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Thread: GT Grade

  1. #1
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    GT Grade

    Yes...I know it's a road/gravel/whatever bike. This just seems like the most appropriate forum to ask a few questions if anyone here has one.

    I have the '15 GT Grade 105 Alloy in a 58.

    Anyone have one? I'm trying to get an idea of what I can do with this thing....tire sizes, frame bags, etc. Trying to use it for rides with the family, bikepacking, bikefishpacking, etc...when I'm not on fat(ter) tires.

    Right now Iv'e got a 35c tire on there, but it looks like there is room for more.

    Anyone know of a company that makes a frame bag that would fit the triple triangle? OR do I have to go custom?

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    I want to get a grade but there are no real GT dealers near me. What I mean by that is GT says they are dealers yet they only have BMX and will not order anything else. Hpw if that bike?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phinox View Post
    I want to get a grade but there are no real GT dealers near me. What I mean by that is GT says they are dealers yet they only have BMX and will not order anything else. Hpw if that bike?
    I don't have much to compare it to, as it's my first road/gravel/whatever bike, but I like it a lot. It's a ton of fun to ride around town and on the backroads. I haven't had time to take it on anything rougher than a gravel road, but it inspires confidence on those.

    I guess all I can do is reinforce the reviews on the bike. It's good. My only complaint is that the triple triangle makes it more difficult to find a frame bag.

    That's pretty ridiculous that they won't order anything but BMX. Is that a dealer decision, or a GT decision? Either way, it seems counter productive, business wise.

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    Well I just ordered a Grade Carbon 105. I read that max tires size depends on frame size too?

    I don't think I will need more than 35c. I will most likely only ride it with 28c Conti GP 4 Season until they are worn down. I am told the wider rims will make even 28c feel bigger.

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    did you get your GT grade yet? what size did you order? if so, post some pics if you can.


    Quote Originally Posted by cbj2012 View Post
    Well I just ordered a Grade Carbon 105. I read that max tires size depends on frame size too?

    I don't think I will need more than 35c. I will most likely only ride it with 28c Conti GP 4 Season until they are worn down. I am told the wider rims will make even 28c feel bigger.

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    I will not be here before mid June unfortunately. I will post some pictures for sure.

    Size 56 large
    Last edited by cbj2012; 05-12-2015 at 04:07 PM.

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    Just bought an Ultegra Carbon size M, delivered tomorrow hopefully. Also got a Norco Search XR I'll be getting rid of.

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    Turns out I will get mine today if somebody is home to take delivery.

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    First ride today. Had to put a 90mm stem on the bike to get the right fit, transferred the 28c Continental GP 4 Season from my other road bike and moved a 3T Team post and OG Flite seat to the bike. Rocking my old DH platform pedals.

    For some reason this board will not let me embed Facebook pictures

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...3&l=88b628aa5d

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    Medium too big, all smalls sold out. 😢

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    That sucks will they not get anymore later?

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    I picked up a Claris level Grade from my LBS about a month ago. I'd been looking for something to ride on roads locally, which although they claim to be paved roads, tend to have holes in them, and be composed more of chunks of asphalt than of sheets of asphalt. I had some concerns about the reliability of the Claris components, but so far, so good. According to the specs that were published, the Alex 470 rims/hubs come on all levels of the AL Grade. According to Alex, those rims are tubeless ready. Anyone running these tubeless yet?

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    I would contact Alex rims directly to get their recommendations and remember you have to run tubeless ready tires too.

    Also ask them regarding min and max air pressure for tires size. I can see Stans has that info for their rim on the carbon models.
    Last edited by cbj2012; 05-20-2015 at 12:39 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbj2012 View Post
    I would contact Alex rims directly to get their recommendations and remember you have to run tubeless ready tires too.

    Also ask them regarding min and max air pressure for tires size. I can see Stans has that info for their rim on the carbon models.
    I've done that. They were singularly unhelpful, basically repeated what the website said regarding the rims, which is they are tubeless ready, get tubeless rim tape, sealant, and tubeless tires, and you're ready to go. That's kinda why I was asking here, was to see if anyone else had, you know, actually tried it. The tires on this bike are going to be the first thing to go, I have a bike I bought to ride around colleges rather than having to walk that uses the Kenda tires, they're 400g each with their wire beads. I'm just not replacing them before I figure out what tubeless tire I want to try. I temped to try the Maxxis tire on it, since their TR tires work so well on my MTBs.

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    Sounds good. No doubt lightning up the tires and going tubeless is the way to go. I was personally thinking about trying the Schwalbe one tubeless but I have not done any research on how well they will stand up to all year round commuting. I had a pair of used 28c Continental 4 Season I moved over from my dedicated road bike that I want to wear out first before I go tubeless. I wish that tire came in tubeless.

    Have you decided on tires size? Dedicated road tire or more of a gravel tire?

  16. #16
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    I'm leaning towards keeping the 28c for a variety of reasons. It seems to work really well for what I use the bike for, which is to say, pretty much anything that doesn't get gnarly enough to make me want a mountain bike. My local roads, while theoretically paved, tend to be more large chunks of asphalt than road, and we've got some gravel laying around too, as well as some pretty good roads that are very popular with the roadies not too far away. I've ridden my Grade pretty much all those places, and the 28c seems to be enough tire to work well on the crap roads and gravel stuff, but not so much tire that I feel like it holds me up riding with the people on 23c tires on the better roads. I'll probably stick with more of a multipurpose tire like the Kenda, but I'm not sure where that leaves me when looking for tubeless tires. I agree though, I'm a big fan of the Conti gator tires. I have an aversion to Schwalbe tires, but I may have to get over that.

