Is “gravel bike” the most ridiculous category of bike ever pushed on us?
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  1. #1
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    Is “gravel bike” the most ridiculous category of bike ever pushed on us?

    I remember back in the early 2000’s this category of mountain bike called “dual slalom”, and I always wondered what in the blue hell it was for. It didn’t take long for this category of bike to disappear. Along with “freeride” and “all mountain” categories. Maybe freeride is still in existence, but it’s hardly in any manufacturer’s lineup of frames.

    So what the hell is a grave bike? And why can’t you put slightly larger tires on a road bike and a more upright stem on your road bike or use your cyclocross bike and ride on the surfaces intended for gravel bike? And how many such riding surfaces are there anyway in any locality? It seems like a surface that you rarely encounter, and can easily and effectively be negotiated with pretty much any style of bike. I suspect that the “gravel bike” is some BS made-up category to sucker people into buying bikes they clearly don’t need.

    i give this category of bike three more years of existence before we never hear the phrase again.

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    riding on gravel sounds awful...I avoid it like the plague.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    I remember back in the early 2000’s this category of mountain bike called “dual slalom”, and I always wondered what in the blue hell it was for. It didn’t take long for this category of bike to disappear. Along with “freeride” and “all mountain” categories. Maybe freeride is still in existence, but it’s hardly in any manufacturer’s lineup of frames.

    So what the hell is a grave bike? And why can’t you put slightly larger tires on a road bike and a more upright stem on your road bike or use your cyclocross bike and ride on the surfaces intended for gravel bike? And how many such riding surfaces are there anyway in any locality? It seems like a surface that you rarely encounter, and can easily and effectively be negotiated with pretty much any style of bike. I suspect that the “gravel bike” is some BS made-up category to sucker people into buying bikes they clearly don’t need.

    i give this category of bike three more years of existence before we never hear the phrase again.
    So you've never ridden on MMR or gravel roads then.


    Nice admission.

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    Marketing.

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    I think it's the best!

    Gets us roadies off the roads and keep our drop bars!

    PS. puff puff give.

  6. #6
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    I was going to 'gravel' thursday, but there was too much smoke up that way. Did road & then the smoke snuck around from the other way, I went straight back home.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    I remember back in the early 2000’s this category of mountain bike called “dual slalom”, and I always wondered what in the blue hell it was for. It didn’t take long for this category of bike to disappear. Along with “freeride” and “all mountain” categories. Maybe freeride is still in existence, but it’s hardly in any manufacturer’s lineup of frames.

    So what the hell is a grave bike? And why can’t you put slightly larger tires on a road bike and a more upright stem on your road bike or use your cyclocross bike and ride on the surfaces intended for gravel bike? And how many such riding surfaces are there anyway in any locality? It seems like a surface that you rarely encounter, and can easily and effectively be negotiated with pretty much any style of bike. I suspect that the “gravel bike” is some BS made-up category to sucker people into buying bikes they clearly don’t need.

    i give this category of bike three more years of existence before we never hear the phrase again.
    Totally agree, just get a solidly built Ti road bike like a Lynskey R470 disc and swap out wider tires and your good to go, no need for a whole separate category of "gravel" bikes.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by fxx View Post
    Totally agree, just get a solidly built Ti road bike like a Lynskey R470 disc and swap out wider tires and your good to go, no need for a whole separate category of "gravel" bikes.

    Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
    So can your r470 fit 40mm tires?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fxx View Post
    Totally agree, just get a solidly built Ti road bike like a Lynskey R470 disc and swap out wider tires and your good to go, no need for a whole separate category of "gravel" bikes.

    Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
    By that logic "road bike" would be stupid too for the same reason because obviously you can just use smaller tires on a gravel bike and race on asphalt no problem.

    I think it's great category of bike. I think road bikes are great too. I really don't want the same handling, brakes, fit, wheel base and tire clearance for both though.

  10. #10
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    I've had mine for over ten years. Maybe the name will change but the concept is solid. We called it a dirt Road bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    i give this category of bike three more years of existence before we never hear the phrase again.
    Sounds like you out of touch with how popular gravel riding has become. Many Cross bikes don't have room for the typical gravel tires with any room to spare for mud, certainly road bikes don't. My prediction - Gravel bikes will last as long as disc brakes do.
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    I guess some should be called "fat tire road bikes". There are zero gravel 'fire roads' near me, but a ****-ton of lousy, broken pavement, as well as a lot of semi and unimproved rail trails. I call my AWOL a gravel bike, even though it's really an 'adventure touring' bike. Riding with 42mm tires makes riding on the worst roads a lot smoother than if I took my skinny-tire road bike.
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  13. #13
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    When I first heard the term, my question was why do they need a new category when CX already exists? But looking into it a bit more, there is a distinction. Maybe it's semantics, but at the end of the day there seems to be a market for drop bar bikes that can take wide tires... and for some people it's important to have features like rack eyelets.

    Some will argue that latest road bikes that can take 28 tires are already good enough for dirt but some of these gravel bike options can go way wider.

    For me, dirt = use the old mountain bike because I don't have room or budget for another n+1.

