FlashBazbo
I'm tempted by the idea of going to a carbon frame for my 2016 gravel bike.  My "A" race of the year will, again, be the Dirty Kanza 200.  My question is, essentially, which style of bike is best for the DK200?  As I rode the race this year, it seemed to me that miles 15 thru 65 are pretty rocky and rough.  A mountain bike would have some advantages in those miles.  On the other hand, miles 100 thru 160 are gently rolling, relatively smooth roads where the biggest challenge is the wind.  The "gravel bike" would likely have some advantages there. 

This year, I rode a Niner RLT9 -- gravel bike.  But I never got close to the speed potential of the bike.  I was careful to stay aerobic (slow).  I was only in the big ring a couple times all day. 

So . . . Do the aero disadvantages of an MTB like the Cutthroat outweigh the advantages in the rough stuff?  Does a drop-bar MTB have aero disadvantages?  Or does the boulder-bouncing disadvantage of the gravel bike overcome its speed advantage on the "easy" sections or road?

What do you think?  If you've ridden the DK200, what style bike did you ride?  What did you think of your choice?  And . . . if you had it to do again, would you ride the same bike? 
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sgtrobo
great question.  I'm planning my next bike, and these 2 are at the top of the list.  It's tough to pass up the potential versatility of the Cutthroat, especially since you can equip it with 'skinny(er)' tires for days when you have more smooth than rugged, but with the Warbird, I believe 44c is the biggest tire you can fit, which is a big disadvantage in the gnarl.
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FlashBazbo
The fact that Salsa wouldn't sell one of these bikes to me through my nearest Salsa dealer (they don't stock enough bikes) caused me to keep looking.  Salsa wanted me to make the 3-hour trip to their nearest qualified dealer.  (Not much love for the customers.)

I decided to have Lynskey build a custom titanium bike that has the best elements of both of these bikes.  With Lynskey's summer sale, the bottom-line pricing is going to be about the same as one of these, off the shelf.  Very cool.   
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BluesDawg
Jay Petervary thinks the Cutthroat makes a pretty good gravel bike.  "Not only do I think it’s the perfect race steed for the Tour Divide, but an incredible everyday gravel grinder."

Racing the Dirty Kanza is not in my plans, but there are plenty of times when a bike capable of running 2"+tires would make my gravel rides better.
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Empty Goat
I've ridden both. The Cutthroat is the finest all around bike coming on the market. I believe comfort is faster the longer the race. What the Cutthroat will give away in drag it will reward with the tire width choices and stable all day comfort. Wish it was a Shimano brakes/drive train though.
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kansroad
Have had my Warbird carbon for about a month now. Have ridden mostly all gravel here in eastern KS. Several 50 milers, one 60 and a bunch of 10-20 mile rides. All on the Sammy 35s. Riding about 100 miles/week right now. Gave up my GT LTS double sprung 1.95 tires for the Warbird. Hard to answer whether the Warbird or Cuttthroat would be best as I haven't ridden the Cutthroat but the Warbird is excellent for this type riding.

I think maybe a 40mm tubeless might be the way to go in the long run esp on some sections of the DK but have had the 35s in some loose stuff and it remains very stable. Seems anything wider than that would be extra weight. For me I think the Warbird is the better choice as I have a MTB for those type rides. I use a Revelant tangle bag, seat tool bag, feed bag and 3 bottles for the longer rides. Have not done the DK but plan to do the 100 mile section next year. 
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Corvus1
I have ridden DK200. I did it on a Ti gravel bike running 35c tires. Honestly I wouldn't want more bike than I had. I've done a lot rowdier "roads" on that bike than anything I found in DK200. That said, I think the choice really comes down to what you honestly want and expect out of the bike. The for the DK200 I feel the Warbird is faster, lighter and better suited to the course. The only reason I can see to go with the Cutthroat is if you know you want to do other rides outside of DK200 which would require significantly more tire. If 200 is the longest distance you'll do, you don't plan to focus on courses with jeep road sections then I'd get the Warbird. If you prefer comfort to overall speed and you know you want to mix in a good dose of jeep roads and singletrack then the Cutthroat is your weapon of choice.

Personally I feel the Cutthroat is a pretty damn specific bike. 98% of the gravel I've done would be better on 35-40c tires - even when it has a decent dose of B road. When it has a lot of B road and gets really rough then I'd prefer a real MTB (I have a 2014 El Mariachi Ti) over the drop bar 29er. The Cutthroat comes into it's on the course it was designed for - the Tour Divide - where you'll see many consecutive long days in the saddle and more than a few very rough sections. In those cases the drop bars (long days) and the wide tires (Gila) are a boon.
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Slim
Corvus1 wrote:
The for the DK200 I feel the Warbird is faster, lighter and better suited to the course.

Why do you say the Warbird is faster? Cutthroat is maybe a bit wider frame, but how big of a loss is that in aerodynamics? And how much lighter is it really than the Cutthroat? The complete bikes differ a lot in weight, but thats due to the bigger tires and possibly heavier wheels.


Corvus1 wrote:
Personally I feel the Cutthroat is a pretty damn specific bike. 98% of the gravel I've done would be better on 35-40c tires - even when it has a decent dose of B road.

But you certainly can ride 35mm tires in the Cutthroat. So I would say it's less specific. It can do everything the Warbird does, and some of what a hardtail mtb does (especially if you got a suspension fork too.)
It also depends on your other bikes:
If you have a road bike that can handle 32mm tires, and a full-suspension trail-mtb, then the Cutthroat slots in nicely in the middle, used with 40-50mm small knob tires and a rigid fork for rough gravel rides, or full on mtb tires and suspension fork for easy single track and bike packing.
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kansroad
I now have over nearly 4000 miles on my Warbird carbon with Teravail Cannonball 38C tires which I added later. Most of that is on dirt/gravel roads. Have had no flats. Was training last year for the DK 100 and encountered a medical issue and had to cancel. I continue to ride and am considering the Sram RED eTap conversion this spring. My dealer says I'll have less hardware to change using the SRAM vs. the Shimano Di. I love the bike, has always been stable/comfortable on gravel or pavement. 
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GSPChilliwack
I've got and love two Salsas, but have to think if I was in the market for a versatile bike to tackle a race like that, I'd be taking a hard look at the Cannondale Slate.
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