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Simple question .....

Old 03-03-20, 03:31 PM
  #1  
Fastfingaz
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Simple question .....

What constitutes a gravel bike ? What does it have to have to be a gravel bike ? I bought a old 80's trek antelope and want to convert to this gravel bike ,,, the frame has front suspend and thumb shifters,,,,,,, thanks for any info....
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Old 03-03-20, 03:45 PM
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I’d say it has to have tires wider than road bike tires and smaller than mountain bike tires. Typically with drop bars, it can even look like a cross bike but would have mounts for cages, fenders and possibly even a rack if that’s your thing.
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Old 03-03-20, 04:34 PM
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Gravel bike is a genre of drop-bar 'road' bike. Think a road bike on top, mountianbike (sort of) on the bottom. Looks like a 'normal' road bike, but usually has 40-50mm tires, with lots of clearance, sometimes a 1x drivetrain, but always a wide-range rear cassette. Think about riding fast (-ish) on long unpaved routes like fire roads or the Katy or C&O trails. (not paved, but you wouldn't need 4WD, either)

Old MTBs like your Antelope can be good base to start from, since they have a more 'neutral' stance than modern MTBs and already have a wide-range drivetrain, and room for big tires. It's mostly the handlebar / control setup and tire choice.
The Drop-bar MTB Conversions thread in the C&V forum has lots of good examples
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Old 03-03-20, 04:55 PM
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Drop bars, frame clearance for bigger tires, preferably 700cc wheels but I think wheel size needs to be based on personal preference ....I converted two of my mountain bikes to gravel bikes. I put drop bars on them, one has 700x45mm tires the other has 26x2.35 tires and both of them are singlespeed.
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Old 03-03-20, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Fastfingaz View Post
What constitutes a gravel bike ? What does it have to have to be a gravel bike ? I bought a old 80's trek antelope and want to convert to this gravel bike ,,, the frame has front suspend and thumb shifters,,,,,,, thanks for any info....
What size tires does it take? Do you want to convert it to drop bars? The term "gravel bike" is a loose marketing term for a bike that is comfortable to ride on unpaved roads and smoothish trails. Most so called gravel bikes are simply bicycles with fairly relaxed frame angles for stability and clearance for tires almost as wide as mountain bikes. A Trek Antelope could probably do yeoman service as a gravel bike with minimal modification if your goal is to be able to ride unpaved roads. However, a 30-40 year old suspension fork is probably not going to provide much suspension after all those years
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Old 03-03-20, 06:51 PM
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Don't try to put my bike in a box man. When I ride on gravel it's a Gravel Eating Machine
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Old 03-03-20, 07:18 PM
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The Trek will do an adequate job of riding the gravel. I have an Antelope 800. Have ridden it on 2 so called "gravel rides" here in N. Fl. It is mostly sand and the tires were too narrow for the sandier stretches. Saying that, I was able to ride through areas that had the larger shod tires on the newer bikes walking. A lot depends on the rider.

I have flat bars, not droppers and did not see where that hindered my efforts. Perhaps riding into the wind on a hard packed surface might make a diff, but for dirt, I do not see the need for drop bars.
You might want to check out the forks and make sure they are still operative and will give you a softer ride.

Try it on a couple of rides and you might be surprised.
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Old 03-04-20, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Fastfingaz View Post
What constitutes a gravel bike ? What does it have to have to be a gravel bike ? I bought a old 80's trek antelope and want to convert to this gravel bike ,,, the frame has front suspend and thumb shifters,,,,,,, thanks for any info....
Can it be ridden on gravel? It's a "gravel" bike. Take your Trek and go ride. No changes needed. You may not be as fast as a labeled "gravel bike" is in some situations but you'll be faster in others. On a gravel road like this

P9270080 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

a road oriented gravel bike might be faster. (Caveat: that road had very deep gravel in places that would swallow narrow tires whole.) But on a road like this

Untitled by Stuart Black, on Flickr

or this

Untitled by Stuart Black, on Flickr

your "slower" mountain bike is going to be much faster.

Your Trek is built for riding on rough terrain and rough roads. Just ride it and don't worry about labels.
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Old 03-04-20, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
P9270080 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

Just ride it and don't worry about labels.

This.
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Old 03-04-20, 10:35 AM
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drop bars and bigger tires. If it rides good, call it what you want
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Old 03-04-20, 11:34 AM
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Most have drop bars and room for wider tires. The factory built ones come with 700c wheels, and the frames and forks generally have room for 40mm tires or wider.

The suspension fork on your Trek (which probably means it is an early '90s and not an '80s model) will, as mentioned above, probably not add much besides weight. But it's not likely to hold you back at all. Replacement forks are available to convert it to full rigid, if you like.

Switching to drop bars is popular but there are some compromises when working with a bike designed for flat bars, and the end result is not always 100% worth the effort, in my opinion.

My advice: Tune up the Trek and ride it as-is, and if you want to do longer distances or find the Trek to be unsatisfactory, start saving up and checking for a used touring, cyclocross or gravel specific bike that fits you - these bike categories are al closely related to the modern 'gravel' bike.
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Old 03-04-20, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
this.
+2.

P.S. The thread title is a dead giveaway.
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Old 03-04-20, 11:53 AM
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More tire and longer wheelbase than a cyclocross bike. "More slack" geometry than a cross bike.
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Old 03-05-20, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
However, a 30-40 year old suspension fork is probably not going to provide much suspension after all those years
There's a very good chance that the OP's bike has a solid fork. It's an olden days bike.
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Old 03-05-20, 12:20 PM
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Please show us pics of your bike! Bike pr0n for the win!

I like riding, so I'm in no rush to finish my rides. Also don't see the need for drop bars; of course, YMMV. Your Cantalope should make a fine off-pavement bike; get some big squishy tires and go for it! My Zoe has Kenda Small Block 8's; good grip on loose stuff, not too noisy on pavement.



Zoe (Washburn), my badass off-pavement ride.
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Old 03-05-20, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Please show us pics of your bike! Bike pr0n for the win!

...Cantalope...

Um, Antelope. Animal, not vegetable. Stupid autocorrect!

Mine’s a YBB. In winter

Untitled by Stuart Black, on Flickr

And doing what I built it for

Untitled by Stuart Black, on Flickr
Untitled by Stuart Black, on Flickr
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Old 03-05-20, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh View Post
I’d say it has to have tires wider than road bike tires and smaller than mountain bike tires. Typically with drop bars, it can even look like a cross bike but would have mounts for cages, fenders and possibly even a rack if that’s your thing.
It ain't much, as pointed out above. If the bike allows for 35c sized tires, it's a gravel bike. And thats it. And things like fenders and a rack are nothing more than accessories that you would find on any bicycle. But do know this too..... Many bikes with 28c tires and less have seen many miles of gravel. IME any bike that isn't a racer is qualified for gravel.



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Old 03-06-20, 10:02 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Um, Antelope. Animal, not vegetable. Stupid autocorrect!
Cool bike! Actually, I understand that Antelope owners are allowed to call them Cantalopes. Because reasons, I guess.
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