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Got a Gravel bike on a C&V frame?

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Got a Gravel bike on a C&V frame?

Old 10-19-20, 12:52 PM
  #1  
gthomson
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Got a Gravel bike on a C&V frame?

I'm not really sure I buy into the whole gravel bike craze but it sure is popular these days and seems like anyone on road bikes are changing over to gravel bikes. I just can't imagine spending another 3 grand on a road bike with a thicker wheel and tire to ride around on crush gravel paths? If you had a nice, carbon mountain bike, wouldn't you just take that out to ride with your gravel bike friends? Will they eventually put suspension on gravel bikes to hit some trails?

I'm thinking you could take a nice steel frame, road or mountain bike and turn it into a decent gravel bike for a lot less than 3 grand so show me what you got.
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Old 10-19-20, 01:38 PM
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My Eisentraut Limited currently sports 32mm smooth tread Gravel Kings. I've ridden it on the Des Plaines River Trail a couple times this year with no particular problem (one tumble, but I chalk that up to pilot error). I think I could fit 35s with a more aggressive tread. That's probably all I need. In general, I think most production road bikes made before the late 70s probably have clearance for 32s, if not wider.

Maybe there's a difference I'm missing, but are modern gravel bikes all that different than modern cyclocross bikes?
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Old 10-19-20, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
Maybe there's a difference I'm missing, but are modern gravel bikes all that different than modern cyclocross bikes?
Sshhhhhh! You're spoiling it! For sure, the cynical side of me sees this as a marketing opportunity. If you create lots of subcategories, people need to buy more bikes, right?

Usually, vintage 70s racing frames can handle a 32. There are some exceptions. Pretty much all of the classic 70s and 80s touring frames can as well. No problems for me riding gravel on these types of bikes.

I'd reckon I've put more gravel miles on my old 70s Masi than most official gravel bike riders have put on their gravel bikes.
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Old 10-19-20, 01:55 PM
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There is a whole thread devoted to drop bar MTBs any one of which would make a fine gravel bike on the cheap.

Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

Cheap and easy? Take a vintage MTB and run a set of trekking bars:




Or you could do a 650b conversion:

Show Us Your 650B Conversions

Or you could as fat a tire as you can stuff in a vintage bike. Most will top out at 35c.

700 x 38c tires on a vintage bike?

Or you can find a bike that was designed to be a road bike for bad roads. Some of the bridgestone XO series were designed to be "fire" road bikes, road geometry plus 26 inch tires. Back in the early 90s, 26 inch made a lot of sense if you wanted to run a wider tire. This is my XO 2.

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Old 10-19-20, 02:03 PM
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Started a while back, but the parts went on another project. Miyata 618
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Old 10-19-20, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
I'm not really sure I buy into the whole gravel bike craze but it sure is popular these days and seems like anyone on road bikes are changing over to gravel bikes. I just can't imagine spending another 3 grand on a road bike with a thicker wheel and tire to ride around on crush gravel paths? If you had a nice, carbon mountain bike, wouldn't you just take that out to ride with your gravel bike friends? Will they eventually put suspension on gravel bikes to hit some trails?

I'm thinking you could take a nice steel frame, road or mountain bike and turn it into a decent gravel bike for a lot less than 3 grand so show me what you got.
$375 build with Dura Ace bar end shifters, 38mm Schwalbe tires, Brooks saddle, Shimano 600 levers, etc, on Miyata Sportcross steel tubes


Miyata Sportcross
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Old 10-19-20, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
I'm not really sure I buy into the whole gravel bike craze but it sure is popular these days and seems like anyone on road bikes are changing over to gravel bikes. I just can't imagine spending another 3 grand on a road bike with a thicker wheel and tire to ride around on crush gravel paths?
It can be a tough pill to swallow. I needed to upgrade my commuter bike in 2015 and settled on a new steel frame, carbon fork "adventure" bike which I also use for gravel rides and CX racing. Generally gravel bikes have wide tire clearance, higher bottom brackets, and slacker geometry than road bikes.

Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
If you had a nice, carbon mountain bike, wouldn't you just take that out to ride with your gravel bike friends?
Some people do, my fried Alain did for over a year before investing in a dedicated gravel bike.

Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
Will they eventually put suspension on gravel bikes to hit some trails?
Eventually? They already have...
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Old 10-19-20, 02:22 PM
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Any excuse to show pinky .....

Umberto Dei 01 by iabisdb, on Flickr
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Old 10-19-20, 03:01 PM
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This is my purpose-built all-road bike, a 1973 Raleigh Competition running a Surly Dingle 17/19T fixed cog with 42/44T chainrings, so I get a 70-in pavement and a 60-in gravel fixed gear. Someday I'll spend the money for a White Industries Dos Eno 20/22T freewheel for the flop side of the hub, giving me 60-in road-ish and 52-in single-track-ish freewheel gears. The tires are 35 mm Continental Cyclocross Speeds.



