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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 :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

26" for gravel grinding

Old 09-29-14, 10:44 AM
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GravelMN
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26" for gravel grinding

My current gravel grinder is based on a 1993 Trek 730 frameset that will only clear 700c x 40-42mm tires with any mud clearance. There are a lot of sandy areas around here and a number of the organized gravel events and some of my personal riding takes me on some very loose soft sandy minimum maintenance and single track. The old 730 does an admirable job on a wide variety of surfaces, but sometimes I wish for more tire. A new monstercross or gravel bike is not in the cards right now but I do have a Trek 820 from the same era. It will clear a 26 x 2.1 tire between the chainstays and a 26 x 2.3 up front.

What do you gravel grinders think about using a 26" rigid MTB for gravel grinding? Anyone else using one? Any disadvantage/advantages? I'm not looking to be competitive, just to have fun. I'll probably give it a try this fall anyway, but am interested in hearing others' opinions and experiences.
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Old 09-29-14, 11:54 AM
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So why not ? riding the old Cruiser bike was good enough on Farm Roads , Gravel , for decades ... before Now ..
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Old 09-29-14, 12:09 PM
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Vintage mtbs can make great gravel grinders but fitting drops on them can be a bit of a problem as they typically have long top tubes and were really designed for flat bars. Yes you can get a short stem and fit drops but the handling is not the same. I used trekking bars on mine but then I'm not racing gravel, just riding. Still it makes a great gravel grinder and cheap to boot:

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Old 09-29-14, 01:17 PM
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Honestly, isn't gravel-grinding essentially mountain biking over longer distances?
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Old 09-29-14, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jcivic00 View Post
Honestly, isn't gravel-grinding essentially mountain biking over longer distances?
Not really, though it depends on how you define "mountain biking." Most "mountain bikers" do not consider anything wider than singletrack to be "mountain biking"; yes you can ride a mountain bike on gravel, cow paths, etc. And, no reason you CANT ride a mountain bike on gravel roads, although 2.3 tires and 6 inches of suspension is overkill.

An early 90s, 26inch rigid, hardtail "mountain bike" makes a great gravel grinder, although if going long distances, a 700cc wheel will be more efficient.
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Old 09-29-14, 02:28 PM
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oh, ok, I consider myself a little more purist and have only ever owned rigid hardtail mtbs. Guess I should have made that distinction. I say run what you brung, let's ride!
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Old 09-29-14, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jcivic00 View Post
I say run what you brung, let's ride!
I agree. That stumpjumper would make for a nice GG. I tried outfitting an old 26 rigid hardtail with drop bars. The problem is that the top tubes on the old ones were so long, that setting up drops and maintaining your normal "cockpit length" is nigh impossible.
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Old 09-29-14, 10:35 PM
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It would do great in the type of riding you're wanting to do. Might not be as fast as say a cyclocross bike but it'd be more versatile. I have an old 89 Trek 950 MTB that works great for this type of riding. I actually pick it over my cyclocross bike in situations where I'm not familiar with the terrain because many of the forest service roads I ride are STEEP and the 950 has MTB gearing so works great in those type of roads.
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Old 09-29-14, 10:47 PM
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My gravel-grinder *is* a rigid MTB. With drops... and fenders... and fixed-gear.
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