Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational)
Reload this Page >

How different is your position between your gravel bike and road bike?

Notices
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 different is your position between your gravel bike and road bike?

Old 04-12-21, 09:25 AM
  #1  
Phatman
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: NC
Posts: 3,511
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 64 Post(s)
Liked 48 Times in 20 Posts
How different is your position between your gravel bike and road bike?

Obviously this thread is for people that have both and road bike and a gravel bike. If you've only got one, you don't need to respond that the setup is exactly the same.

Anyways, I'm fortunate enough to have both types of bikes, and I have a weird issue where I have a bit of trouble switching between bikes. I feel uncoordinated, my pedal stroke feels sloppy and my knees bug me for the first couple rides on each one. If I ride one exclusively for a week or so, I seem to get used to it and I'm fine, but if I switch back and forth, say, every other ride, I never really get comfortable.

Its weird, because the setups are very similar. The only position differences are 172.5mm cranks vs 175mm on the graveller, and an extra 10mm of stack on the gravel bike. I've adjusted the seat height and setback on the road bike to accommodate the crank length, so at full extension, the seat height should be the same. The pedals/shoes are different too, speedplays vs SPDs, and I've adjusted for the different stack heights. Obviously, the geometries are very different, but where my hands/butt/feet are should be very close to the same.

So should I try to match the cranks? Its the only outlier other than the shoes/pedals, but I'm not putting speedplays on my gravel bike and I don't want to put SPDs on my road bike. It seems weird that the cranks would play such a large factor since they're literally 2.5mm different, but maybe it'll make a difference? I'm well within the height range to use 175mm cranks btw, my inseam is 34 inches.

Last edited by Phatman; 04-12-21 at 09:29 AM.
Phatman is offline  
Old 04-12-21, 09:46 AM
  #2  
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 21,420
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 1,217 Times in 879 Posts
I didn't do a good job of matching positions, but they are pretty much the same. My road bike position is a little too upright. This would be my choice for a gravel position, a little more upright than my road position. Lowering my road bike position is on the list.
unterhausen is offline  
Old 04-12-21, 09:55 AM
  #3  
Badger6
Obsessed with Eddington
 
Badger6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Brussels (BE) 🇧🇪
Posts: 634

Bikes: '15 Spesh Diverge, '14 Spesh Fatboy, '18 Spesh Epic, '18 Spesh SL6, '21 Spesh SL7, '21 Spesh Diverge...and maybe n+1?

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 212 Post(s)
Liked 204 Times in 142 Posts
Originally Posted by Phatman View Post
...I have a weird issue where I have a bit of trouble switching between bikes. I feel uncoordinated, my pedal stroke feels sloppy and my knees bug me for the first couple rides on each one. If I ride one exclusively for a week or so, I seem to get used to it and I'm fine, but if I switch back and forth, say, every other ride, I never really get comfortable.

Its weird, because the setups are very similar. The only position differences are 172.5mm cranks vs 175mm on the graveller, and an extra 10mm of stack on the gravel bike. I've adjusted the seat height and setback on the road bike to accommodate the crank length, so at full extension, the seat height should be the same. The pedals/shoes are different too, speedplays vs SPDs, and I've adjusted for the different stack heights. Obviously, the geometries are very different, but where my hands/butt/feet are should be very close to the same.
So, before I answer question, I'm going to ask: have you ever had a bike fit? One more: have you considered getting a fit for the specific discipline? Bike fit, and position, is different depending on the riding you're doing. You knew that, I'm just reiterating.

Typically, if you use the same crank size on all of your bikes, you just measure from the center of the BB to the top of the saddle, and replicate that on every bike (assuming you also have the saddle at the same position fore/aft to ensure your knees are making the same motion on both bikes). However, with differently sized cranks, I measure from the pedal at the bottom of the stroke to the top of the seat, then I ride it and make small adjustments based on how it feels until (a) I don't feel like as I pedal, I could push my foot lower, and (b) my hips aren't rocking when get to the bottom of the pedal stroke. I suspect that the feeling you are experiencing is because the saddle to pedal distance is just slightly different between the bikes.

