Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Why is Gravel Riding Such a Thing?

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Why is Gravel Riding Such a Thing?

Old 01-11-22, 08:34 AM
  #26  
prj71
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: North Central Wisconsin
Posts: 3,501
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2041 Post(s)
Liked 631 Times in 417 Posts
Too many people driving and texting. It's nice to get off road away from all of that.
prj71 is online now  
Old 01-11-22, 08:49 AM
  #27  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 7,441

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1847 Post(s)
Liked 1,106 Times in 701 Posts
I get the idea of poor streets (the mayor cost me a rim last month!) and the preponderance of gravel roads in some locations.

I do wonder, though. Is there a benefit to "gravel" over "touring" bikes, as long as they can both take 35-42 tires?

And how close/how much riding would it take to make adding a gravel bike to your stable worthwhile? It doesn't really make much sense to me to ride roads for an hour for 15 minutes on gravel.
pdlamb is offline  
Likes For pdlamb:
Old 01-11-22, 09:05 AM
  #28  
Kapusta
Cyclochondriac
 
Kapusta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 5,342

Bikes: Soma Fog Cutter, Surly Wednesday, Turner 5-Spot, Canfielld Tilt

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2344 Post(s)
Liked 1,981 Times in 1,101 Posts
Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I get the idea of poor streets (the mayor cost me a rim last month!) and the preponderance of gravel roads in some locations.

I do wonder, though. Is there a benefit to "gravel" over "touring" bikes, as long as they can both take 35-42 tires?

And how close/how much riding would it take to make adding a gravel bike to your stable worthwhile? It doesn't really make much sense to me to ride roads for an hour for 15 minutes on gravel.
Well there is a lot of overlap between bikes called “gravel” and “touring”, but in general, a touring bike is designed to carry loads. So not only would the frames tend be stiffer and heavier but the handling will also be taking lods into account. Also, wheels should probaly be built stronger. Also, what make a good touring tire vs performance gravel tire are not the same thing, even if the size is the same.
Kapusta is offline  
Old 01-11-22, 09:10 AM
  #29  
Inusuit
Senior Member
 
Inusuit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: SE Wyoming
Posts: 311

Bikes: 1987 Diamondback Ascent, 1995 Specialized Rockhopper,1989 Specialized Rock Combo, 2013 Specialized Tarmac Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 97 Post(s)
Liked 275 Times in 133 Posts
I'm fortunate to have miles of gravel country roads within half a mile of my house. I ride my 1989 Rock Combo with 26 x 1.75 Schwalbe Land Cruiser tires. I can enjoy the countryside without worrying about traffic. Riding smooth MUPs with skinny tires has its own appeal of course, but I prefer dirt.
Inusuit is offline  
Old 01-11-22, 09:11 AM
  #30  
CAT7RDR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Hacienda Hgts
Posts: 1,571

Bikes: 1999 Schwinn Peloton Ultegra 10, Kestrel RT-1000 Ultegra, Trek Marlin 6 Deore 29'er

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 609 Post(s)
Liked 1,306 Times in 669 Posts
Just when you thought it was sage to buy a gravel bike then the Adventure and Monster Cross bikes come along.
I am glad marketing is not part of the equation.
CAT7RDR is online now  
Likes For CAT7RDR:
Old 01-11-22, 09:16 AM
  #31  
Kapusta
Cyclochondriac
 
Kapusta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 5,342

Bikes: Soma Fog Cutter, Surly Wednesday, Turner 5-Spot, Canfielld Tilt

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2344 Post(s)
Liked 1,981 Times in 1,101 Posts
Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
Just when you thought it was sage to buy a gravel bike then the Adventure and Monster Cross bikes come along.
I am glad marketing is not part of the equation.
I never understood peoples’ aversion to things having more useful and nuanced descriptors.