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    How does the Grade perform on the roads? Similar to a cyclocross bike?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KCKS View Post
    How does the Grade perform on the roads? Similar to a cyclocross bike?
    Having never ridden a CX bike on the road, I can't really speak to this, but I suspect it will be different, because it's not a CX bike. That said, 200 miles mixed between road and gravel, and I don't really see a weakness. The stock tires really need to be replaced with some capable tubeless tires since the rims are tubeless compatible and the stock tires are HEAVY but they are well spec'd for the intended usage of the bike. I suspect that outright specific road performance will be most directly affected by the tires.

    The only other possible thing to mention is, the Claris 8 speed model might leave you feeling a little short on gear here and there. But then, most people will probable opt for a more expensive model that comes with 10 speed. I'm just a poor trail builder, I bought what I could afford.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    I have an aversion to Schwalbe tires, but I may have to get over that.
    This is specifically in regards to the Schwalbe One tubeless tire. It turns out, that tire has a 75Kg weight limit on it, which won't even come close to cutting it for me, since in roadie terms I classify as a Super Clyde at 215lbs. Hutchison appears to be the only real option I currently have for tubeless tires.

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    I know this is digging up an older thread, but I picked my Grade Carbon 105 today. I did get 26 miles in today with some gravel. For the most part, I am pleased with the choice. I will most likely need to go with a compact double on the front, but I will need more ride time before make that decision. Also, think that going tubeless in the future as well..

    Last edited by Hill-Pumper; 09-05-2015 at 07:33 PM.

  21. #21
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    That's a sharp looking bike. The Claris came with compact (34/50) up front. What's on yours?

    Just as an update: I got a smoking deal on a 105 11 speed groupo and picked it up. Since the hub that comes on the stock Claris Grade wheels won't convert for a 11 speed, I snagged a set of Rolf wheels while my LBS owner was making deals. The groupo is sitting on a shelf in my shop waiting for the wheels to come in at this point.

    I also upgraded my brakes to TRP Spyres - massive upgrade.

    On the whole I've put in about 350 miles on this bike so far, and no real complaints - the big reason for the change to 11 speed is to help with pedaling on some of the hills around here. If I was a flat lander, I'd ride this Claris stuff till it fell apart. Either way, having a bike like this lets me get miles in at times when trails are inaccessable and I would otherwise be sitting around getting fat and bored.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    That's a sharp looking bike. The Claris came with compact (34/50) up front. What's on yours?

    Just as an update: I got a smoking deal on a 105 11 speed groupo and picked it up. Since the hub that comes on the stock Claris Grade wheels won't convert for a 11 speed, I snagged a set of Rolf wheels while my LBS owner was making deals. The groupo is sitting on a shelf in my shop waiting for the wheels to come in at this point.

    I also upgraded my brakes to TRP Spyres - massive upgrade.

    On the whole I've put in about 350 miles on this bike so far, and no real complaints - the big reason for the change to 11 speed is to help with pedaling on some of the hills around here. If I was a flat lander, I'd ride this Claris stuff till it fell apart. Either way, having a bike like this lets me get miles in at times when trails are inaccessable and I would otherwise be sitting around getting fat and bored.
    Mine came with the Mid-Compact 52/36. If I were just going to ride it on the road, it might be okay. Like yourself, I have to many hills to contend with, especially when I get riding the forest service road that I want to.

  23. #23
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    I have the 105 carbon. Got it from competitive cyclist back in the winter. I rebuilt the stans rims with dt 350 hubs and sapim laser spokes and changed the bars and saddle. So far it's only seen road use with 25mm bontrager tubeless tires, But I'm planning on using it on gravel during the coming winter. Haven't decided on the tires yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hill-Pumper View Post
    I know this is digging up an older thread, but I picked my Grade Carbon 105 today. I did get 26 miles in today with some gravel. For the most part, I am pleased with the choice. I will most likely need to go with a compact double on the front, but I will need more ride time before make that decision. Also, think that going tubeless in the future as well..

    Is that your final fit? Seat post looks really low like a size smaller would have been better?


    I also have the 105 carbon. I love the bike even more since I got it. I was not crazy about the bar and got something less wide and a shorter stem.

    Crazy good deals on Shimano in Europe if you are looking for a new crankset but I am pretty sure you can put compact rings on that crankset?

    No joke on the good deal like 379 for an complete Shimano 105 Groupset non dics. Such good value

    Shimano 105 5800 11 Speed Groupset Black | Road Bike Groupsets | Merlin Cycles

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbj2012 View Post
    Is that your final fit? Seat post looks really low like a size smaller would have been better?


    I also have the 105 carbon. I love the bike even more since I got it. I was not crazy about the bar and got something less wide and a shorter stem.

    Crazy good deals on Shimano in Europe if you are looking for a new crankset but I am pretty sure you can put compact rings on that crankset?

    No joke on the good deal like 379 for an complete Shimano 105 Groupset non dics. Such good value

    Shimano 105 5800 11 Speed Groupset Black | Road Bike Groupsets | Merlin Cycles
    I have raised the saddle a little since the picture. I have short legs and a long torso which causes its own set of fitting problems. I am going in later for a full computer/laser fitting at some point to dial in everything. That said, I have over 100 miles on it, with my last ride being 68 miles with 4400 feet of elevation gain. I have been amazed at how much I like the bike. It descends very well, cuts road buzz better then my titanium road bike, plus climbed better then expected with the bigger chain rings. There a century ride this weekend in which I plan to take the Grade on. I may go to a compact in the winter and the present crankset in the summer. Who knows what else I may do to this bike, as the possibilities seem endless.

