What is a Gravel Bike?

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
rfryer
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby rfryer » 21 Jan 2020, 9:18am

mattheus wrote:I do find it daft that, given gravel differs from "MTB" riding in being on dryer surfaces (gravel, not mud!), they have been pushed as requiring disc brakes.
Disc evangelists are always saying that wet/muddy conditions are the problem that disc-brakes solve.

Bizarre ...

The 'dryness' of any surface is affected as much by recent/current weather as by its composition. Disks provide a level of dependable consistency that, in my experience, rim brakes do not.

Mike Sales
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby Mike Sales » 21 Jan 2020, 9:31am

Mr Evil wrote:I'm not going to read through all the other posts here now, as it's turned into foaming-at-the-mouth walls-of-text. Who could have though that the mere existence of a name could evoke such passion; they're just bikes, like any other.


I wonder why you feel the need to use words like "foaming at the mouth"? All I read sounded quite rational. Perhaps if I described gravel bike owners as "whining about a bit of criticism" you will understand the need to respect those who disagree with you.

reohn2
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby reohn2 » 21 Jan 2020, 9:33am

rfryer wrote:
mattheus wrote:I do find it daft that, given gravel differs from "MTB" riding in being on dryer surfaces (gravel, not mud!), they have been pushed as requiring disc brakes.
Disc evangelists are always saying that wet/muddy conditions are the problem that disc-brakes solve.

Bizarre ...

The 'dryness' of any surface is affected as much by recent/current weather as by its composition. Disks provide a level of dependable consistency that, in my experience, rim brakes do not.

Agreed,gravel roads aren't always dry and dusty as tarmac isn't,either surface in wet weather produce rim eating grinding paste and reduces brakes effectiveness.
Good disc brakes eliminate rime wear and provide vwry good consistent braking in all weathers.
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mattheus
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby mattheus » 21 Jan 2020, 9:50am

Welllllll… maybe.

I can't see them catching on.

reohn2
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby reohn2 » 21 Jan 2020, 9:55am

mattheus wrote:Welllllll… maybe.

I can't see them catching on.

Yeah a niche product that'll never be mainstream especially for touring :wink:
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peetee
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby peetee » 21 Jan 2020, 10:13am

James wrote:
A gravel bike with two sets of wheels is a very good all around bike.

Knobbies for off road / touring and race wheels for the road.



I think you have just revealed the secret that the bike manufacturers don't want the world to know.
The fact that short wheelbase bikes can cope with off road riding is one that should have been apparent years ago. BMX is a good example and so too is MTB development over the years as the original machines had relaxed frame angles and long chainstays. On off-the-peg road bikes it was, for many years, traditional to produce tourers with 72° seat and head and race bikes with 74°. Bespoke builders however would lean more to matching the tube angles to the size of the frame. So frame angles are only a relatable factor when it comes to the suitability of the frame design.
The advent of carbon frames that can be tailored to provide enhanced compliance and resistance to rider induced forces in comparison to a metal frame means that it is entirely possible that fast road, touring and cross-country capability can be had in one lightweight machine. I would argue that, with a suitable wheel/tyre combination (something that many owners of expensive road bikes will change as a matter of personal preference) the performance difference between a good gravel frame and a good road frame is so slight as to be unexploitable by the majority of owners.
Current status report:
Back on two wheels in deepest Pastyland and loving every minute. Mission: to enjoy big, bad hills again.

reohn2
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby reohn2 » 21 Jan 2020, 10:20am

I've owned a Salsa Vaya for 8years,which was initially designed for the early days Dirty Kanza 200 gravel road race and similar(now overtaken by more specialist CF machines such as their Wardbird) and is described by Salsa as an "all road" bike.It's a steel frame,has more relaxed touring bike angles,a lower BB than many,and clearances for 42mm actual size tyres without guards,37mm actual size with.
I sold a very nice Thorn Audax machine(what's an Audax bike :? )which stood unused after buying the Vaya.
I ride the Vaya on and off road on 37mm slicks(Hypers,very light supple tyres for those who don't know already)at low PSI's.The bike is extremely comfortable on all but the roughest of tracks and handles the rough stuff,even on slicks,very well indeed unless things get muddy where treaded tyres would be a better option,but I have other bikes for such conditions.
I wouldn't sell it for the earth,that's not to say it can't be bettered,but it does exactly what I want it to do.
It's a 'gravel' bike tourer :)
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slowster
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby slowster » 21 Jan 2020, 10:49am

Spot the differences between these two frames. Shand offer two bikes that are very similar, but have some significantly different characteristics. For some people the Stoater will probably best meet their needs and preferences, and for others it will be the Stooshie, and Shand will be able to help their customers choose between the two to pick what would be best for them.

