Gravel bikes

Jul 16, 2019
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You're probably right.I haven't tried them since the first time I got on a straight bar MTB back in the eighties, so all my experience is that "buns in the air" position roadies seem to like. I'm sure that the proper frame would make all the difference too. I'm thinking about using one of those awful hybrids that nobody loves.
I like the "Camelback" look of this Specialized Sirrus (might be carbon):
121888.jpeg
But this Spesh Globe is probably more attainable:
IMG_20110425_185118.jpg

Just something upright and comfortable and I might be able to make it work
 
Apr 28, 2019
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My fear is the bars. I have a lot of stainless steel in my shoulder, not sure if I could use them for a long ride.
Take a look at the picture of mine. The stem is super short, and very high.

Also since the shifters are on the upper part of the bar & close to the stem, I installed a second set of brake handles. I ride it with the hands on the upper part of the bars, like 3/4 of the time, and only actually use the lower part, when going fast on a long straight. This creates only one problem - I don't have any "loose space" on the bars :21: I basically use every wrapped part of the handlebars. That creates problems when you want to install additional equipment such as a rear view mirror (took me a lot of time to find a mirror, that wouldn't be stupidly mounted to the end of the lower bars, and small enough to mount to the side), bell (mine is mounted to the stem), headlight (mine is lower, mounted to the fork), or a computer (mine will be mounted in front of the stem, on a piece of 1" pipe :giggle: )
 
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Apr 1, 2014
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Seems to me the consistency gravel itself also contributes to the design and riding challenge.
1960s Murray on gravel 3.jpg

When my wife and I took our 1960's Murray coaster brake bikes on the Ice Age trail by Two Rivers, Wisconsin, it was a beautiful late fall day and the fine pea gravel was smooth and just terrific to ride on. Some of the rough stuff they dump on logging roads and railroad grades is more like navigating on ball bearings! :eek:
 
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Jun 27, 2017
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I guess a manicured pea gravel path would be a lot nicer to ride on than the gravel (crushed stone?) the city street department used to fill in potholes and whole sections of missing pavement back in the day. Had many knee and elbow scrapes after hitting that mess at speed on a bicycle.

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Oct 28, 2018
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Take a look at the picture of mine. The stem is super short, and very high.

Also since the shifters are on the upper part of the bar & close to the stem, I installed a second set of brake handles. I ride it with the hands on the upper part of the bars, like 3/4 of the time, and only actually use the lower part, when going fast on a long straight. This creates only one problem - I don't have any "loose space" on the bars :21: I basically use every wrapped part of the handlebars. That creates problems when you want to install additional equipment such as a rear view mirror (took me a lot of time to find a mirror, that wouldn't be stupidly mounted to the end of the lower bars, and small enough to mount to the side), bell (mine is mounted to the stem), headlight (mine is lower, mounted to the fork), or a computer (mine will be mounted in front of the stem, on a piece of 1" pipe :giggle: )
Here is the threadless version.
dthbmmtls.PNG


A lot of the steel gravel bikes that are made for reliability over performance have long steerer tubes.
 
Apr 1, 2014
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I guess a manicured pea gravel path would be a lot nicer to ride on than the gravel (crushed stone?) the city street department used to fill in potholes and whole sections of missing pavement back in the day. Had many knee and elbow scrapes after hitting that mess at speed on a bicycle.

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They totally wrecked a couple of back roads near us with gravel applied as a base then left to settle for a year before fresh blacktop. Now they are done and it's great!
 
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Aug 21, 2016
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I used too ride a lot of old rail road beds on my bmx bike too get places and recently did about 2 miles of it on my klunker. I’m guessing these bikes are built for something finer because I can’t see building any real speed on that large loose stone
 
Apr 1, 2014
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So reading this thread I'm thinking, it's really all about what kind of gravel surface you are presented with that drives your experience and what kind of bike and tire would work best.
Net search turned up this:
https://www.bikeradar.com/features/4-types-of-gravel-2-types-of-fun/

Takeaways:
"Neil Shirley put together this list on the four types of gravel, half-jokingly calling it ISGG, for International Standard Guide to Gravel.

