Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

I don't get gravel bikes

Notices
Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

I don't get gravel bikes

Old 02-20-20, 05:33 AM
  #1  
bruce19
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
bruce19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lebanon (Liberty Hill), CT
Posts: 7,037

Bikes: CAAD 12, MASI Gran Criterium S, Colnago World Cup CX & Guru steel

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1140 Post(s)
Liked 433 Times in 257 Posts
I don't get gravel bikes

Let me start by saying that I am open to being educated. I have a very nice cyclo-cross bike. Why would I need a gravel bike? Is there a significant difference? If so, what is it? Might as well throw in a pic of my bike.
bruce19 is offline  
Likes For bruce19:
Old 02-20-20, 07:02 AM
  #2  
WhyFi
Senior Member
 
WhyFi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: TC, MN
Posts: 28,719

Bikes: R3 Disc, Haanjo

Mentioned: 335 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12024 Post(s)
Liked 1,819 Times in 975 Posts
It's a quick and dirty generalization, but -

road race : road endurance :: CX : gravel

vs CX, gravel tends to have more relaxed geometry (longer wheelbase, longer chainstays, lower BB, etc), more provisions for water bottles, fenders, racks, and larger tire clearance.

As for why you would need one - I don't know. Why would you need any bike?
WhyFi is offline  
Old 02-20-20, 07:15 AM
  #3  
MoAlpha
• —
 
MoAlpha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 5,250

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3458 Post(s)
Liked 1,000 Times in 572 Posts
Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post

vs CX, gravel tends to have more relaxed geometry (longer wheelbase, longer chainstays, lower BB, etc), more provisions for water bottles, fenders, racks, and larger tire clearance.

As for why you would need one - I don't know. Why would you need any bike?
More stack too, right? I think that's why they're so popular.
MoAlpha is offline  
Old 02-20-20, 07:23 AM
  #4  
WhyFi
Senior Member
 
WhyFi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: TC, MN
Posts: 28,719

Bikes: R3 Disc, Haanjo

Mentioned: 335 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12024 Post(s)
Liked 1,819 Times in 975 Posts
Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
More stack too, right? I think that's why they're so popular.
I was being lazy - that's covered by "etc" Basically all the stuff that you typically see in endurance, you'll often see in gravel.
WhyFi is offline  
Old 02-20-20, 07:27 AM
  #5  
MoAlpha
• —
 
MoAlpha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 5,250

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3458 Post(s)
Liked 1,000 Times in 572 Posts
Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I was being lazy - that's covered by "etc" Basically all the stuff that you typically see in endurance, you'll often see in gravel.
Not at all. I realize I missed the meaning of the accurate analogy at the top.
MoAlpha is offline  
Old 02-20-20, 08:12 AM
  #6  
LowCel 
Throw the stick!!!!
 
LowCel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Charleston, WV
Posts: 18,112

Bikes: GMC Denali

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 136 Post(s)
Liked 14 Times in 8 Posts
Beautiful Colnago. That's all I've got to contribute.
__________________
I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.
LowCel is offline  
Likes For LowCel:
Old 02-20-20, 08:23 AM
  #7  
Germanrazor
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 67
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 14 Posts
Why not???? I guess if you do different riding styles you have a tool for each. I use to mountain bike too when I lived in the NC mountains because there were so many areas to go and do that style of riding. However, I found I did not really care for that type of riding. I like the paved road and a nice road bike as my style of riding. Its about choices in this sport and the availability to do what you like. The only thing I do try to steer folks from are cheap dime store "bike-like" bikes. If you don't have the money to buy new quality then buy a nice used bike of quality.
Germanrazor is offline  
Old 02-20-20, 08:36 AM
  #8  
mstateglfr 
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 10,119

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '87 Schwinn Prelude, Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo, '18 Diamondback Syncr

Mentioned: 92 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3931 Post(s)
Liked 874 Times in 566 Posts
Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
Let me start by saying that I am open to being educated. I have a very nice cyclo-cross bike. Why would I need a gravel bike? Is there a significant difference? If so, what is it? Might as well throw in a pic of my bike.
You dont need a gravel bike. Its a hobby- get one if you find value in it.
Do you race or recreationally ride CX? If not- why have a CX style bike?

