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CyclingTips Digest: Gravel Suspension Forks, Silca's Phallic Computer Mount, A Sub-4 Kilogram Bike & More

Jun 4, 2021 at 12:31
by Sarah Moore  


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.




GALLERY: AMAZING IMAGES FROM THE GIRO STAGE WE NEVER SAW
By: MATT DE NEEF

It was set to be the toughest stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia. More than 5,500 metres of climbing over 212 km, with four monster climbs and the highest point in the race. While stage 16 was ultimately shortened due to bad weather, we still got an epic day’s racing.

The Passo Fedaia and Passo Pordoi were lopped out of the route, but the Passo Giau still provided plenty of drama. Not that we got to see it on TV. With helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft unable to fly, the host broadcasters were relying on 4G coverage to beam pictures of the race to the world.

(Read more.)
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CYCLING MEME CREATORS ARE HAVING A FIELD DAY WITH SILCA’S $175 COMPUTER MOUNT
By: DAVE ROME

Silca’s brand new 3D-printed titanium computer mount seems to have triggered the online bicycle world. Some hate how it looks, others think it should be lighter, many want accessories underneath, and then there’s the price. Oh, the price!

And while it may seem like Silca is trying to pull an S-Works and charge whatever dentists are willing to pay, the reality is that the selected method of manufacturing directly results in the astronomical price. This is extremely expensive technology with high-priced raw material. Bastion, cycling’s titanium-3D-printing veterans, produced similar mounts three years ago but never brought them to market because the price would offend.

(Read more.)
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NERD ALERT PODCAST: HOW MUCH MOUNTAIN BIKE IS TOO MUCH WHEN IT COMES TO GRAVEL BIKE GEOMETRY?
By: DAVE ROME

In this week’s Nerd Alert episode, tech editor Dave Rome has a chat with Australian custom builder extraordinaire Mark Hester of Prova Cycles.

Hester was a very early adopter of MTB-style geometry on gravel bikes, incorporating things like long front centers and shorter stems when most other brands — especially mainstream labels — were still using dimensions mostly borrowed from road racing machines. Yet as with anything bike-related, if a little bit of something is good, lots more of it surely makes it even better, right? Hester has some interesting thoughts on the idea, and you won’t want to miss hearing where he thinks things are going from here.

(Read more.)
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GALLERY: THE BEST OF THE 2021 HANDMADE BICYCLE SHOW AUSTRALIA, PART FOUR
By: DAVE ROME

Welcome to the fourth and final gallery covering the best bikes of the 2021 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia. And what a show it was!

This last gallery looks at bikes from a few builders and brands that are perhaps lesser-known on a global scale, but certainly no less interesting and/or skilled. Here we look at new creations from Gellie Cycles, Geisler Cycles, Bossi Bicycles, Egress, Curve Cycling and a little Irish creation from FiftyOne. Be sure to check out all past and present coverage from HBSA via the link.

(Read more.)
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SIX UNIQUE BRANDS THAT CAUGHT OUR EYE AT THE HANDMADE BICYCLE SHOW AUSTRALIA
By: DAVE ROME

The Handmade Bicycle Show Australia isn’t just a place for the country’s small builders to gather. The show has grown to become a showcase for a number of local component and accessory suppliers.

Amongst the likes of SRAM, Enve, Rapha, Schwalbe, DT Swiss, Syntace, Ale, Ortlieb, Abbey Bike Tools and many more, sat a handful of locally made and designed offerings.

(Read more.)




SECOND-GEN MRP BAXTER FORK ADDS MORE FUEL TO THE GRAVEL SUSPENSION FIRE
By: JAMES HUANG

Colorado-based suspension brand MRP isn’t as big or well-known as Fox, but its Baxter gravel bike suspension fork is following a similar trajectory. Initially launched in 2017 as a cut-down mountain bike suspension fork — just like the Fox 32 Step-Cast AX — the Baxter has been re-launched as a second-generation model that’s not only lighter and sleeker-looking, but also more compatible with modern drop-bar components, while offering better tire clearance, too.

The new chassis still features a conventional telescoping layout with 32 mm-diameter aluminum stanchions up top and cast magnesium lower legs. But as the upcoming AX appears to do, the new Baxter sports a slightly narrower stance and more gracefully tapered shape on the lowers for a more visually appealing aesthetic. Claimed weight with an uncut steerer tube has dropped from 1,590 g to a more reasonable 1,420 g, and that’s despite the steerer tube growing in length from 250 mm to 300 mm.

