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Why is Gravel Riding Such a Thing?

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Why is Gravel Riding Such a Thing?

Old 01-15-22, 09:05 AM
  #176  
indyfabz
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A few more from Melrose Bench and Rock Creek.









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Old 01-15-22, 03:49 PM
  #177  
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Bike one (1) Head angle 71, trail 71, tire size 700x40, BB drop 68
Bike two (2) Head angle 72, trail 61, tire size 700x40, BB drop 78
Bike three (3) Head angle 70, trail 66, tire size 700x40, BB drop 85
Bike four (4) Head angle 74, trail 55, tire size 700x25, BB drop 7.0

Bike 1 is sold as a CX bike, bike 2 and 3 are gravel bikes. As one can see the CX bike front end is designed more for stability, very much like a mountain bike. Bike 1 does come from a mountain bike company. Bike 4 is a typical road machine. You draw your own conclusions.
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Old 01-15-22, 05:14 PM
  #178  
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Bike one (1) Head angle 71, trail 71, tire size 700x40, BB drop 68
Bike two (2) Head angle 72, trail 61, tire size 700x40, BB drop 78
Bike three (3) Head angle 70, trail 66, tire size 700x40, BB drop 85
Bike four (4) Head angle 74, trail 55, tire size 700x25, BB drop 7.0

Bike 1 is sold as a CX bike, bike 2 and 3 are gravel bikes. As one can see the CX bike front end is designed more for stability, very much like a mountain bike. Bike 1 does come from a mountain bike company. Bike 4 is a typical road machine. You draw your own conclusions.
For comparison:-

Bike 1: Head angle 67, trail 99, tyre size 29x 2.35", BB drop 38, wheelbase 1190
Bike 2: Head angle 72.5, trail 58, tyre size 700x32, BB drop 70, wheelbase 1025
Bike 3: Head angle 73, trail 58, tyre size 700x30, BB drop 73, wheelbase 1006

One of them is a modern mtb trail bike, other 2 are modern endurance road bikes.
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Old 01-15-22, 05:45 PM
  #179  
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Too much hair-splitting about what constitutes a proper gravel bike....IMHO you should just ride whatever bike you enjoy and feel comfortable riding.
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Old 01-15-22, 06:55 PM
  #180  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Too much hair-splitting about what constitutes a proper gravel bike....IMHO you should just ride whatever bike you enjoy and feel comfortable riding.
It's the middle of January, what else would BF'ers be doing by splitting hairs.
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Old 01-15-22, 07:07 PM
  #181  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Too much hair-splitting about what constitutes a proper gravel bike....IMHO you should just ride whatever bike you enjoy and feel comfortable riding.
See my photos above. The bibs were around $120.
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Old 01-15-22, 07:23 PM
  #182  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
See my photos above. The bibs were around $120.
That's some serious gravel riding and beautiful scenery for sure. Definitely my type of roads.
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Old 01-16-22, 08:08 AM
  #183  
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Am being sincere. Being a long term roadie, I really love smooth as glass pavement and find rough pavement over many miles wearing and annoying. I have been mountain biking for at least 25 years and expect to bump and jump and go over rough terrain. Getting a bit beat up is part of the game and exciting mastering technique to fly down a single track. With the MTB I can go just about anywhere off road and since it is full suspension, soak up the roughness.

I remember when cross bikes first came out and the sentiment was a bike which couldn’t do road or off road well, but was good enough. I know current gravel bikes are much further evolved but are they that much more evolved? Is gravel a fad? Is it for people who want to ride off road but not commit to single track, so single track lite? Can’t afford two bikes?

Not a hater, just want to understand the fascination.

It's kind of odd this deep into a thread to go back to the OP, but there is a facet of the gravel bike world that I want to touch on. I live in South LA and spend a lot of time in South MS. South MS has a lot of gravel forest service roads. Southeast LA has almost none. When I go into bike stores in SELA, they are well stocked with gravel bikes. I see them quite a bit while out and about. Gravel bikes make fantastic urban bikes, especially in areas like this with so many potholes and broken concrete. Not quite as fast as a road bike, but fast enough for the way most people use them.

In south MS, they are ideal for connecting stretches of rural tarmac and the many miles of forest service gravel roads. Here, a road bike wouldn't cut it and a mountain bike would be much slower. Our local club has started doing gravel group rides, and they are exploding in popularity. Gravel riding is a great way to get out of traffic and into nature.

When flat bar road bikes first came out, they were supposed to offer greater comforts and more upright riding. In execution, many of them have the same ergos as road bikes with limited hand positions. Endurance road bikes came into the picture and offered true comfort advantages over traditional road bikes. Tires started getting larger, for comfort's sake. Why would someone who wanted a road type bike just to ride for fitness, not choose a gravel bike?

