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wc1934
01-10-2017, 03:47 PM
I am hoping to get your thoughts and opinions.

1. I am in the market for a new bike (ti). I am leaning towards a gravel bike even though I will probably ride mostly on roads, but want that option (what are the pro/cons).

2. Are gravel bikes fit differently – My current road fit is now sort of ok (I went to a local reputable fitter a few years ago and it was a disaster). I undid his work, fiddled and faddled to make my current set up acceptable. Since then I had another fit (different guy) and have the measurements he took. So, is there a specific fit just for gravel bikes (I hope to purchase online from Italy, so I would be providing my own measurements and they would decide the stock size). What should I be concentrating on? Would you be comfortable purchasing a bike where the builder did not take the measurements?

3. I want campy so disc brakes don't seem to be an option – unless you all suggest otherwise and steer me to the dark side.

4. Any thoughts about shipping?

Mzilliox
01-10-2017, 04:13 PM
you are on the right track.

your fit will be similar if not the same. some people like a slightly more upright position off road, some stay the same. it comes down to how you like to ride, so getting a bike that allows for both is one consideration.

Gravel bikes are the same as road bikes but with wider tires. thats pretty much it. everyone has a different take, so there is no one answer. Jan Heine's gravel bike is different to mine is different to the cyclocross champs. and they can all go on gravel. the key is the wide 32mm plus tire capacity.

I'd select a builder who often builds gravel or cyclocross bikes, provide them your numbers, and chat to them how the numbers apply to their concept of a gravel bike. because it will be different to the next guys concept.

Or just call it good and get a Hampsten strada bianca in your size.

My last point is this:
i just had a custom built bike made for this very thing. I told the builder i wanted a bike to do mixed terrain, long distance rides, fast. no extra dohickeys, or braze-ons, nothing fancy at all, just a bare bones road bike with fat tires. same fit as i would for a racing bike, my reach is the same and my legs don't get any shorter when i ride on gravel, so thats it.

Good luck in the search

Black Dog
01-10-2017, 04:16 PM
I am hoping to get your thoughts and opinions.

1. I am in the market for a new bike (ti). I am leaning towards a gravel bike even though I will probably ride mostly on roads, but want that option (what are the pro/cons).

2. Are gravel bikes fit differently – My current road fit is now sort of ok (I went to a local reputable fitter a few years ago and it was a disaster). I undid his work, fiddled and faddled to make my current set up acceptable. Since then I had another fit (different guy) and have the measurements he took. So, is there a specific fit just for gravel bikes (I hope to purchase online from Italy, so I would be providing my own measurements and they would decide the stock size). What should I be concentrating on? Would you be comfortable purchasing a bike where the builder did not take the measurements?

3. I want campy so disc brakes don't seem to be an option – unless you all suggest otherwise and steer me to the dark side.

4. Any thoughts about shipping?

Campy will be releasing their disc brakes in a few months.

rnhood
01-10-2017, 04:40 PM
I believe "gravel" bikes are typically endurance type road bikes with larger tire clearance. Keep in mind that, given the latest modern endurance bikes like the Trek Domane and Specialized Roubaix, the dividing line is blurred. Those two bikes can go just about anywhere a gravel specific bike can do, and probably do it more comfortably. If your plans are for some camping trips and you need rack and fenders, then the gravel specific bike will likely have the advantage.

Gummee
01-10-2017, 04:52 PM
My legs are only happy in a very small range of positions, so my stuff is all set up pretty well the same across the board: road, CX, mtn bikes, and everything in the middle.

I ride my Boone like a road bike and/or gravel bike thru the spring/summer then swap the wheels out to carbon tubies, stick on the little rings, and race it all fall. Done right, CX/gravel bikes are probably the most versatile thing you can own. I've taken my CX bikes farther off-road than I probably should, but since I'm not real bright sometimes, I just do it.

Remember one important bit of information tho: if you go off-road, ya gotta pay to play.

HTH

M

alembical
01-10-2017, 05:01 PM
I agree that the terminology of the bike frame is not real important. Some are racey, long and low, some upright, some very cyclocross like, some very touring bike like, endurance bike, light, and now even aero versions. Lines and distinctions are very blurred.

