After some time off racing last year, I’ve been thinking about my relationship with riding and training. Racing has been fun for the past 15 years…but I’m a bit done with the absolute focus it requires and I want to get back to riding for fun.
To that end, I want to buy a gravel bike for next spring. Living in Utah, there are a HUGE variety of options to combine road and trail riding into single epic adventures (plus, cars suck).
I have absolutely ZERO experience with gravel bikes and I need help deciding on a good entry point.
My team rides Scott/BMC, so I’d prefer to stick to one of those brands (cheaper), but I’m not set on that.
What is a good price point for gravel bikes? I might do some races, but it would mostly be for fun. I want to find a good balance of performance without breaking the bank. I don’t want to lug a 50 pound chonker up the mountains, but I surely don’t need to spend 10K on the top-end. What have you all found is a good price point? Since I don’t know the equipment and specifics, I can’t really use my general knowledge without doubting myself
This is a really hard question to answer and goes down so many rabbit holes.
But if you are like a lot of people in your shoes and feeling towards the hobby, you will end up riding your gravel bike almost primarliy and possibly looking into swapping wheels to make it a quiver killer.
If the geometry fits you then a Addict is an awesome bike.
I wouldn’t do anything less than the Addict Gravel 20 and consider some better wheels for it in the future. It depends on your budget. This bike with upgraded wheels will almost tick off every box for gravel riding excluding epic adventure races. It is perfect for road riding and not overly aggressive gravel and off-road trails.
BMC also has an amazing bike, the Kaius is a great bike. If I had to choose between a Kaius 01 Three and a Addict Gravel 20 I would go 20 and upgrade the wheels immediately.
So to sum up, IMO you want to look at a $4500-5000 or more bike. This is just the price point bikes are around for entry level electronic shifting and a nice carbon frame and other accessories components. I personally have an Aspero and it has displaced almost all my bikes, I run it in road mode on Thursdays throwdown where we will average 22-24mph and it also performs brilliantly on my subtle mtb trails locally… don’t get me started on gravel with it, it just does that great.
I’m looking at the 20 now and it’s lovely! What’s the difference between their addict and speedster? I will do some digging, but I would imagine it’s carbon/aluminum?
I think I’d be okay on the standard wheels for a while unless you know of any reason why they are trash. But the electronic shifting is an interesting point I hadn’t yet considered. Thanks for the help!
Scott makes great bikes (lets face it all bike companies make cool bikes!)
The speedster is aluminum and a more relaxed geometry than the Addict. The addict will give you or allow you in a faster position and give you a carbon frame (and all the benefits that comes with that). Think of the Addict as a fast gravel riding machine and the speedster as an all day gravel riding machine.
I’m still a huge advocate for mechanical components, but its just an undisputed argument as to how amazing and nice the new electronic stuff is (especially the wireless components).
Their is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with the Syncros RP2.0 Disc Wheels, they are just somewhat heavy aluminum wheels. Upgrading to some light carbons will bring the performance of the bike up and then give you a second set of wheels where you can have a gravel and road set for all your adventures.
The problem with Scott is availability. I have a buddy with a bike shop. I was in there yesterday. I asked him if Scott had a nice gravel bike and he said yep, it’s great, but good luck finding one. He sells Scott bikes as his premier bike brand.
Me personally, the Aspero has caught my eye.
Other than price point, take into account features of the bike.
A bike that can:
take up to at least max 700cx50mm tyres
possibly a power meter
carbon rims are optional
1x/2x is personal preference
suspension/dampening is less of a consideration
I have found the Lauf Seigla Rigid Race Weekend to be a comparatively good buy when comparing its features and o other gravel bikes with same or similar features.
And it’s under US$10k, think closer to $6k.
Honestly I think a lot of people on here buy crazy expensive bikes. I think you can get a very decent bike for less than £2k. Even that seems high to me, but prices have gone up, and there don’t seem to be any good offers around.
However, I’d more think about the features and parts you want, and then see if there is something that fits. Things like frame material, groupset, wheels, geometry and tyre clearance.
Good point. I am going to start researching what I would actually need. As said in the intro, I don’t know a lot about them yet, so this is the beginning of my research!
I agree. I bought an Apex Planet X Tempest recently when PX has a flash sale, got it for £1600. It’s brilliant. But it’s a bit crazy that that is quite cheap for a decent bike.
I second the “less than $2k” notion here. It doesn’t buy you anything in this category. Aero doesn’t matter as much, you’re not putting suspension bits on it, all the groupsets are great, and you’re just going to get it dirty.
Gravel bike is a great place to save a few $$ on the AL frame. They weigh about the same and the tires do a lot of the work. The basic ones ride as well as the ones with all the fancy features (save real suspension) with a good seat post. Seriously… a good flexy seatpost does the same thing as the pivots and the do-hickeys if you have a look at the data sources like Tour Int put out. Just get a quality AL frame, put the $250 Canyon/Ergon seat post on it, and get it dirty and full of rock chips. Spend the money you saved on a miniframe bag, tires, cool handlebars, pedals, shoes, etc.
9 & 10sp shimano is also great, as are some of the mechanical disc calipers. I got wife a Liv Devote (Giant Revolt) with 9sp Sora and mechanical calipers - ZERO complaints compared to my AXS XPLR setup. It might be worth it for 11sp or 12sp if you’re going to be sharing wheelsets with a road bike or want 1x with a big cassette (I do both of these).