  14. #14
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    typical Gravel bikes have lower BB than CX bikes, maybe more clearance, possibly come with 650B wheels, often slacker angles to handle rougher/offroad situations.

    but then, my training buddy and I built our own 'gravel bikes' 28 years ago, long before the commercial makers called them that. though ours were just touring or disused roadracing bikes with 700C snakebelly tires and cantilevers, for use on gravel roads and rail/trails in winter. Back then there were a good 5x as many gravel roads in our region than paved, and it was nice to explore and get away from traffic.

    Having said that, I built myself a winter bike a year ago. But I used a CX frame (Superjake), lol. I think it might fit the 650B wheels pretty well, maybe 38mm tires or so, and has discs. I hate the feel of 700C on gravel though, and mostly use this bike on the roads, but my routes always include some gravel.

    as for my opinion of riding gravel
    - get away from traffic
    - get away into quiet natural settings away from the built up world
    - but the tires make a LOT of annoying noise
    - the nonstop vibrations can be brutal
    Last edited by BCSaltchucker; 09-28-2018 at 04:33 PM.
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    Gravel bike as a category is super dumb. It should be 'road bike.'


    'Aero road bike' and 'climbing bike' are super dumb as bicycles. Just get rid of them. They're the F1 of cycling and have as much relevance to cyclists as F1 does to car nerds.


    As we sweep aero bikes in to the dustbin of history i'd be psyched to get rid of <30c tires and rim brakes, but there's too many luddites to really leave the past in the past. Vive la difference, i guess.

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    Yea, I think we can eliminate a lot of extra words around here. Just use car, truck, moto, bike, & plane, .. oh, and train. Forget about all those other words, it just too crazy!
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    So what the hell is a grave bike?
    a trike with wire basket for the undertaker's tools.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    So can your r470 fit 40mm tires?
    exactly!

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    Now Disc brakes on a Gravel bike makes sense to me, but not on a road bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waspinator View Post
    I remember back in the early 2000’s this category of mountain bike called “dual slalom”, and I always wondered what in the blue hell it was for. It didn’t take long for this category of bike to disappear. Along with “freeride” and “all mountain” categories. Maybe freeride is still in existence, but it’s hardly in any manufacturer’s lineup of frames.

    So what the hell is a grave bike? And why can’t you put slightly larger tires on a road bike and a more upright stem on your road bike or use your cyclocross bike and ride on the surfaces intended for gravel bike? And how many such riding surfaces are there anyway in any locality? It seems like a surface that you rarely encounter, and can easily and effectively be negotiated with pretty much any style of bike. I suspect that the “gravel bike” is some BS made-up category to sucker people into buying bikes they clearly don’t need.

    i give this category of bike three more years of existence before we never hear the phrase again.
    It always amuses me when a flatlander has no idea what the rest of the world is like.

    If you lived away from a metro area and anywhere near a mountain range you'd find hundreds om miles of logging roads with little or no traffic. The great scenery, climbing, and wildlife provides a nice change of pace without the redundancy of most mtb trails.

    To be sure, if you live where hundreds of miles of mtb trails exist, dirt road riding comes in second.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by factory feel View Post
    Now Disc brakes on a Gravel bike makes sense to me, but not on a road bike.
    Agreed. This is because road bikes are somewhat incompetent in the real world, and gravel bikes are not.

    I look forward to when that niche becomes a niche.

  22. #22
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    "Gravel Bike" could be a better name, but holy crap what an awesome category of bikes. They are what I've been wanting road bikes to be for a long time. They finally exist. Yay.

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    When I was a teen, I'd take my Peugeot Ventoux into the local glen all the time. I'd drop the air pressure a tad on my slicks and yea, gravel bike. Thru all the dirt, I would pretend in my mind I was in some classics race, lol.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftSolo View Post
    It always amuses me when a flatlander has no idea what the rest of the world is like.

    If you lived away from a metro area and anywhere near a mountain range you'd find hundreds om miles of logging roads with little or no traffic. The great scenery, climbing, and wildlife provides a nice change of pace without the redundancy of most mtb trails.

    To be sure, if you live where hundreds of miles of mtb trails exist, dirt road riding comes in second.
    It isn't a flatland versus mountain thing. Come to my environs in the Great Plains (Kansas/Nebraska/Dakotas/Iowa etc)--for every mile, statewide, of paved road/highway there are at least 9+ miles of MMR or dirt or gravel roads. And they aren't flat either-rollers exceed 10% with non-compacted surfaces. And they generally require at least a 35mm tire to even try riding, nevermind enjoy riding. The roads were never paved--and the DOR has no money to pave them. The government stopped counting how many miles of paved versus unpaved due to how depressing the figure was.


    If I stuck to paved highways with shoulders--I'd have maybe 4 roads in my entire county to ride on. There are more, ofc, without shoulders-but those are suicide runs due to traffic.....but far more unpaved/gravel/dirt roads--and my county is the seat of the entire state capitol.
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    To me, they are "all-road" bikes... like the Subaru Outback is an "all-road" car. Not designed for off-road craziness but rather to be useful on any road surface or condition. And, yes, they are perfect for those unpaved rail trails that abound in this country as well as the beautiful forest service roads in the mountains.
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