What is a Gravel Bike?

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mercalia
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What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby mercalia » 18 Jan 2020, 4:49pm

I was looking at the King Alfred's Way and it mentioned suitable for gravel bikes. The picture there was of a guy and lady, the lady seemed to be on an ordinary bike with fattish tyres. Is that it? fat tyres? how fat? 1,75"x 26" ok? The guy behind seemed to be on a Mt Bike?

Google says this

Simply said, a gravel bike is a combination of a road bike (happy on tarmac) and a cyclo-cross bike (happy on mud). ... Mellow single tracks, farm roads, gravel, crushed cobblestones, tarmac — whatever. It's a machine that's capable of performing on various surfaces while sustaining comfort.

https://www.welovecycling.com/wide/2016/06/23/gravel-bike-vs-road-bike-whats-difference/

well that not helpful really?

https://www.cyclinguk.org/kingalfredsway?fbclid=IwAR1jAPm7ChgYbrq0hwUtuzqiopeZs_9u_Cffq9QM3bfLMRcTAWh_f3cmQNQ

Marcus Aurelius
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 18 Jan 2020, 5:17pm

It’s typically a road bike, with a raised BB, clearance for wide tyres, disc brakes, but without the ‘sport specific’ bits ( frog leg brake levers for example ) and harsh racing geometry, and gearing of a cyclocross bike ( which is specifically designed for the sport of cyclocross ).

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531colin
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby 531colin » 18 Jan 2020, 5:20pm

Its the fashionable name for something that's almost recognisable as a touring bike, except that some practical things (mudguards, really low gears, ability to carry luggage) may be absent. :wink:

Mr Evil
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby Mr Evil » 18 Jan 2020, 5:23pm

They can also be compared to touring bikes, as they are built stronger, and more likely to be designed to take mudguards and racks than standard road bikes, but they usually have shorter chainstays as they aren't designed to carry as much.

cycle tramp
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby cycle tramp » 18 Jan 2020, 5:30pm

....this year's thneed*......

(* Dr Seuss: The Lorax)

gregoryoftours
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby gregoryoftours » 18 Jan 2020, 5:33pm

More capable off-road than a touring bike, less designed for full load bearing, greater tyre clearance than many touring bikes, disk brakes, often 1x gearing. Tyres fitted as standard will be more cyclo-cross nobbly tread pattern than semi slick touring style. More fashionable than a touring bike, of course. More likely to have a carbon fork. Arguably less suitable for all round use than a touring bike (and for touring) but it's better than a touring bike for what it's designed. Of course a large amount of faddery in the marketing and some aspects of design, but it's certainly quite different to a touring bike. I guess a large number of people won't put them to their best use.
Last edited by gregoryoftours on 18 Jan 2020, 6:01pm, edited 1 time in total.

mattheus
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby mattheus » 18 Jan 2020, 5:38pm

It's the latest thing for retro-grouches to moan about. This thread should flush quite a few out :)

dim
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby dim » 18 Jan 2020, 5:42pm

a road bike that is heavy and that has handlebars that give you cramps in your wrists and shoulders when you ride on the drops

Mike Sales
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby Mike Sales » 18 Jan 2020, 5:51pm

The latest marketing fad to catch the gullible.

slowster
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby slowster » 18 Jan 2020, 6:04pm

gregoryoftours wrote:More capable off-road than a touring bike, less designed for full load bearing

So that would be less capable off-road than a touring bike then.

Shorter chainstays, steeper seat angles and shorter wheelbases will contribute to a livelier, more responsive ride. Except that the further you ride, especially off-road, the more undesirable those qualities become, i.e. even less capable off-road than a touring bike.

Mr Evil
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby Mr Evil » 18 Jan 2020, 6:18pm

slowster wrote:
gregoryoftours wrote:More capable off-road than a touring bike, less designed for full load bearing

So that would be less capable off-road than a touring bike then.

Shorter chainstays, steeper seat angles and shorter wheelbases will contribute to a livelier, more responsive ride. Except that the further you ride, especially off-road, the more undesirable those qualities become, i.e. even less capable off-road than a touring bike.

Wheelbase and chainstay length really don't make much difference to handling. Seat tube angles vary, and aren't necessarily steeper - you can find whatever you want. On the other hand, gravel bikes tend to have room for wider, potentially knobby tyres. But yes, touring bikes are designed for very long distances, while gravel bikes are not. Which is better depends on what you are going to use it for.

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531colin
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby 531colin » 18 Jan 2020, 6:21pm

mattheus wrote:It's the latest thing for retro-grouches to moan about. This thread should flush quite a few out :)

guilty as charged

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mjr
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby mjr » 18 Jan 2020, 6:22pm

Gravel bikes are roadsters but with knobblier tyres, drop handlebars and cheaper finickitier brakes and gears.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

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531colin
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby 531colin » 18 Jan 2020, 6:28pm

A short wheelbase will give a choppier ride on uneven surfaces than a long wheelbase.
On the other hand, a bike with (say) 40mm tyres will be more comfortable than a bike with 28mm tyres. I can't think of a reason to limit a touring bike to 28mm tyres, but some have been designed like that.

De Sisti
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby De Sisti » 18 Jan 2020, 6:55pm

Mike Sales wrote:The latest marketing fad to catch the gullible.

:idea: :lol:
Those marketing people are very clever, aren't they!