I currently own a flat bar, hardtail 29er MTB. I can pretty much ride it anywhere. The thing is I usually ride on tarmac anyway with some gravel segments if I take a shortcut through the woods. Where I live is very flat, not many hills etc. Most of routes are paved, there's some gravel/dirt roads. I quite like riding off road as there's no car traffic, but a lot of my riding is b roads with asphalt anyway. As a result I'd tried a proper road bike and I'm pretty convinced that I want to ride something with drop bars. Eventually I want to ride 100+ kms on weekend days - I've actually done it already and it wasn't too strenuous.

My dilemma is whether I should get a proper tarmac race machine with aero features, tubeless clinchers, aero spokes etc and keep my MTB for everyday rides or should I replace my MTB with one size fits all gravel or CX bike (I might get two sets of wheels perhaps).

If I replace my MTB, I have a higher budget, the bike is more versatile, gravel bikes have hooks for bikepacking and wider tyres, it also probably means I have budget for disc brakes. The only reason I don't want to go that route is that gravel bikes are rapidly evolving - for example 2019 Trek bikes have a form of rear 'suspension' (ISOSpeed?) but no such feature on the front, so lots of current gravel bikes feel like a work a in progress and next years models are bound to be better. On the other hand endurance type road bikes are pretty mature and IMO you get better components in a given price range. My typical routine is 2-4 hours riding on weekdays with occasional all day riding on weekends. At the moment I am pretty serious about my cycling hoppy and want to reward myself with nice hardware.

closed as primarily opinion-based by mattnz, Nathan Knutson, Argenti Apparatus, David Richerby, Grigory Rechistov Oct 14 at 19:41

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    It seems you know all the arguments and are well informed about the tech. It sounds also like you already decided and now look for arguments to support/dissuade you. That's not ideal for SE question format. Have a look at the tour. Perhaps our chat will help you better since it is less constraint by format: link – gschenk Oct 9 at 19:22
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    Effectively you have two questions. "My budget is one really nice bike or two average bikes, whats best?" and "Are gravel bike changing so fast that I am better putting off purchasing one for a year or two" – mattnz Oct 9 at 19:52
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    I think the CX bike is the odd one out in your list. Often gravel and endurance bikes have a lot in common. CX bikes however have three distinct features that may not be desirable to you: (i) high top tube to allow to shoulder the bike, (ii) aggressive geometry with nervous steering, very unlike todays MTB, and (iii) little bottom bracket drop to pedal through corners. – gschenk Oct 9 at 19:55
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    Swapping wheel sets on disc brake bikes might involve having to re-centre the brake calipers every time. It might very well be that you don't bother with all the hassle after a while and run with one set all the time. If you do not need knobby tyres, there might be no need whatsoever. Some good wide tyres roll as fast as narrow tyres on most surfaces you find out there. There's an aerodynamic malus though. I'm pretty happy with 35-622 G-Ones on road, gravel and dry trails, for instance. – gschenk Oct 9 at 20:03
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    Just get an allroad or rando bike, 650Bx42 tires or thereabouts. That's the genre that does everything you want perfectly. Gravel and CX bikes tend to be slanted towards more aggressive geometry than you probably need or want. – Nathan Knutson Oct 9 at 21:19

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