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Can A Gravel Bike Be A Good Road Bike?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Can A Gravel Bike Be A Good Road Bike?

Old 09-12-19, 04:31 PM
  #126  
RiceAWay
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
All this time I thought those t-shirts were meant to be funny, but now you're saying they're really dispensing medical advice?
In your case, I think that it was your wife's trying to get her sexual desires understood.
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Old 09-12-19, 04:37 PM
  #127  
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gravel bike would make a good endurance road bike, but a poor racing road bike. the long chainstays required for larger tires will cause the bike to be very sluggish on corning but stable on straight lines

i went from CAAD10 (racing) to Roubiax (endurance), now to Niner (gravel)
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Old 09-12-19, 05:01 PM
  #128  
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Originally Posted by RiceAWay View Post
Unlike you I don't try to tell people like Jobst that they are crazy for attributing his heart attack to his sport.
What?
I haven't told people like Jobst that they are crazy for attributing their heart attack to cycling.

That isn't even close to anything I have posted.
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Old 09-12-19, 05:04 PM
  #129  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
What?
I haven't told people like Jobst that they are crazy for attributing their heart attack to cycling.

That isn't even close to anything I have posted.
No, rather you are calling me crazy for taking Jobst at his word.
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Old 09-12-19, 06:10 PM
  #130  
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Originally Posted by RiceAWay View Post
In your case, I think that it was your wife's trying to get her sexual desires understood.
Oh, very classy response. But, I guess you're not totally over that whole concussion thing.

Yes, this is cyclintom. After my concussion I was vey angry which is symptomatic of concussions. I suppose I must have cussed people out on several groups and they removed me. Since I was in continuous seizures I had little control over my temper. After receiving treatment to stop the seizures and recovering the larger part of my memories, I had to re-register under a different moniker.
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Old 09-13-19, 06:52 AM
  #131  
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It all depends on the bike geometry, components, & tires. The average gravel bike can be a very decent road bike. I have a Diamondback Haanjo Trail that I love and have used for many different purposes. I have Panaracer Gravel King slick 38mm tires set up tubeless. IMHO, unless you are going to get into some really messy trail stuff, wider slick tires are every bit as capable on gravel & hardpacked dirt as any "small knob" tire. In addition to that, they are great on tarmac & everything in between. Some gravel bikes are more mountain bike with 1x drivetrains. For the typical recreational road ride, I would have no issue taking my gravel bike or the road bike. If you encounter significant elevation changes on your rides, the gravel bike gearing can be a welcome friend.
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Old 09-13-19, 07:26 AM
  #132  
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Originally Posted by Chi_Z View Post
gravel bike would make a good endurance road bike, but a poor racing road bike. the long chainstays required for larger tires will cause the bike to be very sluggish on corning but stable on straight lines

i went from CAAD10 (racing) to Roubiax (endurance), now to Niner (gravel)
Absolutely. I wouldn't go race a crit with it, but I love how stable it is on descents and curves, it holds a line practically on it's own.
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Old 09-13-19, 08:42 AM
  #133  
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If it were me I'd go with my cyclocross bike.
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Old 09-13-19, 09:10 AM
  #134  
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We used to ask this question about cx bikes.

The answer was mostly yes.
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Old 09-15-19, 11:17 PM
  #135  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
All this time I thought those t-shirts were meant to be funny, but now you're saying they're really dispensing medical advice?
I get all my medical advice from tee shirts, don't you?
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Old 09-15-19, 11:43 PM
  #136  
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Originally Posted by Banzai View Post
We used to ask this question about cx bikes.

The answer was mostly yes.
Yep, mostly...the gravel frame (bike) is a far better transitional piece than the CX precisely because of its longer chain stays. That said, if you are really able to ride a bike to the fullest of its potential (because I know I can't), the differences between a CX, road, or gravel bike are largely not going to be noticeable except in very specific sorts of circumstances on most rides, and if you've got a decent set of handling skills, either of the three will work well on both gravel or tarmac. I'll give one caveat, based on personal experience, the CX bike is the only choice for CX racing...for some pretty obvious (to me) reasons.
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Old 09-16-19, 03:23 AM
  #137  
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My two cents:

Short answer: No, if we think speed, lightness and aerodynamics are the main factors of a road bike. If you want a road bike, get a road bike. If you want gravel, get a gravel. If you want both, buy two bikes.
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Old 09-16-19, 03:56 AM
  #138  
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So back to the original post. Like most questions here that get asked in BF, the best answer is "it depends."

