Value for money gravel/ adventure bike or a cyclocross bike

Good Evening Everyone!

I’m new to the forum. Subscribed this year for trainerroad to improve my bike.

Can I please get an advice if you have ridden any gravel/adventure bike or cyclocross bike as I’m in the market for one as I have gravel event 130km in 4 months.

I have a tri bike that I train on the indoor and a rim brake road bike.

My goal for this bike are the following:

  • endurance ride
  • sportive events
  • road and offroad riding like parks and discover areas where less cars are involved for safety reasons
  • all year around bike

I have been doing my research and looking around the forum. I also have my numbers from my bike fitter regarding stack and reach.

Im looking at the following:

  • trek checkpoint alr5 or domane sl5
  • norco search xr alloy or carbon
  • giant revolt
  • canyon grail alloy version

I just realised that having a tri bike, road bike and adding a gravel adventure bike is not ideal for me. I would rather sell my road bike and get a gravel or cyclo cross bike. I hope this make sense.

Appreciate the feedback if you own the following bikes above and your experience from roadie to gravel riding or cyclo cross to do all your riding.

Many thanks again. I live in Sydney Australia by the way so cars are not a big fan of cyclists on the road.

Cheers!

When I was going through the same process a few years ago I looked at the Checkpoint and the Revolt but not the others you mentioned. I ultimately decided to go with a Salsa Warbird and couldn’t be happier. Super comfortable to me, fast on the dirt and enough to keep up with all but the fastest group rides.

I’m now on my second Warbird. The first one was 1x and wanted to go back to 2x. It came with 700c wheels with 42mm tires. In less than a week I’ll be taking those 42’s off and replacing them with 28mm road tires. That will happen as soon as my new DT Swiss 650b wheels arrive.

  • FYI, if it’s the Warbird V4 (2019 and newer), the minimum recommended tire size is a 32mm. 28mm will be lower to the ground and increase risk of pedal strikes. You can run what you want, but just thought I’d mention it.

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More road or off-road?

I’d be inclined to factor in availability - was looking at a Grail for the wife and there’s none available, depending on size, in women’s or men’s for a month or two. Depends how soon you want it but you may also find similar issues around any bike model.
You may not in which case please ignore :grin:

Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately the warbird seems popular in my area and the frames are sold out. Ultegra specs are a bit outside of my budget. Thanks again.

More road but since i have a park nearby i don’t mind riding around the oval and back on the road. I know there will be compromise as there’s no one bike to do it all. Hope it makes sense.

Just a note, but you probably don’t want a pure cyclocross bike for what you’re describing. The geometry seems to be moving the opposite direction from gravel bikes.

Thank you. I was looking at the canyon website a few months ago and I believe the grail al won’t be available until August - early september if I opt for XS size. It should be enough time to adapt to the position.

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:+1: :grinning: As long as you’re aware - nothing worse than pulling the trigger on a new bike and having to wait.

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Aspero is pretty good on road and takes a 42 also

Is there a difference in geometry between cyclocross and gravel bike apart from you can go wider tyres for the gravel bike?

Would the weight distribution on the cyclocross bike more on the front end vs rear end on the gravel bike?

My road bike is on a hybrid set up due to that I preferred the open hip angle when pedalling (tt bike position) and I feel a bit more weight on the front end.

Unfortunately Aspero is outside of the budget. Thanks for the suggestion though.

Cross bikes are made for racing cross - shorter wheelbase, shorter reach. Also generally aero isn’t a consideration in cross. UCI tyre width restrictions mean they only need to be able to run 33mm tyres, but as you want as much mud clearance as you an get, they often can fit wider tyres too. Also they likely won’t have mudguard or rack mounting points.

You can obviously ride both types of bikes, but might be worth looking at the geometry chart to decide what you like.

My partner bought herself a norco search this year and she has been enjoying it, she got the one with 10 speed grx and is talking about building lighter wheels since the bike weighs as much as her surly LHT. There’s many mounting points for bags or cages or whatever else bikepackers like to bolt to their bikes. Fits mudguards fine too.

Another one to consider would be the Cannondale Topstone
https://www.cannondale.com/en-us/bikes/road/gravel/topstone-alloy/topstone-105

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Of those, get the one with the best paint and that’s available. I’d add the Topstone to your lost too.
Id also suggest saving money on the bike and getting a 2nd wheelset/tire / a bunch of accessories / other stuff. You don’t need the best frame in this space. Definitely toss the tires from those bikes and get something like the Conti Terra Speed / Gone allaround for mixed riding.

I have the giant revolt advanced pro 2. I bought the base model so I could upgrade - which I did and it’s been awesome. If I was to buy a bike today I’d also look at the diverge and the topstone as they are doing so great things around suspension. Of course - the best advice is - find a bike, buy it and ride!

What’s really great about these bikes is the multi use. I’m spending a lot of time in the roads and riding 36mm tires is awesome.

2nd wheelset is a great idea as well - I did that too so I can run road tires - but I live in NJ where there’s no too much gravel.

Crossbike geometry is everywhere. Euro style (https://www.ridley-bikes.com/product/x-bow-disc/#/customise/70406396?basketIndex=0) has a super high bottom bracket and move everything higher . US Style has about the same geometry as a main-stream performance road bike, but with slightly more room for tires. The top tubes are usually level and the cables are traditionally routed across the top of the top tube, so you can carry the bike easier. As a result they typically won’t ride as well as a gravel bike because it has less exposed seat post. You also can’t run frame /tt bags as well. Newer CX bikes probably won’t let your run anything but 1x. Most can run 38c tires now.

Gravel bike uses endurance bike geometry (1cm short and higher than performance road bike). More mounts, more luxury.

Aside from the 1x only cx bikes, they both make fine road bikes with road tires. The other exception might be the more MTB gravel bikes with the longer, slacker geometry, which won’t draft as well.