Bike choice for mixed road/gravel/singletrack- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bike choice for mixed road/gravel/singletrack

    My primary focus is on mountain biking; very little road or cyclocross. However, there's a race early next year that is offering a combined road/gravel route of about 75 miles and 6,000 feet of climbing. It's a route option for the Chico Wildflower called the Fleur Savage, and it's really piqued my interest. I've ridden road centuries in the past and really prefer to stick to the dirt, and therefore I don't even have a road bike anymore. So I'm looking for a bike that wouldn't kill me on long sections of road with a group, can handle rough road and gravel, and even tackle some smooth singletrack without much trouble.

    Once upon a time I had a Surly Crosscheck, and it was a good all around bike. But it was more of a bike-packing setup, a little flexy in the rear end, and kind of a tank. Not so great for long climbs due to the weight, and I'd like a bit stiffer frame without breaking the bank on a carbon frame.

    My budget is about $1500 and I've been looking at a few bikes. For that budget I'd like to get 105 level 2x drive train, either dual piston Spyre or hydraulic brakes, and keep the entire thing 23# or under. If anyone has suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Here's a few that look promising. I'm leaning towards the Wilier but I've never heard of the brand or seen one in person. I've had a couple BikesDirect bikes before and they worked out OK. No idea abouth the Nashbar brand except that the reviews are mostly positive...seems like a generic frame just like the BD bikes and decent components.

    Nashbar 105 Cyclocross Bike - $799 (low expectations on this one, but it's cheap!)
    Wilier Jareen 105 - $1169 on clearance
    Motobacon OmniStrada - $999
    GT Grade Alloy Expert - $1449
    Fuji Cross 1.7 - $1239
    Fuji Jari 1.4 LE - $1299
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  2. #2
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    $1500 can get you a DiamondBack EXP Carbon which looks pretty interesting. Allows use of 27.5 wheels and tires. It does come equipped with barend shifters which is a negative for a lot of people.

    https://www.diamondback.com/road-bik...njo-exp-carbon

    The Haanjo Trail is the bike I'm looking at as a replacement for my Jamis Renegade. Ultegra equipped and hydro brakes...for just over $1400.

    https://www.diamondback.com/road-bik...njo-trail-3293

    Haanjo Comp will give you SRAM 1x and hydro brakes for about $1000. It's another strong contender on my list.

    https://www.diamondback.com/road-bik...el/haanjo-comp

    These prices are with the corporate discount and you can also get 2% back with ebates or 3% back I believe through active junky. And if it still works, use TAKE10 for an additional 10% off or if it doesn't work if you message DB and sweet talk them...they very well may give you a new code to use.
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  3. #3
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    Interesting, I've always looked over DB Haanjo because it's just a 1x in the front. There are some wickedly steep and long climbs on and off pavement that I'll be hitting, and I definitely need the low gears. And there are some good long descents too, so I need the top end as well. But I didn't know that the Haanjo Trail is a double ring and specced out really well. With the 10% off, that puts my price at $1620 which is doable.

    The EXP Carbon looks interesting but not really what I'm looking for. I'm pretty much on the hoods while riding and I don't like the brifters for that reason. I dig that frame though...and for $1600 it's a great deal for a bikepacking/backroads bike.
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  4. #4
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    Looks like REI has the Haanjo Trail delivered to a nearby store for about $1540. Just 2 left in stock at my size so I might have to jump on that.
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  5. #5
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    Order direct and save even more money. Trail went on sale today for 1,382.24. Throw in the 10% discount and 2% cash back and you're looking at $1216 shipped to your door.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Order direct and save even more money. Trail went on sale today for 1,382.24. Throw in the 10% discount and 2% cash back and you're looking at $1216 shipped to your door.
    That's the ticket right there, thanks!
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  7. #7
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    I'm going to be "That guy" and suggest something outside of your current search parameter. I went through a couple of bikes in your price range and was never quite happy.
    -A used alloy Specialized Crux... too rigid and a bit heavy.
    -A used Canondale Slate... fun bike, the fork allowed you to push it in single track a bit, but the alloy frame was still a rough ride despite the fork.