(Read more.)
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GEOFF KABUSH PREVIEWS NEW FOX 32 AX GRAVEL SUSPENSION FORK
By: JAMES HUANG

Remember the gravel suspension fork that Fox introduced back in 2017? Officially, it was called the 32 Step-Cast Adventure Cross (or 32 AX for short), and with up to 40 mm of travel, it was hyped as the next big thing in gravel riding. But in reality, it proved to be little more than a cut-down version of a cross-country mountain bike suspension fork that was unceremoniously obsoleted with the rise of so-called Boost hub spacing. Although it certainly earned a few devoted followers, its middling performance just wasn’t enough for most people to offset the substantial increase in weight and cost relative to a good rigid carbon fork and cushy high-volume tires.

(Read more.)
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YOU CAN NOW USE RATIO’S 12-SPEED GEARING UPGRADE WITH A 10-SPEED SRAM SHIFTER
By: DAVE ROME

Ratio Technology – the company that created a way to turn your SRAM 11-speed mechanical road shifter into a 12-speed SRAM Eagle shifter – has released two more closely-related products.

Firstly, Ratio has developed its own shifter cable spool that can be used as a replacement part, which also now opens up the conversion of 10-speed SRAM mechanical road shifters (in addition to the previous 11-speed) for use with Ratio’s 12-speed kits.

(Read more.)
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ALLIED CYCLE WORKS LAUNCHES GRAX: CHAIN LUBE OPTIMISED FOR GRAVEL
By: DAVE ROME

I can’t say I saw this one coming. The American boutique carbon frame maker, Allied Cycle Works, has jumped into the chain lube game with a wax-based drip product. And better yet, the lube is being marketed as one ideally suited to gravel riding and racing. The golden ages of gravel bikes and chain lube have come together. What a time to be alive.

Named Grax (short for “gravel wax”), the drip chain lube was designed and tested by Dr. Samuel Beckford, a postdoctoral fellow at the Nano Mechanics and Tribology lab at the University of Arkansas. Meanwhile, Allied Cycle Works’ racer Colin Strickland was the real-world tester for the product and its development iterations. And like many new chain lubes of today, Grax comes with a number of lofty claims.

(Read more.)
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A SUB-4 KG ROAD BIKE FOR EVERYDAY USE? BERK COMPOSITES SAYS SO
By: RONAN MC LAUGHLIN

As pro bikes become increasingly focused on disc brakes and aero integration, largely thanks to the UCI minimum weight limit remaining at 6.8kg, the weight weenies among us can be forgiven for feeling a bit marginalised or forgotten in the modern bike tech world. Good news, though: for some, weight is still the number one metric, and one such group is Berk Composites.

Berk Composites is a Slovenian company specialising in all things lightweight, including frames, saddles, seat posts, and even shoes. Berk has now combined its lightweight expertise and called in a few similarly weight weenie minded companies to create a stunning sub 4kg bike, practical enough to use every day.

(Read more.)
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DT SWISS ACKNOWLEDGES RATCHET EXP HUB PROBLEMS IN NEW SERVICE BULLETIN
By: JAMES HUANG

DT Swiss hubs have an enviable reputation for reliability thanks to the superb design and engineering of the brand’s star ratchet freehub mechanism. But now that the patent has expired and several other hub companies have adopted the system for themselves, the Swiss brand had little choice but to switch to something better. According to DT Swiss, the new Ratchet EXP system is not only lighter, but it also improves bearing durability and is easier to service.

Sounds good, right? DT Swiss was obviously banking on its new Ratchet EXP system being just as reliable as the old design. Except that it isn’t — at least intermittently, anyway. Numerous reports from consumers have appeared online describing how their new Ratchet EXP rear hubs have started freewheeling in both directions, which, needless to say, isn’t good.

(Read more.)
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PEDRO’S OVERHAULS ITS POPULAR TOOLS FOR 2021
By: DAVE ROME

Who doesn’t like #newtoolday? Clearly, the folks at Pedro’s Bike Care are big fans as they’ve continually released new tools since the beginning of the year. And as is often the case with the yellow tools, most are priced right in the middle of the market, accessible to both home and professional mechanics alike.

