CyclingTips Digest: Full Suspension Road Bikes, Gravel Field Test, Tire Inflators, & More

Apr 20, 2020 at 16:57
by Sarah Lukas  


What's going on in the curly bar world? CyclingTips Digest showcases articles from our sister site, CyclingTips. In each installment, you might find endurance coverage, power-to-weight ratios, gravel bike tech and, of course, lycra.





2020 Marin Gestalt X10 gravel bike review: The wheelie machine
By: Caley Fretz

The Marin Gestalt X10 is a mountain biker’s gravel bike. It’s fun and flickable, aware that a bit of instability can be enjoyable, and designed for a rider whose range of terrain is almost wide enough to necessitate flat bars and suspension.

That makes it something of a love-it or hate-it bike. It’s not traditional. It’s not for everyone. But if it’s for you, it’s an impressively affordable way to put a smile on your face.

(Read more.)





Bonkers bikes of Paris-Roubaix: A brief history
By: Iain Treloar

At Paris-Roubaix, more than any other single race in professional cycling, technical innovation is given free rein in the pursuit of a decisive advantage. The rider and the mechanic’s foe is the same – the brutal cobbles of northern France – and the bikes that are ridden there are sometimes innovative, sometimes bizarre, and perpetually fascinating.

(Read more.)





How to buy the best gravel bike under US$2,000
By: Caley Fretz

Even as the cost gap between affordable bikes and top-tier bikes widens, the performance gap is closing. Affordable bikes are better than they’ve ever been.

This is particularly true with gravel bikes. A good $1,500 gravel bike gets you almost all the key attributes that come with a $5,000 gravel bike, or a $10,000 gravel bike. You get hydraulic disc brakes, lots of tire clearance, and solid geometry. You get a reasonably light frame and parts that, in general, are just as functional as those that are far more expensive. Ride quality doesn’t have to greatly suffer as price drops, because ride quality on gravel bikes is overwhelmingly influenced by tires, which are relatively cheap.

The law of diminishing returns is in full effect, and, in our opinion, the performance/dollar curve really starts to bend somewhere around $2,000.

(Read more.)





Solar-powered sunglasses: POC Aspire Solar Switch review
By: James Huang

POC’s latest eyewear innovation incorporates a solar-powered liquid crystal panel in the lens that instantly darkens or lightens depending on the conditions. It’s a super slick idea, and the technology is truly ingenious given there are no batteries required. However, while the concept holds a lot of promise, the real-world delivery has a little ways to go yet.

(Read more.)





Battle of the electric tire inflators: Fumpa vs Xiaomi Mijia
By: Dave Rome

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Fumpa portable air pump, a handheld device that lets you accurately check and top up tire pressure with the press of a button. As one of my most loved products of 2019, I regularly use it instead of a floor pump, it’s become my go-to travel pump/gauge, and it’s the common envy of other tech editors. And so when I stumbled across the bargain-priced Xiaomi Mijia (or “Mi” for short) electric tire inflator, I ordered one and put it to the test.

If you haven’t already, please check out my in-depth review of the Fumpa and miniFumpa air pumps which goes into detail about what these devices do and don’t do.

(Read more.)





New Mercedes-AMG road bike is latest in a long line of dead-eyed automotive collabs
By: Iain Treloar

In the flurry of excitement and trepidation prior to this week’s Australian F1 Grand Prix – which culminated in the masterfully handled last-gasp cancellation of the whole shebang – Mercedes-AMG Petronas driver Valtteri Bottas quietly lobbed an expensive bit of merch into the ether.

That’s right: for an as-yet-unspecified price – although expect it to be five figures – you, too, could show your love for your favourite F1 team by owning a rude-looking road bike splattered with Mercedes logos.

(Read more.)






122 Comments

  • 135 8
 That bianchi is still more sophisticated than an orange
  • 29 22
 Why complicate something so simple?
Orange Bikes Work
  • 51 3
 @TDMAN: the penny farthing worked..
  • 37 2
 @TDMAN: unicycle mountain biking is a thing and is far less complicated, but it doesn't mean it's a good idea.
  • 6 9
 @TDMAN: do they still break and ride like ass. Probably...
  • 1 4
 @Bustacrimes: haven't those died in the Spanish Influenza in early XX?
  • 1 2
 @felimocl: the idea of a 90° Seat and Head angle, is not so much progressive... and should I say "Enduro"?

