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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.

Older CX vs new Gravel bike

Old 04-02-21, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58
I haven't ridden the Colo, but I have test ridden an bought that vintage CX, bikes and bought the newer Canyon (carbon).

wide tires with canti's is a PITA. Disk brakes have opened up a lot of tire options. But my having to deflate a tire to take it on and off is no fun.
Hydraulic brakes are very nice, although in most cases I can lock up the canti's. but the modulation of the newer (hydralic) disks is much better.
Any cross bike is going to have a more aggressive fit and handling, if that is your thing. Some like it, others maybe not.
That vintage bike tends to have narrower tire clearance, and tends to ride much stiffer. A modern cross bike or gravel bike has a much more compliant ride and much more tire clearance.

you mention it has clearance for 38s and a very nice ride, so that knocks two of the complaints off the list. Personally, I can have a lot of fun on an old cross bike (provided its not too stiff, and I can fit my tire of choice on it).
Agree and I did not get that circa 2010 CX C50 since the price was close to a new Canyon (carbon) and more than the AL models. The buyer was also not responsive to questions and the pictures were not good enough for the risk of buying a bike that could have been much loved for a decade. It was a 36@y sale and there was one buyer/bidder who got it. I think a Canyon AL would be nice to have for riding faster uphill on gravel than my hardtail MTB.
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Old 04-02-21, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Toespeas
i gravel bike can be anything , unless you are packing or racing you can use just about any bike you like , convert a hard tail MTB with discs and thrus , add drop bars now u can run any tire size or wheel
True but the cost of convert my hard tail MTB would be better invested in a new AL gravel bike IMO and give me N+1 I also want to keep that vintage Klein original as it was a pretty nice setup for the time, nice for gravel but not so much CX.

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Old 04-02-21, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by joesch
Agree and I did not get that circa 2010 CX C50 since the price was close to a new Canyon (carbon) and more than the AL models. The buyer was also not responsive to questions and the pictures were not good enough for the risk of buying a bike that could have been much loved for a decade. It was a 36@y sale and there was one buyer/bidder who got it. I think a Canyon AL would be nice to have for riding faster uphill on gravel than my hardtail MTB.
Good point. It is insane how much faster my Canyon (inflite carbon) climbs than my hardtails. It feels like it has a motor.

On trails appropriate for bikes without suspension, I sometimes chase mountain bikes. Its tough to keep up with them downhill (obviously), but I can always catch them going up hill - at which time they are so winded they often pull over and let me by.
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Old 04-02-21, 01:52 PM
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I've got a singlespeed CX bike and a 1 X 11 gravel bike. Honestly, I prefer the CX bike on almost any ride of less than 50 miles. It's lighter, steers quicker, seems to accelerate and climb better, and the 35mm Gravelking SKs eat up everything I've thrown at them.
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Old 04-03-21, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolla
I've got a singlespeed CX bike and a 1 X 11 gravel bike. Honestly, I prefer the CX bike on almost any ride of less than 50 miles. It's lighter, steers quicker, seems to accelerate and climb better, and the 35mm Gravelking SKs eat up everything I've thrown at them.
Conti vs Disc brakes ?
Conti & Vbrakes just dont seem to have the stopping power of disc brakes for my setups.
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Old 04-03-21, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by joesch
Conti & Vbrakes just dont seem to have the stopping power of disc brakes for my setups.
The only bike I've got discs on is my mountain bike. The cantis on my CX and gravel bikes just feel like normal stopping power to me. I never even think about it.
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Old 04-03-21, 10:44 AM
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I've got my Crux running at 18lbs, which is fun.
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Old 04-03-21, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft
I've got my Crux running at 18lbs, which is fun.
Its a blast. I love that bike!
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Old 04-03-21, 01:14 PM
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Conti vs Disc brakes ?
Conti & Vbrakes just dont seem to have the stopping power of disc brakes for my setups.
Unless there is something wrong, Canti and v-brakes have plenty of power (well, if your rims are not muddy). lord knows I can lock up any of my brakes.
However, hydraulic brakes (rim or disk) do offer much better modulation.
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Old 04-06-21, 08:54 AM
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I'm on a Crux also, its awesome. Its not particularly old school though with hydraulic discs, through axles, 425mm chainstays and a 65mm BB drop. It does have a nice tidy 72.5 HTA though, so it steers nice and quick.

