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EDR
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Had my hands on a Niner but that didn't work out, and as it turns out, that's okay.

First ride today on the new Diverge. And the first time on a drop bar bike since I was 12 years old. Spent a couple hours exploring otherwise unknown to me territory....from my house. What a treat!

I'm stoked. This is exactly what I wanted a gravel bike for. A renewed sense of enthusiasm for riding. I knew there was tons of area around my house to explore and yet I've done so little. Yeah, I've dabbled with my mojo 3 out here but it just isn't much fun. It makes light duty work of these gravel and canal paths and it is absolutely zero fun on the road. This bike is simply a blast on both.

Only about 2 hours in the saddle so far but I think I'll need to sort just a few things out as I have a bit of uncomfortable hand pressure up front. I'll try a shorter stem with a bit more rise soon enough, if warranted.

Never went into this thinking I would be on a specialized bike but I am and I'll tell you what, it couldn't have turned out any better.

My biggest question of the morning was whether mountain bike chamois' are actually road bike shorts? Still haven't figured that out...but that's what I wore.

If anyone has some off-road/road ride recommendations from the Eastmark / Cadence area in Mesa I would love to hear about it.

 

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I was looking for a gravel bike for those same reasons. I just moved out of Eastmark, but I was planning a ride down Ray rd to the canal and go as far South as I feel comfortable and then back up. I’m glad I saw this post though. I was just talking myself out of a gravel bike yesterday after talking to a buddy of mine who’s thinking of selling his.
And wear your chamois shorts!! I wear them on road and in the dirt.

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Had my hands on a Niner but that didn't work out, and as it turns out, that's okay.

First ride today on the new Diverge. And the first time on a drop bar bike since I was 12 years old. Spent a couple hours exploring otherwise unknown to me territory....from my house. What a treat!

I'm stoked. This is exactly what I wanted a gravel bike for. A renewed sense of enthusiasm for riding. I knew there was tons of area around my house to explore and yet I've done so little. Yeah, I've dabbled with my mojo 3 out here but it just isn't much fun. It makes light duty work of these gravel and canal paths and it is absolutely zero fun on the road. This bike is simply a blast on both.

Only about 2 hours in the saddle so far but I think I'll need to sort just a few things out as I have a bit of uncomfortable hand pressure up front. I'll try a shorter stem with a bit more rise soon enough, if warranted.

Never went into this thinking I would be on a specialized bike but I am and I'll tell you what, it couldn't have turned out any better.

My biggest question of the morning was whether mountain bike chamois' are actually road bike shorts? Still haven't figured that out...but that's what I wore.

If anyone has some off-road/road ride recommendations from the Eastmark / Cadence area in Mesa I would love to hear about it.
Enjoy it in good health. My tips from your comments.....

Clothing: I'll wear MTB or road style clothing but the key for longer rides is liner or shorts with a more firm pad or made for it. Some brands market an endurance type and better shorts are that way. I feel an old man not wearing lycra is public service but it will help you ride longer and faster. Go back to or get 3 pocket jerseys.

Clothing/setup continued: Consider a 1/2 frame bag, or tank bag and not your hydration pack. Wear colors that will stand out to motorists. Get a truly bright light flashing backwards and forwards for riding around traffic. Get a bell to be polite on pathways. For longer rides and more time in the drops, a MTB helmet visor might get in your way.

Fit: There are sites with bike geometry and stem calculation. Compare what you like with your MTB. High stack height (too late when you have the bike) can be important with age and for MTB riders. A stem with more rise might be part of your fit scenario.

The actual riding: The "gravel map" site and Ride With GPS platform will probably be insightful. In many areas there are some fun groups and online groups where it's not the MTB posse but not roadies - just ride or party pace posses. You might find inspiration and fun from them. Look at the Google Maps cycling layer for ideas. Some gravel routes that get a lot of motor traffic need to be considered - dust and that motorized traffic can knock out the fines and compaction.

Sun: This type of riding might lead to longer rides. I'm a skin cancer survivor and developed some other sun sensitivity. You don't want either of them. Consider some sun covers on your arms.

Again, enjoy it in good health!
 

