I currently ride a Thesis gravel bike purchased in 2021. Mechanical Rival groupset with a 1x setup (42/46) - so a big range. I’ve been working on climbing using harder gears so that when (if) I transition to my new road bike, I can still climb the same hills without running out of gears.
I have a supersix evo 2 on pre-order that is supposed to come in November. I can cancel at anytime. I don’t ride a TON, so there’s a part of me that is a bit hesitant now to follow through with this purchase since it’s not cheap.
Even though I got a gravel bike, I ride exclusively road. I wasn’t cycling at all before this, so my expectations were a bit different from reality. That and I just don’t have a lot of ideal gravel paths around me. But I really enjoy road, and decided on the supersix after an LBS surprisingly had one available for pre-order in my size.
How much better will this bike be than my current set up? It’ll be somewhat ligher, definitely more aero, more race geometry, better components all around. But my current bike is still relatively new and it’s been fine, although I have nothing to compare against.
My riding style is 25-50 miles, about 800-1k feet vertical per 10 miles, so a decent amount of climbing. I’m not fast, but I’m working on it, and I like to go fast (for me). and ride in an aero position at times.
A new bike can be exciting and provide motivation, but there is nothing dramatically faster/better about a road bike vs. gravel bike for road riding. If you are already running road tires and the gearing is reasonable for you, you aren’t going to see any big bump in speed. You might be able to get a more aero postion depending on whether you are already pushing the fit limits of your gravel bike, but again it’s going to be marginal gains. Not trying to talk you out of a new bike, just trying to answer the question. Again, if you are excited about it and it gets you to ride/train more, that will make you faster/better much more so than a bike upgrade. I’ve got a nice road race bike and gravel bike and I do 95%+ of my riding/training on my gravel bike (I’m not trying to win the weekend group ride or anything).
You say you ride exclusively road; do you EVER plan to get on gravel? If that’s a possibility, my suggestion would be that a bit more clearance for wider tires won’t really impact road performance. It sounds like you want a new bike, which Lord knows we all understand and can endorse. But if you’re going to spend a bunch of $$, you lose very little by getting a race-gravel bike that will also be an excellent road bike. Bikes like the new Canyon Grail are aero, have clean cable routing and good road-going geometry, and in higher end builds are spec’d with nice aero wheels and 2x gearing options too. With road tires that’d be very close to the Supersix on the road, but would give you the option to throw gravel wheels on it and ride/race gravel too.
I mostly agree with the others, but I wonder what the geo is like on your current bike. If it’s super upright, heavy, long wheelbase, etc., you could see a pretty significant difference in your position on the bike and possibly in the weight, since you said you like climbing. The position differences could be a nice speed boost, but they could also create comfort issues. Make sure you get a good fit and follow up if you start to notice issues in your knees, neck, elbows, wrists, etc.
Don’t worry about being “fast” as a reason to get (or not get) the Cannondale. If you’d an afford it, and the bike appeals to you, then get it. You don’t need to “justify” the purchase based on your speed / capabilities.
Are you currently running the stock wheels / tires that came with your gravel bike? If you, you can expect a decent improvement in speed with the road bike. Road tires will have significantly lower rolling resistance and be more more aero (due to a narrower tire width).
Chances are that you will also be in a better position on the road bike in terms of aerodynamics. Given that you are relatively new to the sport, I am assuming you have not optimized your position on the gravel bike and used the stock components. If so, that tends to out riders in a more upright position. A proper road bike will put you in a better position aerodynamically.
I’m always amazed at how much faster I am once I get back on my roadie after an extended period on my gravel bike….the difference is noticeable, even just rolling down the street casually.
I don’t own a gravel bike, but every time I hop on my friend’s gravel rig, I feel like I’m dragging a boat anchor. If you are riding mostly road, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the difference in feel.
The geometry and gearing on mine is slightly/significantly different. The gravel bike ‘feels’ faster, but when comparing runs on the same course, the roadie is faster. It’s not ‘boat anchor’ slower, but there is definitely a difference in speed.
