Taking a knife to a gunfight.

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chris n
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by chris n » Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:25 am

Most modern gravel bikes do look like old MTBs, so if you’re of ‘a certain age’ that’s what you’ll see. :wink:

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faustus
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by faustus » Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:40 am

Have a gravel bike as my most used bike and a couple of rigid 29ers. Usually decide which bike to use based on terrain/what kind of ride I want to do. And if I was bikepacking then also how long I was out and what i needed to carry, and what would be best for all that. As i've not done any bikepacking for a while on either, they're just bikes rather than bikepacking bikes - though all are capable of doing a decent job bikepacking if needed, and that was what I had in mind when I bought them/built them up.

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thenorthwind
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by thenorthwind » Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:49 am

Have a gravel bike and a rigid MTB with plus tyres.

Gravel bike is more towards the road end than "monstercross" end of the spectrum (max tyre width is probably about 42mm), but was bought to cover road riding too.

The gravel bike is pretty capable on singletrack, etc. if you want it to be, but it's a "knife" and I've largely stopped taking it to "gun fights" in the hope of making them more interesting - it mostly just makes them less comfortable, and I own a "gun". I will occasionally take it to what looks like a gun fight if I'm going with friends who are also bringing knives and I want to stab, I mean, keep up with them on the flatter/smoother bits.

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Cheeky Monkey » Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:50 am

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.
Pretty much :-bd

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Mariner
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Mariner » Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:53 am

If you look at early CTC photos and RSF archive then the bike style of 'choice' is mainly drop bar.
I would dare to suggest that tradition is on their side. :shock:

However if you look at cycle touring from the golden era (?) 1920s and 30s you will see a mixture of bikes and handlebar configurations. My assumption from that is practicality. It's a bike therefore I ride it everywhere. :-bd

benp1
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by benp1 » Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:00 pm

I forgot to mention.

When I take my road biased gravel bike for a ride I'm often, though definitely not always, wearing lycra

MTB, even though it's rigid, is baggy short and trousers. Might wear longs underneath

:geek: :grin:

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summittoppler
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by summittoppler » Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:22 pm

My got to bikepacking bike is my rigid fatbike. Yes I have a 'gravel' bike but I don't see the joy in your whole body being rattled as your hang on for dear life on the rough stuff. The fatbike on the other hand is so comfy and feels great loaded up with bags. I've used the drop bar bike for bikepacking trips but only when I know there's plenty of tarmac with some offroad bits thrown in.

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psling
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by psling » Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:23 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:20 am
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?
I currently have 6 bikes. I use 3 of them for bikepacking - a SS Rigid mtb, a 3x9 Hardtail mtb, and a 3x9 CX bike (which would be regarded as a gravel bike these days although it has rim brakes). Interestingly, the CX bike (marketed as a CX bike when purchased over 15 years ago) was spec'd with bottle bosses under the down tube and rack mounts (pre bikepacking soft-luggage). I have had a lot of fun riding each of them and select depending on terrain and weather conditions! :cool:
We go out into the hills to lose ourselves, not to get lost. You are only lost if you need to be somewhere else and if you really need to be somewhere else then you're probably in the wrong place to begin with.

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by JoseMcTavish » Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:38 pm

I think the gravel bike can also be seen as an entry into road cycling for mountain bikers. When I decided I was going to get a road bike for use in things like duathlons, I couldn't resist looking for something that I could get bigger tyres on for the exact type of riding described above, road rides where you link things up with off-road stretches. I also wanted mounts for a pannier rack for tours. At this point gravel bikes didn't exist, so I built up a light CX/touring bike with disk brakes which is exactly the same as all the gravel bikes that followed. Would have been great to have all the choice that is available now back then though! Ironically the pannier mounts have never been used as I got my first bikepacking bags that year and have rarely pulled out the panniers since!

Bikepacking wise, I use whatever bike suits the terrain. The graveller is used when there is lots of estate tracks on the route and I can get up some speed. The full sus (26") is used if I'm trying to go a bit quicker on lots of of rough tracks. The 29+ is used when there's lots of dubious terrain where a bit of float might come in handy to keep riding instead of walking. I also have my old hardtail (26") which is used when the fancy takes me and when I need ice spikers!

