Lost in online shopping for a second bike for general use ...- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Lost in online shopping for a second bike for general use ...

    I had an old TREK 7000 MTB with Shimano Deore components and no suspension. I rode that thing everywhere and one day did ~44miles on it but, that was a bit much for me!

    Today, my shoulders and back CANNOT take that much stiffness and vibration on asphalt and sidewalks. I have a Surly Krampus now for use in East Texas mainly on soft 'off road' where I live on a County Road away from town. A second wheelset really isn't feasible for my lifestyle and capabilities to swap by myself (hangers and brakes are a bit much to make this very feasible).

    I want to find a more generalist MTB style (i.e. no drop bars) and appropriate street tires with some front suspension. Hard tail MTBs get really expensive fast and I question if they are the right choice for me thinking a pseudo-gravel bike might be better or possibly a fitness model.

    I want to stay with Shimano Deore or SLX components or possibly XT if cost doesn't go off the deep end of reality! I absolutely want Hydraulic brakes with good modulation for emergency and unexpected stops (this is a safety issue for urban rides IMHO). I think I want to use Maxxis Hookworm tires, possibly in a 29" format. I'm initially thinking 1x10, 1x11 or, 1x12 for gearing for reasonable road speeds and enough power for modest hill climbs and hilly vacation pleasure rides.

    What are the better places to start looking? What general price range am I in? Where are the real "price range breaks" when stepping up in quality components? I ask about price range because I don't buyers remorse and end up replacing a component at greater expense then buying it right the first time. In particular, in the $1500 range I see a lot of cheap brakes with SLX/XT components in other places. On the flip side I don't need 4-pot XT brakes either! However, I might enjoy Deore 4-pots!

    TIA,
    Sid

  2. #2
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    Hey man, it sounds like you're looking for something like this Specialized Diverge Evo. It doesn't necessarily have the component spec you're looking for, but it is a solid entry level bike. I have a Carbon Drop bar model and it is just so much fun to ride.

  3. #3
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    The Diverge Expert E5 EVO at $2,600 is a bit higher (MSRP) than I would like but, the frame geometry and overall spec looks pretty good.

  4. #4
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    The one I linked was only $1600 not $2600, but you never said what the budget was.

  5. #5
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    I looked at yours but, the one mentioned has a spec much closer to what I ideally want.

    I'm hoping to find something for ~$1500 but, I think $2,000 is more realistic. Above $2,000 is probably out of reach at the current time unless something positive happens to my current finances.

  6. #6
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    On a related note, I've started looking at "gravel" bike options. Most of them though are an easy $1,000 more than a similar spec MTB type option. A $3,000 gravel bike though is easily a year away from serious consideration assuming I don't buy anything in the meantime.

  7. #7
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    I honestly don't get gravel bikes, can't you just lock out the suspension on a mtb?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PTCbiker View Post
    I honestly don't get gravel bikes, can't you just lock out the suspension on a mtb?
    I've been all mountain bike all the time for over 25 years, so I get it. I used to have the same thoughts until I helped one of my friends buy her first bike. We were riding gravel bikes around the parking lot and it was pretty fun, so I pulled the trigger on one as a change of pace type bike. I was already in the market for a hardtail to supplement my trail bike, but I figured that if I want to change the pace, the gravel bike opened up a ton more riding options.

    After one or two rides I was hooked. The Diverge is just soooo much fun, and I have been an avowed Specialized hater for 2 decades! Just locking out the suspension doesn't even begin to describe the differences. Hell, I can't even point to just one thing that makes it a fun bike. I widened the bars, shortened the stem, and went with a dropper post + drop bar remote and this bike just flat out handles with snappy precision and stable predictability. And, it's made me a better/stronger/faster MTB rider.

    Sorry for the gush. My stoke is through the roof after suffering a bit of a lag. Don't try to understand a gravel bike from paper. Get out and put some dirt under the tires.

  9. #9
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    I'm not sure there's exactly any sort of "price break" or anything like that when it comes to bikes. Right now, it seems like somewhere in the $1500-$2000 range is a good spot for a hardtail mtb for a value/performance perspective. You're still going to get some low level OEM parts on a bike like that, but at least here they're not bottom of the barrel OEM bits. That price is higher for full suspension bikes, for sure. And for drop bar bikes, the value spot is probably around the upper end of that range. With "gravel" bikes being a bit faddish and a growth submarket for bikes, there's a bit of a cost premium associated with them (mostly due to limited options for price point components specific to gravel bikes like cranks with lower gearing and hydraulic levers). Also while there are gravel suspension forks, you're not going to find them at those value prices.

