I purchased the new cheap hybrid as a gravel machine. It really won’t do well in that role until I’ve spent way too much money in upgrades.
I’ve made a change of plans.
Robin drove me out to Main Street Bikes in Shelbyville Kentucky to test ride a Salsa Fargo 2. They have one in stock that has been used as a demo bike. It’s the large size, which seems to be what I need (but not the extra-large like Patrick has).
I took it for a spin around town, and I’m hooked. With a swap of the stem, and moving some spacers around, the bars will be high enough for me to ride, even with my neck issues.
It’s the higher-end model with the BB7 brakes, SRAM 2×10 drivetrain with brifters, and Thudbuster seatpost. I’ll probably swap out the seatpost.
I got back and put down a (large <gulp>) deposit. The bike is mine. I’ll pick it up in two weeks when I finish paying for it.
This bike won’t be a road-touring bike. I’ll use my recumbent for that. It won’t be for commuting, but I may ride it to work a few times to show it off. I’ll just carry my stuff in a backpack, because I don’t intend to put a rack on it. I won’t be putting fenders on it.
This bike is for off-road, gravel, mud, whatever. I may do camping trips on it that require off-road capability. I’ll have to learn about bikepacking.
I intend to race the Gravel Grovel again this year, and this is the bike to do it on. It should do the trick better than the LHT that I used last year. If I lose 20lbs by then, I might even do as well (?) as I did last year.
Now the decision is what to do with the hybrid bike. Sell it? Keep it and add fenders? I don’t know at this point.