Nevertheless, Kudos for those who ride in the woods with such equipment!
  • 9 5
 @m33pm33p: Please submit your question to Mr. Joe Barnes.
Better still... look into some of his footage. Clearly the motion may get you sick at some point. Please... held a bag close to your mouth if you feel dizzy

Thank you!
  • 2 4
 @felimocl: Tell that to the guy here who rides skinnys on a unicycle with...yes....clipless pedals...I hate that guy (only because I would be dead in 20' or less)
  • 1 2
 @TDMAN: it's definitely not "enduro",but a short travel full sus and efficient pedaler smells a bit like downcountry to me!
  • 4 0
 @felimocl: It's awkward, sure, but Kris Holm's unicycle segments in the New World Disorder series are still some of my favorites. :-) The guy's a legend!
  • 4 1
 @TDMAN: Orange bikes are surprisingly expensive!
  • 2 1
 @TDMAN: Orange: "Why can't we win races in the last decade?"
  • 1 0
 @felimocl: Why wouldn't MUni be a good idea? It is cheap, doesn't require much maintenance (if any) and risk of equipment or body damage is slim. It is good fun and because speed is comparable to the pace trail runners are going, it is easier to fit on hiking or mixed-uses trails too.

@NorCalNomad: Orange hasn't been supporting major teams recently. When they did, they did well. The Dirt Magazine team has never been one for top results (other than Vanessa Quin, obviously. They didn't do worse on Orange than they did on Propain, Norco etc.

@TDMAN: Seat tube angle on a MUni is whatever you want it to be.
  • 1 0
 @boozed: well, I think all MTB scene is overpriced... why do you say it is expensive? Because it has a single pivot, and for such, the value you sense, is not related to the price tag?
  • 1 0
 @NorCalNomad: weeellll... we could find a long list of brands, don't we?
But people buy bikes that win races?
Is that a lack of self estime or just wannabe?
  • 136 13
 I'd rather see gravel bike stuff on here than e bike ish all day!
  • 14 7
 Have an upvote.
  • 15 3
 Yah, drop bar stuff is super relevant on PB.

(Now where is my moustache wax and rapha gilet)
  • 10 42
flag thenotoriousmic (Apr 21, 2020 at 11:27) (Below Threshold)
 Is that a joke? At least with ebikes it’s still a mountain bike. There’s absolutely no excuse for road bikes on pinkbike.
  • 14 1
 If you are noticing the low cost of a new full suspension bikes (under $2500 for a bunch of great bikes,) the availability of burly forks for less and on cheaper bikes, and a ton more 4 piston brakes for less then you can thank e-bikes. Suddenly you can get equipment tough enough to go hard for not a lot of money. You might not be interested in the electrical frame, but the brakes and drivetrain and suspension on those really beasts are making all of our bikes better
  • 2 1
 @thenotoriousmic: Actually e-bikes are half motorbikes...
  • 38 2
 nothing screams more roadie than an electric tire inflator
  • 33 1
 To avoid that their tiny arms get an aerodynamic disadvantage Smile
that being said, I am not exactly Arni.. and ride a lot of road haha!

but still wtf
  • 7 4
 Every racing team mechanic uses one. It might not be such a bad idea...
  • 9 0
 @DavidSA: that is totally okay for a racing team mechanic if you have to check 10-15 bikes every day + multiple spare wheels.. but for me.. well no, keep it simple and keep on pumping Smile
  • 4 0
 Maybe a helpful product for fat lazy asses such as myself ? Don‘t know, never tried one, do they work OK ? Maybe also something for those days where you setup the bike ? Or general tinkering around with the tire pressures ?