I have and love a Ridley X - Trail. I end up choosing it for most rides now. That bike with no fenders and 25 width conti 4000s rides like a nice road bike and usable for any road ride, but more endurance bike feel with less drop and reach, great for long days. Switch to 40 tubeless tires and it is almost a completely different but just as enjoyable gravel bike.

eddief
01-10-2017, 05:40 PM
depends on what you ride on the road now. I ride pretty normal middle of pack road bike. Chain stays to 42.5, longer headtubes, angles from 72.25 to 73. For the type of gravel I'd ride, I think I just need bigger, knobbier tires. Experimenting now with Gravel King 32mm knobbies. Think they'd handle my non-smooth road requirements.

Seems the biggest deal is going to disc brakes or not. You can get 32mm knobs between medium reach calipers, but the bike needs to be purposely built to go even that big.

Wanna go bigger, then maybe you can with Paul center pull brakes. Guaranteed bigger gotta go to canti or discs.

Thinking up to 32 mm is good enough with 2 sets of wheels; one for smooth tires, one for knobs.

MaraudingWalrus
01-10-2017, 07:27 PM
Campy will be releasing their disc brakes in a few months.

Additionally, there's no reason you can't run Campy and grab some Paul Klampers or Spyre-C or HY/RDs

choke
01-10-2017, 09:06 PM
You can get 32mm knobs between medium reach calipers, but the bike needs to be purposely built to go even that big. You can fit larger than 32s under medium reach, but you're correct that the size needs to be considered when the bike is built. Unfortunately many companies/builders don't pay attention so clearance is all over the board.

Just to give you an example of what is possible when the builder does care...the pads are at the bottom on this short reach brake and the tire measures 30.8mm.

http://www.cycle.ciocctoo.com/losa2.jpg

velotel
01-11-2017, 03:06 AM
These are my thoughts on the subject, thus purely personal, may or may not be useful for you. I now have two Eriksens, both obviously custom since that’s all Kent does. The first was a pure road bike but I ran fatter tires on it, up to 28 mm Vittoria Paves. Anything wider wouldn’t fit. I rode that bike on lots of dirt roads, in general way rougher roads than what I’ve seen in most gravel bike posts here on the forum. Never had a problem, nor a flat.

Then my son and Kent decided I really needed a true fat-tired road bike, what I call a stoner bike because I dislike gravel, treacherous stuff that gravel, but stones and dirt and bedrock are wonderful. So, a new bike, build by the same builder, custom as usual. I told Kent that I absolutely did not want the bike’s performance on pavement compromised. Most of my rides that include dirt will be 80-85% asphalt, rarely as much as 60%, with a few exceptions, like a huge ride in Italy in the mountains that was probably 90% dirt.

Thus my stoner bike is truly a road bike and I can attest that its performance in screaming downhills on pavement is easily equal to my first Eriksen’s performance. But, on the dirt, oh man, a game changer. I’m way faster, vastly more stable, with vastly more maneuverability, as in quickness for dodging around obstacles. What Kent did was shorten up the front end a wee bit, slack the head angle by half a degree, maybe a degree, I’ve not paid much attention to all those details, not really important to me. My old bike already had a relatively high handlebar but the new bike’s is a wee bit higher. The result of all that is my hands are closer and I am most of the time in the drops, where I love to ride and where I really want to be on the dirt. Way more security and strength there than anywhere else. Brings my arms into the game when I need to drive the bike up some technical, steep pitch.

I’ve not checked by I think the chain stays are a wee bit longer. He also built the frame with bigger chain stays, oversized down tube, fatter top tube, really fat head tube with a tapered, oversized Enve fork. I can run up to around 40 mm tires on this frame. But it totally remains a full-on road bike.