    If you could spend just a little more, you could open up a whole new world of performance and comfort. I ended up with a new Giant TCX SX at the end of 2016 model year. At full retail ($2000) they are a steal. I only paid $1700. For that, you get a carbon frame and full hydro brakes. They are a 'cross' bike, but the SX model is totally set-up for gravel with wide range gearing and tubeless ready 40c tires that roll well on the road and suck up the bumps in the dirt. The carbon rides so much better than an alloy frame possibly could. Stock bike comes in at about 21 lbs with room for improvement (the stock cassette is very heavy). The bikes on your list will be quite heavy. For your investment, you'll have a faster and more comfortable bike that will perform on dirt or road.
    TTUB - Ventura County California

  8. #8
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    I find very little difference between carbon and aluminum on the road or gravel. I had a Jamis Renegade Elite and I am currently riding a Kona Private Jake. For someone who doesn't sound like they'll be riding road that much...doesn't make a lot of sense to spend more on carbon IMO. And once you throw some 35c+ tires on the bike...frame material becomes even less an issue as far as comfort. In fact, my aluminum frame on 40c tires was much nicer riding than my high-end carbon on 35c's.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    I find very little difference between carbon and aluminum on the road or gravel. I had a Jamis Renegade Elite and I am currently riding a Kona Private Jake. For someone who doesn't sound like they'll be riding road that much...doesn't make a lot of sense to spend more on carbon IMO. And once you throw some 35c+ tires on the bike...frame material becomes even less an issue as far as comfort. In fact, my aluminum frame on 40c tires was much nicer riding than my high-end carbon on 35c's.
    On the road, I don't feel like frame material matters as much since most roads are relatively smooth. Gravel can go either way... depends on how smooth. In the dirt, that's where the carbon really shines... where it's bumpy. I ran 40c on both my alloy Slate and currently on my carbon TCX. The Slate still beat me up despite the Lefty fork.
    TTUB - Ventura County California

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TTUB View Post
    On the road, I don't feel like frame material matters as much since most roads are relatively smooth. Gravel can go either way... depends on how smooth. In the dirt, that's where the carbon really shines... where it's bumpy. I ran 40c on both my alloy Slate and currently on my carbon TCX. The Slate still beat me up despite the Lefty fork.
    I thank you for the input, but I've already gone for the Haanjo Trail. If I did more road and gravel riding I'd really consider going to carbon. However, I'm about a 75% mountain biker. I think it'll be a good bike for me, but we shall see.


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  11. #11
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    Wow, Diamondback is not fooling around. Just ordered this afternoon around 2pm, got a tracking number a couple hours ago with an expected arrival date of Friday.
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  12. #12
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    DiamondBack has fantastic customer service and a pretty much no questions asked warranty.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing View Post
    Wow, Diamondback is not fooling around. Just ordered this afternoon around 2pm, got a tracking number a couple hours ago with an expected arrival date of Friday.
    Just in time for the weekend!

  14. #14
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    As an owner of a 2017 Haanjo Trail, couple things. You may want to pull the cranks and bb to add grease. The 40mm Kenda tires that come stock are awesome, grippy, yet fast on tarmac and super cushy. However they will expand, mine are closer to 43-44mm and rubbed on the front der/stays, so I swapped the ft der to a new Shimano FD-R8000. The stock wheels will need to be trued after you ride a bit and depending on your weight (Im @ 280) can be a bit flexy (possibly another reason tire rubbed front der & stays). Also be aware, that the rear axle thread into an insert that can/may fall out when you remove the axle. The axle does not thread into the hanger, like had originally thought. It's easy to put back in place, it's squared off on the interface and has a rubber grommet that helps hold it in place when the axle is removed. It's only happened to me once, but still something to be aware of.

    Overall it's an amazing bike. The small details really impressed me, like side loading bottle cages, Shimano E-Thru axle's, quality FSA compression plug, centerlock rotors, finned brake pads and seat collar with pivoting insert to prevent bolt fatigue/bowing.

    Also bike was packed very well and comes with a tool kit to build, that includes a torque wrench. Overall there isn't much a normal rider would need to upgrade, I only added clipless pedals, changed my seat, wheels (because I'm a clyde) and front der.