Or...am I getting road-virus ?
  • 8 0
 Great! Now i have something I can properly pair with my Enve $700 pressure gauge.
  • 1 0
 whatever, I use a compressor when I'm in the garage. This is more niche product than that but who cares. If it wasn't so loud, and expensive, I'd consider it down the line.
  • 1 0
 @dilberteng: I use an electric pump for my car and my SUP - set the desired pressure and let it whirr away until it cuts out - easy. But for my bike it feels like I can do it in seconds with a track pump and may not be the time saver.
  • 1 0
 I can see the appeal for those who fly with their bike often. I bring a mini pump and a stand alone gauge currently, but it sucks to air up a 29x2.5 tires with a mini pump.
  • 1 0
 @likehell: Tell me what is a good pump who I could not destroy or at least can I buy spares? Most f*cking pumps I had are made cheap, even the expensive and brands who are known for quality. As an former CNC engi and now a member of the annoying QM staff. I can tell you they will destroy them self if you really need to use them frequently. Even the best and pump I find is way to crap tolerance wise.
I can see why someone want to have that.
  • 1 0
 @Serpentras: oh QM guys are the worst.. they find every "Haar in der Suppe" lol
I got an SKS Airworx since maybe 2007 and a Park Tool one.. they still do the job, so I don't really know about super expensive pumps.. bought some spares from Parktool as well.
  • 1 0
 @Austink: Exactly! The Fumpa Pump takes care of it in no time at all.
  • 3 0
 @Serpentras: The Topeak Joeblow, despite its cheap price, is shockingly durable. In our shop, they seem to go a solid two years of daily use before the seals start going. Should last a home user until the rubber seals start degrading from time.
  • 3 0
 @Serpentras: @likehell: agree big time about the topeak joe blow. Ive had mine for 10 years and its still going strong. And still putting out accurate pressure. Buy one with a metal base for added durability.
  • 2 0
 @mnorris122:I've used my yellow Topeak Joeblow weekly for almost 10 years. The seals are starting to get leaky but it still gets the job done. The gauge still works. I would definitely buy another one.
  • 1 0
 @mnorris122: Well a floor pump is something different hehe. I also need a new one, maybe the joeblow will it be.
Pumps for trail side repairs are my problem. I have a working one for less then 15 USD but I need to replace the whole thing because I can't find seals. I hate pumps who don't have a clamp with a tube to prevent damage...
  • 10 0
 I have a gravel, a fatbike and a 29er enduro bike. All are great machines ! My fatbike is my main bike for the average mileage, my enduro is the fun mobile but my gravel is the only one go over 150 miles with the smile. I cant understand how many pinkbikers oppose these bikes.
  • 10 0
 I agree, I can't understand while so many Pinkbikers oppose gravel bikes. They must be new to cycling. I have a road bike, touring bike, have had numerous MTB bikes, gravel bike, and my winter beater single speed MTB that I just put drop bars on. When I used to MTB all the time, I used it to ride gravel, which is fine, but a drop bar gravel bike is so much better. Our local bike club has leased a government property for 30 years, and it has a great trail system. The problem is that there was always a small group of riders that did all the trail work, whether maintaining, building, or constructing obstacles, and the bulk of the trail users couldn't be bothered helping out, they just wanted to ride. You only can take so much of that, so the MTB sits at home and since I just want to get out and ride, I just grab either the road bike or most of the time the gravel bike and off I go. Doesn't matter if I want to ride 40km or 160km. I can just take off and ride all of the fantastic gravel roads we have here in SW Ontario. No more replacing derailleur's and hangers, constant chain cleaning and no poison ivy. Plus when riding the quiet gravel roads, oncoming traffic waves.
  • 2 0
 @bowser07: Speaking of gravel bikes, would you guys have recommendations? I’m considering a Salsa Warbird or a Nicolai Argon CX. The latter is an entirely different beast, probably stiff as can be, but I’ve always wanted to own a Nicolai.
  • 1 0
 @fjm35: A bit over a year ago I ordered a Lynskey GR270. I wanted to just get one of their online specials where they include a carbon fork and headset with a frame, but since they always have a coupon discount on their website, I thought I was better off getting a complete bike.
They also offer free global shipping, and since at the time of my order, they offered a 30% coupon discount on everything, I upgraded to their Ti stem and seatpost.
A few of my riding buddies have taken advantage of the Lynskey specials on-line.
Ti rides really nice on gravel.
  • 1 0
 @fjm35: à part si tu veux gouter au rêve chez nicolai, il y a beaucoup d'alternatives très sympas et pas trop chères.

Les decathlon triban 520 sont supers bien faits, y a des choses très bien chez marin bike aussi (nicasio ou gestalt en mode route ou four corners en mode offroad). Les genesis croix de fer (plus route/voyage) ou vagabond (certains ont fait la french divide dessus) sont aussi très réussis.
Il y a enfin de nombreuses montures chez planetx (bootzipper, ranger par ex) ou vitus (substance) toutes très bien pensées .

