There comes a moment in the life of a man riding a bicycle when the rule of N + 1 no longer works ... or doesn't come - I don't know. Came to me. You are beginning to wonder if polygamy is actually something cool. Is too much choice too much? What else to the cinema, for dinner, in the yard, to go out with buddies, to play a game on the mud, on asphalt, on the sand, to the city, on even, uneven, unknown, loose, rocky and so on. You have equipment for everything. What if you risk it and find a bike that is equally average in every aspect? Sounds like a challenge!

To gravel or not to gravel?

I decided to have one bike (in fact one and a half, because I can't get rid of the fold-up!). As the number of questions about equipment always appears in the largest quantities, I decided to bring our selection process closer. Such for everything, meaning for nothing. At any time worse than any other, but overall better.

I know, I wrote once that gravel makes no sense. I agree with this and admit that gravel is a compromise in a world where a bike has not yet been invented, which allows you to ride very fast on the road, comfortable and safe in the field. I also can't assess whether the current marketing offensive of a wider tire is a temporary trend, whether technology has already reached such a level that you can actually have one universal bike.

Introduction, or paragraph, in which I sound like an asshole.

I am writing here about more expensive bikes. I confess without beating that for a very long time I haven't ridden bikes at 4-digit prices ... not counting, of course, my folding gear, but that I count it for half a bike, it catches in this category. Therefore, it will not be considered here whether Tiagra is enough for life. If you don't know what equipment to buy, it means that the area around Tiagra / 105 is completely enough for you. To tell you the truth, I can't quite logically justify buying more expensive equipment.


Dogmas of cycling

which I just came up with


First point. The perfect bike doesn't exist.

Deal with it. There are several rules you need to be aware of.

There is always a bicycle somewhere in the world that would perform better in the conditions in which you are currently riding. Always, regardless of what you buy, someone will like your bike more than yours. Regardless of what you buy, during the year the same will appear, only better. During the year you will be able to buy the same as you bought, but cheaper. Not only that, you will meet someone who bought the same at the same time, but in a better offer. Your choice will be criticized because "why, why, it is unnecessary, they are prettier and better and better".

Secondly, the more you read, the less you know.

so you either learn to filter the pros and cons of people on the internet or don't read.

Third, primo, ultimo: there are no bad bikes.

Really, getting a bad bike is hard. You can hit the bike a little overpaid (whatever that means) or make the wrong choice for you, but the wrong bike? Until you buy on aliexpress, from a kickstarter or a brand that no one has heard of, it's hard to buy the BAD BIKE.

Thursday, a gravel exception

In the case of slightly less racing bikes, and more, as you say now, gravel bikes: it seems to me that some 86% works doing a combination of the right position with the selection of (pressure, width and tread) tires. The rest (above a certain price level) are details.

that's why I once wrote a test: WHICH BIKE TO BUY FREQUENTLY FREQUENT QUESTION, which shows that you should buy a nice bike. This time I will develop the topic and describe my transitions.


What bike to buy? I'm an online expert at this

At the outset, I would like to point out that I am an outstanding specialist in bicycle testing. My test portfolio covers, among others, the tests:

S-Works Venge for almost 50k PLN, which I wrote about being expensive and black
Factor O2, which is a highway for almost PLN 40k, about which I wrote that it is black and boring.
Fuji SL 1.5, which I wrote about as ugly as Mick Jagger, and boring and light
Canyon Ultimatethat I wrote about is light and pretty
Canyon Aeroadthat I wrote about is nice, fast and "affordable"
b'Twin Ultra 740 CFwhich I wrote about is good and cheap
Vento 9.0that I wrote about getting a copy with jagged links
and many others ...

As you can see, my specialized knowledge is limited to pretty / ugly (meaning: I like it) and cheap / expensive (compared to others). If I focus, I can still determine if it is light and well-adjusted. Why should you not trust me?


What bike do we need?

A few last year's visits (preview here) convinced us that we drive rather slowly than fast and we enjoy discovering Albanian hidden gems rather than riding on the obvious Majorca, Calpach and other such. We want shields, we want to have ratios, we want stability in driving with luggage, we want to be comfortable, but we do not want to completely silt, we want to have something original and nice, but modest. We want a bike that doesn't exist and we have to compromise.

Here we were beginning to guess that maybe the road is not the optimal choice

By the way, dear producers: I am waiting for the tire pressure to be controlled from the handle!


What bike to buy - our assumptions

Price is of secondary importance

but this does not mean that we buy the most expensive possible or the most expensive we can. I do not want a bike that will stress me more with every leaning against anything, hitting a wheel or putting it in a cardboard box, than it will give me joy of riding. Among other things, because of this, I can't convince Red. You have to accept that a bicycle with a wide tire will have a hard life. Because it will be.