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    Ahh that makes sense. I am the complete opposite with long legs vs upper body.

    No doubt there is room for improvements. I would love to build a really nice wheelset with carbon rims, sapim cx ray spokes and some nice hubs.

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    I have about 200 miles on this bike now, so I thought I update my thoughts so far for those who might be considering one. Most of my mileage is on chip seal, rough road, with a little gravel thrown in. I'm not sure if it is the carbon frame, frame design, or bigger tires, but this bike is very smooth over the junk that I have ridden. It is even smoother then my titanium road bike with 25c tires. Also, this is one stable machine, not twitchy at all. The brakes worked better then I could have hoped, they allow me to ride faster into the corners before hitting the brakes. My Strava times so far are close to or better then on my road bike. It does not accelerate as fast, but once it is up to speed, I can hang at a decent clip with not much effort. Maybe the most important factor is that the bike is just plain fun. Last weekend I did a century ride with it. At the end I did not feel beat up, plus it was fun to come to railroad crossings at close to full speed while the race bike guys were slowing down. The only things that I may change is going to a compact crankset, and maybe make up a set of lighter wheels and tires for road use only. So in conclusion, I would highly recommend the bike to anyone considering it.

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    Good review. I have the exactly the same experience.

    I really want to put a nice wheelset on the bike. At the moment I have my eyes on the Reynolds Attack but the Hed Ardennes Plus SL Disc is getting some great reviews from several of my friends but a little heavier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbj2012 View Post

    I really want to put a nice wheelset on the bike. At the moment I have my eyes on the Reynolds Attack but the Hed Ardennes Plus SL Disc is getting some great reviews from several of my friends but a little heavier.
    I looked at the HED wheelset, but they have a 190 pound rider weight limit, which I am close to in full gear. The set that has my attention right now is the custom set from Prowheelbuilder.com. They come in at 1600 grams, and have a 255 limit, plus are on sale right now for $699. My budget is to tight right now with the purchase of the bike, but it looks like a good set.

    VENTUS PREMIUM DISC PWB SIGNATURE WHEEL SET CUSTOM HANDBUILT BY - prowheelbuilder.com

  30. #30
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    Do what you want with this, but these are the wheels I have coming for my Grade:

    ECX Disc ? Rolf Prima Wheel Systems

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    My new favorite is the Industry 9 ULCX. Wide rims and light weight at 1350g

    UL CX Disc

    I wonder what the wheelset on the Carbon 105 bike weights?

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    Regrets about my carbon grade..

    -Maybe should have waited a bit before diving into the disc road thing. Would be nice if this bike had flat mount and the ability to go down to a 140 rotor in the rear.

    -I was dead set against buying a bike with a sram group because I despise their brakes... BUT... The bike needs a clutch RD for the short sections of dirt and gravel roads I have in my area. Unfortunately Shimano doesn't see the need, their mountain derailleurs wont work with the road shifters, and neither will a sram RD. This is going to be really annoying when I'm on real trails. The cage spring in the 105 RD seems exceptionally weak.

    -I should have bucked up for one of the rear hubs I really wanted when I rebuilt the wheels. I hate the sound of the DT 350. Probably going to get an Onyx this winter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbj2012 View Post
    My new favorite is the Industry 9 ULCX. Wide rims and light weight at 1350g

    UL CX Disc

    I wonder what the wheelset on the Carbon 105 bike weights?
    A lot. I have to see if I can find my exact weights, but I dropped a pound by rebuilding the stans rims with dt 350s and sapim laser spoke. The formula rear hub is an anchor, over 500g. And the spokes are straight guage. Plus, the wheels were horribly built. Tensions had crazy variations.

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    The stock tires are crazy heavy too. They are wire bead. Those tires aren't even listed on the continental site.

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    New to the forum but not new to bikes and I have about a 1000 miles on my carbon ultegra grade . 5'10 55 cm and shortened the stem to a 90cm from the stock GT 120 and that made the long wheel base leading axle bike nervous on 35 + descents . I have a Easton SL 90 100 cm x 6* and have been 49 mph on 7* stuff running Panaracer Gravel King 28's . I'm running Challenge Gravel Grinder 38's for fall dirt roads . I had to dish the rear wheel to fit the 38 in the back , just because it was off from the factory . I love this 20# bike above my 16.5 # road bike , comfort , speed , stability , brakes and overall versatility . I have a Bikase , Jadd frame bag and a seat bag on the bike . I'm a GT dealer and have some deals on left overs , carbon 105's and alloys of various builds , they remain unchanged for 16 , just a couple of new models and sizes .

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    I put on Conti 4 Season that I had on my other road bike so that helped the heavy tire problem but it's easy to feel the weight in the wheelset when you ride and accelerate compared to my other bike with Shimano C24 wheelset.

    For the price of the bike I think the wheelset is nice but I just want something that is better.

    A clutch version of the 105 would be super cool. Great for commuting too on rough roads and you have the ability to run single front ring. The 2015 Grade X with Force X1 looks pretty slick.

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    I've run the Iron Cross team on my Niner RLT and at some point I 'll experiment with rotors and that wheelset on the grade . The acceleration of the lighter wheels will be nice . I'm 165 # so the wheels are stout enough .

  38. #38
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    I have an alloy/sora Grade demo bike coming for review. Specifically requested one of the lower-priced models, as I think it opens up N+1 for more riders.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  39. #39
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    N+1 (at least for a while).

    GT Grade-cqhjzfcucaan7q1.jpg
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    Had my Grade Ultegra for a few months now, went with the 53cm frame being 5'9", the 55cm was way too big in the seattube.

