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Wheelbase?

Old 10-01-15, 09:27 AM
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Lars Halstrom
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Wheelbase?

I'm looking at the Marin Gestalt 3 for gravel riding. My bike size is a 54cm. Their wheelbase for this size bike is 991.9mm. This is shorter than most gravel bikes I've looked at. Is their a downside for this wheelbase on gravel?
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Old 10-01-15, 11:09 AM
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The Marin Gestalt 3 has 415 mm chainstays which is a bit shorter than a lot of gravel bikes (and likely accounts for most of the wheelbase difference). The shorter chainstays may limit max tire width and could cause heel clearance problems if your run panniers (though that frame doesn't look like it even provides rack mounts). From a handling perspective, a couple cm of wheelbase doesn't make a huge difference. It would probably be most notable on steep climbs where the shorter wheelbase will probably give you better rear wheel traction.
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Old 10-02-15, 03:58 PM
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Thanks Kopsis. I see that the 2016 Scott Addict Gravel disc is even shorter at 989.0mm with 405mm chainstays. Of course it is only 18lbs and carbon with 35mm tires.
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Old 10-03-15, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Lars Halstrom View Post
I'm looking at the Marin Gestalt 3 for gravel riding. My bike size is a 54cm. Their wheelbase for this size bike is 991.9mm. This is shorter than most gravel bikes I've looked at. Is their a downside for this wheelbase on gravel?
If you're only going to be riding on smooth, manicured gravel roads, the wheelbase shouldn't make a big difference. If you're going to be riding on challenging gravel or gravel roads that have occasional sand washes, you will want a longer wheelbase than that. Wheelbase equals stability. I've owned two gravel bikes. One had a 1025mm wheelbase and the other has a 1038mm. The difference is just 1/2", but the difference in handling is pretty significant. The 1038mm wheelbase bike is stable in sections that used to make the 1025mm wheelbase bike slew around. When the obstacles don't faze you, you're able to ride faster and with less tension. There's a reason mountain bikes have extra-long wheelbases.

Last edited by FlashBazbo; 10-03-15 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 12-01-15, 02:39 PM
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Anybody see the Gestalt 3 in bike shops yet or ride one?
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Old 12-01-15, 09:12 PM
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As others have said, shorter wheelbase is equated with tighter more responsive handling and lesser stability, which is not desired in a gravel bike. Stability also depends on head tube angle, fork offset/rake, and trail too, so WB isn't the total factor.

That's a cool looking bike, but the low BB drop, short chainstay, and steep head tube angle (above 72 degrees anyway) looks a lot more like a road bike to me. Do they say what is max tire size at 415 mm chainstay?
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Old 12-01-15, 09:20 PM
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991.9? Are they kidding? 10ths of millimeters in a wheelbase spec of almost 1 meter is pure nonsense.

Is 992mm not accurate enough for the purpose?
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Old 12-02-15, 12:38 AM
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I have a GT Eightball for gravel riding in the 54 cm size. The wheelbase for the bike is 1012 mm. That makes it very comfortable for riding on loose terrain.

A longer wheelbase tracks better at the expense of some maneuverability.
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Old 12-02-15, 09:21 AM
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Agree that it looks like a roadbike that can fit fatter tires - not a gravel bike. The wheelbase is too short, and the tires and tire clearances are too narrow. It would be a good road bike for chip-and-seal with a few miles of gravel added in, but not a good bike for primarily gravel riding. Unless you have ridiculously smooth hardpack roads, you're going to want something that will fit a 40c tire (with some extra clearance) and a long wheelbase. Descending on loose gravel is like riding on marbles - you need all the stability you can get to keep from eating it.

Also, that bike should not be marketed as a light touring bike - with 415 mm chainstays, heel strike with panniers would be a real problem unless the rider has tiny feet. Most touring bikes have 440-460 mm chainstays. I had heel strike issues on my old CX bike with 425 cm chainstays, but don't have them on my Space Horse with 440 mm chainstays.
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