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  1. #1
    swim-bike-run-bike-bike
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    Tough Decisions (Niner RLT)

    Ok. Not that tough. My budget committee (wife) has drawn a line in the sand. I can get a Niner Rlt "Steel" frame gravel bike with cheaper Niner alloys set up with Sram Apex 2x or get the Niner Rlt Aluminum frame with the better tubeless Stan's Grails set up with Sram 1x where I will pair it with a 40mm ish tire.

    Here's the confusing part. I would prefer the 1x system as I'm a sram guy who has many mtb. parts, chainrings etc. So customizing the front CR for my rides will be a breeze.

    I live in Colorado on the front range and will be grinding gravel "uphill". I love the idea of a 42 ring on the rear cassette, paired with a 40 or 42?. As I plan to use gravity on the "downs". As 30 mph on a forrest service road is more than adequate.

    I've attempted and failed to solve the puzzle of getting a "tubeless ready" wheel set paired with the steel frame. Without having to buy an inferior wheelset to get a 1x bike. Boo hoo. Right? I've priced buying a steel RLT frame and custom building, but its at that point you realize that Niner is really doing you a favor with their "build kits", as you will pay approx $1000 premium to build a steel Rlt with Stan's wheels and Sram 1x drivetrain. So there you have it. Can't have your cake and eat it too. Looks like I will have a cheap pair of Niner Alloys to hang on my fence for decoration, my neighbors will love me!

    Thanks for any and all opinions, experiences, and most importantly "experienced knowledge".
    Last edited by fat-but-slow; 08-12-2017 at 12:39 PM.
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  2. #2
    ...but I'm a Silly Hunter
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    Put a 42t front on it.

    34t with a 10-42 cassette but, on a 20lb bike... those are rookie trailbike numbers.
    I like Sand - I don't like Witches


  3. #3
    swim-bike-run-bike-bike
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    Your are correct. A 34 would be ridiculous. Thanks for the heads up, a 42 or 40 on the front with a 42 on rear would be plenty for the steeps. I had my mtb. hat on. Spinning a 34 -42 would make for a "very" long spinny day.

    I think to boil it down, Whats more important a better wheelset on an aluminum frame with the preferred drivetrain or a steel frame with inferior wheels and a "non preferred" 2x drivetrain train?
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  4. #4
    ...but I'm a Silly Hunter
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    Quote Originally Posted by fat-but-slow View Post
    Your are correct. A 34 would be ridiculous. Thanks for the heads up, a 42 or 40 on the front with a 42 on rear would be plenty for the steeps. I had my mtb. hat on. Spinning a 34 -42 would make for a "very" long spinny day.

    I think to boil it down, Whats more important a better wheelset on an aluminum frame with the preferred drivetrain or a steel frame with inferior wheels and a "non preferred" 2x drivetrain train?
    Thing is you cannot ever make a decision upon 'aluminum' vs. 'steel' and hang parts off it - without riding either. What you think is made lacking and therefore needing stepped-up components could very well be the better riding frame. It is all your weight AND proportions of your weight.

    If your intent is to hammer out the hillz - go aluminum. Guaranteed stiffness across all points.

    If you want a smoothed out ride which was previously chopped and loose - go steel. Best to ride or read well-into any literature/reviews before committing yourself to next most important things like gearing and wheels.
    I like Sand - I don't like Witches


  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by fat-but-slow View Post
    Your are correct. A 34 would be ridiculous. Thanks for the heads up, a 42 or 40 on the front with a 42 on rear would be plenty for the steeps. I had my mtb. hat on. Spinning a 34 -42 would make for a "very" long spinny day.

    I think to boil it down, Whats more important a better wheelset on an aluminum frame with the preferred drivetrain or a steel frame with inferior wheels and a "non preferred" 2x drivetrain train?

    People can say whatever they want about all frame materials being able to be built to give any kind of ride quality depending on the builder, but the fact is aluminum has to be built stiff to maintain longevity. A compliant aluminum frame may ride nice, but its not going to last. I guess thats not an issue if you don't plan to keep the bike for a long time. Anyways, for a gravel grinder I personally would take the steel frame with the lower end stuff. Nothing feels as smooth as steel or titanium when it comes to a rigid bike. I would think that the "budget committee" might allow you to upgrade the bike down the road, but I don't know your wife. If you absolutely are stuck with whatever you buy and will never be allowed to upgrade, then get the aluminum.
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  6. #6
    swim-bike-run-bike-bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljsmith View Post
    People can say whatever they want about all frame materials being able to be built to give any kind of ride quality depending on the builder, but the fact is aluminum has to be built stiff to maintain longevity. A compliant aluminum frame may ride nice, but its not going to last. I guess thats not an issue if you don't plan to keep the bike for a long time. Anyways, for a gravel grinder I personally would take the steel frame with the lower end stuff. Nothing feels as smooth as steel or titanium when it comes to a rigid bike. I would think that the "budget committee" might allow you to upgrade the bike down the road, but I don't know your wife. If you absolutely are stuck with whatever you buy and will never be allowed to upgrade, then get the aluminum.
    Yes. That.^ I know "in time" I can wiggle a new wheelset out of the budget, but having to dismantle a perfectly good 2x drivetrain from the "get go" is going to be difficult to defend. I know a new cassette sram Xg 1180 10-42 will be a couple hundred, and "I think" I can take the 2x crank and put single chainring on it? Riding a compact 2x 46-36 with a 11-32 rear does not excite me where I ride. I currently have a 50 rear on my mtb. it allows "all day" climbing "if necessary". But thats apples and oranges. I have a distinct feeling a 32 rear is just going to pi$$ me off.
    i know a good set of wheels can transform an average bike to a very good bike. But can the Stan's Grails transform the aluminum Rlt to a "great bike"? In 4 months will I regretting the decision and wanting to scrap the aluminum and begging the budget committee for a steel frame? I know.... its a what came first...chicken or egg thing.
    Eventually I know I need to stop the analysis stuff, buy a bike and ride the darn thing. I certainly appreciate the help from everyone. Ok. I've come to my senses. Its the steel frame 1x. Grail wheelset later. Thanks for helping everyone.
    Last edited by fat-but-slow; 08-12-2017 at 08:21 PM.
    [I]Red Dirt Sky[/I]

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