Road/Gravel Bikes

nnnnnate

Well-Known Member
Location
WVC, UT
I've been looking at getting a road touring or a gravel bike for a bit. I'm thinking this type bike because I'd like to commute on it and I'm a big fella. I figure that a touring bike is build for extra weight so it ought to be good with just me. I felt like when I was riding my hardtail I ran out of gears and so I've not really considered a mountain style bike. While it was fun the couple times I made it to the mountains that wasn't my jam. This bike is to bum around the neighborhood with my kid and to ride to work or for "exercise."

On this front I've been looking at Surly because "fatties fit fine" and all that. I've never ridden drop bar and am trying to figure out if I'll care about having bar end shifters verses brifters and mechanical verses hydro disk brakes. Do any of you guys have experience or opinions on these two fronts? The Long Haul Trucker, Disk Trucker, and Midnight Special I guess are the Surly bikes I've mainly been looking into.

I've mainly been looking at Surly but have also dipped my toe a little to see what else is out there. The Salsa Marrakesh seems like it'd also fit my needs. I just feel like I want and need a sturdy bike and it seems like steel is what will get me that.
 

Kevin B.

OLAF
Location
Stinkwater
I have an older Specialized Hard Rock that I converted to drop bars for commuting and gravelish things (I also added an e-motor, but that's another thread). I'm currently running bar end shifters and I'm not a fan. I've run stem mount and frame mount shifters on previous road bikes and hated those too. If you pick something with bar end shifters, make sure they're indexed, but if I were buying a new road bike these days it'd be brifters or bust.

Disc brakes are also a must. Hydraulic is pretty easy to set up and makes for rad stopping power, but mechanical brakes work well too. I set up Avid BB5s on the wife's mountain bike and they're working well, huge upgrade from the v brakes. I hear BB7s are even better.

I wouldn't sweat your weight. I'm pretty sure I've got you beat and I've never worried about whether my weight was going to be an issue on a bike and it's never been a problem. Seems like I had to true road bike wheels a little more often for a while, but that hasn't been an issue either since I learned about running wider tires on the road (seriously, go wide, wide as you can). Other bikes in the gravel/adventure touring segment that you might want to look at are the Kona Big Dew, Marin Gestalt, and Diamondback Hanzo. but Surly and Salsa make really good bikes too. I've wanted a Surly Krampus or ECR for a while now.

You're welcome to come take my rustbucket for a ride if you wanna get a feel for drop bars and brifters.
 

nnnnnate

Well-Known Member
Location
WVC, UT
So my hardtail had hydro discs but I've since learned there are mechanical disks and hydro disks. Do you think its worth the coin to upgrade to hydro over mechanical? The long haul trucker has V brakes which from what I understand is more due to the touring aspect and being able to find parts around the world. For that reason I've been thinking at least the disk trucker.

I'll look at those other bikes you suggested. I really don't want to break the bank but Surly is up there.
 

Tonkaman

Well-Known Member
Location
Taylorsville
I've been looking at getting a road touring or a gravel bike for a bit. I'm thinking this type bike because I'd like to commute on it and I'm a big fella. I figure that a touring bike is build for extra weight so it ought to be good with just me. I felt like when I was riding my hardtail I ran out of gears and so I've not really considered a mountain style bike. While it was fun the couple times I made it to the mountains that wasn't my jam. This bike is to bum around the neighborhood with my kid and to ride to work or for "exercise."

On this front I've been looking at Surly because "fatties fit fine" and all that. I've never ridden drop bar and am trying to figure out if I'll care about having bar end shifters verses brifters and mechanical verses hydro disk brakes. Do any of you guys have experience or opinions on these two fronts? The Long Haul Trucker, Disk Trucker, and Midnight Special I guess are the Surly bikes I've mainly been looking into.

I've mainly been looking at Surly but have also dipped my toe a little to see what else is out there. The Salsa Marrakesh seems like it'd also fit my needs. I just feel like I want and need a sturdy bike and it seems like steel is what will get me that.

Ive been out of the bicycle game for over a decade now so my opinions are pretty limited. I did however build bikes for several years so I can give you my 2 cents based on what I’ve experienced with hundreds of customers.

Don’t sweat your weight. Seriously. The only thing you should sweat if your a big guy is buying quality parts not cheapos. Wheel sets in particular would be my concern. I’ve seen some pretty big guys running ultra-light road bikes, no problem.

Drop bars are a game changer for me. The added comfort not only on body position reduces major back fatigue and hand numbness. With that said, I prefer a bike that was built for drop bar ergonomics. What I mean is that I don’t really like a bike that’s been converted to drop bars as much.

I had to look up “Brifters” ha ha. That shows you how out of the game I’ve been. I’ve always known them as “dual action” but I like the new word too. I say hands-down brifters are the way to go if you do drop bars. They are so dang sweet! taking your hands off of the bars just seems silly if you don’t have to.

Mechanical vs hydro disk. Again I don’t have a lot of recent experience here. What I have noticed is that hydro typically gets you better adjustability on your brakes. It’s not just about the holding power of hydro it’s also that the pad travels farther with less lever pull, therefore giving you much better feedback. Either one will brake just as well, but hydro is more user friendly if your not scared of the bleeding process.
 

Kevin B.

OLAF
Location
Stinkwater
So my hardtail had hydro discs but I've since learned there are mechanical disks and hydro disks. Do you think its worth the coin to upgrade to hydro over mechanical? The long haul trucker has V brakes which from what I understand is more due to the touring aspect and being able to find parts around the world. For that reason I've been thinking at least the disk trucker.

