Gravel Bikes for DK200

Allied Able, made in my home state of Arkansas, was the first bike to finish last year for both men and women!


I haven’t noticed the “business” part of a WTB to be any less durable or puncture resistant than any other tire, but I’ll definitely agree that their sidewalls are some of the thinnest/lightest I’ve seen. This makes for a nice lightweight racing tire, but if the gravel is deep or rutty it may be a bad choice.

You should consider adding the 2020 Domane in this list for gravel… or road. I don’t know.

Isospeed on both ends, can fit 40s (38 according to Trek), slightly more road-ish geometry rather than slack and long.

I’m waiting for my 2020 SL4 to come in :). I’ll use it as a winter bike (in PNW–it has fender mounts) and as a gravel bike (I don’t ride gravel that requires MTB-size tires) with Rambler 38s or whatever.


Yeah, I loved the older models and even have a frame set for the rare Domane ALR that I am building for this season.

But I kinda dislike the direction of the new model. It went well towards the gravel side while staying out of it. Gained some weight and I’m unsure about the new mast design. So, I haven’t considered it and that’s why it’s not on my list.

Probably a great bike, but not one for my needs.

Didn’t Phinney run these at DK last year and get like 13 flats?
If you haven’t seen this, RB (german mag) did a rolling resistance test of some 40c tires

By all (data driven) accounts those Vittoria aren’t the fastest rolling tires because they use a heavier duty casing/sidewall. You’ll note they test the g-one speed and allaround. The speed uses the heavier duty 100kg casing, while the allaround uses the 70kg build, so that would indicate to me that the casing cost 2-3 dubbyas of rolling resistance on the roller.
In any case, you’re probably well off to just load the tire up with sealant (something with some fiber in it) and running a faster tire rather than running something that will never flat unless there’s some magic tire out there.

Blockquote Trek Checkpoint SLR rumored to be coming in Spring. Tell me more!

Trek needs to change the name to the Nomade already. I think Santa Cruz has the trademark on Nomad, but I"m sure they can trade favors.

Ah! Thanks! Did you have any links to data on those vitorria terreno dry tires?

Looks like the Continental Terra Speed ​​TR wins that test. Has anyone used those tires at DK?

I saw two things IIRC. Tom A had ‘chunged’ a 43 GK SK and a ?? Vittoria Dry, but didn’t share numbers - I’d trust his non-data/impressions.
Note - these roller / road tests are good road numbers, but you really need something like Tour Int’s setup for gravel (8/2017 article for example). On rough stuff, the tire you can run at the lowest PSI is going to win. At Kanza, you want a tire/wheel combo that’s not going to expose the sidewall, which is probably a narrower rim.

I’ve got a set of Conti Terra Speed 40c on my bench at home as well as a set of 43 GK SKs and G-One Speed 30c. The knobs look smaller than pics suggest and the sidewalls seemed a degree more flexible than the GKs IIRC.
EDIT here: Just mounted the 40c Terra Speed up. Just a note - the are smaller than advertised by a full size, maybe two. Maybe Castelli made these. They measure 38, but probably could have been listed as 36c tires, as I’m on 20mm int rims. They look about the same as my 35c GK SK. Just a note for anyone thinking about putting them on a CX / Endurance bike.

Not a DK rider but I think this thread is appropriate.

I think I have my gravel bike selection narrowed down to three choices.

  • Norco Search - best value, steepest HTA
  • Ibis Hakka MX - best looking bike?
  • Salsa Warbird - slackest HTA

I might do three gravel races a year, tops. They would all involve technical descending. Primarily I’m looking for a reason to dig riding “road” bikes again though. My road bike has left me feeling limited in my route choices, I miss exploring on my bike, away from cars. I like the idea of running 650b wheels for certain terrain.

Thoughts? What other bikes did I miss?

I was choosing between the Norco, an Aspero, and a Felt Breed. I ended up with the Breed bc I didn’t want carbon, but did want 650b stock, threaded BB, GRX. The most popular gravel bike I am seeing around here is a Giant Revolt. I think that may be the best value overall.


FWIW, I’m now awaiting delivery of a Niner RLT 9 RDO frameset. The geometry on the RLT 9 Steel worked well for me on my successful DK attempt. 21 hours in the saddle and nothing was numb/hurting/etc. First-hand reports on comfort & compliance are positive. Sticking with what I know, but dropping some weight and adding clearance for 50mm should be great for me.

1 Like

That bike was not on my radar, thanks - I dig aluminum. Looks like a good deal too threaded BB and GRX are top on my list, geo looks good…

1 Like

Niner gets points for still producing high end steel bikes.


I am really digging it. The main fireroads near me are alternately rooty, sandy, rutted, twisty, and fast. The 650bs are so much smoother than the 35s of my old diverge. Racy geo. The wheels are heavy, and the handlebars are uncommonly wide in a 56 (46 at hoods, and flared in drops).

If you order through the web site you get 10% off, then it goes to a LBS and they build it up. My shop said it was their fave program. Felt sends the bike, pays them to build it up. That’s it.

1 Like

I just picked up the search xr. Haven’t ridden it yet though. Good luck with the decision

1 Like

Anyone have any experience with the Ibis Hakka MX?

Might be a little too much toward the cross side of the spectrum but has to be one of the cleanest looking frames.

1 Like

The Search XR is fantastic. Try to test ride one if you can. I’ve had a carbon apex build for about a year and love it.

1 Like

Yeah the aesthetic is hard to ignore. It’s the best looking bike in the group. Lots of brown bikes this year.

1 Like

I have a friend with one, wrong size but I may check it out. I wish the HTA wasn’t quite so steep but I might be putting too much emphasis on that one number. Have you ridden it on sketchy steep roads or trails? The search has been in the list, and I maybe circling back to it.

My lbs sells salsa, Cannondale, and Norco gravel bikes. All of the shop people have the search (some sold salsas to switch). I know the owner and one of the other guys well, and they basically wouldn’t recommend anything else that they sold. The owner rode his at dk last year, and one of the other guys rides his on some techy single track (western WA state) and says he really likes it.

Due to 2019 clearance I got a great deal (on a 2020 actually- sort of a story).

Anyway, lots of interesting gravel bikes out there. Good luck.


Great question. I have not put it down anything like steep single track. In general, it feels really planted. I would not have guessed it has a steep HT angle.

It does come stock with a pretty long stem, that maybe is slowing down the steering some and giving a bit of the feel of a slacker HT angle? It’s so hard to see how numbers will translate to ride for me. In the end, the only way I could pull the trigger was riding my top contenders.

1 Like