Spring Gravel Bike Shootout
Salsa Warbird GRX810 vs. Giant Revolt Advanced 0
by Dawn Graham
I have ridden many miles on gravel to connect paved roads on my Trek Madones through the years and I never felt the road platform limited me to pavement. Occasionally I would need to stop and remove the front wheel to dislodge stones caught between the fork crown and the tire. A nuisance, certainly, and the dirt embedded in the rubber of a nice pair of Conti GP 5000s was not so great for adhesion on pavement.
The Trek Boone was an excellent solution, the 600 series OCLV carbon frame worked well with two wheelsets, one for road and one for dirt. The bike was light, agile, and the geometry of the 50cm frame provided me with a very comfortable planted position. A true cyclocross race bike, the frame clearance limits tire width to 35c and Trek, with their need for gimmicks and catchy names, added the front Isospeed Decoupler to the latest version, along with unnecessary mechanical complexity, weight, and service intervals. I love exploring the back roads on my Boone, so how would I benefit from a purpose-built gravel bicycle?
Fast forward to the Spring of 2020 and the need for a physical diversion from the pandemic; I decided to test two of the bikes from our current brand offerings at Maverick Bikes. I chose the Salsa Warbird GRX 810 52.5cm and the Giant Revolt Advanced 0 XS and I would ride each 350 miles on my usual gravel haunts in Western Loudoun. Both are free of suspension to smooth the ride beyond the inherent shock absorbing characteristics of the carbon frame, tire volume, and tire pressure.
The bikes have similar geometry with the same fork rake of 50mm for a sizeable tire contact patch, and 74° seat tube angle. The Warbird has a 70.75° head tube angle, a shorter top tube 52.5cm and longer chainstays 430mm compared to the Revolt’s 70.5° head tube angle, top tube of 53cm and 425mm chainstays. The stack on the bikes differs by 1mm and the reach is 4.8mm longer on the Revolt.
I rode each bike with as much of the stock equipment as possible, changing the stem, seatpost, and saddle to accommodate a proper fit. The bikes were very closely equipped varying in brand components, wheelsets, and tires. The Warbird arrives stock with DT Swiss C 1800 Spline wheels and Teravail Cannonball 700 x 42c tires and the Revolt with the Giant CX2 Wheelsystem and Maxxis Velocita 700 x 40c tires. Once I had completed the 350 miles on the Warbird, I installed Teravail Cannonball tires on the Revolt for similar rolling weight and traction.
The Salsa Warbird is an amazing chameleon of a bike, very fast and stable on descents and an agile climber. The ability to change to a 650b wheels with clearance for 47-51mm tires is a plus for the off-road adventurer. I could confidently ride the Warbird on many of my regular mountain bike trails.
I loved the stable handling of this bike and decided it would be a great first road bike for my daughter. I purchased the Warbird GRX600 and equipped it with the 650b DT Swiss G 1800 wheels and WTB Venture 700 x 47mm tires. My test rides would continue with Lizzy as my ride companion and this allowed me to test the bike with 650b wheels, which were incredibly stable on the loose stuff. The big tire footprint increased my daughter’s confidence on a drop bar bike.
Turning to the Revolt Advanced 0, my first impression was that it felt like a road bike and was lively on climbs while still providing confident, stable handling on descents. I attributed the feel to the lengthier top tube and shorter stays. The stock handlebar has a comfortable shape that fit well with the shape of the GRX levers.
Both bikes met the challenges of freshly graded roads, steep climbs, loose off camber descents, and deep creek crossings without a hitch. The bikes are well constructed and beautifully finished.
After 700 miles, I was convinced I needed to add a gravel bike to my stable and the Giant Revolt Advanced was the winner. I immediately felt at home on the bike without having to make changes to the fit and loved the aesthetics of tube shapes, graphics, and paint. I would need to build a custom bike…
Liv Brava Advanced Pro 0
Its been a while for some good old fashioned bike porn so today we bring you the super sweet Liv Brava Advanced Pro 0.
This baby is speced with SRAM Force eTap AXS, 1x.
SRAM Force hydraulic brakes.
Giant Contact SLR handle bar.
Giant D-Fuse SLR, composite seat post.
Topping all that of with Giant SLR-1 42 WheelSystem. Without pedals this one weighed in at 15.8 LBS.
