64Chevy
Howdy everyone.  I'm a 54 year old avid mountain biker, and weekly road rider.  I'm spending more time in central Oregon, which has lots of gravel roads to explore, so I've decided to get a gravel bike (i also have some challenging bike fit issues, and the more relaxed/upright position on most endurance/gravel bikes works for me).  I suspect my riding will be mostly on a mix of paved and dirt surfaces with very few trails, and without much significant mud.  The dirt roads, though, will be both rocky and rough.

I'm still in the process of demoing bikes, but two that I keep coming back to are the Santa Cruz Stigmata and the Salsa Warbird.  Both have > 40mm of tire clearance.  I know from my mountain biking experience that I like the increased traction and greater comfort of wider tires.  I also think I want to just buy a frame and do a custom build, but those are issues for a different thread.  There are a few bikes (the new BMC RoadMachine series, the new Felt VR series) that also might work well, but they have less frame/tire clearance.

I don't know how much muddy riding I'll be doing (and I know I won't be racing cyclocross), but it seems to me that allowing for wider tires is a good decision.  What are your opinions on typical tire sizes used in mixed riding.  I'm thinking I need to be able to take at least a 38c with some clearance, but perhaps I don't need that?
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Eric
I'm most definately a novice here! But from everything I've researched, you want to be able to at least be able to run a 40. It's always better to have too much room and not need it than to need the room and not have it!
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shiggy
Options are good. I generally run 38-42mm tires and 48-52mm at times. Designed my frame for 650Bx48 with fenders and it will take larger.
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cjdaking
Carbon Warbirds are in short supply, but if you can get hold of one, it's a gorgeous frame. It also has the 3rd bottle mounts, which I'd recommend for longer rides/races when it's hot. The Stigmata is a little more race-y, but I saw a ton of 'em at the Lost & Found race last year. Beautiful frame.

Another option is the Niner BSB - similar to the Santa Cruz. I'm building one up now after a couple years on the Niner RLT9. Should be a little lighter and nimble enough to race cyclocross.

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bobknh
I like your thinking, and wish I had your mountain bike skills and experience. Yup - wider tires are better!
PS: I think that mountain bike shredders will likely have an easier time converting to GG. For roadies like me, it's much more difficult -- wide tubeless tires, disk brakes, funny gearing, non-carbon frames ... Yikes. For mountain bikers -- it's just easy mountain biking.
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64Chevy
Thanks for the thoughs.  I know carbon Warbirds are sort of unobtanium, but you never know.  I recently rode a carbon Norco Search, and those frames are available (as are the Stigmatas).  I liked it as well.  A geometry comparison chart puts these three frames within whiskers of one another, and the tire clearance on all is pretty similar.  I'd still rather have the ability to go with somewhat larger tires, but short of custom I don't think I'll find something that will do that.  Now I just have to select between the frames.  The Norco is the value leader (about $650 less than the Stig).  No one I've spoke to is really sure about the cost of a Warbird (or even if they will be able to get one). 

So now one of the questions is a Search with an excellent wheelset, or a Stigmata with just a decent wheelset (given the same final build price).
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