I’d go Scott Speedster gravel 20 or 30 unless you are going to be trying to do some single track in the woods, then the BMC URS AL / Roadmachine X AL. The Speedster will work as an endurance/long day road bike if you put road tires on it. The URS/Roadmachine is about 35mm longer in front, which will help keep your face off the trail should you hit a surprise rock or root. The $2200 Scott is the experience as the $4500 Addict except for 2lbs. Actually, it’ll ride better because the $4500 one now has a aero seat post, which is stupid here. (note, I took a look at Tour Int’s #s on the Addicts aero seat post setup - they actually look good, but I think Tour does their testing different between road and gravel bikes because the numbers are way off on comparable bikes in by the same mfg).
I think it all depends on what your other bikes have. If you race electronic groupsets and find yourself avoiding the bikes that are still mechanical, then you probably want to buy in at the electronic price point. If not, then mechanical shifting is probably fine but you’ll definitely want to get hydraulic brakes. Alloy is probably ok if a significant portion of your stable is alloy, but if you only race carbon frames and think you might get into gravel racing then there’s no point starting out on anything less than a carbon gravel frameset.
If your other road bikes have disc brakes then it’s worth considering cross compatibility with them in terms of groupsets. Identical brake rotor sizes plus a 2x gravel groupset with the same number of gears as your road setup means it can probably take your road wheels with minimal (if any) adjustment. This makes it a great endurance bike too since you’ll likely have a slightly more relaxed position and may have smaller chainrings on the gravel bike meaning you’ve got lower gearing even without changing cassette from your race wheels.
That’s how I’d work out my price point, then just choose based on brand preference/availability/discount/reviews.
I agree with that for the most part. Rotor sizes, yes. Hydro brakes, depends - wife’s bike has the Tektro MD-C550, which are way better than the BB5, BB7, and TRP Hy/RD’s cable brakes i’ve used and on-par with Shimano and Sram hydro. I’d only say hydro is better if you’re in a sandy area, where the sand can jam things up, you’re putting 2000mi+ miles/year on the bike and you’re just going to wear the cable housing down, or you need to route the lines in a funny way like on an aero bike. Cable brakes have more rotor clearance and don’t need bleeding. It’s an easy place to save money (and maybe open up options) if this isn’t your pride&joy bike. Also, I’d take those Tektro MD-C550 over Giant’s weird, bulky cheap hydro setup any day.
Ideally, you also want wheels with the same hub so you can move cassettes around too (if you don’t mind a bit of grease). I’ve got six wheelsets between my road, gravel, xc bikes, and wifes bike ( fast road, ‘country road’/messy road, gravel, 650b fat gravel, XC dry, and XC 27.5 messy); the road bikes share the road plus wheels set, my wife’s 9sp Shimano can use any of the wheelsets, and the XC bike and gravel bike can share a cassette. With DT Swiss’s Ratchet setup, I can take the bigger cassette mounted to the freehub body and slap it onto the other wheel in seconds (pluck and plop) if I want to take the road bike, with the fast wheels to a hilly place, I can toss the XC bike’s cassette on the gravel bike, or if I find a flat while getting out the door, I can quickly flip stuff around and still make the group ride. It’s not so important that they’re both 12sp or electronic or SRAM, just on the same hub system. Always try to match the hubs on your N bike to the ones on the main bike.
Good alternative to my method re: freehub swaps. Could really go either way I guess (compatible drivetrains with different wheels or compatible wheels with different drivetrains). All depends where you’re already most heavily invested I guess.
yeah, if you need to unscrew the end cap, it can be a pain and you screw up the endcap with tools. I’ve got a few buddies with swiss hubs, so we can hand off cassettes and wheels as needed for vacations and mechanicals.
I picked up a Specialized Diverge, base aluminum with hydraulic disc, 10 speed GRX, for ~2K USD, about a year ago when there were NO bikes available.
Would strongly have preferred some suspension system, and 11 speed. Other than that, it’s been absolutely reliable and utterly fun. So…$2.5-$3K to pay for the snazzy stuff?
Of course, since Specialized (and every other brand) decided to jack up their prices for no obvious reason, that same $3K would get me the bike I have now.
Edit: Also, a clutched derailleur is…um…clutch. Gotta have it.
My first two “gravel” bikes were used CX bikes. I think I paid around $1200-1500 for each. First was a Trek Cronus(?) that had Sram; the read D snapped and broke the hanger off, making the bike useless. Second is a Ridley X-night that I now use for CX and as a back up gravel bike. Both did fine on gravel w/ 38mm Gravel Kings. My splurge was a Colnago G3-X. Spent a ridiculous amount on it, as it will be my “forever” bike. Love it, it’s awesome. But could I get by almost exactly as well with the used CX bike. Yup.
Good point about compatibility between bikes! That’s something I also do, it makes it much easier if you can swap wheels or take bits of one bike to fix the other one.
When I was looking 6 months ago, that was also quite the unicorn bike. Not sure what stock looks likely as of lately
What is unicorn about an Aspero? Seems like a fine bike, but it’s nothing special. The problem is that it’s sold as a gravel bike, but it compares better to everyone else’s CX offering. It does’t ride near as well as other gravel bike (or CX bikes even) according the frame squishing tests (FWIW), in other dimensions it’s needlessly stiff, expensive, is limited to 44t chainrings (1x; 50/34 otherwise) and only has OK tire capacity. That’s all fine as long as you can forgive the awful rear ride numbers in order to get a slightly shorter top tube.