I think the the biggest thing the OP would notice between an old Colnago and a more modern graveller is the hydraulic brakes--I've got some of the cheapest ones made (SRAM Apex) and they're incredible. They completely blow away the mechanical discs I had on my last bike and they nuke the crap out of the Avid Shortys I had on the cross bike before that. Also, more modern gravel bikes put the front wheel farther out front of the rider, which tends to make the bike feel bigger and more confidence inspiring (less likely to go OTB) on rougher/steeper stuff. Some trickery is then applied to the fork offset to keep the steering quickish, but I wouldn't think that it could completely erase the long wheelbase. I don't have much seat time on the super modern stuff though, so I can't speak to whether the trickery is completely effective.
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Old 04-06-21, 10:18 AM
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I agree that the biggest difference here would be the brakes.

I have a bike with GRX800 hydro and another with Avid Shorty Ultimate cantilevers. There is no comparison in terms of performance, discs blow even the best canti brakes away. The difference on bone dry aluminum rims and flat roads may be minor, but throw in carbon and/or any kind of moisture, dirt, mud, etc or long/fast descents and there is really no argument to me.

This is not to say that a cantilever CX bike is bad. I own one and will continue to ride it for years. I love how lightweight it is, and relatively simple to work on, etc. There's some nostalgia to canti's as well, and within the confines of a CX course I think there's an argument to me made that canti's are still very capable, and actually force me to brake more smoothly and hold more speed through corners than I might on discs.

But for gravel? No way do I want to be on rim brakes for that. When I'm coming down a rocky/muddy/wet trail or bombing down a fast fire road, splashing through puddles, etc I want to know that I can slow/stop with minimal effort and drama every time.
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Old 04-06-21, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la
I agree that the biggest difference here would be the brakes.

I have a bike with GRX800 hydro and another with Avid Shorty Ultimate cantilevers. There is no comparison in terms of performance, discs blow even the best canti brakes away. The difference on bone dry aluminum rims and flat roads may be minor, but throw in carbon and/or any kind of moisture, dirt, mud, etc or long/fast descents and there is really no argument to me.

This is not to say that a cantilever CX bike is bad. I own one and will continue to ride it for years. I love how lightweight it is, and relatively simple to work on, etc. There's some nostalgia to canti's as well, and within the confines of a CX course I think there's an argument to me made that canti's are still very capable, and actually force me to brake more smoothly and hold more speed through corners than I might on discs.

But for gravel? No way do I want to be on rim brakes for that. When I'm coming down a rocky/muddy/wet trail or bombing down a fast fire road, splashing through puddles, etc I want to know that I can slow/stop with minimal effort and drama every time.
Good point.
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Old 04-06-21, 12:02 PM
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I have a Macho Man Disc and their excuse for the wonky geometry was that it's a CX racing bike. Which is ridiculous, don't try to shoulder the thing and run over a barrier, you'll trip due to the weight.

It has rack mounts and not fender mounts. The LBS had a full size run of them and I think most of them were sold on clearance. It does fit decent size tires though.
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Old 04-06-21, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la
I agree that the biggest difference here would be the brakes.

I have a bike with GRX800 hydro and another with Avid Shorty Ultimate cantilevers. There is no comparison in terms of performance, discs blow even the best canti brakes away. The difference on bone dry aluminum rims and flat roads may be minor, but throw in carbon and/or any kind of moisture, dirt, mud, etc or long/fast descents and there is really no argument to me.

This is not to say that a cantilever CX bike is bad. I own one and will continue to ride it for years. I love how lightweight it is, and relatively simple to work on, etc. There's some nostalgia to canti's as well, and within the confines of a CX course I think there's an argument to me made that canti's are still very capable, and actually force me to brake more smoothly and hold more speed through corners than I might on discs.