If the bike(s) you have work well for the ways in which you ride, then you obviously dont need another bike.


There is a lot of blur between CX and Gravel bikes right now, since many CX bikes in the last half decade(or so) have had the tire clearance increase(which both allows mud to shed more easily in races and allows for wider tires to ride gravel).
The other blur is that since 'gravel' is such a wide spanning category, it includes bikes that are basically rigid drop bar mountain bikes as well as bikes that are road race bikes with wide tires. The materials, components, and geometry is really wide spanning within the category. There will obviously be a lot of crossover into the long established categories of paved road, mtb, and CX as a result of this.

The Cervelo Aspero is a gravel race bike that has been used in pro CX races. Other gravel bikes have been used in CX races recently too(dont remember because I only read about it from push notifications and am too lazy to google on this well worn topic).
- Bikes like the Aspero, 3T Exploro, Open UP, Salsa Warbird, etc that position themselves as gravel race bikes.
- Bikes like the Cannondale Topstone, All City Cosmic Stallion, Jamis Renegade, Niner RLT/RDO, Trek Checkpoint, etc that position themselves as all around gravel bikes. These could be capable of long recreational rides or racing, just depends on setup and what the rider wants.
- Bikes like the Black Mountain Cycles MCD, Salsa Cutthroat, Bombtrack Beyond, etc position themselves as adventure/monstercross/drop bar MTB bikes that are built to explore and be rugged.

Some of all this is marketing and some of all this is legitimate design.
Ride your bikes however and wherever you want, and if its difficult to do, then look at a better bike for the job. Its pretty simple.
mstateglfr is offline  
Likes For mstateglfr:
Old 02-20-20, 08:36 AM
  #9  
topflightpro
Senior Member
 
topflightpro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 6,792
Mentioned: 54 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1492 Post(s)
Liked 219 Times in 145 Posts
Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
It's a quick and dirty generalization, but -

road race : road endurance :: CX : gravel

vs CX, gravel tends to have more relaxed geometry (longer wheelbase, longer chainstays, lower BB, etc), more provisions for water bottles, fenders, racks, and larger tire clearance.

As for why you would need one - I don't know. Why would you need any bike?
The tire clearance thing is bike. IIRC, cross rules stipulate a max 35 tire width. (I could have that wrong, it's been a long time since I raced cross.) For gravel, a lot of people run 40+ tires. In fact, a lot of riders even run smaller wheels with bigger tires - essentially 26in MTB wheels and tires.
topflightpro is offline  
Old 02-20-20, 08:39 AM
  #10  
wgscott
Occam's Rotor
 
wgscott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,710
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 976 Times in 495 Posts
If you wanted wider tires than what a CX frame would allow, that might be a motivation.


But if you don't get gravel bikes, you won't be getting one.

Problem solved. You have what looks like a great bike. What are the brakes?
wgscott is offline  
Likes For wgscott:
Old 02-20-20, 08:43 AM
  #11  
WhyFi
Senior Member
 
WhyFi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: TC, MN
Posts: 28,719

Bikes: R3 Disc, Haanjo

Mentioned: 335 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12024 Post(s)
Liked 1,819 Times in 975 Posts
Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
The tire clearance thing is bike. IIRC, cross rules stipulate a max 35 tire width. (I could have that wrong, it's been a long time since I raced cross.) For gravel, a lot of people run 40+ tires. In fact, a lot of riders even run smaller wheels with bigger tires - essentially 26in MTB wheels and tires.
Yup. Many of the earlier gravel bikes only took ~40mm tires, but many of the new ones are accommodating 650b wheels and larger tires. Some even have provisions to alter the fork to compensate for the geometry change with different wheel sizes.
WhyFi is offline  
Old 02-20-20, 08:43 AM
  #12  
u235
Senior Member
 
u235's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,053
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 386 Post(s)
Liked 62 Times in 46 Posts
You are going about it backwards. Does your current bike do what you need it to do at a level you are happy with? If so, you don't need something else. It really is that simple.
u235 is offline  
Likes For u235:
Old 02-20-20, 08:48 AM
  #13  
bruce19
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
bruce19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lebanon (Liberty Hill), CT
Posts: 7,037

Bikes: CAAD 12, MASI Gran Criterium S, Colnago World Cup CX & Guru steel

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1140 Post(s)
Liked 433 Times in 257 Posts
Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
If you wanted wider tires than what a CX frame would allow, that might be a motivation.