    Every manufacturer is going to make component spec decisions to try to maximize their value/profit for a given price point. Usually the way that manifests is that the manufacturer will put on a couple of slightly nicer, but flashy parts that grab attention, and then cheap out on parts that are less attention-grabbing. IMO, the stuff that tends to matter more actually ends up being the stuff where I like better quality parts.

    Drop bar bikes of all stripes tend to carry a bit of a price premium compared to flat bar bikes for a couple of reasons. For one, light weight tends to be a priority, so there's all that gets involved there for the frame as well as the components. But a large single cost are drop bar levers. Those by themselves tend to be pretty expensive compared to flat bar levers, especially when you're getting into the integrated brake/shift "brifter" type levers. Doubly so when those levers are hydraulic. They're mechanically complicated, and squeezing the hydraulic bits into the lever space along with the shifty bits was a challenge for manufacturers.

    My "gravel" bike is actually a Salsa Vaya from before "gravel bikes" were a thing. At the time, the Vaya was made as more of a light touring bike, or even a commuter. And that's what I used it for after I bought it. These days, though, it spends more time on gravel forest roads than on pavement, and it works pretty well for that sort of use.

    Where in East TX are you? I lived in Nacogdoches for about 4yrs, and those sandy dirt roads out in the country were nice to ride on. I didn't have the Vaya then, but I had a different frame with a similar sort of build. Hardtail mountain bikes work well there, too, and having capacity for larger tires is sure helpful when you hit a pit of looser sand. The terrain rolls, but grades aren't usually too bad, so taller gears than what you'll find on most mountain bikes is kinda nice, too. Really just depends on what you're looking for. What about your Krampus do you find limiting?

  10. #10
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    I'm about 2 hours East of Dallas between I-20 and I-30. The country I live in has gently rolling hills and really rough county roads. Off asphalt is generally packed rocky sand. I will probably take this bicycle with me to Dallas and run the Greenville to White Rock Lake track some as well. I have the Krampus set up for off-road excursions on looser pack sand and will probably take it to some off-road parks where the extended family run ATVs and "camp out" in rented cabins. I may or may not take my KTM motorcycle as well.

    With this gravel or 'soft' MTB, I plan on racking up more miles for general fitness and general fun seeing the local countryside. My local rides will generally be in the 10~12 mile range and I may start bicycling into town for some groceries or a canned coffee drink from the Dollar General.

  11. #11
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    Sound like a good candidate for what I just took delivery of after a 3 month order wait.

    A Specialized Sirrus X 5.0, Fact 9 Carbon frame/fork.

    Has Future Shock which suspends the handlebars with an adjustable rate and not the wheel like a fork suspension and it works phenomenally for damping heavy road and gravel vibration. Flat bars...which I just upgraded to carbon bars making it even better. Good Shimano hydraulic discs. Shimano SLX 1x12. 42T direct mount chainring.

    I sold my Specialized Roubaix about 3 months ago because I can't ride a road bike in the drops anymore due to neck fusion and hardware and now just recently, a lumbar fusion and JUST removed Ti hardware. This bike is a Godsend! It hauls ass even though it sports 38mm gravel tires that are tubeless. It'll have a Specialized CG-R Cobble Gobbler carbon seatpost on it tomorrow and Thursday it will have a new Praxis-Works Carbon crankset.

    I'd love to post a bunch of gratuitous photos of it but this site absolutely sucks for posting images these days so here's a link. Ping me if want images of the real bike with the mods.


    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/si...ext=92421-3001

  12. #12
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    PM sent, Thanks!

  13. #13
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    Here's a primer that I had to resize. The rest are in your inbox.



    Lost in online shopping for a second bike for general use ...-20201028_122805.jpg

  14. #14
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    It looks like you have a really nice ride there! This and the other Specialized mentioned in this thread are seriously tempting.

    Thanks!
    Attached Images Attached Images      

  15. #15
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    Thanks for populating the thread with the pics! I'm just over all the effort it takes to post pics on this forum.

  16. #16
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    Yep, it is a bit obtuse and difficult. They wouldn't load from my computer and I had to put them in my online account and load from there. I wiped the metadata as well as resizing so they would load faster.

    Your bicycle was worth the effort though!

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