New bike on order. why i didn't go with a gravel bike.

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by Rock Creek Rider, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. Rock Creek Rider

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    I ended up ordering a Trek Procaliber 9.6. More than I originally intended to spend, but I think I'll be happy with it. Of course, now I have to buy new pedals too, and I bought new Specialized Expert MTB shoes to go with them.
    I'm not a hardcore off road rider, so the obvious question might be, why didn't I go with a gravel bike?
    When I'm out riding the trails, near by house, I hardly ever see true mountain bikes anymore. It's all gravel bikes or just plain road bikes, and they are fast. I can't keep up with them. Seems like, if I were sensible, I'd have gone with a gravel bike.
    I guess here's the rub, as I've grown older, I've learned that speed isn't everything. I feel more secure on my mountain bike. When I hit a patch of loose sand or gravel, I like having fat knobby tires. I like having the leverage flat bars give. I like sitting up a little and being able to look around without putting a kink in my neck. I like the option of taking that jump or going over that rocky section, even if I mostly avoid them. I think I'm going to like the newer 1x11 gear system. I don't think you see them on gravel bikes. Even after heart surgery, I think it's going to be important not to redline my heart. Having really low gears will help with that.
    And, frankly, I still don't get gravel bikes. Mountain bikes were invented so you didn't have to ride your road bike off road. To me, just putting fatter, tougher tires on what is basically a road bike, doesn't make them an off road bike. Mountain bikes were designed, developed, and refined for off road riding. Sure, a dirt road is a road, but I don't take my road bike down them either. I've lived on dirt roads. Riding my road bike down them to get to pavement wasn't fun, it was an annoyance.
     
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  2. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Active Member

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    Road bikes are obviously great on pavement and work OK for packed dirt roads, particularly if you can fit larger tires with a bit of tread on them. I've even ridden them on short sections of relatively buff singletrack, when transitioning between paved roads.

    Mountain bikes are at their best off-road and particularly on more rugged/bony trails. You can put road tires on them, but between their extra weight, suspension (typically) and slack geometry, they're less than ideal. The single hand position offered by their bars is rather limiting on longer road rides. About the only time I would consider an MTB for road riding would be in snowy/slushy/icy conditions, where aggressive knobbies and studs would be helpful.

    Gravel bikes are more of a "Swiss Army Knife". Like other bike types, they excel a what they're designed for, but fitted with road tires, they're great road bikes for everything short of racing criteriums. Fitted with 40mm knobbies, they're a lot of fun to ride on singletrack as long as it's not too bony and technical. Those that accommodate 650b wheels with MTB knobbies are even more capable off-road. I much prefer riding a 19# gravel rig to a 30# MTB on logging roads and appropriate trails. Ironically, it was riding a gravel rig on singletrack that inspired me to buy a lightweight hardtail for trail riding.

    All this said, what really matters is that you're happy with the bike you bought and it does what you want it to do. You don't need to justify it to anyone.
     
  3. cyclintom

    cyclintom Well-Known Member

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    The problem is that real MTB's are pretty heavy in relationship to a gravel bike which is what has made them so popular. People flying by you on gravel bikes shouldn't make the slightest bit of difference to you. They want to race anyone and everyone. Look at the way people drive cars these days - if they can see you they want to catch you, no matter how far you are ahead or how dangerously they have to drive to catch you. The maximum speed limit in California is 65 mph except in limited access sections of main freeways when it is 70 mph. 90 mph is so common that you can call it the regular speed limit and the highway patrol not only doesn't ticket them but they pulled ME over for going the speed limit I guess because they thought I must be drunk.

    So if you're getting an MTB to avoid racing just be aware that racing is in the mind of the jr. high mentality.
     
  4. cyclintom

    cyclintom Well-Known Member

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    I did a 37 mile 3300 feet climb route with a group I used to ride with. I was on my cyclocross bike and despite the gearing had no trouble keeping up with them. But they just had to revert to racing and while I could keep up them I did not like them dropping the slower part of the group so when I reached the entrance to a county park.; I bade them adieu and started down this trail that went to a trail I knew. Well that damn trail must have been built by one of those dirt motorcycle track racers. There were so many rolling bumps on it that my arms were almost worn out before I got down to the bridge over a creek and then a climb up to the park entrance on the other side. That only had heavy rain ruts but my arms were so tired from those rollers that when I got to the reverse park entrance, rather than turn left and carry on the pathway all the way back to the damn and back to my house only 3 miles away, I had to enter the public roads again and do 10 miles on the road. So there are limitations on a gravel bike.
     
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