Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => The Knowledge => Topic started by: Porkins on July 17, 2018, 08:34:19 pm

Title: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Porkins on July 17, 2018, 08:34:19 pm
I've been up many gravel drives in my time. And I've tried to ride through gravel on the Port de Pailhères back in the day, before it was gussied up for le Tour. All of a sudden every dirt road is being labelled as 'gravel' by the cycling community. The meaning of the word is being traduced. That twonk Boulting today described a bit of dirt road as 'gravel' in his Tour commentary. There are probably many city dwellers who now think that earth and mud and dirt and gravel are all the same thing.

So what is a gravel bike? Or a gravel tyre? Or a gravel race?
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Adam on July 17, 2018, 09:03:09 pm
Looked like crushed limestone on the TV!
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Jurek on July 17, 2018, 09:09:51 pm
It is a bike, tyre or race that has been sold to a punter, courtesy of marketing.
Nothing else.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on July 17, 2018, 09:15:38 pm
British Waterways (or whatever they're called this month) are the gravel experts.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Jurek on July 17, 2018, 09:17:19 pm
British Waterways (or whatever they're called this month) are the gravel experts.
Wossat about?
Explainations, please.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on July 17, 2018, 09:23:15 pm
British Waterways (or whatever they're called this month) are the gravel experts.
Wossat about?
Explainations, please.

Tarmac isn't 'heritage' enough.  If you want to surface the towpaths as part of your cycle revolution, you have to spend millions sprinkling loose gravel on it.  And no, the Bricks Of DETH have to stay, otherwise the heritage horses might slip.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Jurek on July 17, 2018, 09:28:11 pm
Ah.
Fantastic.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Porkins on July 17, 2018, 09:42:45 pm
Is the gravel really loose? I would have thought loose gravel would be flung into the canal and need dredging.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on July 17, 2018, 09:48:44 pm
Is the gravel really loose? I would have thought loose gravel would be flung into the canal and need dredging.

Ah, it's better than that:

Step 1: Lay hand-rolled tarmac path.  It doesn't matter that it's not properly smooth, because...
Step 2: Come back and apply a layer of bitumen, and an inch or two of loose gravel.
Step 3: Cyclists eventually form a singletrack path through the middle, where the gravel's mostly bedded in and not too slippery.  Any attempt to deviate from this line (eg. to safely pass another path user) considered harmful unless you actually brought a mountain bike.
Step 4: [THIS STEP INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK]
Step 5: After months of moaning by cycle campaigner types, eventually come back and sweep the remaining loose gravel into the canal.

Step 6, where the remaining gravel gradually detaches from the surface, creating cracks to exacerbate weathering, and step 7 where someone eventually has to come and dredge the canal because it's inexplicably full of gravel are left as an exercise for the reader.  Step 6.5 is left as an exercise for tree roots.

Cycle Revolution, my arse.  (Which, regular readers will recall, also knows a thing or two about gravel.)
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Exit Stage Left on July 17, 2018, 10:22:14 pm
Gravel is either alluvial, (on river flood plains) or glacial (in great big lenses on the edge of melting ice) in origin. It can be dug readily, and it's used worldwide for making roads. In developed countries those roads are generally sealed, either with chipseal, or asphalt concrete.

The US mid west was subdivided in regular blocks when it was settled. Most of it looks like this from above. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@39.3107469,-95.3595175,3552m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

Those are essentially cart tracks, made from gravel, as we have in East Anglia and the Lancashire plain. Cycling in those areas, especially randonees, makes use of those less trafficked roads.

I've met riders from the mid west at PBP who use classic French-style  Randonee bikes, as they have wide tyres and cantilever brakes, suited to what we in Lancashire call meanygates.