Plus cher tu vas chez specialized (sequoia / diverge) ou kona (rove /sutra).


Pour revenir sur tes idées initiales, salsa propose des produits reconnus, mais tu peux avoir un vélo complet pour le prix du cadre seul.

Un gravel ne remplacera pas un vtt en vrai tout terrain, faut pas rêver. Par contre c'est confortable, économique a l'usage et rigolo, surtout par rapport à un velo de route plus classique.
  • 1 0
 @bowser07: Thanks a lot. I will look into this. In an ideal world I'd get a Moots, so yet Ti would be an option, and Lynskey seems more affordable.
  • 1 0
 @legrandzebre: Merci pour tes recommandations. Je serais prêts à y investir un peu plus si c'est vraiment le vélo de mes rêves. À voir, je vais m'immerger dans des rapports de teste. Je garde mon VTT, c'est sûr !
  • 1 0
 @bowser07: because in reality drop bars with high stack make zero sense, especially for people riding up right. They are sketchy as fuk on any turning radius below 100m. I will never understand what is the problem with fitting 37-42c tires on a XC hardtail with a a flat bar. If you want to go Aero you just grab the bars next to the stem and wait for it... bend your elbows!

But stay with me, I think gravel bikes make way more sense for majority of population than road bikes. In the same way as Downcountry bikes make more sense than XC racers. Why would one mess with their lower back, wrists and neck?
  • 2 0
 For me, the idea of a gravel bike is silly. The engineers have already figured out the best way to put a bicycle in rough terrain. It's called a mountain bike. A hard tail seems like the correct choice for gravel roads. Make it a 29er, put a 100 or 80mm fork on it and go ride. Gravel bikes seem more like a roadie thing to me. Like a hold over from when road snobs would raise their noses at mountain bikers.
  • 1 0
 @Poulsbojohnny: it’s down country for roadies. In mtb down country is rising noses to Enduro and XC at the same time.
  • 1 0
 @Poulsbojohnny: GMBN did a comparison of a XC bike vs a Gravel bike. I remember the times being similar, until the path got slightly rough. Then the XC bike was wayyyy better.
  • 5 0
 As a mtb’er turned full roady I appreciate this content. Rode 100 miles on Sunday. The fun of road riding is turning your body into an engine, seeing how far and fast you can go, being out on nice quiet country roads early in the morning. I still like mtb too but the roads are better than most trails nearby for me.
  • 3 0
 I guess it depends on your local riding, but I could never ever imagine favouring the roadie over mtb, unless I maybe lived somewhere truly mountainous with no good trails nearby.

Sometimes I'll get into a phase where I only ride road and ignore the mtb for a couple weeks, and do enjoy it a lot to be fair, but when I get back on the mountain bike I think "man road biking is freaking lame."
  • 12 4
 I don't understand road biking.
  • 52 0
 It's where you ride a road bike on the road and go along the road until you get to another road then you ride on that road until eventually you get back to your road. It's ok though as you get to look awesome in spandex.
  • 6 1
 Its definitely a hard sell for us MTBers...for me its mind-numbing, which I like on occasion. Headphones in, find quiet roads, turn the cranks.
  • 2 11
flag fielonator (Apr 21, 2020 at 10:47) (Below Threshold)
 I think Roadies have missed their own point. Great for covering distance on smooth surfaces, i.e. roads. Not much fun though. So they're for going somewhere you either can't get to or don't want to get to off road, or in a car. Or public transport. Not for fun though. No fun at all.
  • 1 0
 Watch this vimeo.com/42014522 to hear a different point of view.
  • 4 0
 @fielonator: try and chain gang, you’ll likely spend the entire time shitting yourself. Although “entire time” = the short time until you’re dropped
  • 8 0
 I like the chill aspect of it. Sometimes I want to be outside but I don't want to drive to a trailhead or even go mountain biking. With my road bike I can just start pedaling right from my front door and maintain a nice lazy pace for a couple hours. There's a couple headphone solutions that let you hear traffic as well as your audio, so I usually pop on a podcast and go spin around.
  • 1 0
 It gets me on a bike more than mountain biking would alone. Might be different if I lived slightly closed to the trails, but yeah.
  • 6 0
 I recently road my road bike for the first time in along time and it was fun. There’s something Satisfying about how fast you can go under your own power. It’s so efficient and you can cover a lot of ground. I prefer mtb, but it was nice to go for a spin on skinny wheels rocking the Lycra.
  • 3 0
 @C0yotekid: I feel I've made my point badly. I get the gravel thing, I ride my road bike to work as there's no offroad route. If there was I'd probably use a mountainbike with or without drop bars depending on the type of offroad and the distance. It would be fun too. My road commute isn't fun, it's an alternative to driving. Good for training and clearing the head after a day at work, but not fun.
  • 1 0
 @gdharries: So, he was riding extreme and had a bad accident that prevented him from sending it. But why let that stop you? There is more to mountain biking than big jumps. Single track and trail riding is much fun. Or, if you have gone full roadie, buy a gravel bike...