Below are just a few of the standout new releases. And if you haven’t already, be sure to also check out the recently overhauled Pedro’s Vise Whip II.

(Read more.)
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Author Info:
sarahmoore avatar

Member since Mar 30, 2011
1,447 articles

89 Comments
  • 130 3
 The mountain bike companies must be super excited to have found a way to offload dated 90s tech/geometry by simply labelling it “gravel”
  • 19 1
 Yea and some road bike manufs to just re-badge their cyclocross bikes, change a gear ratio or two, put the price up 30% and call it gravel...
  • 22 5
 Go on pinkbike buy/sell and buy an old carbon 26" XC race bike for $800 and put gravel wheels & drop bars on it. Literally nothing else needs to be done (except probably a full service since its 12 years old) and you have a better gravel bike than most options on the market.
  • 2 1
 dad's sending it on a 1990's trek singletrek 930 ridgid. throw some drops on it and its a gravel bike
  • 2 0
 Actually you need new shifters/brake levers for the drops
  • 10 1
 Wait until the gravel riders discover fat grippy tyres and dropper posts.
  • 5 1
 @toad321: and flat bars.
  • 3 1
 @toad321:
I’m patiently awaiting the grippy tyre revolution since all the gravel forums are full of the same “Why won’t my gravelking sk’s find grip” every October
  • 4 0
 Lol I came here to see the comments on the gravel fork, wasn't disappointed.
  • 6 0
 "Hey, I'm looking for something that will make my bike slower, heavier, and less responsive, but also something that won't be quite enough if the road is really bumpy. Basically, I want something that will make my road bike slightly better for around 1% of the riding it will be doing. What do you have?"
  • 3 2
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: Serious question- if you're on a lightweight, carbon hard tail 26" xc race bike from around 2007, but with 30c tires and drop bars, and you lock out the fork on the tarmac, how much slower is it going to be over a road bike with 30c tires? I have no idea, having never hated myself enough to try gravel riding.
  • 5 0
 prediction: gravel bikes will soon become longer and slacker
  • 1 0
 @ronin-71: Chammy hanger disagrees.
  • 4 0
 There is nothing similar between my first rigid mountain bike which I got in 1998 and Specialized Diverge which I have now. If anything it is a beefed-up road bicycle. Not XC, not cyclo-cross. And gravel bikes do have their niche, their places, which you are not interested in or have not encountered.
  • 1 2
 @milkdrop: the diverge is a well maintained packed gravel road bike/shitty pavedroad bike. not an fsr gravel bike. which is more like an old mountain bike with better body postion.
  • 3 0
 lots of people covert 90's mtb to gravel bikes. consensus, they make terrible gravel bikes. My diverge has a slacker head angle than my 97 stumpjumper comp. has more tire clearance and has much more efficient geometry, hydraulic disc brakes. the list goes on. Fun to label them as bike industry greed though. you'll likely never get it.
  • 31 1
 I love the juxtaposition between the Ratio shifter upgrade and the gravel lube.

everything that is right with the bike industry(innovating to make old things work with new things and open new tech up to downstream users), followed immediately by everything that is wrong(pure, unabashed marketing manure).

I hope the placement was purposeful.
  • 3 0
 Finish Line Red is the best """""gravel""""" lube, it doesn't pick up dust and resists water pretty well for a dry lube.
  • 3 0
 @conoat if they can make a gravel specific lube that works, then it will be legit AF.