How do I know that a bike is too expensive for me? After a situation where a friend wants to borrow it for the weekend, and I'm afraid to do it.

It's supposed to be cool and nice, but not ostentatious. A bit "stealth".

Appearances are relative terms. We want to reconcile a nice bike with a bike that is not noticeable - especially the uninitiated. The last thing I want when I go to dinner at 7-eleven is for casual people to pay attention to my expensive and exotic bike. It is known, however, that it is more pleasant to have unusual things, even if they are treated purely utilitarian.

High ground clearance

It is like this: as you read comparisons on the internet, 25mm is better than 23mm, 28mm is better than 25mm, 32mm is better than 28mm, 35mm is better than 32mm, and 38mm is optimal. And in fact: "road" 38mm tires are no worse than 28mm when you are traveling a longer route with luggage, as we have seen in Norway. Unless you want to drive very fast, then they give way and the limit of reason says about 30mm.

Here is such an interesting comparison on the example of the most popular road tire, which shows that thicker is not slower at all, but it is more convenient: https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/specials/grand-prix-5000-comparison

To say that a narrower tire is faster is the biggest mistake of cycling in recent years.

The problem with tires over 30mm is just that I feel visually free. Even if I ride fast, I drive slowly. Same with the rest as with gravel geometry. Regardless of what the meter shows - I drive slowly. Even if I drive faster than the road next to me, I drive more slowly.

We have the same, but different colors

Because. Having the same bike as your girlfriend / boyfriend may be a shock to some, but it makes life easier. The same hook, blocks, easy to flip the wheels, share the battery, in the worst case, quickly replace the control handle, etc.

Shields

Hydraulic discs are cool, except when you get off the plane somewhere at the end of the world, pull the bike out of the carton and at the first turn you realize that the handle collapses to the end. Or when, after a week of driving in the rain, somewhere far away, you discover that the blocks are over. If it was an expedition bike - I would go with mechanical shields, if it was a road then riding on a flat - I don't know. In the one for everything edition, I have no dilemma - hydraulic discs. They brake best, are resistant to a crooked wheel, and when it's wet, the whole city knows you are braking. In addition, there is no big dilemma, because all new bikes have discs.

Wireless accessories with a large gear range

Because I'm not a tough guy anymore - I used to drive up the Karkonosze Mountains and (approach) Mortirolo on 39/25. Today I know it's possible, but for what? Especially when you add some luggage.

Maybe I'm also limited, but no matter how long I use Di2, the buttons are wrong anyway. Despite the fact that I think Di2 is better in performance, I prefer wireless and SRAM change system.

Well, wireless is an essay for someone who travels often with a bicycle, and his technical knowledge is small. Broken link from Di2 in Taiwan it only confirmed us.

fool-proof

The bike shall have as many standard and easily accessible parts as possible idiotoodpornych solutions.

Mark

Under normal conditions, the brand would not matter much to me. Based on the belief that there are no expensive and bad bikes from large companies, you can basically limit yourself to visual aspects. However, I really wanted it to be a company that cooperates / collaborates with the blog in any way. Here I would put Canyon first, Rose second and Specialized third. They were the ones who saved me by bike when I needed it.


The company, i.e. which bikes fell off in turn:

Rose Backroad

It was supposed to be safe. Price / quality / appearance perfect. The undeniable advantage of Rose is the ability to change all components when ordering. The plan was simple: I was cream, Panda blue. Blue turned out to be green-sea and fell off by color and everything was falling apart.

about such: BACKROAD FORCE STAGE AXS – 3,399.00 €

Trek Domane

I don't know what, because I don't know how much Treks cost. For me, this company has ignorance star through its pricing policy in Poland. Secondly, Trek with his logo almost larger than the frame bites with modesty. And half of Warsaw rides on TREKS ;-)

Specialized Diverge

Because it's a good bike that bravely served in Norwegian fight. We liked each other exceptionally in both driving and visual properties. I am not entirely convinced yet to cupid on the asphalt, but otherwise, there is no logical reason why we did not buy this bike.

Canyon Grail CF SLX

The most comfortable bike ever - we rode them in Albania. The double handlebar is great, but not for someone who often packs a bike into a carton and bag. However, I can say with great certainty that:

Aluminum Canyon Grail AL is the best bike for everything in the category of quality / price *

*according to me

If I had a haratania expedition bike, it would be an aluminum Grail. And the pricing policy, which means that if you do not hunt something in the official outlet (with a small discount), then nobody bought the same as you, but cheaper.

Fuji Jari 1.1

It would be great, but as an extra bike. There is too little "fancy" on the main bike.