But honestly, I've ridden most of the fire and dirt and gravel roads in this part of South Carolina with 26-28 mm tires on this Mercian fixed-gear. Not too much of a handicap, really.

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Old 10-19-20, 03:20 PM
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As noted previously, you can often convert vintage frame to 650b x 38mm wheels, and have at those gravel roads. Here’s my Holdsworth Special:
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Old 10-19-20, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
I just can't imagine spending another 3 grand on a road bike with a thicker wheel and tire to ride around on crush gravel paths?
I'd guess that relatively few people dropping $3k on a gravel bike are doing it purely for the occasional spin on a crused rock MUP.

If you had a nice, carbon mountain bike, wouldn't you just take that out to ride with your gravel bike friends?
MTBs can be a decent alternative for gravel bikes on mountainous gravel roads, the sorts which just go steep up and steep down. They're sometimes a bit slower on the up due to their higher weight, but generally more composed and fast on the down, especially on rough low-maintainence stuff. MTBs tend to be a drag if there's lots of shallow non-technical stuff, though, and are especially unwieldy for mixed-surface rides that contain lots of pavement.

Will they eventually put suspension on gravel bikes to hit some trails?
Some gravel bikes already have suspension, and have for years. Lots of low-travel suspension schemes are being employed, like the Cannondale Oliver lefty fork, the Specialized FutureShock suspension stem, Trek's IsoSpeed system, and many others. These systems are targeted more at chunky road surfaces than at technical trail riding, though.

I'm thinking you could take a nice steel frame, road or mountain bike and turn it into a decent gravel bike for a lot less than 3 grand
Perhaps, but what's so special about this $3k price point? It's not like cheaper gravel bikes don't exist, and if you're arbitrarily cobbling stuff together, there's not really a lower limit on the price for any style of bicycle.

Furthermore, serious consideration needs to be paid to what's actually being expected of different bicycles being ridden by different riders from different areas. A road bike that can just squeeze 32mm tires is sometimes a fantastic candidate for a "gravel" bike in an area where the gravel is all well-maintained hardpack, but may be a very poor choice for other situations. There's a lot of "it depends" here.
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Old 10-19-20, 04:21 PM
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All great options here and I was thinking of maybe getting a 90's mountain bike like bikemig's Trek above and using that with a tour tire instead of mtb bike tire. I actually have a Trek Antelope 800 that I use as a grocery getter. I think all of your bikes look nicer than what they are offering as gravel bikes in the shops now.
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Old 10-19-20, 04:46 PM
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I don't know if this qualifies as a gravel bike or not, but it was done on the cheap............like zero dollars cheap. I picked this up last Fall during community clean up days and was inspired by the Covid Challenge here on C&V to get it ride worthy. I did not do the ride part of the challenge. The bike is currently being used for gravel and rail trail paths. A bit on the heavy side but it gets the job done.

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Old 10-19-20, 05:36 PM
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I brushed on a fun paint job and some wider Kenda tires on my Mercier. Still putting back together. Looks like a gravel bike to me. Still trying to find some gravel to ride on. I do have the Green Bay trail, but its crushed limestone and pretty much dead flat. Going to have to put fenders in soon with the wet weather approaching.
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Old 10-19-20, 07:08 PM
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I never thought of it as a gravel bike, but I could put some pretty knobby tires on the CERA now that it fits 26" wheels.

I don't have any bikes that I'm not willing to ride on gravel.
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Old 10-19-20, 07:17 PM
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All of these are fine on Class five.

More tire is preferred if on sand and loose river rock.

Nothing worse than a road grader "improving" roads right before we get there.
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Old 10-19-20, 07:24 PM
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This one (88 RockHopper) goes great on road, crushed stone trails and actual gravel roads.




This one (85 Schwinn Sprint) is great on roads and on crushed stone trails when they are reasonably dry and firm. I donít take it on real gravel because I have the RockHopper.




And thatís it. No bikes that canít at least tackle crushed stone trails.

Oh, Iíve run them both with drop bars, but running SS, I prefer these touring bars that offer more versatile positions to ride while standing.

Otto

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Old 10-19-20, 07:32 PM
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I found this 1973 Cinelli Speciale Corsa on Kijiji a few years ago and it was in rough shape, having spent the previous 6 years leaning against a shed in Sudbury, Ontario (yes, including winters). I ride a 58cm frame and this thing is huge, a 61cm but I figured I could rescue it and find some sort of use for it.



It sat for many years inside my own shed and then I had the idea to make a French-fit gravel grinder out of it. Still a work in progress, as you can see, but those are 32mm Gravel King slicks on there and they feel great on the road.

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Old 10-19-20, 07:56 PM
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Welcome to my nightmare, my French Fit Gravel Bike.Not very C or V, unfortunately. A little flexy, but very stable at high speeds, nice handling, springs right over bumps, those fork tips dance like crazy.




Running some very tough Conti City Ride 32's, for goathead season.
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Old 10-19-20, 08:05 PM
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C&V gravel? Heh, it's the only thing I do! Renť Hubris builds.

