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  1. #1
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    Gravel/Bikepack nerds enter...

    I know there are a several somewhat gravel related threads already, but figured we could bring all that discussion to one place.

    I'm dipping my toe into the darkside. I can get a deal on one of these bad larrys:

    https://www.knollybikes.com/cache

    I have been a casual road cyclist (winter trainer riding and spring road riding getting ready for MTB season). I used to ride alot more pure road on the east coast, but here it's more dirt. Shoulders (if existent at all) are covered in all kinds of debris.....hundreds/thousands of miles of dirt roads to explore, etc.

    I really don't like 2x. I am tempted to go with the Force 1 build, but even with the discount it's still pretty damn spendy. Been 1x11 on MTB for several years now. Don't see why I would need to go backwards for gravel riding.

    Also, what would like to hear your guys take on packing setups. Bar bags, rack bags, favorite brands of bags, etc. Anyone have any cool trips planned this summer? How many breves do I need to drink each ride? Who's the best tattoo artist for random clutter on my legs and forearms?

  2. #2
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    or the Q&P

    www.apriliaforum.com

    "If the road You followed brought you to this,of what use was the road"?

    "I have no idea what I am talking about but would be happy to share my biased opinions as fact on the matter. "
    Ottime

  3. #3
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    Thats a sexy bike. I wish I had your deal, but its also an expensive bike.

  4. #4
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    I actually prefer 2x on my gravel bike... and I've bikepacked and raced on it. My mtn bike is 1x though (29+ hardtail with suspension fork I bikepack on singletrack, can swap out for a rigid fork if its more of a mix of dirt roads and light singletrack).

    I'd start by going through every gear guide on bikepacking.com. That's my favorite site on teh interwebz currently.

    I'm on a tight budget so have a random assortment of bags. Some revelate, some no name brands, RandiJo bartenders. I use a handlebar roll and cheap dry bag, frame bag, and seat bag. Then add on a snack bag on the toptube and some bartenders if I'm biking where it's dry (i.e. lack of water to filter).

    If I had $$$ I'd probably get the Fabio's chest setup for bags.

    On a sidenote, my GF is starting to get into biking and wants to do some light touring, mostly off road and not really into hard singletrack territory. She just got the bridge club last fall, which the review here kinda shows some cool setups that you could apply to the gravel bike you're looking at too: http://www.bikepacking.com/bikes/sur...e-club-review/

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groomer Gambler View Post
    I actually prefer 2x on my gravel bike... and I've bikepacked and raced on it. My mtn bike is 1x though (29+ hardtail with suspension fork I bikepack on singletrack, can swap out for a rigid fork if its more of a mix of dirt roads and light singletrack).

    I'd start by going through every gear guide on bikepacking.com. That's my favorite site on teh interwebz currently.

    I'm on a tight budget so have a random assortment of bags. Some revelate, some no name brands, RandiJo bartenders. I use a handlebar roll and cheap dry bag, frame bag, and seat bag. Then add on a snack bag on the toptube and some bartenders if I'm biking where it's dry (i.e. lack of water to filter).

    If I had $$$ I'd probably get the Fabio's chest setup for bags.

    On a sidenote, my GF is starting to get into biking and wants to do some light touring, mostly off road and not really into hard singletrack territory. She just got the bridge club last fall, which the review here kinda shows some cool setups that you could apply to the gravel bike you're looking at too: http://www.bikepacking.com/bikes/sur...e-club-review/
    Yeah, now that I think about it 2x does seem to make more sense for a loaded bike with bags, etc. 105 with Ultegra rear der vs. full ultegra? Seems like Knolly doesn't put any crappy components on a build. Probably makes the most sense to go with the lowest build and slowly swap stuff out since I always fully overhaul every bike I own anyway.

    Now, suspension fork? Looking at the maps there are lots of Montana rides where I will have to ride some singletrack whether I want to or not. That bike full rigid even with the biggest tubeless tires will still be pretty fucking brutal....but isn't that the whole point? Full rigid seems more legit. I mean people do this to suffer, right?

  6. #6
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    Looks like the 2x options are either road compact 50/34 or CX 46/36. 46/36 especially is useless for anything but cross racing IMO. The 1x setup gives you an easier lowest gear and 40x10 is pretty decent up top. Only downside is there are larger jumps between gears and it's more expensive. But lighter. And I have heard from a number of people who prefer shimano's road hydro brakes to sram. If there was a "gravel" crank option with 46/30 rings that would make it a harder choice, maybe they can do that if you ask?