Rondo HVRT CF0

Maybe I will fall here many people, but unfortunately for me this bike looks like a nicely painted prototype, printed on a 3D printer. Well, I have the right to think so. I also have a long life experience that says that if someone goes somewhere with Rondo with us, he'll be out of luck. Others don't, so don't think about it.

RONDO RUUT TI

I think titan will come after 40. At the time I was looking, there was probably no version with a black fork that I like much more. The bike fell off visually in the run thanks to Panda.


The choice falls on Factor Vista

is he good I will let you know next year, because I did only slightly over 1500km

Panda - gray, we laugh that it's Polish-autumn. Me - black, in limited painting CHPT3. One thing is certain, nobody expected it. I regret that I do not run an active Youtube channel because I would like to read a thousand comments that it is a bike for everything, meaning nothing. Because at first glance it's neither gravel, nor road and the bike overpaid and senseless in general. The manufacturer calls it all-round bike, but probably mainly so that it is not "another gravel" *. And great.

* I really wanted not to fall into this online gravely euphoria. Currently, I'm afraid to open the fridge, because gravele everywhere.

Clearance:

formally 35mm, theoretically 38mm outside of the mud. A little bit, but also the bike does not look like a typical gravel thanks to this. I plan to ride 32mm or 35mm semi-terrain or (illegally) 37mm - I don't know how to do it yet. Either two sets of wheels or the method of elimination I find that one of the above options is enough. Between 32mm cross-country and 35mm gravel one there is a gap in comfort, between 35mm and 38mm the difference is also big, but not so much. I also report that 44mm ground clearance with a 35mm tire means that in very sticky mud tires stop spinning fairly quickly.

The tires are currently Goodyear County Ultimate Tubeless 35mm. On asphalt they give advice, on easy terrain also. Tubeless dirty cruelly, but works - as they warned. If I drove around the store under the house, I would stay away from tubeless people.

The advertisement promised us that in return for a smaller ground clearance we would get a bicycle that is a road with an admixture of gravel, not a gravel. We'll see.

Look

and cool factor (such a verbal joke): a matter of taste. The brand is definitely unique. On the one hand, a bit flashy, on the other - I doubt that a bystander would pay attention to him. There are two colors, so I take the limited version, Panda is gray, which is elegant and a bit boring, but there is hope that the color accent will revive it.

Panda has the color of the Polish color

Equipment

we're going in Force 12s with 46/33 x 10-33 gear ratios. Red is a bit tempting, but if I don't try, I don't see the reasoning. These gears are some kind of space - you can drive up a wall at home, and then slide down from it, still screwing down the facade of the block. Does Force 12s work better than eTAP 11s, on which I went the last 2 years? In my opinion worse, but these are all negligible differences.

The internet claims, for example, that the chain lasts longer, but I don't believe it. 12 gears are a disadvantage for me, because I can already see how I enter the store and ask for a chain / clip / anything. I prefer not to say anything about prices.

Idiotoodporność

We have a distributor in place, but we take spare hooks straight away. The integrated bridge is a problem for me at the beginning, because it is harder to pack and the exchange is difficult. On the other: how often does the bridge or steering wheel break? In return, we get beautifully retracted brake cables and a very important thing for me: the inability to adjust the steering wheel in every plane! And, of course, the fact that no lines stick out of the cockpit anywhere! This is also an essay. There is no classic steerer tube, so you can quickly insert and remove washers under the bridge without thinking about trimming the pipe.

Probably the only cockpit in the world that doesn't look silly with Hammerhead

The main disadvantage for me is the seatpost clamp, which falls into the frame when I pull out the saddle and forget to tilt the bike properly. If you see a guy at the airport waving a bike upside down over his head, it's me.

This is definitely not a bike that I can reasonably recommend to anyone, but I believe that we have chosen (possibly) optimally for ourselves. The price of a bike exceeds the border where it can be used in a sentence with the word "reasonably". On the other hand, if it can replace 2 bikes ... I will write about it in the future. I admit without beating - I am a bit afraid to sell our roads, so I would be grateful if no one at Allegro (Bianchi ; Rose) he did not buy. Because currently someone in Warsaw asks me if it's worth going to gravela, I usually tell him that "a little pointless, but it's worth it" ;-)

And about Factor probably more, as we do together this 5-digit number of kilometers.

Having one bike for everything is always a compromise. For me, Factor is like Porsche Macan, Maserati Levante or Ferrari Purosangue. People see you and think: Well, moron bought it, I would like to know something tudzież he he, the guy wanted to have quickly, and can not because the family, but you are completely not interested, because yes ... because maybe.

Note:

Yes, we became brand ambassadors in Poland. This does not mean, however, that we got the bikes for some time to show and look at them. We bought both bikes for money and started cooperation.