Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

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Boring_Username
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Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

Postby Boring_Username » 5 Mar 2019, 12:14pm

In all my decades of cycling, I've always considered gravel a surface to be avoided, regardless of whether I am on a "road" bike or a MTB.

I now see "gravel bikes" widely advertised and reviewed (e.g. https://off.road.cc/content/news/first-look-2019-marin-gestalt-gravel-and-beyond-road-bike-3285).

While these bikes may have their advantages (tyre clearance etc), surely they don't transform gravel from a surface which is waiting to put you in A&E into one which is to be actively sought out?

PH
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Re: Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

Postby PH » 5 Mar 2019, 12:26pm

Bit of a forum search ought to give you all the answers, save repeating them here. But what's in a name? Either you like that sort of bike or you don't, if you want the bike to live up to the name, go try some of the many miles of USA gravel they're named after rather than up and down your drive :wink:

Bonefishblues
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Re: Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

Postby Bonefishblues » 5 Mar 2019, 12:28pm

Sudden urge isn't sudden.

New label is new, mind :wink:

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 5 Mar 2019, 12:29pm

Hi,
Its all about the rider not the bike :)
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Bonefishblues
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Re: Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

Postby Bonefishblues » 5 Mar 2019, 12:31pm

Madness indeed! :D

(Going out with non-coordinated pump straps, that is)

Tangled Metal
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Re: Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

Postby Tangled Metal » 5 Mar 2019, 1:32pm

Bonefishblues wrote:Madness indeed! :D

(Going out with non-coordinated pump straps, that is)

That'll be bang on trend soon. It'll be an excuse to come up with a new type of riding / bike type.

Bonefishblues
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Re: Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

Postby Bonefishblues » 5 Mar 2019, 1:42pm

Tangled Metal wrote:
Bonefishblues wrote:Madness indeed! :D

(Going out with non-coordinated pump straps, that is)

That'll be bang on trend soon. It'll be an excuse to come up with a new type of riding / bike type.

I see it now - Raleigh, the Asymmetric Strap Range.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

Postby Tangled Metal » 5 Mar 2019, 1:44pm

Hmmm! I see it more as a Rapha accessory range costing way too much. Coloured leather. Kind of Rapha's version of the wonky range in a supermarket. With a huge markup due to "design".

Marcus Aurelius
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Re: Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 5 Mar 2019, 1:45pm

Some marketing types, invented a type of bike that wasn’t necessary. People spent money on them. Now they are justifying the expenditure.

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Re: Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

Postby PH » 5 Mar 2019, 1:53pm

Marcus Aurelius wrote:Some marketing types, invented a type of bike that wasn’t necessary. People spent money on them. Now they are justifying the expenditure.

Take away the name and what is it you don't like about these bikes? There is nothing new, blah, blah, blah, what is new is that you can find more practical bikes* in Halfords, Wiggle, and the like, now than you could a few years ago, really what's not to like? Just because some of us have always done it, doesn't mean we shouldn't rejoice in a new generation reinventing.

* More practical IMO of course, better tyre clearance, luggage capacity, geometry, gearing... YMMV

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Re: Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 5 Mar 2019, 1:58pm

As Natural Ankling's photos show, gravel biking is not new, only the name is.

pwa
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Re: Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

Postby pwa » 5 Mar 2019, 2:04pm

The word "gravel" is wrong. Gravel is loose, uncompacted stones which, looked at closely, have a rounded nature because they were shaped by being in moving water. Most stone chip paths are made of crushed stone, not gravel. So I imagine few folk are actually riding on real gravel very much.

But the style of bike labelled "gravel bike" is able to take a variety of tyre widths and can therefore do different jobs, so the bikes themselves have something going for them. They probably make more sense for many of us than pure road race bikes.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 5 Mar 2019, 2:12pm

Hi,
Bonefishblues wrote:Madness indeed! :D

(Going out with non-coordinated pump straps, that is)

:lol:
I've actually upgraded to proper pump clips :)
I did have colour-coordinated grey ones they went on to the other bike.
Things are useful when you get them the right size just in the throes of buying a load of them can't live without him.
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Re: Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 5 Mar 2019, 2:12pm

Yeahwell in Britain we're more likely riding on mud... But in the USA where the term originated, the gravel roads might actually be gravel surfaced. Or maybe it's stone chip there too. In any case, gravel is a decent generic term and it would not be possible to list all the different surface types (though some have tried to address this with terms such as "allroad".)

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mjr
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Re: Why the sudden urge to ride bikes on gravel?

Postby mjr » 5 Mar 2019, 2:19pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:Yeahwell in Britain we're more likely riding on mud... But in the USA where the term originated, the gravel roads might actually be gravel surfaced. Or maybe it's stone chip there too. In any case, gravel is a decent generic term and it would not be possible to list all the different surface types (though some have tried to address this with terms such as "allroad".)

Sometimes they're called "adventure" or "expedition" too, I think.

I agree with others, that gravel is gravel, not stone chip or stone-dust roads. I'm quite happy riding stone roads or shell roads, but my heart sinks doing long stretches on gravel or sand. Which reminds me that it's about time to head out on the stone roads looking for where the tulips are being grown this year...
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