Craig Treptow Show full post »
oleritter
You could get the top of the line London Road for your budget.  With hydro brakes.  Maybe the XL could fit.  You would probably want to figure out your fitting before ordering.

Planet X USA


I Build Wheels @millcitycycle

https://www.facebook.com/millcitycycle/
Quote 0 0
Craig Treptow
Finnyct90 wrote:
I read down through this thread and after a little thought, if your Crossroads fits you, you already have a great gravel bike! I have one of the older steel versions of the crossroads, Great frame, I have mine setup with drop bars and vintage 7 speed triple. the bike will roll 700x42c tires and is very strong...I say run what ya brung!


Funny, what started me looking more seriously for a new bike was simply all the trouble I had trying to find rigid forks to replace the suspension.  Seems almost impossible.  

If I ignore that, and assume that my extra weight is hurting me more then the extra 3 lbs on the fork, then yeah, perhaps I should just ride more on this bike.

I don't know if I could put some drop bars on and still mount those thumb shifters & brakes??  Perhaps a different thread for that question.  Maybe new brake levers and shifters with drop bars won't be too bad?  Maybe no changes.

Ugghh....the choices!! [wink]
Quote 0 0
Craig Treptow
I think I've convinced myself to not spend any $ until I've ridden at least 65 miles on gravel in one ride.  The gravel race is what got me looking, so no rewards until I've accomplished a similar ride. 

Wish me luck!
Quote 0 0
jwiner
Good luck on your 60 miler! 

Here's a pretty good option in 62cm (i'm 6'.5" and ride the 59):

Niner RLT 9 full Ultegra with Stan's Grail wheels: $2,000 (33% off)
http://www.jensonusa.com/Niner-RLT-Jenson-Ultegra-Stans-Bike-2015?cs=Grey

Supporting your LBS is [thumb][thumb], but think this fits the bill (OK +$500). You can get an extra 6% cashback through ActiveJunky.
Quote 0 0
Craig Treptow
Update

Longest ride has been 40 miles so far.  

I came across a pretty good deal on the Diamondback Haanjo Comp, so I went for it!!  I've only had a couple of short shakedown rides and so far so good.

I love the matte black color, even though it will probably look dirty all the time. [smile]

I'm a tad bit nervous about the lower spoke count on the wheels, but time will tell.

Expect more updates as I've ridden this some more and.
Quote 0 0
Nubster
Craig Treptow wrote:
I'm a tad bit nervous about the lower spoke count on the wheels, but time will tell.

Expect more updates as I've ridden this some more and.


Have a shop look them over. Make sure tension is good all around and everything is true and round. 

Up until Saturday (finally got my new wheels setup)...I've been riding a couple months on 24 spoke wheels and beating on them pretty hard for the past 700+ miles. I'm currently 270 down from 285 back in April. I wouldn't sweat it too much. Just take it easy until you drop some weight and keep a good eye on them. Keep them trued and tensioned and you should be ok. 
Quote 0 0
Craig Treptow
@nubster What did you set up for wheels?  Was it for added strength?
Quote 0 0
NoCoGreg
Craig - before fretting too much about the wheels, check the various forums to see what others are experiencing with that specific brand and model.  My Specialized Tarmac came with some fragile light weight wheels that I quickly knocked out of true (about one month of training rides). Another big friend had the same problem. I purchased a set of Ksyrium Elite's for training and my wife (much smaller and lighter) has put several thousand miles on the Specialized wheels without issue.  For the record - big powerful riders will break any wheel. It's not a question of "if" but rather "when".  The only wheel I haven't broken are some 40 spoke touring wheels - but they don't see as much use as the other wheels.

For performance AND durability I prefer Fulcrum Racing wheels made by Campagnolo. I'm right at 200 pounds and race criteriums (lots of sprinting which beats up the rear wheel).  Fulcrum just came out with CX specific wheels which are a bit wider. These are available via UK and Germany on-line stores for around $250.  Don't know why US prices are so much higher but that's a rant for another time and place.  Note that due to the "innovations" in bikes, these might not be compatible with your bike. The Fulcrum Racing Quatro is for standard quick release and rim brakes - not thru axle or disk brakes.

Bottom line - the rear wheel takes the greatest pounding (most of the weight sits on the rear wheel) and the pedaling energy places constant forces on the spokes, hub and rim which cause these to fatigue fail.  Front wheels almost never go out of true or fail.
Quote 0 0
AlanEsh
Heh, I just saw Craig's post on another site saying he has been breaking spokes... guess that answers the question about 24-count spokes on that bike [biggrin]

http://bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/42366/can-the-hed-tomcat-wheels-be-made-stronger
Quote 0 0
Enoch
THats hilarious, He is 300lbs and breaking spokes. Who would have guessed a 24 spoke wheel was not up to the task. Be reasonable people.
Quote 1 0
AlanEsh
Enoch wrote:
THats hilarious, He is 300lbs and breaking spokes. Who would have guessed a 24 spoke wheel was not up to the task. Be reasonable people.

