Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Gravel bike on the road

Old 04-26-18, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
15 on a road bike all day is uhhh slow. start riding faster and you'll start seeing a difference between your gravel bike and your road bike. unless your road bike happens to be a retro grouch road bike.
Could you explain why?
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Old 04-26-18, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
15 on a road bike all day is uhhh slow. start riding faster and you'll start seeing a difference between your gravel bike and your road bike. unless your road bike happens to be a retro grouch road bike.
Slow and fast are relative but I agree with this in principal.

I can cruise at 15 MPH on both my road and gravel bikes all day long but I would never take my gravel bike on a 20+ MPH group ride.

More sluggish wider tires and extra weight make it difficult to respond to all the surging and attacks. The way some of the faster riders accelerate hard out of turns can be impressive and constantly accelerating the extra mass to keep up is tiring.

There is a big difference between cruising and race pace with your heart jumping out of your chest. The latter is where all the advantages roadies talk about such as weight and aero really matter.

Maybe a stronger rider could push a gravel bike to road race/crit pace speeds but I can't.


-Tim-
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Old 04-26-18, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
My gravel grinder is as fast as a road bike.
No it isn't.....

His principle was a foul from the get go.

even at cruise speeds the road bike will be faster. I also allowed for the condition that his road bike was a retro-grouch bike. In that case his road bike will be as slow as a gravel bike.

on gravel they may be the same speed for him. Once those bike hit pavement the road bike will cruise at a much faster speed with the same effort given.
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Old 04-26-18, 08:53 AM
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speed is only a small part of a larger equation though.

Think watts.
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Old 04-26-18, 01:03 PM
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Troll much? Off topic much? Confrontational much?

You can't answer "why" because
1) you don't know me or my bike.
2) you are making assumptions that may or may not be valid.

Bonus question. Can you think of any fast gravel oriented bikes that can keep up with a road bike on pavement? I can think of 4-5 off the top of my head.

Its not hard for a good gravel bike to be as fast as a road bike in the $1,000-$2000 range (although the gravel bike may be more expensive).

You are right in some regards. Assume I or the OP are on a 25+ lb steel backpacking bike and/or on heavy backpacking appropriate tires and that bike won't be as fast as a road bike at 20-30mph range.
And its right that 15 mph is slow. Most anyone in good shape can do that on a mountain bike.

And yes, gravel bikes don't have to be slow. Again, mine is as fast as my road bike or any road bike in the $1,000-$2000 range. And yes,

@ljkimmel - if 15mph is a problem its likely the motor, not the bike. A crossrip shouldn't hold you back at those speeds. I don't ride my road bike much any more because my gravel bike is as fast and it is much more versatile.
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Old 04-26-18, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
extra weight make it difficult to respond to all the surging and attacks. The way some of the faster riders accelerate hard out of turns can be impressive and constantly accelerating the extra mass to keep up is tiring.
If you add an entire kilogram to your rims, that's less than 50 extra joules every time you accelerate from 20mph to 25mph. Up to a few percent more power will be needed if you accelerate over the same duration, or things will stretch out a tiny bit farther than normal. It's something, but only during a very small fraction of riding time on most roads, unless the paceline is being extremely uncooperative.

Bikes that I take on road rides vary over a 13-pound range, sometimes several pounds of that from the wheels. It doesn't really seem to have tangible impact on which pacelines I can hang with until gravity gets involved.

and aero
The increase in profile from a wide tire is pretty tiny compared with something like the profile of a rider. It's also in line with the bike, so under most circumstances there's lots of self-drafting going on to ameliorate the issue.

Where the aero penalties can get a bit bigger is in the indirect sense of available equipment. For instance, if you want to build up a fancy aero bike with high-performance road racing aero wheels, choices are marginal for nominal tire widths higher than ~28mm.
But the actual builds on lots of ordinary road bikes are in this same boat, and this doesn't seem to dissuade people from considering them to be capable machines for spirited riding. If someone shows up to a crit on a stock Tarmac Elite, few people would tell them to go get a real road bike.

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Old 04-26-18, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Troll much? Off topic much? Confrontational much?

You can't answer "why" because
Gravel bikes are so fast.... just as fast as road bikes thus they get ridden and raced in paris-roubaix... Oh wait..maybe they don't.

how slow you are on a road bike doesn't make a gravel bike "as fast", your speed is irrelevant. Seeing how you don't know the OP, and more than you can tell me "I don't know you". You just invalidated your own argument.
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Old 04-26-18, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Its not hard for a good gravel bike to be as fast as a road bike in the $1,000-$2000 range (although the gravel bike may be more expensive).

