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Opinion: how important is weight for a gravel bike?

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.

Opinion: how important is weight for a gravel bike?

Old 12-20-18, 03:03 PM
  #76  
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Topolev. Good analysis. But again, my example is not hypothetical. This is my specific ride. What drained my energy was taking a heavy bike (and wheels and tires) up rolling hills. I wasn't drained by the aero drag. I can do 100 miles at 15mph on flat ground quite easily on that bike, but the hills will drain me sooner or later on a heavy bike.

If we are going to go down the theoretical rabbit hole - again you are right - at 15mph I'm losing maybe 30 watts if I sit upright. Specifically 160 watts vs 130 watts But again I wasn't sitting upright. my specific bikes had the same amount of tuck and I wasn't using "modern wide bars." Realistically, most calculations show the friction drag graph and the aero drag graph crossing over between 10 and 15mph. In my life - Aero just isn't a big deal at speeds that give me that apparent wind speed. at <18mph I'm looking for any aero advantage I can get. But that's just me. ;-) Again, I'm just sharing my experience. YMMV. ;-)

Back to the OP. Yeah - the weigh made a difference in my endurance. Its been said that wheel weight is twice the penalty as frame weight and having heavier wheels and tires exacerbated the problem on the rolling hills on my route.
Alternatively, if I'm doing a flat ride with no acceleration (on that mountain bike, doing a high speed time trial) - weight doesn't mean anything.
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Old 12-20-18, 07:04 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
As for tires, the mountain bike has the lowest resistance tires I've ever seen, at 10 watts per tire they have less rolling resistance in my Supple 40 mm gravel tires.

Which mountain bike tyres are these?
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Old 12-20-18, 08:14 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
Which mountain bike tyres are these?
Between 10watts resistance per tire and wind resistance apparently being meaningless at 15mph, I'm fascinated with recent comments in this thread.

certainly is attention grabbing.
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Old 12-20-18, 08:55 PM
  #79  
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Weight matters on a gravel bike as much as it does on a road bike because the effect of gravity is exactly the same. Probably matters more on a gravel bike because there are often steeper grades.
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Old 12-20-18, 09:18 PM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Between 10watts resistance per tire and wind resistance apparently being meaningless at 15mph, I'm fascinated with recent comments in this thread.

certainly is attention grabbing.
You forgot getting in the same aero position on an mtb than the cx bike.
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Old 12-21-18, 12:39 AM
  #81  
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Truth be told, generally people riding 26-30 lb steel framed gravel bikes don't give a damn about being aero. just like they don't care about speed. or average speeds, etc...

at the same time..... I'd just as soon ride my 26 lb. alloy hardtail than to ride a 26+ lb gravel bike. Swapping out the 800 ish gram 29er tires for a 440 gram 40c gravel tire would make my 29er a way better choice for gravel than those boat anchor gravel bikes.
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Old 12-21-18, 07:28 AM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
​​​​​​
because Ted rides what Cannondale gives him.
I have a sponsored friend that also rode her Super X to a high finish at Dirty Kanza, Gravel nationals, Overland etc. She much preferred that over the Slate.

Also Kaitie Keogh rode her Super X also to win dirty kanza.
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Old 12-21-18, 08:29 AM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
Which mountain bike tyres are these?
I know, right? They are 60mm Schwalbe S-One tires aka the big one. (yes they were horrible in the soft muddy patches - too much flotation, and no traction - but they are great on sand).

For reference:
they have 11-16 watts drag (depending on PSI)*
Continental gatorskins have 19-26watts drag (depending on PSI)
My Michelin race tires are 14-19 watts

My goal in this test wat to set the bikes up with similar rolling resistance and aero drag and see how compatible they were, given the mountain bike was heavier, had larger tires and somewhat different geometry.

They were amazingly similar in the first half of a 3 hour ride, but the weight (on rolling hills) just wore me out eventually.

In a short fast race ride, or riding into the wind, the gravel bike would have had the clear advantage with the drop bars. But again - the crossover between rolling resistance and aero is about 12-13mph, so aero isn't much of a hindrance at a casual endurance pace on a gravel ride.

Comparing 40 - 60mm tires - the big tires were super cush and had better traction in the soft (non muddy) stuff.

I wasn't really expecting the weight to make that much of a difference in endurance.

*ps: realistically they are going to have more resistance than 11 watts on a gravel ride, but it is an odd feeling to be riding on pavement at 15mph on a mountain bike and expending about as much energy as I would at 15mph on a high end skinny tire road bike.

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Old 12-21-18, 08:38 AM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by Jakedatc View Post
I have a sponsored friend that also rode her Super X to a high finish at Dirty Kanza, Gravel nationals, Overland etc. She much preferred that over the Slate.

Also Kaitie Keogh rode her Super X also to win dirty kanza.
Yeah, from what I have read, the top riders in that one are usually on cross bikes. Not sure why that is.
(please correct me, if I'm wrong, LOL).
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Old 12-21-18, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Yeah, from what I have read, the top riders in that one are usually on cross bikes. Not sure why that is.
(please correct me, if I'm wrong, LOL).
CX/Gravel. there is still 10k of climbing so in the vein of this thread.. weight will matter. and the Slate is NOT a light bike. very heavy for what 2" of travel that will bob on steep climbs.
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Old 12-21-18, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Jakedatc View Post
CX/Gravel. there is still 10k of climbing so in the vein of this thread.. weight will matter. and the Slate is NOT a light bike. very heavy for what 2" of travel that will bob on steep climbs.
It sure is. It's an anvil of a bike at 20lbs for a size XL. Also by your last statement I can see that you have never ridden one. The Oliver with the correct amount of air on it for the weight of the rider and in lockout position will not bobble on a steep climb.
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Old 12-21-18, 05:13 PM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
It sure is. It's an anvil of a bike at 20lbs for a size XL. Also by your last statement I can see that you have never ridden one. The Oliver with the correct amount of air on it for the weight of the rider and in lockout position will not bobble on a steep climb.
you don't pedal hard enough, that's why no bob.
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Old 12-21-18, 07:11 PM
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I did ride one. Felt sluggish as hell compared to my Mares CX and the Super X i also rode. could be the shock, the 40+ tire.. i dunno it felt slow and heavy.. i dont really care though. It has way more going on than I want and the Mares can do gravel and cx races and easy to work on.
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Old 12-29-18, 10:15 PM
  #89  
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The feeling between my Tamland and SuperX while climbing is noticeable. Whether the 6lbs difference is the reason, or the more aggressive geo, or whatever, is irrelevant to me. The SuperX is just more fun to ride. It's light and snappy and fun. It feels like a road bike with 40mm tires, and that makes this roadie happy.
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