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Curious: what is a 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 : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Curious: what is a gravel bike?

Old 06-02-22, 09:29 AM
  #26  
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It's a durable bike that ya ride on Gravel...


Now the big question is,

What size Gravel?



Most Gravel Bikes are continually looking like older Mountain Bikes... Ha
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Old 06-02-22, 09:39 AM
  #27  
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[QUOTE=pdlamb;22525906]"What's the roughest road you'd consider riding on a gravel bike before you go to a mountain bike or fat bike? Bushwhacking, single track, double track, old road that's not maintained, gravel road that sees a road grader every election year, rail-trail, or something else?"

I ride my gravel bikes everywhere I used to mountain bike. Granted I never did downhill or anything like that, but any singletrack is certainly fair game. Where I live it's very steep, gnarly and rocky. I just pick good lines (most of the time
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Old 06-02-22, 10:27 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by chas58
... 25mm tires at 120psi.
Biggest. Misconception. Ever.

Are there really that many riders out there bouncing around so much that they don't think, "hey, maybe I should let some air out of these rocks under me?" :baffled:

I run my 25mm tires at 95psi. I'm 190 lbs. Just because it says '120psi max' doesn't mean you do it!




anyhoo.

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Old 06-02-22, 10:32 AM
  #29  
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There are steel bikes, aluminum bikes, titanium bikes, magnesium bikes, carbon fiber bikes and wood or bamboo bikes. Gravel bikes? Think Fred Flintstone. (And with that, I'll go away.)
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Old 06-02-22, 10:33 PM
  #30  
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I just weighed my touring bike after I set it up tubeless today. It is about 30 lbs, which is 6 or 7 pounds heavier than my steel "gravel" all-road bike, which probably accounts for my preference. (It also makes me wonder whether I should try a weight weenie gravel bike.)
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Old 06-03-22, 01:46 AM
  #31  
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If you do mnt bike trails with switch backs check for toe overlap. My new much more expensive gravel bike Ibis MX ( size 55 ) sucks at 180 turns :/ It's like almost a freaking road bike. My feet keep hitting the front tires on switch backs. My small 2021 Giant Revolt adv 2 ( about 2000 cheaper ) does not have this problem.

I think I might keep my Giant now. I had planned to sell it to offset the cost of the new bike but now I am thinking the Ibis MX is great all round bike that can do some gravel not so much mnt bike trails.
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Old 06-04-22, 11:59 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by sean.hwy
If you do mnt bike trails with switch backs check for toe overlap. My new much more expensive gravel bike Ibis MX ( size 55 ) sucks at 180 turns :/ It's like almost a freaking road bike. My feet keep hitting the front tires on switch backs. My small 2021 Giant Revolt adv 2 ( about 2000 cheaper ) does not have this problem.

I think I might keep my Giant now. I had planned to sell it to offset the cost of the new bike but now I am thinking the Ibis MX is great all round bike that can do some gravel not so much mnt bike trails.
I ride mountain bike trails with switchbacks all the time on my gravel bike which has toe overlap. Not an issue with good technique.
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Old 06-04-22, 12:00 PM
  #33  
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I think the limit on my gravel bike is no switchbacks. And no rock gardens either. But there is one, mostly singletrack, trail near me that takes me about an hour to do on my gravel bike and about 20 minutes on my mountain bike. It's too bad, because it would cut the distance out to the state forest down by a lot, and I wouldn't have to ride on the big road out of town. Granted, the big road out of town has 10' wide shoulders, but it's closed for crashes a couple of times a month. It happens so often the fire department has pre-printed signs that say "Route 322 closed"

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Old 06-04-22, 09:32 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by KJ43
I ride mountain bike trails with switchbacks all the time on my gravel bike which has toe overlap. Not an issue with good technique.
While sure you can and so did I do it, it was much more fun on my Giant Revolt adv 2 with no toe overlap. I think for road bike it's not that big of deal, on gravel/mnt that does a lot of switch backs I think it's a design flaw.