Nishiki Sport, 700x35 Gravelkings, 1x7, under 25lbs and under $300, using BOC parts!
Lent my friend an issue of Bicycle Quarterly, which started her lusting after a Moots Routt, but her budget was only 1/10 the price. I told her this was the closest we'd get - and I think I'm right.


Panasonic Touring Deluxe, to which a few braze-ons were added. Gravelking 38s fit perfectly.


Univega Specialissima, budget build for Gravelking 700x38 and rinko using foundling oddball but top-shelf parts, for a friend who lives on a gravel road in Vermont, in order to convince him to start cycling, since he lives in gravel mecca! The gravel tires fit, just barely!


Extreme budget parts bin build Univega Gran Turismo. Everything on here was a reject from some other build. Even the spokes on that 27" dynamo front. Eats gravel for lunch with those fat Schwalbes.


Ron Cooper, outfitted with the Compass Barlow Pass tires and rather clunky but extremely nice Rivendell racks:


Trek 61x from 1983. Fast and supple with Pari-Moto 650x42s, this thing rips up doubletrack from the NEK to the Cape. Pretty involved build, adding canti posts and other doodads, and re-raking the fork. But it's an easy rinko, super fast, pretty light, and very durable. Did my first two centuries down the cape on this bike after building it. Was easy enough on me to go explore the lovely gravel around Truro the next day after each.

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Old 10-19-20, 09:22 PM
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35s fit on this 1966 Frejus.

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Old 10-19-20, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
I'm not really sure I buy into the whole gravel bike craze but it sure is popular these days and seems like anyone on road bikes are changing over to gravel bikes.
For a host of reasons. Lower traffic roads, explore, more challenging due to steeper grades, and more.

Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
I just can't imagine spending another 3 grand on a road bike with a thicker wheel and tire to ride around on crush gravel paths?
Why are you limiting your imagination to only crushed stone paths? Thats quite the arbitrarily limited experience you have created..
And why must $3000 be spent? Why not $2200? Why not $900?

Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
If you had a nice, carbon mountain bike, wouldn't you just take that out to ride with your gravel bike friends?
I wouldn't want to ride a mountain bike at the speeds, distances, and length of time i ride gravel.
- I've never found a mountain bike that fits comfortably enough to ride fast for a couple hours straight on the short side of ride length.
- I have 0 interest in riding a flat bar for a couple hours straight on the short side of ride length.
- Full suspension sounds completely miserable for a 40mi gravel road ride. It is massive overkill.

Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
Will they eventually put suspension on gravel bikes to hit some trails?
Its existed for multiple years already. This will sound harsh, but its fair to ask- have you at all looked into current gravel bike options?

Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
I'm thinking you could take a nice steel frame, road or mountain bike and turn it into a decent gravel bike for a lot less than 3 grand so show me what you got.
Of course this can be done. Why do you again mention $3K for the price of a new gravel bike?


You created some easily defeated positons then knocked em down. Strong work.***


My first gravel bike was an early 90s Univega Via Activa hybrid that was converted to drop bars with bar end shifters, 40mm tires, and stock 3x7 gearing. It was a blast for getting started but had limitations for what I wanted.

My second gravel bike was a Black Mountain MC steel frame and fork with modern 2x11 drivetrain and canti brakes. It was an incredible bike and the frame is now set up for commute/touring, but I wanted to try some new things.

My current gravel bike is a Fairlight Secan 853 steel frame with carbon fork. 44mm head tube, tapered steerer, 2x11 shifting with hydraulic disc brakes, and thru axles. Its simply been incredible.



My gravel bikes have cost more each time, but each time they have been better for what i want. None have cost $3000.



https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/re...dvanced-2-2021
$2500 gets you a carbon frame and fork, 2x11 hydraulic disc shifting, flared bars, thru axles, and good general gear range.
No idea why $3K is the price you set.
Why not reference this for $800? https://www.statebicycle.com/collect...-tan-650b-700c

Cost $285


Cost $1400


Cost $2350
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Old 10-19-20, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by gomango View Post
.
Nothing worse than a road grader "improving" roads right before we get there.


I swear all the gravel graders in a county were out in full force during one of my rides a couple months ago. I rode around em half a dozen times over a few hours.
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Old 10-19-20, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Welcome to my nightmare, my French Fit Gravel Bike.Not very C or V, unfortunately. A little flexy, but very stable at high speeds, nice handling, springs right over bumps, those fork tips dance like crazy.




Running some very tough Conti City Ride 32's, for goathead season.
How do you figure and early-mid 80s Peugeot isn't vintage?
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Old 10-20-20, 01:06 AM
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I ride a 73 Raleigh SuperCourse in the states, running a re-dished 7 speed hub and a 2 speed 17-21 freewheel and a 46x42 set of chainrings making it a dingle speed.



Here in Cambodia I ride just about anything I have including a Centurion Pro-tour, a 2012 Fuji steel Stratos, along with a couple of other bikes including a modified Hybrid.



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