Fwiw, “Monstercross” was a term years before “gravel” was.
Kapusta is offline  
Likes For Kapusta:
Old 01-11-22, 09:23 AM
  #32  
Flip Flop Rider
Senior Member
 
Flip Flop Rider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: South Carolina Upstate
Posts: 2,036

Bikes: 2010 Fuji Absolute 3.0 1994 Trek 850

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 731 Post(s)
Liked 512 Times in 296 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Am being sincere. Being a long term roadie, I really love smooth as glass pavement and find rough pavement over many miles wearing and annoying. I have been mountain biking for at least 25 years and expect to bump and jump and go over rough terrain. Getting a bit beat up is part of the game and exciting mastering technique to fly down a single track. With the MTB I can go just about anywhere off road and since it is full suspension, soak up the roughness.

I remember when cross bikes first came out and the sentiment was a bike which couldn’t do road or off road well, but was good enough. I know current gravel bikes are much further evolved but are they that much more evolved? Is gravel a fad? Is it for people who want to ride off road but not commit to single track, so single track lite? Can’t afford two bikes?

Not a hater, just want to understand the fascination.
no cars
Flip Flop Rider is offline  
Old 01-11-22, 09:29 AM
  #33  
Steve B.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South shore, L.I., NY
Posts: 5,452

Bikes: Flyxii FR322, Cannondale Topstone, Miyata City Liner, Specialized Chisel, Specialized Epic Evo

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2224 Post(s)
Liked 967 Times in 564 Posts
Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
So not only would the frames tend be stiffer and heavier but the handling will also be taking lods into account. Also, wheels should probaly be built stronger. .
My lugged steel Miyata tourer is extraordinarily stiff, almost uncomfortably so (when un-loaded with touring gear), the fork is massive and stiff as ****. I've put gravel tires on this and done a lot of dirt trail and gravel riding on the tourer. The touring bike weighs 26 lbs as opposed to my aluminum Topstone gravel, which is 22-1/2 lbs with gravel tires. Big difference in feel.

Last edited by Steve B.; 01-11-22 at 10:15 AM.
Steve B. is offline  
Old 01-11-22, 09:33 AM
  #34  
shoota 
Senior Member
 
shoota's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Stillwater, OK
Posts: 7,786
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1702 Post(s)
Liked 488 Times in 338 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Is it for people who want to ride off road but not commit to single track, so single track lite? Can’t afford two bikes?
I can unequivocally say that is not the case here. Heck we barely have any single track. You gotta remember, bike riding is IMMENSELY influenced by where you live. What works for someone living in the heart of a major city is likely to be very very different than what works for someone living in the country in the Midwest, versus again someone living at elevation in the mountains.
Here in Oklahoma there are endless miles of fantastic gravel roads to ride but even in my relatively bigger city (pop. 45,000) there are just a handful of true road routes. If road is all we rode we'd be missing out on the vast majority of the riding we could be doing, and places we could be exploring.
__________________
2014 Cannondale SuperSix EVO 2
2019 Salsa Warbird
shoota is online now  
Likes For shoota:
Old 01-11-22, 09:37 AM
  #35  
locolobo13 
Senior Member
 
locolobo13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Phx, AZ
Posts: 1,978

Bikes: Trek Mtn Bike

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 232 Post(s)
Liked 1,553 Times in 505 Posts
As a kid in the 60s & 70s we rode where ever we could on whatever we had. I had a converted single speed english racer. Others had stingrays, paperboy "specials", there was a 6 ft tall custom that I could never ride. In 70 I bought my first "road" bike, a Schwinn Varsity. I loved that bike.

We rode those bikes on pavement, allies, gravel and especially in the local quarry pit when the adults weren't around. Most major roads didn't have sidewalks. Let alone bike lanes. Usually they had a gravel shoulder.

