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Gravel Bike Thread

July 17, 2021, 11:09 a.m.
Posts: 2
Joined: April 20, 2018

That’s a pretty sweet looking ride.  Throw a dropper on it and it’s perfect.

July 17, 2021, 5:04 p.m.
Posts: 10
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

I gave up "real" mountain biking around 5 years ago and hung onto my full suspension/enduro/whatever it's called bike for years afterwards just so I would have a bike to ride around on once in a while. Last winter I finally admitted that I had no real interest in getting back into trail riding like I used to so I decided to sell it and build up a "gravel" bike. I looked at drop bar gravel bikes and they seemed to be the worst of both worlds so I finally decided to build a rigid 29'er and try to keep the steeper geometry that all the bikes I grew up riding 20 years ago used.

I frickin love this thing, reminds me of when we used to ride the same bike for everything. I often pump the tires up to 60psi and do 15-20km pavement rides then let some air out of the tires and ride gravel or mellow singletrack back home. Steel frame and fork, light wheels, 2x10 with lots of gearing and bars with a comfortable rise and sweep all make it pretty good for long rides. Bathroom scale says it's around 28.5lbs with a boat anchor saddle, wire bead tires and tubes. When I wear through these tires I'll swap to tubeless and something like the Schwalbe g-one for all around use.


 Last edited by: t_w on July 17, 2021, 5:10 p.m., edited 2 times in total.
July 18, 2021, 6:02 p.m.
Posts: 118
Joined: May 1, 2018

That's a very cool build!

@sethimus - nah, I'm just not a fan of 650b.

July 19, 2021, 10:36 a.m.
Posts: 33
Joined: June 9, 2017

I have one, too.

EDIT: although it would appear the forum gods do not want me to post a picture of it.


 Last edited by: cooperquinn on July 19, 2021, 10:37 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
July 19, 2021, 12:35 p.m.
Posts: 1931
Joined: April 25, 2003

Just remember, if you're thinking up weird combos of mountain bikes and drop bars, PAY ATTENTION TO BAR HEIGHT.

As cool a project this bike was, it rides waaaaaay better with a flat bar, even for the Ontario CX racing that this setup was used on.  Reach was good, bar height was terrible:

DeKerf Ottawa CX VersionDeKerf Ottawa CX Version

July 19, 2021, 4:38 p.m.
Posts: 110
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

That does look like a long way down from the saddle to the drops.

July 19, 2021, 6:02 p.m.
Posts: 915
Joined: May 11, 2018

Posted by: tashi

Just remember, if you're thinking up weird combos of mountain bikes and drop bars, PAY ATTENTION TO BAR HEIGHT.

As cool a project this bike was, it rides waaaaaay better with a flat bar, even for the Ontario CX racing that this setup was used on.  Reach was good, bar height was terrible:

DeKerf Ottawa CX VersionDeKerf Ottawa CX Version

I think the issue is a non-suspension corrected fork. Your axle to crown is way too low. It also makes for a way steeper HTA, which makes steering weird I am sure. Nice Macgyver though. Bar end shifting in a Cx race must have been an added level of difficulty.

July 19, 2021, 7:43 p.m.
Posts: 1931
Joined: April 25, 2003

That fork is about stock length, that frame was pre-suspension. 

That bike is a little small for me, even by early 90’s endo machine standards, which made the reach good, but exacerbates the drop issue.  Set up with a flat bar and the same tires the bike is way faster.

Bar ends are all good, generally I race cross from the drops as much as possible. This setup they were more challenging.

Ride this bike a couple years ago after a Tallboy broke - wide bar, rigid fork, short stem and proper tires and it was surprisingly capable, a dropper on there would have been REALLY fun in a underbite kinda way.  I’ll be adding a 19” 90’s bike with a dropper to the mix when space allows…

July 20, 2021, 3:42 p.m.
Posts: 110
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Ah, I've messed around with an old favourite pre-suspension frame. It's really hard to get a good balance, as soon as I fitted a suspension fork (or suspension corrected rigid) the BB got crazy high.

Shortest fork I could find + highest rise bar was the best compromise I could find.

July 21, 2021, 2:04 p.m.
Posts: 37
Joined: March 8, 2017

I built up an older Surly Karate Monkey with drop bars a few years back, monster cross/gravel style. It was a super fun bike and pretty capable but ultimately it beat me up too much even on mellower trails and we don't have the gravel network here to justify it. I do miss it, it was a nice and fast option for quick solo loops but my hardtail works out better for me.


 Last edited by: michel77 on July 21, 2021, 2:04 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
July 21, 2021, 2:26 p.m.
Posts: 1931
Joined: April 25, 2003

If you wanna try drops on a mountain bike, the Surly Corner Bar can take mountain bike controls.

July 22, 2021, 7:43 a.m.
Posts: 32
Joined: Dec. 6, 2008

Posted by: t_w

I gave up "real" mountain biking around 5 years ago and hung onto my full suspension/enduro/whatever it's called bike for years afterwards just so I would have a bike to ride around on once in a while. Last winter I finally admitted that I had no real interest in getting back into trail riding like I used to so I decided to sell it and build up a "gravel" bike. I looked at drop bar gravel bikes and they seemed to be the worst of both worlds so I finally decided to build a rigid 29'er and try to keep the steeper geometry that all the bikes I grew up riding 20 years ago used.

I frickin love this thing, reminds me of when we used to ride the same bike for everything. I often pump the tires up to 60psi and do 15-20km pavement rides then let some air out of the tires and ride gravel or mellow singletrack back home. Steel frame and fork, light wheels, 2x10 with lots of gearing and bars with a comfortable rise and sweep all make it pretty good for long rides. Bathroom scale says it's around 28.5lbs with a boat anchor saddle, wire bead tires and tubes. When I wear through these tires I'll swap to tubeless and something like the Schwalbe g-one for all around use.

Great backstory and bike. The green of that versatile Surly is also magnificent.

July 22, 2021, 2:39 p.m.
Posts: 1433
Joined: Feb. 17, 2009

Just ordered a set of the PNW bars, a friend of mine is running them and has been very impressed. Not overly expensive either at $85CAD/ $69USD

July 22, 2021, 2:49 p.m.
Posts: 14280
Joined: Feb. 19, 2003

I swapped to a flared drop (Spank - 25 degree flare) and I like it a lot, especially on any type of descent.  That PNW looks very similar.

July 22, 2021, 4:45 p.m.
Posts: 1433
Joined: Feb. 17, 2009

Posted by: Couch_Surfer

I swapped to a flared drop (Spank - 25 degree flare) and I like it a lot, especially on any type of descent.  That PNW looks very similar.

Oooooo Vibrocore, I love that stuff. When the PNW gets beat up and needs replacing, doesn't workout, might have to pick one up.

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