Gravel/CX bike purchase advice

I am looking to get a gravel/CX bike as a bit of a do-it-all bike: bikepacking, commutes in Edinburgh and would also want to give cyclocross a go once the season comes. So mostly this would be for road riding or light terrain unless I really do get to like CX and head somewhere muddy more often.

What I am looking for:
- aluminium/steel/titanium frame: not carbon
- 1x groupset: Rival or Apex
- <= £1500
- at most 10.5 kg
- mudguard mounts
- hydraulic disc brakes
- ideally internal cable routing
- ideally thru axles
- tubeless ready wheels

Would there be much noticeable difference between Apex 1x and Rival 1x?

Are 650b wheels (with up to 50mm tyres) too slow on the road?

Yesterday I discovered the Vitus Energie VR 2019 ( which ticks all the boxes and only costs a grand. The weight is also quite a bit lower at 9.03kg than most of the other bikes I saw. Is this too good to be true? The finishing kit seems a bit basic with an alloy seatpost and handlebars which is understandable given the price but am I missing any obvious flaws or low-spec parts?

The other bikes which are available at the moment (looking to buy before mid June) that I have found are:

- Planet X Tempest/On One Pickenflick: both titanium and similar in price, is titanium worth it?
- Planet X XLA SL: still looks like a good option, not sure about the weight
- Ribble CX: really like the look of this one, only Apex groupset, it is possible to customize to get tubeless ready wheels and upgrade the seatpost, saddle, etc while still within the budget
- Boardman ADV 9.0: seems to be built like a tank with the 650b wheels and wide tyres, a bit worried it would be slow but could just get narrower tyres I guess

Any insight and advice for choosing one of these or suggesting another bike I missed would be much appreciated.

Many thanks!


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