Gravel Noob - Advice on parts!

Especially for light weight issues concerning cyclocross / touring bikes & parts.

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motorthings
Posts: 336
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:56 pm

by motorthings

the reviews I have seen of the zipp 30 course make them sound like a good fit for what you want.
i've actually been looking at them to use as road wheels on my gravel bike.

there are many other brands out there, HED included, handbuilt, etc. it's just a matter of how much investigation you want to do, and if you can sort through the opinions on each of them here.

not to disparage any opinions in any way, shape or form, this forum is full of good experience and guidance, so ask if you are unsure.

Ticlimax
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 2:44 pm

by Ticlimax

I'll offer my limited experience:
Cranks: another vote for 2x. A compact with a 32 in the back gives you all the range you need, and honestly it's not that much heavier or more complex (a chaincatcher is a smart addition in rough terrain). What is your budget for the cranks? (Sram or Praxis are interesting options)

Wheels: I rode two weeks through Tanzania on Hunts Gravel Disc wheels (with bikepacking bags). They are still perfectly aligned, but the lack of a brake track makes the rim vulnerable to side-impact. Same weight as Zipp, a little deeper profile, a little wider and the choice between centerlock and sixbolt. For almost half the price of the Zipps.

Curve is a lot more expensive, as wel as full carbon. There is a Hunt alternative there too, but I have no experience with those. Again, what is your budget?

Tires: If you're going to use a separate tire for cyclocross, my suggestion would be a wide slick tire. Compass has beautiful tubeless slicks, but they're expensive and possibly fragile. Honestly we'd need to now how much of you're riding is going to be offroad (and how bad those roads would be). I use Schwalbe pro ones at home for tarmac (a mistake, they are fragile), and used Challenge Gravel grinders in Africa (another mistake, should've gone tubeless -> Clement MSO 36mm should've been my choice).

If you've got the money for curve wheels, maybe two wheelsets with different tires is an option. So you can switch out depending on your ride? (Hunt Aero light with IRC Roadlite tires + Hunt gravel disc with cross or gravel tires).

by Weenie


User avatar
ProfessorChaos
in the industry
Posts: 725
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:10 am

by ProfessorChaos

I wanted to chime in as a fellow Sequoia rider. Did you end up changing your bike? I have the Expert Sequoia with Force X1, and I'm going the opposite direction, and putting a 2X setup on it. I don't like the big jumps in the gears on the massive 11-42 cassette, and I am going back to the a 50/34, and 11-25. I totally agree about the tires though. They are big and sluggish. I'm going to try some Roubaix 32's on the original wheels for now setup tubeless, and see how I like it. I've contemplated upgrading the wheels, but I haven't really thought a whole lot about it. It's not a huge priority. The bikes is really fun as is, I think the 2x, and a lighter tire will be a huge gain.

reippuert
Posts: 86
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:18 am
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

by reippuert

Ticlimax wrote:
Sun May 28, 2017 11:03 am
I'll offer my limited experience:
Cranks: another vote for 2x. A compact with a 32 in the back gives you all the range you need, and honestly it's not that much heavier or more complex (a chaincatcher is a smart addition in rough terrain). What is your budget for the cranks? (Sram or Praxis are interesting options)

Wheels: I rode two weeks through Tanzania on Hunts Gravel Disc wheels (with bikepacking bags). They are still perfectly aligned, but the lack of a brake track makes the rim vulnerable to side-impact. Same weight as Zipp, a little deeper profile, a little wider and the choice between centerlock and sixbolt. For almost half the price of the Zipps.

Curve is a lot more expensive, as wel as full carbon. There is a Hunt alternative there too, but I have no experience with those. Again, what is your budget?

Tires: If you're going to use a separate tire for cyclocross, my suggestion would be a wide slick tire. Compass has beautiful tubeless slicks, but they're expensive and possibly fragile. Honestly we'd need to now how much of you're riding is going to be offroad (and how bad those roads would be). I use Schwalbe pro ones at home for tarmac (a mistake, they are fragile), and used Challenge Gravel grinders in Africa (another mistake, should've gone tubeless -> Clement MSO 36mm should've been my choice).

If you've got the money for curve wheels, maybe two wheelsets with different tires is an option. So you can switch out depending on your ride? (Hunt Aero light with IRC Roadlite tires + Hunt gravel disc with cross or gravel tires).
For that price you can build a very decent lightweitgt 28-32 spoked lightweight wheel set on indestructaable cheap leightweitht DT Swiss 460db rims.
--
mvh. Morten Reippuert Knudsen @Merlin Works CR, Chorus 15, Reynolds 46/66

reippuert
Posts: 86
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:18 am
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

by reippuert

Ticlimax wrote:
Sun May 28, 2017 11:03 am
I'll offer my limited experience:
Cranks: another vote for 2x. A compact with a 32 in the back gives you all the range you need, and honestly it's not that much heavier or more complex (a chaincatcher is a smart addition in rough terrain). What is your budget for the cranks? (Sram or Praxis are interesting options)

Wheels: I rode two weeks through Tanzania on Hunts Gravel Disc wheels (with bikepacking bags). They are still perfectly aligned, but the lack of a brake track makes the rim vulnerable to side-impact. Same weight as Zipp, a little deeper profile, a little wider and the choice between centerlock and sixbolt. For almost half the price of the Zipps.

