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Converting a roadbike to a ride on gravel

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Converting a roadbike to a ride on gravel

Old 04-12-15, 10:46 PM
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Converting a roadbike to a ride on gravel

Hey,

So I have a decent aluminum road bike with steel forks. I'm getting a new road bike and was thinking what to do with it and the idea of turning it into a bike to ride on gravel/crushed rock rails came to mind. I'm talking about bike trails that are crushed rock/gravel/etc.

So what would I need to do to the bike to make it gravel trail ready?

Tires: Put on 30s but what sort of tire inflation?
Fork: Is a steel road fork sufficient?
Anything else?
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Old 04-12-15, 11:06 PM
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A good exercise would be to take it on those crushed gravel trails as-is and see how it does. Don't overthink it.
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Old 04-13-15, 06:35 AM
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Plenty of folks ride gravel with steel frames and forks, so your steel fork is fine. The only real question is if you can get the size tires you want to run to fit your frame. "Gravel" varies pretty widely depending on where you ride. For some, a 28 tire is all they need. For others, even 45s feel narrow in some spots.

Gearing may be another area you'd want to change. This too varies, but many find shifting the whole range down a little is a good move. Speeds on gravel tend to be a bit lower than on nice smooth asphalt.

Don't be afraid to experiment. Some of the fun in gravel riding comes from worrying less about what the bike industry says you "should" be riding and riding whatever you can make work for you.
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Old 04-13-15, 06:49 AM
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If the bike doesn't do what you want it to do, you can hunt around for a 2d hand bike that does. They're out there. Gravel riding--back before the manufacturers decided this was a niche that had to be filled with a new category of expensive bikes--was all about repurposing an old bike.
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Old 04-13-15, 08:05 AM
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The fine crushed gravel they use around here tends to get picked up by the tire tread, so you might want fenders.

Tire inflation is personal, depends on tire size, rider weight, trail condition, etc. Enough to not have pinch flats, but not so much as to be bone jarring. Start with the manufacturer's recommended pressure and work down, a few psi at a time. If you start to get flats, go back up a few psi.
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