    Really impressed with the comfort levels using the stock tyres at lowish pressure 70 psi ish. Bike came with a 105 cassette that pissed me off a bit, thought i was buying an full Ultegra equipped bike. Recently swapped this for a Sram Red 11-32 which saves about 4oz apparently, gears seem to shift ok, but not been on road since the swap.

    Top speed I've hit is 45mph, bike feels very stable at speed or going slow for that matter, no toe overlap with my size 10 feet. I love the disc brakes, Shimano know their stuff there, got xtr and xt on my mtbs. Also recently swapped the saddle for something a bit wider, hopefully sort my sit bone 🍖 problem out. The wide swept bars are also very comfortable position wise too, although i will be adding an extra layer of tape to reduce high frequency buzz.


    Would love to pull all the heavy steel mudguard bolts out and swap them for plastic covers, just being nit picky there.

    The frame and fork finish is spot on, bike looks very stealthy. Compared to my Norco Search XR, the GT is better in every aspect of comfort and finish.

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    GT Grade-000_1027.jpgI didn't mind the 105 cassette ( about 25 grams difference between the 6800 & 5800 , most in the lock ring ) as much as I did the spec'ed chain , I put a 6800 chain on , changed the saddle too and have run a couple of sets of different Tires

  42. #42
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    Anybody put fenders on the Grade yet. I am getting ready to put fenders on mine so its ready for the fall/winter commute? Leaning towards something from SKS.

    I think this is what I need and a nice installation job. Much better than the SKS Race Blades on my old bike


  43. #43
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    Fenders

    Quote Originally Posted by cbj2012 View Post
    Anybody put fenders on the Grade yet. I am getting ready to put fenders on mine so its ready for the fall/winter commute? Leaning towards something from SKS.

    I think this is what I need and a nice installation job. Much better than the SKS Race Blades on my old bike

    I'm just using the SKS S Blade for now on the back . The SKS Chromoplastics P45 would be my choice for a full set . Purple loctite on the hardware to keep them from rattling lose .

  44. #44
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    I've got a couple of pairs of SKS fenders coming for the Grade. Their 45mm Longboards should fit, but I've got others I can try, too.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

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    Ordered some P45 Longboards. Nice to move the front bracket since it will attach to the back of the fork.

  46. #46
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    Here's mine in road form. I've changed to fsa bars and have gotten a garmin since this was taken. Currently trying to decide what nobbies I want for the winter. Might go with the specialized tracer because I know they'll seal up easily.

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    Which spokes did you use? Weight of the wheelset? Weight of the bike as it stands?

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbj2012 View Post
    Which spokes did you use? Weight of the wheelset? Weight of the bike as it stands?
    Sapim lasers.
    Forgot to weigh them.
    A lot less than out of the box. Lol

    I'll weigh it soon and update.

  49. #49
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    Can't wait!

    I just picked up the 2015 Alloy Tiagra model for $713 from Jenson. It'll be delivered sometime next week so I'm stoked!

    This will be my first non-mountain bike and I can hardly wait to hit the road with it. Are you guys rocking the stock saddle? How does it feel? I have a Fizik Gobi with carbon rails on my Santa Cruz Blur and I was thinking of getting one for this rig if the saddle sucks.
    Riding: 2012 Santa Cruz Blur XC Carbon
    2015 GT Grade Alloy Tiagra

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    Sapim lasers.
    Forgot to weigh them.
    A lot less than out of the box. Lol

    I'll weigh it soon and update.
    I went to one of the wheel builder websites and put a set together with the Stan's Grail's,DT 350 centerlock hub and 28 Sapim Laser spokes. With brass nipples the weight comes to 1625g, with alloy nips, 1591g. I know it might be off a little, but it should be close enough for a general idea.
    Last edited by Hill-Pumper; 10-04-2015 at 04:23 PM.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by PannikAttk View Post
    I just picked up the 2015 Alloy Tiagra model for $713 from Jenson. It'll be delivered sometime next week so I'm stoked!

    This will be my first non-mountain bike and I can hardly wait to hit the road with it. Are you guys rocking the stock saddle? How does it feel? I have a Fizik Gobi with carbon rails on my Santa Cruz Blur and I was thinking of getting one for this rig if the saddle sucks.
    Well a carbon railed saddle is +200 dollars. When you can get a complete 105 group for 375 that is where I would spend my first upgrade money.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbj2012 View Post
    Well a carbon railed saddle is +200 dollars. When you can get a complete 105 group for 375 that is where I would spend my first upgrade money.
    When it comes to saddles, just figure out what you like and buy several of them.

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    By the way, I'm trying to find a saddle that doesn't creek after a year or so.

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    Make sure you use it before dropping money on it. Road riding is much different (obviously) and I couldn't get down with it. Riding with traffic sucks in my opinion, which ain't worth much...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    By the way, I'm trying to find a saddle that doesn't creek after a year or so.
    Selle Italia Flite 1990.

    GT Grade-flite012.jpg

  56. #56
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    TL;TR: Yep, it's a Grade.

    I sold an old bike, and wanted a bike for my (allegedly) paved local roads (crumbling, pothole filled, rough), bike trail/greenways (some paved, some gravel) and gravel rides so I could stay in shape when the trails are unrideable around here. The Grade was not the bike I had picked out in my head, but it turned out the one I wanted was unavailable in my size, and there was this Claris Grade in the right size, in the shop, and - the price tag on it was EXACTLY what I had sold the old bike for. I knew it wasn't high end, but then, I just after good enough. So I bought it. And it worked well. In fact, I probably wouldn't have done anything to it (except maybe put those TRP Spyre brakes on it) if it weren't for the fact that the roads around here run straight up and down the sides of our gullies.

