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Can A Gravel Bike Be A Good Road Bike?

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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

Can A Gravel Bike Be A Good Road Bike?

Old 10-05-18, 03:54 PM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by cyclintom View Post
So you prefer to assume that someone that is "racing" with 42 mm tires on gravel and with fenders is a uniquely qualified racer?
No, I wouldn't assume anyone is a uniquely qualified racer based purely on the bike that they ride.

But I wouldn't assume that they aren't a qualified racer based purely on the knowledge that they could be happy dropping their stable to a single allroad bike, either.
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Old 10-05-18, 05:20 PM
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I retract my post, no reason for this sort of thing. This is what happens when I stray from my home forums


Last edited by Spoonrobot; 10-05-18 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 10-05-18, 08:06 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
I retract my post, no reason for this sort of thing. This is what happens when I stray from my home forums

Oh I liked the part where because you have fenders on your bike you can tell everyone else what sort of bikes they can ride and what tire sizes are appropriate.
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Old 10-05-18, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
No, I wouldn't assume anyone is a uniquely qualified racer based purely on the bike that they ride.

But I wouldn't assume that they aren't a qualified racer based purely on the knowledge that they could be happy dropping their stable to a single allroad bike, either.
Huh? Do even you know what you just said?
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Old 10-05-18, 08:29 PM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by cyclintom View Post
Huh? Do even you know what you just said?
Yes.
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Old 10-07-18, 06:34 PM
  #81  
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My gravel bike and pavement bikes are the same bike with the same tires (Soma Fog Cutter running Compass 35s or 38s). I don’t even feel the need for a second set of wheels or tires.

After 15 years of riding 23mm tires because all the “serious” road riders said I should, I built my first “gravel” bike (Salsa Casseroll, a road bike that could run 35s) 7 years ago.

I had planned to build up another pavement bike (I had pulled some parts off the old one to build up the Casseroll) but after a few months on the Cassroll, I knew that my days of running anything less than 32mm were done. Now, after a few years with more and better options coming out in larger tire sizes, even 32mm seems too small to me.

The way I see it, gravel bikes are just road bikes thay don’t suck on gravel. That’s how it works for me anyway.

Last edited by Kapusta; 10-07-18 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 10-07-18, 07:21 PM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by drdave18 View Post
My first thought was: move out of Manhattan to someplace decent for bike riding. For what you must pay to live there, you could buy a house with a three car garage in a lot of great places in the West and have as many bikes as you want!
Riding in NYC is among my greatest joys on a bike. My folks live there and I bring a bike there at least once a year. Love it!
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Old 10-07-18, 08:30 PM
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yes and sometimes no

my "gravel" bike weighs in at around 7.5kg so not super heavy...with so called "fast" 30c tires it's a slug and a half. I have to make 20-25w more to retain the same speed. With fast clinchers and Turbo cottons tires I get most of this speed back, but the gravel bike is still ~1.5kg heavier then my weightweenie road bike was and that is definitely felt in the hills. So in short for me the 2 areas the gravel bike struggles is :
1. Fast group rides (especially with wide 30c tires)
2. Steep climbs

I will say it's a dream to descend on with disc brakes... it's definitely nice to have a quiver of purpose built wheels and tires for different occasions.
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Old 10-07-18, 08:36 PM
  #84  
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I purchased a Cannondale SuperX a few years ago to be my winter and foul weather bike. I did make some changes to make it closer to a road bike rather than a CX bike.

1) put the same saddle on that's on my Emonda
2) replaced the 44cm handle bars with 42cm
3) replaced the alloy seatpost with a carbon seatpost
4) got a second set of wheels with Bontrager AW2 all weather 32mm tubeless tires

The bike has Sram 1x with a 11-32 cassette and 40T chainring. It also has hydro disc brakes.

It's a awesome bike and i've done group rides of 40+ miles. It rides like a Cadillac while my Emonda rides like a Porsche.

Each has their place.

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Old 10-08-18, 10:17 AM
  #85  
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This thread is still alive?

Here's a link to a famous photo. This is already a copy of a copy of a copy so linky-time. http://www.asisucedio.co/1963-cochise-rodriguez/

That is the great Cochise Rodriguez in the lead. On a road bike. When I met Cochise I asked him about this. He started by saying this is a nice photo and he was glad the photographer was standing there. But lots of road racing in Colombia in the old days was like this. Races where the 'pavement' was just not there, or the road had washed out since last time the promoter checked, and the racers would find the finish line or not in the middle of the night. He also said his favorite tire for this sort of thing was Clement Campionato del Mondo, 29mm of silk tubular. But they usually could not be found and he raced on anything and everything.

