Gravel vs road vs mtb

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Nearholmer
Posts: 4252
Joined: 26 Mar 2022, 7:13am

Re: Gravel vs road vs mtb

Post by Nearholmer »

Regarding tyre sizes:

My take on it is that there are few/no penalties in terms of performance on tarmac in going up in size to 35-40mm, and many benefits once the going gets a bit bumpy, so if you intend to go off-road and are buying a bike new, it makes sense to buy one that can accept tyres into the 40mm range.

Over the past few years I’ve gradually gone larger, starting with 32mm touring tyres on a CX bike, then 35mm, now 40mm tubeless. They all worked off-road, but the 40mm tubeless provide better grip, especially on steep slopes, and on grass, and are more comfortable (lower pressure, very supple), but don’t create a massive drag on tarmac. Despite riding on some fairly rough ground, I don’t feel the need to go larger than 40mm, which feels like about the right compromise.

I’ve only tried bigger than 40mm on my son’s hard-tail, 47mm, but they are tough as old boots Marathon 360, heavy and unyielding, fitted to give durability at practically zero maintenance, so don’t really provide a fair comparison - I’m sure a 47mm tubeless would be be much nicer than they are.
Cyclothesist
Posts: 322
Joined: 7 Oct 2023, 11:34am
Location: Scotland

Re: Gravel vs road vs mtb

Post by Cyclothesist »

Tyres make a big difference to a bike's capabilities and how comfortable it is to ride on a surface. My advice once you've settled on a model (and it seems you have a 2x gravel/adventure drop bar bike in mind) is to buy another set of wheels and tyres. That way you can have a 40+mm wide gnarly set of offroaders for wild track outings and another set more suitable for fast paced road with the odd track thrown in. It's quicker and easier to swap wheels compared with changing tyres over. You may well need some rotor shims to ensure the brake rotors line up with the calipers for maximum ease of wheel swaps.
My CX has the original wheelset shod with 35mm Schwalbe CX comps and an RX31 wheelset with 32mm Marathon supremes.
Jdsk
Posts: 25806
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Gravel vs road vs mtb

Post by Jdsk »

Labe wrote: 13 Apr 2024, 2:47pm Just a leisure rider in my 50’s looking at getting a new bike and trying to decide what to get between a gravel bike or full suspension mtb .
Will be riding in and around East Riding of Yorkshire cycle paths disused railway tracks and road .
On the one hand full suspension for comfort especially with current potholes situation but also can be sluggish and heavy riding.
A gravel bike which are new to me and do you go flat bar / drop bars along with single drive train vs dual ring .
I’m bothered about stiff neck from drops but better areodynamics in head wind .
Thoughts or suggestions welcomed.
Ps currently riding hard tail for commute
What size and type are your current tyres, and how much would you like to spend on the new bike?

Thanks

Jonathan
Labe
Posts: 6
Joined: 13 Apr 2024, 8:08am

Re: Gravel vs road vs mtb

Post by Labe »

Jdsk wrote: 14 Apr 2024, 9:31am
Labe wrote: 13 Apr 2024, 2:47pm Just a leisure rider in my 50’s looking at getting a new bike and trying to decide what to get between a gravel bike or full suspension mtb .
Will be riding in and around East Riding of Yorkshire cycle paths disused railway tracks and road .
On the one hand full suspension for comfort especially with current potholes situation but also can be sluggish and heavy riding.
A gravel bike which are new to me and do you go flat bar / drop bars along with single drive train vs dual ring .
I’m bothered about stiff neck from drops but better areodynamics in head wind .
Thoughts or suggestions welcomed.
Ps currently riding hard tail for commute
What size and type are your current tyres, and how much would you like to spend on the new bike?

Thanks

Jonathan
Hi Jonathan I’m currently riding a hard tail with 29 inch 2.25 , 4” travel front forks and 1*10 32t 11-46 , great for work commute.
Willing to spend upto £2000
Today I got the chance to go on a group road ride , first time on a road bike in 30 years lol
A Viking road master 700 by 25c 34/50 11-32 small frame , fit me like a glove ,
Managed 60km at a steady pace mainly head wind as well
Brucey
Posts: 44873
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Gravel vs road vs mtb

Post by Brucey »

I suggest gravel bike with dropped handlebars, set higher than you would have them on a road bike.
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jdsk
Posts: 25806
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Gravel vs road vs mtb

Post by Jdsk »

Labe wrote: 14 Apr 2024, 2:15pm
Jdsk wrote: 14 Apr 2024, 9:31am
Labe wrote: 13 Apr 2024, 2:47pm Just a leisure rider in my 50’s looking at getting a new bike and trying to decide what to get between a gravel bike or full suspension mtb .
Will be riding in and around East Riding of Yorkshire cycle paths disused railway tracks and road .
On the one hand full suspension for comfort especially with current potholes situation but also can be sluggish and heavy riding.
A gravel bike which are new to me and do you go flat bar / drop bars along with single drive train vs dual ring .
I’m bothered about stiff neck from drops but better areodynamics in head wind .
Thoughts or suggestions welcomed.
Ps currently riding hard tail for commute
What size and type are your current tyres, and how much would you like to spend on the new bike?
Hi Jonathan I’m currently riding a hard tail with 29 inch 2.25 , 4” travel front forks and 1*10 32t 11-46 , great for work commute.
Willing to spend upto £2000
Today I got the chance to go on a group road ride , first time on a road bike in 30 years lol
A Viking road master 700 by 25c 34/50 11-32 small frame , fit me like a glove ,
Managed 60km at a steady pace mainly head wind as well
Thankyou

Jonathan
Bmblbzzz
Posts: 6389
Joined: 18 May 2012, 7:56pm
Location: From here to there.

