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  1. #1
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    Thinking about a new gravel bike.

    I have been thinking of getting more of a touring style of bike for gravel. I'm currently riding a cross bike (2006 Felt F1x) and it is a stiff ride and I'm sore after a 100 mile ride. I have been considering a Vaya or Fargo, Is there any reason to go one way or the other? I guess I'm leaning towards the Vaya, since this will be my only road style bike. Any other thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I have both. A 2011 Vaya built with road compact components, and a gen 2 fargo ti with 9-speed XTR (xt 28/40 cranks) and bar ends. I built the fargo from a touring/gravel perspective so it has cowbell handlebars and a more aggressive position than most fargos around.

    Long story short, I'm selling the vaya. It cant do anything the fargo can't, and the vaya is out of its depth way before the fargo. PM me if you want photos/more info.

  3. #3
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    Another vote for the Fargo. I have a 2011 generation 2 Fargo that I love for gravel riding and touring. I rode it across Iowa on gravel with Clement Explorer 40c tires, and recently have been using the Bruce Gordon Rock 'n Road tires, which are slightly larger with a more aggressive tread. For me the Fargo is near perfect. There may be better choices if you want to go fast, but for an all day bike I love the Fargo. I have been giving thought to a Black Mountain Cycles road or cross frame for road riding, light gravel/dirt and faster rides, but for touring or bad gravel roads the Fargo is my first choice.

  4. #4
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    One thing to consider is that a bike built for loaded touring is often not the most comfortable and lively bike to ride for unloaded adventures. Touring bikes have stout tubing--perfect for loaded riding, but they feel a bit harsh and turdly to me when unloaded.

    All of this is a way of saying that if you are just going to do mixed-surface day rides, something like the Black Mountain Cycles bike might be a better choice. OTOH, if you are going to load it up and do actual touring, then the Fargo is hard to beat.

    Here's my custom touring bike on a trip down California's lost coast:


    **** You Hippies by paleo.velo, on Flickr

  5. #5
    Harmonius Wrench
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    Well, I have to agree that if you are going totally loaded touring style, the Fargo would likely be my first choice, just because it can handle about any tire your heart desires. My rule of thumb is that if I don't know the roads, I take the Fargo. Due to the bigger tire size I can use on it, I know I probably won't get overwhelmed in that respect no matter the terrain. By the way, the one pictured here is the oft posted Gen I of mine.

    My Vaya is also a great choice though. If you never see yourself using anything bigger than a 1.8" without fenders, the Vaya works great, has a lower BB, and seems more stable. Obviously, it was designed to be a touring bike, so it should do that job really well.

    I also own and love a Black Mountain Cycles Cross bike. If you see yourself doing lighter touring, or mostly unloaded trips, I would go with it. It rides really well, but would likely get whippy loaded down for an unsupported tour.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Thinking about a new gravel bike.-retroshift-fargo-001.jpg  

    Thinking about a new gravel bike.-saturday-3gr-13-011.jpg  


  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the info. I'm really looking for a bike to do my gravel grinders, unloaded rides. I ride in Minnesota so the rides that I do vary from Almanzo which is on packed lime stone to the Heck of the North which is gravel, tar and snowmobile trails. I'll check into the Black Mt. I was also considering a Warbird, but I think that is very close to my Felt.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by smharstedt View Post
    Thanks for all the info. I'm really looking for a bike to do my gravel grinders, unloaded rides. I ride in Minnesota so the rides that I do vary from Almanzo which is on packed lime stone to the Heck of the North which is gravel, tar and snowmobile trails. I'll check into the Black Mt. I was also considering a Warbird, but I think that is very close to my Felt.
    I did the Almanzo on my Fargo last year and it was overkill.

    It had been raining quite a bit prior to the ride and I thought the wider tires would be the way to go, but I over thought this ride.

    This year?

    I'm riding either my La Cruz or my Merckx AluCross with Challenge Strada Biancas, especially if it's dry. I should be just fine.

    FWIW The Black Mountain idea looks solid and I wouldn't hesitate. Don't forget about a Soma Double Cross either. My riding buddy raced his at Almanzo the last two years and did great. Whatever you do, start riding early for the Almanzo, those hills are tough stuff.

  8. #8
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    I looked into the Black Mt and It looks like a great option, but I really want to get a frame that can handle disc brakes. My brother-in-law has a Soma Double Cross, which is a great bike, but no disc brakes.

    I agree that a Fargo is over kill for Almanzo, my cross bike does fine on that course.

    Thanks for the feedback.

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