December 12, 2019 Login  


Gravel bikes
Last Post 10/10/2019 10:47 PM by Frederick Jones. 14 Replies.
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thinline

Posts:256

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10/09/2019 11:23 AM
I went on my first legitimate gravel ride yesterday.  After being told it was a not too hilly route of about 2.5 hours with a "few short" stretches of dirt roads and that a road bike would be fine, I pumped my tires (25mm) up to 100 psi and went to meet my buddies.  Well, 36 miles later, 25 of which was dirt with plenty of 12-13% pitches both up and down and stretches that I would call unmaintained trails and not roads, I am bit sore today.  But boy was it ever fun.

Anybody out there have any opinions on what constitutes a good gravel bike?
Orange Crush

Posts:2649

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10/09/2019 04:34 PM
There is many options. Proper tire clearance for up to 40 to 45 mm tires is a key consideration.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2904

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10/09/2019 08:30 PM
I think one of the most versatile gravel bikes out there right now is the Giant Revolt. Throw some knobbies on it and tackle the dirt (can go up to 50mm tires)...use slicks and you can keep up on any group ride. I think you can use 650b wheels also.

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/bikes-revolt-advanced-2020

LBS just got in a Revolt Advanced Pro Force. Force AXS components and ~17lbs. So sweet....
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:2649

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10/09/2019 10:34 PM
Looks like that Giant has integrated seatpost? Friend of mine long term Giant user recently had a bad experience with Giant. What was a minor issue with integrated seatpost basically made entire frame unusable. Three year old bike, Giant refused to warranty.

Bit of a surprise to me. Had two Giant bikes about 15 years ago that were great value for money. But it seems they've gone a bit sideways with proprietary stuff. Trek still makes no nonsense bikes.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2904

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10/10/2019 06:54 AM
No, it is a proprietary seatpost, but not integrated.

The Revolt Advanced 0 w/ Ultegra and carbon wheels for $3650 is a screaming deal.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2904

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10/10/2019 08:58 AM
thinline...as OC noted, there are many options and many varieties. Lots of people just use CX bikes (that is what I do), others have specific gravel bikes, but even those come in many varieties. Some can accommodate 650B tires that make them damn near drop-bar MTB's, while others are essentially heavy-duty road bikes.

If you can give us some parameters of how you'll use it (dire roads, single track, gravel roads, etc) we can probably give you some better suggestions.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:2649

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10/10/2019 10:58 AM
Posted By Cosmic Kid on 10/10/2019 06:54 AM
No, it is a proprietary seatpost, but not integrated.

The Revolt Advanced 0 w/ Ultegra and carbon wheels for $3650 is a screaming deal.


In that case yes, it's an excellent deal. The Trek Checkpoint is also worth checking out. Personally I have a Specialized Diverge. Careful though, the aluminum frame version has limited tire clearance but the carbon frame version has excellent clearance. Beyond these three there is an infinite amount of choice it seems. Be ready for lots of mini crashes. I've had low speed crashes by wedging a wheel between two rocks on single track, coming to a virtual standstill on uphill sandy sector, front wheel spinning out on downhill sand, and last but not least last week I couldn't lift up the front wheel beyond a reasonable doubt to get onto a wooden bridge. Completely miss-timed it.
longslowdistance

Posts:1905

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10/10/2019 11:08 AM
Disc brakes are nice.
79pmooney

Posts:2214

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10/10/2019 12:23 PM
Posted By Orange Crush on 10/10/2019 10:58 AM

... coming to a virtual standstill on uphill sandy sector...

Any chance I saw that sand?
thinline

Posts:256

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10/10/2019 01:46 PM
Mostly I would be doing dirt road riding, spots where the road bike is a little uncomfortable and not quite sure-footed. That said, some of the spots we were in earlier this week were places I wouldn't drive my car, old Class IV town roads that are unmaintained and have basically reverted to jeep trails with rocks, washed out spots, water covered spots. And damn, that was FUN! I won't be racing. I definitely want something that can do jeep trails, fire roads etc. as there are a lot of those connecting dirt roads around here (rural Vermont).

I have been doing some reading and the Revolt gets lots of kudos along with a Trek model, a GT model and a Cannondale model. It does look like the GT and Giant give you the best bang for your buck re: components. I suspect that Trek and Cannondale have a bit of a price bump for the name.

Thanks!
Orange Crush

Posts:2649

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10/10/2019 02:38 PM
Posted By 79 pmooney on 10/10/2019 12:23 PM
Posted By Orange Crush on 10/10/2019 10:58 AM

... coming to a virtual standstill on uphill sandy sector...

Any chance I saw that sand?


I think you may have eaten some Ben - if memory serves. But actually no, this was on last uphill of final stage and was when bike frame finally gave out. You would have seen the downhill sand spill on stage 1.
Orange Crush

Posts:2649

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10/10/2019 02:42 PM
Posted By thinline . on 10/10/2019 01:46 PM
Mostly I would be doing dirt road riding, spots where the road bike is a little uncomfortable and not quite sure-footed. That said, some of the spots we were in earlier this week were places I wouldn't drive my car, old Class IV town roads that are unmaintained and have basically reverted to jeep trails with rocks, washed out spots, water covered spots. And damn, that was FUN!

Thanks!


As an upside to being on FB, I did see some recon images for Dirty Kanza that had sectors like that, with a note "can our route be too adventurous?". CK- this was recon for 2021 route! Although the note said for the XXL route so probably not on our 200 miler maybe.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2904

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10/10/2019 04:53 PM
Man....I shudder at the thought of DK getting any harder!!! Not that it is was very technical this year, but combined with the mileage, it is really tough.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:2649

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10/10/2019 05:01 PM
Yes that kind of stuff does sap energy that you need to go the distance.

That said, here in BC we have that kind of adventure combined with either going 20% up or down and combined with some really long climbs so it is all relative. Nothing really compares to he hedonism of mountainous forest service roads. And yes I'm getting too old for this.
longslowdistance

Posts:1905

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10/10/2019 10:47 PM
FWIW, this semi geezer gravel cruiser is riding a Salsa Fargo with an 80 mm suspension fork and 700c tires. The fork is a good Fox with a real lockout, not a semi-lockout like most options. Love that travel for bombing descents and other rough stuff, and the lockout makes out of the saddle less than stupid, but of course not the same as a solid fork on better surfaces.
And IMO Salsa got the geometry wrong for a rider in mountains like me. This is not a bike for 40-50 mph paved descents. I've owned bikes that were stable with hands off the bars at 40 - 50 mph. Same roads make me pucker with both hands on the bars now with the Salsa.
What does it all mean? No free lunch? Or is my Unicorn out there, I just need to find it? .
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