My positions, in terms of saddle to bar drop are different on the bikes, too. But, I don't think that's your issue.
Badger6 is offline  
Old 04-12-21, 10:10 AM
  #4  
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 21,420
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 1,217 Times in 879 Posts
I use 170mm cranks on my road bikes and 175mm cranks on my gravel bikes. There is a bigger Q difference, my gravel bike has a very wide crank on it. I can't notice the change between bikes in this regard. My right knee is sensitive to seat height, too low and it swells up to grapefruit size. But I can't imagine 2.5mm making that much difference.
The only thing I would note is that setback wouldn't change with crank length. If you move it back 2.5mm, then your foot is 5mm further forward on the downstroke.
unterhausen is offline  
Old 04-12-21, 10:20 AM
  #5  
mstateglfr 
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 12,582

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '88 Schwinn Premis , Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo

Mentioned: 99 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5283 Post(s)
Liked 2,569 Times in 1,501 Posts
The fit and geometry between my main road bike and my gravel bike are nearly the same.

My gravel bike uses a 90mm stem with 72.5deg head tube angle while my main road bike uses a 100mm stem with 73deg head tube angle. The effective reach is about the same. The gravel bike has a .5degree steeper seat tube, but that difference is negated with saddle position.
The gravel bike bottom bracket drop is a few mm deeper too.
After the slight differences, my hoods are basically in the same place on both bikes because I use 105 hydraulic levers on my gravel bike that are longer than the 6800 Ultegra levers on my main road bike. So ultimately the saddle position is the same, steering is quite similar, and the hoods are in the same spot.


I do have 172.5mm cranks on my gravel bike and 175mm on my main road bike. I dont think twice about that though- neither makes any difference to me and I bought the 172.5mm length because it was new and half the cost.
mstateglfr is offline  
Old 04-12-21, 10:25 AM
  #6  
Steve B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South shore, L.I., NY
Posts: 4,903

Bikes: Flyxii FR322, Cannondale Topstone, Miyata City Liner, Specialized Chisel

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1881 Post(s)
Liked 569 Times in 377 Posts
My carbon "go fast" road bikes h-bar is an inch lower than my gravel. The bar is a 44 standard drop as well, vs. a 46 FSA Adventure bar on the gravel. I like the fit and bar of the gravel better then the road, but can noticbly put more power out on the carbon.
Steve B. is offline  
Old 04-12-21, 11:28 AM
  #7  
shoota 
Senior Member
 
shoota's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Stillwater, OK
Posts: 7,320
Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1475 Post(s)
Liked 285 Times in 208 Posts
My gravel bike is setup with a slightly higher and shorter reach than my road bike.
__________________
2014 Cannondale SuperSix EVO 2
2019 Salsa Warbird
shoota is offline  
Old 04-12-21, 11:43 AM
  #8  
keithdunlop
Senior Member
 
keithdunlop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Posts: 126

Bikes: 1988 Bottecchia Professional (for Eroica), 2011 Ridley Noah ISP (main road bike), 2020 Soma Fog Cutter (gravel and daily commuter), 2021 Ibis Ripmo AF MTB build in progress

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 51 Post(s)
Liked 27 Times in 15 Posts
Originally Posted by shoota View Post
My gravel bike is setup with a slightly higher and shorter reach than my road bike.
This. My gravel bike is setup with 1 cm higher stem height and 1 cm shorter reach than my road bike.
keithdunlop is offline  
Old 04-12-21, 12:18 PM
  #9  
caloso
Senior Member
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 40,065

Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper

Mentioned: 66 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2614 Post(s)
Liked 2,061 Times in 996 Posts
Originally Posted by keithdunlop View Post
This. My gravel bike is setup with 1 cm higher stem height and 1 cm shorter reach than my road bike.
Same.
caloso is offline  
Old 04-12-21, 12:36 PM
  #10  
franswa
Senior Member
 
franswa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: ATX
Posts: 1,735
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 306 Post(s)
Liked 120 Times in 66 Posts
franswa is offline  
Old 04-12-21, 01:23 PM
  #11  
sarhog
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Greer, SC
Posts: 212

Bikes: Canyon Grail, Salsa Cutthroat, Santa Cruz Tallboy

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 118 Post(s)
Liked 142 Times in 71 Posts
This is the difference between my “almost mountain bike” gravel bike and my “almost road bike” gravel bike.

