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Old 01-27-2020, 11:14 AM
Ken Robb Ken Robb is offline
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What is a "gravel" bike by Carl Strong

I got an email today from Carl's site with a very informative discussion of frame design and I recommend it to you all. If I were smarter I could probably post a link but I am a kumputer klutz.
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Old 01-27-2020, 11:17 AM
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charliedid charliedid is offline
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https://www.strongframes.com/what-is-a-gravel-bike/
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Old 01-27-2020, 12:12 PM
Ken Robb Ken Robb is offline
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Well, charliedid. Thanks for your help.
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Old 01-27-2020, 12:24 PM
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charliedid charliedid is offline
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  #5  
Old 01-28-2020, 08:55 AM
unterhausen unterhausen is online now
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Well, I disagree about one thing, I have been buzzed on my gravel bike. Mostly by mountain bikers driving to/from trails. Heavens forbid they ride their bikes a few miles to the trails.
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  #6  
Old 01-28-2020, 09:00 AM
Gummee Gummee is offline
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Well, I disagree about one thing, I have been buzzed on my gravel bike. Mostly by mountain bikers driving to/from trails. Heavens forbid they ride their bikes a few miles to the trails.
That's silly! There's CARS on the roads! Too dangerous!

...and.... they'll wear out their knobbies

M
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Old 01-28-2020, 02:50 PM
velotel velotel is offline
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If you'd like to read another Montana builder's take on gravel bikes, David Kirk wrote a good response to a question I sent him on the subject. It's immediately after what I wrote. As always his words are clear

http://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=214556
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Old 01-28-2020, 03:01 PM
unterhausen unterhausen is online now
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Originally Posted by Gummee View Post
That's silly! There's CARS on the roads! Too dangerous!

...and.... they'll wear out their knobbies

M
I'd rather be buzzed on a paved road where the motorist isn't sliding around like they are on a double track gravel road. I occasionally ride on a forest road where there is an IMBA epic trail, and it always fills me with dread if there is anyone putting their bike on their car when I go by the trailhead. I've given up on mountain bikers acting reasonable around cyclists on the road though.

Riding anywhere else in the local forest is pretty good. The people that drive out there to get water (bless their heart) are generally pretty respectful when they pass.
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Old 01-28-2020, 03:38 PM
weiwentg weiwentg is offline
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We can think of drop bar bikes being on a spectrum. Performance road bikes like the pro riders use are clearly one end, with relatively narrow tires, often aerodynamic tubes, very long and low positions. The other end of the spectrum is probably bikes like Evil's Chamois Hagar, which are practically mountain bikes with drop bars. As you go to the 'right' side from performance road, you probably get endurance road bikes, and then gravel bikes start.

Jan Heine seems to split the gravel category into two: all-road bikes and adventure bikes. The Chamois Hagar would clearly be an adventure bike. My Parlee Chebacco would pretty clearly be an all-road bike.

I've read Carl Strong a few times, and right now, it seems like he's splitting the gravel side of the spectrum into 3: all-road, gravel, and adventure. Low, medium, and high, versus Heine who just does low and high. Maybe I'm reading him wrong. The bit where he proposes fork clearances is a bit confusing:

Quote:
Road Fork – Tires up to 30 mm
All-Road Fork – Tires from 37-40 mm
Gravel Fork – Tires up to 55 mm and even a bit larger
MTB Rigid Fork – Tires up to 3 inches
MTB Suspension – Tires up to 3 inches
So, if you have something that can clear 32mm or 42mm tires ... is that not a bike? Also, if gravel starts at a 55mm clearance, that's very, very big!

Maybe this is splitting hairs, but I'm not sure if this offers anything more than Heine's classification.
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Old 01-28-2020, 04:47 PM
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Hilltopperny Hilltopperny is offline
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Reading through Carl’s report makes me think that his breakdown is based on the local terrain. 55mm tires are quite large and I would definitely put that in the adventure category over gravel, but he is also in Montana and they may be a gravel tire out there?

Out here in rural NYS I haven’t really found a need for anything over 48mm with 650b and often a 42mm 650b or 35mm 700c with get me through anything I end up riding my gravel bike on. If I was adventure riding on unknown terrain I’d ride my hardtail or 29+ rigid. I would consider 28-32mm=allroad around here as it would get me through the dirt roads and hard pack gravel without any issues.
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  #11  
Old 01-28-2020, 05:09 PM
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AngryScientist AngryScientist is offline
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yea, i read the article, and for the most part, it did not resonate with me, or my experience.

i agree with hilltopper above, in that gravel means different things to different people, and the terrain is very regional and terrain specific.

for me here on the mid east coast, clearly, my preferences are different than carl's over in montana, and probably for very good reason. i don't disagree with him, i just think it's hard to write an article covering "gravel" riding that speaks in general terms, that will resonate with all riders, across a broad spectrum of experience, geography and preferences.

that's all OK. carl's cool.

this breakdown though, i dont think was necessary or helpful. these statements are over generalaties that dont really ring true for a multitude of reasons.

Quote:
Steel – Inexpensive/Prone to denting/Heavy
Aluminum – Inexpensive/Lighter than steel but fragile when made really light
Titanium – More expensive than aluminum or steel but more durable and lighter
Carbon Fiber – The most expensive and lightest/Ideal for racing
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  #12  
Old 01-28-2020, 06:19 PM
Jeff N. Jeff N. is offline
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I'll stick to good ol' pavement, thank you.
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  #13  
Old 01-28-2020, 06:34 PM
Gummee Gummee is offline
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Originally Posted by Jeff N. View Post
I'll stick to good ol' pavement, thank you.
Dood! With all the untraveled roads in the East County?! No effing way!

You've got gravel paradise outside the door: all the scenery and none of the traffic!

Gravel wasn't a thing when I was there. Dual sporting was, however and I spent a little bit of time on some of the unpaved roads. The climb up the backside of Palomar would be an epic ride on a bicycle. It was fun on my KTM 640 Adventure!

Here outside NoVA, gravel means pretty hard-packed roads that connect to paved roads that connect to more hard-packed roads. ...Unless the road graders have been thru recently.

M
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  #14  
Old 01-29-2020, 07:37 AM
Carl Strong Carl Strong is offline
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I hope you don't mind my chiming in here. I noticed I didn't do a very good job of explaining tire sizes so I thought I'd clarify. I had one typo in my breakdown which is corrected here:

Road Fork – Tires up to 30 mm
All-Road Fork – Tires up to 37-40 mm
Gravel Fork – Tires up to 55 mm and even a bit larger
MTB Rigid Fork – Tires up to 3 inches
MTB Suspension – Tires up to 3 inches

Each of these increments is based on commonly available aftermarket forks (ie Enve, Columbus, Whisky, etc). The tires sizes are the MAX tire size that will fit in the fork. Anything smaller will also fit.

So the tire size range for the above would look something like:

Road Fork – Tires 23-30 mm
All-Road Fork – Tires 30-40 mm
Gravel Fork – Tires 40-55 mm
MTB Rigid Fork – Tires as big as 3 inches
MTB Suspension – Tires as big 3 inches

I don't really think there is a clear distinction between an all-road and a gravel bike. But at some point you jump in tire size capacity from 40 to 55 based on the readily available forks.

Hopefully, that makes a little more sense.

One other point I'll make is that the reason I wrote this was because everybody's language seems to vary. One person's idea of an all-road is different from others. My goal was to point out the considerations that are made when designing a bike so we could focus on the bikes design to assess its nature, rather than the label that was applied to it.
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