What is a Gravel Bike?

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
Mike Sales
Posts: 4125
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby Mike Sales » 18 Jan 2020, 6:58pm

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

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


Not really. The suggestible are always keen for a new N+1. There is a strong market for shiny new gear. Rapha made a lot of money until they overreached themselves.

De Sisti
Posts: 777
Joined: 17 Jun 2007, 6:03pm

Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby De Sisti » 18 Jan 2020, 7:13pm

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

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


The suggestible are always gullible for a new N+1.

Mike Sales wrote:There is a strong market for shiny new gear.

Where? Give details.

Mike Sales
Posts: 4125
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby Mike Sales » 18 Jan 2020, 7:15pm

De Sisti wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:
De Sisti wrote: :idea: :lol:
Those marketing people are very clever, aren't they!


The suggestible are always gullible for a new N+1.

Mike Sales wrote:There is a strong market for shiny new gear.

Where? Give details.


https://road.cc/news
Last edited by Mike Sales on 18 Jan 2020, 7:16pm, edited 1 time in total.

Debs
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby Debs » 18 Jan 2020, 7:16pm

If i'm not mistaken 'Gravel Bike' is an informal term from the US :D

gravel

/ˈɡrav(ə)l/

noun: gravel

1.
a loose aggregation of small water-worn or pounded stones.
Similar: shingle, grit, pebbles, stones
2.
MEDICINE
aggregations of crystals formed in the urinary tract.
verb
verb: gravel; 3rd person present: gravels; past tense: gravelled; past participle: gravelled; gerund or present participle: gravelling; past tense: graveled; past participle: graveled; gerund or present participle: graveling
1.
cover (an area of ground) with gravel.
"they gravelled the road"
2.
INFORMAL•US
make (someone) angry or annoyed.
"seeing people having fun riding gravel bikes caused much envy"

PH
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby PH » 18 Jan 2020, 7:26pm

It's just a name for a certain kind of bike, I don't know why some people get worked up about it. If it's the sort of bike that suits your riding who cares what it's called?

Mike Sales
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Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby Mike Sales » 18 Jan 2020, 7:29pm

PH wrote:It's just a name for a certain kind of bike, I don't know why some people get worked up about it. If it's the sort of bike that suits your riding who cares what it's called?


Not worked up, just cynical about our modern faith, consumerism.

brynpoeth
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby brynpoeth » 18 Jan 2020, 7:30pm

N Plus X
Entertainer, kidult, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life "597"

peetee
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby peetee » 18 Jan 2020, 8:49pm

It’s a cyclocross bike with a bit more room for bigger tyres a provision for a slightly more upright position. Manufacturers will have you believe otherwise with a whole spectrum of tech-speak and matching ‘Lifestyle Statements’.
Having ridden a lot on the bridleways of Wessex i can say that a good quality traditional touring bike or hybrid fitted with suitable tyres can cope with the terrain if you are not a speed freak. in fact it can be a positive advantage on wet chalk (the most slippy substance known to man) as narrower tyres will dig in rather than float over.
Last edited by peetee on 18 Jan 2020, 8:59pm, edited 1 time in total.
Current status report:
Back on two wheels in deepest Pastyland and loving every minute. Mission: to enjoy big, bad hills again.

slowster
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby slowster » 18 Jan 2020, 8:51pm

Mr Evil wrote:Wheelbase and chainstay length really don't make much difference to handling.

I'll take Greg Lemond's (and 531Colin's) opinion over yours. Even though Lemond is talking about road racing bikes here, I think some of his points are also relevant to drop barred bikes used off-road:

“Stability is key,” LeMond says. “In recent years, we’ve moved to shorter and shorter wheelbases and there is no foundation for it. There is no reason to have such a short seat stay in the back, unless you’re a sprinter on the track, starting from a standstill. But a road racer needs longer stays because it descends better, it handles better and it’s more comfortable. I’ve descended on different wheelbases. I know. If your wheel is right underneath you when you are descending, you just don’t have the grip, tracking and stability in the corners.”

Mr Evil wrote:Seat tube angles vary, and aren't necessarily steeper - you can find whatever you want.

74 and 73.5 degree seat angles are pretty much the norm for gravel bikes. If it's the case that 'you can find whatever you want', please give me some examples (plural) of gravel bikes in a 'medium' size with a 72 degree seat angle.

Mr Evil wrote: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.

And there's the rub: someone who buys a gravel bike because (to begin with) they are just going out for short one or two hour blasts on tracks and bridleways is potentially going to be deterred from going further, if they find the bike unsuitable for longer periods in the saddle. Someone who buys a touring bike will have a bike suitable for short rides and long rides, and for carrying as much or as little with them as they want.

