Which bike to get? 20  votes

 Lynskey GR260 6 votes
 Lynskey GR260 but add lower gearing 2 votes
 Salsa Fargo Ti 3 votes
 Salsa Cutthroat 7 votes
 Salsa Cutthroat but add lower gearing 1 vote
 Other 1 vote
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Hello all, new poster here. Let me first say that I have mostly ignored bike components and just ridden, so I am sadly uninformed and will probably say stupid things in this post. I have done some research, but I still need help.

I am replacing my old steel frame Fargo to celebrate a fresh rush of enthusiasm for the sport (and because I stupidly got the wrong size way back when). I'm having trouble deciding between these bikes, in part due to concerns about gearing. My road bike is a Lynskey Helix and I love it, so my instinct is to go for the GR260. 

I am looking for an adventure bike to cover bikepacking, fire roads, off road endurance rides (nontechnical), some road touring, cyclocross, intermediate single track, and potentially the Continental Divide route. All 3 bikes seem to be compatible with a suspension fork for singletrack outside of tours, if I want to go that route. All are light and compatible with racks or bikepacking setups. 

Any recommendations between the 3?

My hesitation with the GR260 is the gearing. I'm not sure the 11/34 cassette and 50/34 crankset will get me up long, steep climbs with a load. I'd like to be able to spin up long climbs and make it up steep gravel climbs. Am I right to be concerned about that? I'm a pretty strong rider, but I did the LA Observer bikepacking route a couple weeks ago and the first 3000ft or so at 8-14% grades absolutely smashed me. And I believe my current Fargo has a much easier granny than the GR260 would. Am I wrong about that? I think part of what is confusing me is road gearing vs. mountain bike, and what numbers exactly to pay attention to. Help! Thanks!
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If your #1 goal is riding the Divide and off-road bike touring, I would highly recommend the Cutthroat.   I got one earlier this spring and I love it!  It has suspension corrected geometry so adding a suspension fork won't change the ride, and the max gear for 2x is 42/28.  You can go much lower of course, I am running 36/24 right now.  Only reason to get a Fargo over a Cutthroat is cost, IMO.

If you are leaning more towards road touring and maybe cx, the GR260 is a better option.  I was strongly considering this one last year but ended up picking the Warbird instead.  The gearing that it comes with can be swapped; I have alternated between 46/34 Shimano road cranks and 40/28 Shimano mountain cranks on my AWOL with minimal adjustment.  It's a pretty versatile setup, and if you run a middle of the road type cassette (like 11-32 or 34) you won't even need to mess with the rear mech.

Good luck, I don't think you'll be disappointed with either choice!
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I voted for other, as the Moots Baxter was purpose built for the Continental Divide trail. It also addresses any concerns with gearing, since you can run road or mountain. You still get a titanium frame, sizing can be completely custom (if needed), and the build quality is at the very high end of the spectrum. 

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I own a GR260 and love it. With that said, I would get a Cutthroat as it will fit your needs better. 
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You can ride anything on singletrack but I don't find that it's very fun without a bike built for it.  I vote Lynskey and then sell your other bikes and get a real mountain bike when your budget allows. 
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Get the bike that fits best, and has clearance for the tires you want to use. (And all else being equal, has the lowest weight frameset) Gearing can always be changed to anything you want.
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The Ti Fargo, Moots Baxter, or have Lynskey make something for you that fits the bill. Carbon is just ok.
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