    Personally I like the simplicity of the 1x setup on my cross bike despite it being kind of tall and a narrow range (42 x 11-32, it's primarily a race bike though). I need a new wheelset for general riding (I have tubulars and some "not quite straight but passable" wheels right now) and I'll probably pick up a 10/11-42 cassette for it so I can crank up trails and steep roads more easily and maybe throw on a frame bag. From scratch I probably would have gone with 40 x 11-36.

    I'm trying to get my dad into either a kona rove nrb or a cannondale topstone. Probably going to be the cannondale. The ~$1700 version comes with hydro discs and 2x with that 46/30 crankset while the similarly priced rove is apex 1x, 650b x 47mm tires, but mechanical discs. He's a big guy and the larger volume tires would be nice but I think he'll appreciate the better brakes more (the cannondale comes with 700x40 wtb nanos). I'd like one myself actually. I do notice the downsides of riding my cx bike on longer gravel rides, although putting on bigger tires and the new gears has improved it over how it was originally. Right now I have a 40mm nano up front and a 38 specialized tracer rear. Way more stable and comfortable than 33mm cross tires on dirt roads and trails.

  7. #7
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    Get something cheap and get out on it. See if you even like it. Take some short bikepacking trips and figure out what you need to carry and how you like to carry it. Seems kinda crazy to blow your wad on the ideal setup without even knowing what that is.
    Remind me. We'll send him a red cap and a Speedo.

  8. #8
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    Chiming in on the drivetrain conversation. I've been riding an older mountain bike with drop bars for the last year for gravel grinding and will be upgrading to a proper gravel frame soon and swapping over some parts. My generous buddy is selling me his lightly used Seven Mudhoney frame, which is way more bike than I need but I can't say no to that deal.

    I'm definitely committed to 1x as I already have a the shifter/brake lever set up for it and enjoy the simplicity. Curious what others are running for 1x setups who climb a lot. Steep and loose climbs are a reality for me so I'm thinking of a 38t in the front with a 40t cassette. I'm guessing with that size cassette I'll need an mtb rear derailleur.

    Also wondering about cranks. I'm looking replace my current heavy mtb cranks with light XC race crank or maybe road specific cranks. My gravel rides take me on some trails so Shimano XTs are tempting.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamal View Post
    Looks like the 2x options are either road compact 50/34 or CX 46/36. 46/36 especially is useless for anything but cross racing IMO. The 1x setup gives you an easier lowest gear and 40x10 is pretty decent up top. Only downside is there are larger jumps between gears and it's more expensive. But lighter. And I have heard from a number of people who prefer shimano's road hydro brakes to sram. If there was a "gravel" crank option with 46/30 rings that would make it a harder choice, maybe they can do that if you ask?

    Personally I like the simplicity of the 1x setup on my cross bike despite it being kind of tall and a narrow range (42 x 11-32, it's primarily a race bike though). I need a new wheelset for general riding (I have tubulars and some "not quite straight but passable" wheels right now) and I'll probably pick up a 10/11-42 cassette for it so I can crank up trails and steep roads more easily and maybe throw on a frame bag. From scratch I probably would have gone with 40 x 11-36.

    I'm trying to get my dad into either a kona rove nrb or a cannondale topstone. Probably going to be the cannondale. The ~$1700 version comes with hydro discs and 2x with that 46/30 crankset while the similarly priced rove is apex 1x, 650b x 47mm tires, but mechanical discs. He's a big guy and the larger volume tires would be nice but I think he'll appreciate the better brakes more (the cannondale comes with 700x40 wtb nanos). I'd like one myself actually. I do notice the downsides of riding my cx bike on longer gravel rides, although putting on bigger tires and the new gears has improved it over how it was originally. Right now I have a 40mm nano up front and a 38 specialized tracer rear. Way more stable and comfortable than 33mm cross tires on dirt roads and trails.
    Yeah I have a stock road compact crankset (50-34) and swapped my cassette for a 10-36 with a mtn bike derailleur. This year, I'm thinking about trying one of the subcompact (or whatever they're calling it) cranksets with a 46-30. Or maybe one of those shiny absolute black oval ring combos so I don't need a new crank. Gearing is one of the biggest factors for gravel and bikepacking that I think a lot of people overlook. Most gravel bikes come specced with standard road gearing, which unless you live in the Midwest or where it's relatively flat, you need better gearing for with lots of climbs (i.e. Montana).

