hacktorious
Hey folks,

I'm looking for some suggestions on a new bike.  I just sold my recumbent and am in the process of selling my full suspension MTB.

I'm interested in a bike I can use mostly on the road, but is capable of handling some trails.  I'm overwhelmed by the number of choices these days.

I started out looking at touring bikes, but I will likely not be doing any tours.  If I do it would likely only be overnight.  Anyways, the purpose for my bike will be to do weekend rides on bike paths around 50 miles and use it during the week for riding around with my family, exercise, etc.

I will also be spending some time on gravel and dirt trails.  I like to ride on the W&OD and C&O canal trail.  Rougher trails are also possible, but not as frequent.

I was looking at some of the following:
Giant ToughRoad
Giant Revolt (may be too much mountain bike.
Novara Randonee

At this point I'm just overwhelmed.  I live in the US and don't want to have to order something overseas, and would like to keep my budget below $2k.  Oh, I prefer drop bars over straight.

Oh yea, I would prefer an Aluminum frame over steel because I'm in favor of saving as much weight as possible.

Any suggestions, or tips to help narrow my search is greatly appreciated.  Thanks.

Scott
--
Gear Guy
http://www.YourPathToAdventure.com
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Nubster
Well...I don't have much experience yet...just getting into this whole gravel grinding thing. But currently, I'm on a Jamis Renegade which has been pretty awesome. It's a solid endurance road bike geometry but room for some beefy (by road bike standards) 40c tires, probably larger if mud clearance isn't a concern. Carbon frame really helps soak up the bumps and makes the bike nice and light and rack mounts so you can add some bags for those overnight trips. And a solid component lineup whether you go with the 105 components or the Ultegra. That said, the 105 bike is a little above your desired budget at $2600 but IMO worth it. It rides better than my Cannondale Carbon Synapse did and just as fast on the road.

Jamis also has the Xploit which looks really nice for $2k. It's steel though but I don't think I'd discount steel right off the bat. Yeah...slightly heavier in many cases...but sometimes it's not. And even when it is, it's usually only a couple pounds and in all reality, unless you are climbing huge mountains or you are an elite level racer...you won't likely notice or be disadvantaged by the slightly heavier bike. As far as aluminum...I'd shop carefully because while certain bikes that are done correctly can ride really well...there's a LOT that don't. I'd take heavier plusher riding steel over hard riding aluminum any day. 

As far as other pretty popular bikes to maybe look at...

Niner RTL
Raleigh Roker and Willard
Ridely X-Trail
Diamondback HAANJO 
Specialized Diverge 

And there's others...but these are some of the more popular that seem to have lower priced options.


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ronpal
Second the Jamis Renegade, Although I don't own one I've been looking at one for my wife.  They make different version of it with different frame materials depending on how much you want to pay.  Not sure exactly were you are but if close to DC  Bikenetic in Falls Church has a bunch of Jamis, Salsa warbirds, Kona Rove and other bikes.  Many great all round bikes that are great on gravel.  You don't need an especially large tire for the C&O, I ride it daily on 700x28s for 5 miles, but for longer distances some 700x38 or larger are nice.  My personal ride is a Kona Ti-Rove, it's a great ride on gravel.   And if you ride the WO&D to Purcellville, there are a lot of great gravel roads out there.
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DrSpoke
Performance Bikes is having their Triple Points Weekend (30% Performance Points) from 6/10 to 6/12.  They carry both Ridley and GT so may have something that may work for you.
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GravelDoc
I've been riding a New Albion Privateer which is a subsidiary of Soma.  It's steel but plenty light enough and is a good all-arounder for someone on a budget.  It can be built up a number of ways.  I suggest you contact Gravel and Grind in Frederick, Md.  They stock them, as well as several other bikes at various price-points.  Also, they have a very informative website. 
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RoverAl
The Giant tough road is more mtb the Revolt is more gravel bike. I was interested in the Revolt but there was none to be found in my neck of the woods at the time. So I moved on. Currently riding a Raleigh Willard and couldn't be happier. Great multi purpose bike.

Try and get your bike on sale, or use incentives etc..I got a great deal on mine. As mentioned Performance has a big sale. Performance has Diamondback Haanjo,Fuji tread and others to choose from. 
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Nubster
GravelDoc wrote:
I've been riding a New Albion Privateer which is a subsidiary of Soma.  It's steel but plenty light enough and is a good all-arounder for someone on a budget.  It can be built up a number of ways.  I suggest you contact Gravel and Grind in Frederick, Md.  They stock them, as well as several other bikes at various price-points.  Also, they have a very informative website. 


Hey...that's a cool looking shop and the same idea I keep telling my wife about...minus one thing. I told her I'd like to own a shop and call it Three B's. Bikes, beans, and beer!

