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The "gravel bike " theme

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The "gravel bike " theme

Old 06-11-14, 09:44 AM
  #26  
Campag4life
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Originally Posted by MileHighMark View Post
I regularly ride my road bike with 28mm tires on dirt/gravel roads. If I need anything wider than 40mm, I grab my 29er. Most of my preferred gravel-specific tires are in the 32-38mm range.

Free your mind, and your bike will follow.
I too personally prefer a 29er for gravel riding.
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Old 06-11-14, 10:10 AM
  #27  
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I've done two "gravel" Fondos this year and had a blast, they had a mix of pavement and gravel or forest service roads. One was 80 miles with about 30 miles of farm country gravel roads and the other was 87 miles with about 45 miles of rough forest service roads. For the first Fondo I used 28mm touring tires and that worked well and for the second I used 33mm Specialized Trigger Pros which are a gravel tire or dry / fast course CX tire.

I mounted them on my road bike. Yep my regular road bike - a custom steel frame built in the 80s. You know, back when they used to make road frames that weren't constrained down to a measly 25mm max tire clearance (with no room for fenders)? When there was no such thing as "long reach" brakes, those were just called "brakes"? Bicycle companies started chasing the image of the race bike and making bikes that frankly became less and less versatile, especially for your average non-pro rider.

I race CX and I agree with some of the above posters that a true CX bike is not ideal for long gravel rides, though you certainly see a lot of CX branded bikes out there. My CX bike is geared and set up for CX racing and would not work well for a long endurance gravel ride. It's more of a crit bike for a specific speed window. Also cantilever brakes on road bikes simply suck. I have plenty of experience with cantis and they can just be a pain, especially the front on a relatively slender road fork. If I can use a bike with calipers instead, bring it on.

Certainly you could use a touring bike for gravel rides, but I'd rather not have the extra weight and super relaxed geometry. I use a road bike. I guess the bike companies have started making niche "gravel bikes". Certainly I can understand wanting a bicycle "quiver" but if you can find an older road bike, or perhaps a newer one from a smaller builder, that has some reasonable tire clearance they will work great. And hey, you can run 28mm gatorskins with full fenders on it for your winter training too! A gravel road is still a road. Bring a road bike. Some of the most famous European races do/did include gravel sections. TdF. Stadia Bianchi. Etc.
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Old 06-11-14, 10:16 AM
  #28  
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Old 06-11-14, 10:34 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
I think niche more than fad.

Gravel grinder races keep getting more popular, with more races and bigger fields. DK had 1200 riders this year.
Yeah, remember MTB in the 90's?

Fad. Then it dominated the sport in NA for a decade and now the industry considers it a dead segment.

I believe it will push some cross designs, and disc brakes, and then disappear. We are about to introduce a carbon rim for this segment but don't expect to get rich doing it.
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Old 06-11-14, 11:14 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
+1 in bold.
A slight tire width up over a cross bike is probably desirable for gravel grinding.
Specialized new bike looks like they fill this niche. Question is, how often do you indulge this niche to justify a specific bike.
Wrong question. A "gravel bike" is just an all-around bike branded for gravel. The right question is "how often will you do any riding other than your favorite niche to justify a specific bike?" If you have no intention of ever riding/racing gravel, commuting, racing cross, fire roads, touring, light single track, grocery getting etc, then you don't need a gravel bike.
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Old 06-11-14, 11:15 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
Yeah, remember MTB in the 90's?

Fad. Then it dominated the sport in NA for a decade and now the industry considers it a dead segment.

I believe it will push some cross designs, and disc brakes, and then disappear. We are about to introduce a carbon rim for this segment but don't expect to get rich doing it.
I don't think it will disappear, though it may get marketed differently.
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Old 06-11-14, 11:21 AM
  #32  
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I didn't realize gravel bike was a thing all of the sudden; dang near every bike I have bought in the last 10 years has been a "gravel" bike, which is to say they have been very versatile. I can't stand specialized niche products which is why I sold the one "road race" bike I bought.
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Old 06-11-14, 12:11 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by UnfilteredDregs View Post
That's why I went with my Warbird. I could not imagine riding around NYC on skinny assed tires.
Yup. Unless a road is very smooth, narrow tires found on a road bike will absorb the road buzz and leave one feeling fatigued at the end of a ride. The ability to put on wide tires that is characteristic of the country bike/gravel grinder road bike contributes both to comfort and an over all feeling of stability when riding over rough terrain. I think your Warbird is a good replacement for the road bike and you also have the advantage of being able to ride off road with it as well.
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Old 06-11-14, 12:14 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by halfspeed View Post
Wrong question. A "gravel bike" is just an all-around bike branded for gravel. The right question is "how often will you do any riding other than your favorite niche to justify a specific bike?" If you have no intention of ever riding/racing gravel, commuting, racing cross, fire roads, touring, light single track, grocery getting etc, then you don't need a gravel bike.
A country bike/gravel road bike allows people to ride ONE bike. Its as close to the all-around bike philosophy that's now in vogue, especially in this tight economic era. For most people, a bike is a serious economic investment these days so they might as well buy one that meets both their present AND future needs.
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Old 06-11-14, 02:44 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
The bike the OP referenced to start the thread was built for Dan Hughes and Rebecca Rusch for Dirty Kanza.

