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Entry level gravel grinder

Discussion in 'Road & Track' started by droenn, May 31, 2017.

  1. droenn

    droenn Likes Dirt

    I think its time I got myself a decent commuter/ day trip bike that can handle the mixture of cycle paths and fire roads around Canberra.
    Also, as fun as commuting on a 29er is (apart from running out of gears on the flats), I feel like I'd be better off keeping it tip top for the trails.

    Just looking at entry level stuff at the moment (< $1500) and wondering what others have got, and opinions on my shortlist:

    Norco Search A Sora (current favourite)
    Kona Rove AL (seems lowest spec'd, but I'm a Kona frame fan)
    Specialized Diverge A1 sport (never been a fan of the big S, but this bike looks pretty good)

    With EOFY coming up and new models on the horizon, it might be a good time to get a bargain too.
  2. T.3

    T.3 Likes Dirt

    Polygon bend RV. You have a choice now too of full hydro shimano groupset or sram 1 x 11 for a hundred more.

    Ive had the Shimano 105 version for about 10 months and about 3000km and its been fault free. It was 1599 delivered.

    Ive used it as a commuter and after about 1000km I swapped out the tyres for 28c's as I was only riding road and bike paths on my commute. If youre riding it in dirt the stock G Ones will be ideal.

    The wide flared drop bars are confidence inspiring if its your first experience away from flat bars too.

    The wheels are 32 spoke so they are strong, tradeoff being theyre heavy. I havent ridden anything rough on mine but they have been trouble free, mavic rims with novatec hubs and the frame has thru axles each end.

    Depending on your strength and the terrain you ride the stock 34-28 gearing may be a little tall but for around $80 you can get a mid cage 105 derailleur and a 32 tooth cassette.

    If you went the sram 1 x 11 model climbing would be easier but would obviously Spin out a lot sooner.

    My regular commute is about 25kms with about 450 metres elevation and I have done 100km rides on it at a reasonable pace.

    It is on the portly side for a drop bar bike but considering the spec and the fact it has thru axles each end its got good bang for buck.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
  3. creaky

    creaky Likes Bikes and Dirt

  4. droenn

    droenn Likes Dirt

  5. Calvin27

    Calvin27 Likes Bikes and Dirt

    I have the secteur (predecessor of the diverge) and have ridden the norco extensively (my bros bike). The diverge is much more relaxed than the norco. Keep in mind the gravellers all have different geometries from relaxed GF style to full CX aggressiveness. You really need to jump on them as they can vary a lot. That's about all I have to say.
  6. John U

    John U MTB Precision

    I picked up a Cube Attain GTC Pro disc for a smudge over 2k locally for the exact reasons you mention. Last years model. My criteria was carbon frame and fork, hydro discs, full 105. It ticked all the boxes. Great bike.

    I was hoping to get the Focus equivalent but it was the first year they brought that bike in so there was no 'last years model'. That won't be a problem now. The Focus gravel grinders looked great, and good value for money.

    If you can push your budget up to 2k and are prepared to wait a bit you should be able to pick up an absolute cracker. Goi
  7. dynamitedread

    dynamitedread Likes Dirt

    +1 for the Polygon Bend. I have the rival model which is a smidge over your budget but a great bike for its price. Also you can buy it using zip money (interest free). That's what I did then payed $1200 that I had saved then pay rest of at my leisure.

    Attached Files:

  8. beardi

    beardi Likes Dirt

    I've had a diverge DSW for about 18mths now. I love it. Extremely versatile, lighter and stiffer than you'd expect and yet incredible vertical compliance and comfort. FWIW i've set more road PR's on this thing than my previous cervelo, so it's no slouch. It really is a MTBers road bike. Be aware that the Diverge A1 is just a rebadged secteur and completely different to the DSW and carbon models. The A1 is a lot heavier and has less tyre clearance so be aware of that.
    When I bought this there wasn't really a lot of other competiton in this segment and there are plenty of options now. I'd just be wary of comparing Aluminium frames. they're not all the same.
  9. beardi

    beardi Likes Dirt

    Also there is a new diverge on the way so perhaps the old model will be on sale soon enough
  10. silentbutdeadly

    silentbutdeadly Likes Bikes and Dirt

    Do you want bling or do you want bike? I've got a Giant Cypress 700c frame from back in the day when rim brakes were just fine plus it has clearance for 40 mm tyres. And a Scott CX fork. Then I've got some xt v brakes. And some Fulcrum 11spd Quattro CX wheels from 2013. And some Salsa Wood Chipper bars...

    It's all hanging in the shed...doing nothing...
  11. Jubas

    Jubas Likes Dirt

    There's a lot of good options second hand in this space as well. I picked up a Cell Brunswick not long ago for around your budget. Versatile frame, hydro brakes (although Sram.. eww), running 32mm tyres comfortably. Not the lightest bike in the world, but works perfectly well as my commuter.. and let's be honest, the weight of a full suit + shoes + laptop on my back make the weight fairly negligible.
  12. droenn

    droenn Likes Dirt

    Cheers for all the replies

    Definitely putting this bike on the list. I'm can't allow myself credit on toys though, otherwise I'd be out of control and have 2 new bikes and a high end hifi system in the post.

    Yeah, apparently the new one gets announced this month, so I dunno how Spez work with clearing last years, but If it dropped it down a few hundred its an attractive deal.

    yeah I'll admit I want a bit of bling. This over in the classifieds + a few parts people's sheds looks like it could be the basis for something really nice. hmmm I'll see what deals there are around with last years models first I think though.

    I've been checking their site for a while, its been sold out for so long.. haven't seen a 2nd hand one recently - there was one a few months ago but I hesitated on it and it went
  13. Jubas

    Jubas Likes Dirt

    Might have been me who nabbed it! I snagged it through the 'Bicycle Market Sydney' group on facebook.. not sure if that's your location? But worth keeping an eye on

    Perhaps a little extreme? https://www.facebook.com/groups/142...603801919825648/?sale_post_id=603801919825648
  14. droenn

    droenn Likes Dirt

    This was in Canberra on gumtree. Oh well.

    That bike looks like I'd need to let my beard grow out and head off into the national parks only equipped with a couple of bowie knives.
  15. Jubas

    Jubas Likes Dirt

    Ha, indeed.. a Giant TCX with dynamo hub just got posted up for $1k in that group. Can't link it for some reason
  16. Nerf Herder

    Nerf Herder Wheel size expert

  17. silentbutdeadly

    silentbutdeadly Likes Bikes and Dirt

  18. droenn

    droenn Likes Dirt

    The new Diverge(s) get announced on the 15th. I've heard no budget option (or not as budget) though..

    I like the Bombtracks, the addition of disc brakes makes them more appealing. Challenge of SS for commuting also appealing, but not so much for riding up in the hills with haha.

    Will hit some shops after the long weekend and see if any discounted Norcos can come in cheaper than the Polygon (which is really best value so far for that much bike).
  19. Duane

    Duane Likes Bikes and Dirt

    I have a Search Carbon 105. Its a comfortable gravel bike and makes a reasonable roadie.
  20. droenn

    droenn Likes Dirt

    Also came across this bike today scott speedster gravel 20 - currently 20% off which brings it down to $1500


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