I have a road bike, I've done STP. They are really fast compared to mtb and truly fun to ride. But it takes for ever to get a good workout, and you have to ride on roads with cars. Too many folks get creamed by cars on a regular basis to make it worth the risk to me. If i lived somewhere in the country where I could go miles and miles without seeing a car I'd probably ride mine. As it is, it has been sitting in my basement for years now. Maybe when I move out of suburbia it will get use again. Until then, I can play as hard as I want in the dirt and the only risk is what I impart to myself.
  • 1 0
 @Poulsbojohnny: I think Dan (the guy in the video) is back mountain biking again. My goal in sharing that video was to simply show the joy of road riding. Too many cyclists discount it as boring and pointless, but it's actually quite fun.

I agree on the car thing though. It's why I try to stay away from busier roads as much as possible.
  • 3 0
 I remember reading an interview with one of the original designers of the VPP suspension from Outland bikes. He designed it to help road bikers in the Paris-Roubaix race. I don't know how receptive a roadie would be to suspension on their bikes.
  • 5 1
 The cost of the Mercedes bikes are ridiculous, some random frame brand with a AUD$8,000.00 paint job and that's cost to Mercedes dealers.
  • 2 8
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 21, 2020 at 5:35) (Below Threshold)
 Spec Venge McLaren costed 189k or something. But I'd rather pay 8k extra for McLaren logo than AMG or BMW M. I'd like a 50% off if someone wanted me to ride with these badges on. I know a few loaded riding folks, owning nice villas and cool cars and none of them would wear this wanker wannabe crap on their bikes. But some little new rich folks... oooooh yes.
  • 7 0
 The real question is, can anyone find the mold for that frame on AliExpress? I bet you can get the same frame for under $600
  • 2 0
 It is not about selling a bike for car manufactures. It's about spreading the carbon emissions over items produced. EU guidelines giving them a loophole if they can't already sell extra emissions to other companies. Non of this stuff makes sense since no one is actually reducing there carbon output but "sells it" and covers it up to look good on paper.
  • 1 0
 I would hope that the frame is designed and manufactured in-house, after all they have the composites and aerodynamics expertise that, if you believe a certain angry 5 year old on youtube, doesn't exist in the bike industry...

And if the F1 team doesn't manufacture the frame, what is the point of even buying the bike?
  • 2 0
 I have a Marin Gesalt - I bought it as a cheap new road bike to go on my trainer over winter. It is now the bike I have "ridden" the most miles on in ages - only my 16 year old Cover hardtail comes close.