The following is purely opinion on my part. From what I have come to understand, as a rule cross bikes are a bit steeper in the front as one of the objectives is super quick handling. They’re racing bikes. My impression is that some producers of gravel bikes have simply decided to use a cross frame and call it a gravel bike. My suspicion is that isn’t the ideal solution. For me a stoner bike is a subtle melding of a mountain bike with a road bike which means that if you want a sweet ride in both mediums, getting one that was built by someone with loads of experience in (and on, as they’re riders, not just builders) mountain bikes and road bikes is the trick. Gravel bikes are not simply a road bike wearing fat tires or a cross bike wearing fat tires; it’s a bike designed for optimal performance on the road and on dirt roads. They are not mountain bikes. But that said, I’ve seen already how young riders are pushing the perceived limits of what can be ridden on this new-but-not-really new genre of bike.

My advice is concentrate on the frame design, the components you’ll run on it are the easy part. I’d also strongly say between a pure road bike and a stoner bike, get the latter. It’ll do everything the road bike will do but when the blacktop ends, the bike keeps going. In short, stoner bikes rule.

jimmy-moots
01-11-2017, 01:10 PM
The following is purely opinion on my part. From what I have come to understand, as a rule cross bikes are a bit steeper in the front as one of the objectives is super quick handling. They’re racing bikes. My impression is that some producers of gravel bikes have simply decided to use a cross frame and call it a gravel bike. My suspicion is that isn’t the ideal solution. For me a stoner bike is a subtle melding of a mountain bike with a road bike which means that if you want a sweet ride in both mediums, getting one that was built by someone with loads of experience in (and on, as they’re riders, not just builders) mountain bikes and road bikes is the trick. Gravel bikes are not simply a road bike wearing fat tires or a cross bike wearing fat tires; it’s a bike designed for optimal performance on the road and on dirt roads. They are not mountain bikes. But that said, I’ve seen already how young riders are pushing the perceived limits of what can be ridden on this new-but-not-really new genre of bike.

My advice is concentrate on the frame design, the components you’ll run on it are the easy part. I’d also strongly say between a pure road bike and a stoner bike, get the latter. It’ll do everything the road bike will do but when the blacktop ends, the bike keeps going. In short, stoner bikes rule.

When compared with a road bike, cross bikes typically feature a slacker headtube angle and higher BB height. Sometimes longer chainstays. In general they are designed to be more stable and less twitchy than a road bike.

As discussed above there is no definition for a gravel bike and there are many interpretations and opinions. But the stoner bike you've described sounds eerily similar to a cross bike, maybe save for the BB height which you haven't mentioned.

palincss
01-11-2017, 03:50 PM
I believe "gravel" bikes are typically endurance type road bikes with larger tire clearance. Keep in mind that, given the latest modern endurance bikes like the Trek Domane and Specialized Roubaix, the dividing line is blurred. Those two bikes can go just about anywhere a gravel specific bike can do, and probably do it more comfortably. If your plans are for some camping trips and you need rack and fenders, then the gravel specific bike will likely have the advantage.

If you think a 28mm tire is ideal (or even acceptably suitable) for gravel, perhaps. Personally, I'm much happier on 42mm tires on gravel roads - and I mean roads, not "fire roads" & Jeep tracks - and my minimum size for gravel roads is 32mm. YMMV, of course.

Gummee
01-11-2017, 03:56 PM
IDK about where y'all are, but the 4 gravel roads I have close to me have been pounded flat lately. You could ride 23s on em for the most part.

...but as soon as the road grader goes thru again, you'll need bigger tires.

All that's a short way of saying 'your gravel roads may be different from my gravel roads, so taking my recommendations may not give adequate results'

M

Bob Ross
01-11-2017, 04:03 PM
Gravel bikes are the same as road bikes but with wider tires.

Or, as someone astutely pointed out recently, "Gravel bikes are what we used to call ...bikes."

dalava
01-11-2017, 04:06 PM
When compared with a road bike, cross bikes typically feature a slacker headtube angle and higher BB height. Sometimes longer chainstays. In general they are designed to be more stable and less twitchy than a road bike.

As discussed above there is no definition for a gravel bike and there are many interpretations and opinions. But the stoner bike you've described sounds eerily similar to a cross bike, maybe save for the BB height which you haven't mentioned.