You can definitely do DK on a CX bike. I did it on a cheap Motebecanne CX bike. Only problem was a bit of an issue with mud clearance running 40mm tires.

I saw a ton of people using conventional 32mm cross tires flatting, some with tires torn beyond rebooting.

I get your point that you can slice your market into too small of niche, but for most folks who aren't serious CX racers, the Gravel Grinder is going to be a better choice than a full on CX bike.

So perhaps a different way to look at it, is the Gravel Grinder is a more rounded bike, filling a broader role of touring bike, dirt road bike, commuter, etc. and the traditional CX bike is the narrow niche purpose built racing bike.
This sounds about right to me. I'll just add that a purpose-built gravel bike will have a lower bottom bracket than a typical cyclocross bike, though CX bottom brackets have been steadily getting lower in the US. Regarding tires, clearance on cyclocross frames is highly variable, but indeed 40mm is really pushing it. At the same time, the width of the tires you need for gravel and dirt roads is also highly variable. For DK, I totally believe that you need those 40+mm tires. On most of the dirt roads I've ridden in New England, more than 32 is generally overkill, while gravel roads I've ridden in north Georgia were rough enough that you might want something in between.

What's interesting about the trend is that there's a wide variety of surface types that all get lumped in under "gravel" that really can be quite different, so making a "gravel bike" by definition means making a fairly generalist machine. Cyclocross bikes have got stuck with this role of the "do anything" bike for the last decade and a half or more, but they aren't actually perfectly suited for it. Not if you want a bike that's optimized for cyclocross racing, anyway. I think a lot of bikes like the Surly Cross-Check and other do-anything CX bikes aren't really spiritually pure CX bikes at all. So it's nice to see the all-rounder category re-emerge and let cyclocross bikes stay a focused category.
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Old 06-11-14, 02:47 PM
  #36  
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For what it's worth, though, I'll be using my cyclocross bike for the two dirt road-heavy rides I plan on doing this summer. I've ridden gravel on gear way less optimized for it than a CX bike, so I'm not too worried about that.
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Old 06-11-14, 02:47 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
A country bike/gravel road bike allows people to ride ONE bike. Its as close to the all-around bike philosophy that's now in vogue, especially in this tight economic era. For most people, a bike is a serious economic investment these days so they might as well buy one that meets both their present AND future needs.
So does any other bike, as long as your interests are sufficiently narrow. If I lived somewhere without a real winter, for example, I'd probably sell my all-rounder and just ride my road/race bike all the time.
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Old 06-11-14, 03:28 PM
  #38  
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Gravel grinders are the new fixies according to NYC Bike Snob.
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Old 06-11-14, 03:54 PM
  #39  
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In my day we had one bike that did it all and we Liked it!
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Old 06-11-14, 04:25 PM
  #40  
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Hard tail 29er with skinnier knobbies?
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Old 06-11-14, 05:31 PM
  #41  
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That might work in the city. But if you live in a place where there are fire roads, poorly maintained streets, I don't think one would be so quick to sell their all-rounder.
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Old 06-11-14, 05:32 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by I <3 Robots View Post
Hard tail 29er with skinnier knobbies?
Yeah like the Marin Muirwoods. So its possible to have a tough bike that also wants to be a road bike.
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Old 06-11-14, 08:15 PM
  #43  
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I belive spec is playing catch-up, with salsa/surly ...
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Old 06-11-14, 08:37 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by martinus View Post
I belive spec is playing catch-up, with salsa/surly ...
Yup.
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Old 06-11-14, 08:41 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
I think your Warbird is a good replacement for the road bike and you also have the advantage of being able to ride off road with it as well.
It's a practical machine.

I'm thinking of throwing some 30+ on it, with some knobs on the side of the treads and doing some light touring with it. I've got the Revelate bags so... Riding to Burlington, VT looks fun...
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Old 06-11-14, 09:55 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by grolby View Post
What's interesting about the trend is that there's a wide variety of surface types that all get lumped in under "gravel" that really can be quite different, so making a "gravel bike" by definition means making a fairly generalist machine. Cyclocross bikes have got stuck with this role of the "do anything" bike for the last decade and a half or more, but they aren't actually perfectly suited for it. Not if you want a bike that's optimized for cyclocross racing, anyway. I think a lot of bikes like the Surly Cross-Check and other do-anything CX bikes aren't really spiritually pure CX bikes at all. So it's nice to see the all-rounder category re-emerge and let cyclocross bikes stay a focused category.
I think you just changed my mind on this.

I regularly use my road bike with 23C tires on everything from washed out sections of road that have been filled in with old bricks and chunks of concrete baby heads to nasty arsed back county goat paths here in Taiwan. I've been doing it for decades and have never given it a second thought. Now if my entire ride was on stuff like this I might put together something better suited but I've never felt the need. If I were doing these gravel fondos that could change.
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Old 06-12-14, 02:21 AM
  #47  
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My Novara Strada currently has 35's and room to spare for bigger... eyelets... 105.... it's a versatile frame that I'm excited to take interesting places. Where I live, if you can ride the logging roads,,,, my lord.... you could have some amazing, carless rides into some great terrain. A riding buddy and I keep bringing this possibility up. He on his MTB, me on a road frame with drops and 35's... I'm all in! My days of any kind of technical single-track are long gone; but riding logging roads is a far cry from that.
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