Total Gravel noob here.
After going on a 'road' ride with the father in law which quickly turned into me trying to navigate mud, rocks and tree roots on a 25c GP5000s, I'm now seeing the value of having a frame that allows for bigger tyres. I'm usually very behind on new stuff/tech/trends (clinging for dear life to 10sp on all bikes but struggling to find chains locally these days..), but there are a few 'new' and 'trendy' things that I have been considering recently:
- Disc brakes as trying to do more road riding in the mountains, but don't feel so comfortable descending with carbon rims, especially when wet
- Aero-ish frameset so I have no excuses left when I get dropped on the fast, flat club rides
- Clean/cable-free cockpit, which would be made possible with disc I think - possibly not cool and may be a PITA to service, but I just like them!
I think that 80% of my riding will still be on roads, and the remaining 20% would be on fairly tame gravel tracks/mud singletrack (things I currently use my MTB for). I quite like the idea of being able to do all of this on one bike, just swapping out the wheelset. It's also easy to sell domestically as could save space.
Any recommendations on a frameset that would be decent for fast road riding, but also allow up to maybe 30mm or 40mm (assume this is big enough for non-demanding gravel stuff)? I saw the Rondo HVRT in this thread that looks like it might be suitable - being able to use regular 700c or larger 650b tyres seems a smart way of doing things - is that the norm? Seems rather expensive however...3T Exploro seems like it could work, but the cable routing looks a bit odd, and I feel like I've read some negative things about the 3T 1 x bikes. LBS have a Argon 18 Dark Matter frameset on offer for £850 at the moment - seems well rated but perhaps not as good for the road as the others? Should I consider anything else? Any advice/sarcastic comments will be greatly received.