On level or down hill you have momentum to carry your speed if you foot touches. While going up a steep technical section at 2 mph then a 180 switch back is not the time you want to hit the front tire.
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Old 06-04-22, 09:38 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
I think the limit on my gravel bike is no switchbacks. And no rock gardens either.
Funny you should say that. Just the other day I tried a rock garden with my new gravel bike at slow pace picking my lines and sure enough I still tagged my side wall and blew my tire off :/ Glad I had co2 with to remount the damn tire.

I tried previously with my Giant and 32mm gravel king slicks and cut my sidewall. I just figured those practically road tires. I thought my new Ibis MX gravel bike with Maxxis Rambler 700c x 40mm would handle it much better. The tires look almost like mnt bike tires to me compared to the slicks. guess not ha-ha

My mnt bike ( 2022 blur with factory tires ) I just blow through the rock garden not paying much attention to the lines at all.
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Old 06-05-22, 06:57 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by sean.hwy
While sure you can and so did I do it, it was much more fun on my Giant Revolt adv 2 with no toe overlap. I think for road bike it's not that big of deal, on gravel/mnt that does a lot of switch backs I think it's a design flaw.

On level or down hill you have momentum to carry your speed if you foot touches. While going up a steep technical section at 2 mph then a 180 switch back is not the time you want to hit the front tire.
Lots of mountain bikes have had toe overlap as well over the years. We can agree to disagree on this one. It's not a design flaw...it's a technique issue.

If you keep having issues I'd work on developing your pedaling technique.
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Old 06-05-22, 07:20 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by KJ43
Lots of mountain bikes have had toe overlap as well over the years. We can agree to disagree on this one. It's not a design flaw...it's a technique issue.

If you keep having issues I'd work on developing your pedaling technique.
I believe toe overlap has actually been pretty uncommon in MTBs.

The only time it came up was in the early days of 29ers when head tube angles were still really steep, and top tubes were still kinda short. (and even then it was not common and only an issue in the small sizes) That got addressed pretty quickly because unlike road bikes, it really is a big issue for mountain bikes.

I donít think it is an issue for riding dirt/gravel roads, though.

Last edited by Kapusta; 06-05-22 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 06-05-22, 09:05 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta
I believe toe overlap has actually been pretty uncommon in MTBs.
I'm not trying to overstate it and lots is probably hyperbole, but I was mountain biking for over 30 years and its has popped up on a few of the bikes I've owned over the years. Tires and cleat position are part of the equation as well.
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Old 06-06-22, 06:39 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by sean.hwy
If you do mnt bike trails with switch backs check for toe overlap. My new much more expensive gravel bike Ibis MX ( size 55 ) sucks at 180 turns :/ It's like almost a freaking road bike. My feet keep hitting the front tires on switch backs. My small 2021 Giant Revolt adv 2 ( about 2000 cheaper ) does not have this problem.

I think I might keep my Giant now. I had planned to sell it to offset the cost of the new bike but now I am thinking the Ibis MX is great all round bike that can do some gravel not so much mnt bike trails.
Nothing in the Hakka geometry table would make me think it would excel at 180 turns. A lot in the Hakka geometry table would make me think it would be very similar to a road bike.
Your Giant has a longer wheelbase, slacker head tube, and more trail. It makes sense it would have less toe overlap.


Based on comments in this thread, you are trying to force a square peg into a round hole and knocking the square peg for not fitting.
The Ibis seems capable of doing more than 'some gravel'.
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Old 06-06-22, 07:06 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
I think the limit on my gravel bike is no switchbacks. And no rock gardens either. But there is one, mostly singletrack, trail near me that takes me about an hour to do on my gravel bike and about 20 minutes on my mountain bike. It's too bad, because it would cut the distance out to the state forest down by a lot, and I wouldn't have to ride on the big road out of town. Granted, the big road out of town has 10' wide shoulders, but it's closed for crashes a couple of times a month. It happens so often the fire department has pre-printed signs that say "Route 322 closed"
Wow. Well, it's cheaper than the $75,000 light signs. Still leaves me thinking, "How much money could the schools get every year by hiring an extra cop to write speeding tickets?"