    Hope this all helps, your going to love your bike. Oh yeah one more thing, DB customer service is amazing. I wanted to have the brake mounts faced as I had some brake rub, when I called DB to confirm the carbon fork can be faced, they offered to pay for the facing cost. Which IMO is insane, I've never had a bike company do that.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy.Ford View Post
    As an owner of a 2017 Haanjo Trail, couple things. You may want to pull the cranks and bb to add grease. The 40mm Kenda tires that come stock are awesome, grippy, yet fast on tarmac and super cushy. However they will expand, mine are closer to 43-44mm and rubbed on the front der/stays, so I swapped the ft der to a new Shimano FD-R8000. The stock wheels will need to be trued after you ride a bit and depending on your weight (Im @ 280) can be a bit flexy (possibly another reason tire rubbed front der & stays). Also be aware, that the rear axle thread into an insert that can/may fall out when you remove the axle. The axle does not thread into the hanger, like had originally thought. It's easy to put back in place, it's squared off on the interface and has a rubber grommet that helps hold it in place when the axle is removed. It's only happened to me once, but still something to be aware of.

    Overall it's an amazing bike. The small details really impressed me, like side loading bottle cages, Shimano E-Thru axle's, quality FSA compression plug, centerlock rotors, finned brake pads and seat collar with pivoting insert to prevent bolt fatigue/bowing.

    Also bike was packed very well and comes with a tool kit to build, that includes a torque wrench. Overall there isn't much a normal rider would need to upgrade, I only added clipless pedals, changed my seat, wheels (because I'm a clyde) and front der.

    Hope this all helps, your going to love your bike. Oh yeah one more thing, DB customer service is amazing. I wanted to have the brake mounts faced as I had some brake rub, when I called DB to confirm the carbon fork can be faced, they offered to pay for the facing cost. Which IMO is insane, I've never had a bike company do that.
    Thanks for the info! Bike is on track to be delivered tomorrow, just in time for the weekend. I'll definitely be going through it and regreasing and applying loctite where necessary. It's great to hear about the DB customer service...very cool that they go the extra mile. I'm just stoked to be getting what seems like a lot of bike for the money.

    Question: has anyone swapped out the big chainring for something larger? I've got some pretty fast descents here and it seems like I may run out of gear with just a 46T. I'm still going to ride it before I do anything, but I could see putting on a 50T for a bit more top end.
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    Congratulations! That's a great deal.

    I have a 50x11 at the top end. I have yet to use it. I've been in the 50x12 a couple times, but that was still more than enough. On pavement in hill country, you'll want it, but for what you're talking about, there's no need. Sure, a 50-34t crank is more versatile, and I can see where you might want something easier than a 36x32, but that's another question.

  17. #17
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    Haven't swapped the rings, reason being is I plan to upgrade the cranks to Shimano FC-5800 105 Double Crankset with Absolute Black oval rings. But that's going to wait till summer, for now the stock crank is working fine.

    Congrats on the quick ship, have fun this weekend and please post some pics. Also there is a Haanjo thread in the Diamondback forum that could use more photos.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/diamondback/d...jo-910957.html

    Oh yeah couple other positives I forgot to mention, the rims come taped for tubeless and there are tubeless valves in the parts box.
    ...

  18. #18
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    I will definitely get some pictures up either in this thread or the one you linked. And hopefully if the rain clears up I'll take it on a shakedown ride tomorrow and see if anything falls off.

    Does the 105 crankset fit the bottom bracket, or does that also need to be swapped for a Shimano BB?
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing View Post
    I will definitely get some pictures up either in this thread or the one you linked. And hopefully if the rain clears up I'll take it on a shakedown ride tomorrow and see if anything falls off.

    Does the 105 crankset fit the bottom bracket, or does that also need to be swapped for a Shimano BB?
    Sounds good, have fun with build and hopefully rain holds off.

    The 105 will need a Shimano BB.
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  20. #20
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    Super easy build! Bike was delivered yesterday and was able to build it up last night. Only two issues with shipping, and neither of them are of much concern. One was that the plastic cover that fits over the front rotor came off in shipping. The inside of the box showed signs of the rotor rubbing on it, but the rotor looked fine. A quick test ride verified that the rotor wasn't bent, so all was good there. The other issue was the shift lever poked a hole in the box, scratching the bottom of the lever slightly. Again, it works fine and the scratch is about 2mm long...nothing to worry about. DB might want to improve their packaging just a bit, but all in all it's not bad for a trip from China.