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I've got a Breezer Doppler for the same reasons you describe. These bikes are a ton of fun, because you can roll them on almost anything around, including dirt singletrack, then still hit the road in comfort and at a decent pace without feeling or looking a like a Barney riding his full squish around on the pavement. Mine is steel and 30 lbs, but it is still a buttload of fun. I predict you'll use this bike a lot. I think you have the right idea riding the irrigation ditch trails and wash trails. I'm down in Queen Creek and that's how I most often use mine. That, and chasing down roadies.
 

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I got rid of my gravel bike before moving here, thinking I'd never ride it since I had so much singletrack in my backyard. I wish I had kept it, there's so much desert double track riding to be had in the PHX area.

Enjoy the Diverge. That used to be one of my favorite bikes to borrow from the shop when I still worked at one.
 

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buying a gravel bike was the best thing to happen to my MTBing. my overall year to date mileage on strava has basically trippled. Kind of prevents burnout for me to be able to switch up bikes and riding styles. It's great for endurance miles too. Fantastic cross training .

For me, its also easier to just pick up and leave the house with the gravel bike, whereas with the MTB, there is a lot of faffing around getting geared up and driving to trailheads etc. Super handy for those days that I don't have a lot of time, but still want to get some work in.
 

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Since my son now is a freshman at ASU downtown campus, Arizona will be our home away from home and we should be spending a considerable amount of time there. My wife and I both mountain bike but I've been riding gravel since 2014. Love it and sometimes prefer it. I currently have a Dedacchi Supercross cyclocross bike for gravel but have a Lauf True Grit on order.
I've ridden a few places around the Phoenix area, Papago park, McDowell and Browns. We've also rode in Sedona a couple of weeks back. I think Browns would be an excellent for a gravel bike. I think when we go out to visit, I'm bringing both a mountain bike and my gravel bike. I think its great that you can hop on your gravel bike and ride to some of these areas and then ride back. I know you can do that on a mountain bike also, but the gravel bike is better suited for this.
 

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EDR
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Hey thanks for the advice(s) and stoke! Just bought a Niterider 900w boost light for the front and a couple of Podium Chill bottles to go along with my rather large (comparatively speaking) seat pack. I've already decided to get top tube bag since I have mounts for it. That set-up should be good for much of any riding around my neighborhood I do. That's not much water though. I'll think about that more after I get some more rides under my belt.

AZPilot - Looks like you got some nice meaty tires on there. Should be great off-road. My stock tires are 38c with a center slick so not really off-road leaning but ok for now. Who knows I might even consider a 650b wheelset with 47 or 50's if I find the need for long adventures on true dirt. Or just get bigger tires that are tubeless ready (my wheels are TR but tires are not, wtf speshy?)

I can see if you already supplement mtb'ing with a road bike then a 'gravel' bike is not nearly as appealing however, if you're a long time mtb'r only like me, and have been mulling over such a bike to mix it up I highly recommend doing it. It's so different than trail riding on big tires and wide bars, in a good way, that is not so fun on my trail bike. Just did a quick 10 miles of pavement mixed with dirt/gravel walk paths right out-the-door the other night after work. Took just 38 minutes or so and got a good, quick work-out in. Would have done another couple miles if I had my Niterider then. Nice and simple way to get bike-time without the logistics of loading up the bike+gear and travel time to and from Hawes. Especially nice since I work 12 hr days and the only time I can ride trails after work is during the longest and hottest days of the year.

Ya, I realize road riders have been saying this for years but I'm lovin' the option of avoiding asphalt and increasing the fun factor along the way.

Ecoregion Map World Rectangle Slope
 

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I rarely ride my MTB during the summer. I used to only ride road/canals on my old Lemond but 3 years ago I converted my old Vassago into a gravel-ish ride for off pavement summer riding. I had a blast and as such, I ended up building a Soma Wolverine with parts I had on hand. It's been fantastic. I've ridden it at my cabin, in Flag, in Payson and right out my front door. I'm right on the canal in Chandler and while it's not 'real' gravel, it is dirt which is always better than tarmac.

Enjoy! I dig my Soma but I wouldn't mind upgrading to a Canyon Grizl, Norco Search or Knolly.

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EDR
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
^^^
The Grizl and the Norco were on my radar as well. It just came down to availability and the ability to actually test ride. Never expected to find two different sizes of Diverge to ride on the same weekend so I feel fortunate. Few months ago I test rode a Trek Checkpoint. Didn't like it. Can't tell you why but I just didn't. Had serious toe overlap which bothered me but I didn't know if that was normal. I don't have that issue at all with the diverge on either the 52c or the 54. Weird.