Back on topic, what is it about the singletrack that slows you down that much if it isn't rock gardens?
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Old 06-13-22, 09:13 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by scottfsmith
I bet if Strava ran a data analysis on all the miles in their database done on so-called gravel bikes they would see that 95% of those miles were on pavement. Personally for me it is a lot of work to get to good gravel riding, it takes 1+ hours in the car each way. So I'm yet another 95%-er.

Anyway, in practice most people are using gravel bikes as road bikes with occasional gravel riding thrown in. Kind of like how SUVs today are doing 99%+ road miles. There is nothing wrong with that, but to me it doesn't make a lot of sense to own two different bikes when two wheel sets will do the job.
This isn't a new phenomenon though. I grew up in the 1980's and went to college in the 1990's. Every kid I knew from middle school and beyond owned a mountain bike. College freshmen at my large state university all needed bikes for transportation - and every single person I knew had a mountain bike. Most/all of these bikes had front suspension forks, super aggressive knobby tires and triple cranks. I'd wager that less than 5% of them were ever used on an actual trail.

Looking the part was definitely part of it, but also MTB's were more durable and more comfortable than any of the road bikes available in those days. I think gravel bikes are playing this role now. Unless someone is looking to get into racing or has a specific interest in road-specific riding, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a gravel bike as a "road bike" for them. They're just way more versatile, and they also work pretty great on pavement.
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Old 06-13-22, 10:34 AM
  #42  
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My gravel bike is my go anywhere bike. It's slower than my road bike and less capable on the trails than a MTB. Yet I can ride my gravel bike from my front door and ride straight up the mountains and back. At least here in LA that's how we ride them. In fact amongst my riding buddies, we constantly switch back-n-forth, road/off-road. If anything, I consider gravel bikes more of our durable crash bikes, because at one point you will fall or wipe out. If you don't ride your gravel bike like that, you might as well stick with a road bike and be a trailer queen.
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Old 09-17-22, 03:36 PM
  #43  
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Gravel bikes is all about drop bars and wider tires...You can take any rigid forked MTB or a rigid forked Hybrid, put drop bars on it, convert it to 1x drivetrain, slap some 45mm gravel tires on it and...Voila you got yourself a gravel bike.
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Old 09-20-22, 10:34 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
Gravel bikes is all about drop bars and wider tires...You can take any rigid forked MTB or a rigid forked Hybrid, put drop bars on it, convert it to 1x drivetrain, slap some 45mm gravel tires on it and...Voila you got yourself a gravel bike.
...but then I have a slack front end high bottom bracket 1x bike. My gravel bike is a relatively steep front end, has a low bottom bracket, and is 2x.

Its almost as if you are just babbling. Someone may like the gravel build you described, but many wont. There is no singular style.
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Old 09-20-22, 12:37 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
Gravel bikes is all about drop bars and wider tires...You can take any rigid forked MTB or a rigid forked Hybrid, put drop bars on it, convert it to 1x drivetrain, slap some 45mm gravel tires on it and...Voila you got yourself a gravel bike.
If a converted MTB is what you want, then go for it.

But it will ride differently than most bikes sold as Gravel Bikes.

If you are talking about new mtbs, then you are looking at very different geometries and gearing.
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Old 10-11-22, 05:55 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta
If a converted MTB is what you want, then go for it.

But it will ride differently than most bikes sold as Gravel Bikes.

If you are talking about new mtbs, then you are looking at very different geometries and gearing.
Yeah I agree. I have had a rigid mountain bike that has had drop bars on and off since the late 90s or so. I almost exclusively considered it a mountain bike. It saw very little gravel road use and even less pavement. It did see plenty of single track, much of it fairly technical. I definitely didn't consider it a gravel bike. Then at some point I finally did do a mixed surface tour on it that included quite a bit of pavement and gravel roads. I still don't consider it a gravel bike, but I guess some might.
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