(As speeds increase, wind resistance matters more, so it’s possible that at time trial speeds, narrow tires are a little faster. In turn, a mountain bike suitable to many tailored trail networks can make riding simpler terrain, such as gravel roads, rather dull and slow-feeling. A 650B x 48 mm Rene Herse Switchback Hill Extralight tips the scales at just 413 g. Still, a set of Switchback Hills will weigh about 450 g more than our featherweight 700C x 26 Cayuse Pass (183 g each) – but that difference is little more than half a water bottle. If you are a road bike racer, then a gravel bike probably won’t work as your primary bike. The length of time ‘pedalling’ above 35 km/h will be a small percentage of most rides. Yes less aerodynamic steel bike with round tubes and wider tires IS slower than proper carbon aero bike with aero shaped tubes, aero wheels and 28mm tires. They are simply outstanding for a high-level gravel. On the other hand, if you ride slower than 22 mph, you’re probably faster on wider tires.). If the terminology you’re seeing looks like a foreign language mixed with marketing hype, you need this quick guide to bring you up to speed on the current state of gravel bikes – a 10,000ft view that won’t cover every possible brand or product, but rather a Cliff’s Notes version so you won’t make any bad purchase decisions. For two months now, I’ve had a custom steel bike built for brevets & gravel—thin tubes, low trail, mudguards, c/p brakes &c. And 38 mm Barlow Pass XL tyres (700c is easier to replace far from home than 650b—everything is a compromise). Suddenly, it no longer seems to be enough to want to ride a bike that will simply handle everything you throw at it on an adventure. Simply put, the better your tyre choice is for off-road use, the worse it’ll perform on smooth terrain. The position of a mountain bike is fairly fixed, while a dropbar offers up multiple hand (and body) positions to help swap things up on longer rides. Concernant les pneumatiques, le gravel est doté, selon les modèles, de pneus typés cyclo-cross allant de 36 mm à 45 mm. The euphoria about gravel bikes is hitting a snag: Many riders feel that their gravel bikes are slower than their road bikes. Here in Bali, you can be pedalling fast downhill for 40-60 minutes so the wheels noticeably help there. Up hill I feel like I’m going backwards. Fun, but a handful, to ride on deep gravel. From there, a narrower drop handlebar further reduces your frontal profile compared to the wide flat handlebar of a mountain bike. If you live in Norfolk, where hills are few and far between, your experience will bear little comparison with a rider setting off to the Lake District each week. Good to be reminded what real speed actually feels like.”. Still, what’s obvious is that most gravel bikes are at their best on terrain that sits between a two to four on our gravel scale. The particular gravel bike I had was too long and slack. For the rest of us, bikes like the sub-17-pound Open U.P.P.E.R. Im running cyclocross legal 32c tires tubeless and works well. They did three tests: on a roller, on the road and on gravel. Pronounced /wAH-chUH/ The Inside Look Whether it’s speed for race day or versatility for the weekend escape into the unknown, Watia is the newest, most wildly capable titanium gravel bike Litespeed has ever created. I really like the tires very much. My fastest brevets were on the Domane (not by much). I’m still learning how to ride this bike. 650b or 27.5in comes to us from touring bikes… Taking the increasing speed of gravel riding and racing alone, the evidence for the importance of aerodynamics was clear. Paris Roubaix is out of my league, but that said, my local roads aren’t getting any better. A Specialized Crux would probably have felt massively better also, but allowed wider tyres (still no useful mounts). The rest of us know that swapping the heavy, stiff ‘gravel’ tires for a set of supple, fast-rolling tires will make your gravel bike as fast as a road bike. Of course, most already have a road bike, but that one has outdated rim brakes. Plus la section de votre pneu sera importante et plus le pilotage sera confortable. So often we joke that gravel bikes are just old mountain bikes from a time that’s now in the rearview mirror. The contenders are Cannondale Topstone Carbon, Canyon Grail CF SLX, Specialized Diverge Comp 2021, and titanium Enigma Escape (my own build). Base Build: Critical Cycles has made it easy for most shoppers on a budget by devising an uncomplicated wonder that can go for ages without requiring maintenance. These days, the best gravel bikes can roll on either standard 700c wheels or smaller 650b hoops wrapped in chunkier tyres. As you’ve mentioned before, skinny high pressure tires feel faster because they don’t deform over every bump and transmit every vibration to the rider. Really smooth out the poor road surfaces up in Ontario, and I have not noticed any diminution in speed on my rides. ~ Hed SL+ where I installed your superlative Barlow Pass Ultralights running at some 50 PSI. I look forward to running 42 mm tyres when I know I’ll always be on gravel. This bike handles great but is not at all versatile. And that is good for everybody – even for the bike industry! There was also the “RVing” TV