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Putting Road Wheels on a Gravel Bike: Is this a thing?

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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.

Putting Road Wheels on a Gravel Bike: Is this a thing?

Old 05-10-23, 01:56 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
I got an set of wheels with 40mm road tires for my gravel bike. They are pretty useful. Now I'm getting an extra bike to put them on since I like them so much.
cf: post 6
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Old 05-10-23, 02:15 PM
  #27  
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Some of this might depend on what kind of road bike you're comparing.

Since 2020 I have been riding a Cannondale SuperX with two different wheelsets for both gravel/CX and road riding. For road, I run Zipp 303S wheels with 28mm Conti GP5000 tires - it's plenty fast and I have no problem keeping up with my team's group rides on this setup. The SuperX is carbon, has relatively aggressive road-oriented geometry and with carbon wheels/tires weighs around 17lbs, so it's plenty light, fast and smooth. I'm not racing crits on this setup, but for solo and group road riding it's good. I sold my 10 year old aluminum frame rim-brake road bike shortly after buying my SuperX and have yet to feel a big need to buy a new road bike (though N+1 is a real thing, so I'm not ruling anything out...)

That said, my SuperX doesn't have any aero shaping, and the geometry is pretty relaxed compared to a race oriented road bike (Madone, Tarmac, etc). It's fine for what I need, but I'm giving up some aero watts - particularly with the larger gaps around 28mm tires. To me the handling and ride feels pretty similar to an endurance road bike like a Roubaix. I've not ridden the newest aero race bikes like the Tarmac or Madone so maybe I don't know what I'm missing, but I have a feeling if more race-oriented road bikes is your preference, then you'd likely find a gravel bike + road tires to feel a bit sluggish.
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Old 05-10-23, 05:08 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
cf: post 6
Turns out I somehow acquired another set of gravel wheels, so I'm still going to be one bike short
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Old 05-14-23, 10:16 PM
  #29  
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The versatility of having a gravel bike with road and gravel wheelsets is pretty great. For two years, a 2018 Diverge was my only (non-vintage) bike and it served pretty well for both. It is especially great for travel. Two bikes in one with the extra wheels along. Swap the wheels and move the seatpost up or down, and you're off!
I found though, I missed having a real road bike, and bought a beautiful 2005 steel Orbea for that last Summer. Just this week I transplanted the 105 from the Diverge to the Orbea and rebuilt the Diverge with a Sensah SRX, just as an experiment, really. We'll see how that goes!
Before the transplant (note the road wheels on the Diverge - 32s are great on the road):

Diverge with it's extreme looking Chinese group, just built tonight (wearing the gravel wheels in this picture):

I plan to take the Diverge to Colorado next month for both gravel and road, and will have to figure out what cassette makes sense for the road wheels.
And the modernized Orbea is a pretty sweet ride with modern components, too!

So, it you have a gravel bike you like and are comfortable on, it'll be a pretty good road bike for the low price of a second wheelset. You may find you wish one or the other was better for a specific purpose, but the flexibility they provide is pretty amazing.

Last edited by dbhouston; 05-14-23 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 05-19-23, 03:53 PM
  #30  
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For those who have gone down the 2nd wheelset route, do you also use different cassettes/chains when you swap wheels?
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Old 05-19-23, 03:58 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Noonievut
I tried to make my previous gravel bikes road worthy, but they never matched my road bike.
The quiver killer that wasn't.

I wonder about this a lot: what would it take to make my gravel bike perform at a level that is satisfactory on the road. With my older Trek XO2, I think just a tire change (and ditch the handlebar bag for aero) may be sufficient. With my Trek Boone disc, I got carbon wheels that, when combined with a tire change, will take off a full pound or more. But it'd still be a 20lb bike whereas my road bikes are 17-18lbs.
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Old 05-19-23, 08:04 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by tFUnK
For those who have gone down the 2nd wheelset route, do you also use different cassettes/chains when you swap wheels?
I do not (yet) have a second wheelset for my gravel bike because I have a road bike, but if I do, I would have to, as I cannot imagine that the 11-speed 11-34 cassette on my gravel wheelset would be suitable for riding on faster wheels and tires on the road.
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Old 05-19-23, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by tFUnK
For those who have gone down the 2nd wheelset route, do you also use different cassettes/chains when you swap wheels?
i wanted the swap to be absolutely as easy as possible, so the road and gravel wheelsets have the exact same cassette and rotors. sometimes i have to re-center the brakes depending on rotor wear over time, but that's easy.

i have roval terra clx carbon rims with 32mm GP 5000 s tr on that bike for road (still somewhat gravel capable) and reneherse 42mm knobbies on dt swiss 470 aluminum rims for heavy gravel and easy singletrack.

it's like two different bikes.

and yes, the knobbies are VERY SLOW AND LOUD on the road lol. there's probably a happy middle ground but you could also say the two wheel approach has less compromises. cassette is a 10-42 on both.
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Old 10-01-23, 02:48 PM
  #34  
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UPDATE:
I bought a set of 9Velo wheels for my Checkpoint, and they worked out really well!
So, of course, I am going to build a new bike with the new wheels lol.
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Old 10-02-23, 02:24 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Kokiafan
UPDATE:So, of course, I am going to build a new bike with the new wheels lol.
It's best to maintain balance in the universe.
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