    Other than those two issues, I'm really impressed...especially for around $1300! The build was super easy and went together in about 20 minutes, including torquing of the important bits. I set up the tires tubeless and it was a GIANT pain in the a$$. I'm used to MTB UST/TLR wheels and tires that just air up and seal with a floor pump. With the Flintridge tires, even my Bontrager Flash Charger pump couldn't get them to seat. I had to pull the valve cores and hit them with my air compressor. Haven't had to do that since the old ghetto tubeless days!

    I've taken it on a few short rides around the block and again, I'm really impressed at the build quality, included extras, and bang for the buck. Even aired up to 50psi it rolls smooth and silent. The brakes are fantastic...so cool to have the feel of my XT's on a road bike. This frame is a 53cm, and I'm right in between the 50cm and the 53cm (5'8", 31" inseam). While the standover with shoes on is fine, it's definitely getting "cozy" with the top tube. But the reach feels perfect and that's what really matters to me on a bike like this. The saddle is a couple inches above the bar height with the stem in the stock "lower" position. Even with that drop, the riding position feels comfortable in the drops and on the hoods. I may add a QR to the post so it's easy to drop down for the gravel descents. Speaking of the bar, I'm really impressed with the bar wrap. Really comfortable wrap without being too squishy, actual 3M tape, and the hoods are wide and have a good feel to them.

    I'm heading out on a ~30 mile shakedown ride later today and will post back with my impressions of the ride quality. Here's some pictures of the build:

    As shipped. You can see the front wheel rotor is missing the plastic cover. This had fallen off in shipping and was in the bottom of the box. You can also see where the end of a shifter poked through the side of the box.


    Very cool that they included tubeless valves, a torque wrench, a pedal wrench, and pedals! The pedals are complete crap, but good for slapping on for a test ride in a shop I suppose. Bike even comes with two water bottle cages.


    Aside from the plastic rotor guard falling off, the bike was well protected with foam blocks and wrap.


    Pretty easy assembly: seatpost/seat, handlebars, front wheel, pedals, DONE


    Not the best rim tape job, but it works and I didn't have to do it!


    They straight up stole the early 2000's Ducati font!



    Ultegra shifts crisp and silent right out of the box.


    Cranks look great and were greased properly which was nice to see.


    Everything installed in about 20 minutes (doesn't include tubeless setup).


    Good looking bike! Very happy with the understated branding. That seat is hard as a rock, but the shape and weight of it seems decent. We'll see how it is with the bike shorts on...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bike choice for mixed road/gravel/singletrack-20171110_192610.jpg  

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  21. #21
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    VERY NICE!

    I'm hoping to be in a position this spring to get a new geared road/gravel bike. I sold my Jamis to fund my Release. I wasn't in the market for a new bike this summer but for some reason just couldn't help myself. I'm pretty well set now...single speed hardtail. Single speed gravel/CX. And geared full suspension. Just need a geared road and I'm golden. The Haanjo is definitely the bike at the top of my list right now. I'm looking forward to see what the 2018's bring. Hoping that they keep with the same level of component quality at the price points that the 2017's have. Honestly...I wouldn't be too upset with a SRAM Rival or Force 1x at the Haanjo Trail level of bikes. I like the double tap shifting much more than Shimano but the Ultegra setup I had on my Renegade never let me down...so not much to complain about. Just a preference thing.
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    After a 40 miler road ride on the Haanjo, I give it two thumbs up! The tires are super overkill for road riding, but they were super smooth on the rough sections of road. I've not been on a road bike in about 2 years, so it was definitely a "new bike legs" kind of ride. But I was surprised with my times...not too far off of my usual pace. On a section of decent climbing I was only a minute off my PR. A few more rides to whip my legs back into shape and I'll be right there. And I'm definitely swapping out the tires for something lighter and with less tread. These tires are LOUD, and while the rolling resistance isn't terrible I can definitely feel some drag and some vibration from the tread. They're going to be great on some singletrack or gravel roads, but for pavement they're a bit much.

    There was also a good descent in the ride where I hit 42.5mph. I was close to spinning out at that point, but it wasn't too bad...so I think I'll keep the stock 46T as is. The 36T however, needs to go! I made it up a good climb with some steep pitches of 10-12% grade and I had to stand and grind it out. That's fine, but I prefer to spin. And some of the gravel roads I'll be riding are steeper and rougher...I think dropping down to a 34T would be perfect and give me one more gear.

    Oh yeah, those hydraulic disc brakes are fantastic! Nice to finally have some good MTB technology on a road bike.
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  23. #23
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    Kudos!