Are you riding for the feeling of smoothly dropping miles? Exploring the 'hood, desert, forest, etc? Or just plain transportation? Figure it out and do your thing.
locolobo13 is offline  
Old 01-11-22, 09:49 AM
  #36  
rydabent
Senior Member
 
rydabent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 9,325

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2652 Post(s)
Liked 852 Times in 496 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Am being sincere. Being a long term roadie, I really love smooth as glass pavement and find rough pavement over many miles wearing and annoying. I have been mountain biking for at least 25 years and expect to bump and jump and go over rough terrain. Getting a bit beat up is part of the game and exciting mastering technique to fly down a single track. With the MTB I can go just about anywhere off road and since it is full suspension, soak up the roughness.

I remember when cross bikes first came out and the sentiment was a bike which couldn’t do road or off road well, but was good enough. I know current gravel bikes are much further evolved but are they that much more evolved? Is gravel a fad? Is it for people who want to ride off road but not commit to single track, so single track lite? Can’t afford two bikes?

Not a hater, just want to understand the fascination.
I grew up on a farm years ago. I had to ride gravel roads to school. I got my fill of gravel back then. But hey if gravel trips your trigger have at it.
rydabent is online now  
Old 01-11-22, 09:57 AM
  #37  
RayHenry
Legend In My Own Mind
 
RayHenry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2021
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Posts: 47

Bikes: Road, hybrid, mountain, motor. I have no shame.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Liked 27 Times in 16 Posts
I live in a city built on muskeg. "Smooth as glass" lasts about as long as it takes for them to pull down the barricades. Asphalt roads start coming apart and turn to gravel anyway. Cracks develop across roads wide enough for small children to become lost in them for weeks at a time. Concrete becomes a network of heaves and cracks, turning a simple ride into a cycling slalom. Maneuvering around craters and canyons developing in roads places you directly in the crosshairs of motorists out to rid the world of the scourge of 2-wheeled targets.

All that aside, there is some nice riding to be be had on gravel paths and roads. Much easier to ride that rare stretch of nice pavement on a gravel bike than it is to ride a road bike on broken pavement or even hard pack gravel....
RayHenry is offline  
Likes For RayHenry:
Old 01-11-22, 09:58 AM
  #38  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 7,084

Bikes: 1980 Mike Melton, 1982 Stumpjumper, 1982 Santana, 1984 Alex Moulton AM, 2008 BikeFriday tikit T-♾, 2010 Dawes Briercliffe, 2017 Dahon Curl i8, 2019 Surly ½DT14, 2021 Motobecane Turino 1x12

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1049 Post(s)
Liked 658 Times in 406 Posts
I've ridden for 30+ years with cats who complained about chip seal. Now they're all about 'gravel'.

One odd thing. The townships round about here in Parts Unknown have been on a multi-decade crusade to pave the little roads 'for the farmers'. It's created an amazing network of quiet, scenic paved county lanes. So in response, riders are loading up and driving an hour and a half to get to 'gravel'.
tcs is offline  
Old 01-11-22, 10:07 AM
  #39  
RayHenry
Legend In My Own Mind
 
RayHenry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2021
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Posts: 47

Bikes: Road, hybrid, mountain, motor. I have no shame.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Liked 27 Times in 16 Posts
Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
And how close/how much riding would it take to make adding a gravel bike to your stable worthwhile? It doesn't really make much sense to me to ride roads for an hour for 15 minutes on gravel.
How about "3 feet. It's a bike, I need it"!
RayHenry is offline  
Old 01-11-22, 10:10 AM
  #40  
Rolla
Victimless Criminal
 
Rolla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 2,172
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 963 Post(s)
Liked 2,251 Times in 1,014 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Not a hater, just want to understand the fascination.
Why is versatility so hard to understand?

I'm grateful that I don't have to limit my cycling to paved roads. There's a whole world out there beyond the tarmac.