These are fun bikes. Just did 25 mi loop down by the river/ellsworth/power road today. Since it was going to be all asphalt I pumped those tires up to nearly 70 psi. That was enlightening as it was super chattery compared to 40 PSI lol. Hit a max speed of 38.5 mph going down the hill though before running out of gears (1x set up). I've never come close to that on my mountain bike, nor would I want to. I think next week I'll do the same loop only clockwise and climb that four mile hill up Ellsworth/Usery.

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^^^
The Grizl and the Norco were on my radar as well. It just came down to availability and the ability to actually test ride. Never expected to find two different sizes of Diverge to ride on the same weekend so I feel fortunate. Few months ago I test rode a Trek Checkpoint. Didn't like it. Can't tell you why but I just didn't. Had serious toe overlap which bothered me but I didn't know if that was normal. I don't have that issue at all with the diverge on either the 52c or the 54. Weird.

These are fun bikes. Just did 25 mi loop down by the river/ellsworth/power road today. Since it was going to be all asphalt I pumped those tires up to nearly 70 psi. That was enlightening as it was super chattery compared to 40 PSI lol. Hit a max speed of 38.5 mph going down the hill though before running out of gears (1x set up). I've never come close to that on my mountain bike, nor would I want to. I think next week I'll do the same loop only clockwise and climb that four mile hill up Ellsworth/Usery.

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I test rode a Crossrip when they first came out, way back when I commuted to work by bike daily. I also owned a Domane for a few months. I agree with what you're saying about Trek, something about their bikes has always just felt weird to me. Like they never fit right.
 

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EDR
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Well I've got just over 80 miles on the new bike now in 2 weeks and although I'm in the honeymoon phase for sure, I'm loving it and I don't see it changing any time soon. It's a great change-up to the mountain biking status quo.

Spent a portion of last night's ride exploring the new freeway overpasses being built out near Meridian that will eventually connect the 24 to Ironwood. Doesn't sound very exciting but it was pitch black and I had a blast out there by myself, and something I would have never done on my mountain bike.

With the exception of a +20 mile road ride I've realized my riding is definitely on mixed terrain. Enough so that I ordered a set of Panaracer Gravel King+ 43c tires to replace my 38c stock (and non tubeless) Speshy tires. Could have gone larger for sure but I think this will be a good compromise for tarmac and off-road.
Looking forward to converting to tubeless, tubes make me nervous out here.






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Black and Sticky
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I built up a gravel bike about 4 years ago and really liking it. It's a Breadwinner B Road. It's a great steel frame made by a couple guys in Portland, OR. I'm running Donnelly X-PLOR 33mm tires on Stans Grail rims. Agree with you that it provides a good change up from mtb and fun for just bashing around and exploring.
Bicycle Wheel Tire Plant Bicycle wheel
 

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I built up a gravel bike about 4 years ago and really liking it. It's a Breadwinner B Road. It's a great steel frame made by a couple guys in Portland, OR. I'm running Donnelly X-PLOR 33mm tires on Stans Grail rims. Agree with you that it provides a good change up from mtb and fun for just bashing around and exploring. View attachment 1948372
I'm drooling....BreadWinners are niiiiicccccceeeeeee.
 

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EDR
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I built up a gravel bike about 4 years ago and really liking it. It's a Breadwinner B Road. It's a great steel frame made by a couple guys in Portland, OR. I'm running Donnelly X-PLOR 33mm tires on Stans Grail rims. Agree with you that it provides a good change up from mtb and fun for just bashing around and exploring. View attachment 1948372
That thing is sharp looking. Similar color that I would have chose had my Growler IPA Amerivca Session buy worked out.
 

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I built up a gravel bike about 4 years ago and really liking it. It's a Breadwinner B Road. It's a great steel frame made by a couple guys in Portland, OR. I'm running Donnelly X-PLOR 33mm tires on Stans Grail rims. Agree with you that it provides a good change up from mtb and fun for just bashing around and exploring. View attachment 1948372
How are those 33s off road, I'm running panaracer gravelking sk 53 (2.0). My Elephant NFE was made in Spokane but is nowhere near as pretty as a breadwinner.
 
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