    Impressive! You post a question about what bike to get and four days later you've ordered, received, assembled, ridden, and posted pics and a ride report!



    Have fun on the Fleur Sauvage ride! Got me thinking about it too.

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    @Twoheadsbrewing Awesome!!!! Congrats on getting her built and first rides so quickly, glad the weather was on tour side. Sounds like it all went well.

    One thing I'd recommend if you haven't already, check the bolt for the hanger make sure they're tight. Mine loosened after first ride. Hope the honeymoon continues. Keep us posted.

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by levity View Post
    Impressive! You post a question about what bike to get and four days later you've ordered, received, assembled, ridden, and posted pics and a ride report!



    Have fun on the Fleur Sauvage ride! Got me thinking about it too.
    That price drop on the Haanjo made me do it! Kudos for DB on the quick shipping...two days is crazy for free shipping.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy.Ford View Post
    Haven't swapped the rings, reason being is I plan to upgrade the cranks to Shimano FC-5800 105 Double Crankset with Absolute Black oval rings. But that's going to wait till summer, for now the stock crank is working fine.

    Congrats on the quick ship, have fun this weekend and please post some pics. Also there is a Haanjo thread in the Diamondback forum that could use more photos.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/diamondback/d...jo-910957.html

    Oh yeah couple other positives I forgot to mention, the rims come taped for tubeless and there are tubeless valves in the parts box.
    I've decided to go with an FSA Gossamer Pro Adventure 32/48 crankset. It should give me about one more gear on top and on the bottom, which I'm hoping will be about perfect.

    https://www.performancebike.com/bike...00000006721_-1
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  27. #27
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    Gearing info

    Stock 46/36T with 11-32T cassette:
    36 46
    11 88.4 112.9
    12 81 103.5
    13 74.8 95.5
    14 69.4 88.7
    16 60.8 77.6
    18 54 69
    20 48.6 62.1
    22 44.2 56.5
    25 38.9 49.7
    28 34.7 44.4
    32 30.4 38.8

    48/32T with 11-32T cassette:
    32 48
    11 78.5 117.8
    12 72 108
    13 66.5 99.7
    14 61.7 92.6
    16 54 81
    18 48 72
    20 43.2 64.8
    22 39.3 58.9
    25 34.6 51.8
    28 30.9 46.3
    32 27 40.5
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  28. #28
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    Just swap the rings, no need for a new crankset.

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  29. #29
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    I actually wanted to keep the existing crankset intact. I may be helping a friend build up a new bike and he needs a crank. And if he bails on the build, I'll just sell it since it's brand new.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy.Ford View Post
    Just swap the rings, no need for a new crankset.

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  30. #30
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    That looks really nice. Happy (gravel) trails.

  31. #31
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    I picked up some Mavic Ksyrium Allroad wheels. They come with Yksion Elite Guard 28c tires which makes for a pretty nice roadie setup. I also picked up rotors and a cassette so I can easily swap out the wheels in just a couple minutes. Pretty stoked to finally have a bike that can do road, gravel, and light singletrack. And I'm really liking the look of the Mavics...flat black with aero spokes looks good with the red. The stock wheelset is supposed to be in the neighborhood of 2000g, and tires at 440g each. This wheelset is 1620g and tires are 236g each. That's about a 2# difference...we'll see how well it translates on the road.

    Bike choice for mixed road/gravel/singletrack-mavic-driveside.jpg
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  32. #32
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    After a few more rides on the new wheels/tires I have to say that the difference is noticeable for sure. At speed there is less noise, less resistance, and the bike feels lighter. On the con side, with a minimum tire pressure of 85psi it has the typical hard/rough feeling on the any pavement that's less than pristine. Pretty much the same as any lightweight 25-30c road tire, which is exactly what these are. They're definitely designed for speed and not comfort. On the hills the lighter wheel/tire combo helps spin up quicker when coming out of the saddle, and altogether gives the bike much more of a "roadie" feel. And on my last ride I was hitting times on the flats that I normally only get while riding with a group.

    I think I'll be trying out something in between the light Mavics and the stock beefsteak tires: the Specialized Roubaix Pro 30/32c. More volume yet still mostly slick, and should take a bit more edge off when I'm riding mostly pavement.
    "Got everything you need?"

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