Canyon Grail on left, Salsa Cutthroat on right.
sarhog is offline  
Likes For sarhog:
Old 04-13-21, 07:11 AM
  #12  
Rides4Beer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: SC
Posts: 1,400

Bikes: SuperSix Evo | Revolt

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 702 Post(s)
Liked 750 Times in 392 Posts
Crank length/saddle height are the same for me on both, gravel bike has 40mm higher stack and 15mm less reach, also 42cm bars vs. 38cm bars. No issues when riding either, but def notice the fit difference any time I get back on the gravel bike, feels like driving a Mack truck.
Rides4Beer is offline  
Old 04-13-21, 09:21 AM
  #13  
woodcraft
Senior Member
 
woodcraft's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Nor Cal
Posts: 5,746
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1695 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 753 Times in 460 Posts
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
My carbon "go fast" road bikes h-bar is an inch lower than my gravel. The bar is a 44 standard drop as well, vs. a 46 FSA Adventure bar on the gravel. I like the fit and bar of the gravel better then the road, but can noticbly put more power out on the carbon.

Put out more power, or go faster?
woodcraft is offline  
Old 04-13-21, 11:05 AM
  #14  
dsaul
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 1,896
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 571 Post(s)
Liked 415 Times in 289 Posts
I use the same length cranks on both and my saddle position is the same in relation to the bottom bracket. My gravel bike has wider bars, which are both higher and closer to me than the road bike.
dsaul is offline  
Old 04-13-21, 11:19 AM
  #15  
joesch
Senior Member
 
joesch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Hotel CA / DFW
Posts: 894

Bikes: 83 Colnago Super, 87 50th Daccordi, 79 & 87 Guerciotti's, 90s Colnago Master and Titanio, 96 Serotta Colorado TG, 95/05 Colnago C40/C50, 00 Klein Attitude Comp MTB, 08 Lemond Filmore FG SS, 12 Cervelo R3

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 279 Post(s)
Liked 182 Times in 132 Posts
Originally Posted by sarhog View Post
This is the difference between my “almost mountain bike” gravel bike and my “almost road bike” gravel bike.

Canyon Grail on left, Salsa Cutthroat on right.
Nice combo of choices. A side view would also be helpful.
joesch is offline  
Old 04-13-21, 11:56 AM
  #16  
Moisture
Drip, Drip.
 
Moisture's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 1,014
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 675 Post(s)
Liked 110 Times in 92 Posts
Generally speaking gravel should ideally require a slightly more stretched out feel in terms of the stem length, top tube and reach.

I dont think 2.5mm of crank arm length makes enough of a difference to go through the trouble of changing. Also, changes in crank arm length doesn't necessarily mean you need to adjust saddle height.

I have an inseam of about 34.5 inches, and upgrading from 175mm to 190mm crank arms was quite simply the best decision I ever made for cycling. If you are interested in reading up a little, check out these links:

190mm - 195mm cranks

Moisture's 1986 Olympic Tri-a

190mm crank arms is 21.6% of my 88cm inseam which is the maximum you'd want to go. If I had to do it again, I'd go between 21-21.3% which is 185-187.5mm .

For your situation, id recommend looking into a set of 180mm crank arms on ebay and try it out on one of your bikes to see how it feels. I mainly changed crank arm length due to some minor knee pain while pedalling hard, and im very glad I did.
Moisture is offline  
Old 04-13-21, 12:35 PM
  #17  
Steve B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South shore, L.I., NY
Posts: 4,903

Bikes: Flyxii FR322, Cannondale Topstone, Miyata City Liner, Specialized Chisel

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1881 Post(s)
Liked 569 Times in 377 Posts
Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
Put out more power, or go faster?
Well, both. More power translates to faster. The lower position just feels like I can get more out of my legs.
Steve B. is offline  
Old 04-13-21, 01:00 PM
  #18  
sarhog
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Greer, SC
Posts: 212

Bikes: Canyon Grail, Salsa Cutthroat, Santa Cruz Tallboy

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 118 Post(s)
Liked 142 Times in 71 Posts


Originally Posted by joesch View Post
Nice combo of choices. A side view would also be helpful.
sarhog is offline  
Likes For sarhog:
Old 04-13-21, 01:31 PM
  #19  
Moisture
Drip, Drip.
 
