What is a Gravel Bike?
Gravel bike, adventure bike, all-road bike, all-terrain bike. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet! Just think of it like this … road bike meets mountain bike. A gravel bike gives you greater durability than a road bike, but offers much greater speed than a mountain bike. What’s not to like! You can travel on asphalt or go off road and let it rip in the wilds of nature. Want to know how popular gravel bikes have become? Road bike unit sales as whole decreased in 2018. The only subcategory of road bike sales to increase was gravel bikes. Their sales have seen a 150% plus growth since 2017. Gravel road bikes are no longer a fad. They’re here to stay.
Why Consider a Gravel Bike?
When you ride a gravel bike, it’s not about getting from here to there. It’s more about the adventure and sheer joy of riding. So, if you like riding on the open highway but aren’t sure your road bike can hold up, a gravel road bike may just do the trick. Get a gravel bike and you’ll be able to tackle different terrains including mud, farm roads, gravel, and more. A gravel road bike lets you take your bike on any number of surfaces without sacrificing comfort. Need a commuting bike? Check. Want to do some touring? Check. Winter training bike? Check. Want to just go off-road and have some fun? Check. It’s all about versatility.
By the way, a gravel bike has plenty of storage options unlike a road bike where keeping things lean is paramount. Gravel road bikes allow you to carry cycling nutrition products, water bottles, bike tools, spare bike tubes, and anything else that may come in handy riding off-road for hours. There are even mounts for racks and fenders for wet-weather riding.
Why Such an Increase in Gravel Bike Popularity?
Cycling as a whole as grown in popularity. Advances in technology coupled with that have helped to create this new segment for cyclers. Think about it. If you want to take your road bike on the highway, you’ll have cars buzzing by you your entire ride. But, take your gravel bike on unpaved roads and you many not see a car for hours. Even if you do, traffic won’t be moving at 60 miles an hour. Bottom line … you get a more relaxed, enjoyable ride that’s close to nature. More important, it’s intimately safer than competing with traffic. Less cars plus less overall traffic equals a heckuva lot more fun for cycling purists. Ahhhhhh.
A gravel bike is more relaxed than a road bike. Its head tube is taller and the head angle allows for more relaxed steering. A gravel bike has a longer wheel base that makes them stable on the road while providing more predictable performance over gravel thanks to added stability and comfort.
The sloping top tube offers greater stand-over height … that’s a nice feature for kicking things in gear. Taller head tubes provide greater comfort when you’re in a more upright position.
The other major feature is that gravel bikes are designed to use larger bicycle wheels. The large bike wheels provide extra comfort on rough, bumpy road. Equally important, those larger bicycle wheels deliver better grip for greater stability. A gravel bike’s most common wheel size is 700c, but some come with dual-wheel compatibility that practically gives you two bikes in one.
Other elements? Hydraulic brakes and through-axles are also more prevalent. High-quality bicycle wheel options along with tubeless bike tires have gone through the ceiling. Plus there have been suspension advances. Put all that together and you can have a bike that fits almost everyone’s needs.
Gravel bikes also incorporate comfort items like carbon layups and unique tube shapes to handle vibrations and impacts. That makes for a more comfortable ride regardless of surface.
Gravel Bike Gearing
Gravel bikes have a wide gear range. Why? Because you’ll never know just what terrain you’ll encounter. Short climbs. Long ascents. Flat stretches. Plus asphalt roads, sand, gravel, mud, and anything else. The range of gears lets you tackle any condition. Single chainring gravel bikes will typically use a chainring with 38-42 teeth and a cassette with an 11-42 spread, while 2X drivetrains with use 50/34 and 48/32 combination with 11-34 cassette spreads.
Ready to Tackle Adventure with a Gravel Bike?
When it comes to the ultimate in versatility, it’s tough to beat a gravel bike. It’s the perfect combination between a road bike and mountain bike. Take a nice tour on the open highway or make your escape to some back, country roads where you can just enjoy your ride in the country.
Want to know what’s so great about a gravel road bike? Stop by our cycling shop in Mount Kisco and take a test ride. You won’t be disappointed. And while you’re here, check out our full line of bicycle accessories, cycling shoes, bike computers, and other fun bike products. If you aren’t a cycling addict, you will be! And if you ever need any bike repairs, you can count on us to take care of you. Our technicians are some of the best in Westchester county at handling bicycle repairs of any kind.