But for gravel? No way do I want to be on rim brakes for that. When I'm coming down a rocky/muddy/wet trail or bombing down a fast fire road, splashing through puddles, etc I want to know that I can slow/stop with minimal effort and drama every time.
Man, you had better experiences with cantis than I ever did. Mine shuddered like crazy because my fork flexed, and I found that open pros on a bumpy cross course did not love staying in true, so I either had to run my pads way off the rim or just deal with rubbing. Or, well, true my wheels every ride/race. I put mini-Vs on for about 20 minutes, but I never could get them dialed in right and ditched the whole setup for a disc brake bike.
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Old 04-06-21, 01:33 PM
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I would love to pick up an older canti caad-x some day. That being said, I am thankful my 'cross bike can fit 700x45mm tires. I don't believe many 'cross bikes do fit big tires. Which is a shame. I love the handling of a CX bike and wouldn't want anything more "relaxed".

Is the "gravel" market killing the 'cross bike? I know Giant has paired down their TCX offerings significantly.
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Old 04-07-21, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Hmmm

Is the "gravel" market killing the 'cross bike? I know Giant has paired down their TCX offerings significantly.
Yes, a bit.

I don't think gravel is killing the cyclocross market completely, but I do think we will see entry level/alloy CX bikes disappear, and carbon CX bikes will become more and more race-specific, and less "do-it-all / race on sunday, commute on monday". Take Cannondale for example. A few years ago they offered the CAADX with a variety of drivetrains including SRAM Apex and Rival 1x11 setups and a Shimano 105 2x11. I think they used to even offer an Ultegra CAADX. Currently they only have one build:
  • GRX400 2x10 speed with hydro discs for $1850.
For comparison, they currently have 3 builds of the Alloy Topstone:
  • GRX800 2x11 speed with hydro discs for $2150
  • Sora 2x9 speed with mechanical discs for $1500
  • Microshift 1x10 speed with mechanical discs for $1250
It's not hard to imagine Cannondale killing off the CAADX entirely and just offering similar build on the Topstone for $1850. The alloy Topstone is still an excellent bike for entry-level CX racing, and is better suited for the "all around super commuter do it all" market. The only reason to choose a CAADX over it is if you really like that specific geometry, or are looking for a cheap bike to race CX with (and even then the 2x10 drivetrain isn't ideal for CX racing).

The comparison continues between the carbon frame offerings. Over the last 2-3 years they sold the SuperX with 1x11 Rival, mechanical Force, Force AXS eTap, plus they had a GRX version. They currently have 3 builds of this bike:
  • Basic race version with GRX800 1x11, SI crank for $3150
  • Gravel version with GRX800 2x11, HG crank, carbon seatpost and 40c tires for $4300
  • Ultimate race version with Force AXS eTap, carbon wheels, carbon seatpost/bars for $7050
Meanwhile they've got 5 builds of the Carbon Topstone:
  • 105 2x11 for $2750
  • GRX800 2x11 for $3200
  • GRX800 2x11 with carbon wheels, HG crank, etc for $4600
  • GRX800 2x11 with lefty suspension fork for $4250
  • Force/Eagle AXS with lefty fork, carbon wheels, HG crank, etc for $8500
I have no idea who's buying that $4300 SuperX with 2x drivetrain and 40mm tires, when you can get the same drivetrain in a Topstone for $3200, or spend $300 more and get the $4600 version with carbon wheels, HG crank, carbon seatpost, etc. Maybe there are CX racers who still really want 2x and maybe there are gravel riders who really just prefer the CX geometry, but it will not surprise me at all if in the next few years Cannondale is only selling two versions of the SuperX, a basic and an ultimate build, and the Topstone swallows the rest up.
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Old 04-07-21, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Phatman
Man, you had better experiences with cantis than I ever did. Mine shuddered like crazy because my fork flexed, and I found that open pros on a bumpy cross course did not love staying in true, so I either had to run my pads way off the rim or just deal with rubbing. Or, well, true my wheels every ride/race. I put mini-Vs on for about 20 minutes, but I never could get them dialed in right and ditched the whole setup for a disc brake bike.
I had crazy fork judder with the stock Tektro canti brakes on my bike. I actually switched to mini-v's for a while and it completely eliminated that problem, but the pads had to be super close to the rims, the modulation was awful, and they easily clog with mud. I eventually ditched them for Avid Shorty Ultimates, which only seem to cause very slight fork judder and otherwise work much better, and are easy to adjust.