You are right in some regards. Assume I or the OP are on a 25+ lb steel backpacking bike and/or on heavy backpacking appropriate tires and
the Crossrip is not a good gravel bike. So much so it is not even considered a gravel bike by Trek anymore. its a commute bike.

a Commute bike that is ALuminum and also 25 lbs!

yeah I do know. I own one... it's a pig of a bike. The people that call the Crossrip's good bikes.... rode huffy's previously.
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Old 04-26-18, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
If you add an entire kilogram to your rims, that's less than 50 extra joules every time you accelerate from 20mph to 25mph. Up to a few percent more power will be needed if you accelerate over the same duration, or things will stretch out a tiny bit farther than normal. It's something, but only during a very small fraction of riding time on most roads, unless the paceline is being extremely uncooperative.

Bikes that I take on road rides vary over a 13-pound range, sometimes several pounds of that from the wheels. It doesn't really seem to have tangible impact on which pacelines I can hang with until gravity gets involved.


The increase in profile from a wide tire is pretty tiny compared with something like the profile of a rider. It's also in line with the bike, so under most circumstances there's lots of self-drafting going on to ameliorate the issue.

Where the aero penalties can get a bit bigger is in the indirect sense of available equipment. For instance, if you want to build up a fancy aero bike with high-performance road racing aero wheels, choices are marginal for nominal tire widths higher than ~28mm.
But the actual builds on lots of ordinary road bikes are in this same boat, and this doesn't seem to dissuade people from considering them to be capable machines for spirited riding. If someone shows up to a crit on a stock Tarmac Elite, few people would tell them to go get a real road bike.
Perhaps you are just a stronger rider than I am.

That isn't unlikely.


-Tim-
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Old 04-27-18, 09:29 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
More sluggish wider tires and extra weight make it difficult to respond to all the surging and attacks. The way some of the faster riders accelerate hard out of turns can be impressive and constantly accelerating the extra mass to keep up is tiring. There is a big difference between cruising and race pace with your heart jumping out of your chest. The latter is where all the advantages roadies talk about such as weight and aero really matter.
Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
If you add an entire kilogram to your rims, that's less than 50 extra joules every time you accelerate from 20mph to 25mph. Up to a few percent more power will be needed if you accelerate over the same duration, or things will stretch out a tiny bit farther than normal. It's something, but only during a very small fraction of riding time on most roads, unless the paceline is being extremely uncooperative.


I get a kick out of seeing these kinds of posts.

Let me tell you about how your real life experience is wrong. "A few percent more power"

Next time I'm getting dropped inches at a time by riders with faster bikes I'll just be like "hey guys don't drop me it's only 50 extra joules of energy, only a few percent more power, going from 20 to 25 miles per hour is easy"

There comes a time when one needs to stop doing math and playing on their keyboard and go out and ride, observe and really apply some critical thinking to what they're doing.
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Old 04-30-18, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Perhaps you are just a stronger rider than I am.

That isn't unlikely.


-Tim-
It's not a matter of my strength. I don't think my gravel bike is a capable flat-ground road bike because of who I'm able to ride with, I think it's a capable flat-ground road bike because I get dropped by those same people similarly easily if I'm riding a traditional road bike.

Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
There comes a time when one needs to stop doing math and playing on their keyboard and go out and ride, observe and really apply some critical thinking to what they're doing.
That's what I do. The math is just my attempt to explain my experiences.

I'm not saying that the performance effects of having to occasionally accelerate an extra kilogram or so of rim mass don't matter*. But I do think the effect tends to be very small for singling out as one of a couple primary factors for why a bike might be unsuitable for use in spirited group rides.
(It also surprised me given that TimothyH has stated before that he sometimes rides fixed on spirited group rides. It doesn't take very much variability for that to become a much larger challenge than a bit of added weight.)

*Nor am I saying that all gravel bikes are always set up in a way that allows them to be reasonable road bikes. Postures for technical riding and poorly-rolling gravel tires can be big issues, for instance, and ones that can easily be having more significant consequences to performance even during accelerations than the mass from fat tires.

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Old 04-30-18, 08:23 AM
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We may be talking about two different things - spirited vs race pace.

