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How do you define "gravel 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 : "Unbround Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

How do you define "gravel bike"?

Old 10-22-19, 04:23 PM
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thehammerdog
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How do you define "gravel bike"?

Is it simply the size of a tire? If so where does a gravel ready bike begin? I have a 35mm smoothish tire for rail trail stuff and it i working great for my 50% on road on trail riding. IS there any standard definition? or is it a state of mind?
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Old 10-22-19, 04:36 PM
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HTupolev
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A gravel bike is a bike with a frame made out of gravel.
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Old 10-22-19, 05:43 PM
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rando_couche
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A gravel bike is a bike ridden on gravel roads. For instance, my Mondia Special, back in the mid 70's.
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Old 10-22-19, 05:58 PM
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katsup
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Another name for a hybrid bike, often with drop bars.
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Old 10-22-19, 06:04 PM
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rosefarts
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
Is it simply the size of a tire? If so where does a gravel ready bike begin? I have a 35mm smoothish tire for rail trail stuff and it i working great for my 50% on road on trail riding. IS there any standard definition? or is it a state of mind?
It's all over the place.

Are you doing gravel races? Bike packing? Almost mountain biking? Road riding with a few shortcuts? Washboards? Massive climbs? 200 miles of flat?

It literally all fits in the space somewhere.

Get a bike that can go where you need it to go.
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Old 10-22-19, 06:55 PM
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I think a gravel bike is basically an endurance frame road bike with off-road tires.
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Old 10-22-19, 06:57 PM
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Yes, it is a bike you ride on gravel. Itís a vaguely defined category...most would agree that itís a bike with drop bars and big tire clearance, but beyond that, just about every feature you could add or remove makes the bike better suited for some people/situations and less so for others.
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Old 10-22-19, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
IS there any standard definition? or is it a state of mind?
No there isnt a standard definition as what one person views as an ideal gravel bike may be underspec'd or overkill for another person.

No it isn't a state of mind because it's an actual activity and not an idea...though I think some people think it is a state of mind, based on how they post vs actually ride.

A lot seem to ride hardtack dirt and call it gravel.
A lot seem to ride wide open desert singletrack and call it gravel.
A lot ride gravel and call it gravel.

Its obviously a catch-all term.
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Old 10-23-19, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Meech33 View Post
I think a gravel bike is basically an endurance frame road bike with off-road tires.
This is where it started, but it has become so much more. Heavy duty road bike has since become a light duty MTB and blurred every line in between.

Call it whatever you like, but somewhere between the paved roads and hard core MTB trails lies the true meaning of gravel.
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Old 10-23-19, 03:42 AM
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Hmmm
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Originally Posted by Meech33 View Post
I think a gravel bike is basically an endurance frame road bike with off-road tires.
Don't forget CX bikes! They are not endurance frames!
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Old 10-23-19, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Hmmm View Post
Don't forget CX bikes! They are not endurance frames!
They're not gravel, they're CX!

But that's what I tell anyone who asks about my Revolt, that it's basically an endurance geometry bike with clearance for big tires (of course the geo is a lil diff from the Defy, which is their endurance bike, but it's a good enough description for most people lol).
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Old 10-28-19, 02:03 PM
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I personally think of it as riding distance off road, and the ideal bike for that will allow for larger tires, be (relatively) light weight, engineered to be sturdier than a road bike, and have geometry that errs on the side of comfort. After that it's up to the individual and the terrain to dictate the specifics of a bike that best suits their "gravel" needs.
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Old 10-28-19, 02:40 PM
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Although I am no leading authority on the subject I consider a gravel bike to be a drop bar bike with medium to wide tires that can ride on pavement and unpaved surfaces, trails, paths, grass, gravel, and fire roads with equal authority. Similar to what early mountain bikes were before they had 2’ of remote lockable suspension travel meant for bombing down hills over boulders and over logs.
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Old 10-28-19, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
Is it simply the size of a tire? If so where does a gravel ready bike begin? I have a 35mm smoothish tire for rail trail stuff and it i working great for my 50% on road on trail riding. IS there any standard definition? or is it a state of mind?
True gravel bikes have tires 36mm or larger.

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Old 10-28-19, 03:48 PM
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rando_couche
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
Another name for a hybrid bike, often with drop bars.
UmmmmÖ.. No.
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Old 10-28-19, 06:52 PM
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An endurance version of a CX bike is fair enough.

To me a gravel bike is not just a bike ridden on gravel roads because by that calculation, my fat bike is a road bike when I ride it on pavement and that's just silly. A gravel bike is a bike optimized for riding on gravel roads. Wider tires to roll well over rougher surfaces, drop bars to cover long distances efficiently and comfortably, plus gearing on the wide end of the road spectrum to handle often steeper hills and surfaces that don't roll as well as pavement.
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Old 11-01-19, 08:03 PM
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FWIW I consider both my drop bar 1x11 Kona Rove ST (with WTB Venture tires) and my singlespeed, sometimes flat bar, sometimes drop bar Surly Cross Check(with Knards) to be "gravel" bikes, or..."adventure" bikes. The Rove fits the definition more clearly I suppose but they both do double duty on pavement and dirt--I consider them both "go anywhere" bikes.
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Old 11-10-19, 09:29 PM
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But the gravel bikes I've seen have had skinnier tires than the 50mm Schwalbe Supremes I have on my Fargo... It will have to be my gravel bike because I'm not buying another bike. I think it's a marketing term. Doesn't mean I don't want one but I won't buy one even if I decide to start entering some of those races.
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Old 11-29-19, 06:08 PM
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Well, I don't know what gravel bikes are, but in looking for "road plus" info - a term I just heard about yesterday - I'm wondering what the difference is between gravel bikes and road-plus bikes. What is the difference? Also, what forum on this site should I go for discussion of road-plus?
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Old 11-29-19, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Road Plus was a specific creation of WTB and is well explained on their website: https://www.wtb.com/collections/road-plus
That's helpful, thanks. Would a bike utilizing that system fall under Gravel Bikes? If not, what are the differences which set Road Plus and Gravel Bike apart from each other?
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Old 11-30-19, 09:16 AM
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"Gravel" seems to be an umbrella term for any bike that can travel on unpaved and unimproved roads at a higher consistent rate of speed than, say, a dedicated "mountain" bike .
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