    Some of our hills touch 25% and can be on the long side, climbing a couple hundred feet. It was, honestly, just too much with the 34/28 gearing. I was keeping my heart rate pegged all the time. I messed with some gearing options, and decided that 34/32 I could probably live with. But that meant picking up something 11 speed, or doing something complicated with some MTB components. I talked about it with some friends, and one of them had access to some 105 stuff that was take-off from a brand new bike, and a deal was struck. Of course, I knew the 105 11spd wouldn't work with the hub on the stock wheel - it's a custom formula hub, and there's no conversion for it. So it was lace in a new hub, or get some new wheels. My LBS owner happened to be placing an order with Rolf and offered to make me a deal on a set of ECX's - and frankly, it was good enough I didn't pass it up.

    So, what you have here is a Claris Grade frame, with full 105 11spd, Rolf ECX wheels, and some Conti Gatorskins (28c) because while the Kwest tires that come on the bike are good tires for the sort of stuff I ride, they are heavy, wire bead tires. 22lb 11oz without the seat bag.


  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbj2012 View Post
    Selle Italia Flite 1990.

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    Lol. If only I wanted a hatchet up my ass. Used to use those back in my bmx days. They are pretty indestructible.

  58. #58
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    I have one on my Grade. Got it for free but I actually like it. The sentimental value is a plus too. Only negative is it has the vanadium rails totally uncool :-)

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    TL;TR: Yep, it's a Grade.

    I sold an old bike, and wanted a bike for my (allegedly) paved local roads (crumbling, pothole filled, rough), bike trail/greenways (some paved, some gravel) and gravel rides so I could stay in shape when the trails are unrideable around here. The Grade was not the bike I had picked out in my head, but it turned out the one I wanted was unavailable in my size, and there was this Claris Grade in the right size, in the shop, and - the price tag on it was EXACTLY what I had sold the old bike for. I knew it wasn't high end, but then, I just after good enough. So I bought it. And it worked well. In fact, I probably wouldn't have done anything to it (except maybe put those TRP Spyre brakes on it) if it weren't for the fact that the roads around here run straight up and down the sides of our gullies.

    Some of our hills touch 25% and can be on the long side, climbing a couple hundred feet. It was, honestly, just too much with the 34/28 gearing. I was keeping my heart rate pegged all the time. I messed with some gearing options, and decided that 34/32 I could probably live with. But that meant picking up something 11 speed, or doing something complicated with some MTB components. I talked about it with some friends, and one of them had access to some 105 stuff that was take-off from a brand new bike, and a deal was struck. Of course, I knew the 105 11spd wouldn't work with the hub on the stock wheel - it's a custom formula hub, and there's no conversion for it. So it was lace in a new hub, or get some new wheels. My LBS owner happened to be placing an order with Rolf and offered to make me a deal on a set of ECX's - and frankly, it was good enough I didn't pass it up.

    So, what you have here is a Claris Grade frame, with full 105 11spd, Rolf ECX wheels, and some Conti Gatorskins (28c) because while the Kwest tires that come on the bike are good tires for the sort of stuff I ride, they are heavy, wire bead tires. 22lb 11oz without the seat bag.

    Looks sharp man. I love the color scheme on the Claris model. I just took delivery of my 2015 Tiagra and I took a quick 8 mile ride through a local park that has a 2.5 mile roundabout with very little traffic.

    It's my first time having ridden a road bike for more than 2 blocks and I'm loving it so far! This thing can really maintain some speed. I felt confident at speeds close to 30mph while heading downhill.

    I'll post some pics up tomorrow.

    Sent from my A0001 using Tapatalk
    Riding: 2012 Santa Cruz Blur XC Carbon
    2015 GT Grade Alloy Tiagra

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by dietz31684 View Post
    Make sure you use it before dropping money on it. Road riding is much different (obviously) and I couldn't get down with it. Riding with traffic sucks in my opinion, which ain't worth much...
    I hear ya - this is precisely what kept me away from road riding in the past. I used to live in Miami and the horror stories of cyclists getting taken out on the beautiful Key Biscayne bridge kept me away.

    I've since relocated to the tri-state area and live in Bloomfield NJ now. There are a lot more open spaces and the drivers here seem to be more courteous and biker aware in general.

    Still freaks me out a little, but I'm giving it a try.
    Riding: 2012 Santa Cruz Blur XC Carbon
    2015 GT Grade Alloy Tiagra

  61. #61
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    Fender installed ready for winter commute

    GT Grade-12138321_10153591173091223_481575004196091226_o.jpg

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbj2012 View Post
    Fender installed ready for winter commute
    I've never liked the way fenders looked, but its a Grade so it still looks bad ass.
    Riding: 2012 Santa Cruz Blur XC Carbon
    2015 GT Grade Alloy Tiagra

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbj2012 View Post
    Well a carbon railed saddle is +200 dollars. When you can get a complete 105 group for 375 that is where I would spend my first upgrade money.
    I never pay full price for anything

    This is a highly recommended saddle from yours truly. I have one that's been thrashed on my dual suspension mountain bike and it's still going. According to my former LBS, Fizik provides excellent customer service, too. If a carbon rail were to break for whatever reason, they ask for a picture and send you a new one straight from Italy with no hassle.

    Fizik Gobi XM K:ium & Carbon Braided Saddle Sale | Saddles | Merlin Cycles'
    Riding: 2012 Santa Cruz Blur XC Carbon
    2015 GT Grade Alloy Tiagra

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    I just received a 2016 Ultegra Grade. It has been a lot of fun and I use it to connect small riding areas with mellow single track and some dirt roads. So far I only have sub 2 hour rides on it but I am looking forward to some longer stuff. It took some effort but I am currently running Clement 44 size tires. They are not tubeless ready but after some Stans, compressor and soapy water they did seal up and holds air. I would not recommend 44's though since rear clearance is too tight. Fortunately Clement makes a 36 that is tubeless ready and should be a no brainer.