Last edited by Rolla; 01-11-22 at 10:29 AM.
Rolla is offline  
Likes For Rolla:
Old 01-11-22, 10:20 AM
  #41  
CAT7RDR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Hacienda Hgts
Posts: 1,571

Bikes: 1999 Schwinn Peloton Ultegra 10, Kestrel RT-1000 Ultegra, Trek Marlin 6 Deore 29'er

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 609 Post(s)
Liked 1,306 Times in 669 Posts
I think where you live and practicality are also useful to consider.
I have a "gravel" bike. It is called a 29er. Works great on gravel which is really just clay and sand where I live.
​​​​​​​
Some of us have to justify where the buck stops, priorities and space available. Sure it would be nice to have a stable of bikes for each situation but that is not my current reality.

Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I never understood peoples’ aversion to things having more useful and nuanced descriptors.

Fwiw, “Monstercross” was a term years before “gravel” was.
CAT7RDR is online now  
Likes For CAT7RDR:
Old 01-11-22, 10:24 AM
  #42  
ClydeClydeson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 1,259
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 438 Post(s)
Liked 647 Times in 379 Posts
This is why:
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
I ... find rough pavement over many miles wearing and annoying.
A bike should create riding opportunities, not specifically limit them. With few exceptions, road bikes up to the early/mid 2000s were completely impractical toys - a max tire width of 25mm, as was common, is completely useless for gravel, and as you pointed out, not great on imperfect pavement. A gravel bike is just a road bike with better brakes and room for reasonably wide tires, which means you can ride pretty much anywhere. A full suspension MTB is capable more because of the 2.2" wide tires than because of suspension - 99% of the routes I rode on my rigid MTB in the 80s and 90s I can ride on my gravel bike (although a bit faster), and 100% of the trails I can ride on my FS mountain bike I can ride on my old rigid mountain bike (although a bit slower)

The other thing about gravel bikes is that they are just a tire change away from being as fast as a dedicated road bike. A spare set of wheels means you essentially have two bikes if you are willing to flip some QR levers open.
ClydeClydeson is offline  
Likes For ClydeClydeson:
Old 01-11-22, 10:43 AM
  #43  
PeteHski
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 3,255
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1536 Post(s)
Liked 1,643 Times in 1,046 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Am being sincere. Being a long term roadie, I really love smooth as glass pavement and find rough pavement over many miles wearing and annoying. I have been mountain biking for at least 25 years and expect to bump and jump and go over rough terrain. Getting a bit beat up is part of the game and exciting mastering technique to fly down a single track. With the MTB I can go just about anywhere off road and since it is full suspension, soak up the roughness.

I remember when cross bikes first came out and the sentiment was a bike which couldn’t do road or off road well, but was good enough. I know current gravel bikes are much further evolved but are they that much more evolved? Is gravel a fad? Is it for people who want to ride off road but not commit to single track, so single track lite? Can’t afford two bikes?

Not a hater, just want to understand the fascination.
My take (as both a long term roadie and mountain biker) is that gravel biking has become popular primarily with roadies looking to escape ever increasing traffic, but who really prefer road bikes and road biking to mountain bikes. So really a new take on road biking away from traffic. I'm not sure there are many mountain bikers taking up gravel bikes in the same way, but that's just my guess. If I was living somewhere with plenty of fire-roads and unfriendly road traffic then I would seriously consider swapping my road bike for a gravel bike. But luckily our local roads are pretty bike friendly and I also have access to some decent technical mountain bike singletrack. So I don't have much use for a gravel bike at this point. But I can definitely see the point for the right environment.
PeteHski is offline  
Likes For PeteHski:
Old 01-11-22, 11:00 AM
  #44  
rosefarts
With a mighty wind
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 1,980
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 776 Post(s)
Liked 506 Times in 296 Posts
Why can’t we have both?

Of course I love a silky smooth road. Also love complaining about bad roads and chip seal. And 50 miles of washboards and dust is also a great day out.