Whether a gravel bike will perform well as a road bike for you depends on what you want out of a road bike. From what the OP said (assuming he's still here after six pages of typical BF arguing), a gravel bike with a second wheelset seems like a very good option for him. The caveat being I don't know what his group rides are like. If he's struggling to keep up on group rides with an "actual" road bike, perhaps swapping to a gravel bike with road-oriented tires would put him off the pace. Perhaps. And perhaps not.

A gravel bike can sub in as a decent road bike in many circumstances. As can a cross bike. But a dedicated road bike that can't take tires over 25mm really won't serve both purposes.

So - OP - it depends. My opinion is that for me, I could get by with the gravel bike I just built with a second wheelset and be quite happy. But then my "road" bike is actually a cyclocross bike, so what do I know.

Do what works for you (assuming you haven't already), and not what works or doesn't work for someone else here who may have different desires out of a road bike than you do.
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Old 09-16-19, 05:02 PM
  #139  
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Originally Posted by pinsonp2 View Post
Depending on how fast you ride the road, the front chainrings on these bikes (48/32 or 46/30) as opposed to the standard compact (50/34) on a road may not be satisfactory. You may 'spin out' from time to time. YMMV

P2
At 61 spinning out is the least of my worries. Falling out of bed on the other hand.
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Old 09-17-19, 05:15 PM
  #140  
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Wait, there's gravel in Manhattan??

You learn something new every day!
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Old 09-17-19, 05:43 PM
  #141  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Oh bless your heart for thinking fenders say anything about one's ability to ride well.
Don't take my rough language too seriously. I had a very serious concussion in 2009 and nearly died before I got a good neurologist and he brought be back with the proper medication to prevent mini-seizures intersperse with gran mal. So I wasn't very lucid until about 2013 and have slowly working my way back to normal. Part of the symptoms of this sort of concussion is the easy loss of temper. But here it is September 17, 2019 and I think I've pretty much recovered though missing large patches of memory.

Are you going to race CX in deep powder? Who do you think would do better - a semi-knobby 30 mm or a 36 mm knobby? Of course the answer is - the best rider. I don't remember saying or even intimating that you could RACE as well on any of these tires. I said that you can ride off road on them. I will say that Jobst in his prime with that ridiculously old school gearing and huge bike would beat you or me hands down on any CX course under any conditions. And he would run 90 psi in those 1 1/4" tires. Most of the time equipment only makes a difference in equal ability riders and that not a whole lot.
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Old 09-17-19, 05:56 PM
  #142  
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Originally Posted by Newspaper_Nick View Post
My two cents:

Short answer: No, if we think speed, lightness and aerodynamics are the main factors of a road bike. If you want a road bike, get a road bike. If you want gravel, get a gravel. If you want both, buy two bikes.
I'll test that premise and let you know. I have a Redline CX bike that I've ridden pretty hard off-road. In everything but very fast downhills I was faster tan full-suspension bikes. On any climbs steeper than, say, 25% or more I had to push but full suspension bikes had heavy enough front ends so that you could carry a very tiny gear without lifting the front wheel and losing control. So as a CX bike that Redline is hard to beat. I'm changing it over to a road bike since it is the right size for a friend who will be visiting in the spring and won't ride a bike with any carbon fiber on it.

Just guessing before it is together and tested but I would say it would work well for both with only a change in wheels. But you would have to know how to ride CX and, surprisingly, few Americans can. That's probably because they started on MTB's and that is a completely different sort of ride.
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Old 09-17-19, 09:24 PM
  #143  
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Originally Posted by RiceAWay View Post
I'll test that premise and let you know. I have a Redline CX bike that I've ridden pretty hard off-road. In everything but very fast downhills I was faster tan full-suspension bikes. On any climbs steeper than, say, 25% or more I had to push but full suspension bikes had heavy enough front ends so that you could carry a very tiny gear without lifting the front wheel and losing control. So as a CX bike that Redline is hard to beat. I'm changing it over to a road bike since it is the right size for a friend who will be visiting in the spring and won't ride a bike with any carbon fiber on it.

Just guessing before it is together and tested but I would say it would work well for both with only a change in wheels. But you would have to know how to ride CX and, surprisingly, few Americans can. That's probably because they started on MTB's and that is a completely different sort of ride.
I'm trying to follow your logic:

1. You are faster on a CX bike than you are on a full-suspension mountain bike.
2. Therefore, a CX bike will make a good road bike with a change of wheels.
3. But, the CX bike will only work as a road bike if you know how to ride CX, which Americans don't because they learned to ride on mountain bikes.

