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"Gravel Bike" is just the newest term for "Sports Touring Bike" of the C&V era

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"Gravel Bike" is just the newest term for "Sports Touring Bike" of the C&V era

Old 05-16-20, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie
Twice riding Eroica California proves that you can ride a lot of gravel on even road bikes.

....
I'd bet a lot of Kansas gravel looks kinda like this?



Kansas gravel roads can be broken down into three categories... 1) mostly sandy, 2) mostly "rock chalk", native limestone that varies in color from near white to various shades of gray, which breaks down under use from gravel into dust and clay and 3) a combo of both. So your pictures is pretty accurate, except there are too many bicycle riders, it's too hilly, and the bikes aren't being pushed nearly hard enough into the ditch by the wind. The choice of material varies on how much the county has to spend on road maintenance... money tight years see more sand. Each of categories can vary from soul depleting quicksand wannabes, to sun baked stretches that are as hard cubic zirconia.
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Old 05-16-20, 05:31 PM
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I will submit there is far more to it than even the wound up cyclone we have going on now, lots of bandwagons making the jump to hyperspace, all the better if it gets more people on board as it seems to be.

As always with many things, this is highly subjective.

Joe A says "I can ride my bike on anything I want", and does, has a blast.

Joe B says "I'm going to ride off road so I need a gravel bike", takes the leap, also has a blast.

Often you need what you think need so you do, whether you do or not.

This is a tourer but literally flew down a fairly long winding gravel stretch at Eroica 2017.

I was in high gear pedaling very fast and could not believe how stable it was.

Wasn't really loaded but had the panniers on with some gear in each.




Merz, Pryor, Ahearne, Igleheart, Kamzelski, wizards all.

Also forgot to mention this was on 28's and while not "loose" gravel per se, it was downhill, hauling a**, rock solid.

Last edited by merziac; 05-16-20 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 05-16-20, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by uncle uncle
Kansas gravel roads can be broken down into three categories... 1) mostly sandy, 2) mostly "rock chalk", native limestone that varies in color from near white to various shades of gray, which breaks down under use from gravel into dust and clay and 3) a combo of both. So your pictures is pretty accurate, except there are too many bicycle riders, it's too hilly, and the bikes aren't being pushed nearly hard enough into the ditch by the wind. The choice of material varies on how much the county has to spend on road maintenance... money tight years see more sand. Each of categories can vary from soul depleting quicksand wannabes, to sun baked stretches that are as hard cubic zirconia.
Aha! And now we know the rest of the story...Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

Did not know the origins of that, had to go to wikipedia to confirm.
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Old 05-16-20, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
In the meantime, I'm riding my McLean everywhere. It has 28mm tires. I guess it's less than ideal for trails etc, but I can keep it upright, and I'm having fun.
Somehow I have managed 700x38s on my McLean.

I wish I had the moxie to ride mine all the time like you do Tom.

I know I'll never get another one past the two I have, so I guess I'm chicken to beat them.

I tip my hat to you though Tom, ride that beauty.
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Old 05-16-20, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
I seem to remember the marketing concept of an “all-road” bike from about 10 years ago or so. Maybe it was a G. Petersen/Rivendell thing?

Maybe.

I've owned two Rivendells, but I never enjoyed them as much as my BMC Monstercross.




Can't wait to pull the fenders and put the BG Rock 'n Roads back on.

Not a sport tourer, but such a fun all road bike.

Didn't make it out to the river bottoms today, but that's ok.
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Old 05-16-20, 06:24 PM
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Hell, as long as we're showing them, this is my Pro Mk. I
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Old 05-16-20, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac
I will submit there is far more to it than even the wound up cyclone we have going on now, lots of bandwagons making the jump to hyperspace, all the better if it gets more people on board as it seems to be.

As always with many things, this is highly subjective.

Joe A says "I can ride my bike on anything I want", and does, has a blast.

Joe B says "I'm going to ride off road so I need a gravel bike", takes the leap, also has a blast.

Often you need what you think need so you do, whether you do or not.