A style of mountain/road bike has evolved to do the same job, with discs and drop bars, and capable of taking large tyres. That's a gravel bike, it also works well on poor road surfaces in Europe.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Jakob W on July 17, 2018, 10:41:25 pm
Tarmac isn't 'heritage' enough.  If you want to surface the towpaths as part of your cycle revolution, you have to spend millions sprinkling loose gravel on it.  And no, the Bricks Of DETH have to stay, otherwise the heritage horses might slip.
DETH because of the slippiness, or something else? I will confess to not having braved the towpath from Walsall into Brum because the bricks on the slopes at the various flights of locks looked to me like they might be lethal in anything other than perfectly dry conditions. Didn't seem to stop the MTBers whooshing by, mind, but then I suppose they're more used to the frisson of potential fractures...
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Deano on July 17, 2018, 10:46:04 pm
Gravel's proper hardcore.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Brucey on July 17, 2018, 10:58:59 pm
The term 'Gravel' is defined by correct use of the  Udden-Wentworth scale and ISO 14688....

….and it is misused by folk who want to pretend a bike with fat tyres and dropped handlebars is a new idea.

cheers
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on July 17, 2018, 11:00:39 pm
Tarmac isn't 'heritage' enough.  If you want to surface the towpaths as part of your cycle revolution, you have to spend millions sprinkling loose gravel on it.  And no, the Bricks Of DETH have to stay, otherwise the heritage horses might slip.
DETH because of the slippiness, or something else?

Slippery when wet can be a hazard, but for maximum fun, attempt to negotiate them on a tadpole trike.  Whatever you do, one of the wheels is going to hit the raised bricks, and if you don't carry enough momentum the loss of traction on the rear wheel means you're stuck halfway up the climb.  Your BRANEZ will soon be so shaken that the prospect of ending up in the canal would seem like a relief.

Proper MTB tyres work surprisingly well on the fuckers.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Bolt on July 17, 2018, 11:40:41 pm
Plenty of hoggin* paths around here.  Hmmm "hoggin bikes"... it's the next new thing!... gravel bikes are so old skool ;D

*Hoggin is a a mix of gravel, sand and clay that binds firmly when compacted, yet allows water to drain through it.

Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: chris n on July 18, 2018, 04:42:25 am
It’s a method of winding up old farts who seem to think it’s a bad thing that more people are riding comfy bikes to interesting places.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Hot Flatus on July 18, 2018, 06:29:27 am
 ;D ;D

Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Johnny Faro on July 18, 2018, 06:32:39 am
I wonders if gravel bikes will eventually lead people towards mountain bikes (fully appreciate the lack of mountainous terrain most see). When I got into cycling sorta 20 years ago it seemed no one was interested in road bikes, of course they were but at the Halfords I worked in we had maybe two road bike models out of about 40 bikes on the shop floor. Then Sir Brad and co came along and did what they did for cycling and now it seems to be moving away from pure race machines to these adventure/gravel bikes

The other option is that it's all marketing hype and people will keep riding what they have always ridden.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Hot Flatus on July 18, 2018, 06:40:20 am
I think the gravel bike thing is legitimate.  They are sort of rebadged CX bikes but with rack and mudguard mounts, but they aren't meant to be ridden round and round in circles in a local park on a Sunday. Equally they aren't designed to take on mountain bike trails.

To me 'gravel' roads imply unmettaled roads, not trails with rocks, tree roots, narrow berms etc.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on July 18, 2018, 06:50:40 am
I see gravel bikes as rebadged touring bikes, but a bit lighter. If it means sensibly designed bikes become mainstream again, I can put up with the marketing bullshit.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Ben T on July 18, 2018, 07:23:50 am
Isn't gravel what Tina turner eats  :D
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Exit Stage Left on July 18, 2018, 07:36:12 am
Many roads in the USA are being de-asphalted, to save money. It means that there aren't the huge potholes that beset poorly-maintained tarmac.
https://www.wired.com/2016/07/cash-strapped-towns-un-paving-roads-cant-afford-fix/

SUVs start to make sense in those circumstances. Gravel bikes are the SUVs of the cycling world. In their original context, they're entirely practical. But the aesthetic has a wider appeal, leading to pale imitations, which talk the talk, but will never walk the walk.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: andytheflyer on July 18, 2018, 07:36:46 am
The term 'Gravel' is defined by correct use of the  Udden-Wentworth scale and ISO 14688....

