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Gravel bike on Great Divide Mountain Bike Route?

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Gravel bike on Great Divide Mountain Bike Route?

Old 02-04-17, 04:34 PM
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wgscott
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Gravel bike on Great Divide Mountain Bike Route?

Is the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route amenable to a gravel/adventure road bike with (say) 40mm X-PLOR MSO tires and low gearing? The description says forest service roads with a bit of single-track, but that could be anything from easy to insanely impossible. For difficult parts, are there any on-road alternatives?
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Old 02-04-17, 04:50 PM
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If I were doing it all over again:

Traditional mountain bike
Bikepacking setup, or at least a good frame bag
2.4"-2.5" tires
Front suspension only
Possibly a suspension seatpost or sprung saddle
Possibly tubeless tires (I need to learn more)

That said, I'm convinced you could do the whole thing on a cyclocross bike with 35 mm tires if you were determined, you packed light, you didn't mind walking on 5-10 occasions. Most of the time, that setup wouldn't be a problem at all.
Washboard and sand are your worst enemies, if that tells you anything about what to bring/expect.

There are alternative routes, mostly on pavement, around some of the worst areas. Most notably in Montana and New Mexico.
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Old 02-04-17, 09:17 PM
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blarney, flat handlebar or road drop bars?
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Old 02-04-17, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by BlarneyHammer View Post
If I were doing it all over again:

Traditional mountain bike
Bikepacking setup, or at least a good frame bag
2.4"-2.5" tires
Front suspension only
Possibly a suspension seatpost or sprung saddle
Possibly tubeless tires (I need to learn more)

That said, I'm convinced you could do the whole thing on a cyclocross bike with 35 mm tires if you were determined, you packed light, you didn't mind walking on 5-10 occasions. Most of the time, that setup wouldn't be a problem at all.
Washboard and sand are your worst enemies, if that tells you anything about what to bring/expect.

There are alternative routes, mostly on pavement, around some of the worst areas. Most notably in Montana and New Mexico.
Hi!

That's interesting to hear. I've been debating between putting a bikepacking setup on my LHT and some 2,3" tires plus investing in lighter equipment vs buying something like Fargo or a Troll. Seems I'd manage just fine with my LHT?
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Old 02-05-17, 11:48 AM
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I'm sure you would manage fine with the wider tires. I'm guessing he would use a flat bar since he said traditional mountain bike.
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Old 02-05-17, 08:20 PM
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Maybe I need this:



(although I probably would prefer Shimano brakes and rotors. WTF?)
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Old 02-05-17, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeLite View Post
blarney, flat handlebar or road drop bars?
Flat, or maybe something with a little bit of sweep and rise (I'd flip it down), like this.

Flat with those horn-shaped bar ends might be best.
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Old 02-05-17, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Coldhands View Post
I've been debating between putting a bikepacking setup on my LHT and some 2,3" tires plus investing in lighter equipment vs buying something like Fargo or a Troll. Seems I'd manage just fine with my LHT?
If you can fit 2.3" tires on a LHT, you're good to go. It'll be a little rough here and there, but not often enough to justify a whole new bike if you've already got one you like.
In lieu of suspension, use the lowest tire pressure you can get away with. If you've got 29x2.3" tires, that's probably about 25 PSI.
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Old 02-05-17, 11:57 PM
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I rode from Banff to Whitefish on a rigid 29er with 2.2 tires. It worked well. If I were to ride more of the trail I'd just ride the bike I have now, which can run 26x2.4 tires. I don't think suspension is necessary, but I also wouldn't choose a cross bike for the route.
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Old 02-06-17, 10:13 PM
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I also rode Banff to Whitefish on a rigid 29er, 2.2" on the back and 2.4" on the front. It was fine, though some others had cushier rides (one guy was on a fatbike).
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Old 02-06-17, 10:16 PM
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So, would 40mm tires work, or will I die if I try that?

My most recent tour was in 1992.
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Old 02-06-17, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
So, would 40mm tires work, or will I die if I try that?

My most recent tour was in 1992.
The speed/comfort difference between 40mm tires and traditional MTB tires on gravel, washboard, sand, and singletrack is dramatic. I know that I can cover 100+ miles a day much more comfortably on a MTB, with very little pavement. I cannot do that on a gravel bike with nearly the same efficiency.

Especially washboard, that's where a MTB would really shine. You can run a rigid fork and drop bars for an efficient ride.
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Old 02-07-17, 08:04 AM
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I rode a 2 week MT section of the GDMBR using 700x40 tires on a rigid frame bike. I was always under control, felt they were adequate and had fun. As Blarney and Max have alluded, the washboard indeed gets old. That said, it would have also gotten old driving my pickup truck with 8" wide tires and four wheel suspension! I find that larger diameter wheels help as much as increased width. They bridge the peaks of the washboard more smoothly...

O - O.........vs........o - o
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Here's another post I made on an old thread praising the virtues of larger diameter wheels...

https://www.bikeforums.net/16543259-post9.html

Last edited by BobG; 02-07-17 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 02-07-17, 05:06 PM
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I rode the Divide Ride on a rigid bike using 700x47mm Schwalbe tires. Had to adjust air pressure for worst sand and washboard sections. Weight of equipment was 18 pounds. Most weight up front in two medium volume panniers with a dry bag stuffer on top of rear rack.
Lighter overall weight and less weight at rear I believe protected my wheels from damage.
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Old 02-07-17, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
I rode a 2 week MT section of the GDMBR using 700x40 tires on a rigid frame bike. I was always under control, felt they were adequate and had fun. As Blarney and Max have alluded, the washboard indeed gets old. That said, it would have also gotten old driving my pickup truck with 8" wide tires and four wheel suspension! I find that larger diameter wheels help as much as increased width. They bridge the peaks of the washboard more smoothly...

O - O.........vs........o - o
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Here's another post I made on an old thread praising the virtues of larger diameter wheels...

https://www.bikeforums.net/16543259-post9.html
Interesting. Thanks.

I am finding it more pleasant to ride my 700c gravel bike than my 26" wheel mountain bike. I never considered wheel diameter to be the reason. Maybe I should try a more modern mountain bike some day. Or that Fargo I posted a picture of with 27.5+
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