These days, the CX bikes all have 68-70mm drops, so that's not really the case anymore. In fact, it should've never remained that high when toe-clip went out of style

mistermo
01-11-2017, 04:07 PM
My advice is concentrate on the frame design.... the components you’ll run on it are the easy part. I’d also strongly say between a pure road bike and a stoner bike, get the latter. It’ll do everything the road bike will do but when the blacktop ends, the bike keeps going. In short, stoner bikes rule.

The limiting factor for tire size, in my experience, is not the frame, but the fork. What forks have you used on both your Eriksens?

dalava
01-11-2017, 04:10 PM
I think disc, or more specifically hydro disc, brakes are a game changer for these type of bikes: better braking, more wheel choices, more braking power choices, etc.

one60
01-11-2017, 08:31 PM
For me a stoner bike is a subtle melding of a mountain bike with a road bike which means that if you want a sweet ride in both mediums, getting one that was built by someone with loads of experience in (and on, as they’re riders, not just builders) mountain bikes and road bikes is the trick. Gravel bikes are not simply a road bike wearing fat tires or a cross bike wearing fat tires; it’s a bike designed for optimal performance on the road and on dirt roads. They are not mountain bikes. But that said, I’ve seen already how young riders are pushing the perceived limits of what can be ridden on this new-but-not-really new genre of bike.

My advice is concentrate on the frame design, the components you’ll run on it are the easy part. I’d also strongly say between a pure road bike and a stoner bike, get the latter. It’ll do everything the road bike will do but when the blacktop ends, the bike keeps going. In short, stoner bikes rule.

Nice assessment! It would cool to compare the geometry of those two Erickson frames for those that like those types of details

Davist
01-12-2017, 08:32 AM
I think disc, or more specifically hydro disc, brakes are a game changer for these type of bikes: better braking, more wheel choices, more braking power choices, etc.

I agree, hydro disc for me has been all the difference. Using back brake to adequately slow while signaling for a left turn for example is an unforeseen benefit. Waiting an "extra mailbox" going into turns to brake was expected.

Back to geo: I compared stack and reach while shopping for my bike, got the same as my smooth road bike, didn't worry about the other aspects (longer chainstay, kicked out front end). The longer chainstays have been another revelation, on steep climbs, no loop out tendency like on my road bike, so I don't have to worry as much about that "uphill tuck" as much..

Oh, and Strada Bianca tires are great! Work on snow! wow..

John H.
01-12-2017, 12:19 PM
For what you are saying- get a gravel bike.
Plan to set it up exactly as your road bike, but get one where you have the flexibility to set it up a little taller and a little shorter.
I like these bikes a lot:
1.) Santa Cruz Stigamata
2.) Specialized Crux- Please don't say what about a diverge. You want the extra clearance
3.) Scott Addict CX or Gravel
4.) Parlee Chebacco

FWIW I have a pile of road bikes.
I brought my gravel bike with fat road tires to Hawaii on this trip. It has been perfect. I really appreciated the disc brakes on the West Maui Loop.

macaroon
01-12-2017, 01:24 PM
When compared with a road bike, cross bikes typically feature a slacker headtube angle and higher BB height. Sometimes longer chainstays. In general they are designed to be more stable and less twitchy than a road bike.

As discussed above there is no definition for a gravel bike and there are many interpretations and opinions. But the stoner bike you've described sounds eerily similar to a cross bike, maybe save for the BB height which you haven't mentioned.

It depends what you mean by "more stable" but IMO road bikes are more stable than cross bikes, partly/mostly due to fit typically being a bit longer/lower, along with a lower BB.

This is the key difference between a cross bike and a gravel bike; the BB height. Gravel bikes tend to have lower BBs, as in a 70mm bb drop, or sometimes more. A cross bike will have a BB that's 10mm higher, and they do not descend at high speed as well.

panache_mode
02-28-2017, 09:49 PM
You can fit larger than 32s under medium reach, but you're correct that the size needs to be considered when the bike is built. Unfortunately many companies/builders don't pay attention so clearance is all over the board.