I've done group rides with both a 48x15 fixed gear and a Niner gravel bike but I wouldn't bring either to a race pace road ride with the big boys. I'm talking about 40 or 50 miles at zone 4/5 heart rate where your legs are shaking after the ride.

I've lost a bunch of weight and have gotten much faster this winter thanks to an actual structured training plan. As I ride with faster groups I find that my bike is more of a limiter, that's all I'm saying.

B group on a gravel bike all day long, no problem, but when the junior racing team shows up and fast guys are on Argon 18's with Bora wheels and Campy Record EPS or Dura Ace Cervelo R5's, then a 21 lb Niner isn't going to cut it. Cipollini or Sagan might be able to keep up but I need every advantage I can get and there are rides where I would have happily paid for a few more percent.

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Old 04-30-18, 08:40 AM
  #63  
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I ride my gravel bike at an avg of 12.7 mph that include paved sections, gravel climbs and descents. At times I may be huffing along at 16 mph on a flat part of the route at time 25 mph going downhill. Even at only a 12.7 avg I feel like I’m getting a good all around workout due to the various terrain. Riding with 700X40 essentially MTB tires slow things down somewhat but my objective is endurance and general fitness.
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Old 04-30-18, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
We may be talking about two different things - spirited vs race pace.

I've done group rides with both a 48x15 fixed gear and a Niner gravel bike but I wouldn't bring either to a race pace road ride with the big boys. I'm talking about 40 or 50 miles at zone 4/5 heart rate where your legs are shaking after the ride.
No, I'm referring to the latter sort of thing with "spirited."

I don't think "race pace" is a very precise description either. The pace of a race is guaranteed to get insanely intense at key moments, but sometimes the field spends a lot of time unhurried. Since audacity on a weekend group ride doesn't pose the risk of losing an actual race, it's easier to make things more consistent in their brutality, if you choose to.

As I ride with faster groups I find that my bike is more of a limiter, that's all I'm saying.
I don't disagree that the bike matters.

But I think that's more about the extent to which you're pushing yourself to your limits, than the speed of the ride in itself. I wouldn't have a problem with sticking Marathon Plus tires on a road bike if my goal was to ride at 15mph for a few hours, but if I was someone who struggled to hold that 15mph, choosing GP4000SII instead would make a world of difference.
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Old 05-01-18, 07:20 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
How is saying that a 50/34 shouldn't be holding you back, and if it is there may an issue of technique, an attack on your character?
Some people prefer standard cranks. You have basically declared that anyone who prefers standard cranks are "doing it wrong". Not really sure what kind of response you were expecting.

It's an attack on the claim that a gravel bike with 50/34 gearing will hold the OP back from using it on a road bike.
He never said or implied anything to the effect that 50/34 was going to hold the OP back. He was sharing his own experience and preference.

According to your logic, anyone openly stating that they prefer standard cranks on a road bike are hereby required to explain why everyone else should want one as well, and how compacts are a bad choice for everyone, otherwise they are "wrong"

I personally agree with this guys frustration about how some people on BF cannot bear to see anyone express a preference different to their own without throwing condescending insults at them. And yes, telling someone who you do not know the first thing about that they are "doing it wrong" is an insult.
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Old 05-01-18, 10:41 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
As I ride with faster groups I find that my bike is more of a limiter, that's all I'm saying.

B group on a gravel bike all day long, no problem, but when the junior racing team shows up and fast guys are on Argon 18's with Bora wheels and Campy Record EPS or Dura Ace Cervelo R5's, then a 21 lb Niner isn't going to cut it. Cipollini or Sagan might be able to keep up but I need every advantage I can get and there are rides where I would have happily paid for a few more percent.

-Tim-
^^ that is the answer to the OP's question.
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Old 05-02-18, 01:22 AM
  #67  
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I am currently running a 48 tooth 1x 11 up front on a crux.

I am used to running 50+ up front on a single speed track bike so it is a bit of a change and took a bit of getting used.

The acceleration and top speed are noticeably different at full sprint. I know re-gearing it makes a huge difference. when I originally got it, it came with a 43 tooth up front. For a bit I would spin out on that. So I had to bump up to the 48, I am considering the 50 now.

