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Hi,
I am looking to get a gravel/CX bike as a bit of a do-it-all bike: bikepacking, commutes in Edinburgh and would also want to give cyclocross a go once the season comes. So mostly this would be for road riding or light terrain unless I really do get to like CX and head somewhere muddy more often.

What I am looking for:
- aluminium/steel/titanium frame: not carbon
- 1x groupset: Rival or Apex
- <= £1500
- at most 10.5 kg
- mudguard mounts
- hydraulic disc brakes
- ideally internal cable routing
- ideally thru axles
- tubeless ready wheels

Would there be much noticeable difference between Apex 1x and Rival 1x?

Are 650b wheels (with up to 50mm tyres) too slow on the road?

Yesterday I discovered the Vitus Energie VR 2019 (https://www.wiggle.co.uk/vitus-energie-vr-cyclocross-bike-rival-1x11-2019/) which ticks all the boxes and only costs a grand. The weight is also quite a bit lower at 9.03kg than most of the other bikes I saw. Is this too good to be true? The finishing kit seems a bit basic with an alloy seatpost and handlebars which is understandable given the price but am I missing any obvious flaws or low-spec parts?

The other bikes which are available at the moment (looking to buy before mid June) that I have found are:

- Planet X Tempest/On One Pickenflick: both titanium and similar in price, is titanium worth it?
- Planet X XLA SL: still looks like a good option, not sure about the weight
- Ribble CX: really like the look of this one, only Apex groupset, it is possible to customize to get tubeless ready wheels and upgrade the seatpost, saddle, etc while still within the budget
- Boardman ADV 9.0: seems to be built like a tank with the 650b wheels and wide tyres, a bit worried it would be slow but could just get narrower tyres I guess

Any insight and advice for choosing one of these or suggesting another bike I missed would be much appreciated.

Many thanks!

 

6 comments

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jollygoodvelo [1879 posts] 4 months ago
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Unless you're planning on getting into CX racing, it sounds to me like you're more after a gravel bike than CX.  Some bikes will be more focused in one direction or the other, some will be somewhere in between, but 'real' CX bikes are likely to have a higher bottom bracket, higher (harder) gearing and fewer/no bottle bosses making them less suited to just 'exploring' off-road. 

Whether 650b or 700c is better for you I can't say - I never find 700c 'uncomfortable' myself, but I guess it depends on your riding style, I like to feel I'm pressing on.

As Ribble have the CX and CGR models, I'd assume the CGR is more suited to you than the CX.  And at £1200 for the Apex 1 model it does look decent value in isolation.  

Having said that the PX Space Chicken with Rival, or Tempest titanium with Rival 1 are both serious options too...

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Spinout [9 posts] 4 months ago
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I bought a cannondale topstone sora last year. Pretty happy with it for £800. have upgraded wheels and tyres. They do a 1x version but it's nearly £1K more for a different groupset

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Jimthebikeguy.com [269 posts] 4 months ago
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You need to decide if you really want to go racing or not. A dedicated race bike wont have the gear range you would want for all round duties, and an all rounder wont be in the right range for racing. Also 650b is not much use other than as a novelty, as there isnt the range of tires available. All rounder bargains are the pinnacle arkose, anything by vitus, some of the boardmans. If you want to race, get a tcx, a crux or a caadx, or one of the more dedicated vitus energie cx bikes, which are bargains. Gearing and frame shape is the most key part of the decision really....

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Jimthebikeguy.com [269 posts] 4 months ago
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You need to decide if you really want to go racing or not. A dedicated race bike wont have the gear range you would want for all round duties, and an all rounder wont be in the right range for racing. Also 650b is not much use other than as a novelty, as there isnt the range of tires available. All rounder bargains are the pinnacle arkose, anything by vitus, some of the boardmans. If you want to race, get a tcx, a crux or a caadx, or one of the more dedicated vitus energie cx bikes, which are bargains. Gearing and frame shape is the most key part of the decision really....

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Jimthebikeguy.com [269 posts] 4 months ago
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...that said, the vitus you have linked to there is a great bargain, with just about the best gear range (bit tall for touring though) and some decent tubeless wheels and tires straight out of the box. The difference between apex and rival is in the small things and its a bit heavier, thats all.

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ReshNesh [7 posts] 4 months ago
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Thank you all for your input.

 

The CGR AL does look good but unfortunately won't ship until after a trip with my dad for which I need this bike (dad's flying in bike-less so I will supply both bikes).

 

When I said CX I did mean racing. I am a runner and also do duathlon/triathlon so am used to mud as well as bike racing. From commuting and some longer rides on a fixed gear bike I am used to a higher bottom bracket and a different geometry than that of a pure road bike so that shouldn't be a problem.

 

Will think about the gearing and see if any deals come up over the bank holiday weekend and will let you know how I decide.

 

Thanks a lot!