Moisture's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 1,014
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 675 Post(s)
Liked 110 Times in 92 Posts
Also helps with centre of gravity when tackling turns. More so than simple improvement in aero.
Moisture is offline  
Old 04-13-21, 01:33 PM
  #20  
Noonievut
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 609
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 119 Post(s)
Liked 28 Times in 22 Posts
I was trying to match my new gravel bike to my perfect-fit road bike a few months ago. Initially, the reach on the gravel bike was 1-2cm longer (to the hoods) and because I hated that handlebar anyway I got a new one with shorter reach/drop and it got them much closer. Gravel bike has a bit more stack (7mm I believe), and overall the geometry makes the gravel bike feel less stretched out. While this slightly bothered me when I was riding it a lot on roads in the winter, and was about to fiddle more to match them, now that I've been riding the gravel bike on some flowy double track trails it is 100% perfect. If I only used the gravel bike on long gravel roads that were the same as my paved road riding, other than surface, I would try and match. But for the gravel riding I do this bike is just fine.
Noonievut is offline  
Old 04-13-21, 05:09 PM
  #21  
joesch
Senior Member
 
joesch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Hotel CA / DFW
Posts: 894

Bikes: 83 Colnago Super, 87 50th Daccordi, 79 & 87 Guerciotti's, 90s Colnago Master and Titanio, 96 Serotta Colorado TG, 95/05 Colnago C40/C50, 00 Klein Attitude Comp MTB, 08 Lemond Filmore FG SS, 12 Cervelo R3

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 279 Post(s)
Liked 182 Times in 132 Posts
Originally Posted by sarhog View Post

Nice, the first side picture shows a good answer for this position question.
Also see you have a Santa Cruz in the fleet, another great option.
joesch is offline  
Old 04-15-21, 07:18 PM
  #22  
Rolla
Gyro Captain
 
Rolla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 653

Bikes: Sycip, Black Mountain Cycles, Kona, Fairdale, WeThePeople

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 264 Post(s)
Liked 687 Times in 297 Posts
Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Generally speaking gravel should ideally require a slightly more stretched out feel in terms of the stem length, top tube and reach.

For your situation, id recommend looking into a set of 180mm crank arms...
Upon viewing the pics and videos of your bikes and your positioning, I’d caution the OP to take any bike fit recommendations you have to offer with an abundance of caution and skepticism.
Rolla is offline  
Likes For Rolla:
Old 04-16-21, 07:09 AM
  #23  
mstateglfr 
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 12,582

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '88 Schwinn Premis , Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo

Mentioned: 99 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5283 Post(s)
Liked 2,569 Times in 1,501 Posts
Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Generally speaking gravel should ideally require a slightly more stretched out feel in terms of the stem length, top tube and reach.
Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
Upon viewing the pics and videos of your bikes and your positioning, I’d caution the OP to take any bike fit recommendations you have to offer with an abundance of caution and skepticism.
Haha, I missed this the first time around. Wow, this is the opposite of almost everyone who rides and different from most all current bike designs.
I recognize Im in the minority when I have my gravel bike set up nearly the same as my main road bike and even I cant imagine claiming the ideal gravel position is a more stretched out setup with longer stem and reach compared to a road bike.
mstateglfr is offline  
Likes For mstateglfr:
Old 04-16-21, 10:52 AM
  #24  
Cpn_Dunsel
Senior Member
 
Cpn_Dunsel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Southeast USA
Posts: 134

Bikes: FELT Breed 30; SPECIALIZED Chisel Comp; CANNONDALE SR 1000; TREK Cross Rip+; SPECIALIZED Epic Hardtail; SCHWINN Stingray; KONA Unit X; GIANT Advanced Revolt 2; SURLY Ogre, SURLY Karate Monkey

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 89 Post(s)
Liked 86 Times in 44 Posts
https://www.cyclingnews.com/features...more%20upright.
Cpn_Dunsel is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.