Old 01-09-19, 12:57 PM
  #8  
Salamandrine 
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 4,834

Bikes: 78 Masi Criterium, 68 PX10, 2016 Mercian King of Mercia, Rivendell Clem Smith Jr

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If that picture shows the actual proper saddle height for you, the frame is the correct size. If you really do have to drop the saddle an inch, then it is possibly too big. Can you stand over the top tube with both heels flat on the ground? If you can, it is OK.

Many older race bikes were intended to be usable on gravel roads. The TDF and other races used to have gravel sections into the 70s.

Agree with the above that gravel is in the eye of the beholder. Most norcal gravel roads, where I grew up, are pretty solid and packed because it is relatively damp. I prefer to use 700x28 or maybe 700x32. In socal, the drier conditions, especially in the summer, mean you can get deep pockets of loose dry sand. Not so good with skinny tires. Knobbies can help in IMO two conditions: 1) mud, or 2) dry sand over hard packed clay. Most of the time I prefer normal tread. It's much better for riding to where the gravel starts... Knobbies on the road are not very fun.

Here is my Mercian on Tassajara road with 700x28 continentals, which actually measure 31mm wide on A23 rims. Most of the road is not this smooth.
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