This is a tourer but literally flew down a fairly long winding gravel stretch at Eroica 2017.

I was in high gear pedaling very fast and could not believe how stable it was.

Wasn't really loaded but had the panniers on with some gear in each.




Merz, Pryor, Ahearne, Igleheart, Kamzelski, wizards all.
Was Joe A an acronym for Jobst Brandt? It was amazing what that guy rode his rode bike on.

Cheers
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Old 05-16-20, 06:43 PM
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Behold.... Mother Nature's pancake. That's not an incline, that's just the curvature of the Earth your seeing.
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Old 05-16-20, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets
Lacking wide tire acceptance is one thing that would dissuade me from a C&V Sports Touring bike, and even several Gravel Bikes.
I have two 1980s era Miele Sport Touring bikes. Bother were originally equipped with 27" wheels. The Miele UNO SL can fit 700C x 30mm Schwalbe CX pro knobby tires. The other Miele has a Tange Infinity frameset and will take 700C x28mm tires and fenders but not the 30mm tires and fenders.

For the sometimes very loose gravel surfaces around here I prefer to use my MTB converted to dropbar. The 26" x 2.125" knobby tires let me go over all but the freshest gravel poured onto the road.

Cheers
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Old 05-16-20, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by uncle uncle

Behold.... Mother Nature's pancake. That's not an incline, that's just the curvature of the Earth your seeing.
Just beautiful.

Reminds me of western Minnesota.
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Old 05-16-20, 06:56 PM
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I find the full on touring bikes to be plenty sporty enough for me.
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Old 05-16-20, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ascherer
Will it break your International's record?
Heh. I'm not painting this frame, but maybe I should. But I'll get it working as a bike first.

Originally Posted by gomango
Somehow I have managed 700x38s on my McLean.

I wish I had the moxie to ride mine all the time like you do Tom.

I know I'll never get another one past the two I have, so I guess I'm chicken to beat them.

I tip my hat to you though Tom, ride that beauty.
Ours must not have the same measurements. I can't fit 32mm tires on mine.

I'm the kind of person who will eat off fine china for regular old breakfast. If it chips, hey, at least I enjoyed it. So my McLean is pretty encrusted in mud.

It was from reading about Jobst Brandt and how he would ride 28s on all kinds of terrain that it occurred to me that I could, too. It just takes a good sense of balance. Also my McLean now has super low gears. I shift to the lowest gear to get through mud patches without falling. Anyway, it is a mighty comfy bike, and it handles high speed with no problems. I realized this week that I was going over 35 mph and I wasn't looking dead ahead; my mind was wandering.
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Old 05-16-20, 07:09 PM
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I have had some classic Sport Tourer bikes come through my hands, like a first generation Fuji Finest, a 1954 Alvin Drysdale Sport Tourer, and others... And I have a great touring bike, a Trek 720. I rode all of these down into the Pine Barrens of NJ and I found they weren't great on sand. I had a hard time sometimes if I got off the pavement.

​​​​​​I don't have a gravel bike, but that's what most people would call my custom Squarebuilt, with its 26x2.3 tires. How is it different from a Sports Tourer? Fat tires. That's all, as far as I care.
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Old 05-16-20, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man
Was Joe A an acronym for Jobst Brandt? It was amazing what that guy rode his rode bike on.

Cheers
I guess I had my Joe's mixed up, he would be Joe X, master of all.

I am admittedly not Joe "A" but on that ride having drank the Koolaid was all in and more so as the bike did exactly what I thought it was supposed to do, amazing.

The other two Merz's that I have both went to Crater lake and exhibited the same "on rails" characteristics on the multiple 40mph + paved downhills after testing shimmy/shake with the bars on the just 30mph sections.

The first time I went, there was a big downhill right hand sweeper that was a bit angled the wrong way off the 900ft drop, came flying down and went through a section Cat-track gouges in the asphalt, fortunately I was fairly well to the right but hit the rumble track and was floated about 12 feet outward in a second, then it was over and I was on my merry way, again amazing.
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Old 05-16-20, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
This!

