Taking a knife to a gunfight.

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Bearbonesnorm
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Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:20 am

The 'Lose' film got me thinking and I thought - how many people here own a gravel bike?

The reason I ask is that, much of the 'media' I've seen recently shows people riding 'gravel' bikes, yet my experience based on seeing a large group of bikepackers in one place, is that the majority will probably be riding something that looks much more like a mountainbike. The only exception I can think of would be the TNR.

I fully understand why the media portray gravel bikes, so we probably don't need to discuss that but for those who own both styles of bike - is it simply a matter of picking one based on the likely terrain or do you have a bike that you consider your 'bikepacking bike' and use that regardless?
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Charliecres
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Charliecres » Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:27 am

I pick one based on the terrain and my intentions. That said, it’s almost always a mountain bike, and a rigid 29er at that.

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by ScotRoutes » Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:48 am

I guess I have three bikepacking bikes at the moment; fat, B+/29er and the #gradventourer. I just choose whichever is like to be the most appropriate according to mix of terrain and planned time/distance.

For the route in that video they were probably on the "right" type of bike.

Judging by what I see other folks riding, I'd say it's the same. I guess folk are also influenced by their previous experience. If you've come to bikepacking from mountain biking then that's different to having come to it from a road riding background. That will affect your choice of route and therefore the type of bike you'd choose to ride.

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Karl » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:19 am

Horses for courses comes to mind. Think the Salsa Cutthroat blurs these lines really well but I think that's advertised as a drop bar mountain bike. I can smash out a gravel/road route really comfortably on it but when it gets more mountain bikey it's still capable.

If I was getting one bike to do it all (which is kind of the marketing blurb for gravel bikes) I wouldn't get a gravel bike, I'd get a flatbar 29er of some description.

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Dave Barter
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Dave Barter » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:20 am

Quite simply if I have a road ride and want some off road options the gravel bike comes out (in my case a CX bike...). There are many people who do this, most of my old roadie compadres have bought one for said reason. As a result they are then straying into bikepacking.
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by jameso » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:28 am

Interesting point (and valid title). RE what most groups of bikepackers will be using, I've been suprised how many gravel bikes I've seen among the 'racer's rigs' reports for AMR and SRMR. I expect that's partly trends and partly racers with a road riding background as others have said here. Also a perception of what makes a faster bike? (questionable but won't geek out there)

For me it depends on my riding attitude or what I want from the ride. I have more fun off-road on my rigid, H-barred MTB, I cover road miles easier / more willingly on my 650B, flared bar gravel bike. Neither are terrain-specific enough to limit where I go too much. I enjoy both. The road and MTB sides of my riding can both inspire great bikepacking trips.

I don't think of my gravel bike as a true off-road bike though. It's a road-going bike that excels at carrying a load and can handle some easy off-road terrain because it has fat tyres. ATB? I'm yet to ride a gravel bike that can handle the riding attitude my MTB can (if not the terrain) - with the aspects that make up a useful road-going bike all considered I'm not sure it ever could. I keep working on that as a side project ...currently proving the definition of insanity, something about repetition and the same results. :grin:

Another Q on these lines, about how the gravel bike that appears to be more presentable/acceptable than an MTB for bikepacking or adventure brand marketing. I think the answer is that a bikepacking MTB is a very niche product, a gravel bike has a use for the times it's unloaded, the 97% of the miles it'll do as a tough/comfy road bike. Maybe more to it than that, MTB image being a bit 'rad' these days and adventure/bikepacking being a bit more relaxed.

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by voodoo_simon » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:43 am

My next bike will be for gravel.

What it will be, I don’t know but want something that can cruise along the roads well but when I see a path that I want to take/explore, then I can ride it.

Having road bikes for years upon years, the drop bar appeals to me but looking around, the Planet X Whippet looks amazing value and good for my need with a few moderations made. I do like the drop bars for road riding, more comfortable than a flat bar but once off road, then a flat bar is more preferable. Hmmm

Doesn’t really answer your question though :lol:

Used to work in bike shops in a previous life and the question/statement that would always trip me up would be “I want an @dventure bike....”

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Asposium » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:44 am

I own two gravel bikes.

Initially purchased a gravel bike for bikepacking.

Now have a hardtail for bikepacking.