Correct.  And it comes in fine, medium and coarse sub divisions, ranging from 2 to 64mm in size.  It can also be rounded, sub-rounded, angular, sub-angular…. I could go on, but I gave up logging soil samples a couple of years ago, after 40 years with my hands in muddy bags of soil.

Essentially, it's broken up bits of rock.  The term 'gravel' merely refers to the grain size, and as ESL says, it's usually deposited by water (rivers, seas) or glaciers.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Exit Stage Left on July 18, 2018, 07:49:17 am
Gravel extraction gives rise to a distinct urban-fringe landscape. The most striking example is the Colne Valley between Watford and Staines. A series of lakes on the alluvial flood plain.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.5926695,-0.4055424,11.75z?hl=en

The Lea Valley is similar.

These days gravel pits are usually filled with refuse. I worked on such a pit in the mid 1980s at Sipson, where the new Heathrow runway is planned, which should add interest to the engineering work. Heathrow itself is sited on river gravel, it's very stable, unlike discarded airline meals, hot towels, technical manuals and 5 packs of Marlboro.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: T42 on July 18, 2018, 08:09:06 am
Many roads in the USA are being de-asphalted, to save money. It means that there aren't the huge potholes that beset poorly-maintained tarmac.
https://www.wired.com/2016/07/cash-strapped-towns-un-paving-roads-cant-afford-fix/

Sad state.

When I rented cars in the US there was always a clause in the contract which forbade their use on unpaved roads. I only noticed this after driving over a good few washboard roads. I wonder if contracts will evolve to reflect the loss of tarmac. If not, I can imagine that some small towns will suffer, à la "Town that Hertz forgot".

Chambers defines to gravel as to irritate or annoy. They got that right.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on July 18, 2018, 08:58:01 am
Gravel's proper hardcore.
;D
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Samuel D on July 18, 2018, 12:01:00 pm
So what is a gravel bike?

One sold mainly on its fashionable image. Would it fit the mood of an Ultra Romance Instagram feed? Then it may be labelled gravel.

Or a gravel tyre?

A needlessly fat tyre with low rolling resistance. Not a bad thing if you like needlessly fat tyres.

Or a gravel race?

Dirty Kanza. I think that’s the only one.

The whole concept is very, very American. Maybe it even makes a certain sense over there, like SUVs did before they were turned into overgrown cars and used in urban areas. But the overcharged marketing, abuse of language, and technology-push that surrounds it is pretty nauseating, at least to sensitive souls like me.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on July 18, 2018, 12:39:15 pm
So what is a gravel bike?

One sold mainly on its fashionable image. Would it fit the mood of an Ultra Romance Instagram feed? Then it may be labelled gravel.

Or it's the cycle industry realising that we aren't all Chris Froome or Anna Van de Breggen. That not all roads are super smooth tarmac, and not everyone can spin a 39/28 up an alp.

And as such providing bikes with a geometry that is comfy in conditions that are not necessarily smooth tarmac etc...

I personally think the whole gravel bike idea is a great one. I think the name sucks, but the idea is good. It annoys me that until recently the options between a road bike, and a mountain bike are minimal. Esp since the move to ali and carbon on the road. The simple steel comfy go anywhere bikes in the middle were left to a few touring bikes that are often ridiculously heavy.

It's probably worth considering that at the arrival of the gravel bike is shortly after the mtb community really jumped headlong into the full bounce high tech, fancy pants mtb's. The sort that are great for racing down mountains, or cross country on single track etc... but which for your average rider who wants to ride away from the smooth tarmac, but isn't interested in single track, can't really get on with.

Quote
Or a gravel tyre?

A needlessly fat tyre with low rolling resistance. Not a bad thing if you like needlessly fat tyres.

