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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Gravel vs. Singletrack

Old 01-13-18, 03:15 PM
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bonsai171
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Gravel vs. Singletrack

Can someone give me an idea of the difference between gravel riding and singletrack? Also, what is the difference between gravel bikes and regular mountain bikes?

Dave
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Old 01-13-18, 05:43 PM
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Isn't 'gravel grinders' just a fancy name for riding on dirt roads on a fancy bike?
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Old 01-13-18, 06:14 PM
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Gravel is usually put on roads to improve them. Singletrack is not a road. I ride a lot of forest service logging/fire access roads. Graded somewhat smooth at one point in their life. Singletrack has much more undulations and ours here in the mountains are never used for vehicles
.
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Old 01-14-18, 03:15 AM
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The power of google images.

Gravel:



Singletrack:



Are you trolling btw?
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Old 01-14-18, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Isn't 'gravel grinders' just a fancy name for riding on dirt roads on a fancy bike?
Yes! And I'm at peace with that .

Originally Posted by bonsai171 View Post
Also, what is the difference between gravel bikes and regular mountain bikes?
Gravel bikes are possibly in part a reaction to the increased mountainization of mountain bikes. Back in the day, mountain bikes were rigid, and one would simply grab one's mountain bike to ride dirt roads with. Then travel increased, enduro racing became a thing, and mountain bikes evolved into being overkill for simple gravel roads. Toss in a desire on the part of many riders for drop bars, and the gravel bike is born. They take us back to the days of rigid bikes and roadlike geometry, and their wider-than-skinny tires make riding gravel a pleasure.
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Old 01-14-18, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
Yes! And I'm at peace with that .



Gravel bikes are possibly in part a reaction to the increased mountainization of mountain bikes. Back in the day, mountain bikes were rigid, and one would simply grab one's mountain bike to ride dirt roads with. Then travel increased, enduro racing became a thing, and mountain bikes evolved into being overkill for simple gravel roads. Toss in a desire on the part of many riders for drop bars, and the gravel bike is born. They take us back to the days of rigid bikes and roadlike geometry, and their wider-than-skinny tires make riding gravel a pleasure.
I'm looking at switching tires, my current ones are very knobby, and 26" x 2.0". Should I go to 26x1.5 or 26 x1.75?

Dave
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Old 01-14-18, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by bonsai171 View Post
I'm looking at switching tires, my current ones are very knobby, and 26" x 2.0". Should I go to 26x1.5 or 26 x1.75?

Dave
Depends of what kind of dirt roads you might be riding on. My experience with some fresh gravel on a road leads me to 1.75 minimum.
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Old 01-14-18, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by bonsai171 View Post
Also, what is the difference between gravel bikes and regular mountain bikes?

Dave
Gravel bikes have more of a road geometry and a low bottom bracket for stability in loose gravel. Most MTB's have geometry for suspension and a high bottom bracket for obstacle clearance. They have more relaxed tube angles and will handle slower. Two completely different bikes.
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Old 01-14-18, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Gravel bikes have more of a road geometry and a low bottom bracket for stability in loose gravel. Most MTB's have geometry for suspension and a high bottom bracket for obstacle clearance. They have more relaxed tube angles and will handle slower. Two completely different bikes.
Depends on the bikes. "Gravel bike" in geometry terms covers everything from traditional CX geometry, traditional road geometry (with room made for bigger tires), to touring geometry.
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Old 01-14-18, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by bonsai171 View Post
I'm looking at switching tires, my current ones are very knobby, and 26" x 2.0". Should I go to 26x1.5 or 26 x1.75?
You'll probably get a lot of opinions in both directions. I'm in the "when in doubt go wider" camp. My current tires are WTB Horizons that are 650b x 47 mm. I like those a lot for the roads in my area.

You have a 26er? One of my friends runs a set of these:

https://www.loosescrews.com/product/...ng-tire-black/

They have knobs, but there's a smooth center section that's good on pavement.
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Old 01-14-18, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Depends on the bikes. "Gravel bike" in geometry terms covers everything from traditional CX geometry, traditional road geometry (with room made for bigger tires), to touring geometry.
No it doesn't. There's people here who think a road bike that fits a big tire makes it a gravel bike. That's wrong. A CX bike is not a gravel bike, nor is a touring bike or a MTB with drop bars. May as well call a touring bike a CX bike, it would be saying the same thing as you did.
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Old 01-14-18, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Gravel bikes have more of a road geometry and a low bottom bracket for stability in loose gravel. Most MTB's have geometry for suspension and a high bottom bracket for obstacle clearance. They have more relaxed tube angles and will handle slower. Two completely different bikes.
Agree, think the biggest diff is suspension which gravel bikes usually dont have since they morphed from road bikes ?
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Old 01-14-18, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
No it doesn't. There's people here who think a road bike that fits a big tire makes it a gravel bike. That's wrong. A CX bike is not a gravel bike, nor is a touring bike or a MTB with drop bars. May as well call a touring bike a CX bike, it would be saying the same thing as you did.
I'm, being pragmatic and realistic. Sorry. It isn't a "confusion" on my part-it is just how the field is ATM.