I see bikepacking as an way of mind, and select the tool for the job.

So, if the route is road and -say- sustrans tracks then take the gravel bike.

If there is a sniff of off-road then take the mountain bike.

I have a friend who is joining me on bikepacking rides and really enjoying it.
She wants a bike, and has no interest in N+ 1, my advice is a mountain bike.

That said, the gravel bike is fantastic for commuting to work.
Albeit it with 28mm slick tyres. 😂

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by voodoo_simon » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:48 am

Dave Barter wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:20 am
Quite simply if I have a road ride and want some off road options the gravel bike comes out (in my case a CX bike...). There are many people who do this, most of my old roadie compadres have bought one for said reason. As a result they are then straying into bikepacking.
This! Worked in bike shops for many years and gravel bikes really are good for this sort of thing. Also perfect for the mountain biker who doesn’t want to solely ride road and perfect for the roady who doesn’t want to go mountain biking but wants to explore off-road or have a winter bike.

Also great for people getting into road riding, they could use the bike to take short cuts along the canals or sustrans routes that were local

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:49 am

All interesting stuff :-bd
Another Q on these lines, about how the gravel bike that appears to be more presentable/acceptable than an MTB for bikepacking or adventure brand marketing. I think the answer is that a bikepacking MTB is a very niche product, a gravel bike has a use for the times it's unloaded, the 97% of the miles it'll do as a tough/comfy road bike. Maybe more to it than that, MTB image being a bit 'rad' these days and adventure/bikepacking being a bit more relaxed.
I believe this to be true, yet it differs from my personal experience in that, all my bikes are rigid and I view my rigid mountain bikes as mountain bikes. I don't see them as niche, whereas I assume most cyclists whether from a road or mountain bike background possibly would. I recall calling in for a brew at NyA trail centre one day and a couple of blokes telling me that my Stooge wasn't a mountain bike. The fact I'd just ridden it across actual mountains seemed to make no difference to their opinion. :wink:
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Asposium » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:51 am

jameso wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:28 am

Another Q on these lines, about how the gravel bike that appears to be more presentable/acceptable than an MTB for bikepacking or adventure brand marketing. I think the answer is that a bikepacking MTB is a very niche product,
Is there such a thing as a bikepacking MTB? 😳

I use a specialized epic Carbon hardtail.
Likely considered a race bike, it has proven remarkable for bikepacking.

Surely any bike is a bikepacking bike once bags are added?
Some are merely more suitable than others.

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Asposium » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:52 am

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:49 am
All interesting stuff :-bd
Another Q on these lines, about how the gravel bike that appears to be more presentable/acceptable than an MTB for bikepacking or adventure brand marketing. I think the answer is that a bikepacking MTB is a very niche product, a gravel bike has a use for the times it's unloaded, the 97% of the miles it'll do as a tough/comfy road bike. Maybe more to it than that, MTB image being a bit 'rad' these days and adventure/bikepacking being a bit more relaxed.
I believe this to be true, yet it differs from my personal experience in that, all my bikes are rigid and I view my rigid mountain bikes as mountain bikes. I don't see them as niche, whereas I assume most cyclists whether from a road or mountain bike background possibly would. I recall calling in for a brew at NyA trail centre one day and a couple of blokes telling me that my Stooge wasn't a mountain bike. The fact I'd just ridden it across actual mountains seemed to make no difference to their opinion. :wink:
Never understood a rigid mountain bike.
Well, maybe when I started mountain biking in the 80’s
Bit like single speed.
😂😂

Gears and suspension


Sometimes feel that we as bikepackers (and specifically bears) must be a marketers nightmare; we use what works and have little interest in what is trendy.
Though, in a weird way “we” set the trend.
Is it any coincidence that many bikepackers are portrayed as scruffy middle age men who need a wash, shave, haircut, and a change of clothes?
A sense of liberation from socially accepted norms.
Last edited by Asposium on Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:00 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Gummikuh » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:58 am

Good question.

I have a number of bicycles that I use for all sorts of things.

I have a gravel bike a Genesis Datum, and I only really use it for my daily commute to work, it is a great bicycle but I have used it to off road and to carry stuff and I love how light it is, but the carbon fibre forks left my shoulders destroyed. I also think having to concentrate on where I put my wheels left me really tired, I was constantly worried that something would break.