Or it's the fact people have woken up to the fact not everyone needs a high pressure 21mm slick. That is fine on smooth tarmac, but here in the real world. It's horrible. On the brick paving that besets the Netherlands, running a 28, 38 or even a 42mm tyre makes for a much more pleasant experience, and given the whole country doesn't have smooth tarmac, being able to safely traverse the bits that aren't is quite nice. Take for example the few km in the middle of my 200km ride on Thursday. This photo was taken about 30km from Amsterdam. I was greatful that I was running 28mm tyres, and kinda wished I had something a bit wider.

[img] http://photos.quixotic.eu/TG5/2018/07/12/Q7121354_1024.JPG[/img

Quote
Or a gravel race?

Dirty Kanza. I think that’s the only one.

Dirty reaver, silk road mountain race, race to the rock, Paris-Roubaix etc... etc...

Quote

The whole concept is very, very American. Maybe it even makes a certain sense over there, like SUVs did before they were turned into overgrown cars and used in urban areas. But the overcharged marketing, abuse of language, and technology-push that surrounds it is pretty nauseating, at least to sensitive souls like me.

Wow, check your privilege! I'm guessing you've only ever ridden your bike on smooth tarmac?

Not everywhere is paved, not everyone wants to ride on tarmac. Gravel bikes, although having a horrible name, provide a really useful middle ground between the road bike and the mountain bike, that gives people an option. Oh, and before people say "but that's what a CX bike was for" most CX bikes are designed for racing, they are fine for an hour, and without luggage, but they aren't designed for really long rides.

I think gravel bikes are a great idea. I think their name sucks.

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Jakob W on July 18, 2018, 12:41:31 pm
There's also the Oregon Outback race; I'm pretty sure a fair number of the US endurance races have enough rough-stuff to make fatter tyres sensible. I'm not sure if the tyres are needlessly wide either - perhaps if you're a flyweight, but for us heavier riders it's nice to be able to run suitably low pressures. And yes, it's all fashion, but unlike TdF cosplay gravel bikes make sense for the average rider. Bigger clearances, lower gears, slacker angles, ideally rack and guard mounts; what's not to like?
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on July 18, 2018, 12:43:08 pm
There's also the Oregon Outback race; I'm pretty sure a fair number of the US endurance races have enough rough-stuff to make fatter tyres sensible. I'm not sure if the tyres are needlessly wide either - perhaps if you're a flyweight, but for us heavier riders it's nice to be able to run suitably low pressures. And yes, it's all fashion, but unlike TdF cosplay gravel bikes make sense for the average rider. Bigger clearances, lower gears, slacker angles, ideally rack and guard mounts; what's not to like?

The name...

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: DuncanM on July 18, 2018, 12:56:02 pm
I think gravel bikes are a great idea. I think their name sucks.
Absolutely this.
At least gravel makes some sense though Enduroad or other compound words are worse!

I wanted to ride this, but my most suitable bike would be a MTB or a road bike (max 28mm slicks) and I figured it wouldn't be much fun on either of them.
https://www.theracingcollective.com/oxduro.html
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Paul on July 18, 2018, 01:01:53 pm
Our front garden is gravelled. It acts like a third brake when I'm coming in too hot!
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on July 18, 2018, 01:11:14 pm
Absolutely this.
At least gravel makes some sense though Enduroad or other compound words are worse!

I wanted to ride this, but my most suitable bike would be a MTB or a road bike (max 28mm slicks) and I figured it wouldn't be much fun on either of them.
https://www.theracingcollective.com/oxduro.html

This is one of the things I love about disc brakes, I have 1 main bike. It's built round a Genesis Vagabond frame. It has clearance for upto about 60mm tyres. I have 3 sets of wheels that I use with different rubber depending on the expected surface. Right now it has a pair of 622x28 Conti GP4000s II reflex tyres. With these on I rode the Paris Roubaix sportiv recently:

(http://photos.quixotic.eu/TG5/2018/06/10/Q6100931_1024.JPG)

In April I had a go at the Trans Germany Bike packing route. 1600km of off road gravel masochism. I actually decided I didn't like the rough stuff when it got a bit too single track, and had a different gravelly/roady adventure. I was riding Schwalbe G-One all round's in 622x38.