Yeah, I'm 230 and I had a 24-spoke wheel that couldn't handled hilly pavement riding under me; 32 or more since then!
Quote 0 0
Nubster
Craig Treptow wrote:
@nubster What did you set up for wheels?  Was it for added strength?


Missed this...sorry...I had a set of Hope Pro 4 hubs laced to WTB i23 rims...32 spoke. I did the 32 spoke for the added strength because of my weight and because this wheelset is intended to be for rides when I know the terrain will be rougher. So I wanted peace of mind that I wouldn't have any issues. I've lost about 25 pounds since building them so now the weight to strength is even greater...lol...so bonus on that but I'm also riding a little harder now too so I suppose it all evens out.
Quote 0 0
Nubster
I'm 250 right now riding 24 spokes all the time on the road and gravel. Perfect for nearly 1000 miles since I got the bike. I started north of 275 when I got the bike earlier this year and not a single issue with the wheels. American Classics with bladed spokes. 
Quote 0 0
Craig Treptow
Update:

I generally still love this bike.  It had everything I wanted, looks good, and I'm having fun.  So much in fact, that I've planned a 60 mile ride for Saturday morning with the temps in the mid-40s.  What am I thinking?!?!

The only issue was the spoke breakage.  Luckily, I came into a little unexpected bonus $$ from work, and spent a chunk of it on some Velocity Ailerons, 36H front, 40H rear.

They look good and will hopefully hold up for a long time.  I think I'll also go tubeless on the next set of tires, since the rims support that.

I'm currently running WTB Nano Comps, and I love these tires, too.  The Kenda Happy Mediums wore down very quickly, especially on the rear.


Quote 1 0
Slim
And remember, higher spoke count not only makes each spoke less likely to break, it also is a huge benefit in case one does break.
A high spoke count wheel can probably be nursed home, vs a low spoke count wheel being unrideable.
Quote 0 0
NoCoGreg
Just a couple add'l thots on wheels:
If the #1 concern is reliability/durability, check out the wheels used for tandems. Nothing like the power of two and 300 to 400 pounds of rider and gear to beat up a wheel.  I have a few thousand miles on my (very) old 40 hole Mavic rims laced to a Phil hub with a 3x pattern and haven't had any issues with spoke breakage nor the wheel coming out of true.  Tandem wheels typically have tandem-specific spacing so a pre-built tandem wheel probably will not work on a CX/gravel bike - but if a 36 or 40 spoke rim/hub combination will last on a tandem then it should have a long trouble free life for most gravel applications.  Here's a link to Tandems East which has been around for a long time and has a good selection of rims and hubs to give ideas...
http://www.tandemseast.com/parts/wheels.html

Another option worth a look is the Flo wheel. They have a Clydesdale version for riders under 242 lbs...
https://www.flocycling.com/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=130

Good luck!
Greg
Quote 0 0
ChristinaChi
In my opinion the most important thing when choosing a bike is choosing the corresponding weight and size which will fit your proportions perfectly. I have two bikes, however, still consider Diamondback Overdrive 29er as my best choice. At first it seemed a bit heavier than I wanted it to be, but I got used to it very quickly. This bike is a great choice. It also has reliable breaks and 24 speeds http://bestadviser.net/urban-bikes/8-top-city-bikes-for-men-and-women/
If I would advise a bike most likely I would advise the lighter the better. Though, the price will go higher in such case. For example carbon bikes are much lighter than aluminum that is why in most cases they are more expensive. As for the price it’s quite adequate for the quality.
Quote 0 0
NoCoGreg
ChristinaChi wrote:
In my opinion the most important thing when choosing a bike is choosing the corresponding weight and size which will fit your proportions perfectly.

I agree completely with Christina's comment on bike fit - if the bike is a poor fit it doesn't matter how light or how good of a "deal" it was. A poor fitting bike will be slow and/or will handle badly.  Other key considerations brought up at various times in this thread:

1. Suspension?  Great if one regularly encounters severe washboard or if the gravel roads are more like jeep trails (aka dual track mountain biking).  But suspension adds to the cost and weight while also using your energy.  Also, suspension is almost exclusive to mountain bikes which means flat bars instead of drop bars.  Put another way, you'll be slower but more comfortable. :-)

2. Handlebar type?  There are two basic types: traditional road style drops or flat bars used on mountain bikes.  Yes yes I know there are many variations of each but in selecting drop or flat one likely will also will be choosing how the bike was targeted to be ridden:  smoother paved and graded roads, or more for off road and harsher conditions. This in turn will show up with the size and type of tire, brake type, gearing, and more.  

3. Tire size and clearance?  Some of the new gravel bikes barely have room for 30c (1-1/8th inch wide) tires while others will fit a 48c (1.9") or wider (Salsa's Fargo for example).

4. Brake type? Lots of pro's and con's in the disk versus rim brake.  It's a religious discussion I'm not going to touch. Both can be setup to work well and both can fail. The same for cable versus hydraulic.