Just to give you an example of what is possible when the builder does care...the pads are at the bottom on this short reach brake and the tire measures 30.8mm.



http://www.cycle.ciocctoo.com/losa2.jpg



What's the width on the rims (interior)?

Im trying to figure out if I can squeeze 32s into my soma smoothie. I've got 17c road wheels.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

choke
03-01-2017, 04:36 PM
What's the width on the rims (interior)?

Im trying to figure out if I can squeeze 32s into my soma smoothie. I've got 17c road wheels.They are MA40s which I believe are around 13mm inside.

FlashUNC
03-01-2017, 05:13 PM
Tire clearance. No one ever looked at a gravel bike and said "Man, I'd be happy if this thing just took less tire."

But I'm also the guy who decided to get carbon and a cross bike as his groad option, so what do I know?

https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3721/33035113496_fccb384953_b.jpg

bluesea
03-01-2017, 06:25 PM
You can fit larger than 32s under medium reach, but you're correct that the size needs to be considered when the bike is built. Unfortunately many companies/builders don't pay attention so clearance is all over the board.

Just to give you an example of what is possible when the builder does care...the pads are at the bottom on this short reach brake and the tire measures 30.8mm.

http://www.cycle.ciocctoo.com/losa2.jpg


All gravel bikes should shift with Simplex Retrofriction, ATMO. Wait, where's the hex screw?

Frankwurst
03-01-2017, 06:47 PM
These days, the CX bikes all have 68-70mm drops, so that's not really the case anymore. In fact, it should've never remained that high when toe-clip went out of style

Toe clips went out of style? I'm pi$$ed. I didn't get that memo. Oh well to late now I'm to far into it to change horses in the middle of the stream.:beer:

Veloo
03-01-2017, 11:08 PM
I just set up a bike with Avid BB7 road calipers and 11 speed Powershift levers and it works fine. I splurged on Yokozuna housing which was well worth the $30 to get rid of the rear brake mushy feel.

Gat64
03-02-2017, 05:25 AM
Here is a really detailed article about choosing a gravel bike. Part two is particularly interesting about geometry.

Part 1: http://teknecycling.com/how-to-choose-a-gravel-bike-part-1-key-questions-and-materials/
Part 2: http://teknecycling.com/how-to-choose-a-gravel-bike-part-2-geometry/

572cv
03-02-2017, 06:51 AM
Originally Posted by velotel
For me a stoner bike is a subtle melding of a mountain bike with a road bike which means that if you want a sweet ride in both mediums, getting one that was built by someone with loads of experience in (and on, as they’re riders, not just builders) mountain bikes and road bikes is the trick. Gravel bikes are not simply a road bike wearing fat tires or a cross bike wearing fat tires; it’s a bike designed for optimal performance on the road and on dirt roads. They are not mountain bikes. But that said, I’ve seen already how young riders are pushing the perceived limits of what can be ridden on this new-but-not-really new genre of bike.

My advice is concentrate on the frame design, the components you’ll run on it are the easy part. I’d also strongly say between a pure road bike and a stoner bike, get the latter. It’ll do everything the road bike will do but when the blacktop ends, the bike keeps going. In short, stoner bikes rule.
Nice assessment! It would cool to compare the geometry of those two Erickson frames for those that like those types of details

The above was quoted and a request was made for the comparative geometries of Velotel's two Eriksens. I can't provide that, but I can share the geometry of the Eriksen I had made this fall, after Velotel's was revealed to the world. Mine is a Shimano version, with Paul minimotos, his is Campagnolo and TRPs. I can say that this thing handles stunningly well on the road. It rides and feels like a road bike, but soaks up the dirt roads. The stiffness of the down tube and chain stays gives it as good or better power transmission than any bike I've ever had, not that I've had a lot over the years. Anyway, here's geometry and a picture (with unworthy but proud owner):

rides2slow
03-02-2017, 11:28 AM
The above was quoted and a request was made for the comparative geometries of Velotel's two Eriksens. I can't provide that, but I can share the geometry of the Eriksen I had made this fall, after Velotel's was revealed to the world. Mine is a Shimano version, with Paul minimotos, his is Campagnolo and TRPs. I can say that this thing handles stunningly well on the road. It rides and feels like a road bike, but soaks up the dirt roads. The stiffness of the down tube and chain stays gives it as good or better power transmission than any bike I've ever had, not that I've had a lot over the years. Anyway, here's geometry and a picture (with unworthy but proud owner):

very nice ride

pncguy
03-02-2017, 12:06 PM
Thanks to 572cv for sharing his geometry (although you smaller guys kill me! My HT is 21 cm!) and thanks for this request for Velotel to share.