Scud
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Scud » Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:32 pm

i think for me, all my bikes on all types, have been bought or built with a bikepacking slant, including the gravel bike.

So i have a fat bike as i live near miles of beaches that has mount for bags and jones-style bars, i have a "monster-cross" style Singular Gryphon with low gearing and bars set up for long distance more mountain bike style rides and events, and then two "gravel" bikes, a Singular Peregine and a Reilly Gradient, the Singular singlespeed and the Reilly geared, consideration when buying the Reilly was knowing i was riding TNR and i bought that over the Mason Bokeh as i knew i didn't want a painted frame when covered in bags, i wanted Hope RX4 callipers over Shimano for 4-pot brakes on alpine descents, i wanted alloy seatpost over carbon, a Brooks Cambium over a "racier" saddle etc, so it was kitted put knowing its intended use.

But i live in Norfolk, proper mountain biking doesnt really exist, so its the two extremes 4" tyres on the beaches, 40c gravel tyres for linking the many bridleways and FC land up into longer rides.

For me because we don't have much technical riding, a gravel bike makes the off road sections more fun here, but also when i have ridden TNR, or Belgian Ardennes etc, i have always been amazed just how much you can get away with on 40-45c tyres and rigid forks off-road, that kind of sketchy riding, loaded up, is a lot of fun

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Specialist Hoprocker
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Specialist Hoprocker » Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:33 pm

I bought a carbon cx bike on the cycle to work scheme about 7 years ago as I wanted to buy a road orientated bike that would also let me dash along the odd bridleway. Plus I couldn't face rim brakes. It's got limited tyre clearance so I'm stuck to 35mm rear and 40mm front which actually is a blessing because if I could squeeze more in it would merge into a more off-road bike and mean that I'm doubling up with my other bikes.

I've used it to go camping once. It was ok, but compromised due to the tyre width off road under laden weight. Fairly rapid though, but I don't always want to get places quickly.

I still use it fairly regularly and have recently fitted a Redshift suspension stem which has really helped the comfort both on and off-road. I still fancy something with more clearance and lots of loading points (I recently tried and failed to buy that new Decathlon bike), but I imagine I'd lose a lot of the lightweight and responsive feel of the cx bike and probably have to ultimately keep both :lol:

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by slugwash » Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:10 pm

Code: Select all

(I recently tried and failed to buy that new Decathlon bike), 
I've noticed that the large size has become available for on-line purchase today. Did you manage to order one before and they failed to fulfill your order? Anyway, I'm off for a walk around the block and am hoping they'll all be sold out upon my return 'cos I'm sorely tempted (but mustn't!)

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by jameso » Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:29 pm

If you look at early CTC photos and RSF archive then the bike style of 'choice' is mainly drop bar.
I would dare to suggest that tradition is on their side. :shock:
The Japanese touring bike market of the 70s-80s had hints of ATB appearing with the 'pass hunters', trad rando bikes with flat swept bars and bigger tyres or better brakes. Seems that flats only got popular mid-80s with ATBs though.

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Specialist Hoprocker
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Specialist Hoprocker » Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:18 pm

slugwash wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:10 pm

I've noticed that the large size has become available for on-line purchase today. Did you manage to order one before and they failed to fulfill your order? Anyway, I'm off for a walk around the block and am hoping they'll all be sold out upon my return 'cos I'm sorely tempted (but mustn't!)
Thanks! I've had another go and saved you £1400 :-bd

Let's see what happens this time...

slugwash
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by slugwash » Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:11 pm

Specialist Hoprocker wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:18 pm


Thanks! I've had another go and saved you £1400
Um, yeah............. actually I'm probably going to have to spend considerably more now on a similar product from another manufacturer! ;-)

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FLV
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by FLV » Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:22 pm

I've got a gravel bike. But in reality it's just my road bike that shouldn't fall apart or cripple me if I chose to cut accross some tracks.

I doubt id do a trip on it. I don't really like them off road.

