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Why are gravel and adventure bikes accepted?

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Why are gravel and adventure bikes accepted?

Old 07-19-18, 06:54 AM
  #1  
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Why are gravel and adventure bikes accepted?

Gravel and adventure bikes are hybrid bikes good for a variety of surfaces, and yet are not generally derided like hybrid bikes traditionally have been. Why the difference? Is it down to focus? Does focusing on gravel roads and/or gravel racing provide an optimization target that is lacking with traditional hybrid designs?
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Old 07-19-18, 07:01 AM
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In part because "hybrid bikes" as marketed, at least for a long while, were mainly low-end flat-bar paved-road bikes with cheap parts.

And let's be honest....there's a ton of humongous-big-headedness member-measuring that goes on in cycling equipment. Further, some question "gravel" or "adventure" bikes existence as much as hybrids were.
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Old 07-19-18, 07:17 AM
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An aging population with disposable income has realized that sitty-uppy bikes are more comfortable, but needs the cover of a technical and hard-ass sounding name. I recently considered one for a new commuting and off season frame, but was too humongously bigheaded in the end.
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Old 07-19-18, 07:18 AM
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#2 hits the nail on the head

Serious cyclists don't ride hybrids. They ride the latest gravel crushing adventure grinding bike on the market. Hybrids are for old fart trail rats.
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Old 07-19-18, 07:20 AM
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In my mind, gravel bikes are basically a road bike with fat tires. They are what road bikes used to be, way back before there was so much pavement (do a search for photos from early Tour de France races). Gravel bikes are marketed as a performance bike with racing and athletic goals. There are events like the Dirty Kanza where people compete and gravel bikes excel. There are great parts of this country populated with roads where a good gravel bike will be your fastest bike.

Hybrid bikes are the everymans bike. Too small a tire for good off roading, so off road riders will find them lacking, and flat bars limit performance on roads (paved or dirt) so roadies will also find them lacking. There is basically no place where a hybrid will be your fastest bike. Their appeal is being able to go most places that most average people take their bikes and having a bent toward comfort for non-cyclists. If honest transportation by bike were more popular in this country, I could see hybrids being more popular. But, most biking is more motivated by fitness than just A-B riding so people own bikes that focus on how they like to get their exercise.
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Old 07-19-18, 07:26 AM
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they have better names. you say hybrid & some ppl think "comfort"
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Old 07-19-18, 07:27 AM
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It's all about the bars. Flat bars will never be popular.
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Old 07-19-18, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
Gravel and adventure bikes are hybrid bikes good for a variety of surfaces, and yet are not generally derided like hybrid bikes traditionally have been. Why the difference? Is it down to focus? Does focusing on gravel roads and/or gravel racing provide an optimization target that is lacking with traditional hybrid designs?
I find there's just tons of people wanting to talk me out of preferring flat bars for a road bike. It appears that for a large segment, drop bars are the minimum requirement for a "serious" road bike.

Ultimately, I think the term "hybrid" has been a victim of its own success--it was such a draw that too much stuff was put into the catch-all category, including a lot of poorly thought-out junk.

I really hate the term "fitness bike" even though that's what I ride. Makes it sound A LOT less fun than it is.
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Old 07-19-18, 08:16 AM
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Old 07-19-18, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
It's all about the bars. Flat bars will never be popular.
Except for when they were...like from 1983 to present. Curvy barred road bikes still aren't as popular as mountain bikes...which were and still are the original "gravel bike".
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Old 07-19-18, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Except for when they were...like from 1983 to present. Curvy barred road bikes still aren't as popular as mountain bikes...which were and still are the original "gravel bike".
I'm talking about in comparison to drop bars. They will never be near as popular. One hand position vs multiple hand positions that allow you to get down at higher speeds and headwinds, guess which one wins the popularity contest. And I started road cycling in the 80's. We weren't riding flat bars, man. Mom and pop riding around the neighborhood was. That might hurt some feelings but it's my opinion.
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Old 07-19-18, 08:30 AM
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I'd say a pretty large segment of the population - more casual riders that just want a bike for leisure rides - seem to gravitate toward hybrids. Those of us that have specific performance requirements seek out different bikes that check other boxes instead. In the end, it's just a bike, with wheels, that has pretty good utility for a lot of people.
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Old 07-19-18, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I'm talking about in comparison to drop bars. They will never be near as popular. One hand position vs multiple hand positions that allow you to get down at higher speeds and headwinds, guess which one wins the popularity contest. And I started road cycling in the 80's. We weren't riding flat bars, man. Mom and pop riding around the neighborhood was. That might hurt some feelings but it's my opinion.
I’m glad that drop bars work for you. Don’t work for me. I can get multiple hand positions with Bosco bars and Dia Compe bumps added without having to contort myself into a pretzel.
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Old 07-19-18, 08:45 AM
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Because one of these is cooler than the other:


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Old 07-19-18, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I find there's just tons of people wanting to talk me out of preferring flat bars for a road bike.
I'm not one of those. I've done both -- flat and drops. It's sort of a tribal/religious choice along the lines of flat versus clip-in pedals. I currently run flat bars on my gravel bike, and I respect that many prefer drops. It's all good.

