Last year I was going to borrow a friend’s mtb to try a local gravel series here in Kansas. The stars didn’t align and I still haven’t ridden more than .75 miles on gravel (to get to paved roads) in 20 years. Now the gravel series added a 200 mile race, and I MUST ride it!
I’m currently at a FTP of 3.72 W/kg, this past year is my first in a decade without a century road ride. Not the fastest on pavement, best century was 5:23:20 mostly solo. But I want to be fast.
So now I’m seriously shopping for a gravel bike. Here are my current thoughts:
Specialized Diverge - aluminum frame, 105 components except cranks. $1900. The future shock up front and cobble gobbler in the rear are appealing. I could spring for carbon 105 at $3k, but that difference would get me a power meter… Aluminum version has been my leader.
Salsa Warbird - aluminum, all 105 2018 version for $1900 (LBS will give me an extra discount to match the Diverge price). I hadn’t seriously looked at Warbirds, being a lot more than a Diverge, but that price is appealing. No suspension. Being full 105 I could get a Stages PM. One downside is the frame is purple lol
Giant Revolt - $2100 for carbon with 105. No suspension either. The D-fuse seat post means no after market shock-equipped seat post. But it is carbon for a heck of a price. Carbon Diverge Tiagra comes in at $2100. My first road bike as an adult was a Giant OCR1 that I rode for 11 years and 14000+ miles before putting it on the trainer.
Trek Checkpoint - for about $200 less than the comparable Diverge it gives a few more mm tire clearance and lots of mounting points for everything. Rear suspension is that the seat post isn’t rigidly attached to the top tube. No front suspension. Manager at that LBS said it checks all of the boxes in what he recommended Trek put in a gravel bike.
All that said, what do you fine folks think? I tend to stick with gear for a long time, so this decision is a tough one! Want to get it right. Thanks!