On a wider note, a recurring feature on this forum is posts from people who have purchased a particular type of bike and find that it doesn't meet their needs, especially if they want to ride futher, in bad weather or on different terrain (e.g. more hilly or off-road), and they ask:
- how to lower their gears
- how to fit mudguards to a bike without eyelets
- how to carry luggage on a bike not designed for it
- how to improve comfort and fit, which sometimes depend upon fitting wider tyres (on bikes which sometimes just don't have enough clearance), getting the saddle further back than their steep seat tube will allow, or raising their bars higher than their current stem/spacer combination will allow.
This is usually because they have bought a mass market bike which is designed and marketed based on its light weight, lively handling and fashionable appeal, and gravel bikes are the current fashion. Many of them would have been better off starting with a touring bike, even if later they decided to switch to a race bike or a gravel bike (or more likely get one in addition to their tourer).

nsew
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby nsew » 18 Jan 2020, 9:26pm

An American thing. Mid to late 80s Grant Peterson/Bridgestone, Cunningham/Potts/WTB. Became popular again with conversions of 70s/80s/early 90s mtb frames in the late 2000s. 2” tyre clearance, dirt drop bars, off road, fast.

October 2010 mtbr.com “The single consolidated official drop bar thread“

https://forums.mtbr.com/vintage-retro-c ... 59324.html


June 2012 bikeforums.net “Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions”

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vint ... sions.html


2015. Specialized Ground Controls had been swapped out. ‘94 Roberts, XT II, Ultegra, Arraya,, Race Face, Brooks Pro, WTB bars.

Anyone else on this forum?
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nsew
Posts: 268
Joined: 14 Dec 2017, 12:38pm

Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby nsew » 18 Jan 2020, 9:28pm

Drew inspiration from this Bridgestone MB1 posted on one of those threads mentioned above.
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mercalia
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby mercalia » 18 Jan 2020, 9:30pm

seems like my Dawes 1-Down may be ok with 1.75" ( 45mm) Marathons?

PH
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby PH » 18 Jan 2020, 9:40pm

slowster wrote:
Mr Evil wrote:Wheelbase and chainstay length really don't make much difference to handling.

I'll take Greg Lemond's (and 531Colin's) opinion over yours.

In the case of 531Colin, you can also go by what he does as well as what he says - the chainstays on the Spa Elan are shorter than on the Spa Tourers.
74 and 73.5 degree seat angles are pretty much the norm for gravel bikes. If it's the case that 'you can find whatever you want', please give me some examples (plural) of gravel bikes in a 'medium' size with a 72 degree seat angle.

You'd be hard pressed to find any bike from a mainstream retailer with a 72 degree seat angle. What's the STA on a medium Surly LHT, isn't that 73? There'll be a choice of Gravel bikes with that. Even from some of the specialists 72 is outside the norm, plenty of Spa bikes are 72.5 and the difference between that and 73 will be less than the difference between a Brooks and just about every other saddle.
And there's the rub: someone who buys a gravel bike because (to begin with) they are just going out for short one or two hour blasts on tracks and bridleways is potentially going to be deterred from going further, if they find the bike unsuitable for longer periods in the saddle.

Plenty of people are riding Audax of all distances and the new breed of self supported multi day races on these sorts of bikes, what makes you think you know better than them?
On a wider note, a recurring feature on this forum is posts from people who have purchased a particular type of bike and find that it doesn't meet their needs...

Outside of those buying expensive bikes from a handful of specialist suppliers, those questions get asked about many more bikes than get sold as Gravel bikes, including plenty of tourers.
Last edited by PH on 18 Jan 2020, 9:44pm, edited 2 times in total.

nsew
Posts: 268
Joined: 14 Dec 2017, 12:38pm

Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby nsew » 18 Jan 2020, 9:41pm

mercalia wrote:seems like my Dawes 1-Down may be ok with 1.75" ( 45mm) Marathons?


Absolutely. It’s got to be a British frame on this side of the pond.

mattsccm
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby mattsccm » 18 Jan 2020, 10:01pm

A late 80's mountain bike with drops and discs. I like winding gravel fiends up by calling them ATBs as they are going away from being a gravel bike.
I regard this as coming from the Yanks who have miles of non tarmaced roads covered in gravel. Events and rides were fast and sporty. Here we have little of that gravel, mostly Forestry Commission stuff. People who have reacted adversely to the long, low and highly suspended MTB or are just too wimpy to ride vertical stuff have found that these modern bikes offer what our 80's MTBs did. You can go anywhere. Better off road ( a road is wide enough for a 4 wheeled vehicle in this case so FC gravrel counts) than a road or touring bike as the clearances are bigger and gears are lower . Quite why I don' t know. Better on road than a MTB. Some are sporty but all are sluggish compared to a proper CX bike. Many have stacks of braze one, some don't. Some look lovely, some awful. Some weigh a ton some don't.
Actually if you pick the one for your own bias they can be dead good. Edge the wrong way and they are not.