Its cheaply made & looks it but it was also cheap to buy. No idea if it has the twitchy handling described as its never seen tarmac let alone gravel. Doubt it ever will.
  • 2 0
 Good man. Ride what you've got an enjoy it. Drops and a fixed seatpost must be scary on good singletrack though. Fun scary.
  • 13 9
 AMG bikes - as if cars weren't enough of a prime wanker certificate
  • 5 2
 BMW M would be even worse, the owners wouldn't be able to use hand turn signals
  • 32 3
 @crashtor: if you like this AMG bike then you may have Covid 19 since one of the most unique symptoms of the disease is a loss of taste.
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Haha, this one got me, I'm going to be using this one for a while.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: well fortunately that's not the case
  • 2 0
 Also I happen to be italian, so liking anything remotely related to the Mercedes f1 team would get charged with high treason, on the same level as putting pineapple on pizza. Now if you excuse me I'll have to get back to my respectable mafioso business.
  • 2 1
 @crashtor: Get an Alfa Romeo and start repairing it
  • 1 0
 @crashtor: I dont know what the issue is with pineapple on pizza. I love it and proud. Everyone just want to get on the bandwagon.
  • 3 0
 I had the U2 version of that tyre inflator back in the day - it came with a free copy of their latest album.
  • 2 1
 I've got 3 gravel bikes 1983 Ritchey 1993 stumpjumper 1996 bianchi No drop bars, no clipless, no spandex. All is right in the world
  • 2 0
 The article about suspension on road bikes was fun. I wasn't aware of that part of the history.
  • 1 0
 Crazy fun tech!
  • 2 0
 Iain Treloar is a gifted writer! Amazing stuff from him, as always.
  • 2 0
 Careful, specialized might use you for this article...
  • 1 0
 Need a electric shock pump inflator, instead of tiring out my jerk off muscles. Ha
  • 1 0
 You can drink a beer, a whisky or a lemonade when its time. Why dont you ride different bikes ?
  • 1 0
 A gravel bike can do light offroad and explore unwaited places ! Were not in the roadies territories ! ;-)
  • 9 12
 Does anyone here understand Gravel Bikes? Serious question (I understand the risks of asking a real question here).

Is anyone coming from riding another discipline? Or is it the 2020 version of signing up for a Triathlon - getting new people into a sport that has a community and toys to buy?
  • 49 1
 Mountain biking is more fun when you're in better shape. Gravel riding is great exercise when trail conditions suck. Far more enjoyable than riding on the side of the highway. I don't know how this is confusing for people.

They also make great commuters (anti DUI machines)
  • 6 0
 I live in Steamboat Springs, CO. We are a "gravel paradise" - endless farm / dirt roads for days. Having the fatter/knobbier tires definitely smooths things out and makes pedaling these rutted/loose/gravelly/washboarded/dirt-piled roads enjoyable and fun. I have the Canyon Grail AL which is mostly road geo with larger tire clearance because it's basically my road/gravel bike. This type of bike works for me - I'm not sure about the more "mountain-inspired" geo gravel bikes - they wouldn't work as well on my road approaches and would be less efficient for my dirt-road riding. But I'm sure there are places with lots and lots of chill dirt paths / singletrack would be fun on such a bike. Then again, I'd almost rather have a hardtail for that kind of riding...
  • 6 0
 I've got one. Love it. It's just a road bike with big tire clearance. I love the option to point it down any road, regardless of surface, that I come across.
  • 2 0
 I like mine, I've done some really good xc rides locally that I would never have done on my mtb (enduro full sus) and it does me fine as a road bike too.
  • 8 0
 They're best for stringing together mixed terrain rides here in the Northeast. It's pretty easy to work in some road, some dirt road, some forest road/doubletrack and light singletrack in or near most state parks or conservation areas. Easy to knock out ~20 miles on that kind of terrain in an hour and a half or so with a gravel bike. A road bike wouldn't stand up to the abuse and most mountain bikes would be slow/overkill.
  • 5 1
 Thanks for the serious replies.

I rode a cyclocross bike around some fireroads once and was frankly terrified of being so far over the front wheel with what felt like not enough tire for even golf ball sized rocks that we have here in SoCal.

Am I just a weenie?
  • 9 0
 @LA-Law: Cyclocross bikes have kinda twitchy front ends good for tight turns and maneuvering found in a cross race. The newer gravel bikes have stabler geo. When shopping these bikes, "gravel bike" is different than "cross bike"
  • 5 0
 I prefer my hardtail over a gravel bike. With XC tires it's pretty surprising how well you can keep up with groadies, and if you're doing a ride that involves trails, you'll have way more fun (and leave them in the dust if it's technical at all). For me the only good reason for a mountain biker to get a gravel bike is if you have a ton of actual dirt/gravel roads to use it on, not as a singletrack detour machine.
  • 2 0
 @LA-Law: Yes. Maybe a little bit.

Bear in mind if it's a CX race bike it has max 33c tires. Most gravel bikes are 32-50(!)c tires.

If you have a CX bike, you kind of have 90% of a gravel bike. See if you can fit some bigger rubber (IMO 35-40 is a sweetspot for a comfortable ride that lasts longer than a CX race. Failing that, air down your tires a bit. I run 40c at 45psi, which is a good balance IMO for the flattish gravel riding I mostly do.