(I also just got done configuring my gravel bike with 96 gears, but that's another thread).

I really hate the term "fitness bike" even though that's what I ride. Makes it sound A LOT less fun than it is.
I know, right? Each of my bikes could be termed a "fitness bike". I ride for fitness because I truly enjoy riding, so I figure I should take advantage of what I enjoy doing anyway.
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Old 07-19-18, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I'm talking about in comparison to drop bars. They will never be near as popular. One hand position vs multiple hand positions that allow you to get down at higher speeds and headwinds, guess which one wins the popularity contest. And I started road cycling in the 80's. We weren't riding flat bars, man. Mom and pop riding around the neighborhood was. That might hurt some feelings but it's my opinion.
Flat bars for 'serious' road use? yeah, probably not, but most bike owners aren't 'serious' road cyclists.

Mom and Pop don't care about high speeds and headwinds when they're riding around the neighborhood. Neither does Becky when she's tootling down to campus for class.
They want high bars, and tractor seats and forward cranks.They want a bike that's comfortable, not fast.

A walk (ride) through my nieghborhood looking in to garages shows me that most of the bikes I found are flat bar, whether MTB, Cruiser, or Hybrid. Only a handfull of drop-bar bikes, maybe half a dozen, and 2 of them are in my garage.
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Old 07-19-18, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I'm talking about in comparison to drop bars.
So was I.

Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
They will never be near as popular.
The number of mountain bikes sold between 1983 to present would suggest otherwise.

Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
One hand position vs multiple hand positions that allow you to get down at higher speeds and headwinds, guess which one wins the popularity contest.
A flat bar would probably still win since most people...me included...never go to the drops on road bars. I could cut them off just below the brake levers and never miss the lower part. Most of the people I see on road bars are riding the same way. In fact, people who ride in the drops tend to look a bit awkward as they ride.

Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
And I started road cycling in the 80's. We weren't riding flat bars, man. Mom and pop riding around the neighborhood was. That might hurt some feelings but it's my opinion.
I started riding in the 70s and, no we weren't riding flat bars. But as soon as mountain bikes hit the market in 1983, we all were. Road bike purchases dropped precipitously and have stayed rather flat ever since.

I have road bars and I like them. I have flat bars on mountain bikes and I like them. But if you asked someone who isn't a cyclists which they would choose, 99% of them would go for the flat bar. That wins the "popularity" contest.

And, quite frankly, most people in the know would choose flat bars (attached to a mountain bike) over drop bars for any dirt riding more serious than a rail trail. Drops on steep trails is just asking for a visit to an oral surgeon.
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Old 07-19-18, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
Flat bars for 'serious' road use? yeah, probably not, but most bike owners aren't 'serious' road cyclists.

Mom and Pop don't care about high speeds and headwinds when they're riding around the neighborhood. Neither does Becky when she's tootling down to campus for class.
They want high bars, and tractor seats and forward cranks.They want a bike that's comfortable, not fast.

A walk (ride) through my nieghborhood looking in to garages shows me that most of the bikes I found are flat bar, whether MTB, Cruiser, or Hybrid. Only a handfull of drop-bar bikes, maybe half a dozen, and 2 of them are in my garage.

Depends what you mean by "serious". I'm averaging 250-300 miles road/path per week during spring summer and fall on my FX 3. I'd say I'm riding faster than at least 85 % of the drop bar riders that I encounter. I definitely give up a little speed from posture, but I more than make up for that because I don't have the same endurance in a crouch.

Say hi to Becky, mom and pop for me, but most of the stuff I hear about the limitations of flat bar bikes is total nonsense. I can get my bike up to 25 mph in the flat (can't sustain that yet, but I've crept well above 20 mph sustained lately), and I've ridden it 168 miles in one day, done 200+ miles the last 3 out of 4 weekends, and my body and hands are just fine. Let me know when my bike can be considered "serious".
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Old 07-19-18, 09:09 AM
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Perhaps you should move away from a place with so many people critical
of what kind of bike you choose to spend your money on?

Or, at least Quit that club. they're jerks..
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Old 07-19-18, 09:15 AM
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My hybrid can beat up your hybrid.




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Old 07-19-18, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
Gravel and adventure bikes are hybrid bikes good for a variety of surfaces, and yet are not generally derided like hybrid bikes traditionally have been. Why the difference? Is it down to focus? Does focusing on gravel roads and/or gravel racing provide an optimization target that is lacking with traditional hybrid designs?
Seems like the original hybrids, the 80's ATBs, were much more capable than their hybrid counterparts of today and there were even "touring" models that filled the same niche as today's "adventure" bikes. In the time since, it seems like hybrids swung to appeal more towards road/pavement use (even though some hybrids come equipped with superficial off-road-i-ness additions like super knobby tires and front shocks). The gravel and adventure bikes simply seem to be a correction factor to the urban hybrid and swinging back towards the original intent of the ATB. Having more different styles of drop bars and frames with more braze-ons is always nice though.