Also putting 700x20 vs the current x32's on my crux made a difference. But the road conditions are so bad here I went right back to the 32's. I can't take corners hard on the 32' because they will slide from underneath me which is not a nice feeling when you are used to being able to take turns at top speed and being confident in your bike. I haven't had a chance to try big slicks yet. They may make change my mind.
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Old 05-02-18, 07:41 AM
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What 32s are you running that corner less well than 20s?
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Old 05-02-18, 10:39 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
What 32s are you running that corner less well than 20s?
My guess is knobies or something with tread on the sides. On road my Crockett corners better with 25c slicks than with 33c gravel tires (specifically Specialized Trigger Pros), I'm guessing that's what they were talking about.
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Old 05-02-18, 03:52 PM
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knobbies captain cx pro 700x34 vs slick s-word race works 700x20.

a goal is to get some nicer cx tires at some point, but budget constraints and maintaining bikes for the rest of the family comes first
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Old 05-02-18, 04:11 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
We may be talking about two different things - spirited vs race pace.

I've done group rides with both a 48x15 fixed gear and a Niner gravel bike but I wouldn't bring either to a race pace road ride with the big boys. I'm talking about 40 or 50 miles at zone 4/5 heart rate where your legs are shaking after the ride.

I've lost a bunch of weight and have gotten much faster this winter thanks to an actual structured training plan. As I ride with faster groups I find that my bike is more of a limiter, that's all I'm saying.

B group on a gravel bike all day long, no problem, but when the junior racing team shows up and fast guys are on Argon 18's with Bora wheels and Campy Record EPS or Dura Ace Cervelo R5's, then a 21 lb Niner isn't going to cut it. Cipollini or Sagan might be able to keep up but I need every advantage I can get and there are rides where I would have happily paid for a few more percent.

-Tim-
That is a good post. Niner RLT or RDO (carbon or steel)? I ride with a guy who has the carbon bike - its plenty fast and hangs well, although I don't think his 1x gearing is going to get him much over 30mph.

My experience is different than. My bike specs out at ~17lbs, For road (or summer gravel) fairly light wheels and tires (28 or 32mm). Bike doesn't hold me back. Riding with my 40mm gravel tires make climbs a little harder but I like 28/32 on the road (and 32 for most of my summer gravel riding for that matter). The guys on Madones or Venge/Tarmac and with 23mm tires look at me kinda funny at the beginning, but they get used to it.

I'm calling this a "race pace" ride;
~10% of the ride is over 450 watts
Peak is typically ~1000 watts
Average is about 250 watts
Average speed is in the 20's peaking around 40mph

I'm thinking there are a choice of gravel bikes that can hang with good road bikes. Niner RDO, Open UP, Trek Domane, Maybe a GT Grade...

Certainly if one is not sprinting or climbing (i.e. B ride) most any decent drop bar bike with good tires should be able to hang. Weight doesn't make much difference at cruising speed. Heck at the track we'll put on solid disk wheels for a time trial as aero trumps weight when I'm doing steady high speeds in small ovals. ;-)

P.S. 49x15 FG is my baseline track bike gearing. I can't ride that on the road - you must be a monster to ride road with that!
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Old 05-03-18, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
That is a good post. Niner RLT or RDO (carbon or steel)? I ride with a guy who has the carbon bike - its plenty fast and hangs well, although I don't think his 1x gearing is going to get him much over 30mph.

My experience is different than. My bike specs out at ~17lbs, For road (or summer gravel) fairly light wheels and tires (28 or 32mm). Bike doesn't hold me back. Riding with my 40mm gravel tires make climbs a little harder but I like 28/32 on the road (and 32 for most of my summer gravel riding for that matter). The guys on Madones or Venge/Tarmac and with 23mm tires look at me kinda funny at the beginning, but they get used to it.

I'm calling this a "race pace" ride;
~10% of the ride is over 450 watts
Peak is typically ~1000 watts
Average is about 250 watts
Average speed is in the 20's peaking around 40mph

I'm thinking there are a choice of gravel bikes that can hang with good road bikes. Niner RDO, Open UP, Trek Domane, Maybe a GT Grade...

Certainly if one is not sprinting or climbing (i.e. B ride) most any decent drop bar bike with good tires should be able to hang. Weight doesn't make much difference at cruising speed. Heck at the track we'll put on solid disk wheels for a time trial as aero trumps weight when I'm doing steady high speeds in small ovals. ;-)

P.S. 49x15 FG is my baseline track bike gearing. I can't ride that on the road - you must be a monster to ride road with that!
It is an RDO.

17 lb is light for a gravel bike but even so, sounds like you are a strong rider to hang with a really fast road group ride on a gravel bike. I'm not there yet.

