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  #1  
Old 01-10-2017, 03:47 PM
wc1934 wc1934 is offline
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Gravel vs Road

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?
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:13 PM
Mzilliox Mzilliox is offline
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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
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:16 PM
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Black Dog Black Dog is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wc1934 View Post
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.
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:40 PM
rnhood rnhood is offline
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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.
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  #5  
Old 01-10-2017, 04:52 PM
Gummee Gummee is offline
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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
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  #6  
Old 01-10-2017, 05:01 PM
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alembical alembical is offline
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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.
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  #7  
Old 01-10-2017, 05:40 PM
eddief eddief is offline
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gravel vs road

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.
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  #8  
Old 01-10-2017, 07:27 PM
MaraudingWalrus MaraudingWalrus is offline
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Originally Posted by Black Dog View Post
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
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2017, 09:06 PM
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choke choke is offline
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Originally Posted by eddief View Post
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.

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  #10  
Old 01-11-2017, 03:06 AM
velotel velotel is offline
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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.
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Old 01-11-2017, 01:10 PM
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jimmy-moots jimmy-moots is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velotel View Post

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.
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  #12  
Old 01-11-2017, 03:50 PM
palincss palincss is offline
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Originally Posted by rnhood View Post
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.
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Old 01-11-2017, 03:56 PM
Gummee Gummee is offline
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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
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Old 01-11-2017, 04:03 PM
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Bob Ross Bob Ross is offline
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Originally Posted by Mzilliox View Post
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."
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Old 01-11-2017, 04:06 PM
dalava dalava is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy-moots View Post
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
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