Category 1 gravel: Smooth, well-maintained dirt roads with little to no small gravel chunks

  • Ideal bike: Road bike
  • Tire size: 25-28mm
  • Event examples: Haute Route Rockies, Battenkill Roubaix
Category 2 gravel: Dirt roads with potholes, washboards and loose corners

  • Ideal bike: Endurance road bike
  • Tire size: 28-32mm
  • Event examples: Gravel Worlds, Dirty Devil, Boulder Roubaix, Belgian Waffle Ride, Grapes Of Wrath
Category 3 gravel: Poorly maintained roads with bigger rocks, ruts and/or sand

  • Ideal bike: Gravel bike
  • Tire size: 33-38mm
  • Event examples: Rebecca’s Private Idaho, Landrun 100, Crusher In The Tushar, Rock Cobbler, Gravel MOB, SPNDX Stampede, Chino Grinder
Category 4 gravel: Non-maintained tracks or roads with deep layers of sharp gravel

  • Ideal bike: Gravel bike
  • Tire size: 38-42+mm, or Road Plus (650b wheels with 42+mm tires)
  • Event examples: Dirty Kanza, Grinduro, Lost and Found"
Nick Legan's two types of fun.

Type 1 fun: Present-tense enjoyment; what most of us mean when we say ‘fun’

  • Enjoying a ripping descent, watching a good comedy
Type 2 fun: Retrospective enjoyment — but often a little grim at the time

  • Surviving a grueling challenge, enduring an embarrassing-at-the-time but funny-later saga
“I’m not sure where I first heard of Type 2 fun, but it was an idea that instantly appealed to me. It helped explain why I liked some of the things I like. The long rides, the hard rides, the hike-a-bikes, battling headwinds for hours, winter overnighters.
“The most important aspect of Type 2 fun is that it’s the only kind that can be transformative,” he said. “Type 1 fun doesn’t challenge you. It doesn’t force you to adjust your perspective on a situation in which you find yourself. Ideally, sport and physical endeavors are about growth, both physical and mental, sometimes even spiritual.”

“The only potential pitfall is that you don’t deal with Type 2 fun well and it shifts into misery,” he said. “Suffering and misery don’t need to be elevated or romanticized. They suck. Floating in the middle of Type 1 and misery is the key.”

Pretty cool article. :cool2:
 
Jul 16, 2019
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Yeah. Type two fun. I get it. The stuff you gotta earn!

@dropstep I occasionally ride rail lines, there's a track leading to some trails right through my neighborhood. I think the difference between that gravel and the country road variation is what's underneath. I wouldn't want to misuse a cool word like substrate but I think it works here. The hardpacked stuff underneath supports the tire, while rail beds are like sand traps; nothing underneath, so you just sink in. I actually ride in-between the rails, on the ties. You definitely get bounced around, but don't sink in. Type two fun.
 
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Oct 28, 2018
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So reading this thread I'm thinking, it's really all about what kind of gravel surface you are presented with that drives your experience and what kind of bike and tire would work best.
Net search turned up this:
https://www.bikeradar.com/features/4-types-of-gravel-2-types-of-fun/

Takeaways:
"Neil Shirley put together this list on the four types of gravel, half-jokingly calling it ISGG, for International Standard Guide to Gravel.

Category 1 gravel: Smooth, well-maintained dirt roads with little to no small gravel chunks

  • Ideal bike: Road bike
  • Tire size: 25-28mm
  • Event examples: Haute Route Rockies, Battenkill Roubaix
Category 2 gravel: Dirt roads with potholes, washboards and loose corners

  • Ideal bike: Endurance road bike
  • Tire size: 28-32mm
  • Event examples: Gravel Worlds, Dirty Devil, Boulder Roubaix, Belgian Waffle Ride, Grapes Of Wrath
Category 3 gravel: Poorly maintained roads with bigger rocks, ruts and/or sand

  • Ideal bike: Gravel bike
  • Tire size: 33-38mm
  • Event examples: Rebecca’s Private Idaho, Landrun 100, Crusher In The Tushar, Rock Cobbler, Gravel MOB, SPNDX Stampede, Chino Grinder
Category 4 gravel: Non-maintained tracks or roads with deep layers of sharp gravel

  • Ideal bike: Gravel bike
  • Tire size: 38-42+mm, or Road Plus (650b wheels with 42+mm tires)
  • Event examples: Dirty Kanza, Grinduro, Lost and Found"
Nick Legan's two types of fun.