Of course 'road bike' back in '63 meant a steel frame with room for 29mm tires plus broken spoke clearance. There was a lot of knowledge about rough roads cooked into those old frames. Current gravel bikes are pretty much entirely derived from mountain bike practice. Somebody's idea of a faster MTB. Both approaches have some validity and both do work. Expect to see lots of experiments the next few years. Expect to see lots of redundant exploration of what were blind alleys fifty years ago. Expect lots of re-discovery of old principles sold as new and improved
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Old 10-08-18, 12:58 PM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by spdntrxi View Post
yes and sometimes no

my "gravel" bike weighs in at around 7.5kg so not super heavy...with so called "fast" 30c tires it's a slug and a half. I have to make 20-25w more to retain the same speed. With fast clinchers and Turbo cottons tires I get most of this speed back, but the gravel bike is still ~1.5kg heavier then my weightweenie road bike was and that is definitely felt in the hills. So in short for me the 2 areas the gravel bike struggles is :
1. Fast group rides (especially with wide 30c tires)
2. Steep climbs

I will say it's a dream to descend on with disc brakes... it's definitely nice to have a quiver of purpose built wheels and tires for different occasions.
- A 16.5# bike on fast 30mm tires feels like 'a slug and a half'?
- And your road bike is 13.2#?

You struggle on fast group rides on a 16.5# bike with quality 30mm tires. And you struggle to climb on a 16.5# bike.


Just wanted to accurately recap all that.
Your riding ability is better than 95% of cyclists on here and what you need for a road bike and gravel bike is vastly different than most. Kudos for being so fast and strong.
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Old 10-08-18, 01:50 PM
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I've taken the cyclocross bike on the group ride twice recently. No issues.

It's a touch heavier, touch slower steering, 28mm or 30mm Gators (can't recall), canti brakes, 1x with suboptimal road gear range (40t and 11-28)...........etc.....

I can understand the "cost" difference in wattage between two bikes mattering.........if spending a good time right at threshold. At threshold power yeah, 20w matters. If not, 20w ain't gonna matter in a one minute 600 watt hill sprint or a 400ish watt few minute hill climb. The ratio of output to loss is just not important for a group ride. (Yes, according to math, it matters, but you probably won't succeed in a hill breakaway because of it).

You've either got enough power for that kind of attack or move, or you don't. Or you're too fat all-together.
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Old 10-08-18, 03:49 PM
  #88  
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I just have the one bike built up right now, an RLT steel, with 42mm Specialized Sawtooths, and it has been great as a road bike (and gravel, of course) but I am not noticeable slower.
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Old 10-08-18, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
- A 16.5# bike on fast 30mm tires feels like 'a slug and a half'?
- And your road bike is 13.2#?

You struggle on fast group rides on a 16.5# bike with quality 30mm tires. And you struggle to climb on a 16.5# bike.


Just wanted to accurately recap all that.
Your riding ability is better than 95% of cyclists on here and what you need for a road bike and gravel bike is vastly different than most. Kudos for being so fast and strong.
it's actually the other way around on your recap ....I'm weak and looking for every advantage I can get... my FTP is sub 300 and I'm not a lightweight guy.

quality 30c tires where Schwalbe G-Speeds... and I put speed in quotes because I was being sarcastic as hell.. I dont know what the Crr increase compared to TC's... but it seemed HUGE and my power meter numbers comparing multiple segments back it up. My road bike was down to 12.8lbs.. so yes riding around on something getting close to 17lbs uphill is noticeable for me. Neither bike is aero (fat round tubes) so this is where I go next. The gravel bike is fun.. no doubt and it's opening up new routes for me so that is always good.
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Old 10-09-18, 06:14 AM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by spdntrxi View Post
it's actually the other way around on your recap ....I'm weak and looking for every advantage I can get... my FTP is sub 300 and I'm not a lightweight guy.