  65. #65
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    Soulcraf you need to post some pictures!

  66. #66
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    Jenson has some good deals on the lower end 2015s. $522 for the Claris, and $714 for the Tiagra. The one I'm seriously considering is the 2016 Alloy X. Its the only alloy model in their line to have the full carbon fork (including steer tube) and the 15mm through axle. Its a 1x11 with Sram Rival components including hydraulic brakes. The cassette can be replaced for a 11-36, or a 10-42.

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    Considering a carbon ultegra. My question is can it be used for cyclocross as well as gravel? Any concerns. Would like to get an all in one bike. 6'2 and looking at a 58cm. Currently ride a 58 road bike. Was also considering a Jamis renegade.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmeitz View Post
    Considering a carbon ultegra. My question is can it be used for cyclocross as well as gravel? Any concerns. Would like to get an all in one bike. 6'2 and looking at a 58cm. Currently ride a 58 road bike. Was also considering a Jamis renegade.
    The grade could be used for cross. There really should not be any issues, but it not going to handle as quickly as a regular cross bike. The long wheelbase and slack head angle which make it a great gravel bike, will hurt it a little for cross. Also, the gearing is a little high on the Grade, but is a fairly easy fix with a different crank set. The only other thing to consider is that the grade has smaller tire clearance then most cyclocross bikes, which may not be a problem depending on the courses that you will be riding.

  69. #69
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    Maybe run a little short stem too for CX and speed up the steering?

    I have no CX experience but basing of my experience from mountain biking. I would also say a little more upright position would be nice for CX where its about slammed stems and the perfect aero position.

  70. #70
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    Here is mine on a recent trip to Cuba. I am corporate pilot and travel a lot. Grade has already been to Cuba and Israel. Love it!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails GT Grade-img_5012.jpg  


  71. #71
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    Just thought I'd throw my thoughts up, since this thread was instrumental in my decision to go with the grade. I live on a gravel road, and it's about four miles to get to pavement, so my traditional road bike isn't something that gets ridden much. I have been splitting time pretty evenly between a Salsa Vaya and Ridley X-Fire. I love the Vaya, it fits well and it's comfortable, but it's just not that fast. The Ridley, on the other hand, is fast, but on rides over an hour long, my 41 year old back starts begging for a little more give, so I decided to look for something different.

    I ended up with a 55cm Grade. At 5'9" and pretty evenly proportioned; I'm not certain it's the best fit, but the 53 felt just a tad small. I'm still playing around with stem length - it looks like I'll end up at 90-100mm, but I went to a 40cm bar (just my preference), and changed out the seat for an Fizik Antares VS. The other change I've made is taping up the Stans rims and mounting a set of Compass Bon Jon Pass tires tubeless. I've been riding their Barlow Pass tires on the Vaya for a while and love them. If you're looking for a great 35mm tire for any hard pack or gravel surface, the Bon Jons are tough to beat. Their only real downside is mud, but in those conditions I won't be riding this bike.

    Here's a pic of my bike sitting in my office:

    GT Grade-20151125_093153.jpg

    My initial impressions (I have maybe 200 miles on it) are that it's a pretty well thought out bike. At first I was not overly impressed with the hydraulic discs; they didn't seem to provide much advantage over the cable actuated Avids or TRPs I'm used to riding. Once things seated in properly that all changed. I love that I can now do stoppies from the hoods. I have no problem keeping up with my buddies running 25mm tires on their road bikes. My only real complaint was mentioned earlier and has to do with the wheel build. With the wider tires, it's glaringly obvious that the dish on the rear wheel is off. It's not bad, but mine probably needs to come 1mm or so towards the drive side. It might be a problem on the front too, but that's not as obvious. At any rate, I can live with it for another month or so. Once riding season is over here, I'll pull them and fix the dish this winter.

    Finally, thank you to everyone who posted their experiences with this bike. This thread has been a valuable resource for me.

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    I'm looking to purchase a Grade as well, although not liking the mid compact for sizing... would much rather have a 46/36. Mine will only be in the dirt, already have plenty of road bikes to fill the road need. Any suggestions for crank?

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    I'm with you on the gearing, being primarily a gravel bike for me the gearing is really tall. I ride mildly hilly roads and the 46/36 crankset and 11/28 cogs on my CX bike are just about perfect. I find I'm shifting between the front rings way more on the Grade, and moving up or down up front also requires a couple shifts in the rear. The great thing about the shimano 5800 or 6800 cranksets is that you can run 46-53 and 34-39 rings on them. Going 46/36 up front just means you need a new chainring. Of course the rings are about 2/3 the price of an entirely new crankset, so that kind of sucks.

    All that said, I've been really happy with the FSA SLK crankset in 46/36 on my cross bike. Super stiff and it's taken a pretty good beating with just a few nicks and scratches to show for it.

  74. #74
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    Thanks for the info! Like you, I had thoughts about changing the rings.. but as you mentioned quite expensive. I have not purchased the bike yet being that it is winter here in Maine... but I'll play around with numbers a bit more.

    Thanks Again SlipperyToad!

  75. #75
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    I'll chime in with this. My Grade was the Claris 8 speed, so I had compact (50/34) with 11-28 and some fairly large steps. Because of the entry price, I was ok with this, but quickly discovered that it just wasn't quite enough on the hills where I am, all of which are steep. If I drive a half an hour, I get to flat land, and it was fine.