What matters are the characteristics and features of the type of bike, and what are the resulting strengths and weaknesses of each different type. Not the name.

Shand have covered both ends of the spectrum. To a large extent the mainstream bike industry is not offering customers that choice.

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Last edited by slowster on 21 Jan 2020, 11:10am, edited 1 time in total.

PH
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby PH » 21 Jan 2020, 11:02am

slowster wrote:Spot the differences

You need to fix your links - they both go tot he same bike!

slowster
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby slowster » 21 Jan 2020, 11:11am

PH wrote:You need to fix your links - they both go tot he same bike!

Thank you and done.

reohn2
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby reohn2 » 21 Jan 2020, 11:18am

Slowster
It'd be a very discerning rider to spot any difference in the ride of those two bikes IMO,and whilst both bikes have nice relaxed angles the headtube is way too short for my taste and a lower BB would suit me better for dabbing a foot on some of the steeper bridleways I ride,but then I'm old and sloowww
I'm not picking holes in Shand's designs just a personal perspective.

EDIT,Ah! just spotted the significant chainstay differences :wink:
Last edited by reohn2 on 21 Jan 2020, 11:21am, edited 3 times in total.
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PH
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby PH » 21 Jan 2020, 11:19am

slowster wrote:Spot the differences between these two frames. Shand offer two bikes that are very similar, but have some significantly different characteristics.

They're both really nice bikes, with price tags to match, the differences between them are the sort of finer points you'd expect someone who was very clear about what they wanted to notice. The chances are one day you'd be better off on the one, then another day the other, that's possible even within the same ride. The manufacturer says they both capable of the same thing, I've just read it, and where you say significantly different they say " If you're looking for an AllRoad bike and you're happy to sacrifice a little comfort for a slightly lighter, faster ride, then the new Stooshie could be what you've been waiting for."
A little comfort for a slightly lighter, faster ride - that really does bring it into the realm of specialisation.

reohn2
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby reohn2 » 21 Jan 2020, 11:25am

Give me comfort over quick handling and speed any time,but then I'm an slow old 'un :wink:
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horizon
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby horizon » 21 Jan 2020, 11:40am

reohn2 wrote:Agreed,gravel roads aren't always dry and dusty as tarmac isn't,either surface in wet weather produce rim eating grinding paste and reduces brakes effectiveness.


AIUI gravel roads are in fact always dry as they are semi-desert roads in the SW United States. When this came up before, I did some cursory browsing and gravel road racing seemed to be a phenomenon there but I could be wrong. AIUI, gravel really is a specific term: it doesn't mean any old off-road path. Indeed it isn't off-road (or "mountain biking"). The roads are there and built but just not tarmacked. To what extent they differ region by region I don't know. AIUI (but may well be corrected) these are serviceable roads probably similar to main roads in the UK in the 18th century - made but not asphalted. The closest I've come to such a road is in Cabo de Gata in Spain (for which my Dawes Horizon was entirely unsuitable!). Fast riding along such long, straight roads is both logical and feasible - with the right tyres. Downhill skills are not required!

It's only a small step to go from that to whizzing along a bumpy towpath and carrying the bike up a few steps on the way to work. I would say a gravel bike is really a cross bike but then we would miss out on what is actually quite an interesting heritage: gravel bikes were born in New Mexico and Arizona not in the Peak District. The marketing men really are alluding to something special - their hype has got legs (of sorts). I don't race so a gravel bike isn't of interest to me but the roads they are made for are.

Everyone: please feel free to verify and correct where necessary my assertions. :)

PS Interesting selection of roads here (wider geographically than I thought):
http://www.granfondoguide.com/Contents/ ... vel-fondos
The experience of travel is something that you have to pay for but can never buy. Ho Ri Zon Chinese philosopher

mattheus
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Re: What is a Gravel Bike?

Postby mattheus » 21 Jan 2020, 11:58am

So you're saying I need an
Arizona Gravel Bike and a
Peak District Gravel Bike?

Heavens!

(can I use either on Strada Bianchi (sp?) ?)

And does this mean that the All New Wessex Way is most like the Dirty Kanza route?
( https://www.efprocycling.com/dirty-kanza/ )