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Who else is using a gravel bike as a road bike? What is the trade off (if any)?

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Who else is using a gravel bike as a road bike? What is the trade off (if any)?

Old 07-19-20, 03:58 PM
  #51  
vandalarchitect
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Iím maybe just crazy enough to be doing it the other way round. I have a Caad 12 I use as a commuter/rain bike. With the ĎRona and working from home I bought a set of the widest tires I feel like I can fit on it and Iím finding more and more routes with some gravel these days. Iím maxed out at 30mm Rubino Pros that measure like 29.5mm on rims with I believe an 18mm internal width. Still skinny for what most people would want for gravel, but I havenít had any issues so far. The gravel Iím riding is pretty packed and smooth though (better than some of the chipseal Iíve ridden). It still sees plenty of pavement too and why I havenít more seriously considered getting something more specific to gravel.

Sometimes I wonder if Iíd be happier on a frame with better clearance for wider tires. I had a Caad X before this and I wanted something a little lighter and with hydraulic discs rather than mechanical discs. I had some 32mm tires for it, but rarely used them as I preferred a set of 28s for riding on the road. It hardly ever saw gravel. I think if I still had that bike instead, and was riding more gravel with it, Iíd still want something lighter and less sluggish.
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Old 07-19-20, 04:26 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
I reckon a gravel bike a very good road bike as well. For pure racers trying to optimize speed and agility, maybe not. But for the vast majority of recreational riders, putting on 700x32s on a gravel bike gives you very good performance on the road and the option to get dirty with wider tires, if you so desire.

In hindsight, i wish i had bought a gravel frame instead of an R5 for my second bike.
I almost bought an R5 too. I test rode a C3 just for the experience and got it instead. I liked it so much, I sold the C3 and bought a C5. Itís almost as quick as any road bike, more comfortable, and more versatile.
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Old 07-19-20, 04:56 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by velopig View Post
You are correct when you mention equipment was available which could accommodate wide tires however the braking performance was in no way comparable to what is currently the acceptable standard.
Mechanical advantage was generally lower, but the characteristics could be decent if things were set up well. One problem is that lots of well-designed brakes prior to the last few decades used centerpull cabling schemes, which can have a lot of degrees of freedom and leave a lot of room for things to go wrong. That gets further amplified on cantis with post-mount brake pads, as it allows the mechanic to set up the arms at a huge variety of angles.

There are definitely old-school brake designs that are doomed to sponginess, but some can be coaxed into working quite well.
I actually had a big eye-opening moment last year when I did a bit of maintenance on a relative's lower-end old Motobecane. Even with cheap housing and dinged-up chromed steel rims, and even with the original near-half-century-old brake pads, I managed to get the dual-pivot centerpull calipers feeling just about reasonable. If the rims had been aluminum, and if rim damage wasn't creating kicks in the brake response and forcing me to back the pads off a bit farther than I'd like, it would have been downright decent. The brakes were giving good feedback on the initial bite, and they stayed feeling pretty stiff under firm actuation.
(By contrast, I've never been able to get the Dia Compe G-series single-pivots on my '79 Fuji feeling all that great despite quality modern housing and pads, and a lot of fine-tuning effort.)

Last edited by HTupolev; 07-19-20 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 07-19-20, 05:06 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
In hindsight, i wish i had bought a gravel frame instead of an R5 for my second bike.
What an amazing coincidence, I just started accepting bike donations!

Test ride a C3. Maybe an Aspero too. I find the C3 to be basically the same as a road bike, just with lighter gearing. Sharp handling. Limited clearance though.
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Old 07-19-20, 05:09 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
...
If you haven't already, you need to ride up to the North Mountain Lookout, in Darrington. Bring a camera, and shoes you'll be happy walking up and down stairs in.

Sorry for the off topic. It's "gravel" though.
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Old 07-19-20, 11:39 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
I almost bought an R5 too. I test rode a C3 just for the experience and got it instead. I liked it so much, I sold the C3 and bought a C5. Itís almost as quick as any road bike, more comfortable, and more versatile.
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
What an amazing coincidence, I just started accepting bike donations!
Test ride a C3. Maybe an Aspero too. I find the C3 to be basically the same as a road bike, just with lighter gearing. Sharp handling. Limited clearance though.
I am getting another golden retriever puppy in September or so, most likely, so you gents can plan to come over and kick it too.

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Old 07-20-20, 12:02 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
If you haven't already, you need to ride up to the North Mountain Lookout, in Darrington. Bring a camera, and shoes you'll be happy walking up and down stairs in.

Sorry for the off topic. It's "gravel" though.
I actually haven't been up there. I've seen people use it as part of a Rockport-Darrington connection, which seems pretty awesome. A ride out of Darrington over Segelson and back via North Mountain could be pretty incredible, I think.
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Old 07-20-20, 07:21 AM
  #58  
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My two cents: I used to race and I don’t anymore. I bought a heavy ass gravel bike (REI ADV 3.1) with my stimulus check and haven’t touched my road bike since.