    My solution was to change to 11 speed (full 105) with the 11-32 cassette. That's been working really well for me, and reduced the size of the steps between some of the rest of the gears as well. My crank is still a 50/34, and because of the down hill runs around here, some of which are pretty long, it works well. Just something to think about in terms of what parts to change out. It might be better riding in the long run to keep the crank and change the cassette.

  76. #76
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    I live in the mountains of Maine, so I would even want a larger cassette than a 11/32. Also, do not want a 50t chainring, as it is too big for where I'll be riding. I'm thinking a 46/36 would be the perfect size for here in Maine. Isn't it great that we have so many choices?

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    I can see where compact gearing would definitely hit the sweet spot in the case of long and steep hills. The bikes that come with 105 or Ultegra come with an 11-32 cogset and long cage 105 or Ultegra derailleurs. They also come with 52/36, which in flatter or considerably hillier country than I ride would be great, but it's not that great where you're constantly climbing or descending but the hills are never more than 1/4 mile long. I very occasionally spin out my 46-11 CX bike(around 40 mph), but it's not very often.

    This is a very minor quibble with what I consider the most versatile road bike out there now, and GT clearly picked the right setup for most of the use these bikes will encounter. I probably wouldn't even notice if I normally rode a compact crankset, but in the terrain I ride I find I'm having to row the gears a lot more than with a more tightly spaced front arrangement. I don't get any benefit from the bigger front ring, which is why I'm thinking about moving to a 46 up front.

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    I think that you hit the nail on the head with your comment about a "road" bike. For me, this is a dirt bike as I ahve plenty of road bikes to choose from already. I think once companies fully commit to these bikes being a gravel bike; we'll see HUGE improvments in them. So for now, ride on!

  79. #79
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    I think that many of the newcomers to the gravel scene are reluctant to call their machines true gravel bikes. Maybe they're afraid that the sub/genre will fail, or they're worried about riders shredding the gnar on bikes that were only meant to lightly exfoliate the gnar.

    Salsa's Vaya is, IMO, one of the benchmark gravel bikes, and I'd like to see more companies take design cues from that bike when it comes to gearing, tire clearance, etc.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridebikeme View Post
    I live in the mountains of Maine, so I would even want a larger cassette than a 11/32. Also, do not want a 50t chainring, as it is too big for where I'll be riding. I'm thinking a 46/36 would be the perfect size for here in Maine. Isn't it great that we have so many choices?
    Fair play. My geared MTB went a year with a 36/36 granny on it, so maybe my idea of "good enough" for climbing hills is a little slanted! Either way, I've not encountered anyone yet who bought one of these bikes then decided they didn't really care for it, but I have run into several people that made some tweaks to how it was equipped.

    Mine has seen everything from greenways to single track, paved road, abandoned road, dirt roads, gravel roads - I think there are other bikes I could have ridden all of that on, but this one was fun.

  81. #81
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    Totally agree on the FUN which I think is the best way to describe the bike.

    My goal is still to get a really nice light carbon tubeless wheelset but I have become better friends with the stock wheelset lately.

  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridebikeme View Post
    I live in the mountains of Maine, so I would even want a larger cassette than a 11/32. Also, do not want a 50t chainring, as it is too big for where I'll be riding. I'm thinking a 46/36 would be the perfect size for here in Maine. Isn't it great that we have so many choices?
    If you have the Shimano 11 speed, the 32 cog is the maximum size suggested for the rear derailleur. The only solution I have heard that might work is using a 10 speed MTB derailleur and cassette, but I have no personal knowledge if that works. Also, the inner chain ring on the mid-compact is a 36, so just changing the outer ring to a 46 will get you what you want. The other idea if low gears are the goal, is get a compact with the 34 inner and put on a 46 outer. None of these are a cheap solution, but like you said, it is nice to have some choices.

  83. #83
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    I'm almost decided on a Grade as a first road bike that can also tackle gravel/rough roads. This thread seems to be making a strong case that it's a good choice!

    I'm a bit confused on the sizing though. I usually ride 56cm frames but GT seem to be recommending 58cm for my size - I'm 186cm (6'1") with about 86 cm inseam (33.6").

    Any helpful advice on which size to get?

  84. #84
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    Fit depends on many factors but I would say 56cm would be the right size.

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    I thought I would do another update since I have about 600 miles on my Grade now. The only real change that I have made has been putting on a set of Challenge Gravel Grinder tires. They are marked as a 38C size wise, and have good clearance on my 55cm frame. Also, I used the matching Challenge latex tubes. The combination really helped the bike shine in the gravel, and rough stuff. There is a little more rolling resistance on the road, but certainly worth the penalty when I get to the gravel sections. The only real weakness would be that they are not a great mud tire, then again, they are not designed to be.

    My only other changes I am considering is going a compact crank set up front. The mid compact actually has worked better then I expected so far, but if I do the Gran Fondo series that I am considering, I'll need all the help I can get doing between 6000 to 9000 feet of elevation per event. As noted before, the idea of having two sets of wheels seem to make good sense for this bike. My idea is a light weight wheel set with slicks for road only rides and events. Plus, the set with the Gravel Grinders for everything else.

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    I am really tempted to buy this bike, in this case the Tiagra/alloy version, not so sure if I should.

    Since I've bought my full suspension Sensor this year, I've transformed my 97 Zaskar, fitting some road tires to do some miles, endurance training and of course to get some other experiences than off-road on a bicycle. The last time I rode a road bike was around 98 ou 99, so I don't have present what to expect and what difference this Grade has to a "real" road bike, nor if it's worth buying it in comparison with the road tires fitted Zaskar.