    Take a look at the Sutra LTD too. It can clear a 29x2.1" tire. I'm a big fan of better tire clearances on gravel bikes. Current bike just clears a 700x42 and I'd love to be able to clear more of an old school mtn bike tire around 50-55cc. I'd think if you are a larger dude bigger tires with the ability to run less air pressure would make a significant difference in comfort. You can always upgrade the brakes (mechanical brakes really aren't that bad, and real easy to adjust especially for bikepacking), but you can't add more tire clearance. I don't see why anyone would want to run less than a 40cc gravel tire on a gravel bike.

  10. #10
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    1 * if you are on day rides (unloaded) or racing the tour divide. if not go 2* its not much weigh and more gears (lower gears) are nice on day 4 when the bike is loaded.

    bags: see what you are doing, how much gear you need, and how many days/hours out.
    Roswheel on ebay/china is great for the price.
    Also go see cricket at whitefish bike retreat. She rents a few bags so you can see what both fits your bike and your gear and your needs (she is past TD winner, and does a LOT of gravel riding)
    She also does shuttles from WF to banff, and you can ride back to her place

    If you make it to banff, I still owe you for that rocky bike (she loves it)


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bagtagley View Post
    Get something cheap and get out on it. See if you even like it. Take some short bikepacking trips and figure out what you need to carry and how you like to carry it. Seems kinda crazy to blow your wad on the ideal setup without even knowing what that is.
    While this does make alot of sense, my deal with Knolly = I get great prices on their bikes, but I can't ride anyone other companies bikes. Every Knolly I have thrown a leg over has been totally on point though, so I am not worried.

    Last summer I went on some road rides and then hit gravel and really enjoyed it minus the skinny 25c slicks I was riding and no ability to carry anything.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mntlion View Post
    1 * if you are on day rides (unloaded) or racing the tour divide. if not go 2* its not much weigh and more gears (lower gears) are nice on day 4 when the bike is loaded.

    bags: see what you are doing, how much gear you need, and how many days/hours out.
    Roswheel on ebay/china is great for the price.
    Also go see cricket at whitefish bike retreat. She rents a few bags so you can see what both fits your bike and your gear and your needs (she is past TD winner, and does a LOT of gravel riding)
    She also does shuttles from WF to banff, and you can ride back to her place

    If you make it to banff, I still owe you for that rocky bike (she loves it)
    Badass dude, thanks for beta. After I get the kinks worked out on short rides the first bigger ride I want to do will be Bozeman to Whitefish/Glacier. Hopefully have my new passport by then and can ride into Canada if I have any juice left.

  13. #13
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    This is a good gearing calculator that lets you compare two different setups

    http://ritzelrechner.de/?GR=DERS&KB=...36,42&UF2=2220

    That should show 50/34 x 11-34 vs 40 x 10-42. Click on the graphic/box with the triangles and it will let you change the settings for that one. Here it is with 46/30 cranks:

    http://ritzelrechner.de/?GR=DERS&KB=...36,42&UF2=2220

    Also don't forget to consider wheel/tire size in that. I have it set for 700x40 tires.

    In both cases I find it hard to want a double. Technically according to shimano the 11-34 cassette is the most you can use with that RX derailleur, but it's probably possible to fudge in an 11-36 or add a goat link or something. For offroad, loaded touring, that 46/30 crank and something like an 11-40 cassette would probably be nice. If you can't ride up it with that you might as well walk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Groomer Gambler View Post
    Take a look at the Sutra LTD too. It can clear a 29x2.1" tire. I'm a big fan of better tire clearances on gravel bikes. Current bike just clears a 700x42 and I'd love to be able to clear more of an old school mtn bike tire around 50-55cc. I'd think if you are a larger dude bigger tires with the ability to run less air pressure would make a significant difference in comfort. You can always upgrade the brakes (mechanical brakes really aren't that bad, and real easy to adjust especially for bikepacking), but you can't add more tire clearance. I don't see why anyone would want to run less than a 40cc gravel tire on a gravel bike.
    I really like the sutra ltd, even kind of wanted one for myself, but it's like $400 more than the topstone 105 and rove nrb, and he does't want to spend that much money. I also realized that I can just put some bags on my hardtail xc bike, which is probably lighter than a sutra and not much slower. There's another topstone that's apex 1x hydro, but it comes with a dropper for some reason. I guess they needed some reason to charge more for it than the 2x 105 bike.
    Last edited by jamal; 04-22-2019 at 01:42 PM.