(http://photos.quixotic.eu/Germany/2018-04/31/P3311487_1024.JPG)

At Christmas as my attempt at a festive 500, I tried to ride from Maastricht to Basel. Across the top of the Ardennes. in the sub zero temperatures, with the snow and rain. I had Schwalbe Marathon Winter 622x42 spiked tyres.

(http://photos.quixotic.eu/Netherlands/2017/12/31/PC311010_1024.JPG)

Both those last 2 photos are taken 3 months apart (31st december, 31st of march) in the same place. December was warmer!?! the road I was on there is the Rhine cycle route, it was a nice fast surface, a sort of compacted sand and stone type affair.

(http://photos.quixotic.eu/Netherlands/2017/12/31/PC310990_1024.JPG)

I'd have hated to do it on a road bike with skinny tyres.

So by simply changing the rubber, on my gravel bike, I've been able to ride the Pavé, the ice, the gravel, and the roads. Completing a number of fully paved Audax's, as well as competing in the fully paved Race round the Netherlands, on top of my off road adventures.

Yes Gravel bikes have a horrible name. But for the versatility they are hard to beat!

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Jakob W on July 18, 2018, 01:12:48 pm
Jan Heine and the BQ crowd seem to use 'all-road', which is fairly descriptive. Though these distinctions are obviously subtle, I think having a distinct term of some kind is useful, if only so you know what you're getting (and if it's mainly driven by marketing, well, that's late modernity for you): it's not quite a disc tourer (lighter, sharper angles), a disc audax bike (bigger clearances), or a CX bike (slacker, rack and guard mounts); something like 'endurance CX bike' might work, but then coining a properly descriptive term is just as easy.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Brucey on July 18, 2018, 01:18:26 pm
folk have been using dropped handlebars offroad since, er, forever, more or less.

(http://album.writeintent.fastmail.fm/pictures/jacquiephelanonbike.jpg)
from this page http://2wheelfetish.com/drobbarmtbhistory.html (http://2wheelfetish.com/drobbarmtbhistory.html)

is that someone riding a trendy 'gravel bike'? Er no, that is Jacquie Phelan, thirty-something years ago... for decades before then, the roughstuff fellowship was doing it, but with tyres that were not as fat, for the simple reason that fatter ones were not available.

If you do a google image search for 'MTB with dropped handlebars' you will come up with thousands of hits, nearly all of which are people's homebrewed bikes that never came out of the shop like that. BITD it wasn't difficult to make a bike like that, because MTBs were not yet made with stupid long top tubes or wheels that are so big they only suit about 50% of the population (once you fit fat tyres to them).

Here http://2wheelfetish.com/allrounderproject.html (http://2wheelfetish.com/allrounderproject.html) you can see someone's DIY bike that he calls an 'allrounder' but isn't so far away from a gravel bike in fact.  A very good use of a few old MTB bits and a few hour's work, I'd say.

As usual the marketing men have found an undercurrent in the ocean that is cycling, and have gone about repackaging it and selling back to folk who can't or won't build things for themselves, and/or like being 'fashionable'.   I like having more choice in bikes and parts for sure, but the marketing BS that goes with it just makes me  :sick:....

cheers
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Jakob W on July 18, 2018, 01:33:13 pm
is that someone riding a trendy 'gravel bike'? Er no,

...because it doesn't have trendy (hydro) disk brakes...

I mean, 'drop bar rough-stuffer' would also be accurate, but then it's probably a bit obscure and UK-specific to use as an international marketing category..
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Hot Flatus on July 18, 2018, 01:40:54 pm
Quote from: Brucey
I like having more choice in bikes and parts for sure, but the marketing BS that goes with it just makes me  :sick:....

You like having the choice of parts/bikes but you resent the manufacturers efforts to try and sell them.

