difference? I know wind is a factor, but you can get get a feel for it at least. This is why I flogged everything off and just kept the gravel bike for while. Do everything on it, Even took it up some monster gradients. I mean… monster, totally brick yourself fall over backwards stuff. Survived because it has the 34t on the rear that it came with!

If you’re going to ask how fast the gravel bike was on the original wheels and knobbly tyres it came with… not very fast. 13 to 16mph I think from memory, though I slammed the stem and put on narrow bars too, that will have made a good difference. Frame doesn’t mean much it seems for speed.

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The Open UP has a very aggressive geometry for a gravel bike. If that’s what you’re looking for, I think it’s a great choice as a N=1 bike. I ended up going for a less aggressive stance and bought a Giant Revolt Advanced Pro. It’s still pretty light so when I travel it can be my 1 bike to do it all, and it’s easier on my back for those long rides.

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/thread

If I were to ever go the “quiver killer” route, it would be the Aspero, hands down.

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My CX bike is basically a road bike with bigger tire clearance. The previous owner actually used it for CX and it came to me with an extra set of wheels and crankset. I got rotors and converted the 10sp freehub to 11sd and put some 25C road tires with all the intention of swapping but they never came off the hooks in the garage but it could easily be the “one”

Your comment about frame not meaning much has been my experience too (at my level!). I had a Topstone AL 105 and Canyon Endurace CF SL 7.0. The fit was pretty close on both, and the speeds were the same when using 28mm GP5000 TL. I have a 27 mile (each way) commute that I try to do at least 1x weekly during spring/summer and my PB was on the Topstone.

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I’m far from a racer, but I’m so glad I traded a road bike for a gravel bike (Diverge). I don’t feel like I lost anything, but definitely gained comfort and opened up opportunities for new routes and events. I don’t even swap out wheels/tires right now although I’d love to upgrade wheelset. The pathfinder pro tires honestly feel like a road tire on pavement.

There are sweet gravel bikes out there that claim to be fully capable on road. 3T exploro seems awesome.

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I have a custom Ti road bike that I absolutely love (can be seen on the Ti thread) that I rarely ride these days.

Instead, I ride my Salsa Warbird probably 95% of the time, including spicy paced road rides. In fact, I do these rides on 650x47 gravel tires and don’t even bother putting the road wheels on anymore. The 650’s are just so darn comfy. I’ve even got a bell on the handlebars and it’s kinda fun to ride through the group on a climb and ring the bell as I pass folks. I even leave the bike packing half frame bag, top tube bag and a small seat pack.

One caveat though. There’s one group ride around here that even on my best day it’s tough to hang on. When I go to that ride I’ll take my road bike. Primarily because it’s got better gearing (50/34) compared to the gravel bike (46/30). I find that without that 50 tooth chain ring it’s tough to stick with the accelerations at of corners and I seriously risk getting popped.

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I run a cheap set of Alex rims with gp5000 for group rides. On gravel I run a set of bontragers pro3V 25id and tubeless.

A couple of thoughts to consider, @RecoveryRide, after reading the good points already made:

OpenUp, according to its designer, is an off-road setup that does road.

3T Exploro, according to its designer (the same as above), is a road bike that does off-road.

Experiences differ, but my personal take is the OpenUP was a bit sluggish on the road compared to a road bike. Now, I only did a couple of test rides when I was looking for a gravel bike and used one for a Mauna Kea attempt (ie I was on one for many hours on tarmac with 700c wheels). Owning a 3T Exploro since Nov 2018 and putting nearly 4k miles on it just in 2020, it’s a good road bike that didn’t have the sluggish feeling I got from the Open and the Exploro is great on gravel (mountains here in eastern Switzerland, Dolomites, mtb tracks that don’t require serious suspension, etc… a not-aggressive trail ride from yesterday).

A gravel (not CX) geometry, like the Exploro, is likely to be similar to an endurance geometry in the road bike category. If you’re good with that slacker geometry, it’ll very likely work for you. YMMV, of course.

FWIW, as noted above, I’ve been very happy with my Exploro on the road, but if I’m going for a road ride, I’ll take my road bike for a) gearing (my Exploro is 1x) and b) geometry. But then again, due to the trails I ride, I only ride with 47 tubeless tires (usually WTB Ventures), with Byways (smooth center line for more road / speed) and Senderos (chunky for snow, though they didn’t work great this winter) as the alternatives.

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I’ve also got a Diverge - what’s your rationale for changing the wheel set? Weight? Mine is the axis sport wheels which are ~2000g I believe. The wheel set weight could probably be decreased by ~500 for a ballpark $500 alloy set but frankly I don’t see it as a game changer?

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Hey there, I have an Ibis Hakka and the two wheelsets for my setup. I use 30mm slicks on the road for riding, training, randoneeuring and fondo type rides then a slighter wider wheelset with 42mm knobbier tires for gravel and easy singletrek. I couldnt be happier, I think it comes down to what your doing and goals are. There is no crit or road racing by me even if I wanted to try so thats not a factor. Also just a tip, I really wanted to make a 1x work when I was building it up but went with the 2x and think it was the right call if your mainly using it on the road. I use sram’s 46-33, 10-36 12 speed and for me its perfect. When gravel riding or taking it on easier single trek I love having a couple gears smaller than the 1-1 ratio and a 46-10 I only spin out if im going 40ish on a decent on the road.

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