  14. #14
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    If you're doing any bikepacking, and you want to have a good time doing it, a front derailleur is a great idea. Otherwise, the 40x10-42 setup is adequate.
    Collectively enlightened since 2008.
    Eddie would go.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteroom_Guardian View Post
    Badass dude, thanks for beta. After I get the kinks worked out on short rides the first bigger ride I want to do will be Bozeman to Whitefish/Glacier. Hopefully have my new passport by then and can ride into Canada if I have any juice left.
    she does shutles to Eureka too. Or come to banff, stay with us, and take 2-7 days to get back to WF


  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mntlion View Post
    she does shutles to Eureka too. Or come to banff, stay with us, and take 2-7 days to get back to WF
    Sweet!


    I got some pricing. Good deal, but still spendy. I mean it is a Ti frame and carbon fork.

    Assuming I just went bare frame+fork what's a reasonable $ ballpark to make a build from scratch getting a lot of the parts from PB/maggots etc? Nothing shitty, but strong enough to get me up and running with disc brakes and tubeless wheels.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteroom_Guardian View Post
    Sweet!


    I got some pricing. Good deal, but still spendy. I mean it is a Ti frame and carbon fork.

    Assuming I just went bare frame+fork what's a reasonable $ ballpark to make a build from scratch getting a lot of the parts from PB/maggots etc? Nothing shitty, but strong enough to get me up and running with disc brakes and tubeless wheels.
    odds are cheapest (once you factor shipping and your time) to buy a full bike

    unless you have REALLY specific needs.


  18. #18
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    Plus are you really going to put a mix of used parts on a brand new ti frame? I'd either get the basic 105/rx version and if you wind up wanting lower gearing, swap to 46/30 cranks, or just go with 1x. You can always downsize the chainring if necessary. Probably not a lot of room to swap without changing chain length though. I don't mind 42x11 on the road, at 110 rpm cadence that's 35mph on a 700x40 tire. 38x10 is nearly the exact same gear and on the other end 38x42 is almost 30x34.

    Speaking of 1x I wonder if e-tap road shifters will work the new wireless eagle axs rear derailleur.

    And in other news I rode some "gravel" the other day



    That was about the only patch of snow I didn't make it through. Had been up to the ski hill a few days earlier, and that was perfect smooth dirt so I thought I'd give the other side a shot to see if I could make the loop.





    Would have been tough in the other direction because there was some snow on the road and it was softer and muddier. Glad I didn't try going through that way the first time because I thought about it.
    Last edited by jamal; 04-22-2019 at 10:48 PM.

  19. #19
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    Thanks for the in-depth info everyone. So damn close to pulling the trigger.

  20. #20
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    2x all day every day, itís not a mountain bike. Iím running the 50/34 with a Wolf Tooth doohickey on the rear der, to allow for a 40! You donít think that you would ever spend much time 34-40, but when you need it, you really need it. It allows you to stay in the saddle and spin up steep bony stuff. More gears is more better.
    crab in my shoe mouth

  21. #21
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    Depends what you are doing...

    1x everyday 36 - 10/42 have a 30 chainring but haven't ever bothered to use it.
    1x is much preferred if you travel with your bike - less for the airlines to destroy
    if i can walk faster than spin uphill then i'll walk. walking can be a nice change to grinding up a 12% hill for miles with a fully loaded bike.

    If you are actually doing more cyclecross type rides then ymmv.


  22. #22
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    WG that's a pretty sweet bike. Don't mix and match new and used parts just jump in on a nice ride from the get go so you can go ride. Double up front, widest ratio cassette you can get without silly huge jumps at the low end and hydro brakes. Upgrade to the sus fork if you need it later but that might mean new front hose and bleed, could be worse.

    Quote Originally Posted by wendigo View Post
    if i can walk faster than spin uphill then i'll walk. walking can be a nice change to grinding up a 12% hill for miles with a fully loaded bike.


    I totally agree with this, doesn't even have to be faster same speed is good enough. Grinding isn't all it's cracked up to be. Nice pic.

  23. #23
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    Anyone have any experience with the Lauf forks?

    Click image for larger version. 

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyoverland Captive View Post
    Anyone have any experience with the Lauf forks?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I also would love to know about how they feel. They look springy with basically no damping, but they can't actually feel that way.

    https://www.instagram.com/iohangue/

    ^This dude had riden his Lauf fork on a fatbike from like Colombia all the way to Peru.....taking the longest possible route pretty much. I assume when you want ZERO maintenance it's the fork to take.

    Edit to add:


  25. #25
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    I really wanted to buy a Lauf, but it seems sooo undamp. I thought it would be cool on my belt drive Ti single speed. I figured, why not go full weird? I snapped out of it. Even their own promotional videos show the thing bouncing around in slow motion.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

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