Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 37
  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    West Michigan
    My Bikes
    Trek Madone 5.2 SL
    Posts
    34
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Riding on Gravel: What Bike Should I Buy?

    Question for those of you that venture off the paved road:

    I bought a road bike last summer and can't wait for the weather to warm up a little more to get off the trainer and back outdoors. I live in an area with a lot of gravel roads and there are a few gravel road races in town as well. Obviously, I dont want or plan to take my road bike on gravel, and while I do own a mountain bike...it is very old and I'm leaving that for putzing around on trails.

    So what is my best option for gravel riding? A 29'er with non aggressive tires? Cyclocross? Road bike with cyclocross tires?

    Any specific bike suggestions? This would be a secondary bike so I don't want to drop a ton of cash on it...but open to any ideas.
    Virtus tentamine gaudet - Strength rejoices in the challenge

  2. #2
    Senior Member rowebr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Washington DC
    My Bikes
    Mid 90's GT MTB, 1981 Bianchi Limited 650B conversion
    Posts
    115
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    A road bike than can fit 35mm tires would be a good choice, such as a Surly Cross Check. It might also be possible to find an older steel road bike which can fit tires that fat. There are lots of good options for tires in that size, 35mm or 37mm Panaracer Paselas aren't too pricy and will do great on gravel.

  3. #3
    ka maté ka maté ka ora pdedes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    wessex
    My Bikes
    novo bosberg - red, pedal force cg1 - red, neuvation f-100 - da, devinci phantom - xt, miele piste - miche/campy, bianchi reparto corse sbx, concorde squadra tsx - da, miele team issue sl - ultegra
    Posts
    3,646
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    if it's hard packed dirt, I'd use my regular road bike. loose gravel requires some fatter rubber and floatation.
    By the time you're experienced enough to get something germane out of a test ride, you won't need a test ride.

  4. #4
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    SE Minnesota
    My Bikes
    are better than yours.
    Posts
    10,738
    Mentioned
    32 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Gravel racing is growing quickly so there are lots of options including purpose-built gravel bikes. Wider tires are nice but you can be quite happy on 28s. Weight and gearing matter a great deal on gravel because the grades tend to be a lot steeper than on paved roads. Disc brakes can be nice for mud and ice. You really have to figure out what you're willing to spend and what trade-offs you're willing to make.
    Telemachus has, indeed, sneezed.

  5. #5
    Senior Member WhyFi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Got a castle in - er, Minneapolis, that's where I dwell!
    My Bikes
    2009 Jamis Xenith
    Posts
    9,037
    Mentioned
    35 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Salsa has a rather nice gravel racer - the Warbird. I think that I'd lump Hampsten's Strada Bianca in the same category. For the most part, gravel racers seem to be a lot like a CX, but without the higher BB (for clearance) or re-rerouted cabling (for shouldering).


    Oops - just saw the "not a ton of cash" stipulation.
    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    I would wager that not riding in Minnesota is just as fatiguing as not riding in New York.

  6. #6
    Senior Member garysol1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Avon , Ohio
    Posts
    9,844
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    BMC Gran Fondo.... Not a road bike per-say and not a cross bike but a nice mix of the two.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    West Michigan
    My Bikes
    Trek Madone 5.2 SL
    Posts
    34
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
    Oops - just saw the "not a ton of cash" stipulation.
    It would be my secondary bike and I probably won't use it nearly as often as my road bike. That said, I'm hoping for a $500-$1000 deal...probably something used.

    Thanks for the advice so far - keep it coming!
    Virtus tentamine gaudet - Strength rejoices in the challenge

  8. #8
    Senior Member WhyFi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Got a castle in - er, Minneapolis, that's where I dwell!
    My Bikes
    2009 Jamis Xenith
    Posts
    9,037
    Mentioned
    35 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    ^^^ I saw one of those through the front window of an LBS a couple days ago - nice lookin' bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    I would wager that not riding in Minnesota is just as fatiguing as not riding in New York.

  9. #9
    Senior Member IcySmooth52's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Portland, ME
    My Bikes
    Fuji Altamira 2.0 '12, Marin Palisades Trail SE 29er '13, & Trek T1 '11
    Posts
    867
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'd go with an aggressive-geo cyclocross bikes. Put on Kenda Happy Mediums, Clement X'Plore USH, or teh such on and your set up well.

