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Please help me understand gravel riding?

Old 09-13-20, 01:30 PM
  #51  
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What would be really great, for someone like me, is if someone could invent a bike that started out as a road bike so I could ride to the gravel road. When I got to the gravel road I could then push a button and the whole bike would magically transform into a gravel bike. Geometry, components and all. Of course, this amazing bike would also be self cleaning and lubricating and would automatically adjust itself to accommodate any BB standard.
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Old 09-13-20, 01:56 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by mrblue View Post
What would be really great, for someone like me, is if someone could invent a bike that started out as a road bike so I could ride to the gravel road. When I got to the gravel road I could then push a button and the whole bike would magically transform into a gravel bike. Geometry, components and all.
That already exists.

Its called a Gravel Bike

Last edited by Kapusta; 09-13-20 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 09-13-20, 02:10 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by mrblue View Post
What would be really great, for someone like me, is if someone could invent a bike that started out as a road bike so I could ride to the gravel road. When I got to the gravel road I could then push a button and the whole bike would magically transform into a gravel bike. Geometry, components and all. Of course, this amazing bike would also be self cleaning and lubricating and would automatically adjust itself to accommodate any BB standard.

This is my gravel bike which is also a road bike. Usually leave my house on a ride on pavement and if I find gravel roads along the way than I don't need to turn around. It may be 50 years old but so am I, but sadly the bike is not self cleaning.

​​​​​​​
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Old 09-13-20, 02:16 PM
  #54  
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Here in upstate New York, gravel roads are even more peaceful than paved roads. They are in very scenic areas, and you scarcely see anyone. It's not more dangerous than road riding at all. Going downhill, just slow down a bit, and don't compare speeds with paved road riding. On gravel roads, we discover scenic beauty we didn't know is there.
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Old 09-13-20, 02:27 PM
  #55  
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I kind of understand the OP.

It's slower and kinda boring, in a lot of places.

Flat roads that go for miles without changing much doesn't sound fun. It's not fun on pavement and it's not fun going even slower to get somewhere interesting.

I think that's the Midwest farmland in general. I'd never be able to live there. If I had to be there for some reason, I'd probably quit riding. I mean, what's the point?

I have gravel, road, and mountain bikes. I point them what feels nearly straight up and suffer, then fly down at whatever speed my nerves allow. On a good ride, this happens a lot. I see deer, turkeys, mountain lions (twice), a lynx (once), elk, moose, hawks, hummingbirds. I stop at bodies of water and watch the fish swim. I chat with hunters in their camps.

I'm not terribly slow but not fast enough to be competitive in any discipline. I have fun. I suffer. A gravel bike is a big part of that.

In Kanza country, unless made interesting from a big group or massive tailwind, why?
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Old 09-13-20, 02:53 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
Flat roads that go for miles without changing much doesn't sound fun. It's not fun on pavement and it's not fun going even slower to get somewhere interesting.

I think that's the Midwest farmland in general. I'd never be able to live there. If I had to be there for some reason, I'd probably quit riding. I mean, what's the point?
Can't say I blame anyone who doesn't live here for thinking it seems pretty boring, and it's definitely not thrilling riding outside the occasional minimum maintenance / b-road that can get MTB'ish. The point is to be outside staying healthy / fit at the end of the day, and doing something you enjoy. You'd also be surprised at how hilly some areas can be with total climbing of 500-1000 ft per 10 miles, and grades in the 8-12% range. Rarely a climb longer than a few minutes though.

Also true that if you've been down one mile of gravel road with corn growing on both sides, and through one small town, you've pretty much seen 75% of what you're going to see. You could say the same thing about mountains too though; anywhere can be boring, or beautiful, depending on your perspective. I guess to me, it's about adapting to what's available, and enjoying it. I think I would struggle a lot in a city like LA as a cyclist, but I'm sure after awhile I'd figure out something, and adapt to that.
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Old 09-13-20, 03:08 PM
  #57  
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I understand why people may think riding on gravel is more dangerous than pavement. Especially if their gravel experience was on pavement-specific road bikes.

But I think it is in fact generally safer, for the same reasons I think mountain biking is safer: fewer cars and lower speeds (of both the cars and the bikes) Of course, a gravel road with heavy traffic would really suck, but I have seldom encountered that.
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Old 09-13-20, 04:04 PM
  #58  
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I'm an ignoramus on this topic and am still wrapping my head around the differences in the categories of bikes. I grew up with BMX bikes, road bikes, and maybe mountain bikes. I'm riding a Giant hybrid. How does a gravel bike compare to a fitness bike or an endurance bike? They all seem to be road bike-ish but have a more upright position. I suppose the gravel would have the knobbiest/fattest tires of the bunch. What else is different?
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Old 09-13-20, 04:05 PM
  #59  
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To the OP: Keep riding and learning. As you gain more exposure to cycling and cyclists, I'm betting you'll arrive at a couple of generalizations:

1. A lot of cyclists are doing things that other cyclists think are pointless, boring, and so forth.

2. Relatively few bikes are used exclusively for what they are "supposed" to be used for, according to their marketing category.