I'm not terribly far from there...I might have to load the bike and venture that way to check out the shop and some local riding.
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hacktorious
Any thoughts on the Giant AnyRoad models?
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Drumbiker
Hi Scott,
I was in your shoes a couple of months back and decided on a Bianchi Allroad 105 Disc, which is classified as an adventure bike. You may not see a lot of reviews for it online since the Bianchi brand is known primarily among roadies, is more prevalent in the EU. and seems to be a bit below radar in gravel and cx racing circles. It's got an aluminum frame, carbon fork and seat post, solid 105 components, including Shimano hydraulics (compared to mech disc in most bikes at the same price point), but most importantly, the geo fits my body and the frame/wheels/tires feel incredibly smooth and responsive TO ME. I've taken it on everything from single track to group road rides - it's the most versatile bike I've owned. Also, tires and dialing in the right inflation for the terrain is tough when you're shopping, but try to play around with it if possible. Also, don't pay more $ for super lightweight in this category (consider the fact many riders use steel for CX and touring). I tried adventure/cross bikes from Giant, Felt, Jamis, Trek, and Specialized in the $1800-$2400 range, but I knew the Bianchi was IT the minute I got on.
Here's the thing, all the bikes mentioned in this thread are great, but perhaps the most important aspect of this process is finding a LBS where you can actually  test ride them. The Bianchi stood out for me, not because it's better than the others, but because I could really get my hands on it to test all the subjective factors I mentioned. Your LBS should also be taken into consideration. My local Bianchi dealer is close by and is attitude free. You don't want to have to deal with pushy asshats in this process. LBSs will obviously place an emphasis on the brands they carry, but the good ones will listen to what you want, and ultimately, want you to be happy in the long term and provide you with good service etc. The only other bikes I wish I could have tried were the Bulls and Niner. The Bulls is exclusively mail order and their ALU gravel bike has comparable components to the Bianchi at a similar price point. But there's no way to know if it's right for me by looking at a website. Same with Niner, specs and reviews look great, but they have very limited distribution in the N.E. Good luck in your search. The right bike will speak to you - trust your gut more than specs!
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bobknh
My $.02 -- as a recent convert to GG, as well as long time cyclist with many years and miles under my belt (including recumbents), I can tell you that almost can't go wrong with ANY of the suggested choices. My best advice is to check out the beginners advice on the Gravel Bike web site: http://www.gravelcyclist.com/beginners-corner/ . After reading this solid advice, you'll still find a plethora of choices. Then it's a question of personal preference, budget, and convenience. Are you an experienced bike wrench who likes to experiment and repurpose old equipment; or are you a person who wants a ready to go ride with little fuss and bother? Do you like the latest and greatest, or are you a retro grouch? Finally, do you have a local shop, that you like and trust? Good luck. You almost can't go wrong --- but don't dither -- just get rolling ASAP. It's already summer!
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hacktorious
Thanks for all the great feedback.  I went to a local shop and ended up bringing home a "GT Alloy 105" in blue.  I love it.   It will take a bit to acclimated since I've spent most of my time over the last 10 - 15 years mountain biking and riding a recumbent as a commuter.  I sold the bent and am also considering selling the MTB.

I could not refuse getting this bike at $999.   It has great reviews, is comfortable, handles well off road and is a great all around ride.
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jchap
I am very with my Felt V55. Hydrofirmed aluminium and ultegra drivetrain.
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GOTA
hacktorious wrote:
Thanks for all the great feedback.  I went to a local shop and ended up bringing home a "GT Alloy 105" in blue.  I love it.   It will take a bit to acclimated since I've spent most of my time over the last 10 - 15 years mountain biking and riding a recumbent as a commuter.  I sold the bent and am also considering selling the MTB.

I could not refuse getting this bike at $999.   It has great reviews, is comfortable, handles well off road and is a great all around ride.


GT Alloy 105 what?  Is it the Grade?  That bike with 105 components for that price is a good deal.
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bobknh
hacktorious wrote:
Thanks for all the great feedback.  I went to a local shop and ended up bringing home a "GT Alloy 105" in blue.  I love it.   It will take a bit to acclimated since I've spent most of my time over the last 10 - 15 years mountain biking and riding a recumbent as a commuter.  I sold the bent and am also considering selling the MTB.

I could not refuse getting this bike at $999.   It has great reviews, is comfortable, handles well off road and is a great all around ride.


Great choice. Have fun on your new ride. Personally, while I still ride a lot on paved roads, I'm finding the quiet unpaved roads of southern New Hampshire irresistible. 
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hacktorious
GOTA wrote:


GT Alloy 105 what?  Is it the Grade?  That bike with 105 components for that price is a good deal.


Yes, its a grade.  I could not resist the deal.  The color is amazing.
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delhirider
Consider Diamondback Haanjo, has good reviews, I own it. The cables are routed through bottom tube so can work great at cross as well. I was searching for a 105 components bike on which I can do both long distance gravel (actually had Dirty Kanza 200 in mind, aiming for it next year) and found cross equally exciting. The geometry allows both. It is priced $1300 and if you buy it between 6/10/16 to 6/12/16 you get $400 in store credit from Performance Bike. Best of Luck!
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