I have a Genesis vagabond built up as a drop bar mountain bike and with the right tyres is to me the perfect bike for anything I do now. I seem t

I have nothing against the industry creating niche bicycles, but honestly most could be converted to off road with the right tyres and in the end it comes down to tyre clearance in my mind. I have taken a steel Pashley off road and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, won't do it again though as the saddle was unforgiving.

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by slarge » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:00 am

I think a lot of the gravelbike market attracts newcomers (who like the image) and roadies (who may want to cover more miles). Both are going to tend towards less technical riding - fire roads, tracks and local bridleways, so maybe a gravel bike is the best tool for the job. On a Facebook group for gravelbiking it does appear that (some) people are obsessing over tyre size, gears, baggage, etc before they even ride the bike - which I kind of get but it does miss the point I think that the bike is only a tool to get out there - it's not the destination in itself (however it's sold, and I'm probably as guilty as anyone over buying bits and kit).

But I still agree - my go to bike for any real off road/road riding is my XC biased 29er hardtail. It's light, fast, comfortable and I don't feel like it's the limiting factor (like my CX bike on rough stuff does). My CX bike (which isn't a gravel bike but I'm not sure why not) is great fun on easy off road but when it gets a bit rougher I lose confidence. I would tend to not use that for most bikepacking rides unless very road biased.

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:04 am

Never understood a rigid mountain bike.
Good ones are fantastic and surprisingly capable. When I was coaching I'd often do so on a rigid bike, partly because I like riding them and partly to help prove that the bike wasn't usually the thing holding people back.
On a Facebook group for gravelbiking it does appear that (some) people are obsessing over tyre size, gears, baggage, etc before they even ride the bike - which I kind of get but it does miss the point I think that the bike is only a tool to get out there - it's not the destination in itself (however it's sold, and I'm probably as guilty as anyone over buying bits and kit).
Good point Steve. I have thought before how weird that folk buy a gravel bike and then start asking about fitting bigger tyres, wider range of gears, dropper post, even suspension ... surely, they should have just bought a mountain bike rather than trying to turn their gravel bike into one :wink:
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by gairym » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:06 am

The 'Lose' film got me thinking and I thought - how many people here own a gravel bike?
I've got two. :-bd

I sold my carbon road bike and so my 40mm (Nano) tyred 'gravel bike' (Cotic 'Escapade') is my road, touring, bikepacking, gravel, fast (ha!) bike.

I also have the Piolet, which is a drop bar'd mountain bike-ish type thing. 2.4" tyres and incredibly comfy to ride all day every day. That's my heavier gravel, off-road bikepacking, mixed terrain and all-round lovely thing to ride bike.

I don't really care about trends or intended uses, I just love bikes and riding them and these two bikes make me smile.

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by htrider » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:08 am

I go into my garage, look at my bike collection and think, hmm, which one will I go out to play on today? I feel very lucky....
My mate persists on referring to my gavel bike as a hybrid, I've taken to call it my touring bike. The folk on that vid are cycle tourists so are on touring bikes :mrgreen: Cycle touring these days requires you to use cycleways, towpaths, gravel tracks and knackered back roads, in order to avoid busy roads. So sumat with 40mm tyres is ideal.

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by jameso » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:13 am

Asposium wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:51 am
jameso wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:28 am

Another Q on these lines, about how the gravel bike that appears to be more presentable/acceptable than an MTB for bikepacking or adventure brand marketing. I think the answer is that a bikepacking MTB is a very niche product,
Is there such a thing as a bikepacking MTB? 😳

I use a specialized epic Carbon hardtail.
Likely considered a race bike, it has proven remarkable for bikepacking.

Surely any bike is a bikepacking bike once bags are added?
Some are merely more suitable than others.
You're right, almost any MTB can do the job. What I meant was an MTB that was biased towards bikepacking imagery/presentation in the manner of gravel bikes that are commonly presented that way. All getting a bit woolly I know - but let's say I had a Genesis Latitude V1, a Big Bro, a Ramin B+ etc in mind as a 'bikepcking MTB' as seen by a brand. They're niche, low-volume bikes vs the 'XC race bike' or 'Enduro'.