quality 30c tires where Schwalbe G-Speeds... and I put speed in quotes because I was being sarcastic as hell.. I dont know what the Crr increase compared to TC's... but it seemed HUGE and my power meter numbers comparing multiple segments back it up. My road bike was down to 12.8lbs.. so yes riding around on something getting close to 17lbs uphill is noticeable for me. Neither bike is aero (fat round tubes) so this is where I go next. The gravel bike is fun.. no doubt and it's opening up new routes for me so that is always good.
The G-One Speed/S-One are awesome tires. The worst Crr tested on bicyclerollingresistance.com is the Lugano, Schwalbe's entry level road tire. Even then, the difference between it and the very best tire tested is 14w - not close to your 20-25w estimate and the G-One Speed should be considerably better (I have several thousand miles on them and wouldn't buy another bike that couldn't clear them). Look elsewhere for your excuse.
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Old 10-09-18, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
The G-One Speed/S-One are awesome tires. The worst Crr tested on bicyclerollingresistance.com is the Lugano, Schwalbe's entry level road tire. Even then, the difference between it and the very best tire tested is 14w - not close to your 20-25w estimate and the G-One Speed should be considerably better (I have several thousand miles on them and wouldn't buy another bike that couldn't clear them). Look elsewhere for your excuse.
my power meter did not lie.. I’m not looking for an excuse .. it’s realworld
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Old 10-09-18, 02:01 PM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by spdntrxi View Post
my power meter did not lie.. I’m not looking for an excuse .. it’s realworld
I didn't say that it did, but I will say that it's not telling the whole story. Again - you need to look for your "20-25w" elsewhere.
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Old 10-09-18, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by JayNYC View Post
Thanks, but I'm pretty confident that's not a route I want to go. I definitely want a gravel bike. The question is whether I buy a decent set of road wheels for the gravel bike or look for a used road bike. The price would be about the same.
Of the Jari and the Felt hard choice.

based on you're criteria and location, the Felt has a lower standover. might be better for city riding?

My thoughts would be, push you towards the Felt with the 650x47 byway, which might suffice for 100% of your riding. Worse case scenario if you found the 650x47 too heavy for your day to day riding, you could pick up some WTB KOM light and shoe them with the WTB 30c Exposure. Nothing would change dramatically with Geo.
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Old 10-09-18, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
Of the Jari and the Felt hard choice.

based on you're criteria and location, the Felt has a lower standover. might be better for city riding?

My thoughts would be, push you towards the Felt with the 650x47 byway, which might suffice for 100% of your riding. Worse case scenario if you found the 650x47 too heavy for your day to day riding, you could pick up some WTB KOM light and shoe them with the WTB 30c Exposure. Nothing would change dramatically with Geo.
Thanks for the input. I wasn't going to bump the thread to say this, but now that it's been bumped…

I've ordered a bike… A 2018 Jari 1.3. Performance Bike had a decent end of model year sale on them.
There are just two differences with the 2019 Jari 1.1 1) the brakes (TRP HY/DR vs the new 105 pure hydraulic system on the new model), and 2) the rims and tires (Stan's No Tubes Grail S1 w/ Clement X'Plor USH 700C x 35 vs WTB KOM Light w/ Panaracer Gravelking SK 700C x 38). Those differences make the old model that I got 1.3 pounds heavier. I know the new 105 brakes are better, not so sure about the rims (the old rims can handle a broader range of tire sizes). IMHO, those two things didn't justify spending 50% more for the new version of the bike.

Finding bikes to test ride was nearly impossible. I called a half dozen Fuji dealers and none of them carried any type of Jari. One even asked "Jari – is that a bike?" Then the big chain bike store here (Danny's) had a "warehouse sale". They did have one Jari – but it was one size too small for me and Tiagra rather than 105, so I rode that and a $3K carbon Orbea Terra (that they had marked down to $2K). The test ride on the Jari was only so helpful given that the bike wasn't my size. But I went over every pothole and rough bit of asphalt I could find and yes the ride wasn't as compliant as the carbon Terra, but it was OK. And I was a bit shocked that I instantly loved the flared drop bars that a lot of people hate.

In talking the the various dealers, none carried any of the gravel bikes that were on my shortlist – a few carried stuff from my "B" list, but that was all. NYC may have a crazy number of bike shops, but very few of them understand why a New Yorker would want a gravel bike. Yet, everyone I know who wants a new bike wants a gravel bike – that's 3-4 people other than me. So I don't feel guilty ordering online and not patronizing a LBS. I tried.

Performance Bike lets you return it as long as it's in "new" condition so I'll just do safe/clean rides the first few weeks (no dirt/gravel), but I think I'm gonna like it. Sure, there are better bikes out there, but this one was a decent price and meets most everything on my rather picky wish list.

I'll probably wait until the spring to buy another wheelset. The 700x35s will be completely adequate for fall and winter riding.
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Old 10-09-18, 03:34 PM
  #95  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
My gravel bike and pavement bikes are the same bike with the same tires (Soma Fog Cutter running Compass 35s or 38s). I don’t even feel the need for a second set of wheels or tires.

After 15 years of riding 23mm tires because all the “serious” road riders said I should, I built my first “gravel” bike (Salsa Casseroll, a road bike that could run 35s) 7 years ago.

I had planned to build up another pavement bike (I had pulled some parts off the old one to build up the Casseroll) but after a few months on the Cassroll, I knew that my days of running anything less than 32mm were done. Now, after a few years with more and better options coming out in larger tire sizes, even 32mm seems too small to me.