Giant TCX Advanced Pro 1
Giant TCX Advanced Pro 1 is all-new and redesigned, superlight Advanced-grade composite frame that’s handcrafted with race-proven geometry and asymmetrical chainstays for optimal power transfer.
Its D-Fuse composite seatpost helps smooth out bumps and vibrations with an innovative D-shaped shaft.
New for this year is the option to use a 30.9mm round standard or dropper seatpost instead depending on your riding style and terrain. Other innovations include a lightweight composite WheelSystem and tubeless tires right out of the box.
flat-mount disc brakes; and 12mm front and rear thru-axles for total control and fast cornering, sprinting and climbing in all conditions. The all new lighter TCX is made with Advanced-grade carbon and is 17.5 percent lighter than the previous generation. The frame is now 850g versus 1050g, and the fork is 400g versus 460g.
Liv Devote Advanced Pro
Made with Advanced-Grade Composite and decorated with SRAM Force eTap AXS group.
Top that off with Giant CXR-2 Carbon Disc WheelSystem
And your looking at the best in class gravel bicycle. Adventure cyclist yep, gravel racers yep, this bike meets the needs of performance and endurance riders alike and at a price point thats hard to beat.
Equipped with vibration absorbing D-Fuse seatpost, or add a dropper seatpost if need be. And finally, a wheelset specifically built for all-weather performance and unpredictable terrain makes the steadfast Devote your top pick for finishing any tough ride or race. Check it out on our showroom and get a test ride today.
Liv Langma Advance 1 DISC
The Liv Langma Advanced 1 Disc is engineered for aggressive climbing, descending and accelerations.
The unrivaled stopping power of disc brakes provides the confidence to carry speed in fast corners or tight quarters.
The frame’s slender tubing creates an extremely fast and lightweight racing machine, while the downtube thickens as it approaches the PowerCore bottom bracket for pedaling stiffness strength.
With Liv’s 3F Design Philosophy and cutting-edge lightweight aerodynamic innovations, Langma Advanced Disc provides the winning advantage for every effort, from long hilly races to fast-paced criteriums.
Bike with pedals weighs in at 16.8 (M) and has a full Shimano Ultegra group with Giant P-R2 Disc wheel systems.
2021 All-City Zig Zag
Steel is real and if it has All-City on the downtube, it is beautiful as well.
The Zig Zag is a modern road bike, built to be a fast and efficient, shielding riders from road chatter and unnecessary fatigue to go further, faster, and have more fun.
All-City A.C.E. Air-Hardened, custom extruded steel frame with Signature dropouts, brazed-on seat collar, custom head badge and custom tapered headtube with external headset puts this bike squarely into the hand-built category.
Add painted to matched Whisky No.9 thru axle fork with carbon blades, tapered carbon steerer tube and flat mount disc brake, tire clearance up to 35mm w/o fenders, 32mm w/fenders and you have a real head turner.
Come in and check out our line-up of beautifully spec’d and painted All-City bicycles.
2021 Giant Revolt Advanced 0
The all new 2021 Giant Revolt Advanced 0 now sporting a full Shimano GRX 800 group and Giants super sweet CXR-2 Carbon Disc WheelSystem.
Designed with purpose-built geometry for gravel riding, plus engineered compliance in a lightweight composite frame and has clearance for high-volume tires up to 45mm so you can float through the rough stuff.
Details including the X-Defender downtube protector and smart mount system for racks and accessories give you a head start on any gravel riding mission on LoCos historic gravel roads.
The bike photographed here is set-up for our long-term tester doing a comparison with the Salsa Warbird GRX so this one is not in stock trim. The new Revolt weighed in at 17.2 lbs. Longterm comparison of both bikes to publish in the fall of 2020.
Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 Disc
Featured today is a pure race weapon, the 16 pound Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0.
We sold the bikes that Giant built for other bicycle companies for years but we never sold anything this nice at this price point. At $5500.00 this is the race bike to tackle any type of mass start event that would make a professional rider really happy.
This bike in stock trim is a real light weight at 16 lbs disc (M) with Shimano Ultegra, 36/52with Giant PowerPro power meter.
Shimano Ultegra Di2 group.
Best in class Giant SLR-1 42 Carbon Disc WheelSystem that we would stack up against any carbon wheel on the market.