I also have a drop bar mountain bike, I do do trips on that. I need to spend more time on the set up to get more comfortable for a long way on it. I could do with reading up on stuff a little more.
It only fits a 36t front ring and takes 2.4 tyres and is similar angles to MTBs from 1 or 2 max years ago so it's not really a gravel bike in marketing sense of the word.

I like it, it different enough from a hardtail MTB to be fun enough. I'd still take this over a road or gravel bike on a road based trip as it's simply more comfortable and versatile.

For something like the Tuscany trail id be tempted between that and a conventional rigid bike

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htrider
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by htrider » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:35 pm

Riding a gravel bike on inappropriate terrain is a good laugh. (up to a point)
I'm thinking of my jaunt last August up to Speyside where I was mainly on back roads and good tracks. One section of rocky / boggy singletrack somewhat overwhelmed 40mm tyres and drop bars but it was a hoot and allowed me to link up 20k of forest tracks over the Cairn O'mounth.

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JohnClimber
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by JohnClimber » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:06 pm

Let's face it....
Apart from forest fire roads the UK does not have a real gravel roads.

I'm not a fan of the branding name of a "Gravel Bike" mines an "Adventure Bike"
I use it to get me to compacted muddy trails using quiet roads/tracks/trails quicker than I can on my other bikes.

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Loki
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by Loki » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:58 pm

I have been through the gravel bike phase, was fun, I never really identified with it, I did enjoy "underbiking" doing things on my old Croix de Fer that it certainly was not really intended, I even did a couple of laps of Newnham Park on the 24/12 course a few years ago, while a challenge at the time I would categorise it as type 2 fun, not something I would care to repeat.
I am quite sick of everything being labelled "gravel" now, marketing go mad, I personally think a good flat bar 29'er is a better option, or you could bring a howitzer to the gun fight....drop bar fat bike.

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ScotRoutes
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by ScotRoutes » Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:03 pm

JohnClimber wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:06 pm
Let's face it....
Apart from forest fire roads the UK does not have a real gravel roads.
U wot now?

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Loki wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:58 pm
I am quite sick of everything being labelled "gravel" now,
As already pointed out, some of us have been riding "gravel" bikes for years, they just weren't called that. Truth is, I don't mind the labelling either. It's certainly better than calling them CX bikes - a label that isn't at all appropriate for something with big tyres and relaxed geometry - which is what many folk are/were commuting on and using for a mix of terrain and journeys.
Last edited by ScotRoutes on Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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BigdummySteve
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by BigdummySteve » Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:28 pm

Stu, the main reason for the proliferation of gravel bikes in videos is marketing, these people are the Instagram generation, making a ‘lifestyle’ choice.
A choice made because of how cool it looks on the various ‘social’ media sites.
I own a dropbar bike, it’s got a suspension fork, mountain bike geometry, wide bars and big tyres.
I’ve come to this from 35+ years of dicking about on bikes and it’s my solution for I one bike problem.
Much of the time I’m taking an AK-47 to a knife fight, if I had the space and money for a gravel type bike it’d be more appropriate for much of my day to day riding, it’d be a penknife in Wales however.
We’re all individuals, except me.

Still evading capture, still at large.

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JohnClimber
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by JohnClimber » Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:40 pm

Ok let me re word that.

There are no good gravel roads south of the border apart from fire road double tracks and the odd stretch here or there.....

And there is nothing "local" to me whatsoever.

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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by jameso » Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:44 pm

BigdummySteve wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:28 pm
Stu, the main reason for the proliferation of gravel bikes in videos is marketing, these people are the Instagram generation, making a ‘lifestyle’ choice.
A choice made because of how cool it looks on the various ‘social’ media sites.
Social media presentation's no different to people parking an expensive car on a drive or having a showy front of house, or wearing designer clothes (edit, or going to a particular bar). Some bother, some don't?
Last edited by jameso on Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jameso
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by jameso » Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:55 pm

Can't remember what we called these bikes before gravel. All-road?

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barney
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Re: Taking a knife to a gunfight.

Post by barney » Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:21 am

My go-to bikepacking bike is my Longitude and I always thought my next bike would be a gravel bike.

Although fearing the next few months all I'll be able to do is ride the gloopy local trails I've just bought a rigid SS out of the classifieds as my lockdown bike. :-bd
Wait for me...

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