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I've been crashing a lot since getting a gravel bike

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I've been crashing a lot since getting a gravel bike

Old 05-28-20, 02:52 PM
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I've been crashing a lot since getting a gravel bike

I seem to crash it approximately once per ride so far.
Tried to ride around stairs (uphill) and hit a bump hidden by vegetation, went over the bars.
Sharp corner in sand, slid out.
Tried to hop a log, went over the bars.
Practicing wheelies, fell on my ass.
Tried to do a dirt jump, flew too far, landed on my ass.
Tried to ride up stairs from a side route that goes most of the way up, crashed.
I've also pinch flatted twice. I've had the bike a couple weeks now.

Is this a learning curve thing or am I just pushing it a bit too hard?
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Old 05-28-20, 03:07 PM
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None of that appears to be from riding the bike on a gravel road.

Ride it on gravel and stop trying to use it to parkour around the city.
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Old 05-28-20, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
None of that appears to be from riding the bike on a gravel road.

Ride it on gravel and stop trying to use it to parkour around the city.
I can ride any bike on gravel. Sure a gravel bike is better on gravel than the road bike, but my Marin's primary purpose for me is an all around adventure bike. None of my crashes have been from things that seem very difficult for an experienced off road rider. All crashes except for the wheelie have been on trails, where the bike is meant to be ridden. Of course I'm not gonna crash riding a flat wide easy gravel road.
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Old 05-28-20, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
None of my crashes have been from things that seem very difficult for an experienced off road rider.
Well there you go then- it appears you aren't experienced enough.
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Old 05-28-20, 04:06 PM
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Seems like it’s a combination of recklessness and ineptitude.
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Old 05-28-20, 04:06 PM
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My personal experience is that my gravel bike is much harder to "save" than a mountain bike. Something surprises you on a trail and it's easy to wipe out. I tend to crash at least once in every event I've ridden (although I rarely fall on local trails that I know well). Could be the geometry, could be the narrower hand position, could be rigid frame and fork, could be that local stuff is better on a mountain bike, could be that I just suck.
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Old 05-28-20, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Seems like itís a combination of recklessness and ineptitude.
Could be. I just don't know. Was wondering if others had a similar experience. Obviously those who only ride nice flat level gravel won't be crashing, nor those who are very cautious while learning new skills.
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Old 05-28-20, 04:26 PM
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weird flex but OK
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Old 05-28-20, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
Obviously those who only ride nice flat level gravel won't be crashing, nor those who are very cautious while learning new skills.
I think the main reason that most of us don't crash much on our gravel bikes is that's we didn't get them to ride "trails", we got them to ride roads. The gravel I ride is anything but flat (I've exceeded 200ft/mile in gravel rides before), and is often a long ways from "nice" (the aggregate is frequently chunky and poorly-maintained), but it's not technical.

How much a rider crashes on any bike is largely not a function of the bike itself, but of how far the rider chooses to push their skills past what they're comfortable doing on that bike. If you're taking a gravel bike on technical trails, and you're sending it without being an especially spectacular bicycle handler, it's not surprising that you'd be experiencing some crashes. Especially if the gravel bike is closer to being a fat-tired road bike than a drop-bar MTB, which yours is.
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Old 05-28-20, 05:56 PM
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At the risk of jinxing myself, the gravel here is anything but "flat level" and I have yet to fall. But I don't think any of the crashes you describe are things that I would have done. There are some closed roads around here that are a little sketchy, and I worry when I'm riding on them, but no falls yet.
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Old 05-28-20, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
I think the main reason that most of us don't crash much on our gravel bikes is that's we didn't get them to ride "trails", we got them to ride roads.
Yeah I didn't think of that til the first person responded. I live in an area with lots of trails and lots of paved roads and also lots of fire roads, but not many unpaved normal roads. I got the bike to do as much trail s*** as possible but still have fun around town and on the way to the trails.

Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
The gravel I ride is anything but flat (I've exceeded 200ft/mile in gravel rides before), and is often a long ways from "nice" (the aggregate is frequently chunky and poorly-maintained), but it's not technical.
I just meant smoothish, like the kind where you can just straight ride over whatever's in the path without much focus. 200 ft per mile is pretty brutal for a round trip.

Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
How much a rider crashes on any bike is largely not a function of the bike itself, but of how far the rider chooses to push their skills past what they're comfortable doing on that bike. If you're taking a gravel bike on technical trails, and you're sending it without being an especially spectacular bicycle handler, it's not surprising that you'd be experiencing some crashes. Especially if the gravel bike is closer to being a fat-tired road bike than a drop-bar MTB, which yours is.
Yeah I guess I was just wondering if anyone would be like "yeah, that's how it is at first, but it gets better" or something.
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Old 05-28-20, 06:16 PM
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Well... do you feel like the bike isn't keeping up with you, or do you feel like your off-road bike handling skills aren't refined enough yet?
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Old 05-28-20, 06:16 PM
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You learn to recognize areas of low traction and you learn to ride through areas of low traction. And you learn the limits of an unsuspended bike on rough terrain.
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Old 05-28-20, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
You learn to recognize areas of low traction and you learn to ride through areas of low traction. And you learn the limits of an unsuspended bike on rough terrain.
So far I'm ok with low traction like deep loose cohesionless aggregate (sand and gravel) if I see it first. The time I slid in the sand was night and I was looking at the log I was trying to get around. I'll probably get better at recognizing sand in poor light.

This is the first time I rode anything with tires larger than 25, so no experience with suspension. I imagine one could handle rougher terrain with more ease. A friend was riding directly up a set of 6 concrete steps on his full suspension. I'm trying to maneuver around enough to at least get up 2 "trail style" steps - the ones with wide dirt tread and a piece of wood holding it in place. Not that I like tackling stairs uphill, but there are some nice trails that happen to feature a few stairs, and the ability to ride them would be cool. I do also have some trouble on really steep uphill with big roots/rocks all over, but so far I can manage to get up these ones if they are only a few seconds.
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Old 05-28-20, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Well... do you feel like the bike isn't keeping up with you, or do you feel like your off-road bike handling skills aren't refined enough yet?
Like I mentioned I'm guessing a skilled rider would be fine on these little jumps and stairs without suspension, but I have 50,000 miles on a road bike and 200 on a gravel bike lol. Probably a few hundred trail miles on the Cervelo, but the really rocky stuff is no fun on 23s.
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Old 05-28-20, 06:45 PM
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An "adventure" bike is something like a Swiss Army Knife. That knife will cut things, open a bottle, even pull out a splinter. Not as well as a good knife, bottle opener, and tweezers, though. So it goes with your Marin. It can go a lot of places, and do a lot of things, but it's never gonna go up and down a staircase or bunny-hop logs like an FS mountain bike.
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Old 05-28-20, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
Could be. I just don't know. Was wondering if others had a similar experience. Obviously those who only ride nice flat level gravel won't be crashing, nor those who are very cautious while learning new skills.
I've done plenty of racing on pretty gnarly stuff - doubletrack, singletrack, rock gardens, through creeks, etc. But perhaps at my age, I am pretty cautious - old people take longer to heal.

Still, if you are wondering why you are crashing so much, I suggest that you look within, grasshopper.
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Old 05-28-20, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by fourfa View Post
weird flex but OK


OP, you need to shift your weight backwards and off the front of the bike.
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Old 05-28-20, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
An "adventure" bike is something like a Swiss Army Knife. That knife will cut things, open a bottle, even pull out a splinter. Not as well as a good knife, bottle opener, and tweezers, though. So it goes with your Marin. It can go a lot of places, and do a lot of things, but it's never gonna go up and down a staircase or bunny-hop logs like an FS mountain bike.
Not like a full suspension, but it should be able to do it to some extent once I learn how.

Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post


OP, you need to shift your weight backwards and off the front of the bike. https://youtu.be/ZU9B2x2VA4k
I was practicing wheelies. I got a few good ones, got one for 4 pedal strokes. Then I was feeling overly confident and fell backwards on the next attempt. I haven't gotten the hang of grabbing my rear brake to save it yet.
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Old 05-28-20, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
I think the main reason that most of us don't crash much on our gravel bikes is that's we didn't get them to ride "trails", we got them to ride roads. .
I ride my gravel bike (drop bar, 650B, 47c tires, tubeless super low psi) literally everywhere I used to mountain bike here in SoCal(of course, I'm not a downhill bike park guy). It's just a different type of riding. Personally, I love it. Is it "underbiking"? I suppose, but I like the whole vibe and challenge of it. And, I'm already slow anyway...
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Old 05-28-20, 09:27 PM
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I ride a variety of dirt and gravell roads, but I tend to always keep a good eye further ahead so I have more time to slow down if there is a hairpin turn or loose patch ahead. I also continually test traction on straight safe sections and recalibrate my braking forces to stay within traction limits. Maybe your brakes do not have very good modulation, or maybe you are not keeping your speed within your stopping limits for what you can see ahead. Maybe you have to spend more time testing out a new bike to learn handling characteristics and limits. Maybe you are young enough so that falls do not hurt as much and therefore you are more willing to take chances...
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Old 05-28-20, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
I ride a variety of dirt and gravell roads, but I tend to always keep a good eye further ahead so I have more time to slow down if there is a hairpin turn or loose patch ahead. I also continually test traction on straight safe sections and recalibrate my braking forces to stay within traction limits. Maybe your brakes do not have very good modulation, or maybe you are not keeping your speed within your stopping limits for what you can see ahead. Maybe you have to spend more time testing out a new bike to learn handling characteristics and limits. Maybe you are young enough so that falls do not hurt as much and therefore you are more willing to take chances...
Oh no, my crashes seem to happen when I know what's coming and I try it anyway
I'm starting to get into the "not young" territory. At 35 crashing all the time seems a bit harder on me than it was 15 years ago, tho not as hard as it'll feel in 15 years. I just spent a couple years adding 20 lbs of muscle, so that helps buffer falls a bit, compared to a normal string bean cyclist.
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Old 05-29-20, 05:53 AM
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I ride my gravel bike on MTB trails all the time. As a very experienced mountain biker, I find it more challenging to tackle trail features on a drop bar bike, but that is part of the fun for me. With you being road rider with little MTB experience, I would expect you to have more trouble dealing with those trail features.

I've found that setting up my bars so that they are higher and closer to me, than I would use on my road bike, helps a lot. You need to be in the drops for trail riding, so that you can keep a finger on the brake levers. It helps a lot to have the bike set up so that you are comfortable being in the drops and can still keep your head up to look far enough down the trail to see the next obstacle and prepare for it.
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Old 05-29-20, 08:38 AM
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Wheelies and bunny hops are definitely learned skills. My bunny hopping has gotten better, but is still not on par with some of the guys I ride with, watched a guy hop over a pretty big tree that the rest of us got off and climbed over, but he was a pro MTBer, so his skills are def on a different level. I haven't even tried to wheelie yet, maybe I should start working on that. Hasn't been a critical skill for the riding I do tho, but would be fun to learn.

The stairs you're talking about, maybe you're trying to take them too fast? They sound like something I would slow down for and go up in stages, hop my front wheel up, then the rear, rinse and repeat. Just depends on the depth/height of the steps.

I've had the bike slide out in a turn, that just takes some getting used to, def different from road riding.

I've done some small jumps, you want to land with your front wheel slightly up, too far forward and you're going down. But also depends on speed, height of the jump, etc., you said you flew too far, sounds like it might have been too much speed or too high, or both?

Lots of nuances in off-roading. Some that are hard to quantify, just get used to how the bike feels in different situations.
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Old 05-29-20, 08:46 AM
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I think it's a learning curve as you try to flex a bike made for one genre into another. If you have a bike optimally set up for gravel it's not going to be optimal for more technical terrain - you would do things differently for that.

If the seat is set for speed on gravel roads it will be too high for control on single track where you want it lower. A good argument for a dropper on a gravel bike I suppose. When I started riding my FG more on gravel I had some problems with the old school narrow drops. The hand position was too close together to negotiate some detours that go around gates and loose gravel on descents.



So I swapped them out for flipped utility bars, like very shallow dirt drops. Wider grip and angled for better control.



I still can't do wheelies with it either.
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