I'll look at those other bikes you suggested. I really don't want to break the bank but Surly is up there.

Hydro vs mechanical vs rim brake is a big debate. I think most rim brake advocates at this point are just die-hard get-off-my-lawn types or they're racing in leagues that don't allow disc brakes yet. Mechanical disk brakes are absolutely a step up from caliper or v brakes - not quite the stopping power of hydros, and they don't have the mechanical advantage that makes hydro feel so crisp and light. And I guess that they tend to not be as easy to adjust or keep in tune, although honestly if you're at all mechanically apt I can't see them being THAT much fiddlier, I've had several sets of different brands and none of them seemed to be very hard to install or tune. Based on my own somewhat-limited experience with both I'd put mechanicals at 75% of hydros all things considered. They'll definitely get the job done, just hydro is a little better overall.
 

nnnnnate

Well-Known Member
Location
WVC, UT
Thanks Derek and Kevin, that helps out a lot. Brifters are where its at and disc for sure, hydro is better but mechanical will do depending on price. I'll let you guys know what I decide and what I end up buying. I've been watching ksl and some stuff has popped up but nothing thats had me jump just yet.
 

moab_cj5

Premium Member
Supporting Member
I have a 2016 Salsa Deadwood that is classified as an "Adventure" bike, meant for bike-packing. It is a 29+, which is AWESOME for comfort and why i bought it. I can get it to 20+ mph, but I am working HARD to get to that speed without going downhill. I am most comfortable in the 16-18 mph range on the flats to get a workout without standing on the pedals. I HIGHLY reccomend a + size tire based on what you've posted. Just be sure to get a frame size that fits you.

Mine has disk brakes, but they are cable not hydraulic. Like you mentioned in your 1st post, I was told that these types of bikes are made to be field fixable because you could be out away from parts and sources to work on more complex components. I prefer the hydraulic brakes for any downhill and actual mountain biking I have done, but cable brakes do fine for a neighborhood and commuter. I wouldn't care either way personally.

I am not a huge fan of the drop bars, but they work. The shifters took some getting used to, but I am ok with them now.

I would look at KSL for used bikes. You generally get more for your money. However, call Biker's Edge in Kaysville and see if they have any demo bikes or last year model they are looking to move for a song.

This is the bike I have:
1585339066025.png
 
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nnnnnate

Well-Known Member
Location
WVC, UT
I've continued to watch ksl and other places for a bike that might fit my needs. Turns out there aren't a ton of people in my size that are looking to sell their bikes. No worry, I talked to Saturday Cycles Tuesday and they brought in a Surly Ogre in my size that I could take for a test ride.

I did that after working this morning and really liked it. It's a 1x10 with mechanical disc brakes and flat bars. It's a 29er and has 2.5 tires that are kind off-road but not gnarly tread like you might want in a downhill bike. I would have preferred a 2x10 for a bigger range of gears but understand its fairly trivial to change out the front chain ring if I find that I need to make an adjustment.

I was pretty impressed that they had me do a couple laps and then made adjustments to get things dialed in for me. I bought it and when I was loading it into my 100 the guy that was helping me came out and we started to talk 4x4. Turns out it was Joe, Greg's brother.

Don't fret, they only allowed one customer in the shop at a time and we did everything outside until I was ready to pay. I wanted to shake hands but didn't.

I'll add some pics a little later. I'm currently waiting for someone to bring me my lunch and figured I'd write this up. 😁
 

Greg

Scope Creep
Admin
.... I bought it and when I was loading it into my 100 the guy that was helping me came out and we started to talk 4x4. Turns out it was Joe, Greg's brother.

That's too funny, small world! If anyone needs any kind of bike advice, Joe is a great resource. He's been a hardcore cyclist for over 25 years, road to mountain and everything is between. He has been at Saturday Cycles for awhile now.
 

TRD270

Aloha’n MF
Location
SaSa Sandy
Not sure what size frame you need, and it does not have drop bars but I still have my Mason 2 i'd like to sell for some extra cash. Sweet bike, rides around on some fattie tires and a decent front fork. I'll hopefully be home for a few weeks around the 14th.

You'll get some exercise pushing those big tires on asphalt :rofl:

Edit: I somehow totally glossed over you already bought a bike. Congrats on the purchase!
 
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J-mobzz

Well-Known Member
I know it sounds stupid but I don’t really ride dirt and I want to be able to run 29” hookworms and don’t really want a suspension fork. I also want a 1x. The surly is basically the bike I want. I need to take a look at them.
 

nnnnnate

Well-Known Member
Location
WVC, UT
IMG_20200404_161347.jpg

I went out for a little look after putting the boy down and I've come to 2 conclusions. Despite having a very soft back end it didn't provide any comfort. Also, it was nice to be back on a bike.

Thinking back to how I rode my other bike I didn't end up on dirt very often either. For my use getting this ogre was about perfect. I actually rode on the canal road by my house tonight but really it'll go on the Jordan parkway by the river while riding to work and on the street if I can ever get my kid to want to learn how to ride his bike(s). Maybe if I lived on the east side or down in alpine close to Lambert things would be different but I'm content with where I am.

While Joe was getting things adjusted for me he said this bike is at the top of his list when he plays the "you can only have one" game. In the moment I thought it might be hyperbole but the internet is pretty hot on this model and later when we were talking he kept saying it would be a blast to have this in the swell to go explore on after parking the cruiser. That felt real and while I don't know that it'll get packed I see how it can do a lot of different things.

I'm rambling now aren't I....
 
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