Type 1 fun: Present-tense enjoyment; what most of us mean when we say ‘fun’

  • Enjoying a ripping descent, watching a good comedy
Type 2 fun: Retrospective enjoyment — but often a little grim at the time

  • Surviving a grueling challenge, enduring an embarrassing-at-the-time but funny-later saga
“I’m not sure where I first heard of Type 2 fun, but it was an idea that instantly appealed to me. It helped explain why I liked some of the things I like. The long rides, the hard rides, the hike-a-bikes, battling headwinds for hours, winter overnighters.
“The most important aspect of Type 2 fun is that it’s the only kind that can be transformative,” he said. “Type 1 fun doesn’t challenge you. It doesn’t force you to adjust your perspective on a situation in which you find yourself. Ideally, sport and physical endeavors are about growth, both physical and mental, sometimes even spiritual.”

“The only potential pitfall is that you don’t deal with Type 2 fun well and it shifts into misery,” he said. “Suffering and misery don’t need to be elevated or romanticized. They suck. Floating in the middle of Type 1 and misery is the key.”

Pretty cool article. :cool2:
What would mine be?
1.75 inch wide tires.
20191016_145532.jpg
 
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This looks to me to be the best way to ride the rails. Never done it, but looks like fun, without jarring all my teeth loose riding over the ties.


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Riding the rails with a bicycle was a big thing in Michigan around 1900. This photo is from the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan but the local photo historian has pictures of people doing the in the U.P.
4d21f42f94a4ba53b503eeaf02f786ea.jpg
 
May 18, 2018
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So reading this thread I'm thinking, it's really all about what kind of gravel surface you are presented with that drives your experience and what kind of bike and tire would work best.
Net search turned up this:
https://www.bikeradar.com/features/4-types-of-gravel-2-types-of-fun/

Takeaways:
"Neil Shirley put together this list on the four types of gravel, half-jokingly calling it ISGG, for International Standard Guide to Gravel.

Category 1 gravel: Smooth, well-maintained dirt roads with little to no small gravel chunks

  • Ideal bike: Road bike
  • Tire size: 25-28mm
  • Event examples: Haute Route Rockies, Battenkill Roubaix
Category 2 gravel: Dirt roads with potholes, washboards and loose corners

  • Ideal bike: Endurance road bike
  • Tire size: 28-32mm
  • Event examples: Gravel Worlds, Dirty Devil, Boulder Roubaix, Belgian Waffle Ride, Grapes Of Wrath
Category 3 gravel: Poorly maintained roads with bigger rocks, ruts and/or sand

  • Ideal bike: Gravel bike
  • Tire size: 33-38mm
  • Event examples: Rebecca’s Private Idaho, Landrun 100, Crusher In The Tushar, Rock Cobbler, Gravel MOB, SPNDX Stampede, Chino Grinder
Category 4 gravel: Non-maintained tracks or roads with deep layers of sharp gravel

  • Ideal bike: Gravel bike
  • Tire size: 38-42+mm, or Road Plus (650b wheels with 42+mm tires)
  • Event examples: Dirty Kanza, Grinduro, Lost and Found"
Nick Legan's two types of fun.

Type 1 fun: Present-tense enjoyment; what most of us mean when we say ‘fun’

  • Enjoying a ripping descent, watching a good comedy
Type 2 fun: Retrospective enjoyment — but often a little grim at the time

  • Surviving a grueling challenge, enduring an embarrassing-at-the-time but funny-later saga
“I’m not sure where I first heard of Type 2 fun, but it was an idea that instantly appealed to me. It helped explain why I liked some of the things I like. The long rides, the hard rides, the hike-a-bikes, battling headwinds for hours, winter overnighters.
“The most important aspect of Type 2 fun is that it’s the only kind that can be transformative,” he said. “Type 1 fun doesn’t challenge you. It doesn’t force you to adjust your perspective on a situation in which you find yourself. Ideally, sport and physical endeavors are about growth, both physical and mental, sometimes even spiritual.”

“The only potential pitfall is that you don’t deal with Type 2 fun well and it shifts into misery,” he said. “Suffering and misery don’t need to be elevated or romanticized. They suck. Floating in the middle of Type 1 and misery is the key.”

Pretty cool article. :cool2:
Even though the author mentions a fun mixed terrain ride near his home, the article really seems focused on racing events.

I'm not a racer, so I guess that's why I hardly ride my 45mm tire equipped "gravel/adventure" bike. I'd rather sacrifice a little speed for comfort and ride my Orge with 2.5" tires or if it's going to be real rough ride the fat tired Pugsley.