Nothing else dries and wears a chain like the paste that collects when you're riding gravel. It's like cutting compound!
  • 1 0
 @excavator666: clearly youve never ridden socal. our trails are that dust, except not packed.
  • 14 0
 Not sure why DT decided to change something that worked so well and was ridiculously easy to work with and change. After dealing with pawls and changing those damn little spring DT stuff was super simple and reliable. Change for the sake of change is never a good thing.
  • 3 0
 Totally agree.
  • 16 0
 I'm getting some serious RS Indy vibes from those forks. Pinched dropouts scream 90's mtb! I really like how they look.
  • 9 3
 That is incredibly convenient seeing how the gravel bike is basically a 29" mountain bike hard tail from 10+ years ago.
  • 2 0
 More similar to the RS Paris Roubaix SL from the 90's, which they should update and bring back for gravel bikes.
  • 2 0
 @jmhills: More like 30 years ago. My 1992 Rocky Mountain Fusion would have been a great gravel bike... if I still had it.
  • 6 0
 Oh no DT Swiss.... why change something that works so well. Looking at the pictures of ratchet EXP vs ratchet it feels obvious it would be less reliable. Freewheeling freehubs suck
  • 4 0
 I also assume it's less easy to change the ratchet since one is screwed into the hub this requiring a special tool. I have a few wheels with the old star ratchet design and I love the simplicity and that I can change the speed of engagement in seconds with a new pair of ratchets.
  • 1 0
 pretty sure the patent ran out on the old design
  • 6 0
 @ols532704: That doesn't mean they have to use a new design. It just means that other people can start using the same design.
  • 3 0
 @DC1988: I love my wheels with 350 hubs. In fact I was about to get some new wheels with 350 hubs, I'll be making sure it's the old design!
  • 1 0
 DT EXP removal tool is 75 bucks. Wicked cool guys.
  • 1 0
 @Bobadeebob: I know that. I think they wanted to change it when their patent ran out so their design would be exclusive.
  • 1 0
 But do people buy DT Swiss for the star ratchet mechanism specifically, or simply because of its reputation for reliability? It was certainly the latter in my case - I don't particularly care what's going on inside my hub otherwise.
  • 5 2
 I personally prefer the looks of a fork with the arch at the back, like Manitou, Pace and DT Swiss do/have done. Nice to see Fox has caught up too, just not on the right bike. Hard to see from this angle, but if the fork compresses fully won't the arch hit the downtube of that bike?
  • 3 0
 Been riding my 2001 Trek STP 400 with skinny-ish tires, and bar ends as a training/road/easy XC bike for years now. Always thought I was just too cheap to buy a road bike. Guess I just lucked into being ahead of the curve! Either way it's a bike and its fun to ride.
  • 4 2
 DT's EXP design, generally how it has performed since release, and how DT has handled the problems has been quite disappointing. Something tells me "DT Swiss hubs have an enviable reputation for reliability" is a reputation that will soon fade unfortunately.
I've only had DT hubs until just recently trying something different because of EXP.
  • 2 3
 What exactly do you mean? Is there something more to the story than a design change gone wrong?

All I see is a company that made a design mistake and is owning it with reasonable explanations and a commitment to change their manufacturing tolerances to handle the newly discovered requirements. The design change seems unnecessary, but it's unreasonable to say that DT should never change the ratchet system at all and at first glance it's a simplification of the system.

None of this seems like a harbinger of doom.
  • 1 0
 The fact that other manufacturers can copy the old (and more reliable) design is just going to encourage more people to buy another brand.
  • 3 0
 Not too suprised by these failures. Sometimes my old design star ratchets would gave a one ratchet ring stuck in place, while the second was still free to move and provide function. There were no indications there was an issue intil I pulled it apart for service. It was a redundant design, and reliable because of it.

I’d be willing to bet that the current failure rate is square root of the old rate. As the old design would have been (Rate for ratchet 1) x (rate for ratchet 2)= (overall hub failure rate). Now the (rate for ratchet 2) is gone, and since it was significantly less than100%, it’s a huge increase for the single sliding pawl design.
  • 1 0
 @Blackhat: I more meant that trust takes ages earn and is quickly lost, and that the current issues convinced me to try other hubs. I don't think they are doomed and I think they'll still be a staple of reliable hubs.