I don't know if one variety is looked upon more favorably than the other, maybe just that the Gravel/Adventure category is "new". The naming definitely evokes some sort of nature-filled escape whereas the hybrid evokes cruising around suburbia. I will say, I am pretty fond of my Trek FX which has been "confused" with an "adventure" bike since I equipped it with dirt drop bars, front/rear racks, fenders. Seems to work fine for commuting through the scorching radiation of summer pavement and blistering winds of winter, dodging cavernous potholes and climbing steep hills made for fossil fueled vehicles. <-- See all marketing, that sounds more adventurey

BTW, I'm calling dibs on a new category of bikes! "Urban adventure" or "Urb-adventure!" (or is it Ur-bad-venture)!
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Old 07-19-18, 09:26 AM
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Hybrids are kind of the “Jack-of-all-trades, Master-of-none” bike for people who are not serious about riding.

Sure that is a generalization … but any arbitrary category is arbitrary.

It has nothing to do with handlebars. It has to do with intended uses. It has to do with weight, and component costs.

Most people who want a lot from their bikes, Don’t want a lot of other stuff. No extra weight, which costs more money. No “comfort saddle.” No steel “comfort fork.” Tires just fat enough to do the job and no fatter.

Originally Posted by bcpriess View Post
I'd say a pretty large segment of the population - more casual riders that just want a bike for leisure rides - seem to gravitate toward hybrids. Those of us that have specific performance requirements seek out different bikes that check other boxes instead. In the end, it's just a bike, with wheels, that has pretty good utility for a lot of people.
Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
In my mind, gravel bikes are basically a road bike with fat tires. They are what road bikes used to be ….
Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
Hybrid bikes are the everymans bike. Too small a tire for good off roading, so off road riders will find them lacking …
Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
Their appeal is being able to go most places that most average people take their bikes and having a bent toward comfort for non-cyclists. If honest transportation by bike were more popular in this country, I could see hybrids being more popular.
Hybrids are compromise bikes and thus are aimed at a market segment (a large one) where those compromises don’t matter. They are more or less for people who sit on the saddle, like sitting on a sofa. For people who don’t rise and ride out bumps by bending their limbs and moving their bodies … buy people who want to be able to go for a reasonably comfortable cruise on any sort of not-to-extreme surface.

Sure, other people can buy them and use them for other things. And more, there is Absolutely nothing wrong with people who want to tool around on packed-earth, gravel, and paved paths at a gentle pace. Great way to enjoy riding and to enjoy life.

The kind of peple who think you aren’t riding unless it hurts, and who think you aren’t a ‘good” rider if you aren’t hunting KOMs—at least some of them—seem look down on hybrids and their riders, but who cares?

But still … I wouldn’t buy a hybrid, because if I want to ride surfaces that demands wide tires, I have an F/S MTB. I have a couple “endurance geometry” bikes for when I want to sit up more, or pound some gravel. I have a couple racier bikes for when I want to make a little more effort stretching out over the bars for a little more aero.

But most people don’t want “bikes,” they want “a bike.” So … a hybrid.

A “gravel bike” or an “adventure bike” tens to be more focused—less comfortable to ride casually but offering more performance. Think of the comparison with cars—most people don’t want a real sports car because the suspension is too tight—the little bumps aren’t swallowed up …. But those people aren’t going to corner hard enough where the tighter suspension will yield higher cornering limits.

And as far as the names go ….. They are inventions of the industry designed to attract buyers. Why even care?

Get the bike you want, ride it however you like. You win.
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Old 07-19-18, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
Gravel and adventure bikes are hybrid bikes good for a variety of surfaces, and yet are not generally derided like hybrid bikes traditionally have been. Why the difference? Is it down to focus? Does focusing on gravel roads and/or gravel racing provide an optimization target that is lacking with traditional hybrid designs?
The short answer: because “gravel” bikes are.pretty good across a variety of road conditions, wheras traditional “hybrids” mange to suck across a variety of road conditions.

The longer answer:

Becuase “hybrid” has, until rececenty, been synonymous with heavy, clunky, mtb-based bikes with slicks, and thick padded seats that were well siuted for people who seldom rode bikes. It was an ill concieved name, IMO. They should have just been called what they are good at (comfort), rather than refer to a hybrid of things they are not (road and/or mtb).

Actual performance-oriented road bikes that could take tires over 28mm were rare even 10 years ago unless you were looking at CX bikes.... and those were called “CX”, not “hybrid”.

Yes, many older road bikes took wider tires, but it has been a few decades since “road” became synonymous with skinny tires.

IMO, “Gravel” bikes are not a type of hybrid, they are a type of road bike.

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Old 07-19-18, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Except for when they were...like from 1983 to present. Curvy barred road bikes still aren't as popular as mountain bikes...which were and still are the original "gravel bike".
I beg to differ. Long before the inventors of the mountain bike were born, there were road bikes. Roads then were not typically paved as they are now, and they ran drop bars. I'd maintain that this photo from the 1904 Tour de France shows a gravel bike.

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Old 07-19-18, 09:42 AM
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I guess I was wrong about the whole favorability aspect,
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