This is what I aspire to be when I'm riding on my gravel routes... the little voice in my head is channeling thoughts of tackling the hardest stages of "The Tour" long ago, while the other little voice in my head is saying "a dog could come out of that hedge row any second now". I do like that gravel riding now "bridges" one to the great bicycle racing history of the past.
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Old 05-16-20, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by bnewberry
[clip]There are also aggressive drivers that cross the centerline when coming towards you to threaten and some we suspect try ti see how close they can get when they pass going the same direction...
Off topic, but this happened to my best friend and me when we were out riding around his neighborhood. We were maybe 11 or 12. Literally run off the road. People are simply *******s, and as cyclists we have to be completely defensive. When you remember the legal driving age is 16, it becomes obvious why. Ever read the comments on news articles about cyclists getting hit and killed by a car? Sickening.
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Old 05-16-20, 07:52 PM
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It's ironic that bicycles were the reason roads were paved and now they're being pushed back to unpaved roads. "Gravel bike" is just a marketing term; I have one out in my shed, it's called a Schwinn Varsity.
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Old 05-16-20, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm
I have had some classic Sport Tourer bikes come through my hands, like a first generation Fuji Finest, a 1954 Alvin Drysdale Sport Tourer, and others... And I have a great touring bike, a Trek 720. I rode all of these down into the Pine Barrens of NJ and I found they weren't great on sand. I had a hard time sometimes if I got off the pavement.

​​​​​​I don't have a gravel bike, but that's what most people would call my custom Squarebuilt, with its 26x2.3 tires. How is it different from a Sports Tourer? Fat tires. That's all, as far as I care.
In my photo above is my ‘83 Trek 720. It’s wearing 27x1 1/4” rubber under full fenders. At some point I’ll pull the fenders, install some 700c wheels and see how far down that rabbit hole goes.

There is a ‘74 Raleigh International frame (copper!) for sale a couple towns over, and I’d like to see what all the fuss is about with those 70’s high end Raleighs, I did some geometry comparing it looks really close to my ‘79 Trek 514.



I wonder how much I could be missing out?

I’d also like to get my hands on an older mid-high-ish end Fuji. Those Newest’s with the navy and chrome livery are just so classy looking!

But practically speaking I can’t imagine they would be any more magical than that ‘83 720. You get it up to certain speed and all the ruts and rocks just sort of even out. The frame finds its happy place. I never thought I would enjoy dirt roads anywhere near as much as I do.
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Old 05-16-20, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by uncle uncle
Other than some tires with more aggressive tread and the ever evolving tech refinements any sports equipment sees, these two things are the same thing. Prove me wrong....
No, not really. A “sports touring bike” from the 80s was a short chainstay bike that was midway between a long chainstay touring bike and a race bike. Touring bikes of the 80s (and even the good ones now) had chainstays in the 18” (460mm) range. Sport touring bikes had chainstays more in the 17 to 17.5” (430 to 445mm). They might also have more aggressive seat and head tube angles. It gave them a sportier feel.

The downside is that they were crap at carrying loads. The short chainstays meant that the load had to be pushed back behind the axle which lead to a tail-wagging-dog situation. The front end would wander horribly under load and the quicker steering made them even more difficult to handle. They also tended to have lighter frames which lead to death wobbles under load. Not fun to tour on.

And, given that they had rather narrow tires and narrow frames, they weren’t much fun on gravel.
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Old 05-16-20, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac
I will submit there is far more to it than even the wound up cyclone we have going on now, lots of bandwagons making the jump to hyperspace, all the better if it gets more people on board as it seems to be.

As always with many things, this is highly subjective.

Joe A says "I can ride my bike on anything I want", and does, has a blast.

Joe B says "I'm going to ride off road so I need a gravel bike", takes the leap, also has a blast.

Often you need what you think need so you do, whether you do or not.
This is a common argument, but I simply don't see very many Joe B's in the wild. Of the people who I ride with who have a "gravel bike", nearly all either had a mountain bike and wanted something that could handle chunk while enjoying superior road mannerisms, or attempted to be a Joe A with their old CX bike or whatever and discovered that there was an abundance of impediment to their blast-having.