campaign – were neither of those effective? Shopping for a gravel bike in 2019? I think those times are pretty good considering the bike, but I clearly get the feeling it's not made for what I'm doing with it and it's holding me back. The 14% average step shown above for the Force/Red AXS 44 x 10-50 (our Mullet Build) is a little misleading- gears 2-12 are the exact same as 1-11 on a 13% step average Force1 10-42. A mountain bike suspension fork adds an easy kilogram compared to a common rigid alternative. Anywhere. Domane: very comfortable—even on rough dirt. Why the bike biz folks don’t create a “Got milk?” type of marketing scheme to appeal to potential new customers is a mystery to me. What about rider fatigue? I need more data before I can be definitive, but, despite my perceptions, it seems that a steel bike with fat tyres, heavier than my carbon and titanium bikes, and with a big box under the handlebars, has made no difference to my overall speed, and may have increased it. At first glance not that different from a cyclocross bike, gravel bikes are actually distinct – and often closer to an endurance road bike. I’m surprised that the bike industry is turning its back on these would-be cyclists. Not unlike a road bike, a gravel bike prioritises pedalling efficiency with the assumption that the wheels will roll over the terrain they’re pointing at. All of that is a worthwhile trade-off if you’re predominately riding off-road, but it becomes an obvious nuisance when it’s an unneeded feature. The answer is: ‘It depends.’ There are a few things that can make a gravel tire slower: Aerodynamics of the bike: Wider tires catch a tiny bit more wind, but a 10 mm increase in frontal area doesn’t make a huge difference. While a modern mountain bike puts the rider in a position that more easily allows the maneuverability of those wheels: a higher front end and rearward weight distribution mean the front wheel is easier to loft over obstacles, while the hand position of a flat bar is more favourable for fighting a front wheel that’s being bumped offline. So if gravel bikes are effectively where mountain bikes came from, then why not just pick a modern mountain bike? The thinking seems to go like this: Now that many riders have bought a gravel bike, let’s convince them that they need a new road bike. Motor and battery: the right choices for a gravel e-bike That is why we coined the term all-road bikes and don’t call them ‘gravel’ bikes. Global Cycling Networks even did some – admittedly unscientific – testing: They ran a set of racing tires and a set of gravel tires. For example, have you ever seen a wind vane stay totally steady in any kind of breeze? Sure, it’s not the ideal gravel riding destination, but it was the ideal gravel bike testing destination, encompassing a wide variety of terrain and proving the impressive versatility of gravel bikes. In my experience, even in fast group rides – like the early stages of this year’s PBP – I have no problems keeping up on my Rene Herse with 650B x 42s. All 700c. In a typical scenario, riding off-road is a little difficult for some people to handle. Mine is as fast or faster than my road racing bike, better on gravel than any “gravel” bike, and also makes a better commuter than any “commuter” bike. In fact, it’s usually about double that of an average rider. ~ ENVE 4.5ARs where unfortunately I cannot use your tires so run 30mm nominal Schwalbe Pro Ones Tubeless (actual 32mm mounted) which I run at about 60 PSI. For loaded touring or more trail riding a 40t or 38t chainring can make sense while more road-biased riders have gone as high as 46t. At Bike-Discount you'll find a wide selection of high quality Gravel bikes - also known as Adventure or Allroad bikes - leading manufacturers such as Cube, FOCUS, Breezer or Fuji. After all, gravel roads are roads, and there is no need to change the position just because the ground is a bit rougher. But my overall average speeds on these bikes on commutes, brevets, tours, &c on asphalt & gravel, were more or less the same. With two bags on a low-rider front rack it can even go camping, filling the long lost “sport touring” role. Surprisingly good loaded with bike packing gear. The larger step from the 42t to 50t cog throws off the average, but this extra massive cog allows for even lower gearing for the steepest climbs. That said, I’d be lying if I didn’t lust after that mountain bike for the trails that surrounded our accommodation. Another way to look at it... A bike frame weighs 4-6lbs. Pick what, how, and where you want to ride. It comes with a 4130 double butted Cro-Mo steel frame that can tolerate both rough and smooth rides. Can the bike industry please make the randonneur their next big thing? The big diameter wheels feel a bit ponderous, hard to accelerate (650b would alleviate this). Maintaining an average speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph) on a mountain bike, over rocky and technical terrain, would put you in a very elite category. Many gravel bikes have a more upright riding position, which is less aero. It is great that road bikes and gravel bikes are good at different things. Grading gravel feature, too expected to a roller, on the hand. 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