So here we are. I am sure some gravel bikes are bought for their cool/fad factor, but they are here to stay. Gravel bikes that have become nothing more than drop bar mountain bikes may not have as much staying power, but I could be wrong about that.

When you live in an area where you can connect roads like these, gravel bikes are the perfect choice.





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Old 01-18-22, 04:38 PM
  #184  
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
<<confusion about why people like riding gravel>>
I guess I'm late to the party but I tried gravel riding (Rollins Pass, CO) last year and it was absolutely miserable. If I wanted to go 6mph and get beat up I'd get back into running. The cars are still there, they're mostly our "friends" in pickup trucks, and it's usually just one at a time so there are no witnesses in the event that one of them decides to be hostile. I'd rather Zwift forever than do that kind of ride again. The gravel bike (aluminum Niner) was pretty cool though. I do enjoy some mild dirt/gravel (Gold Hill, CO) but my road bike with racing tires can handle that kind of terrain just fine.
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Old 01-18-22, 04:49 PM
  #185  
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Originally Posted by CouchTo1200K View Post
I guess I'm late to the party but I tried gravel riding (Rollins Pass, CO) last year and it was absolutely miserable. If I wanted to go 6mph and get beat up I'd get back into running. The cars are still there, they're mostly our "friends" in pickup trucks, and it's usually just one at a time so there are no witnesses in the event that one of them decides to be hostile. I'd rather Zwift forever than do that kind of ride again. The gravel bike (aluminum Niner) was pretty cool though. I do enjoy some mild dirt/gravel (Gold Hill, CO) but my road bike with racing tires can handle that kind of terrain just fine.
Translation; “I rode a particular gravel road and hated it but I ride some gravel and enjoy it.”
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Old 01-18-22, 06:11 PM
  #186  
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Originally Posted by CouchTo1200K View Post
I guess I'm late to the party but I tried gravel riding (Rollins Pass, CO) last year and it was absolutely miserable. If I wanted to go 6mph and get beat up I'd get back into running. The cars are still there, they're mostly our "friends" in pickup trucks, and it's usually just one at a time so there are no witnesses in the event that one of them decides to be hostile. I'd rather Zwift forever than do that kind of ride again. The gravel bike (aluminum Niner) was pretty cool though. I do enjoy some mild dirt/gravel (Gold Hill, CO) but my road bike with racing tires can handle that kind of terrain just fine.
Darren Alf, the Bicycle Touring Pro, has a video of a Colorado loop that included Rollins Pass. He did this on is Co-Motion fully loaded touring bike. I wondered why he didn't use his bikepacking bike, which is a rigid mt bike with 3" tires, but the bulk of the loop (south from Estes Park, then north from Winter Park and thru RMNP) was all pavement, thus the touring bike. He didn't seem to have issues on Rollins, but I could see that a suspension system would have been useful.
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Old 01-18-22, 10:07 PM
  #187  
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Rough trails and constant bumps but you are out in nature. Smooth surfaces and good speed, but there are idiots in vehicles. There are always trade offs. Just depends which ones bother you or are worth tolerating.
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Old 01-19-22, 07:14 PM
  #188  
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post


A totally paved day except for about a mile to get to my campground, but the above reminded me of this in Wise River, MT in 2016. I pulled over to the other side of the road. The rancher asked me about my route. I explained as he moseyed on by. When I finished he doffed his hat and said "Sounds like a plan!"

Last edited by indyfabz; 01-20-22 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 01-20-22, 05:45 AM
  #189  
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Why would someone who wanted a road type bike just to ride for fitness, not choose a gravel bike?
Good question. I guess the answer depends on whether or not they ever want to go off-road on it. Even with our badly pot-holed back roads I have no issues whatsoever riding a modern endurance road bike with 32 mm tyres and there are a few of these bikes that can clear up to 40 mm tyres. Mine can cope with 35 mm tyres, but never felt the need. For primarily road riding and even the odd bit of very easy off-road, a gravel bike would not be my first choice.
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Old 01-20-22, 11:45 AM
  #190  
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Rough trails and constant bumps but you are out in nature. Smooth surfaces and good speed, but there are idiots in vehicles.
There you go, but that's also the essence of my regional befuddlement. Folks here in Parts Unknown are hauling their bikes on cars for an hour and a half to get to gravel - past a thatch of hundreds of miles of tiny paved country lanes. The gravel offers scenery no better and there are no fewer cars. Shrug. They're happy and that makes me happy, but I'll spend the extra time on the bike instead of in the car, and ride those little paved country lanes.
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Old 01-21-22, 04:51 AM
  #191  
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I started with a road bike and 28mm tyres, but the roads here are awful to the point I had to slow right down or cross lanes to avoid the worst of it. I was also limited to the tarmac, and the gearing was a big high for some of the climbs. Not a massive deal as I also had a hybrid and a mountain bike.
But I then went to a gravel bike with 40mm tyres (and dropping from 100 to 70psi) and it made a lot of the roads a lot more comfortable. I could also cut across various paths/trails that I wouldn't have tried on the road bike so I can explore and link up routes a lot better.