I see no conflict here.
rosefarts is offline  
Old 01-11-22, 11:06 AM
  #45  
zandoval 
Senior Member
 
zandoval's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Bastrop Texas
Posts: 3,019

Bikes: Univega, Peu P6, Peu PR-10, Ted Williams, Peu UO-8, Peu UO-18 Mixte, Peu Dolomites

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 413 Post(s)
Liked 588 Times in 403 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
...Can’t afford two bikes?
Well if that's the case then having a Road and Mountain bike are it. But, I would recommend getting a second set of wheels for your Mountain bike. Now ya got three bikes for sure...

The fascination with Gravel bikes around central Texas is that you no longer have to bypass routes that are too rough for your road bike. I guess its the idea of having a Road Bike that can go off road a little rather than a Mountain bike that can go on the road. Did I get that right? Or, is it the other way around?
__________________
No matter where your at... There you are... Δf:=f(1/2)-f(-1/2)
zandoval is offline  
Likes For zandoval:
Old 01-11-22, 11:17 AM
  #46  
Rolla
Victimless Criminal
 
Rolla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 2,172
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 963 Post(s)
Liked 2,251 Times in 1,014 Posts
Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
So really a new take on road biking away from traffic. I'm not sure there are many mountain bikers taking up gravel bikes in the same way
I know several mountain bikers who look at gravel riding as a godsend -- a way to experience the fun of off-road riding without having to commit to the rigors and challenges of technical singletrack. Some of them are older, some are women, and some are just tired of driving their bikes and gear to a trailhead.
Rolla is offline  
Likes For Rolla:
Old 01-11-22, 11:40 AM
  #47  
mstateglfr 
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 14,284

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '88 Schwinn Premis , Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo

Mentioned: 115 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7804 Post(s)
Liked 4,761 Times in 2,754 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Am being sincere. Being a long term roadie, I really love smooth as glass pavement and find rough pavement over many miles wearing and annoying. I have been mountain biking for at least 25 years and expect to bump and jump and go over rough terrain. Getting a bit beat up is part of the game and exciting mastering technique to fly down a single track. With the MTB I can go just about anywhere off road and since it is full suspension, soak up the roughness.

I remember when cross bikes first came out and the sentiment was a bike which couldn’t do road or off road well, but was good enough. I know current gravel bikes are much further evolved but are they that much more evolved? Is gravel a fad? Is it for people who want to ride off road but not commit to single track, so single track lite? Can’t afford two bikes?

Not a hater, just want to understand the fascination.
A lot of responses are centered around the dangers of paved road riding. Personally I am not afraid on the roads, but my road riding either consists of side roads, 2 lane 2 way, or rural 1 lane 2 way roads. Of the 3, only the last could be kinda dangerous. I actually enjoy the 2 lane 2 way roads because I ride in the right lane and traffic can easily move around me without being inconvenienced.

With that said, all my solo riding are gravel rides. Truthfully they are a mix of pavement and gravel since I ride to/from the gravel. So depending on route and distance, my rides are 60-70% gravel and 30-40% paved.
As a result, my gravel bike is pretty much just an endurance road bike that can handle wide tires. The geometry is very similar to endurance road bike geometry, but it rolls on 43mm tires.
Gravel roads are still just roads and my state has over 70,000mi of gravel roads. They are everywhere, so why not use em?

Gravel riding is a quieter environment, I like riding on new roads or to new towns that I otherwise wouldnt see when riding, I like the solitude, and gravel roads often just arent some awful experience in comfort. Part of the fun is having to constantly evaluate what is coming up and picking the best line. It isnt as technical as MTB, but its faster. It isnt as fast as road, but its more dynamic.
mstateglfr is online now  
Likes For mstateglfr:
Old 01-11-22, 11:42 AM
  #48  
DMC707 
Senior Member
 
DMC707's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Norman, Oklahoma
Posts: 4,880