    Cyclocross bikes will handle turns in those conditions far better due to physics besides the clearance for such tires. The extended wheelbase and CS, more laid back HT angle and fork rake, etc. It's control when traction isn't ideal like dry pavement.
    '12 Fuji Altamira 2.0 "Raven" - '13 Marin Palisades Trail SE 29er "Matilda" - '11 Trek T1 "Voskhod"

  10. #10
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    SE Minnesota
    My Bikes
    are better than yours.
    Posts
    10,738
    Mentioned
    32 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by el nicho View Post
    It would be my secondary bike and I probably won't use it nearly as often as my road bike. That said, I'm hoping for a $500-$1000 deal...probably something used.

    Thanks for the advice so far - keep it coming!
    At that price there isn't much at MSRP other than the most basic Specialized TriCross. Maybe look for last year's model Bianchi Volpe or Surly Cross Check.
    Telemachus has, indeed, sneezed.

  11. #11
    Senior Member IthaDan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Ithaca, NY
    My Bikes
    Click on the #YOLO
    Posts
    4,645
    Mentioned
    8 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have These 37mm continentals on this:


    click for big

    Wonderful bike, goes anywhere on those tires as long as it's not ridiculously muddy or icy.

    If you've got the wrenching skills, my mind says to pick up a BD cyclocross bike (or the frameset from bikeisland like the PO of my bike did) and see if you like the 'cross/swiss army knife bike world.

    Shimano : Click :: Campy :: Snap :: SRAM : Bang

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    176
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I took a cycling tour in Tibet which basically followed the Friendship Highway from Lhasa to Katmandu in Nepal. Most of the tour was on gravel with a variety of surfaces, any of which can be found here in Iowa.
    There was mucky mud, hard pack, pea gravel, stony gravel, and even some macadam. With a lot of commercial traffic carrying goods in straight trucks, a lot of the road was washboard. Several of the riders were using double suspension bikes supplied by the tour operator, and were sorely disappointed when the rear suspension went out. Hard to go fast when you’re loosing fillings.
    YMMV – you know your local conditions and own riding style better than I do. Just providing another option to consider.

  13. #13
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    the pesto of cities
    My Bikes
    Davidson Impulse, Merckx Titanium AX, Bruce Gordon Rock & Road, Cross Check custom build, On-One Il Pomino, Shawver Cycles cross, Zion 737, Mercian Vincitore, Brompton S1L, Charge Juicer
    Posts
    7,017
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by el nicho View Post
    Obviously, I dont want or plan to take my road bike on gravel
    Why not? It's fun.

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    West Michigan
    My Bikes
    Trek Madone 5.2 SL
    Posts
    34
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by marqueemoon View Post
    Why not? It's fun.
    I'd rather keep my road bike for the road - its a '05 Madone 5.2 that I take very good care of - I'll ride a connecting gravel road, but I don't want to beat it up. My goal with another bike would also be something to ride into town, lock it up on a bike rack and not worry a ton about it.

    What do you all think of the Motobecane Phantom Cross Pro on BikesDirect? $1200 is more than I want to spend, but paying a bit extra for new is okay.

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._pro_rival.htm

    If my frame size in my Madone is a 62cm, am I safe to buy a 61cm from another company?
    Virtus tentamine gaudet - Strength rejoices in the challenge

  15. #15
    Senior Member Ice41000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    388
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by el nicho View Post
    Question for those of you that venture off the paved road:

    I bought a road bike last summer and can't wait for the weather to warm up a little more to get off the trainer and back outdoors. I live in an area with a lot of gravel roads and there are a few gravel road races in town as well. Obviously, I dont want or plan to take my road bike on gravel, and while I do own a mountain bike...it is very old and I'm leaving that for putzing around on trails.

    So what is my best option for gravel riding? A 29'er with non aggressive tires? Cyclocross? Road bike with cyclocross tires?

    Any specific bike suggestions? This would be a secondary bike so I don't want to drop a ton of cash on it...but open to any ideas.

    HT 29-er. Steel one.
    You're wellcome.

  16. #16
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Jacksonville
    My Bikes
    Wilier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Co-Motion Robusta; Schwinn Paramount; Motobecane Phantom Cross; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er
    Posts
    27,223
    Mentioned
    8 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by el nicho View Post
    It would be my secondary bike and I probably won't use it nearly as often as my road bike. That said, I'm hoping for a $500-$1000 deal...probably something used.

    Thanks for the advice so far - keep it coming!
    Cross Bike from Bikes Direct.

    I got an aluminum framed CX bike with Ultegra for $899.

    I'm going to race Dirty Kanza on it.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  17. #17
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Jacksonville
    My Bikes
    Wilier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Co-Motion Robusta; Schwinn Paramount; Motobecane Phantom Cross; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er
    Posts
    27,223
    Mentioned
    8 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    ^ hadn't read down to your BD post when I posted above.

