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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.

I don't get gravel bikes?

Old 08-18-21, 01:51 PM
  #1  
TheZip
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I don't get gravel bikes?

What am I missing about riding drop bars on gravel? Is it just me or does it just seem like a novelty? It's like it's some new found invention to have clearance for wider tires with a bit of a knob on them... I have a road bike and then I have an older XC Mountain bike. The XC bike has nice knobby tires that rides great on rougher gravely roads and smaller diameter, more efficient tires are just a swap away if needed. It is a rigid frame, so it's very light. The handle bars are wider and more stable, and the gearing goes way lower if things become more of a slog fest. I just can't seem to see where a "gravel bike" would be advantageous.
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Old 08-18-21, 02:00 PM
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For the same reason your mtb with slick tires is not a road bike - primarily the handlebar shape which encourages a more aero position and gives many options for hand positions, which can reduce fatigue. But if you go riding on your mtb with your buddies on gravel bikes and you can't keep up, it's probably not the bike's fault.

But, in general, you are correct - the whole 'category' of gravel bikes is just a minor tweak on existing bikes. Before gravel bikes there were cyclocross and touring bikes... gravel bikes are like a CX and touring bike had a baby. If you like to explore roads with loose surfaces, though, most road bikes from ~10 or 15 years ago are completely inadequate due to extremely limited tire clearance.
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Old 08-18-21, 02:00 PM
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I'll answer your second question - It's just you.
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Old 08-18-21, 02:05 PM
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Sure, you can swap tires. But not halfway through a ride. 20 miles of pavement, 10 miles of dirt, 20 miles of pavement makes for a great ride. And good luck keeping up on the 40 miles of pavement with big knobby tires and a flat bar! road geometry with tires that can take multiple surfaces and a bit of squish is a nice best-of-both-worlds for many. it's just the name that's new really.
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Old 08-18-21, 02:15 PM
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Finally! Was really hoping someone would bring this up.
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Old 08-18-21, 02:26 PM
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Yes this is a new and fresh observation that has never been discussed.
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Old 08-18-21, 02:39 PM
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Old 08-18-21, 02:40 PM
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Well, you have a road bike, so you obviously understand the benefits of drop bars. It carries over to riding offroad for many folks.
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Old 08-18-21, 02:44 PM
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And the great thing is, nobody will put a popsicle to your head and force you to buy one.
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Old 08-18-21, 03:25 PM
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This sub forum was due for another one of these quarterly posts.

Imagine if we all rode the same 4 or 5 bikes and we lived in a vacuum of choice.
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Old 08-18-21, 04:19 PM
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Every bike is a compromise. A gravel bike is just a slightly different set of compromises than a road bike or a MTB.
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Old 08-18-21, 05:35 PM
  #12  
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The local Wednesday night gravel worlds has about an even split between people riding mountain bikes and people riding drop bar gravel bikes. So in practice, a lot of people agree with the OP. And also, just ride what you want. No need to seek affirmation from the people that do get why one might want to ride a drop bar gravel bike. I certainly am not going to try to convince you.

On edit: the people on mtb never win the sprint at the end, so there's that.
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Old 08-19-21, 05:14 AM
  #13  
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Some of us enjoy the challenge of being "underbiked". It's not for you. Move on.
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Old 08-19-21, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by TheZip View Post
What am I missing about riding drop bars on gravel? Is it just me or does it just seem like a novelty? It's like it's some new found invention to have clearance for wider tires with a bit of a knob on them... I have a road bike and then I have an older XC Mountain bike. The XC bike has nice knobby tires that rides great on rougher gravely roads and smaller diameter, more efficient tires are just a swap away if needed. It is a rigid frame, so it's very light. The handle bars are wider and more stable, and the gearing goes way lower if things become more of a slog fest. I just can't seem to see where a "gravel bike" would be advantageous.
Let me do the math for you.

N + 1
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Old 08-19-21, 07:05 AM
  #15  
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Let me do the math for you.

N + 1
My math shows N-1. I don't need a road bike or urban bike, or a mountain bike or a cross bike. I still need a velodrome bike and a bike with suspension, but those two aren't getting ridden much.

The road, mountain, and urban bike have been collecting dust. So I guess that makes it N-2
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Old 08-19-21, 07:22 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
My math shows N-1. I don't need a road bike or urban bike, or a mountain bike or a cross bike. I still need a velodrome bike and a bike with suspension, but those two aren't getting ridden much.

The road, mountain, and urban bike have been collecting dust. So I guess that makes it N-2
Let me put it into words. "Honey, my road bike has skinny tires and I am going to crash on gravel and if I use my mountain bike, it will take months of PT to rid the palsy"

Many riders want lots of bikes and companies oblige that "need"
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Old 08-19-21, 02:37 PM
  #17  
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Well, OP has squatted and moved along. Maybe he'll drop a companion in Ebikes....
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Old 08-19-21, 02:46 PM
  #18  
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I found out decades ago that I don't like to ride distance on flat bars. I'm good for 10 - 12 miles. I'm much more comfortable on drop bars as there are many more positions for my hands. My gravel bike allows 45mm tires thus and at much lower tire pressures than what I run on my skinny tired road bike, is more comfortable on dirt roads. and a 45mm tire isn't that terrible on the shorter segments of pavement I might do as part of a gravel oriented ride. It's just a good in-between alternate to a mt. bike or road bike.
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Old 08-19-21, 05:54 PM
  #19  
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If you like riding all sorts of terrain a road bike is perfect for the road and small gravel stretches, and a mountain bike is perfect for single track and typical trail riding. The latter can be ridden on gravel without any issue and people do it all the time. Most gravel bikes, with 40mm+ tires are ‘good’ on most surfaces but not great on anything. If I owned only one bike it would be a gravel bike.
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Old 08-20-21, 07:36 AM
  #20  
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Gravel riding has evolved into an elitist snob activity which requires taking out a mortgage to finance purchasing all types of special "gravel specific equipment, clothing and items "...It's not about the challenge and enjoyment., it's become a fashion show for the newest " gravel specific trends " .
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Old 08-20-21, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Gravel riding has evolved into an elitist snob activity which requires taking out a mortgage to finance purchasing all types of special "gravel specific equipment, clothing and items "...It's not about the challenge and enjoyment., it's become a fashion show for the newest " gravel specific trends " .
Truer words have forever been spoken. Congrats. You've actually topped the OP at his/her own game.

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Old 08-20-21, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Gravel riding has evolved into an elitist snob activity which requires taking out a mortgage to finance purchasing all types of special "gravel specific equipment, clothing and items "...It's not about the challenge and enjoyment., it's become a fashion show for the newest " gravel specific trends " .
You have a consistent dislike/negative approach to the word 'gravel'. Its so comically extreme that I actually remember from the last generalized rant you went on.

Gravel riding is as expensive or as inexpensive as you want to make it. Just like every other hobby and just like every other genre of cycling, it offers products that vary in quality and price. It is no more or less snobby than it was last year or 5 years or 10 years ago. That is just your uninformed perception, based on the fact that brands now market to the genre. You seem to rely on marketing as reality.

I was in a gravel race 2 weeks ago. There were riders from a local high level amateur team, riders on $4000 gravel bikes, riders on $1500 aluminum gravel bikes, a guy on a bikes direct motobecane fat bike, a few single speed gravel riders, etc etc. The equipment was wide ranging. Some were in boutique kit, many were in jerseys from various rides they have done(so a basic Primal jesey), and quite a few women were in active tank tops.

I went for a 40mi mixed ride yesterday and coming the other direction at one point were a couple of good riders from a different local team. They were in their team kit, as always, just like when they are on the road or when they race cross. Same kit for all of it- hardly elitist snob level. Both were on relatively new gravel bikes that cost the same as relatively new road bikes or relatively new mountain bikes.


Get over your irrational hate. You are being led to a conclusion due to lack of experience and what media you consume.
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Old 08-20-21, 08:13 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
You have a consistent dislike/negative approach to the word 'gravel'. Its so comically extreme that I actually remember from the last generalized rant you went on.

Gravel riding is as expensive or as inexpensive as you want to make it. Just like every other hobby and just like every other genre of cycling, it offers products that vary in quality and price. It is no more or less snobby than it was last year or 5 years or 10 years ago. That is just your uninformed perception, based on the fact that brands now market to the genre. You seem to rely on marketing as reality.

I was in a gravel race 2 weeks ago. There were riders from a local high level amateur team, riders on $4000 gravel bikes, riders on $1500 aluminum gravel bikes, a guy on a bikes direct motobecane fat bike, a few single speed gravel riders, etc etc. The equipment was wide ranging. Some were in boutique kit, many were in jerseys from various rides they have done(so a basic Primal jesey), and quite a few women were in active tank tops.

I went for a 40mi mixed ride yesterday and coming the other direction at one point were a couple of good riders from a different local team. They were in their team kit, as always, just like when they are on the road or when they race cross. Same kit for all of it- hardly elitist snob level. Both were on relatively new gravel bikes that cost the same as relatively new road bikes or relatively new mountain bikes.


Get over your irrational hate. You are being led to a conclusion due to lack of experience and what media you consume.
I love riding gravel roads, it's actually my favorite form of riding besides mountain biking, what I dislike is all the marketing BS associated with this particular activity....Lack of experience ???....I converted two of my rigid forked MTBs to drop bars and started riding gravel way back in 2009, long before it became trendy. It's 2021 now so that gives me 11 years of experience of riding gravel and I know exactly what I need....I refuse to buy into all the marketing BS that's out there.
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Old 08-20-21, 08:27 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I love riding gravel roads, it's actually my favorite form of riding besides mountain biking, what I dislike is all the marketing BS associated with this particular activity....Lack of experience ???....I converted two of my rigid forked MTBs to drop bars and started riding gravel way back in 2009, long before it became trendy. It's 2021 now so that gives me 11 years of experience of riding gravel and I know exactly what I need....I refuse to buy into all the marketing BS that's out there.
Ok, allow me to adjust my prior comment.

Get over your irrational hate. You are being led to a conclusion due thinking reality is based on what media you consume.

There ya go, accurate now.
Its awesome that you know what you need. Thats the case with a lot of cyclists- they know what they need and buy accordingly. That doesnt mean their genre/discipline is elitist snobbery just because brands market their products to a different audience.
Please tell me you can see this exact same thing with road cycling, mountain biking, triathlons, etc. It is absolutely no different- brands market an image, but that doesnt mean the entire genre is actually that image.
You have to be able to know marketing /= reality. If marketing was reality, then me buying a 6 pack of bud light back in college would have started a pool party.
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Old 08-20-21, 08:29 AM
  #25  
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I don't think anyone is being forced to buy into any marketing that's out there. It's just marketing. It's been around a while and it ain't going away. How one perceives it and reacts to it is the only thing one can control.
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