5. Hub and axle type?  The latest/greatest wheels have through axles as opposed to the hollow axle with quick release.  The through axles were first used for suspension forks as they make a wheel and bike structure which is stronger, more rigid and will provide better control. Through axles are now used for rear suspension (same reason) and are migrating to high performance gravel and CX bikes.  The standard axles with quick releases have worked fine for decades so if your riding won't include extreme mountain biking or racing, there's no "need" for the through axles.  More and more of the high end bikes are getting through axles. Additionally mountain bike rear hubs are getting wider. The old standard of 135mm is being replaced with 142mm (Specialized and others) and the "Boost" 148mm width. Wheels build on wider hubs are stronger laterally (side-to-side).  

The more mountain-bike-like a bicycle is, the more likely it'll have disk brakes, through axles and boost spacing.

6. Frame and fork material?  Carbon is lightest and most expensive. Titanium and stainless steel are nearly as expensive, heavier but much more resilient in a crash.  Aluminum and steel are the least expensive.  In a crash carbon can shatter leaving one on the side of the road with a unrideable tangle of cables and bike parts.  Yup, I've witnessed this.  I've also observed badly damaged steel and aluminum bikes which were rideable - not necessarily "safe" but the rider was able to continue at a slow speed.  There's lots of religion on which material is "best", but all can be used to make an excellent bike but a poorly designed and manufactured bike is going to suck regardless of the material.  I own bikes built from all of the above and can observe many of the pro's/con's.  I wouldn't hesitate to get an aluminum or steel bike for long distance gravel riding, but for a hilly cyclocross or road race I'd go for a carbon fiber thoroughbred which would be many pounds lighter.  FWIW - a light weight  carbon frame and fork will weigh about 3 pounds. A good quality steel frame and fork about 7 pounds.  Put the same parts on both bikes and you've got a 4 pound difference for the entire bike.  Throw me on the bike with a couple water bottles, some basic gear, and the total weight difference is just under 2% - so small it only matters if you're racing.

7. Gearing?  An old (vintage?) 3x7 setup (triple crankset and 7 cogs in back) from an old mountain bike can work just fine if the gears are selected carefully.  Conversely I've seen successful gravel racers on bikes with a 1x10 drivetrain.  The latest/greatest top end drivetrains are 1x11. My preference is a 2x10 or 3x9  where my cassette ranges from 11-to-28 or 11-to-32.  If riding on relatively smooth and predictable roads I prefer closer spaced gears. For mountainous terrain I prefer wider gears with a greater overall range. For a first bike I'd suggest a wider range, such as a 3x9 or 3x10, and then adjust to find what works best. 

8 Frame type: Road/Touring/Cyclocross/Gravel/Adventure/Mountain?  I tried to list in ascending order of weigh and rigidity, but depending upon the manufacturer and marketing for that company some of the types may move around a bit.  In short, gravel bikes span a wide range from road bikes with slightly wider tires to mountain bikes with drop bars.  Bikes that are more "road like" will be lighter and faster but will be more challenging on roads with mud, washboard and deep sand/gravel.  Wider tires help A LOT in softer conditions.  Mountain bike frames are stiffer and more durable, but they weigh more and transmit more shock and vibration to the rider which over time will tire the rider - this is one of the reason long distance randonneur riders prefer road frames with wider tires than would be used by racers.  Also note that the geometry of a road bike is very different than a mountain bike and this will show up when climbing, descending and when in technical conditions (sand, gravel, etc etc).  My preferred bike has 700x40c tires. For faster rides I'll go for 700x35c tires and for more challenging terrain I'll ride another bike with 26"x2.25" semi-slick tires.

9. Attachment points?  If you plan to have fenders or racks, make sure the bike has the proper mounting points.  Few high end light weight race bikes are setup for adding fenders or a rack.  Adventure touring bikes (Salsa Fargo for example) have attachments for front and rear racks, fenders, 3 water bottles, I'm probably missing other options...

So after all this, you wonder which bike should I start with?  If there's a group you're planning to ride with, find out what they're riding and get something similar. If it's not setup well for the terrain (roads) then you'll all suffer through together (misery loves company?).  Put another way, you won't be at a disadvantage to the rest of the group.  Over time you'll certainly make adjustments (tire width, gearing, lighter or stronger wheels, etc etc) but these are best made after you've been out and have many rides.  If you're not planning to ride with a group, then the choice is based on how the bike will be ridden (Mountains with long gradual climbs? Short but steep rolling hills? Mostly flat? Windy? Long 100+ mile rides? Commuting?  Fenders?  Bags for camping/touring? Other?).  

One last thought - if you're in an area with a good selection of used bikes on Craigslist or other ad's, a used bike will depreciate slower than a new bike and it is possible can get a higher end bike for the same $$$ in the used market.  It's also possible to pay too much or buy a bike with a major problem (cracked or broken frame, major components which are broken, etc).  Saving $$$ on the bike will also allow some budget for a second set of wheels with a different width tire.  This way one can have a set of road wheels with 700x28c tires, and gravel wheels with 700x40c tires and a cassette with lower/wider gears.

Happy shopping!
Quote 0 0