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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Earlier this year I completed a drop bar 1x conversion my Cannondale Quick 4 'hybrid' and it's made for quite a nice gravel bike for my morning rides on road/gravel/trail here in southern NH. Having just completed a 150 bike packing trip on it over the border in VT, with ~15,000' of climbing and descending, and worn through both front and rear V brake pads due to all the dirt and grime, and thinking about options to add at least a front disc, I realized that my rims are also nearing the end of their lives.

This leaves me with three options:

1. Replace my QR, rim brake rims and carry on
2. Go for a brake 'mullet', with a new fork, and new rims
3. New bike

I'm leaning toward option 3, knowing I've already got the drivetrain, bars, stem, and saddle, so I need frame, fork, wheels and brakes, and maybe BB depending on frame.

So with that said any recommendations for a gravel frameset and fork, sub $1000, 45 - 50mm tire clearance on a 700c, lots of bosses and mounting points, that will be good for 30 - 40 mile morning rides and not feel too out of place fully loaded on a multi-day bike packing trip?

A few options I'm considering:

Kona Sutra ULTD - might be a bit too MTB for what I want, but the Sutra LTD isn't available as a frameset anymore
State Bicycles 6061 All Road - only has clearance for 45mm 700c, but can clear 2.1" 650b, so maybe two wheelsets and use the squidgy, grippy 650b for bike packing
Nordest Albarda/Super Albarda - well reviewed, available with either steel or carbon fork

Anybody have any experience with any of these, or recommendations based on what you've built/ridden?

Thanks in advance.
 

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All the Sutra family is great, and some dealers still have or had Ltd. frames. I'm selling my Sutra Ltd today but haven't considered a non-local in this market but sad to go = for sure.

As far as experience, my wife and I have shared a Fargo, the Sutra Ltd., and I have a Routt 45. All great.

The Sutra Ltd: 1x 11 speed is great and not so great depending upon the riding and just super fun all around - the most fun on single track. A tremendous value as a complete bike. It's a stiff steel bike. The bikepacking.com site has a 2018 model review I think sums it up perfectly. It has a fun factor other tour/gravel bikes don't have.

Fargo: Ours is a gen 4, a gen 5 can do even bigger tires (650B plus) but I've found 2.1-2.1 29r plenty fine for the bigger off road touring I've done. It's my wife's all time favorite bike. She's taken it over except for my using it for a loaded tour. There's good reason this bike is 5 generations old and has so many copycats.

Routt 45: t's not a freighter like the others and for sure the Fargo but it shares Fargo (and Vaya) style high stack. It makes you think of doing long rides faster (really all rides faster) and longer rides - then repeating as soon as you recover. You understand why they've survived as a small company for 40 years, the hype, and why people wait and make some sacrifices for one. It seems like the only things Moots does is everything perfect. It's replaced my road bike and why the Sutra is for sale but it's not heavy loaded tourer like others can be.

There's so much great stuff out there. If you're considering a frame only know Waterford/Gunner only has decades of experience including making others' bikes and they've got reasonable lead times. A Gunnar with custom geometry and a more basic Waterford are close in price.

Keep in mind the value of parts if you get a new bike. It's pretty much impossible to beat the value of a bike maker's price for a new drivetrain.

Wheels make a big difference. 25 mm inner width rims turn a 40ish mm tire into a more capable off road tire same time they give you something fast rolling for long road rides. They get you MTB-like performance with 48-55 mm tires. My Bontrager Aeolus V wheels changed the personality of other bikes and coax more magic out of the Moots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@bitflogger very informative but unfortunately a Moots will not pass muster with my Good Lady Wife!

For wheels I was definitely planning on a 25mm inner width, maybe something from Hunt, Stan's or Spank, and some TRP Spyre brakes to go with my Microsoft Advent X brifters.
 

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What about the Black Mountain Cycles La Cabra? In 29er it can fit up to 2.3 maybe 2.4 tires. My friend has one setup with 29x2.2 Rene Herse Fleecer ridge tires and really likes it.
I suggest calling him (Black Mountain shop) to see if his ordering scenario has improved. A long month ago he was not able to predict availability. His offerings were very attractive except for availability. In a whole lot of shopping, a Gunnar or Waterford stood out for a sum-total of lead time, options and very obvious experience. Unlike a lot of smaller builders, they only have decades of experience making their frames and frames for others. Not long ago Otso had availability. My local Chumba dealer had some stock and there were bikes available in their next batches.

Someone just posted a used Vaya on Riding Gravel site that might be a good contender. Fargos being at least 5 generations old show up used. Be mindful that some Salsas will be a mix of through axle front and QR rear axles.

The OP should try stuff regardless. I didn't find all bikes good for a tour good for the 30-40 mi morning rides stated. As much as our Fargo is a freighter, it's not as stuff as a Sutra Ltd. unloaded as an example. Try big wheels vs 650B. For example, I found the 650B vs 700c/29 worth sorting out. As much as some prefer the former, I liked the latter for how well they accommodate off and on road riding, and the same roll over advantages big wheels have for my MTBs and fattie. I sorted out how often I would do loaded up vs not and how much single track.

On the Fleecer Ridge tires, we have them (55 mm) and the Oracle Ridge (48 mm). They are super capable and really do feel great on pavement but if OP is doing a lot of the 30-40 mi rides as mentioned or wants to do or join road or faster gravel rides a 40 mm tire with little tread will help hold faster speeds. They are fantastic tires I love but I confess I can hold more speed on longer easier and paved rides with a minimally knobby 40 mm tire that still has competence off pavement.

With an off road tourer and faster gravel/road bike, this drop bar realm is crazy with choices and what you can ride just like MTB riding because both have so many products to choose from.
 

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Earlier this year I completed a drop bar 1x conversion my Cannondale Quick 4 'hybrid' and it's made for quite a nice gravel bike for my morning rides on road/gravel/trail here in southern NH. Having just completed a 150 bike packing trip on it over the border in VT, with ~15,000' of climbing and descending, and worn through both front and rear V brake pads due to all the dirt and grime, and thinking about options to add at least a front disc, I realized that my rims are also nearing the end of their lives.

This leaves me with three options:

1. Replace my QR, rim brake rims and carry on
2. Go for a brake 'mullet', with a new fork, and new rims
3. New bike

I'm leaning toward option 3, knowing I've already got the drivetrain, bars, stem, and saddle, so I need frame, fork, wheels and brakes, and maybe BB depending on frame.

So with that said any recommendations for a gravel frameset and fork, sub $1000, 45 - 50mm tire clearance on a 700c, lots of bosses and mounting points, that will be good for 30 - 40 mile morning rides and not feel too out of place fully loaded on a multi-day bike packing trip?

A few options I'm considering:

Kona Sutra ULTD - might be a bit too MTB for what I want, but the Sutra LTD isn't available as a frameset anymore
State Bicycles 6061 All Road - only has clearance for 45mm 700c, but can clear 2.1" 650b, so maybe two wheelsets and use the squidgy, grippy 650b for bike packing
Nordest Albarda/Super Albarda - well reviewed, available with either steel or carbon fork

Anybody have any experience with any of these, or recommendations based on what you've built/ridden?

Thanks in advance.
Look at the Fearless Warlock if you are looking at the sutra. Im partial to it because I have one but I really like it. Its also carbon fork compatible but does not come with one, comes with a steel fork.
-Paul
 

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This is what my GF got after the Moots was just a tad too much.
Forgot the lead time, something like 60+ days.


Wow, just a few days ago they had several frame only options.
 
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