Upgrade gravel bike or oldish road bike with deep section wheels?


I want to treat myself to some deep section carbon wheels but I am unsure which bike to upgrade. My rim brake Canyon Ultimate AL will soon be 9 years old but is still in excellent condition, as it lives mostly on the trainer. It’s pretty light (7,2kg claimed) too.
I also have a 2021 Giant Revolt (Advanced Pro) Gravel with GRX Di2 and disc brakes (obviously), it’s also fairy light at 8,1kg.

I want to ride some semi-competitive sportives on the road this year, no super serious racing, though.

Here are my pros/cons for each bike so far.

Canyon Ultimate (rim brake):

  • (+) Ligher bike and lighter wheelset (could bring the bike to <7kg)
  • (+) I know I like the bike for road riding
  • (+) slightly better gearing for fast road riding (50/11 vs 48/11)

Giant Revolt (disc brake):

  • (+) Di2

  • (+) better braking performance (but I live in a mostly flat area)

  • (+) future proof in case I buy a new road bike some day

  • (+) no need to take the Canyon of the trainer for road rides but…

  • (-) …Canyon bike will probably live on the trainer forever, which would be a bit of a shame

  • (-) might look slighty awkward with the larger tire clearances and gravel geometry

Which one would you choose to upgrade?

If I were you I’d buy wheels for the newer bike. If you upgraded your older road bike, would you be getting something with rim brakes or discs? Canyon’s new Aeroroads are disc only. A wheelset like the Zipp 303 Firecrest (maybe not deep enough for you, I think 40mm?) is fine for both road and gravel (minimum 28mm tire). So it’d be a great option like you mentioned for future proofing.

I raced a revolt in some P/1/2 road races when it was all I had. I wouldn’t recommend doing that, but for something semi-competetive I think it would be fine. Only once did someone ask me what I was riding because my rear triangle had so much clearance. I think their exact quote was “It looks like you have enough room to swing a dead cat around in there”… hard to forget.

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I agree with Zebulon if you’re buying new. But here’s the ideal solution IMO: ask around in your riding circles to see if anyone has some nice rim brake deep dish wheels they want to part with. I did this and a friend gave me some 50mm beauties for free. You probably won’t get that lucky but I bet you can find a great wheelset for a few hundred dollars anyway. Add a couple nice new tires, maybe even 28mm if they fit, latex tubes and carbon brake pads and you’re golden.


If you have the gianf Pr 1 or 2 (iirc) on the gravel bike which are considered crap I’d upgrade those. If you already have carbon wheels on the giant I’d go for 2nd hand wheels for the canyon

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