I have a set of carbon clinchers on that bike as well. The braking is decent in dry weather. If the rims are wet it's non-existent. I run alloy tubulars for racing, so it is a lot better on those.
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Old 04-10-21, 01:09 PM
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I found an '82 Gazelle Champion Mondial CX frame and modernized it a bit to suit. This was after my son took over the Stigmata.

Biggest tires that fit are true 35mm (Bon Jon, not Barlow as first mentioned!), and they are tight. The geo is aggressive by any standard. I ride 62cm sized frames and this is the only bike I've ever had with toe overlap! The high BB got something to do with this, but still. It is very fun to ride; super quick without being twitchy and efficient feeling on long smooth stretches. Great uphill. Steep front end with an unfashionably long wheel base? Obviously the northern Europeans knew how to braze up a cyclocross frame, but this one is pretty spectacular.

Not missing the Stig.

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Old 04-12-21, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen
I found an '82 Gazelle Champion Mondial CX frame and modernized it a bit to suit. This was after my son took over the Stigmata.

Biggest tires that fit are true 35mm (Barlow Pass), and they are tight. The geo is aggressive by any standard. I ride 62cm sized frames and this is the only bike I've ever had with toe overlap! The high BB got something to do with this, but still. It is very fun to ride; super quick without being twitchy and efficient feeling on long smooth stretches. Great uphill. Steep front end with an unfashionably long wheel base? Obviously the northern Europeans knew how to braze up a cyclocross frame, but this one is pretty spectacular.

Not missing the Stig.
Let's see a photo!
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Old 04-12-21, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Hmmm
Let's see a photo!
Sure:
These tires are 38's I believe. The rear was rubbing the chainstays even after I took an angle grinder to the side knobs. But the Barlow Pass ones fit.


Here's the current iteration. Herse tires installed, Cinelli bar/stem switched out for some generic modern stuff, and the Dia Compe brakes gone. The seat post is an unfluted last gen Super Record from my parts display box. It's pretty rare and bringing it back from retirement might not be the wisest decision, lol.

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Old 04-14-21, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen
Here's the current iteration. Herse tires installed, Cinelli bar/stem switched out for some generic modern stuff, and the Dia Compe brakes gone. The seat post is an unfluted last gen Super Record from my parts display box. It's pretty rare and bringing it back from retirement might not be the wisest decision, lol.
Ahh it's beautiful. I just modernized a CAAD3 and I have caught vintage/modern bug. Really cool build. I would get my hands on a vintage 'cross frame.

By loosing affordable entry level 'cross bikes to gravel bikes, as consumers I think we are loosing a great N+1 killer. Is it going to be missed? Probably not. Many on these boards think to go off road on a drop bar bike it needs to say "gravel" next to it. Who knows, pretty soon there will be "gravel race" and "gravel endurance" geo that will have everyone buying up cx geo "gravel" bikes.

I hope that 'cross race organizers can capitalize on the "gravel" craze and bill their races as under an hour gravel races. I know in my experience at lower division races nobody cares what bike or what tires you have. Has anyone seen a bump in cx participation in their areas as gravel has grown?

