Gravel Bike Research

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Gravel Bike Research
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Posted: Jan 5, 2021 at 16:36 Quote
I'm 5'8'' (173cm) inseam 32" (81cm) and my partner is 5'6" (167cm) and 31.5"(80cm) inseam and we're both looking at the Salsa Fargo Apex. What frame size is suggested? Also 1x or 2x and wheel size comments appreciated.

Other suggestions for bike make appreciated but we are confused already to be easy on us. We live in Canada and our top end for price is $3000 CDN. $2359 US

We are mountain and road riders and are getting ready for some tours and bikepacking events. Cheers

Posted: Jan 13, 2021 at 15:31 Quote
Have you gone to the Salsa site and checked out their size chart? That's a pretty good place to start. You should only have an issue if you or your partner are on the bubble between sizes. Then you need to use your experience fitting your mountain bikes to make the call. Any Salsa dealers in Calgary? Best bet is to actually test ride one before hand. Or buy a bike that is sold in your vicinity so you can test ride it - lots of excellent gravel bikes out there. Kona is good and I bet there's a Kona dealer in Calgary.

Posted: Jan 14, 2021 at 13:21 Quote
Small for your partner and medium for you, no doubt. On drop-bar bikes you can adjust the stem length to fit much more than a MTB, and a larger frame triangle is great for holding frame bags.

Their 1x build is great. For a bike like that you either want MTB 11sp 1x gears (32-36 front ring and 42t cassette) or 2x12 with a super-compact 30/46 or so) crankset with 11-32 or 11-34 cassette. Don’t get regular compact 34/50 crankset, that’s geared too high.

Cheap is great for gravel bikes. The Fargo is great if you are looking at very rough terrain and bike packing. If you want to look at something sportier on smoother roads, I love the Cannondale Topstone 105 or GRX builds.

Tires make all the difference. If you want more speed on those Fargos, I’d suggest the Thunder Burt 2.1” snakeskin. Crazy fast. Obviously set them up tubeless and run them soft.

Posted: Jan 15, 2021 at 10:01 Quote
Auto-XFil wrote:
Small for your partner and medium for you, no doubt. On drop-bar bikes you can adjust the stem length to fit much more than a MTB, and a larger frame triangle is great for holding frame bags.

Their 1x build is great. For a bike like that you either want MTB 11sp 1x gears (32-36 front ring and 42t cassette) or 2x12 with a super-compact 30/46 or so) crankset with 11-32 or 11-34 cassette. Don’t get regular compact 34/50 crankset, that’s geared too high.

Cheap is great for gravel bikes. The Fargo is great if you are looking at very rough terrain and bike packing. If you want to look at something sportier on smoother roads, I love the Cannondale Topstone 105 or GRX builds.

Tires make all the difference. If you want more speed on those Fargos, I’d suggest the Thunder Burt 2.1” snakeskin. Crazy fast. Obviously set them up tubeless and run them soft.

Dunno, at 5'6" she might creep into a medium as well. Small tends to be for people in the 5'4" vicinity, but again it all comes down to frame design. I'm 6'1" and riding an Elephant NFE in medium quite happily. Normally I would be in a large, but I looked at the stack and reach on the NFE and found the medium was right in my range.

Drivetrain really comes down to the type of terrain you are riding and how much gear you are going to haul and if you want to have short jumps between gears or can stomach larger ones. I'm running a 46x30 with an 11x30 in the back on the NFE for riding in Vancouver and its ok, but I could use an extra climbing gear or two for doing the big hills loaded. I do like having reasonably small jumps between gears and getting those two lower climbing gears by changing clusters will make that worse. Still not as bad as a super wide range 1x.

Rubber is another thing that's really dependent on use. I'm running 650x42 mm Soma Randonneur slicks on mine and I love them. Super fast on pavement and hero gravel. Lots of NFE owners run the Thunderburts without fenders and like them. WTB has a number of popular gravel tires as does Panaracer. I'd recommend you figure out what your pavement to gravel ratio is going to be and how gnarly your gravel will be and make your tire decision based on that. I personally don't mind undertiring to go faster on the pavement at the moment.

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