Posted by: Bull_Dozer
Can someone explain gravel bikes to me? I'd never heard of them up until about a year or two ago, and now it seems like everyone has one.
Does it just feel like riding a road bike (with slightly beefier tires) on a dirt road? Or is the bike more forgiving than a road bike in other ways too aside from just the tires?
Can you ride a gravel bike on the road with similar efficiency to a true road bike or is there a pretty significant difference?
Is it anywhere near as fun as mountain biking?
@bux bux, I am referring more to the geometry than anything else. In my case the bike is exactly the mtb I was riding 20 years ago as it is my rigid 29er surly karate monkey. Got me through medical school and residency as well as 5 years before that! Now it's a gravel bike. I saw no reason to shell out for a gravel specific bike as the numbers were almost identical.
The, the biggest leap forwards that make gravel bikes their own thing is the tires. Great treads that roll efficiently but good enough to get you down a greenish blue mtb trail if need be.
In response to bull dozer, they are fairly efficient up to around 30-35km/h. I can cruise on mine with 42cc tires at 30km/h on flats comfortably. When you hit fine gravel, it rolls just about the same. It's pretty fun to go down a gravel or dirt path at 25km/h trying not to fly into a tree. In comox there are tons of little dirt and gravel paths connecting everything so you can go out for a road ride and blast through all these connectors making all sorts of routes. There are enough gravel riders in comox that the corners have developed some little berms. You can nail those at full speed without even hitting your brakes. 2 wheel drifts through corners - check. Feeling nervous and unsafe blasting down gravel hills - check. Getting a great workout without having to drive to the trailhead - check. It's basically the most freedom you can have on a single bike.
My wife and I joke that we are constantly saying "where are we?" "Where do you think this goes?" "Is this the same trail we were on earlier?" Its basically an adventure on a bike.