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Cyclocross vs Gravel what makes them?

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Cyclocross vs Gravel what makes them?

Old 08-28-14, 09:41 PM
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Cyclocross vs Gravel what makes them?

I know they have been around for a while but I seem to have missed the segments of cyclocross and gravel. I'm looking for info about this segments. What about these bicycles makes them cyclocross or gravel bikes? In one better than the other? Are certain types of frame materials better than others? I know this is kind of a bone headed question but I'm curious about these segments
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Old 08-28-14, 09:48 PM
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Old 08-29-14, 04:08 AM
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Well, the differences are quite small if there actually are any. Basically a CX bike is a road bike which can fit wider tires and generally is a bit more robustly built. As we know a CX bike can be a racing bike (specialized crux) or a tourer oriented with all the braze ons for racks, fenders, bells and whistles (surly cross check)
With a gravel bike all of the above applies as well, just that gravel bikes are called gravel bikes and not CX bikes.

Now if we think about geometry a CX bike is generally a bit shorter and higher than an actual road bike with a slightly higher BB position. The head angle and fork rake are also usually a bit slacker and the chainstays are also a bit longer.
So there some differences between the road bike and CX. However since every manufacturer has its own idea about the optimal CX/road geometry the differences basically vanish. For example the specialized crux is my road bike since the geo is a perfect road geo for me. Long legs, short back so a higher shorter bike is exactly what I need. I could ride a road bike with a slightly higher spacer stack, but who wants higher spacer stacks?
I'm rambling.
What I was getting at was: The difference between the CX and gravel bike is the geo. As explained the CX has some differences to make it more CX worthy. These properties are however not required in gravel riding. You dont really need slacker angles etc. So basically a gravel bike is a road bike in geometry (low/long) and it takes wider tires.

Now what needs to be kept in mind is that what I have just written is a limited desing aspect some manufacturers use. In general the term gravel grinder is vague at best and is usually comprised from the meaning and use a rider himself gives a particular bike. A gravel grinder can be a race CX, an old touring roadie, a 29er with dropbars and fat tires, a fatbike or even an actual road bike with 28mm tires.

So yeah, don't stress it. Bikes actually called gravel grinders by the manufacturer tend to be expensive (new product)
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Old 08-29-14, 06:00 AM
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Old 08-29-14, 07:57 AM
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I would generally say that the purpose built gravel bikes out there have clearance for bigger tires than CX bikes do. I believe CX rules limit tire width at some point whereas gravel grinding/racing is still less defined and depending on local conditions you may want to be running a mild MTB/29er tire. Gravel bikes may tend toward more relaxed geometry because it seems gravel rides are more likely to be longer, but this will vary by manufacturer/rider preference.

To piggyback on Retrogrouch's comment, I would see it on a scale of:

Optimal for smooth pavement -- Road bike - CX bike - Gravel bike - "Monstercross" bike - Mountain bike -- Optimal for no pavement
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Old 08-29-14, 09:25 AM
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you dont Need a Cyclocross Race bike to ride the Farm roads that have become where gravel grinder rides have become popular.

But with enough cash on hand people do, and the sellers are promoting that to happen , more.. Special Gravel tires & such..
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Old 08-29-14, 09:37 AM
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Read the decal on the frame or the blurb in the manufacturer's catalog to see which category a suspect bike falls into.

If you want the other one, you might have to paint "cyclocross" or "gravel" over the existing decal.
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Old 08-29-14, 01:19 PM
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Gravel /ˈɡrævəl/ is composed of unconsolidated rock fragments that have a general particle size range and include size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. Gravel is sub-categorized by the Udden-Wentworth scale into granular gravel (2 to 4 mm or 0.079 to 0.157 in) and pebble gravel (4 to 64 mm or 0.2 to 2.5 in)

Do you mean a granular gravel bike or a pebble gravel bike?
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