This same class of bike from the “other guys” is pushing 8K without the 2K wheels. We have them on the floor now so head on in and check out all the pretty bikes in our showroom.
All-City Cosmic Stallion Force 1
June 7, 2020
This is up as pure bike porn! Today we are featuring the hand built All-City Cosmic Stallion Force 1 gravel bike.
The custom touches elevate All-City bikes in a way that really set them apart.
They devote time and resources to signature details that turn heads and signify high-quality craftsmanship. These elements tell a cohesive visual story and form a distinct silhouette so that even if your unique bike were stripped down to bare metal, it would still be instantly identifiable as an All-City hand built bicycle.
We really are full up with gravel and drop bar adventure bikes right now with more on the way next week from Giant and Salsa. Come in and check them out.
All-City Cycles Gorilla Monsoon
June 5, 2020
If you like drop bar knobbies our showroom’s cup runneth!!! First up is the hand built All-City GORILLA MONSOON;-) Just makes you smile to say it.
DO-IT-ALL DIRT SOLUTION
A sweet beast designed to handle on- or off-road shredding, bikecamping, short-duration dirt touring, and the pursuit of good times, the Gorilla Monsoon is ready to rocket cross racers and backcountry explorers through mountain trails, mayhem, and everything in between.
Salsa Journeyman 650b (long term test)
May 31, 2020: Mileage report
As of today we have 380 miles on the Salsa Journeyman 650b and this bike just continues to impress us. In a word its “stellar” as a all around bike but as a gravel bike its best in class. With 10 set-ups from Salsa including drop-bar, flat bar and 700c or 650b there is a bike for everyone. The ride quality for a starter gravel bike is so good that its hard to believe that its just a tad north of a grand. Its manners on deep gravel once loaded are perfect and put a set of slicks on 700c wheels and the asphalt miles will just fall of the ticker as well as any touring bicycle out there. The WTB saddle is a keeper as are the Salsa Cowbell handlebars. Its not often the stock saddle is a keeper! Yes we did change the tires and we went tubeless and this did add a lot of positive handling attributes and we still wish it had through axles but none of this is a deal breaker and at this price point your simply not going to find a better bicycle.
April 27, 2020: Tubeless Tire upgrade
Off with the WTB NANO 2.1 non-tubeless and on with the new Donnelly EMP gravel tire, which pulls its name from the airport code for Emporia, Kansas, home of a kinda popular gravel race that crushes souls every year.
The tire is a departure from their usual tread design, getting a tighter tread block pattern without a well-defined center strip like most all of their other tires. It’s still designed to roll fast, which is key if you’re racing the Dirty Kanza or any other long distance gravel bike event, but with bigger side knobs to handle more aggressive cornering.
So far we love the tire on Western Loudoun gravel and we have even had them on the single track! Going tubeless dropped about 3/4 of a pound off the rolling weight and we are able to run lower pressure now in the backcountry when need be. So far its the best 650B gravel tire we have tested.
- Smooth-rolling center knobs and aggressive shoulder lugs
- Soft rubber compound for extra grip and shock absorption
- Integrated puncture protection belt under the tread
March 24, 2020
We hope this bicycle distraction gives everyone a few moments away from the headlines, its something all of us can use these days. Also thanks for supporting us during this time. We are fighting to stay afloat and keep our new shop open. The staff continues to take this one day at a time so keep an eye on Facebook for any changes in the day to day operations
We have been showing and reviewing a lot of high end bicycles and while they are fun to look at and to own they are not for every one. So this time around we have decided to do a long term review on the bike everyone can afford and because we are in Loudoun County Virginia the “King of Gravel” we decided to pick a gravel bike. Well that and the fact that it seems to be all we sell anymore!
From the staff at Maverick Cycles meet the Salsa Journeymen with the 650B wheels. Priced from $950 to $1,500, the Journeyman is Salsa’s entry-level bike platform within its all-road lineup. There are 10 bikes to pick from in this line up!!!
According to Salsa, “The Journeyman provides features the cycling enthusiast is looking for to take on their first gravel race or their first ramble down that old ‘gravel road out in wonderful Western Loudoun.” It’s clearly a bike designed for gravel/bikepacking-curious riders who are looking for a feature-rich and versatile rig but aren’t quite ready to pony up the big bucks for a Giant Revolt Advanced Pro, a Salsa Warbird, Salsa Fargo or Tour Divide-ready Salsa Cutthroat.
