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Tried Riding Gravel ... Meh

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Tried Riding Gravel ... Meh

Old 02-18-20, 07:59 AM
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UsedToBeFaster
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Tried Riding Gravel ... Meh

Put 40mm tires on my endurance bike to hit some gravel levee roads where I live.

I was very excited which lasted about 5 minutes. As beautiful as the scenery was the constant shudder through the frame made it unpleasant.

The gravel was sbkut the size of quarters so the degree of shuddering wasnt the issue just the constistency of it. It was like riding the chip seal roads they probably have in Hell.

So its back to the road for me and a new search for forest riding.
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Old 02-18-20, 08:20 AM
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rumrunn6
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I can relate. was having fun on unpaved rail trails until I reached large gravel for about .5-1 mile. quite unpleasant. I think the term "gravel riding" is quite broad. I've since found more pleasant places to ride, mostly dirt or smaller gravel w/ dirt mixed in. I also switched from a rigid fork hybrid type bike to a 29er w a cheap sus. fork

stuff like this is easy enough




this stuff is a lot less fun




keep looking until you find the really fun trails
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Old 02-18-20, 08:39 AM
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Wow, pretty.
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Old 02-18-20, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by UsedToBeFaster View Post
Put 40mm tires on my endurance bike to hit some gravel levee roads where I live.

I was very excited which lasted about 5 minutes. As beautiful as the scenery was the constant shudder through the frame made it unpleasant.

The gravel was sbkut the size of quarters so the degree of shuddering wasnt the issue just the constistency of it. It was like riding the chip seal roads they probably have in Hell.

So its back to the road for me and a new search for forest riding.
Tubes or tubeless? How much pressure? I run 40mm tubeless on the gravel bike and it's very comfortable flying over that type of gravel at 38-40psi.

The thing I like about gravel is def the scenery, and also getting away from traffic. I can ride for three hours and not see a single car. And even when you do encounter cars on gravel, they typically either come to a complete stop and let you pass, or slow way down, def very different from road traffic. At least around here.
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Old 02-18-20, 08:54 AM
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tire pressure is key.
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Old 02-18-20, 09:18 AM
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caloso
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Can you lower the tire pressure?
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Old 02-18-20, 09:19 AM
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Yeah

Originally Posted by himespau View Post
Wow, pretty.
Forest riding is the best. Quiet, beautiful, surprisingly good traction if its a path that's been compacted down. You can fly down some of those tracks shown at 15mph no problem.
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Old 02-18-20, 09:24 AM
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PSI is 60 - Running Tubes

I just bought 30 TPI tires which I run at 60 PSI. Will dropping to 40 really make a difference? I also wonder whether a higher TPI tire will help.

Rides4Beer Totally agree. The lack of traffic is a huge plus.
caloso I see your in the Sacrmanto area. I am there for work and did these rides on the West Sacramento Levees (River Rd). I did notice there are some "forest" trails along the American River Bike Trail but it seems most are off limits to cyclists (limited to horses and hikers). Any suggestions for forest style trails in your area?

Thanks!

Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Can you lower the tire pressure?
Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
Tubes or tubeless? How much pressure? I run 40mm tubeless on the gravel bike and it's very comfortable flying over that type of gravel at 38-40psi.

The thing I like about gravel is def the scenery, and also getting away from traffic. I can ride for three hours and not see a single car. And even when you do encounter cars on gravel, they typically either come to a complete stop and let you pass, or slow way down, def very different from road traffic. At least around here.
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Old 02-18-20, 09:28 AM
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As stated, tire pressure. I don't know how much you weigh, but 152-pound me only needs 28F/32R on my 38c Challenge Gravel Grinder tubeless tires to not bonk rim (within reason). Gives a fast smooth ride over anything short of 2.5" minus.
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Old 02-18-20, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by UsedToBeFaster View Post
I just bought 30 TPI tires which I run at 60 PSI. Will dropping to 40 really make a difference? I also wonder whether a higher TPI tire will help.
That's way high for a 40mm. I run 38s at ~35f/40r, even when I was at 210lbs.
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Old 02-18-20, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by UsedToBeFaster View Post
Put 40mm tires on my endurance bike to hit some gravel levee roads where I live.

I was very excited which lasted about 5 minutes. As beautiful as the scenery was the constant shudder through the frame made it unpleasant.

The gravel was sbkut the size of quarters so the degree of shuddering wasnt the issue just the constistency of it. It was like riding the chip seal roads they probably have in Hell.

So its back to the road for me and a new search for forest riding.
I'm a gravel junkie, and funny to say after my first gravel race was hit by a storm front with gale force winds and heavy rain; getting lost and adding 9 miles to a 100-mile ride; and riding my commuter bike on commuter (700x28) tires. Somehow I was hooked.