But if you don't get gravel bikes, you won't be getting one.

Problem solved. You have what looks like a great bike. What are the brakes?
Discs. I'm running 28 mm "gravel" tires, which I take to be somewhere between road and cross tires. The gravel tires are fine but a bit lacking up the little steep "ups" when coming to a gate on the local rail/trail. And, you are correct. I won't be getting a gravel bike given the differences mentioned so far.
bruce19 is offline  
Old 02-20-20, 08:54 AM
  #14  
bruce19
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
bruce19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lebanon (Liberty Hill), CT
Posts: 7,037

Bikes: CAAD 12, MASI Gran Criterium S, Colnago World Cup CX & Guru steel

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1140 Post(s)
Liked 433 Times in 257 Posts
[QUOTE=WhyFi;21334943As for why you would need one - I don't know. Why would you need any bike?[/QUOTE]

Because I'm done pissing my money away on cars and Ducatis and I need to piss it away on something so....bikes.
bruce19 is offline  
Old 02-20-20, 09:17 AM
  #15  
bruce19
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
bruce19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lebanon (Liberty Hill), CT
Posts: 7,037

Bikes: CAAD 12, MASI Gran Criterium S, Colnago World Cup CX & Guru steel

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1140 Post(s)
Liked 433 Times in 257 Posts
bruce19 is offline  
Likes For bruce19:
Old 02-20-20, 09:32 AM
  #16  
ThermionicScott 
7-speed cultist
 
ThermionicScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CID
Posts: 20,034

Bikes: 1991 Bianchi Eros, 1964 Armstrong, 1988 Diamondback Ascent, 1988 Bianchi Premio, 1987 Bianchi Sport SX, 1980s Raleigh mixte (hers)

Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2768 Post(s)
Liked 676 Times in 471 Posts
Counterpoint: I never really got "cyclocross" bikes. Sure, most of what was marketed as "cyclocross" or "cross" to the recreational market was more capable than a pure road bike (more tire clearance, generally more braze-ons), but they still had some awkward features carried over from cyclocross race bikes like higher bottom brackets.

"Gravel" bikes with even more tire clearance, bottle and rack mounts, and low bottom brackets are really what non-race "cyclocross" bikes should have been all along, IMO.
__________________
Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
People in this forum are not typical.
RUSA #7498
ThermionicScott is offline  
Likes For ThermionicScott:
Old 02-20-20, 09:46 AM
  #17  
noodle soup
Senior Member
 
noodle soup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 7,827
Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3980 Post(s)
Liked 1,005 Times in 574 Posts
Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
A rare sunny day?
noodle soup is online now  
Old 02-20-20, 10:10 AM
  #18  
MoAlpha
• —
 
MoAlpha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 5,250

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3458 Post(s)
Liked 1,000 Times in 572 Posts
Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
Let me start by saying that I am open to being educated. I have a very nice cyclo-cross bike. Why would I need a gravel bike? Is there a significant difference? If so, what is it? Might as well throw in a pic of my bike.
With all due respect, the multiple spacers and uptilted bars suggest that you'd be happier on a frame with quite a bit with more stack. To wit, a gravel bike.
MoAlpha is offline  
Old 02-20-20, 10:15 AM
  #19  
wgscott
Occam's Rotor
 
wgscott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,710
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 976 Times in 495 Posts
Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
Discs.
I gathered. I was wondering what brand, as I had not seen white calipers like that.
wgscott is offline  
Old 02-20-20, 10:19 AM
  #20  
bruce19
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
bruce19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lebanon (Liberty Hill), CT
Posts: 7,037

Bikes: CAAD 12, MASI Gran Criterium S, Colnago World Cup CX & Guru steel

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1140 Post(s)
Liked 433 Times in 257 Posts
Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I gathered. I was wondering what brand, as I had not seen white calipers like that.
160 mm Avid. The calipers are actually silver.
bruce19 is offline  
Old 02-20-20, 10:23 AM
  #21  
Cypress 
Globo Gym lifetime member
 
Cypress's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Salem, Oregon
Posts: 5,183

Bikes: Fast ones

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 403 Post(s)
Liked 587 Times in 298 Posts
I suppose a big point between CX and gravel (to me) would be the gearing, as CX gearing is usually closer ratio, whereas gravel bikes kind of need to "do it all". CX bikes tend to have larger front triangles than true gravel bikes because they get shouldered.