Gearing is the other side. A CX race is a brutal fast paced kind of thing. If you're going slow you jump off and run. Gravel riding is more of a whole cloth type of ride. if you're going slow, shift down a gear. But maybe you've run out of gears on your CX bike and that's making things more unpleasant. This all depends on your local terrain - 80%+ of my local gravel (without hitting the MTB trails) is flatter than a pancake. But if I hit the mellow MTB trails or that 20% of dirt, I'm needing some low gear assistance.
  • 4 0
 @Jvhowube: Absolutely right. CX geometry tends to be pretty twitchy with head angles in the 72 degree range. Whereas the gravel bikes I've ridden are more in the 70-71 degree range. The bottom bracket also tends to be higher on CX bikes (~5-7mm), and the wheelbase a little shorter (~5-10mm) leading to a much more over the bars feeling going down a fast fire road on a CX bike.
  • 3 0
 @LA-Law:
As an owner of a standard geometry I hear what you are saying about the feeling once you are out on the dirt with a gravel or cyclocross bike. As mentioned, a lot of your feeling could be changed with larger tires, but it is also related to bike geometry.

The geometry on most gravel bikes, seems to be just endurance road geo, with a degree slacker headtube, a few mm longer chainstays, 0-10mm longer top tube and clearance for bigger tires. There are of course a few exceptions, but very few. The bikes with this geo are probably great for flatish gravel riding and gravel racing, but want to kill you once the going gets rough.

I feel we will see a slow trend towards where some of the more extreme gravel bikes are and they will settle in with a lot longer wheel base, head angles around 68 and top tube lengths meant to be run with short stems, like 50mm. There will always still be the current geo gravel bikes, because there are flat areas and people that race gravel. For those that want to go out, explore for long distances on logging roads, link through on some easier trails, while still being able to go down the asphalt with some semblance of efficiency, there will be more options. That is what I like to do on my gravel bike, and it will be a lot more enjoyable once I get the frame that is made for that purpose.
  • 1 0
 @LA-Law: There are a lot of steep ups and downs, and on a steep gravel downhill the road-bike geometry really is a big problem. Here in the Pacific Northwest much of our "gravel" riding is on mountain logging roads that sometimes have 25% or steeper grades. That's manageable on a paved road where you've got traction and there is seldom a sharp corner at the bottom. Much less so on a gravel road.

My gravel bike unfortunately has a non-standard seatpost, but I think a post with 3" of travel would be a big improvement for quite a bit of gravel bike terrain.
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 I got a gravel bike (Search XR Steel) to replace my older commuter (Crossrip) with something more of an all-rounder.

With 40c ReFuse tires it eats up the 20km commute, feels comfy & confidence-inspiring on hardpack & gravel and also loads up great for weekend riding trips from my back door, on- and off-tarmac.

It's also an obesity-fighting, sanity-saver with the current restrictions, with MTB trails too far away and my 160mm f /150mm r MTB way too much for the local forest/gravel trails.

It's actually surprised me how fun it is to ride over lightly rocky and rooty trails, really making it a drop-bar quiver killer.
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 The really quiet roads around here don't have great surfaces, and frankly some of the hills are so steep that going down them on my old road bike was frightening. My gravel bike is really like a 'tough road bike'. 650b for less harshness, not as fast as a road bike sure, but a lot more comfortable and stable which makes it great for doing long rides. Also I can take some creative shortcuts and go up gravel roads ect. If I am doing a serious cross country ride where I'm incorporating trails and the majority of the ride is off road, then my hard tail comes out to play. Funnily enough, I clock up more miles on the Gravel Bike than anything else minus the static trainer which has my old 2nd hand road bike on it now permanently.
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 Mountain bikers look at them as shit mountain bikes, instead of that look at them as road bikes with slightly bigger tyres so you can do a road ride on gravel roads instead of busy roads with lots of traffic.
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 Mapei, what a dominant team back then in the classics.
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 For a number of reasons...eeek
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 so road bikes just caught up with 1997 full sus mountain bikes ,, great
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 AMG 1CTR 0.0L
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 FUMPA.....haha.
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 Those POC glasses are the sickest things I've seen in a while.
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