A lot of folks choose a bike based on their own bodies and expected riding conditions, rather than the regulations for a specific event category. I have no hope of participating in a race. We're all in search of the bike that's perfectly comfortable, versatile, fast, reliable, and so forth. And that looks good, of course. That such a bike doesn't exist guarantees endless debate. "Gravel bikes" simply add to the variety of bikes and configurations to choose from.
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Old 09-13-20, 05:08 PM
  #60  
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This one you just keep on going past the end of the paved road not fast, just riding.. (continental travel contact tires made for this)..


Last edited by fietsbob; 09-14-20 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 09-13-20, 05:22 PM
  #61  
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A gravel bike has also been a bit of a Goldilocks bike for me:

Road bike- too uncomfortable (position, vibration). Skinny tires I can’t take off-road. I’m not trying to be Lance Armstrong.

Mountain bike- too sluggish on roads, flat bars too restricting, don’t need suspension (Compex, weight, maintenance) for most my riding. I rarely ride technical single track.

Gravel Bike- Just right for 90%+ of my riding.


Your mileage may vary. Obviously there are grey areas between each of these categories that might be a sweet spot for someone.
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Old 09-13-20, 05:53 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by IGH_Only View Post
First off, even if it has been around for a while, what makes you think I have been following biking for a while. Before 2 months my last experience on a bike apart from a couple of random short lived rides, was an an early teen riding my BMX bike in the 1980s so I don't understand a lot of cycling lingo and what not.

I appreciated everyone's response, especially those who posted pictures. What I had in mind was a different thing altogether.
???

So, you have very little experience and knowledge and you thought that "what you had in mind" about was the only possibility?
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Old 09-13-20, 06:00 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by Toadmeister View Post
A gravel bike has also been a bit of a Goldilocks bike for me:

Road bike- too uncomfortable (position, vibration). Skinny tires I canít take off-road. Iím not trying to be Lance Armstrong.

Mountain bike- too sluggish on roads, flat bars too restricting, donít need suspension (Compex, weight, maintenance) for most my riding. I rarely ride technical single track.

Gravel Bike- Just right for 90%+ of my riding.


Your mileage may vary. Obviously there are grey areas between each of these categories that might be a sweet spot for someone.
I have a fast and light (for steel) road bike. With 28's can handle a dirt road here or there to connect paved routes.

I have a modern mountain bike ideally suited for long xx, like IMBA Epic trails for example. It'll handle a dirt road or paved if I must.

I have a near immaculate 1985/6 custom thingy. Very pure classic road bike. It would fit 28s but just isn't off road in any sense of the word. It's the shiniest, shaven, and race cut jersey of the bunch.

I have a gravel bike with 40mm tires. And a spare wheelset with 30mm slicks. This thing goes on my 8 hour days, trailer rides with the kids, the mechanic to pick up my car, it has commuted but I work 50miles from home now, and is always the bike that I know is ready to roll.

I certainly enjoy having all 4.

I'm shopping for a unicycle if anyone else s selling.
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Old 09-13-20, 06:06 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
...
I'm shopping for a unicycle if anyone else s selling.
GRUNI, perhaps?
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Old 09-13-20, 06:10 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
I'd sooner say...'gravel bikes' are what 'road bikes' used to be--before 'road bike' came to mean 'exclusively paved road racing bike'. Hence why '700C' ends with a 'C'; and there used to be 700A, B, C, D, and E versions. These things ebb and flow.
"road bikes used to be more like gravel bikes" - yes, before WW2 when most roads in Europe weren't covered in asphalt. The road bike has been what it is, except in steel, without STIs for a long time, with skinnier tires than now and much taller gearing than now, for seventy-odd years now. If you take the modern road racing bike, it's better adapted to dirt and gravel roads than a road bike from the, say, 60-ties was.

Road bikes, as they are, are pretty much perfect for road riding of all sorts.
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Old 09-13-20, 06:42 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Branko D View Post

Road bikes, as they are, are pretty much perfect for road riding of all sorts.
I used to believe that. Stayed in that abusive relationship for many years.