Bikes: Too many to list

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1362 Post(s)
Liked 717 Times in 481 Posts
Originally Posted by shoota View Post
I can unequivocally say that is not the case here. Heck we barely have any single track. You gotta remember, bike riding is IMMENSELY influenced by where you live. What works for someone living in the heart of a major city is likely to be very very different than what works for someone living in the country in the Midwest, versus again someone living at elevation in the mountains.
Here in Oklahoma there are endless miles of fantastic gravel roads to ride but even in my relatively bigger city (pop. 45,000) there are just a handful of true road routes. If road is all we rode we'd be missing out on the vast majority of the riding we could be doing, and places we could be exploring.
And as a counterpoint -- just 75 or so miles south, where im at in Norman --- there's so little local gravel that , although ive thought seriously about a gravel bike -- theres not much justification for me .

Although, id love one of Dwaynes beautiful Scissortail gravel builds as a "just because im worth it " addition to the fleet
DMC707 is offline  
Likes For DMC707:
Old 01-11-22, 11:50 AM
  #49  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 7,441

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1847 Post(s)
Liked 1,106 Times in 701 Posts
At the risk of oversimplification, there seem to be a few classes of reasons:

1. Rider is afraid of traffic on roads.
2. Poor quality pavement on local roads.
3. Plentiful gravel roads near rider.
4. Lower traffic volume on gravel roads.

Almost nobody wants a gravel bike because it's hot and they want a new bike that's "in," so obviously marketing isn't driving the demand for gravel bikes.
pdlamb is offline  
Old 01-11-22, 11:52 AM
  #50  
mstateglfr 
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 14,284

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '88 Schwinn Premis , Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo

Mentioned: 115 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7804 Post(s)
Liked 4,761 Times in 2,754 Posts
Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
At least when they got started and for a good while after that, it's pure marketing. The biking crowd that buys bikes is somewhat finite in size. Gravel (or insert other current niche types..gravel probably isn't a niche any longer) bikes were the answer to the eternal marketeer's question, "How can we sell more of the same/similar thing to the same people?" ..create a need, fill it, market the heck out of it and ..boom..the gravel bike industry is born(or insert some other niche type).

On a more practical note, gravel bikes are a great "do everything" bike..like bikes sort of used to be maybe 6+ decades ago. Beyond new models, gravel bikes are also accessible from older off-road rigid mtn bikes or hybrids.. find a light-stiff older frame, build it up as a DB conversion, mount nice, fatter, cushy, fast gravel-street tires and have at it. (naturally, a successful conversion takes some careful planning)
This sort of response gets me to both laugh and roll my eyes at the same time. It is both jaded and uninformed.

- Gravel riding wasnt created by bike marketing groups. It was not pure marketing at all. Small groups of cyclists were doing something fun and challenging(mostly endurance gravel races), it got popular, and bike brands saw there was demand. Those brands didnt create the demand.

- Bikes being ridden on gravel have been around for a long time. Yes touring bikes from back in the day could be used, but that isnt what I am referencing. Early 90s hybrids were an early example since some tires were also made in 700c with knobs. CX bikes filled the void for some time too. My first gravel frame was a Univega '90s hybrid frame that I converted to drop bars. My second gravel frame was a Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross that the owner designed in the late '00s(before the evil bike marketers supposedly started the fad).

- Early 2000s gravel races were filled with people riding all sorts of stuff- drivetrains were cobbled together between road and mtb since it was still 9sp or lower. I mention this because bike brands didnt create the demand for alt drivetrains, it already existed and the brands designed options that were more integrated and purpose built.

- What is really funny is that after claiming gravel is created by bike marketers, you then state they are practical. So its pure marketing, except for the fact that its actually practical. Huh?


The incorrect narrative that marketers created gravel will never go away because there are far too many skeptical and jaded people in cycling(I am one). But it is still worth actually pointing out reality when the narrative pops up.
mstateglfr is online now  
Likes For mstateglfr:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.