Is that about right?
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Old 09-17-19, 10:10 PM
  #144  
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Originally Posted by Newspaper_Nick View Post
My two cents:

Short answer: No, if we think speed, lightness and aerodynamics are the main factors of a road bike. If you want a road bike, get a road bike. If you want gravel, get a gravel. If you want both, buy two bikes.
Even with racing road bikes, you have to choose between lightness and aeroness. I mean aero bikes are getting lighter, but light bikes are too.

We're talking seconds over 40k/25 miles.
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Old 09-18-19, 06:23 AM
  #145  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
I'm trying to follow your logic:

1. You are faster on a CX bike than you are on a full-suspension mountain bike.
2. Therefore, a CX bike will make a good road bike with a change of wheels.
3. But, the CX bike will only work as a road bike if you know how to ride CX, which Americans don't because they learned to ride on mountain bikes.

Is that about right?
Ha, you summed it up well from what I can see. Next we will find out that all the random points tie together somehow and we just cant understand.
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Old 09-18-19, 10:46 AM
  #146  
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Originally Posted by Newspaper_Nick View Post
My two cents:

Short answer: No, if we think speed, lightness and aerodynamics are the main factors of a road bike. If you want a road bike, get a road bike. If you want gravel, get a gravel. If you want both, buy two bikes.
Speed, lightness, and aerodynamics might be the main considerations for road racing bikes, but not necessarily for all road bikes.

Some gravel bikes (Cervelo Aspero, Open U.P., Allied Alfa Allroad, etc.) are essentially road bikes that accommodate larger tires. They are just as light and fast as a lot of road bikes when fitted with narrow wheels and tires. It would be quite easy for one of these to take the place of two bikes.
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Old 09-18-19, 11:11 AM
  #147  
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The so called "gravel bikes" that most of you are considering as a good canvas for such double use are not really gravel bikes imo. They are like road bikes with larger tire clearance. They are closer to being a CX than a gravel bike. In my experience, riding on rough terrain requires much more comfort and control than these bikes can offer. Yes, you can try, and some of you maybe even be happy with it. But i wouldn't.
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Old 09-18-19, 11:43 AM
  #148  
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Originally Posted by Newspaper_Nick View Post
The so called "gravel bikes" that most of you are considering as a good canvas for such double use are not really gravel bikes imo. They are like road bikes with larger tire clearance. They are closer to being a CX than a gravel bike. In my experience, riding on rough terrain requires much more comfort and control than these bikes can offer. Yes, you can try, and some of you maybe even be happy with it. But i wouldn't.
Nah, almost all gravel bikes are built stiffer than comparable road or cross bikes due to design brief meeting the testing expectations for sale in the EU and USA. The comfort and control generally comes from the tires and handlebar width. A gravel bike with a 44mm headtube/steerer is certainly not going to be more comfortable than a cross or road bike with a 28.6mm headtube/steerer - using the same tires. That's why many pavement gravel bike riders use 28/32/35 slicks instead of going directly to 23/25.

The fun thing about this topic is that we're well along enough that lots of people have real world experience and have found there's almost no losses in using a gravel bike as a road bike. Personally I've been using one bike exclusively to either race gravel, ride singletrack or race training crits and group rides. Using 38mm slicks I've found I haven't been held back at all compared to when I had a regular road race bike. In fact, due to slightly increased fitness I've set some PRs on courses that I wasn't able to reach on my road racing bike. Fact is, a gravel bike makes a good road bike and anyone claiming otherwise is splitting hairs for very specific instances or spitballing from a position of ignorance due to not having tried it.
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Old 09-18-19, 12:21 PM
  #149  
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A gravel bike turned into a road bike / A road bike turned into a gravel bike:
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Old 09-18-19, 01:02 PM
  #150  
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Originally Posted by Newspaper_Nick View Post
The so called "gravel bikes" that most of you are considering as a good canvas for such double use are not really gravel bikes imo. They are like road bikes with larger tire clearance. They are closer to being a CX than a gravel bike. In my experience, riding on rough terrain requires much more comfort and control than these bikes can offer. Yes, you can try, and some of you maybe even be happy with it. But i wouldn't.
Wider tires are what give you most of the increased comfort on rough terrain, not the "type" of frame.
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