I'll muddy the waters a bit though...

I use my CX bike as a gravel bike. BUT, I also race mixed-surface races on a full-tilt disc road bike with 26c file-tread tires. In the winter, I'll throw those same tires on my CX bike and use it as a road bike with full fenders that occasionally sees gravel. If I go exploring, I throw some 38c gravel tires on and get lost. The CX/gravel bike is a bit taller in the front end and has a cushy ride (Trek Boone Disc, so IsoSpeed and whatnot) than my road bike, but the geometry is still set more aggressive than most average "endurance" road bikes due to decades of racing road bikes.

I'm scouting a race course this weekend on the fendered CX bike with 26c FT's that I fully intend to race the next weekend on my TCR Advanced SL Disc.

The "gravel" bikes I see coming out are just endurance road bikes with a bit more tire clearance and a long-cage RD (or the ghastly 11-42t single chainring GRX groupset). Obviously there are some niche outliers trying to capitalize on the growth, but those are few and far between.
__________________
Originally Posted by botto
incorrect.
Cypress is online now  
Old 02-20-20, 10:25 AM
  #22  
mstateglfr 
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 10,119

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '87 Schwinn Prelude, Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo, '18 Diamondback Syncr

Mentioned: 92 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3931 Post(s)
Liked 874 Times in 566 Posts
Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
Discs. I'm running 28 mm "gravel" tires, which I take to be somewhere between road and cross tires. The gravel tires are fine but a bit lacking up the little steep "ups" when coming to a gate on the local rail/trail. And, you are correct. I won't be getting a gravel bike given the differences mentioned so far.
So you dont use your CX bike for CX? Then why have it?
...thats rhetorical and meant to point out that in addition to gravel, you also dont 'get' CX.

Ends up bikes can be versatile.

For a packed down limestone rail trail, while you dont need a bike capable of handling wider tires, wider tires will provide more comfort while allowing you to be as fast or possibly faster.

This thread could have just as easily been labeled 'I dont get mountain bikes' because you dont feel you need one of those for your limited unpaved riding on a groomed and well maintained limestone trail.
mstateglfr is offline  
Likes For mstateglfr:
Old 02-20-20, 10:29 AM
  #23  
Rides4Beer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: SC
Posts: 981

Bikes: Defy | Revolt

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 517 Post(s)
Liked 407 Times in 223 Posts
If your bike works on gravel, then you don't *need* a gravel bike. But I def like the bigger tire clearance, geo, and gearing on my gravel bike over CX bikes. Plus, I don't race CX. I know plenty of people who do, and they ride their CX bikes on gravel with no issues.
Rides4Beer is offline  
Likes For Rides4Beer:
Old 02-20-20, 10:42 AM
  #24  
bruce19
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
bruce19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lebanon (Liberty Hill), CT
Posts: 7,037

Bikes: CAAD 12, MASI Gran Criterium S, Colnago World Cup CX & Guru steel

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1140 Post(s)
Liked 433 Times in 257 Posts
Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
So you dont use your CX bike for CX? Then why have it?
...thats rhetorical and meant to point out that in addition to gravel, you also dont 'get' CX..
Well, what drew me to cross for the rail/trials was the greater tire clearance. My other bikes are 3 road bikes with rim brakes. If I had had a disc brake road bike I might not have been drawn to CX. And, the gearing is more appropriate for what I do.
bruce19 is offline  
Old 02-20-20, 11:29 AM
  #25  
taco2ewsday
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Memphis 10
Posts: 98

Bikes: 2002 Giant Yukon, 2019 Trek Topstone Sora

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked 33 Times in 22 Posts
Being a bigger guy and coming from an MTB the more relaxed geometry and wider tire limits of a Gravel bike was appealing to me, so I got one. if the scale keeps going down I might get something with a more aggressive position in a few years.

either way, do what works for you
taco2ewsday is offline  
Likes For taco2ewsday:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.