Yes. That makes sense  ::-)

If they can't sell them they'll stop making them.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on July 18, 2018, 01:43:30 pm
Yes, that is a gravel bike. Similar bikes have been ridden in similar conditions since at least 1900.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Exit Stage Left on July 18, 2018, 01:56:31 pm
I'd go for the Crane cousins' Raleighs as the proto- gravel bike.

(http://api.ning.com/files/t4m*WtrSJkgeMGCWdUS1r5zN65x4IQ7MxUUPNA8zfc-IC5G22*LoQ*Un6M0KKrfiIJGFHWjegzR8d3APuh1zFouBW6FqWgOA/Nicholas_Crane.jpg?width=737&height=499)

Quote
Bicycles

The bikes were tailor-made, built to the highest specification by Raleigh. Gerald O'Donovan master-minded the project at his Specialist Bicycle Development Unit at Ilkeston, which has also produced the winning Tour de France team bikes.
Frames. The geometry was based on that used for the toughest professional races, e.g. the Paris-Roubaix, with a lengthened wheelhase, softer angles (74o seat tube, 73o head tube) and increased rake. Together these give a smoother, less ,twitchy' ride. The tubing was TI Reynolds 753 which is much in favour for professional racing because, although it is expensive, it offers the best strength-to-weight ratio; 753 is heat-treated manganese molybdenum steel which on our bikes was double-butted, top tube 24 gauge, down tube 23 gauge, i.e. the tube wall was about 0.5 mm thick in the middle and about 0.8 mm thick at the ends. The tensile strength is an impressive 80 tsi. The lugs, fork crown and bottom bracket were micro-fusion crushed steel (i.e. very fine-grained, precision cast) and all joints were silver-soldered. Each frame contains £20 worth of silver solder! The frames were hand-sprayed and stove-enamelled with five coats of paint in the Raleigh Team colours: pearl, red, blue and yellow. They had long Campagnolo rear dropouts, and bosses for bottle cage and a single (the rear) gear lever.
Wheels. Bob Arnold of F. W. Evans built strong wheels capable of withstanding pounding on dirt roads for several thousand kilometres. They had Mavic M3 CD rims with 36 x 36 stainless-steel single-buttoned spokes on Campagnolo small-flange hubs. We hit numerous rocks and several large pots at high speed, one of them near Amdo catapulting Nick into Outer Space, but the wheels remained true. The tyres were Specialized; one Touring K4 and one Expedition 700 X 35C. Although rated at 75 psi, we rode them at 90 psi on both tarmac and dirt. Because the wheels and tyres had to be highstrength, hard-wearing, they contributed greatly to the overall weight; pushing it up from the 17½ lb which our bikes would have weighed if fitted with sprint wheels and tubes to the 22 lb all-up weight including Blackburn alloy rear carrier and bottle cages.
Equipment. Cinelli bars and stem. Shimano Dura Ace levers for Campagnolo side-pull brakes. Brooks Professional saddle on Dura Ace seatpost. Shimano 600 EX chainset (49/39 teeth for Nick, 52/40 for Dick) with Shimano Uniglide chain to Sun Tour Perfect freewheel (14 to 28). Control was from a cut-down Simplex gear shift to a Shimano 600 EX derailleur. In order to save weight, there was no front derailleur or lever, we used heel kick-down for lower gears and finger lift-up for higher.
Over a quarter of the distance was very rough dirt road, and the bikes had to suffer monsoon rain and humidity, snow and ice, dust and sand and temperatures ranging from -10oC to 46oC. The only breakdown we had was a broken cable caused by Tibetan children playing with the gear lever - easily mended - and only two punctures each. The bikes were impeccably designed and built, comfortable, utterly reliable and as at home in the Himalayas as they were crossing the Gobi Desert.


Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Brucey on July 18, 2018, 02:23:55 pm
much is/was made of the 'special geometry' of those frames but AFAICT the angles, clearances etc are the same as you would have then got on an OTP SBDU frame (frames were available OTP or custom made at the time).
(http://www.bulgier.net/pics/bike/Catalogs/Raleigh80s_Pro_frames/3_picture.jpg)

You might have had steeper angles on (say) a crit bike, but not otherwise.  The clearances, angles, braze-ons etc are standard ones; IIRC the LH lever boss is present even though they didn't use it. So I call 'fraud' on claims of 'special geometry' etc in this case; mostly this appears to be puffery to make it look like Raleigh did more than pull a couple of OTP frames off the shelf (even though they were nice SBDU ones) and hand them over.

Had the bikes really been customised for off-road use then they could have had slacker angles, larger clearances (for CX rubber) and all kinds of other changes. As it was, they didn't even have rack braze-ons.

IIRC one of the pair still owns their bike, now fitted with HPs and a front mech, obviously.

cheers

Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: zigzag on July 18, 2018, 03:05:06 pm
the problem with the term "gravel" (besides the unappealing word) is that it may mean a fine compacted one suitable for 23mm tyres or coarse and loose stone which is too rough even for a gravel bike (and only suitable for an mtb or a fat bike). gravel bikes have a place in cycling by being fairly versatile, like hybrid bikes but with drop bars.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Exit Stage Left on July 18, 2018, 03:19:26 pm
We've had a version of this discussion before, and the Raleigh special products catalogue 1986 spec for Randonneur frames came up. The 753 is probably the holy grail for Strade Bianchi events.