Then I got a bike with slightly relaxed geo that could take 35s and realized how wrong I was.
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Old 09-13-20, 06:55 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe View Post
You should take a look at these photos and compare those bikes to modern road racing bikes.

https://us.ritcheylogic.com/us_en/bl...ibute-to-jobst



A modern road racing bike would suck on this road. If the wheels survived:

https://youtu.be/jIpCnNsPS0E
99.99999999% of people buying gravel bikes are not riding that trail.
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Old 09-13-20, 06:59 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Clyde1820 View Post
Where I lived years ago, there simply were none within 80mi or so. Wasn't going to happen, riding 80+ miles and then doing 20+ miles on gravel, only to have 80mi return trip. And so, we'd pack up the bikes and travel.
It's difficult to believe there were no unpaved roads within a 20,000 square mile area, given that's almost as large as the state of West Virginia.
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Old 09-13-20, 07:07 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
???

So, you have very little experience and knowledge and you thought that "what you had in mind" about was the only possibility?
I'm not at all sure what you're getting at or what your question really is but I've spent a fair amount of time looking at gravel bikes and researching it some. Maybe to you all this stuff is second hand. It's very confusing for me. There are plenty of topics I can discuss with a good level understanding (probably a wider range than most people alive because of my insatiable curiosity). Cycling is not remotely one them.
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Old 09-13-20, 07:10 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Branko D View Post
"road bikes used to be more like gravel bikes" - yes, before WW2 when most roads in Europe weren't covered in asphalt. The road bike has been what it is, except in steel, without STIs for a long time, with skinnier tires than now and much taller gearing than now, for seventy-odd years now. If you take the modern road racing bike, it's better adapted to dirt and gravel roads than a road bike from the, say, 60-ties was.

Road bikes, as they are, are pretty much perfect for road riding of all sorts.
LOL. You should learn what pea gravel is before typing something that funny again.

A road bike is not even going to make it out of a church driveway or parking lot here. In my entire state, unless you're a master's level racer, you're probably going to want 38mm bare minimum tires. Regulation CX tires can work, but you need the skills to hold your line in anhydrous soup--as tires that narrow will sink through the dumped pea-gravel aggregate.

Originally Posted by Mulberry20 View Post
99.99999999% of people buying gravel bikes are not riding that trail.
That isn't a trail. That is a road. And that road is in better condition than just about all dirt/gravel roads in my entire county.
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Old 09-13-20, 07:13 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by IGH_Only View Post
I'm not at all sure what you're getting at or what your question really is but I've spent a fair amount of time looking at gravel bikes and researching it some. Maybe to you all this stuff is second hand. It's very confusing for me. There are plenty of topics I can discuss with a good level understanding (probably a wider range than most people alive because of my insatiable curiosity). Cycling is not remotely one them.
Donít feel so bad that you are confused by the concept of gravel bikes. That is exactly the idea when it comes to marketing. People will often spend the most on something they donít need when they are confused. Sure, some riders need it but not the vast majority.
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Old 09-13-20, 07:15 PM
  #72  
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Yeah, it's not likely that I would buy a gravel bike based on what I know. Especially in light of the fact that I don't know if I could be comfortable on drop bars. But Priority had recently released a nice looking gravel bike which piqued my curiosity on the topic.
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Old 09-13-20, 07:24 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Mulberry20 View Post
99.99999999% of people buying gravel bikes are not riding that trail.
That's not a trail, it's a road. And while it's sometimes hard to get a sense for how gnarly something is without riding it, and while things look a little different up here in Washington, to my eyes that doesn't look much out of the ordinary for narrow low-maintenance west-coast gravel roads. And almost everybody I know with gravel bikes rides that kind of stuff very frequently.
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Old 09-13-20, 07:38 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
It's difficult to believe there were no unpaved roads within a 20,000 square mile area, given that's almost as large as the state of West Virginia.
Southern Wisconsin is like that. If there's a road, chances are it's paved. Gravel roads are either someone's driveway, or a dead end access to a handful of residences. There are more gravel roads in the north woods, that I haven't explored, but would like to.

Local legend has it that the roads need to be paved for the milk trucks.
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Old 09-13-20, 07:42 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by IGH_Only View Post
Yeah, it's not likely that I would buy a gravel bike based on what I know. Especially in light of the fact that I don't know if I could be comfortable on drop bars. But Priority had recently released a nice looking gravel bike which piqued my curiosity on the topic.
Drops versus upright is probably the most difficult decision to make if you don't already have a preference. The reason is that switching from one to the other can be expensive and isn't always satisfactory due to frame geometries. If you have a chance to borrow a drop bar bike that fits you, and ride it for a few hundred miles, you'll get a feel for whether you like drop bars.
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