I was reading about the issues a few months ago so I suppose it feels like a late and underwhelming response. But yeah, who knows. I'll still absolutely consider them in the future.
  • 2 0
 I bought a 2021 XM1700 wheelset with the proven ratchet design and it hasn't missed a beat and takes 10 minutes to service without tools whenever I'm in the mood. If DT changes the 1700 series in the future to the "new and improved" ridiculous design, then I have purchased my last DT wheelset.
  • 3 2
 Maybe I'm missing something, but the gravel forks seem like the worst of both worlds. There's a significant weight, cost and maintenance penalty going from rigid to modern telescoping suspension, and it doesn't make much sense to pay it for 40 or 50 mm of travel. It seems like this space could use some sort of unsealed, lockable elastometer type fork. Forget about stiction, energy return, traction and tunability. Lock it out on the road and smooth gravel to maintain efficiency and static geometry, but when it gets rough it can take the edge off. Ideally the lockout would have an adjustable clutch that slips on big hits but can then allow the fork to return to the top position freely. No regular service required. Most likely though the need is served by the softer stem and handlebar options. Which is kind of my point. If you need comfort, we have that. If you need suspension we have it. If you want either on a gravel bike then more power to you. But splitting the difference doesn't make sense IMO.
  • 1 0
 I agree, my SID ultimate fork weighs 1498g on the scale with the axle and it has 120mm of travel and it locks out solid. I would way rather rock that on a gravel expedition and unlock it if things go crazy. Ultimately though I will just keep riding my rigid fork as it weighs nothing.
  • 1 0
 A gravel suspension fork that uses leaf springs seems like it would require less maintenance and be much lighter
  • 2 0
 @p0rtal00: my sarcasm didn’t come across too well on the internets :-)
  • 4 1
 Rumors say the next big technological breakthrough for gravel bikes is straight bars so one can go even faster when things get more technical..
  • 2 0
 how come 32 mm-diameter became the standard for this kind of bike? wouldn´t a 30mm do the job just fine and be lighter? Maybe even a 28mm...... i don´t know... will never buy one gravel anyway. just wondering.
  • 6 0
 Smaller diameter doesn't automatically mean lighter when you also consider wall thickness. Consider as well that Fox already has all the tooling to manufacture 32mm seals, bushings, etc, leading to a less expensive product, and that every bike shop in the country is likely to stock 32mm Fox wiper seals and other parts.
  • 1 0
 and from the HANDMADE BICYCLE SHOW AUSTRALIA, I just can't help see the Irony here, "Passchier made the jump across the pond to show off its range of handlebars made from bamboo laminate – a material selected for its flex and damping properties...There are three different versions of the bar available with unique sweeps suited to various applications. Each bar features reinforcement at the stem clamp area. Sadly the material isn’t conducive to making a drop handlebar." -NUFF Said!!!
  • 4 1
 Fox Fans on Manitou post - "If the reverse arch is so good and smart then Fox would do it, looks dumb"
Fox Fans now - ...
  • 1 0
 Can't wait to see the overforking of gravel bikes on the North Shore. Followed by a return of Dangerous Dan riding double wide rough skinnies over a fire road on his overforked gravel bike.
  • 2 0
 After doing quite a bit of gravel riding on my fs xc bike, I'd rather have 60mm of rear suspension (with lockout) and a rigid front.
  • 1 1
 I hate that they make the forks look like cheap hybrid parts. This bike is my tool for the “i wonder where that goes” rides. Its a mountain bikers road bike, can average 30 on it and rip atv trails too, If you ride in Northern Ontario you would understand.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/20751227
  • 1 0
 Now that Manitou's reverse arch patent has expired and fox appears to be adopting it on their gravel fork, are we going to see more of the fox line up go reverse arch?
  • 3 1
 Shhht, be quiet, the Gravel people are just about to discover the XC bike! Big Grin
  • 4 1
 this gravel thing looks more and more like a MTB right!?
  • 3 1
 60 mm of travel.... what a joke. Might as we'll use elastomers
  • 4 2
 That's alot more comfortable than a carbon rigid fork. No reason to ever go back to elastomers.
  • 2 0
 I have a cheap 60mm coil fork on a hybrid. There's not much to say about it except that it sucks. I can't imagine elastomers being any better, except for maybe weight.
  • 1 1
 @boozed: sorry but 60mm is the joke
  • 3 0
 @madmon: Why would gravel bikes need more than that? Most gravel bikes are fully rigid, so 60mm is plenty and most gravel riders wouldn't want a fork that significantly raises the front end and messes with the geometry.
  • 2 1
 @madmon: These aren't downhill bikes
  • 1 1
 @DoubleCrownAddict: why would a gravel bike need one?
  • 1 0
 EXP - bombproof? fkit, smash all the nukes on this fker! sHT BLOWS!
  • 2 1
 FFS, just buy an xc bike already. Talk about mission creep.
  • 2 4
 @Sarah Moore: Question: do Cycling Tips, your "sister site", have MTB tips from its brother site Pinkbike or does it only work in one sense?
  • 3 0
 Yes they do, if you appreciate different forms of cycling it's a good site to check out.
  • 2 2
 @justanothermatt: Ah yes? Must be well hidden 'cos I've seen nothing except curved bars topics.
  • 4 6
 Gravel bikes, what a joke.
  • 4 4
 I rode a gravel bike for 2 years before getting a MTB, and yeah it really is a joke, absolute misery to ride, but maybe thats the appeal, I'll probably get mine serviced and sell it this week
  • 1 2
 I just threw up a little
  • 3 6
 Suspension on gravel bikes is for wimps.
  • 13 2
 So is decent geometry, but it makes the ride a lot more comfortable, motivating riders to ride more often and for longer every ride. Nothing wrong with that, right?
  • 11 10
 @Mac1987: what? no. A rigid gravel bike is fine, and there is no bigger pile of b.s. than discussing gravel geo. Once you are putting 2" tires and 650b wheels on the bike you are just building a bad xc bike. What is an inch of travel doing for you on a gravel bike, nothing other than comfort.