Nice assessment! It would cool to compare the geometry of those two Erickson frames for those that like those types of details

What would be really useful to me is the COMPARISON between the two geos. Just looking at a single one doesn't give people who aren't familiar with geos enough info to see what changes are made from pure road to gravel.

DrSpoke
03-02-2017, 12:56 PM
Here is a really detailed article about choosing a gravel bike. Part two is particularly interesting about geometry.

Part 1: http://teknecycling.com/how-to-choose-a-gravel-bike-part-1-key-questions-and-materials/
Part 2: http://teknecycling.com/how-to-choose-a-gravel-bike-part-2-geometry/

Very good articles. The section in Part2 on head tube angles and fork rake for smaller sized framesets is exactly the problem I'm having while looking for a new bike.

I'm not positive why the smaller frames are raked out so much but will assume it relates to toe overlap.

choke
03-02-2017, 05:07 PM
All gravel bikes should shift with Simplex Retrofriction, ATMO. Wait, where's the hex screw?Those do have a hex screw......but originally Retrofrictions came with a slotted screw. The hex is a common replacement though.

PoppaWheelie
03-02-2017, 06:43 PM
I've gone through a few gravel bikes...mostly in a slow transition away from my road position to be honest. The first one was a duplicate of my road drop...maybe like 9cm...and it didn't work for me in the dirt at all.

Like roads, there's all kinds of "gravel" riding. Is your accessible dirt technical? is it vertical? Most of the gravel riding around me is either 15% grades up or 15% grades down...so road gearing doesn't really even cut it for me. I've migrated to big tires, big disc rotors, and torque'y gears. I run a single ring (40 or 42) up front and a 40t cassette out back...works great for dirt but quickly spins out on the road going downhill. For me, on my gravel, doesn't matter...I just care about my uphill gear options! I bet if my gravel roads were flat or wide open that I'd want something more akin to my road bike...with big tires.

Fit for me had leaned towards less drop, tighter reach, and shallow drop bars. My bike has a low "road" bb height and pretty slack steering. Bottle mounts are placed low to provide for a possible frame bag...frame and fork both have eyelets for winter fenders. Clearance for 40+mm tires. Long cage rear mech is essential for big gears....clutch features in MTB derailleurs work really well with no-drop single ring front configurations.

I've gone through a slew of handlebars. Classic bends (even shallow) don't work for me off road. Ergos (Enve, 3T Ergonova) are good...I've tried some of the flared Salsa models too. The Cowchipper is pretty nice.

One thing I'm curious to try but don't want to plonk down the $$ to experiment is a dropper post on my gravel bike. I love it on my MTB and I bit it would make some of the longer descents a lot more fun...but not sure about the added weight or clugey cable situation (my frame isn't set up for internal routing). Might give it a go later this summer though.

Just my $0.02...good luck!

ColonelJLloyd
03-02-2017, 07:05 PM
^ This makes a lot of sense to me. But your post needs pics. ;)

mbrtool
03-02-2017, 07:18 PM
I was not looking for a gravel bike, but a winter bike that I could ride comfortably in the drops while riding in the snow. I chose Ellis because Dave Wages was local and has a great reputation. He took measurements from my Ottrott and built the bike to be able to handle 29 x 2.1 tires. During the rest of the year I ride 32mm. I rode on gravel last year for the first time at D2R2 and it was a blast. So snow...gravel .....road...not seeing a big difference in geometry. This is a link to the bike. It is truly a joy to ride. https://plus.google.com/photos/100571970155704443343/albums/6000111906843801633

Ray