The way I see it, gravel bikes are just road bikes thay don’t suck on gravel. That’s how it works for me anyway.
And you and I agree. But I don't think that you'd do a Cat 1 Crit on your bike either. I was working the half way stop of a double century and a century this weekend. There was some guy there with some sort of a Carbon Fiber specialized that had what must have been 30 mm tires with very fine tread. Since he was on the double and he got there before the century riders, he was all hell and gone fast. But darned if I could see any fenders which apparently are supposed to be all the rage with fast riders.
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Old 10-09-18, 03:42 PM
  #96  
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Very cool, Jay - enjoy it. Many swear that the Hy/Rd brakes are pretty close to the performance and feel of full hydro and, if you really wanted to, you could upgrade down the line for a couple hundred bucks. I liked the flare on my gravel bike bars enough that I opted for some (lesser) flare on the more dedicated road bike, too.

Now on to the winter wheelset hand-wringing, eh?
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Old 10-09-18, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by JayNYC View Post
Thanks for the input. I wasn't going to bump the thread to say this, but now that it's been bumped…

I've ordered a bike… A 2018 Jari 1.3. Performance Bike had a decent end of model year sale on them.
Performance Bike is a cookie cutter store, which is fail on their part. as in all stores get the same stuff regardless. kinda dumb but.... hey they have a sweet return policy.

the Grail wheels are nice wheels. on the heavy side, but strong.
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Old 10-09-18, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
Performance Bike is a cookie cutter store, which is fail on their part. as in all stores get the same stuff regardless. kinda dumb but.... hey they have a sweet return policy.

the Grail wheels are nice wheels. on the heavy side, but strong.
When ordering online it’s all about price, and return policy. It’s not like an LBS where you’ll see them over and over. So PB is fine for me right now.

And the wheels — it’s 490g vs 443g. At least for the rims, not sure about the weights of the other stuff in the wheelset. And these won’t be my road set. It’s more important that they be able to hit a rock and not get damaged. I’ll look for lighter when I get another wheelset for road use in the spring.
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Old 10-09-18, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I didn't say that it did, but I will say that it's not telling the whole story. Again - you need to look for your "20-25w" elsewhere.
Nope... I collected enough data with segments many multiple miles long..downhills, uphills. Looked at wind conditions.. etc. It's clear to me it was 20w+ I like the tires too, dont get my wrong but they were not "fast" for me...well compared to turbo cottons with latex. My position on the gravel bike is actually lower (more aggressive ) then my old road bike. The head tube on my road bike was pretty tall... which was one reason why I was itching to sell it. Maybe ding me 5w for disc brakes but again my position is lower on the gravel bike (not wind tunnel tested) So I think I am telling the whole story and it's my story anyhow.

I have the 30c GSpeeds tires on another wheelset ( for light gravel/road mix).. and am going to try Schwalbe Pro-One in 28c on another ( for mainly road). I've had the 25c on my road bike before on a non-aero wheelset and felt they were pretty fast.
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Old 10-09-18, 08:19 PM
  #100  
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Originally Posted by spdntrxi View Post
Nope... I collected enough data with segments many multiple miles long..downhills, uphills. Looked at wind conditions.. etc. It's clear to me it was 20w+ I like the tires too, dont get my wrong but they were not "fast" for me...well compared to turbo cottons with latex. My position on the gravel bike is actually lower (more aggressive ) then my old road bike. The head tube on my road bike was pretty tall... which was one reason why I was itching to sell it. Maybe ding me 5w for disc brakes but again my position is lower on the gravel bike (not wind tunnel tested) So I think I am telling the whole story and it's my story anyhow.

I have the 30c GSpeeds tires on another wheelset ( for light gravel/road mix).. and am going to try Schwalbe Pro-One in 28c on another ( for mainly road). I've had the 25c on my road bike before on a non-aero wheelset and felt they were pretty fast.
Schwalbe rates the G-One Speeds as being among their fastest (on a scale of 1 to 6) road tires, along with the likes of the Pro One, which is one of the fastest tires out there. While bicyclerollingresistance.com hasn't directly tested G-One Speed, the results of all of the other Schwalbes that they have tested (Pro One, One, Durano, Lugano, etc) fall in to an order that corresponds pretty nicely with Schwalbe's ratings. Interestingly, brr.com tested the Pro One at 11.6w at 100psi and they tested this Schwalbe at 24w at 55psi, a difference of 12.4w, significantly less than the difference you propose -


And you really expect that others should believe that the G-Ones are in the 30w+ range based on your "data"?

Yeah, sure. You stick to your story, though - I've wasted enough time on your silliness, so I'm done.

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