I love 'cross and gravel equally and think that they are essentially the same thing aside from a few dismounts. I get frustrated with industry marketing separating every little category of bikes and people believing they need a bike for every little variation of terrain and riding style. I understand it, but am frustrated by it.

rant over.
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Old 04-14-21, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Hmmm
I hope that 'cross race organizers can capitalize on the "gravel" craze and bill their races as under an hour gravel races.
This seems unlikely to me. Cross and gravel are two very different things. Which brings me to point two:

I love 'cross and gravel equally and think that they are essentially the same thing aside from a few dismounts.
What? You're doing some very different cross racing and gravel events than me. These two disciplines are polar opposites. For cross: 1 hour of very intense, staccato riding on prepared track with very tight corners, no bottles, no stopping etc. Gravel: many hour endurance, constant effort rides on wide, straight gravel roads carrying all the gear you need to self-support. Cross bikes are generally very racy and stripped down with twitchy handling and aggressive positions. Gravel bikes are generally touring-bike relaxed, have tons of bosses for mounting stuff, have much more stability and offer more upright positions.
I get frustrated with industry marketing separating every little category of bikes and people believing they need a bike for every little variation of terrain and riding style.
Why? People say this all the time and I don't get it. No one truly "needs" to have a hyper-specialized bike for every purpose, but whats wrong with more options? I'd argue that we live in a golden age where bikes tuned for specific uses that would have required a custom build a few years ago are now widely available. This is great.
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Old 04-15-21, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11
These two disciplines are polar opposites.

Maybe we interpret the styles of riding differently? I honestly don't see much difference between the two. I ride gravel in the spring and summer and hop in a few 'cross races in the fall. I would recommend 'cross to anyone who loves gravel. If your region has a decent scene weekend races throughout the fall are super accessible. They are mini gravel races. Genius. I would hate for anyone that buys a "gravel" bike to think they are not well equipped enough or welcome to participated in a CX race (mini gravel race).


Here is a practice lap of a race I participated in this fall. I absolutely love riding gravel, and this felt like a mini gravel race, sure it gets technical but hey it's fun! :


Originally Posted by Hiro11
Cross bikes are generally very racy and stripped down with twitchy handling and aggressive positions. Gravel bikes are generally touring-bike relaxed, have tons of bosses for mounting stuff, have much more stability and offer more upright positions. Why? People say this all the time and I don't get it.

Just a few years ago DK was raced by professionals on TCX's and Super X's, - as well as years and years before. Only recently have people been riding bikes marketed as "gravel". This fall professionals raced 'cross on the Cervelo Aspero.


Originally Posted by Hiro11
No one truly "needs" to have a hyper-specialized bike for every purpose, but whats wrong with more options? I'd argue that we live in a golden age where bikes tuned for specific uses that would have required a custom build a few years ago are now widely available. This is great.
Hey, I get it. My TCX has an Apex 1x group with a 40t and an 11-42. More of a "gravel" groupset than 'cross. I run 700x45 WTB Riddlers. I love options. I hate the industry selling us the idea that a bike is for one specific purpose. It's not inclusive telling someone that has a 'cross bike that it's not good enough for gravel, and same goes for someone with a gravel bike that is interested in 'cross.

But hey, bike brands need to make money and a great way they do that is telling you that your bike is not good enough.

Last edited by Hmmm; 04-15-21 at 08:12 AM.
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Old 04-15-21, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Hmmm
Maybe we interpret the styles of riding differently? I honestly don't see much difference between the two.
Ah, location = Paris. Got it.

Here's what gravel riding looks like here in Illinois:

40 miles west of Chicago, you can easily do 100 miles of roads like this and rarely touch pavement. Gravel events here are on roads like you see here. I suspect this is not the case in Paris. This is the context of my comments.

Last edited by Hiro11; 04-15-21 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 04-16-21, 07:48 AM
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Ahhh makes sense now. Thanks for the context. Looks like we are both on very different terrain. But hey! That's what makes this type of cycling so fun. The range of terrain these CX and Gravel bikes ride, and ride well, is really impressive.

Here's a short quick video from a ride with a good sampling of the terrain close to the city. This is the only real gravel riding I know so a bike that handles quickly is perfect.

https://vimeo.com/336962329

For Paris and the surrounding areas It takes a bit of planning and route knowledge to put together something super long like you have above. I would love to hit some roads like you have above! Looks great!
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