I mention racing because I feel like we (enthusiasts/non racers) have been sold race bikes or far too long. As other people have pointed out, we are discovering a few pounds doesn’t matter all that much. What I have discovered for myself however is that comfort and fun matters a lot and the ADV gives me that every time I ride it.

A bonus is that not only did it replace my road bike, but it also replaced my dual suspension mtb. I put some chunky tubeless tires on there and ride rigid now. It’s great.
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Old 07-20-20, 09:45 AM
  #59  
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I went through the exact same analysis, and almost bought the Revolt, but I ended up with the Defy instead. It was a toss up, as you noted, they're so similar. I'm in the "Advanced 2" price range though (versus your "Advanced 0").

I put a new carbon wheelset + 28mm tires for faster group rides, and use the stock wheels and tires (32mm) for everything else.

Giant says the Defy will fit 35mm tires, but I plan to test fit 36mm and even 38mm tires soon, to make it 'full-gravel' instead of the gravel-lite config it is now.

You mentioned that you currently do fine keeping up with your road ride groups, so it sounds like a good setup. I wouldn't upgrade too much, you'll end up doing less work, and getting less out of your workouts!

I have the opposite problem.. my Defy is several pounds heavier than the bike it replaced, and I really notice it, especially on our hilly routes. I have trouble keeping up now, but I'll get there, and I'll be stronger for it.
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Old 07-20-20, 09:52 AM
  #60  
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I road bike my Revolt and love it. I can spin the 48x11 to 30+mph, past that and I'm gonna let gravity take over anyway. Unless you're racing crits, I think a gravel bike with two wheelsets is the best combo for most people.
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Old 07-20-20, 11:16 AM
  #61  
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I've been riding my gravel bike exclusively on the road for 3 yrs now and had to make a few changes:
  • Tires obviously. Went straight over to to the GP4000, and now on the GP5000, both 28mm.
  • Because of the tall stack, it was an easy decision to slam the stem right off the bat, but I also got a -17 stem to get the bars even lower. Bike looks great like this, but if my legs were any shorter, it wouldn't be enough drop, so think carefully about the stack height when choosing the frame size.
  • The wide flared bars were uncomfortable and I found myself rolling my wrists inward. Replaced with much narrower bars with less flare that fits my shoulder size.
Other things...
  • On a size small frame, the wheelbase is long at over 1000mm. I suppose theoretically this should make for a less bumpy ride. (Less angular change when hitting a bump?) But i don't have anything to compare with.
  • Slack head angle for better stability theoretically. Don't have anything to compare with, but feels just fine over 30mph, and also fine at 40mph in the few seconds per ride that I would even hit that speed.
That's about it. I weight-weeny'd the bike down below 19lbs without pedals. Could get it down into the 18s if I could find a lighter fork that fits.

Last edited by Mounttesa; 07-20-20 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 07-20-20, 11:19 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
I actually haven't been up there. I've seen people use it as part of a Rockport-Darrington connection, which seems pretty awesome. A ride out of Darrington over Segelson and back via North Mountain could be pretty incredible, I think.
You can go up from Christian Camp Road and come back down by Whitehorse Park. That won't skip more than about 5(?) miles of 530, but the views are spectacular. Sounds like you know about Segelson already.

There's a gate about a mile below the lookout, I assume that's not an issue for you.

The road ends at a flat area with a dramatic view of Baker, Shuksan, the Sisters, and the Pickets. The lookout is about 100 feet up, the public is invited to go up the stairs and enjoy the view. From up there Whitehorse, Sloan, Pugh, White Chuck, and many more are dramatic. You can see Sauk Prairie standing out among the forest and you can see the rivers wind back and forth across the valleys.

They're working to open the lookout to the public for overnight use by reservation. That could be part of a really fun bike trip.

They built a MTB trail system on North Mountain too.
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Old 07-20-20, 05:38 PM
  #63  
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Decided to try an RPE-based comparo, riding the same 4.1 mile loop around my neighborhood. I call the loop "ascending without climbing," because there's never anything above a quick hit of 3% or so. There's a long-ish section of maybe 2%, and only 3 sections of "climbing" total. Plenty of stoplights/intersections, but I'm only turning left twice, so it's mostly smooth going. Both efforts are 8 laps plus a shorter cooldown section of ~2 miles. On the left, the 1x11 steel cross bike, currently on 700x30 WTB Exposures, which mount to almost 34mm wide. On the right, a 2017 Cervelo R3 on 700x23 IRC RoadLites, which mount to right on 25mm.

In this take, the wider, heavier, less aero CX bike takes about 2 more watts to go 0.4mph slower. I chalk the HR differential up to fatigue. I felt more tired leading up to the road bike effort. Legs didn't seem to care.

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