Edit ...And that weakens my own answer to my Q - why couldn't Spesh show a carbon Epic loaded up for the CTR as part of the marketing? Maybe some brands do similar, but still it's not common.

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by PaulB2 » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:26 am

I got my gravel bike to replace my road bike since I wasn't bothered about going that quickly, it was much more comfortable on the country roads and NCN routes I tend to go on around here and I wanted to do some light touring. A gradventourer so to speak. The fact that it's also suitable for the bridleways / fire roads on the Chase was a bonus and opens up even more routes.

The current trend for ever bigger tyres blurs the line between between gravel bike and rigid mountain bike - the distinction is mostly marketing and the shape of the bars. Take the poseidon redwood - it's marketed as a gravel bike but it can take up to 27.5 x 2.5 tyres so if it had flat bars on it would just be called a rigid mountain bike.
Edit ...And that weakens my own answer to my Q - why couldn't Spesh show a carbon Epic loaded up for the CTR as part of the marketing? Maybe some brands do similar, but still it's not common.
Re: Spesh Epic, doesn't lael wilcox ride a loaded up spesh epic?

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Lazarus » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:35 am

I do own one[ and no longer a road drop bar bike] but i reckon it gets perhaps 5 proper off road rides a year and most of the other times its commuting. Even when it does get used off road i have selected a route for it .It would never be my go to bike and I have never bike packed on it - not ruling it out but its unlikely.

i think they are popular because they attract both MTB and roadies so have double the market - and boy are they marketted well. that is MTB wont get a fullon road bike but will get one of these and roadies wont get a fullon MTB but will get one of these,

Off road 95% + is going to be on a MTB and they all have suspension forks.

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by jameso » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:39 am

Re: Spesh Epic, doesn't lael wilcox ride a loaded up spesh epic?
Dunno tbh, a Spesh of some sort : )
Bad example then, if so.
Forget the detail of the point, was more of a general one about visibility of loaded rigid MTBs vs loaded gravel bikes in wider bike brand marketing : )

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by pistonbroke » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:43 am

I recall musing on this subject some time ago. When I'm bashing out the long days in preparation for a multi day event or ride, the gravel bike gets far more use than anything else. Simple reason is that I can access places that involve long climbs on broken tarmac or concrete to a cols where you may get a couple of km of proper stony track then descend on similar pistas forestal. This opens up a huge area of trails that farmers use to access their olive and orange groves which despite not being too technical, are really beautiful and very remote. When asked what type of bike I would recommend for a week or 2's holiday here, I always suggest a chunky tyred gravel bike for maximum smile time. :smile:

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by benp1 » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:55 am

My gravel bike is (was) my commuter. It's now basically just my road bike. I do take it off road on light tracks as the tyres are tough (Marathon Plus), but at this time of year it just gets caked in crap. At this time of year i'd rather ride it on the road, especially when the roads are so quiet at the moment

My only MTB is rigid, have a sus fork for it but haven't used it in a couple of years, maybe more. But the bike looks odd compared with a gravel bike - jones bars aren't exactly pretty, and my mudguard certainly doesn't help.

As MTB become increasingly burly - from a skinny rigid MTB many years ago to big full sussers with big tyres - I can see how gravel style bikes are filling the gap. Slightly harder to explain the burly gravel bikes that are essentially drop bar MTBs. Maybe the drops make a rigid MTB looks more appealing? But then I'm not really sure what benefit the drops provide

I know the fargo has been around for a while, but it was a niche bike. Maybe less so now

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Jurassic » Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:04 am

I have a gravel bike that I ride loads (it's my most ridden bike) but I don't regard it as my bikepacking bike, that honour goes to my Ramin 1 hardtail 29er. I have bikepacked on my gravel bike as well though. Choice comes down to terrain as you mentioned in the OP. If it's road and forest tracks it'll be the gravel bike but for anything remotely technical I'll want the mountain bike. The boundaries are a little blurred by the fact that the 29er rolls pretty well on the road as well and as somebody else mentioned if I had to choose to keep only one of them it would be the 29er for the simple reason that it can do more tasks.

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by PaulB2 » Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:06 am

I did the CTC on my gravel bike using my bikepacking bags, does that make it a bikepacking bike?

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