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Converted road bike or new gravel-specific bike?

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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.

Converted road bike or new gravel-specific bike?

Old 10-14-18, 07:48 AM
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Converted road bike or new gravel-specific bike?

After getting a new TCR a few months ago, I decided to convert my disc-brake, endurance-geometry road bike to a 650b gravel bike. It's incredibly fun to ride - it's light, so it climbs well, and is pretty nimble.

But...part of me wonders if I should get a proper, gravel-specific bike, given that I've been bitten pretty hard by the gravel bug. I worry a little that I'm risking damage to a nice carbon frame. I'm running 650b x 38mm tires, which leaves very little daylight between them and the fork/chainstays/seatstays. I haven't caught any big rocks yet, but I'm wondering if that's just waiting to happen. I try to avoid super muddy conditions, but when the mud is unavoidable, there's a risk of really gumming up the narrow fork. I also lost about 1cm of bottom bracket height, which isn't a lot, but I do get some pedal strikes (mostly when I'm pushing the limits of what you'd ride with a gravel bike).

Just looking for advice here. If I'm going to keep at gravel riding, is it best to sell the endurance bike (while it's still in good condition) and get a true gravel bike (or frame)? Would there be enough advantages to be worth switching, when I've got a light, nimble carbon bike that rides great?
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Old 10-14-18, 08:07 AM
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My first gravel bike (really a cross bike) just barely fit a 35mm in the back. For recreational solo riding where I could turn around or reroute if the gravel was too bad, and just plain stay home if it was muddy, it did fine. Once I started doing group rides and races where I didnít have control of roads/weather, it was a hindrance and I eventually upgraded to something with better clearance. Something to think about...
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Old 10-14-18, 08:20 AM
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There will always be someone saying that you need another bike. I agree, you need another bike, because well...bikes!

Seriously though, I think that doing the wheel swap was a smart idea. Most bikes are way more capable than people think or give them credit for. Carbon is way more durable than people think. It's ability to flex & bend to absorb low frequency loads (not high impact shock) is a design feature making it very suited to most conditions. I wouldn't think twice about running a road bike on gravel. They are afterall purpose built to have world class racers flog them on the cobblestones of France.

Only you can be the judge if the tire clearance you have is enough, but there is nothing stopping you from running 35's &/or placing a vinyl sticker at the abrasion risk points on the fork & stays.
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Old 10-14-18, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr_Crankypants
After getting a new TCR a few months ago, I decided to convert my disc-brake, endurance-geometry road bike to a 650b gravel bike. It's incredibly fun to ride - it's light, so it climbs well, and is pretty nimble.

But...part of me wonders if I should get a proper, gravel-specific bike, given that I've been bitten pretty hard by the gravel bug. I worry a little that I'm risking damage to a nice carbon frame. I'm running 650b x 38mm tires, which leaves very little daylight between them and the fork/chainstays/seatstays. I haven't caught any big rocks yet, but I'm wondering if that's just waiting to happen. I try to avoid super muddy conditions, but when the mud is unavoidable, there's a risk of really gumming up the narrow fork. I also lost about 1cm of bottom bracket height, which isn't a lot, but I do get some pedal strikes (mostly when I'm pushing the limits of what you'd ride with a gravel bike).

Just looking for advice here. If I'm going to keep at gravel riding, is it best to sell the endurance bike (while it's still in good condition) and get a true gravel bike (or frame)? Would there be enough advantages to be worth switching, when I've got a light, nimble carbon bike that rides great?
Definitely keep what you have. Maybe add a gravel bike if you are worried about frame damage. But keep your great riding bike that is " light, nimble carbon bike that rides great?" . And "It's incredibly fun to ride - it's light, so it climbs well, and is pretty nimble.".
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Old 10-16-18, 04:45 AM
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Can we see a photo of this TCR with 650b?
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Old 10-16-18, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Hmmm
Can we see a photo of this TCR with 650b?
you are going to be disappointed. He converted his endurance geometry road bike, not his TCR.
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Old 10-16-18, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr_Crankypants

Just looking for advice here. If I'm going to keep at gravel riding, is it best to sell the endurance bike (while it's still in good condition) and get a true gravel bike (or frame)? Would there be enough advantages to be worth switching, when I've got a light, nimble carbon bike that rides great?
Part of what makes it really light and nimble is the fact you are on 650x38.

yet that tire size is also the downfall too, and apparently lack of clearance. All depends on how you ride, where you ride. I think there would be advantages to swapping to a Carbon gravel bike. Niner RDO, 2019 Revolt Advanced, warbird v4, even some cyclocross bikes, Superx, TCX.

you're not going to hurt that carbon frame you are riding other than it's image.
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Old 10-16-18, 05:40 PM
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Buy a fork with more clearance and ride it.
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Old 10-17-18, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Metieval
you are going to be disappointed. He converted his endurance geometry road bike, not his TCR.
Hahahah. Ok, now I realise I misread. I would be disappointed.
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Old 10-17-18, 03:41 AM
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Still in for a picture of converted road bike. I was going to convert my TCR to light gravel duty but I think I've decided to go the dedicated bike route instead.
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Old 10-17-18, 08:46 AM
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Thanks for all the advice, everyone!

My takeaway from here is that I'll keep riding this bike on my gravel rides, which are generally mixed tarmac/gravel anyway. I'll look into getting some frame stickers to protect the fork/stays against scratches and dings - thanks for that suggestion. At some point in the future, I will look into getting a true gravel bike frame that takes 700c or 650b (when I've got a spare $2K to drop on my next big bike purchase...).
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