elvis Show full post »
elvis

Hello everyone,

Thanks for the great recommendations and awesome discussion in this thread. I believe to have found my future titanium gravel bike: t-labs from Canada and am considering purchasing the X3 Aggressive Gravel bike in a size M frame equipped with Ultegra, as I can get a good price on the bike: https://t-lab-bikes.com/Bikes/All_Terrain/x3.php

However, before pulling the trigger I want to clarify a few things:

  1.      Fit: As a roadbike I currently ride a Canyon Ultimate CF SLX with the following dimensions. The gravel bike will be used for longer endurance base rides in the winter, some gravel racing and longer bike packing tours. From what I can tell the geometry of the size M Aggressive Gravel will do the job, what do you think?
  2.      Groupset: Would you opt for the standard Ultegra or possibly pay +800 USD to get the Di2?`Also considering changing to the Sram Force 1x, as I run Sram on my roadbike and love the feeling of it. Any opinions on that?
  3.      Wheels: The bike comes with quite a standard set of wheels, which I might upgrade. Would you get a second higher quality set of 700cc wheels or rather go with a 650b set. Also, do you have any recommendations?
  4.      How do you feel about upgrading the stem and seatpost to the carbon versions offered? For the Ritchey RITCHEY WCS CARBON 27.2MM they would charge +125 USD. Is this worth the upgrade? Otherwise, can you recommend a titanium seatpost manufacturer with reasonable prices?

Lastly, does anyone have experience with t-labs?

Look forward to your responses,

elvis

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mike_kelly
I have no relation to Carver and I a not pushing them but I am not sure why someone would choose Tlabs at $5500 for ultegra when you can get a Carver for $3800 for ultegra?

Unless you live in Canada I suppose.

I can't see using and electric groupset on a gravel bike assuming you will be riding in places where support is far away. I would want the simplest most reliable groupset if the alternative is walking home a long way.

In the past the reason for going with 650b was that there were high quality wide tires available which were not available for 700c. Today I would stick with 700c because there are a lot of wide tire choices now and you maintain wheel compatibility with your road bike. I build all my own wheels and I would recommend HED belgium rims for gravel and I like I9 hubs.

The Richey post upgrade sounds high but I never buy bikes, I build up frames with my own choices. FSA makes nice carbon posts and you can get them for $80 from common suppliers.  But component choices are mostly personal taste and you may want to get the whole bike from one supplier.

I did not look closely but I did not see any delivery times specified. Custom builders are notorious for being very far off their estimated delivery times. One thing I like about Carver is that they have always made their 90day commitment and I have had other builders that could not deliver in 9 months.


Good Luck
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nellborg
I'm with Mike Kelly regarding Di2 and mechanical.  Even though I hear that Di2 works really well, I'm just skeptical about wires and electric shifting and remembering to charge the darn thing.   With mechanical, I just change out my cables and housing 1x or 2x each season just to keep it running smoothly, and that's awfully inexpensive to do.

I had two 100+ miles wet and sandy gravel events this year that badly mucked up my front derailleur cable and caused me to have to shift small to big ring by reaching down and pulling on the cable, and I didn't like that so much. That made me think hard about electric shifting.   Wireless seems like it could be an easier set up and less hassle than the wired Di2 and hiding the control box - though I could be wrong about that.  I've got Shimano cassettes on three sets of wheels, so if Shimano comes out with a wireless, I might look at that.
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owly
Funny you mentioned that fit T-Lab, as it would have been my first suggestion (weight/geo) but didn't mention due to price.
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mike_kelly
Did you see the new purple Storm King at $15,000? Must be a royal purple.
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Kwontumspeed
No idea who TLabs is but at that price point just get a custom frame built.

No to Di2 if you're *really* about gravel and adventure. I see folks on Di2 way outside of logical support and I ask them what their contingency is. Crickets.
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chas
Elvis

I was on the "easy" part of a long ride last year and a stick lept up and snapped my rear derailer. And I thought the "ultegra" replacement was expensive. What does a DI2 cost?

I did 700c for my second set, but didn't save that much weight of my stock wheels. My OEM set has gravel tires, and the 2nd some 32mm tires, so there is some weight savings adding wheels and tires together.

650 is quite trendy. It really matters on how much volume you want. I have a 700x54 I use on the front sometimes, and it is different. Going big only in the front  gives me an additional amount of trail (~12mm), which is what I want when I'm on larger rubber. whether to go 650 or not is really a question of whether you are going to do a lot of riding on high volume tires.

Seatpost. I would go for something cush. Canyon has two super cush seat posts that I love (I have the solid version). Seat post makes a huge difference for gravel riding (especially if you have a healthy amount exposed).


mike_kelly wrote:
Did you see the new purple Storm King at $15,000? Must be a royal purple.


Or save $10,000 and get the bike in a more reasonable build state.

Edit: frame starts at $3,200 and builds start at $7,500
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elvis
@chas: thanks for the great response, I will check the seat posts and stick with the standard for now. Can change it any time later 🙂
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chas
@elvis - also on wheels - First think of the tires and size you want.  If you have your heart set on some racy or aggressive tire that is 700c only - that may dicate your choice.  Or if you are mesmerized by a floaty cushy wide 650b tire - that would push you in another direction.

Generally you'll get a little lower bottom bracket height with 650b (depending on the tire), so that may impact your decision.   Some gravel bikes have a fairly low BB height with a 700c tire, and/or you might care about pedal strike - both of those should be taken into consideration.
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elvis

That is an excellent point. To be honest, I have not given this too much thought as I will be using the bike in different conditions: 1. long base endurance rides in winter, 2. some gravel races, 3. bike packing, 4. possibly some more technical "trails". Probably I can do this with one set of 700c wheels. However, for the more technical trails 650b would be more interesting. 

If I mostly ride the 700c tires, do you think the bottom braket of the t-labs bike will do the job or would you prefer a different height?

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simplemind
As you know, you can ride on most anything, but...

I have three sets of wheels, 2 of which I share with my Yeti SB4.5.  One 700c X 38, one 650b X 42, and one 29 X 2.2, so I have bases covered depending on terrain and conditions.  Rather than trying to pick a bike specific to a wheel size, pick one that can do both 650 X 47, and 700c X 38-42, which means you have to have same axle sizes.  Wheelsets are cheaper than bikes and take up less room.  With gravel, the conditions vary so much, unlike road.  You may want a set with mud tires and one setup with fast hard surface tires.  Just another thought.


elvis wrote:

That is an excellent point. To be honest, I have not given this too much thought as I will be using the bike in different conditions: 1. long base endurance rides in winter, 2. some gravel races, 3. bike packing, 4. possibly some more technical "trails". Probably I can do this with one set of 700c wheels. However, for the more technical trails 650b would be more interesting. 

If I mostly ride the 700c tires, do you think the bottom braket of the t-labs bike will do the job or would you prefer a different height?

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jfrunner
I don't really have an answer to all your questions, but I can say that I love my T-Lab X3! I went with the custom geometry option, before the agressive gravel option was available, but by looking at the geometry charts I see that my frame fits in what they now call "agressive gravel".

Here is what it looks like.

Cheers!

IMG_3685.jpg 
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