Curve is a lot more expensive, as wel as full carbon. There is a Hunt alternative there too, but I have no experience with those. Again, what is your budget?

Tires: If you're going to use a separate tire for cyclocross, my suggestion would be a wide slick tire. Compass has beautiful tubeless slicks, but they're expensive and possibly fragile. Honestly we'd need to now how much of you're riding is going to be offroad (and how bad those roads would be). I use Schwalbe pro ones at home for tarmac (a mistake, they are fragile), and used Challenge Gravel grinders in Africa (another mistake, should've gone tubeless -> Clement MSO 36mm should've been my choice).

If you've got the money for curve wheels, maybe two wheelsets with different tires is an option. So you can switch out depending on your ride? (Hunt Aero light with IRC Roadlite tires + Hunt gravel disc with cross or gravel tires).
Compass extralights are seriously nice but also expesive and fragile, they are build by Pannaracer. Pannaracers 32mm gravelking slicks are very close to non Extralights but easier to run tubeless and a lot cheaper. Sub 300g g for a tough really smooth tubeless and grippy tire is hard to beat. And for the cost its imposible.
--
mvh. Morten Reippuert Knudsen @Merlin Works CR, Chorus 15, Reynolds 46/66

jfranci3
Posts: 181
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:21 pm

by jfranci3

In the Chicago central area, the best non-road ride is the Des Plaines River Trail. Around o'hare it is dirt, but turns into a small aggregate gravel as you go north. 35c+ tires work best and you can get away with a threadless all around tire. It is on a flood plain that floods often.
There's also a trail you can pick up in Evanston that follows the Metra line, but this is boring. Out west, there are two trails that run from the near west burbs to the far west burbs. These are straight as well.


There are two gravel rides at the beginning of the season - Barry Roubaix and the Dairy Roubaix. The Dairy I think is treaded tire/light mud and the Barry is slick tire.

Crank - The FSA is something short of s***, but not s***. The FSA rings are s***. Praxis and Shimano (Ultegra/Dura) makes a nice set. Maybe go 50/34 unless you're touring with bags. 1x is good, but if you already have 2x 105, I'd just get Ultegra 50/34. It'll handle dirt days and road days better than a 1x setup.

Wheels - I have a do-it-all CX bike. I have a set of Stans Grails for the dirty days and a set of DT Swiss R32s (ER1600 now??) for clean days. Is your bike Specialzied SCS rear hub? If so, this changes your options. Looks like it's 12x142. Keep in mind you'll need/want a cassette, tires, tubes(maybe).
For "cheap", borderline aero road wheels: DT Swiss ER1600 https://www.dtswiss.com/en/products/whe ... spline-32/ $400 for the set. Adapters for everything (that you can resell on ebay for about $75 total). DT Swiss that a 240lb dude can do 6" drops with them. You won't see better road performance until you start paying for Carbon aero rims. You won't see much cheaper that are better than you stock rims. Fulcrum 4 DB is another option in the same theme, but any replacement spokes are harder to get.

Tires: That Specialized 42c tire isn't bad. You can change them, but it won't change your life. They should be 127tpi, soft casing tires. I see about 1mph difference between my 25c GP4000 fast-day-to-day tires on the rims above and my Clement 35c USH tires on CX rims. You'd probably see the same difference between your tires and your best day-to-day road setup. If you want a fat tire road setup, you're looking at Gravel King or Compass. I'd just keep the Sawtooth on those wheels and get the road set. When the Sawtooth wear out, then decide how much mud/sand you're dealing with. If none, get the slick fat tires. For road tires, get some 28mm tires, you can do some hardpack on those.
Last edited by jfranci3 on Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:18 am, edited 4 times in total.

leicaman
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:55 pm

by leicaman

And if you wanted something a little wider without gaining much weight, you can get the GravelKings tubeless in 38mm. My mate rides them and loves them. 332 and 333grams real world weight.
Here is a video he made about them. Skip to 8m50 to see what kind of surfaces he rides them on.

https://youtu.be/Ziw707_Dnmg

joshpeck
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:02 pm

by joshpeck

One word - tubeless.

re-fuse would be a good bet. CX tires are dependent on what kinds of dirt you're riding. WTB cross boss is nice and knobby. Riddler is faster rolling and knobby enough for the mostly hardpack I ride.

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