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

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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 : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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

Old 05-29-20, 09:29 AM
  #26  
aggiegrads
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
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.
There are few truly exceptional bike handlers that did not spend time in other disciplines. In my opinion, the two best bike handlers in the pro peloton are Peter Sagan and Julian Alaphillipe. Both came from cyclocross. Even in local cyclocross races, you can usually tell who comes from mountain biking and who comes from road.

I consider myself a good bike handler, and I have more miles on the road than anywhere else, but that is not where I got my skills. They came from years riding BMX and freestyle bikes in my youth, riding MTB and ten seasons of cyclocross, and even off-road unicycle. I was riding gravel before it was cool.

I’m sure that you are a great wheel on the road, but the more time that you spend on loose surfaces, you more you will realize that your road riding skills are only “base miles” and the cyclocross, MTB and trials experience are the “intervals” of bike handling.
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Old 05-29-20, 10:56 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
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.
I think that's the bottom line, drop bar bikes are not really made for mountain biking and it takes a pretty good mountain biker to use them well in ways most appropriately ridden on a mountain bike. I'm planning on putting a dropper post on my gravel bike, it's pretty scary on a lot of the double track around here, and forget it on singletrack. The main trail down out of the mountains near here takes me less than an hour on my mountain bike, and I have never done it in less than 2 hours on my gravel bike.
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Old 05-29-20, 11:24 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I think that's the bottom line, drop bar bikes are not really made for mountain biking and it takes a pretty good mountain biker to use them well in ways most appropriately ridden on a mountain bike. I'm planning on putting a dropper post on my gravel bike, it's pretty scary on a lot of the double track around here, and forget it on singletrack. The main trail down out of the mountains near here takes me less than an hour on my mountain bike, and I have never done it in less than 2 hours on my gravel bike.
Truth.

I think we are in the same neck of the woods...And I've done a couple "gravel races" that included terrain that would be challenging for MTBs. I don't appreciate confronting that on a drop bar bike with 42mm wide tires.
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Old 05-29-20, 11:40 AM
  #29  
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If nothing else, it seems that you're not afraid of crashing.

Sometimes I wonder if I don't crash enough to be comfortable pushing my bike-handling limits. So I rarely try new things.
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Old 05-29-20, 12:12 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
If nothing else, it seems that you're not afraid of crashing.

Sometimes I wonder if I don't crash enough to be comfortable pushing my bike-handling limits. So I rarely try new things.
Well I don't particularly like crashing, and I am afraid of it if I think about it, but I don't usually think about it. Back when I started road riding, I took a corner too fast (or wrong line too fast more likely) on my first big mountain descent trying to keep up with the fastest guy on the college race team. I feel like that helped me learn my cornering limits quick and I've been one of the faster guys at descending ever since. I'm hoping something good comes from a few beginner crashes on trail features. At least these are all low speed.
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Old 05-29-20, 12:23 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
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.
Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
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.
Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I think that's the bottom line, drop bar bikes are not really made for mountain biking and it takes a pretty good mountain biker to use them well in ways most appropriately ridden on a mountain bike. I'm planning on putting a dropper post on my gravel bike, it's pretty scary on a lot of the double track around here, and forget it on singletrack. The main trail down out of the mountains near here takes me less than an hour on my mountain bike, and I have never done it in less than 2 hours on my gravel bike.
I was a bit torn whether I wanted flat bars or drop bars. I chose drop bars because of the extra comfort on roads and familiarity. I definitely agree drops are where I want to be for descents for the braking. However, I like the hoods for being more upright and better low speed control on the tough climbs.

I have the dropper post. I used it on a mild single track descent in the city just to try it out and I like it. When I'd take my road bike on dirt I often had to push my butt back as far as possible on the descents, and the dropper makes that easier and keeps my weight lower. Sometimes I find myself wanting to use it but I'm already descending so I can't get the seat down

I actually sized down from my road bike to get the bars closer, and left them in the highest position. it's only annoying when I'm trying to speed home on pavement but I can still get in invisible aerobars.

Last edited by aaronmcd; 05-29-20 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 05-29-20, 12:48 PM
  #32  
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If you like pushing the limits of your skill level, and don't mind falling 2-3 times per ride, get a full suspension MTB and ride in the woods on some steep technical single track. Learning to fall gracefully is just part of the fun. If you don't come home bleeding on every ride, you weren't trying hard enough.
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Old 05-29-20, 01:53 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
If you like pushing the limits of your skill level, and don't mind falling 2-3 times per ride, get a full suspension MTB and ride in the woods on some steep technical single track. Learning to fall gracefully is just part of the fun. If you don't come home bleeding on every ride, you weren't trying hard enough.
Still spring around here so it's more "covered in mud" than "covered in blood". That'll change when the ground gets hard and scratchy.
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Old 05-29-20, 04:57 PM
  #34  
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I've been crashing a lot since getting a gravel bike
Meh... I crash on all bicycles.
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Old 05-29-20, 05:46 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
Meh... I crash on all bicycles.
Meh...I even crash on tricycles
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Old 05-29-20, 06:11 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Bigbus View Post
Meh...I even crash on tricycles
Every year in my neighborhood there's this race:
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Old 05-29-20, 06:13 PM
  #37  
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I had a pretty spectacular wipe out while riding my gravel bike on the gravel Denali Hiway. Riding 700x40c Schwalbe marathon tires, pumped up to too much tire pressure for the conditions. I decided to change my line to the other tire track. Wheels went sideways and my bike and I got horizontal with the gravel. It was during an up and down, but probably the down, when I was going 12-15 mph. Probably due to maxing out the tire pressure, due to lack of experience. The surface doesn't cause the crash; it's your failure to adjust to the conditions.
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Old 07-19-20, 10:02 AM
  #38  
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I bought a gravel bike as my first bike mostly ride road,rail trail and some gravel road only been over the bar once and happened because of inexperience and a bit of panic mode. Loving fact I have two options for rides. Cheers
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Old 07-19-20, 02:33 PM
  #39  
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I crash every so often on my gravel bike. As I like to take it on trails and single track and in general get out into the wild.

Just takes time to know when to be cautious and when to go for it full steam.

At 53, it’s been quite some years since I road dirt bikes so those skills are long gone, but I still know what I’m supposed to do... even though I don’t really trust myself all the time to execute properly.
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Old 07-20-20, 03:56 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
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.
Yep, that's the ticket. "that's how it is at first, but it gets better"

I'm surprised at how poor bike handling skills roadies have (don't know if that is you or not).
and
I'm surprised at how erratic and unpredictable mountain bikers can be.

Ideally, you'd learn on BMX as a kid, when falling isn't so far and it doesn't hurt so much.
Failing that, crashing mountain biking (within reason) will teach you the limits of you, your bike, and the laws of physics - at speeds that are typically a lot slower than say road riding.
For that type of riding, you learn by crashing - that teaches you where the limits are. Of course, learning how to fall helps a lot.
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