The Gravel Street Not Taken – Bike Snob NYC


Yesterday afternoon I headed out for a bit of spin on the Platypus:

As I rode, I seen these splotches of vibrant orange:

Whereas it doesn’t come throughout from my poor images, they appeared nearly phosphorescent, as if some type of radioactive dinosaur had been marking its territory:

However then I seen that I solid a shadow over them, at which level I spotted it was merely the deep orange wildfire solar shining via the timber:

I felt as if I have been driving via a magical forest:

I used to be additionally glad to be on the Platypus, whose monumental wheelbase spans mighty rivers:

In reality, it’s so lengthy that I’ll usually discover that I’ve acquired one finish within the Bronx…

…and the opposite in Westchester:

However as a lot as I really like the Platypus, I couldn’t assist questioning if maybe I used to be lacking out by not proudly owning a state-of-the-art gravel bike. In any case, there’s numerous “game-changing” innovation in that space:

I’m unsure what the sport is, or why it wants altering, but it surely’s necessary to play the identical sport as everybody else. In any other case you simply wind up enjoying with your self.

So I made a decision to go gravel bike buying.

Like several trendy shopper I went straight to the Web and consulted a preferred search engine. At first I used to be leaning in the direction of the Issue Ostro Gravel, as a result of it was influenced by the legendary Issue Ostro VAM:

You may see the affect of the Issue Ostro VAM in each inch of the Ostro Gravel.

It shares the identical aero-optimised fork/head tube interface, and the identical aero-shaped down tube and seat tube, together with a typical aero-bladed seatpost.

Granted I didn’t know something in regards to the Issue Ostro VAM, but it surely had “VAM” within the identify, so it needed to be good.

However then did some extra poking round, and I discovered in regards to the Storx GRIX.2 Platinum:

The reviewer made a compelling case for it certainly:

German model Storck can look again on a few years of expertise within the growth and building of bicycles. With the GRIX.2 Platinum, they’ve despatched us the flagship mannequin of their in-house gravel vary, which guarantees to have efficiently mixed most stiffness with optimum consolation.

Stifness and consolation in a single bike? That looks like one thing you’d need!

It was nonetheless early in my search, however I used to be already just about set on the Storck by this level…that’s till I learn in regards to the OPEN WI.DE. in the exact same journal:

I didn’t even have to learn the overview to know I needed this bike. Not solely did it look practically similar to the opposite bikes I preferred, but it surely additionally had a fantastic identify–it seemed like the corporate was demanding I fellate them, which made me need to purchase the bike much more. Higher nonetheless have been the ENVE parts:

I just like the identify ENVE even higher than OPEN WI.DE., as a result of ENVE says, “Don’t you need me you fucking loser?”

Additionally, the chart within the overview had pink markings on it, they usually have been nearer to the optimistic adjectives than they have been to the adverse adjectives, and it learn like a report card from a personal kindergarten:

I didn’t know what “demanding” dealing with meant, however I knew it was one thing I in all probability didn’t need, as a result of I don’t need undo calls for positioned upon my by something, least of all my bicycle. I used to be additionally impressed they might calculate “Enjoyable Issue” so precisely–proper right down to the tenths of a unit of measurement they didn’t hassle to specify! I used to be able to drop to my knees, OPEN WI.DE., and place an order proper then and there.


Easing again into the saddle, we instantly knew that the Diverge could be totally different. It feels extra “mountain-ish” within the saddle. You get a sensation that you’re driving inside the bike relatively than on it.

Good lord! All this time and it had by no means occurred to me that I needed to be inside the bike! This modified all the things! The Issue, the Storck, the OPEN…I used to be fairly certain you sat on these. Now it turned out I might really sit in a motorbike, which meant I mainly needed to begin my search once more from scratch.

In order that’s what I did:

It didn’t actually assist:

“All proper, time to cease pussyfooting round,” I introduced to the cat, and plugged within the “mic drop” of search phrases:

I needed the perfect, and I acquired the perfect…nicely, the 5 finest, anyway:

Solely one of many 5 finest gravel bikes was a motorbike I’d beforehand thought of, which actually drove house what utter heaps of shit the others I’d been taking a look at have to be:

However the bike with the best rating of all was the Santa Cruz Stigmata Carbon CC Rival. I didn’t know why the world’s finest gravel bike solely acquired a rating of 84, as an alternative of, say 99, and even 100. Clearly I don’t know a lot about bikes. However there was a chart, which was how I knew I ought to take their methodology critically:

I didn’t perceive how they arrived at an general rating of 84 when the rankings have been on a 0-10 scale and the typical throughout the classes was 8.6. However then I appeared nearer and noticed every class carried a special weight…which nonetheless didn’t clarify something. However the bike was each stiff and comfy, which I used to be starting to understand was one thing I actually wanted to have in a gravel bike, possibly greater than the rest:

That was it, I had my bike, performed and performed…till I learn one thing scary about it on Reddit:


This was unhealthy.

Positive, I didn’t know what toe overlap was, nor did I do know what progressive geometry was, both. However I’m an ally above all else and if the bike wasn’t progressive then that was an enormous downside, as a result of I do NOT need to be on the unsuitable facet of historical past. So I knew the Stigmata was not the bike for me.

Since this was just like the third time the Diverge had come up I used to be beginning to get the message. So I went straight to the Specialised web site to purchase the costliest one they hand and…they have been all offered out:

Appears to be like like I’ll have to stay with the Platypus. Positive, it is probably not “game-changing” like all these different similar bikes by some means are, and sure, as an alternative of being comfy but succesful throughout all kinds of terrain it’s merely comfy but succesful throughout all kinds of terrain, however a minimum of it’s a…wait, what do I want a gravel bike for once more?