According to my logged times, the gravel bike is actually faster because I don't need to slow down so much for the poor road surfaces, though admittedly I do lose a bit of the top end gearing above about 30mph which I rarely hit anyway.
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Old 01-21-22, 05:34 AM
  #192  
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If you're reading this, do try to slash your tire pressure, even dramatically, if you find you are uncomfortable on your current bike / tires.

It’s much cheaper than buying a new bike. 28s at 100 psi are far beyond reasonable for riders of reasonable weight on a typical road.

​​​​​​


​​​​​
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Old 01-21-22, 07:43 AM
  #193  
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Originally Posted by Branko D View Post
If you're reading this, do try to slash your tire pressure, even dramatically, if you find you are uncomfortable on your current bike / tires.

It’s much cheaper than buying a new bike. 28s at 100 psi are far beyond reasonable for riders of reasonable weight on a typical road.

​​
​​​​​
Not according to the tyre pressure calculators I was looking at, like this one https://www.alpinetrek.co.uk/bike-ty...re-calculator/

It's essentially saying that for me (100kg) on a 28mm tyre I should be running 112psi, but on a 40mm tyre I can drop to 83psi. I ran a bit lower than those figures (though I started at 110/80psi and dropped down to 100/70), though I'm sure I could run lower still but at some point that's just asking for pinch flats.
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Old 01-21-22, 08:02 AM
  #194  
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My $0.02 for local to me, I can ride for hours without putting a foot down if I so desire within a pretty good sized city area since we have a state park in it with gravel trails for bikes. That beats the constant stop/go and traffic to leave town to ride road bikes sometimes. I can just be in nature, quiet, no cars, and just cruise for hours. Only time I don't really head in there is the super busy times of days for runners.
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Old 01-21-22, 12:04 PM
  #195  
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
My $0.02 for local to me, I can ride for hours without putting a foot down if I so desire within a pretty good sized city area since we have a state park in it with gravel trails for bikes. That beats the constant stop/go and traffic to leave town to ride road bikes sometimes. I can just be in nature, quiet, no cars, and just cruise for hours. Only time I don't really head in there is the super busy times of days for runners.
Yeah I take that for granted around here, being able to get on our trail system and ride for hours without any stops, noise, cars or stress. No stop and go at all. I’m grateful.

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Old 01-22-22, 03:05 PM
  #196  
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Off-roading is a thrill. I like to cycle on unpaved ways.
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Old 01-23-22, 09:47 PM
  #197  
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It's the best.
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Old 01-24-22, 01:44 PM
  #198  
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
There you go, but that's also the essence of my regional befuddlement. Folks here in Parts Unknown are hauling their bikes on cars for an hour and a half to get to gravel - past a thatch of hundreds of miles of tiny paved country lanes. The gravel offers scenery no better and there are no fewer cars. Shrug. They're happy and that makes me happy, but I'll spend the extra time on the bike instead of in the car, and ride those little paved country lanes.
Reminds me of parents driving their kids to school for safety.

What happens with all the extra cars and confusion combined with late parents?

More traffic accidents of course!
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Old 01-25-22, 04:12 PM
  #199  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Some of the big guns.



Former Milwaukee Road right-of-way transformed into a road leading to the ID end of the Hiawatha Trail.

Rock Creek Rd. heading toward Clinton, MT.

Skalkaho Highway in MT.

Skalkaho Highway.

Skalkaho Highway.

Skalkaho Highway.

I fixed the fallen sign.

Skalkaho Falls.
Amazing scenery and photos, love these!
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Old 01-25-22, 04:24 PM
  #200  
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Originally Posted by autonomy View Post
Amazing scenery and photos, love these!
Thanks. Unfortunately, it was very cold and raining heavily descending Skalkaho Pass. I wanted to hang out by the falls. I was hypothermic when I reached the town of Hamilton and got a room. At least I made it over that year (2014). I was supposed to ride it in 2011 but the portion of the road you see just at the base of the falls was completely washed away. As fate would have it, we had crossed paths earlier in the trip with an employee of Adventure Cycling Association. I mentioned the possible closure and he told us about the Rock Creek Rd. alternative.
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