Outside of perhaps people new to the sport - for whom it's hard to argue that all rounder machines are a bad idea - I simply don't see very people plucking the need for a gravel bike from the marketing aether.

Originally Posted by cyccommute
The downside is that they were crap at carrying loads. The short chainstays meant that the load had to be pushed back behind the axle which lead to a tail-wagging-dog situation. The front end would wander horribly under load and the quicker steering made them even more difficult to handle. They also tended to have lighter frames which lead to death wobbles under load. Not fun to tour on.
I did a bit of touring once on my '79 Fuji America, pure rear load.



Felt fine cruising along. The steering would oscillate any time my butt left the saddle, though.

It's a good road bike. Very lively.

No way I'd use it as a gravel bike here. It does get some unpaved miles here or there, but I try to restrict it to well-groomed shallow stuff. The gearing goes lower than most road bikes of its period, but nowhere near low enough for the mountainous gravel roads in the foothills. The lightweight mid-reach single pivots are weak and offer spongy modulation, even though I've set them up with quality pads and housing and carefully adjusted them. And even if I took the fenders off, there's only safe clearance for up to around a 32mm tire in back (maybe a 35 if you enjoy flying close to the Sun). And that clearance is definitely a problem. A 35mm Marathon Plus can survive the mountain double-track here if it's pumped stiff, but that's a very poor solution: uncomfortable, choppy handling, and slow on all surfaces.
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Old 05-16-20, 11:53 PM
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Looks like I need to mount 35mm Paselas onto my '74 Paramount again (now that I have 23mm wide rims that accept their beads again) and go rolling. 30mm isn't enough!

But it's fast and sprightly on those 30's....

I should get another Paramount. That's the ticket.
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Old 05-17-20, 01:27 AM
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[QUOTE=HTupolev;21479568]This is a common argument, but I simply don't see very many Joe B's in the wild. Of the people who I ride with who have a "gravel bike", nearly all either had a mountain bike and wanted something that could handle chunk while enjoying superior road mannerisms, or attempted to be a Joe A with their old CX bike or whatever and discovered that there was an abundance of impediment to their blast-having.

Outside of perhaps people new to the sport - for whom it's hard to argue that all rounder machines are a bad idea - I simply don't see very people plucking the need for a gravel bike from the marketing aether.

Huh, maybe so but I'm not arguing anything, just throwing out my loose observation as I see some of it.

My basic point is that many have been riding whatever they want wherever they want for a long time with widely varying degrees of success.

Yours, mine and everybody elses mileage may vary.
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Old 05-17-20, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie
Aha! And now we know the rest of the story...Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

Did not know the origins of that, had to go to wikipedia to confirm.
Go KU!
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Old 05-17-20, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel
Looks like I need to mount 35mm Paselas onto my '74 Paramount again (now that I have 23mm wide rims that accept their beads again) and go rolling. 30mm isn't enough!

But it's fast and sprightly on those 30's....

I should get another Paramount. That's the ticket.
Getting another Paramount might be the best answer to any question! Someday I will get one too.
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Old 05-17-20, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by bnewberry
Getting another Paramount might be the best answer to any question! Someday I will get one too.
They are all fantastic bikes--you don't lose with any year. I think that the Chicago/Racine frames (pre Waterford) are a bit more 'accessible' with regard to their true character in any riding situation (sitting, spinning, out of the saddle, turning, etc). I really like the long trail of the '80s examples (having owned one and now sold it due to it being too small), though to me they seem more wheelset- and handlebar setup-dependent when it comes time to get out of the saddle. My '74, bought as a complete basket case frameset that needed major work (new steerer, rear brake bridge, cable stop-delete, repaint, re-decal), let its brilliance be known through heavy 27" wheels and tires. She now wears good 700C wheels and tires, and has proven versatile through a number of wheel/component setups as I've refined things over the last few years. It's a P15 touring, so naturally a companion P13 would be appropriate to track down.
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