My love for gravel has a few components:
  • Quiet roads - very few cars to compete with
  • Seeing little seen places
  • Amazing gravel community in Minnesota
  • The same route is never the same
  • Days like this - Almanzo 100 https://vimeo.com/65260098
  • And there's days like this - The Filthy 50 (the Toad is flashing the shaka on a drop-bar fatbike @ 0:28)
Setting up a gravel bike is an art (not science). I have a different set up for nearly every race ... different bike, different tires, different pressures .... tune the bike for the course and conditions.

I simply enjoy the adventure, enjoy the challenge, and enjoy the company!
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Old 02-18-20, 09:36 AM
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alo
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With a fat bike you will have a smoother ride on gravel.
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Old 02-18-20, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
That's way high for a 40mm. I run 38s at ~35f/40r, even when I was at 210lbs.
What tires?
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Old 02-18-20, 09:49 AM
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I like "gravel."








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Old 02-18-20, 09:50 AM
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Old 02-18-20, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
What tires?
Schwalbe G-One Allround.
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Old 02-18-20, 10:10 AM
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Old 02-18-20, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by UsedToBeFaster View Post
So its back to the road for me and a new search for forest riding.
It isnt for everyone. I find its slower and more difficult, and not everyone likes that. There is more vibration, and that affects some more than others.
A lot of gravel around me is hardpack road with loose gravel strewn about atop the hardpack, with some loosepack gravel every here and there(approaching intersections, sections of more recent laid gravel, etc). Perhaps the location you rode isnt ideal, especially at the PSI?
Or maybe it isnt for you, which could be.
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Old 02-18-20, 10:44 AM
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& then there's the falling ...
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Old 02-18-20, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by UsedToBeFaster View Post
I just bought 30 TPI tires which I run at 60 PSI. Will dropping to 40 really make a difference? I also wonder whether a higher TPI tire will help.

Rides4Beer Totally agree. The lack of traffic is a huge plus.
caloso I see your in the Sacrmanto area. I am there for work and did these rides on the West Sacramento Levees (River Rd). I did notice there are some "forest" trails along the American River Bike Trail but it seems most are off limits to cyclists (limited to horses and hikers). Any suggestions for forest style trails in your area?

Thanks!
Not really. You'd have to head east to Folsom/Auburn/El Dorado to find anything forested. The trails along the ARBT are officially off limits to bikes, but the biggest hazard is the number of illegal encampments down near the river.
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Old 02-18-20, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by UsedToBeFaster View Post
I just bought 30 TPI tires which I run at 60 PSI.
I generally run my 52mm-ish tires at 30PSI or lower on gravel rides.

60PSI in a 40mm tire on rough gravel is something I'd probably only start considering if my bike+rider weight was approaching 300lbs.
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Old 02-18-20, 12:28 PM
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I think it's a little unhelpful that we refer to anything that isn't pavement as "gravel." I hate riding on actual gravel - pea sized rocks, bunch of them, especially when it's deep. We have a lot of hard packed dirt roads here, and these can be fantastic to ride on.

Like others have said, it's about scenery and traffic. For me it's also about having more places to ride, and about being able to make a loop out of what would be an out-and-back otherwise. I think we only have 5 (?) roads that cross the Cascade Range, and we have a lot of roads (that mostly serve hiking trails) that are paved for about 10 miles, then turn to dirt. We also have a maze of dirt roads throughout the mountains, so I can ride those first 10 miles, and instead of just turning around, I can keep going. Lot of beautiful paved roads, but eventually you get to the point where you've ridden most of the ones that appeal to you.











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Old 02-18-20, 12:30 PM
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I run my 37c tires at 85 PSI when touring fully loaded on road and off road. I am a badass. Like Chuck Norris.
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Old 02-18-20, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by UsedToBeFaster View Post
Forest riding is the best. Quiet, beautiful, surprisingly good traction if its a path that's been compacted down. You can fly down some of those tracks shown at 15mph no problem.
Funny thing is I usually think of riding (or hiking) through the woods as the chore I have to do to get to the good stuff. We have a lot of trees, and not a lot of sunlight, so that pretty much sets my priorities. But it can be nice sometimes.



Except burn scars. Those are beautiful.
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Old 02-18-20, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I think it's a little unhelpful that we refer to anything that isn't pavement as "gravel." I hate riding on actual gravel - pea sized rocks, bunch of them, especially when it's deep.
Like it or not, gravel is an ambiguous term - what you describe as "actual gravel" is no more of a standard than a dozen others. Aggregate size and uniformity as well as composition will vary from region to region and application to application.

Around here, the most common would be limestone Class 5 gravel. Class 5 has chunks up to ~1" along with smaller stuff that serves as a binder and will eventually pack down well. Limestone is sedimentary and the bigger chunks will break down the more it's traveled upon. It can be exceptionally smooth and fast, but you'll also hit washboard sections and plenty of loose stuff.

Any gravel without a sufficient binder, like what you describe, is a pain in the ass.
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