Re: Gravel vs road vs mtb

Post by Bmblbzzz »

531colin wrote: 13 Apr 2024, 8:57pm
Labe wrote: 13 Apr 2024, 7:11pm …………
Yeh the stiff neck thing was me thinking back to when I road a classic roadie back in the late 80’s early 90’s with long stems that actually dropped the bars to almost inline with the top tube (at least mine did) , it seems on these gravel bikes they use a shorter reach stem which actually raises the bars as well.
So all should good ( fingers crossed)
……If that’s the last time you rode drops just get something secondhand to play about with riding position, now isn’t the time to worry about the details of flared drops gearing minutiae and all the other candy floss.
This sounds sensible. New bikes will still be there in six months' time when you know better what you'll be happy on.
Rob D
Posts: 154
Joined: 9 Jan 2020, 8:00pm
Location: Devon

Re: Gravel vs road vs mtb

Post by Rob D »

nirakaro wrote: 13 Apr 2024, 6:38pm The thing about “stiff neck from drops” is that it depends how you use them. I like my bike much better since I changed the bars to drops, but how often do I actually ride on the drops? I used to think it was ‘not very often’, but I’ve realised it’s more like ‘practically never’, and looking at other riders, I suspect that’s not unusual. What I like is the wide range of hand positions possible on the tops/hoods/etc., and with a short stem, I still have a quite upright position. I’m old, no athlete, and never get a stiff neck. And bear in mind that there are drop bars specifically designed for mountain bikes.
Agree re drops. Mine are quite high and not used that often, but are very useful in strong headwinds. My wife and I have the same bikes, each with brake levers on the flats. I tend to use these a lot, especially downhill, where the raised body position increasing air braking. This gives us a very wide range of riding positions, all with quick access to the brakes.
Nearholmer
Posts: 4252
Joined: 26 Mar 2022, 7:13am

Re: Gravel vs road vs mtb

Post by Nearholmer »

I ride a high proportion off-road, and while I probably spend 90% of the time on the hoods or somewhere thereabouts, I do use the drops in two ways: down and into the front of the drops for control and safety on very steep descents (backside slid over the back of the saddle too); and, the ends of the bars to get a low position in headwinds, on some sorts of climbs, to give more control on the (rare!) genuinely fast off-road bits, and occasionally just for a change.

The hoods aren’t just resting places or gripping places either, they’re effectively “handles” by which the front of the bike can be shoved about in a way that doesn’t really apply on tarmac, things like side pressure to side-climb the front out of ruts or deal with very inverse camber.
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warey4life
Posts: 96
Joined: 5 Apr 2021, 8:08am

Re: Gravel vs road vs mtb

Post by warey4life »

I've always had a road bike and a hard tale mountain bike (never saw the point in full suspension). My preference though was mountain biking, because I love riding about on the moors surrounded by nature, but cycling to any mountain biking areas on a mountain bike was mostly on roads and hard work, so a few years a ago I converted a 26er mountain bike to a gravel bike, which i loved riding, so much that i don't own a road bike any more and i rarely use my mountain bike, but when i go out cycling with mates who have 700cc gravel bikes i can't keep up, so I've decided to buy a new gravel bike.
There's so much choice but I've narrowed it down to two; a Cinelli Zydeco La La which looks like more of a fast road bike than it does an off-roader, or a Genesis Fugio 20 which looks like it has a more comfortable riding position, better for off-roading less neck ache. Both are less than 2k which is good.
I'm 48 and now prefer a softer ride so will probably go for the latter.

Halfway between MTB and Road, something like this might suit:

https://www.santafixie.co.uk/bike-grave ... range.html
gxaustin
Posts: 901
Joined: 23 Sep 2015, 12:07pm

Re: Gravel vs road vs mtb

Post by gxaustin »

[/quote]

Yeh the stiff neck thing was me thinking back to when I road a classic roadie back in the late 80’s early 90’s with long stems that actually dropped the bars to almost inline with the top tube (at least mine did) , it seems on these gravel bikes they use a shorter reach stem which actually raises the bars as well.
So all should good ( fingers crossed)
[/quote]

You can get riser drop bars to give a bit more lift. Also flip the stem if necessary. My gravelbike has quite a long head tube so is fairly high at the front.
mattsccm
Posts: 5133
Joined: 28 Nov 2009, 9:44pm

Re: Gravel vs road vs mtb

Post by mattsccm »

Good big tyres are nice. cheap ones are less so. Just stuck some 50mm Gravelking SK on some 25mm inner width wheels on my Sonder Camino. Rolling better than the 40mm Pirellis. Just a nicer tyre. Nowadays a gravel bike is the do all bike. You can happily ride the red runs at a trail centre, go on holiday for a year or ride a TT with nowt more than a tyre change. Better still several sets of wheels.
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