  87. #87
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    There is a big difference between a road bike and an old mountain bike. If its worth it all depends on what type of riding you plan to do especially how many miles you plan to do. I would say the more road miles you plan on doing the better it will be to have a real road bike. When I started doing road miles I was on my mountain bike but as I found out I really liked getting a road bike has been great. Its faster, lighter and more comfortable.

  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbj2012 View Post
    There is a big difference between a road bike and an old mountain bike. If its worth it all depends on what type of riding you plan to do especially how many miles you plan to do. I would say the more road miles you plan on doing the better it will be to have a real road bike. When I started doing road miles I was on my mountain bike but as I found out I really liked getting a road bike has been great. Its faster, lighter and more comfortable.
    I really don't know.
    I'm doing 100 km/62 miles week 2/3 on road (more or less 30km+30km) and 40km on weekend on mtb.
    Do you think the Grade will be "road" enough, with proper tires lets say, or I should go further and invest on a proper roadie cause the difference is quite big? Thanks for the reply, by the way!

  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by t-stoff View Post
    I really don't know.
    I'm doing 100 km/62 miles week 2/3 on road (more or less 30km+30km) and 40km on weekend on mtb.
    Do you think the Grade will be "road" enough, with proper tires lets say, or I should go further and invest on a proper roadie cause the difference is quite big? Thanks for the reply, by the way!
    I hope you don't mind me joining the conversation, but the Grade is a very capable road bike. Unless you want a race geometry bike, the Grade would serve most riders well. As I posted earlier in the thread, I am most likely going to sell my titanium road bike since it never gets used since buying the my Grade. The grade is just as fast as my road bike, but more comfortable, plus is more versatile as well.

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    No worries. That was the kind of opinion I was looking for also. The one that gives more insight and how the Grade compares to a road bike. Most of the reviews only talk about the gravel side, the fun and comfort, never the similarities and the capability, in terms of what pace, how fast on road , etc.
    Thanks!

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    Make no mistake, this is a road bike... period. It's not a mountain bike, or even a CX bike, but it can handle gravel, and light single track. It is night and day different from your old Zaskar. It's an endurance road bike with clearance for wider tires. If you leave the 28mm tires on it, you'll never know it's any different from any other road endurance bike, except you'll have a bigger gap in your stays. Put fatter rubber on and it transforms into a great multi-surface road bike. The only real limit is how fat of tires you need to run.

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    I'm 6' with a longer inseam.....sat on both ( had to do a lot driving to do that)
    I went with the 56


    Quote Originally Posted by olijay View Post
    I'm almost decided on a Grade as a first road bike that can also tackle gravel/rough roads. This thread seems to be making a strong case that it's a good choice!

    I'm a bit confused on the sizing though. I usually ride 56cm frames but GT seem to be recommending 58cm for my size - I'm 186cm (6'1") with about 86 cm inseam (33.6").

    Any helpful advice on which size to get?

  93. #93
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    I'm really enjoying the grade. Mine is of the tiagra variety

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    I'm seriously considering picking up a Grade on closeout as my N+1 bike for when the mtb trails are closed (which has happened a lot this year). The last time I rode a road bike it came from a department store and it still had shifters on the downtube LOL
    I would use this for rides in/around the neighborhood and my city has a network of riverside trails that are a mix of pavement and hardpack. I weigh around 230lbs, are the Tiagra level components and Alex wheels of this bike up for someone my size on how i plan on using it?
    Last edited by matadorCE; 12-07-2015 at 02:17 PM.

  95. #95
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    The Grade is my first roadish bike that I switched to from a Specialized Crosstrail. The difference was noticeable from the start. I always seem to want to pedal faster and my time around the normal loop that I ride has really improved. The tires that come stock are road tires and I have used them in some gravel but I'm going to switch those out in the spring to something with a little grip to them. That said, I am your size and I have used the bike for the purposes that you have mentioned. I'd say go for it.

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by steelcityadv View Post
    The Grade is my first roadish bike that I switched to from a Specialized Crosstrail. The difference was noticeable from the start. I always seem to want to pedal faster and my time around the normal loop that I ride has really improved. The tires that come stock are road tires and I have used them in some gravel but I'm going to switch those out in the spring to something with a little grip to them. That said, I am your size and I have used the bike for the purposes that you have mentioned. I'd say go for it.
    Thanks for the input. For the closeout price it seems like a no-brainer although I do fear that I won't end up using it nearly as much as I think I will. On the other hand, being able to ride and be outside while the trails are muddy is what's making the little voice in head say "buy the Grade" haha

  97. #97
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    Well I bought it today! White, tiagra alloy from 2015. I was sick today, I hope I'm ok tomorrow for a quick ride ;D

  98. #98
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    Could I get folk's 2 cents on sizing? I'm 5'10" with a 32 inseam and according to the sizing chart I'm right in the middle between 55 and 56. This will be my first proper road bike so I have no idea how it's supposed to fit. My guess is that a more upright position will be more comfortable for long rides? I don't like a cramped cockpit though but I guess a long stem is necessary due to narrow bars to keep the steering in check?

  99. #99
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    If you are serious about finding a right fit you should pay to have you fitted on a bike it's worth it especially if you have no reference point. In general more for road bikes more people prefer the smaller frame and then run a longer stem for the right fit. However you then normally then get a short head tube which could be another problem. You inseam is just a small part of what determines your bike fit.

  100. #100
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    What he^^^^^ said.
    If you have no reference, you have no where to start.
    Even for me...after 25 years of riding....sometimes the numbers just don't add up and the bike doesn't fit or never feels right.

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