48x15 is used for flat, out and back paceline training rides. As long as I can hold a wheel I'm fine and I often pull when geared riders let their cadence fall and shift down on slight uphill grades. On rolling courses I'll switch to a 48x16 which is 7% lower. The local track club has a regular Sunday ride and they are on huge gears, really impressive. I can barely keep up with 79 or 84 inch gearing.

This is a great sport, isn't it?


-Tim-
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Old 05-03-18, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
It is an RDO.

17 lb is light for a gravel bike but even so, sounds like you are a strong rider to hang with a really fast road group ride on a gravel bike. I'm not there yet.

48x15 is used for flat, out and back paceline training rides. As long as I can hold a wheel I'm fine and I often pull when geared riders let their cadence fall and shift down on slight uphill grades. On rolling courses I'll switch to a 48x16 which is 7% lower. The local track club has a regular Sunday ride and they are on huge gears, really impressive. I can barely keep up with 79 or 84 inch gearing.

This is a great sport, isn't it?


-Tim-
I got tired of spinning out on 48x16 on rollers on the flats. I threw an absolute black 50T oval on. It meets in the middle and spins like a 48 , I don't spin out. and climbs much better. however it has 1 draw back, at a higher RPM near 100 it starts to feel really stupid. as in It was easier to spin 120(+) on a 48. but the 50 was worth it, and the oval on a climb is a godsend on ss.

If the weather holds I'll get to test ride a RDO this weekend. looking forward to that.
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Old 05-03-18, 03:27 PM
  #74  
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Nice work.
Those RLT/RDO bikes are sweet. I'd have one if I had the money and the opportunity for a good test ride! I hear I might find one available for test rides in Northern Georgia...

Fixed gear is a good workout.
riding with road bikes, I would rather be on my gravel bike than fixed gear - or what usually happens is that I will drop down to a slower ride and get a bigger workout riding fixed.

I'm doing 42x16 for a typical "spiritied" road ride (average 20mph, maybe 25 max). For a 49x15, I'm doing 25mph with peaks of low thirties. I've thought of doing something like that on the ride I referneced above, but I would get dropped on the hills - come to think of it I would be as likely to get dropped going down hill as up hill**. ;-)


Back on topic - a gravel bike, at its basics is a road bike that can take 40mm+ tires. There is a huge variety of this "new" segment.
Build it like a road bike, and it will be as fast as a road bike
Build it like a backpacking bike, and it will be as fast as a touring bike
Build it like a monster cross, and it will be as fast as a mountain bike.
Put slower tires on it, and it will be slower, put the same tires/wheels on it and it will be basically as fast on a simliar course.

Like you said, its a great sport! its all good!

**the proper gear on a fixed gear bike is one where going down hill hurts as much as going up hill
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Old 05-07-18, 12:09 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Nice work.
Those RLT/RDO bikes are sweet. I'd have one if I had the money and the opportunity for a good test ride! I hear I might find one available for test rides in Northern Georgia...
don't do it... you'll want one! you've been warned.

Originally Posted by chas58 View Post

Back on topic - a gravel bike, at its basics is a road bike that can take 40mm+ tires. There is a huge variety of this "new" segment.
Build it like a road bike, and it will be as fast as a road bike
Build it like a backpacking bike, and it will be as fast as a touring bike
Build it like a monster cross, and it will be as fast as a mountain bike.
Put slower tires on it, and it will be slower, put the same tires/wheels on it and it will be basically as fast on a simliar course.

Like you said, its a great sport! its all good!
Maybe/maybe not.... for many this is probably true. For others, maybe they'll notice a difference. I notice a difference. A Niner RDO really does close the gap towards a carbon road bike. Yet they'll never be what my Supersix himod is though?



My experience today of riding the RDO, and also riding the steel RLT. There is a far bigger difference in comfort, than there is in performance between the 2. If fast is my goal, I'd pick the RDO. Yet If fast was my ultimate goal.. then I'd also be looking at a carbon himod synapse on 32's. (terrain would most likely be the deciding factor).
After today, and time on the Niners, I am leaning towards a RLT 853 on carbon wheels with either compass Barlow pass extralight or, Gravelking 700x38 slicks. Slower than a road bike, maybe... but what is relevant? It isn't a race for me. big tires, all day comfort, room for mudguards, bottle mounts on fork, top tube braze ons.
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