But hey, im not the guy trying to sell you on gravel bikes and accessories.
  • 5 0
 @RonSauce: not a fan of gravel bikes myself, but I know people that ride long distances on their gravel bike towards an easy XC MTB track. A little bit of suspension travel can help immensely on the rougher parts of XC tracks.
Why not ride a XC bike then, you might ask? Because riding 40 miles to a track on roads is a lot faster and easier on a gravel bike.
And what's the problem? You don't have to buy these bikes (I know I won't...).
  • 11 1
 @RonSauce: "nothing other than comfort" And the problem is? Comfort also equates to less fatigue. There have definitely been 60+ mile gravel rides I've done where my arms are absolutely cooked more than my legs because of rough gravel surface. A little give in the front end would have made that more comfortable, which probably would have let me complete the rides faster, and with less fatigue. And if you're racing… that counts, and is probably much more than a marginal gain.

Let's just take a moment to LOL at your statement while you review allll the things in MTB and road that are absolutely centered around comfort: all sorts of vibration-absorbing stems, handlebars and seatposts, frames that have built in compliance and flex, material choices like carbon and ti that helps absorb some vibrations for a "better" (i.e., more comfortable) ride, grips with various shapes and materials to aid in hand comfort and vibration, saddles are entirely about comfort… the list goes on and on.

Maybe you should ride your bike with grips and a saddle from a $100 walmart bike, then we can talk about how comfort is superficial.

And that leaves us with the rest of your dismissive gravel bike attitudes, which also seem myopic and misguided. Gravel riding is a cross between XC riding and road riding… no one denies that, so I'm not sure why it's a pile of b.s. Gravel rides are often much much longer than your average XC ride, the speeds are way higher, the gearing is different, the pedaling position and aerodynamics are different, etc etc.
  • 5 1
 I'll just point out that "gravel" can vary wildly across the country. If your bio is up to date and you live in chicago, then I know the exact kind of gravel you are used to riding. I used to live there. It's crushed limestone that you can ride on 28s, it's pretty enjoyable. In the west, gravel is way looser, way rougher, way shittier to ride IMO. I have done some rides that would absolutely have benefited from a little squish in the front. I have felt underbiked on low pressure 40s, it can be so chunky.
  • 2 0
 Washboard...
  • 3 2
 @jmvcolorado: 60 km on gravel, I would use an XC bike. Better tool for the job.
  • 3 1
 Owner of a Fox AX40 here. Bike also has a dropper on it. It's stupid fun on light duty singletrack in this area. It's less to make gravel more comfortable, and more for the gravel riders that are pushing well past a gravel bike's intended duties.
  • 3 0
 @riklassen: no it’s slower and sucks to ride on the road after amd before the gravel psrt. But you do you…
  • 3 1
 @parkisatool: speed is subjective on who is riding and how hard they are capable of going and sustaining. Plus riding an XC/MTB on the road is actually quite doable and can be fast and comfortable. Hell, I ride my mtb to the trail head quite often on road (about 10 km). I often pass fully kitted roadies/gravel riders and I am not a super fast rider, I also get passed by fully kitted roadies/gravel riders. point is speed is super dependent on a whole host of factors. I would choose a MTB over a gravel bike everyday of the week and twice on Sundays, if I am looking for a veritable terrain machine. Just way more versatile and effective.
  • 3 0
 @Austin014: if the gravel is getting too chunky and loose an XC bike starts looking way better. Before everyone decided we need 160mm and 64*hta and 2.6" tires xc bikes were awesome on gravel.

Locally I won't even take out my gravel bike, my XC bike is better in every way on every surface that isn't a straight up road.
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