Bike manufacturers all have different definitions. Similarly the people riding run everything from traditional CX to road to endurance/touring. Run what ya brung.
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Old 01-14-18, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
I'm, being pragmatic and realistic. Sorry. It isn't a "confusion" on my part-it is just how the field is ATM.

Bike manufacturers all have different definitions. Similarly the people riding run everything from traditional CX to road to endurance/touring. Run what ya brung.
I posted about someone who won a gravel race on a CX bike. You can ride anything on gravel. But the OP asked what the difference was and I told him. I don't know of any manufactures who market a gravel specific bike and make it with a CX or touring bike geometry.
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Old 01-14-18, 01:20 PM
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I realize that people tend to lump cx, touring bikes into the gravel category, but I will say that what I (and perhaps others also) look for in a gravel bike differs from what we typically get in a cx or touring setup. I think the industry has also realized this in recent years and brought forth more gravel-specific bikes.
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Old 01-14-18, 01:45 PM
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Can you get off the bike pick it up, jump over stuff that if you tried to ride over it, you would break something or crash?
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Old 01-16-18, 09:59 AM
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I posted about someone who won a gravel race on a CX bike. You can ride anything on gravel. But the OP asked what the difference was and I told him. I don't know of any manufactures who market a gravel specific bike and make it with a CX or touring bike geometry.
Look harder, they are out there...

Originally Posted by TruthBomb View Post
Evolved into being overkill for simple gravel roads?

All of my mountain bikes have been overkill for simple gravel road
All my mountain bikes are great on gravel (but not what one would choose for downhill). Some Ergon grips and Aero bars, and they make great enduro gravel bikes.

Last edited by chas58; 01-16-18 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 01-16-18, 10:05 AM
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It’s fun watching people generalize, especially since the bike market has gotten pretty fragmented. There is a lot of overlap, and a lot of extremes. So, you can argue it either way – depending where on the spectrum you tend toward. I’ve owend mountain bikes that are pretty darn similar to gravel bikes (just with flat bars).

There are plenty of CX bikes that are marketed and sold as gravel bikes (maybe with one small change like gearing).

Again, the market is fluid and follows fads. But most new CX designs are longer, lower, and take bigger tires.

And of course, there are plenty of mountain bikes that would make poor gravel bikes - those tend to be more downhill oriented though. Most CX bikes do well as gravel bikes – although they are typically poor at backpacking bikes. It rather depends on where on the spectrum you tend towards.
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Old 01-17-18, 10:53 AM
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What, those nice lugged steel models from the '80s???

Fairly light and responsive (4lb steel or lighter carbon, just like modern bikes), happy on 40-50mm tires, large triangle for bags and water, comfortable for all day riding, happy on gravel. My old MTBs ticks the right boxes. Yeah, the newer drop bar bike is faster for shorter rides, or rides that are more pavement than gravel, but the old MTB is great for longer rides, bikepacking, and going further off the beaten path.

No point in me getting a dedicated gravel or bikepacking bike when my MTB (or even the hybrid) from the '90s do the same thing.

Besides, I do like lugged steel. ;-)
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Old 01-18-18, 05:10 AM
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grav·el
ˈɡravəl/Submit
noun
1.
a loose aggregation of small water-worn or pounded stones.
synonyms: pebbles, stones, grit, aggregate, shingle
"two truckloads of gravel"


grav·el
ˈɡravəl/Submit
noun
1.
a loose aggregation of small water-worn or pounded stones.
synonyms: pebbles, stones, grit, aggregate, shingle
"two truckloads of gravel"
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Old 01-18-18, 05:16 AM
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Anyway... singletrack can be technical and steep enough that a "Gravel Bike" is not going to have the traction or steering control to negotiate the trail. All bikes have overlap where they can both go, but a great singletrack MTB (which does not necessarily have suspension) is going to do the best possible job on tight, windy, steep and slippery little trails.
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Old 01-28-18, 09:01 AM
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Someone has already said it; 'lots of crossover'. My 'gravel' bike is really a CX bike that can take 40's. I like the slightly higher bottom bracket & lower gearing as I often combine gravel with singletrack up in the national forests. In those conditions, one could use either a MTB or gravel bike. But I also ride more traditional 'gravel grinders' which combine country gavel roads with paved. My lighter, low rolling resistance gravel bike has an advantage, but I've seen guys keep up hard-tail MTB as well. Basically: Conditions off pavement vary so widely that one bike can't do it all; but most will do well enough one way or another.
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