    I have that frame. Not bad, a bit heavy. That one is spec'd with better wheels than mine, but $1200 seems a bit pricey. I think you might find a better price for something comparable, or waiting to BD puts it on sale.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  18. #18
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,305
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'd also suggest a cross bike.

    You'll have more options, both with bike models and in versatility of use, than with a dedicated "gravel racer."

    On finely crushed gravel, I've done OK with 28c's. Wider tires will let you use lower pressures, which can improve comfort but (for various reasons) may be a little slower than 28's, which in turn will be a little slower than 25's or 23's.

  19. #19
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    SE Minnesota
    My Bikes
    are better than yours.
    Posts
    10,738
    Mentioned
    32 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    I'd also suggest a cross bike.

    You'll have more options, both with bike models and in versatility of use, than with a dedicated "gravel racer."

    On finely crushed gravel, I've done OK with 28c's. Wider tires will let you use lower pressures, which can improve comfort but (for various reasons) may be a little slower than 28's, which in turn will be a little slower than 25's or 23's.
    Not necessarily. A true dedicated cross bike is more likely to have a higher bottom bracket and a shorter head tube. After all, cross races aren't particularly long. That won't be as comfortable as a bike designed for 6+ hour days. Pay more attention to the particulars than the marketing.
    Telemachus has, indeed, sneezed.

  20. #20
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    the pesto of cities
    My Bikes
    Davidson Impulse, Merckx Titanium AX, Bruce Gordon Rock & Road, Cross Check custom build, On-One Il Pomino, Shawver Cycles cross, Zion 737, Mercian Vincitore, Brompton S1L, Charge Juicer
    Posts
    7,017
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    OP - What about a road frame built for 57mm brakes?

    If you don't plan to run fenders (and I wouldn't for gravel) you'd be able to fit a 30-33mm tire in there no problem.

  21. #21
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    West Michigan
    My Bikes
    Trek Madone 5.2 SL
    Posts
    34
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by halfspeed View Post
    Not necessarily. A true dedicated cross bike is more likely to have a higher bottom bracket and a shorter head tube. After all, cross races aren't particularly long. That won't be as comfortable as a bike designed for 6+ hour days. Pay more attention to the particulars than the marketing.
    In that case do you still recommend a Surly Cross Check or Bianchi Volpe? I'm having a hard time finding either of those used. Any more main stream recommendations?

    At this point after trying to gather information I'm torn between a hardtail 29'er and a CX bike.
    Virtus tentamine gaudet - Strength rejoices in the challenge

  22. #22
    Senior Member seanthebear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Taiwan
    My Bikes
    Fuji Roubaix, Bianchi mongrel
    Posts
    193
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Check out the new Giant Anyroad; this bike, currently only available here in Taiwan looks pretty sweet. USD1000 with Tiagara. http://www.giantcyclingworld.com/web...6-f29c0aedb6e7

    Should generate quite a bit of buzz at teh bike show next week.
    Original weight 87 kgs, Current weight 80 kgs, Target weight 76 kgs

  23. #23
    Senior Member elcruxio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    mordor
    My Bikes
    2011 Specialized crux comp, 2013 Specialized Rockhopper Pro
    Posts
    681
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Get a cyclocross. A 29er hardtail is wasted on gravel.
    Like normal road riding, gravel riding is about speed and a cx bike will give you just that with the road bars, aero position and quicker stiffer handling. A 29er is designed for singletrack and much much rougher terrain than mere gravel. Also a 29er is not going to be as comfy on longer rides since it has less hand positions, much wider bars and a more upright riding position.

    I have both and for gravel riding I would always take the cx. And a shorter headtube on cx bikes is a flexibility issue. Flexibilty can be quite easily be attained by stretching. At least for younger folks.

  24. #24
    Senior Member garysol1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Avon , Ohio
    Posts
    9,844
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by el nicho View Post
    In that case do you still recommend a Surly Cross Check or Bianchi Volpe? I'm having a hard time finding either of those used. Any more main stream recommendations?

    .
    I love my Cross Check. It's a cross bike, a road bike and a touring bike all wrapped up in one..


  25. #25
    Lover of ALL things Bike Singlespeed92's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Eastern Tennessee
    My Bikes
    1996 Specialized Hard Rock,2011 Origin 8 700CX,2013 On One Inbred,2014" Surly Troll
    Posts
    609
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Sweet CC,my friend! (I have nothing new to add to the OP,there are some great suggestions on here already )(rowebr,for the record,CX bikes are not just "road bikes that can fit 37mm tires"...)
    Vintage mtn bike,CX'er,29"er SS,and a Do It All Surly

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •