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Gravel bike as all-around 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.

Gravel bike as all-around bike?

Old 10-22-21, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58

I think for you, the question is, #1 - does the bike fit? #2 what size tires do you need. Lord knows, in the last year or two a "gravel" bike has grown to be a bike that maxes out at 32mm to well over 50mm. Some gravel bikes are road race bikes with tire clearance, some are endurance bikes, some are drop bar mountain bikes.
i like these two questions and will add a third.. #3 How much and what type of gravel will you be riding? This could answer question #2. So if the answer is "not much on hard pack gravel" then just max out the tire size on your Canyon and call it a day. 32mm tires are pretty awesome on some gravel roads. I'm also an older rider and like to ride gravel. I was pleasantly surprised how much my CX bike 35mm tires on single track could handle. Stopped short of scaring myself silly it did put a big grin on my face. I now regularly ride my Conti 5k 28mm on hard pack pretty comfortably for the most part. They are also awesome on the road.
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Old 10-23-21, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71
I just mounted some 700 x 40s on my 2021 Trek Domane and did some gravel riding with it. Might be able to squeeze some 700 x 42 tires on there. Looks like I still have some room left.
prj71 It will depend on the wheels I suspect. On my Domane, 40s mounted on a set of wheels with a 25mm inner rim width were about as close to the front derailleur (a Dura-ace di2) as I'd want to be - 2mm or so. Everywhere else there was plenty of room.
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Old 10-23-21, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta
Well, sure you don't NEED them.... but d@mn, they sure are nice.

You make a good point about not having to stick with what comes on the bike. I've had a few friends go back to using road racing bikes more because they felt the gravel bikes were kind of slow, but they were still running the (not-so-great) semi-knobbies that came stock with the bikes. One friend of mine who is a fairly mellow rider who has a killer Salsa Warbird went out and bought a new road bike, and I can't help but think that she spent $2.5K for a faster set of tires.
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Old 10-23-21, 09:59 AM
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I just built a custom gravel bike this fall.. Chinese Carbon frame, self-painted, Shimano 7000 series groupo. I set the geometry up to match my road bike, and then put my old road wheels on it while I decided what to do about gravel wheels. Riding it on the road wheels, it's about a pound heavier but rides just as nicely. If I swapped the lighter Campagnolo wheels off my road bike it would be even better.


Eventually I figured out what I wanted for gravel wheels, and switched to 700cx40 Continental Terra Speeds. Turns out it is also *excellent* as a gravel bike.


So yes, it is *definitely* possible to have one bike for both. I wouldn't want to just pick one set of tires for both, but the geometry works for both uses for me.
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Old 10-25-21, 01:11 PM
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I bought my first gravel bike because, as far as I understood it, that's exactly what they're intended to be - all arounders!

So, now I have two, but one is a singlespeed 700c and the other geared 650B, so that's how I justify having both
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Old 10-26-21, 10:30 AM
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Just curious as an add to this--what wheels/rims are you running? What's the internal width and spoke count?
Thanks.
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Old 11-03-21, 08:59 PM
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I have recently gone to a gravel bike as an all rounder, I'm 62, 98kg, and live in a hilly area, I have a road bike (Giant TCR) and a touring oriented Giant FCR, the FCR is great for the hills and the TCR is fine on the flat and mild hills but I struggle on the steep stuff with it. So after a lot of thought and looking at gear inches I chose (the word chose is a misnomer as there aint much choice out there right now, at least here in Tiawan..) what my LBS told me was the only Merida Silex in stock in Taiwan in M size..

I have found that it suites me almost perfectly, i have a 46/30 chainrings, and 11-34 at the back, and could go to 11-36 if I need. I prefer drops, and with my age I find the lower gearing gives me so much more reserve than the TCR, and lets face it at may age anything above 90 gear inchecs is pretty much wasted, I coast down hills anyway trying to get my breath back from the climb. My bike is Aluminium and wieghs 10.35kg, I consider that light.

I have no intension of using in on real gravel sone light forrest tracks may be.. the 38mm tires make it very comfortable and with the bars and seat about the same hight so is the riding position.

I can see many more people switcheing to gravel bikes as all rounders. As most morph from road bikes I'd say the emphisis is leaning to road, but my Silex geometry comes from mountain bikes so is a different take and makes for a more upright position that suits me.

Last edited by deaninkl; 11-04-21 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 11-03-21, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Riveting
"All-Road" is the preferred pronoun.
I think that's it. Years ago my old UNIVEGA was modified to take Light Gravel and Torn Up Asphalt. It could be considered a Gravel Bike in a way. Now days a Gravel Bike has taken on it's own persona. Who would consider a gravel bike without disk brakes, tubeless tires, 11 speed cassettes with of course BRIFTERS!

But with two wheel sets my ChroMo UNIVEGA can hold its own on light gravel, touring, city or even road biking (not that I could)...

Long live the Franken Bike... Ha
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Old 11-03-21, 10:20 PM
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One thing I like about the new influx of modern gravel bikes is the gearing, especially with the 2x11 GRX options.
I am in a similar situation, where I'm handing my CX bike to my partner for triathlons, and I'll get a gravel bike for myself.
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Old 11-04-21, 02:03 AM
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Originally Posted by zandoval
I think that's it. Years ago my old UNIVEGA was modified to take Light Gravel and Torn Up Asphalt. It could be considered a Gravel Bike in a way. Now days a Gravel Bike has taken on it's own persona. Who would consider a gravel bike without disk brakes, tubeless tires, 11 speed cassettes with of course BRIFTERS!

But with two wheel sets my ChroMo UNIVEGA can hold its own on light gravel, touring, city or even road biking (not that I could)...

Long live the Franken Bike... Ha
27x1-1/8 Pasela's are great on gravel. A modern 27 inch gravel wheel, wide disc, is something the industry needs to develop. The larger diameter is really stable and smooth.

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Old 11-04-21, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by rpollaro
Just curious as an add to this--what wheels/rims are you running? What's the internal width and spoke count?
Thanks.
I built up a wheelset using 36h, 22.5 mm inner width Spank Spike Race rims. I wanted something sturdy for all kinds of road conditions and loaded bikepacking. These are downhill race rims, so they fit the bill, they are also not too heavy and they're great tubeless. I'm using them with 46 mm Challenge Gravel Grinder tires.
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Old 11-04-21, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass
27x1-1/8 Pasela's are great on gravel. A modern 27 inch gravel wheel, wide disc, is something the industry needs to develop. The larger diameter is really stable and smooth.
This is the first time I have ever read the suggestion that 27" make a comeback, much less specifically as a wide disc option. Interesting.
It would reduce tire size since the rim would take up more space in the stays and fork, but it is certainly thought provoking.
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Old 11-04-21, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by tigat
prj71 It will depend on the wheels I suspect. On my Domane, 40s mounted on a set of wheels with a 25mm inner rim width were about as close to the front derailleur (a Dura-ace di2) as I'd want to be - 2mm or so. Everywhere else there was plenty of room.
More room with an analog front derailleur.
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Old 11-04-21, 11:18 AM
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Here I am using a Kenda K184 27 1-3/8 tire on WheelMaster 27 1-1/4 wheels, Weinman RM19 rims. The bike is a P6 Peugeot Carbolite. There is room to spare. It gives a very relaxed ride on Light Gravel and Torn Up Asphalt. I have been satisfied with WheelMaster Machine built wheel sets and they come pretty much set out of the box. I do however loosen them up and re-tune them before use, but that's just me. The K184 tire in 27" 1-3/8 can be hard to find. Ordering on Ebay took a 3 week delivery from China (Taiwan).


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Old 11-04-21, 12:00 PM
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I have a new Giant TCX, and have spent the last week covering my usual rides, which includes relatively smooth gravel and lots of tarmac. I've taken it on some soul-crushing climbs and warp-speed descents, including getting caught out in the rain for a couple of hours.

Great bike; if I was booted into the afterlife, and given the choice of only one bike to take (into Hell obviously..) then this bike would be right up there for consideration.

Bottom line: this bike isn't as 'fast' as a full-on road racing bike, the difference most notable on the climbs. First off, at 19 pounds (with pedals), it weights at least 2 pounds more than an equivalently-spec'd road bike. Unfortunately, most of this extra mass is concentrated around the wheels and the fork. On a full-on race bike with rim brakes, you can easily spec 1,500g wheels, and lighter and faster 23mm rubber. And this is for clinchers - tubular wheels are much lighter again. However, my new Giant has discs and (good) 32mm tires, which is the cause of most of the ballast.

Sure, the fat tires are more comfy on gravel, but on the gravel I frequent, 25mm tires ride just fine. I am light, and careful, and if you go fast enough, every surface 'smooths' out.

The discs are the other cause of the weight, as disc-specific wheels and forks simply have to be bulked-up relative to rim-brake equivalents. The extra stresses caused by discs, particularly on the fork and front wheel, requires this. So the fork has to be made stronger, which in addition to extra weight, means it rides with less compliance.

However, if you want an all-rounder, and need discs for descending in the wet, then a current 'cross/gravel type bike would make an excellent choice.
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Old 11-09-21, 06:55 PM
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I have taken to calling my 2016 Fuji Tread 1.3 my 'Swiss Army bike'. They called it their adventure bike. It's been on reasonably quick group rides, commuting, solo fitness riding, and shopping trips on sealed roads, unsealed tracks and off-road bike paths of various forms. Usually with 38 tyres, but sometimes it's had 25 or 28 on if I've needed to go a little faster. If I was forced to cut it down to one, this would possibly be what is left of the collection. Thinking about a replacement thru axle frame in a slightly bigger size, as this one was always a little compromised on fit. It has worked out OK for a few years but is proving to be slightly too low in the head after all this time for longer stuff or loaded riding. These types of bikes seem to make a great all-rounder, even if someone says you can't or shouldn't. "Run what you brung" and all that. The compromises might catch you out once in a blue moon (under-geared, over-geared, too long, too relaxed) but they'll be few and far between unless you have a really specific aim.


Last edited by familyguy; 11-09-21 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 11-10-21, 01:38 PM
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That is one sweet looking ride.
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Old 11-10-21, 01:41 PM
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Thanks. I will check Spank out.
Trying to do a one wheel to ride them all--bike packing and road touring.
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