Gravel bike - useful or marketing?

ishaw

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I'm looking at reducing the fleet and wondering if a gravel bike is something to consider as a do it all (ish) bike?

I have an old disc only rock lobster team ti frame that I'm not sure what to do with. Considering a gravel conversion, 29er wheels, slimmer tyres and drop bars. My theory is that I would end up with a bike I could ride on road and off (local downs are mostly gravel).

Is this a worthwhile venture or am I best having an mtb and road bike?

For the conversion I assume I'm going to need road disc brakes which is annoying as I have some road brake/shifters though they aren't amazing (sora or tiagra iirc).

As most if my stash is mtb, are there road shifter options that work with mtb mechs? I'd prefer to go 10sp and have mechs already (sram or shimano). Can't really afford to buy a groupset for what would essentially be a project/trial.

I have everything else I'd need, advice on whether its worth it, whether suspension or rigid forks are best, also if 26, 27.5 or 29er wheels are best on a frame designed for 26er and nobbly tyres?
 

d8mok

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Re:

I purchased a gravel bike in May this year as I was finding myself doing much more gravel type riding during lockdown. Up until that point I maybe did once or twice a week max on gravel using my 2012 Cannondale flash but as the miles piled on it started to show its age and mileage.

So i bit the bullet and bought a Ti Enigma and I absolutely love it. Since end of May until now I’ve done 1500 miles and it’s just such a great type of bike. I’ve not touched my road bike since , and have only ridden trail bikes a handful of times.

The thing that’s great is that it’s almost as fast as a road bike on the road , almost as fast as a MTB on local trails (not on proper chunky stuff obviously) and is untouchable on gravel. I’ve ridden it down red routes , done 30’mile road rides in rain , and blasting the canal endlessly.
 

My_Teenage_Self

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Could you not use Avid BB7 road calipers?

I'm still of the opinion that a gravel bike is a 90s XC mountain bike with drop bars, so I can't see any reason your idea wouldn't work fine. I almost went that way, but went for a modern 29er XC bike as I do very little road miles.
 

greencat

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Does it have to have drop bars? It seems to me you could make the changes you want without having to change key parts of your groupset if you could make that compromise.

I think I may have even seen a recent gravel bike with flat bars. Edit:
https://www.cyclesuk.com/content/meet-s ... -bike.aspx

But I'm with TS, I reckon a gravel bike is little more than a 90s MTB or hybrid with drop bars.
 

mattr

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ishaw":186a47e4 said:
As most if my stash is mtb, are there road shifter options that work with mtb mechs? I'd prefer to go 10sp and have mechs already (sram or shimano). Can't really afford to buy a groupset for what would essentially be a project/trial.
Yes, shimano 10 speed road mechs will work with shimano *9* speed mtb mechs to give you a 10 speed set up. Pull ratios changed between 9 and 10 speed mtb, and 10 and 11 speed road. 9 speed everything works as well.
SRAM 10 speed gear is (as far as i know) pretty interchangeable.

I did a hybrid mtb/road thing in the late 90's, long low racy steel mtb, drop bars.

It was horrific, too long, too low (and i was racing a lot of road then).
Check if you can achieve your normal road position with the frame you have (short steep stem!).

BB7 (or 5) road disc calipers will mate up with your road shifter, no issues at all. Just get some really good cables.

Check the clearance on your frame, i know some 26" mtb frames have some clearance issues with larger cx size tyres (700x35c+). 650B with a gravelly 48 mm tyre *might* give you better clearance and more comfort.
 

ishaw

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Re:

I have a ti 29er already and use it the most of all my bikes. My thinking is that as I need to downsize, I could do away with a bike if a gravel bike would cover a couple of bases. I'm torn between using my road bike (a nice di2 equipped cannondale) as I don't really ride it at all, barely at all since getting it, or whether to try and build something with what I have, or let it all go and buy something with the funds.

Having read various threads and also of the opinion that a gravel bike is little more than an xc bike with drop bars, thought about giving making one a go. Will it work, no idea, want to keep the spend down just in case it doesn't.
 

CassidyAce

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Re:

d8mok":sxt0v93e said:
I purchased a gravel bike in May this year as I was finding myself doing much more gravel type riding during lockdown. Up until that point I maybe did once or twice a week max on gravel using my 2012 Cannondale flash but as the miles piled on it started to show its age and mileage.

So i bit the bullet and bought a Ti Enigma and I absolutely love it. Since end of May until now I’ve done 1500 miles and it’s just such a great type of bike. I’ve not touched my road bike since , and have only ridden trail bikes a handful of times.

The thing that’s great is that it’s almost as fast as a road bike on the road , almost as fast as a MTB on local trails (not on proper chunky stuff obviously) and is untouchable on gravel. I’ve ridden it down red routes , done 30’mile road rides in rain , and blasting the canal endlessly.
Interesting. I've wondered about getting a gravel bike over the last few months but I always end up scratching my head over whether it would be any improvement over one of my rigid 1990s 26-ers. The similarity between the two is often commented on, in which case, why bother getting a gravel bike? I can see some advantages to a gravel bike - disc brakes and faster on the roads, mainly - but fatter, 26" tyres offer more cushioning and, presumably, more grip on, you know, actual gravel. So, is there a net gain with a gravel bike or is it just swings and roundabouts?
 

mdvineng

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Since 1965 I've ridden alsorts of bikes on allsorts of terrain and they all work to a point. Some might give you better comfort, some might give you better experience but even an abondened rod brake will work on gravel, it isn't a magic surface. :D
 

ishaw

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I'm thinking it may not be worth the effort. I want to build a bike I can ride to work on, but on the way home do some extra miles. The downs are close by and are mainly gravel or mud, so maybe I should just build the bike up as a 26er. The frame is nice, I have some spinergy xyclone disc wheels with yellow spokes, some tidy Reba u-turns in yellow, all would play nicely with the yellow decals on the frame.

Normally I'd try to make the bike as mint as possible before using, but maybe this is the time to just put it all together and use. It will spend hours locked up at work and perhaps having a frame with patina (why did they lacquer the frame??) will encourage me to care less about scratches and scrapes and ride more?
 

mdvineng

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Re: Re:

ishaw":85hpch1g said:
I'm thinking it may not be worth the effort. I want to build a bike I can ride to work on, but on the way home do some extra miles. The downs are close by and are mainly gravel or mud, so maybe I should just build the bike up as a 26er. The frame is nice, I have some spinergy xyclone disc wheels with yellow spokes, some tidy Reba u-turns in yellow, all would play nicely with the yellow decals on the frame.

Normally I'd try to make the bike as mint as possible before using, but maybe this is the time to just put it all together and use. It will spend hours locked up at work and perhaps having a frame with patina (why did they lacquer the frame??) will encourage me to care less about scratches and scrapes and ride more?


Perfecto. 1.95<2.1 tyres and off you go, enjoy
 
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