It comes in either 700c or 650b, and in flat-bar or drop-bar variations. If bikepacking or dirt roads are in the mix, one of the five Salsa Journeyman 650b models will likely be a more capable option than the 700c x 38mm models. With bigger 27.5 x 2.1″ tires, it’s certainly better suited for tackling rugged terrain.
All 10 Journeyman models are loaded with mounting bolts. These include a pair of top-tube bag mounts, three-pack bosses on each fork blade, three bottle mounts on the frame, a fork crown light mount, rear rack mounts, and a rack and fender kit. In addition, each model has several range-wide standard features to note, such as flat mount brakes and a 68mm threaded bottom bracket, which many folks will appreciate.
Built around a 6061-T6 aluminum alloy frame and either a Fantail carbon or alloy fork–depending on the model—Journeyman 650b variations come with a 2×9 Shimano Sora, 2×8 Claris, or SRAM Apex 1x drivetrain. We are testing out the $1,199 Sora 2×9 model. This model has a carbon fork and was shod with 2.1″ Teravail Sparwood tires. So far we are really impressed with this little bike. The only thing that has been a “nit” is the Sora components. They do leave you a little wanting if your use to higher end gear but it gets the job done and for the most part pretty smooth.
All Journeyman frames also have internal cable routing for both the rear derailleur and rear brake. Both cables enter the downtube on the non-drivetrain side and exit at the bottom bracket shell. The Journeyman also has internal routing for a dropper seatpost, should you be interested. Lastly, Salsa built the Journeyman around standard 135/100mm QR dropouts. Though axels would have been premo but would have also driven the cost up…we guess?
The 650b Sora model has the same frame/fork as the Apex 1, but features a Shimano Sora 2×9 drivetrain, a Sunrace 9-speed 11-34T cassette, and an FSA Vero Pro Adventure crankset with 46 and 30 tooth chainrings. And, as with the Apex model, the Journeyman Sora 650b also gets WTB i23 rims, and a Salsa Cowbell drop bar. The bike we are testing could use a little more gearing for the hilly roads in Western Loudoun. Thats an easy fix however and only really needed if your running loaded.
Within the vast gamut of 650B gravel bikes, the Journeyman’s geometry sits somewhere between the racey Warbird and the rambling stance of a Vaya or Fargo. While it’s obvious that the Journeyman takes cues from the Warbird and has similar angles, it also has some significant differences that lean toward exploration instead of racing. The Journeyman has a notably higher stack (about 2cm higher), as well as about 2cm shorter reach. This puts you in a more upright position. And when coupled with a slightly lower bottom bracket, it gives the bike a rather pleasant feel—somewhere between “in the bike” and “comfy perch.” For lack of an original description, it has a pretty neutral, well-balanced ride.
There’s no doubt that it’s comfortable and stable. We typically have to adjust a few things due to numbness or pain when riding a new bike for long days. We felt the Journeyman fit well right out of the box and stayed comfortable as we topped 65 miles during the first day. But it also felt surprisingly fast. Even loaded, it felt quick and rather snappy on gravel roads.
We have been testing the bike loaded as that is really its intended use. We selected the often overlooked Jandd Mountaineering bags. The shop is new as of September but the staff has been selling Jandd bags for 31 years so we really know and love the product. We set our test bike up with the large frame pack this larger frame pack has all the features of the original plus a few more. A removable descent strap can be attached to the back. Also, it is cut at a different angle which allows it to fit tighter bike frames.
This pack is about 30% larger than the original. The trunk bag on the rear rack we selected the Rear Rack Pack. Spacious enough to hold eight cans of beer, the Rear Rac Pac I is equally well suited to carry camera gear or submarine sandwiches. Its solid construction reflects Jandd’s attention to detail, including fully taped seams and Hydrothane water repellent coating. These 2 bags are just a tad north of 100 bucks and we were able to haul a mirrorless camera system, lunch for two, repair kit, rain clothes for two and extra water. We also added the Salsa Anything rack on the front fork. It will hold anything for a full size Nalgene bottle to a tent. The Salsa line of accessories are top shelf products.
We have these bikes in our showroom so if you would like a test them out or just see them we have both the 650B and the 700c models.