Both are full carbon, GRX vs Ultegra, wider tires on the roadie. I wouldn’t sell either one, and can see why each is good to have.
I’m running the stock wheels/tires but I went with the road wheel/tire package, so the wheels are somewhat aero and I have 30mm slicks. I did a bike fit once, although I’m not sure how good it was. Minor adjustment was made. I do feel like I’m capable of riding in a more aero position, it’s what I practice all the time on the trainer. I lift, do a lot of core so I feel capable of handling a racier geometry.
I thought my bike was fairly light but then I recently picked up my brother in law’s old road bike, and it was significantly lighter, which surprised me. This is a 10+ year old bike, steel frame, and he’s 6’4 (I’m 5’8). I’m not sure what about my gravel bike makes it so much heavier.
Yea I’m not much concerned about speed as much as the overall ride feel, as in will it feel like I’m riding a superior bike (however that’s measured)?
Based on your and other replies, my feedback would be:
If you want a new bike and can afford it, get it! If you really ride only road and plan to ride only road in future, by all means get a nice road bike. Double check reach/stack vs. your current bike to be sure you’ll be able to get longer/lower if desired, as it sounds like you’re headed that direction.
If you want to ride faster, your best value would probably be to spend that $$ on some light and aero wheels, possibly get an updated bike fit, and spend the rest on training (TR, coaching, performance camp etc). But new bikes are fun!
I feel that a race-oriented gravel bike could be set up (via road wheels, tires and geometry) to feel every bit as responsive as a Supersix on the road, but would leave you the option of adding fatter tires and riding off-pavement. The new Grail, a BMC Kaius, Spesh Crux or even the SuperSix EVO SE are all pretty racy gravel bikes that would give up very little on pavement with the right wheels and gearing. Whether this makes sense for you depends on whether ability to ride gravel is a priority at all, and if so whether you could afford a separate gravel rig.
An aggressive road bike with twitchy handling and lower volume tires will feel fast, but feelings can be deceptive. I’m not saying a road bike can’t be faster, but the significant difference is aerodynamics. If you can’t get in a good aero position on a gravel bike (most people aren’t at their limit there), a road bike with a more aero position will buy you some speed. A more aero frame will as well, but less so. Assuming you are running similar wheels/tires and pressure on road vs gravel bike (which should be possible), real speed differences are going to be based primarily on position and how hard you are pedaling. All that said, some people just like like the snappy/twitchy feel of a road race bike (even if it’s not actually faster). Ride what makes you feel good.
Didn’t mean to imply that you did. Just highlighting that how a bike feels can often be misleading. Tires are a good example of this. High pressure on rough pavement can feel really fast, but often significantly slower than lower pressure. Twitchy handling can also make a bike feel faster, but that doesn’t translate to any real speed difference.
You said the bike would feel different and I agree. Just pointing out that how a bike feels often doesn’t translate to performance improvement (if that’s what someone is after). Did I offend you somehow with these comments?
I honestly don’t understand how that’s out of context, I thought I was just playing off your “feelings” comment. That said, I’ll err on the side on not quoting you in the future. Sorry if it rubbed you the wrong way, certainly not my intent.
I think your thesis (assuming it’s the “OB1,” really just a Carbonda CFR505), as long as you like your fit, will be just fine as a road bike. Having a new awesome bike will be super fun. Will it make you noticeably faster? Unlikely.
If I were you with that bike, I’d invest in a light, carbon road wheel set and 28-32mm tires and a beefier gravel wheel set with 42-48mm gravel tires.
Obviously, however, the ideal number of bikes to have is n+1.
You could simply put on 32 mm (perhaps even 35 mm) slicks on your bike and have most of the benefits of a “real” road bike. The biggest difference will be how navigating twists and turns feels: I reckon your gravel bike will have a longer wheelbase and slacker front-end, so it’d be more like an endurance road bike.
If you prefer a faster-handling bike, you might want to swap your gravel bike for a racier road bike. My advice: test ride a few road bikes and see whether you can tell the difference.
If you don’t mind about quicker handling, I’d stick with your bike because of its versatility.