(https://sbrestorations.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/raleigh-ilkeston-sbdu-catalogue-1986-randonneur.jpg)
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Porkins on July 18, 2018, 03:33:07 pm
Am I right in thinking that the typical gravel bike is ideal for touring? If so, it could be an excellent way to sneak more touring bikes into the shops. It can be quite hard for someone who is not a cyclonerd to find a bike for their first tour.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Exit Stage Left on July 18, 2018, 03:37:42 pm
'Bikepacking' and 'Adventure' are the other marketing hooks. The difference from 'Gravel Bike', is that the top tube is better nearer the horizontal for 'Bikepacking' as that gives more space for a bag, although that is not compulsory. Here's a nice setup from Mile Failte, outside Father Ted's house. Nice matching of frame, components, and panniers.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/i_vQ3ssi93jPGsBkLBwYTsjJWQhF1kl8RAbHZD7Kdb6shvaIMaHMcVpA3TXRb8mdHbLqmQhH418aDGwdYmWP0S-1Muen04P9oxx6c-5WcKUlO0DD89W8wz49o5XmGt36sE2ggo5Xjk_nIoPPlpzUE1fk_Y3qomYYU9GoJqzcypnbLGnfGB4Q6MWrOud6oKfvKzUeqw9qVF9XIUCt75wjDXd6gaQZMgjPhVicqOrNuaqe8whOTeP6YiCQ0Uw08JV0RTJqT2rj_2wk_7O_aR-NjIgioeAX7yTnnMqRHY9nJgiGGp3nLXZqCCp1WvqukIRf1lkdepIZhSY1zzTouU45Q8NcZVGiVA6UDZ-O4j34t7ZQfPqRtg_Wd1Re6rnkkPaL5qNOB5U9UXv7pgX4wC5-mLJprcmVitZnN8-Rc1aDcItTmkULNy3Zn-p6mvL3tYQoZVG0qEMSXhP3GKobsfXcqajLHzY3_JWiFwbr9NYj_JwNK9KNB5hu9GGF61dEu1CuG1vXQAm6WaINcQDXdlfIwpE8YivwfGuNC5ToEy8CrH4lhdrkO01wm1wifySAjFj8WD8GIiFbYH5ZJhhmq9XnxWoy_FSr0Xaf-6lBWUY=w828-h554-no)
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Exit Stage Left on July 18, 2018, 04:11:07 pm
A more sloping top tube gives a better standover height, but it limits the top tube bag size, and the access to large bottles. The smaller the rider, the less the choice.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/991akr8oD2EgcpYGqfbD8AczpcOYOaAtfFhblIzGD8xX5QTwQd4xRyDB6V2uzQM4DP2t93z_wkiUn-g8U9RiVRgYWbiWVbFAgIkAUYaHfY8zU0WUoWkr1Y1a14H25H3iHuL3C8F4nvRvmOsXToWSILSvKP7-sbgCCdlIGUfJdVtYWgmZcsiVG9kJUIX9hVE9RnAAWIdZsJXW3fbHAfVZlPGEHgC7dpOu3cGC0BCAUk9477GVzCvbHU8it1srY-6BRzJKR5j2SAv_cSGYzzOjGda9NJRaQCfZWqBgye1dUn41GzoEILOlqH57umjqU_Z1MUlpEpm5QlofRO0eSQd00nm3POOAec-eqXWTBL5DIKhBckrlUwFeXl9sEJVqgU_hhwI_tLEK9KFTXhAC0Q1lwnac3fdnjcm-t51EMj4YdqOvowZbBOx7grjUPEARinFozAEtQkoNUGcDWCeF5xiaIYXS6amV6fjAKw7lCLYJUgTF1_rOv1WcIO_3AiwXSFMBlc93VUQtvwS8qbLV3v8O_UQXOFvI17jDTpgM1qc_a3lMTy_lp9nEHZd_BmOba1FycWvcLbXe0dD6ljuOsG1GCkoLrMs90V8ffEdsKdo=w828-h635-no)
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Exit Stage Left on July 18, 2018, 04:16:31 pm
Clearly a curly Hetchins can do the same job.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/ut5AkdF-UF_JZAkDuxlfkNKRXE8betI9-x5YuPuJS55M0cPXJtyBXyzh0TRf5c-FGgEhdXJNnKZAg-o9T3ixEBMuL3n3xYkmheD07LVlEN09cZNIv52RMz7_2_7rG_ajNYyJ23DXQQQ6bgP3FYh9nUy2AE3q6M3Rxe3HuXoQEbwwu-_TQqSDRT-rsfxu9GplUPwiMOE_bAk9H4PyuANI52OWtO2C4WhMc9eDiLQNV9P_yQ0OzCmGu4ZPqXxMVneK05mY7iZ4F5zqBdeLeNy5DYbYIfpbdV4VO7vgSWA_S-6qkbL0BmTaWCw4WdZTHfe6iaIJ9e037NK19jMCLsmR2Y_jDcua2R-zQjpfYk2YhlRUcApIzLBzs1ozV8qvG92hOP6f3xy2SCP9Rq3eQMMjPnR17ewKJiprNAn4ky6GvfG3HWjE5D1S7KkxMXR0P5aqZ0nuXWkwcBhQZHGzg9G2tlUk96HCPqC65BVXlYFsu1Sa39cHzqh4Q7yXKACnnME8xh_t1B3L4kVAdCMO1ngYyYCJtMMZkTrSpCm8AautFke9N2mrbMMLGODRuszFBrBzfZPw8LosXSaBdhbtIY0-OXCn0bRHvtdIf2wwsmI=w828-h554-no)
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Exit Stage Left on July 18, 2018, 04:18:22 pm
Or even a Flying Gate.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/99AwyIh_pgkcn5PP9qq19sftM5Jd5oMM9JiACa8qVI7uRT0O1TR40WMMpMSxUIVoQFNeo79GlU7wf5jWHAkR0CDFHnkI8YnMUbqD_46toFLAdGp4pfQAqQFkvgk3jQt-Lllv1TW3rWyMbGPJtdcobmhtYy3PS5jfPGpfg4h5HloH6Nd5Y6QB5QMDJN0bJvCHxHUngTe8FDcyrt7m4tSE8TZr1ZukiCSuNwlcAYqv_AwLmJowFSfpQFR1aBdCEj0i7rJgXEg59EHnfNRclRg5W4vzkWy_Yr0QPqxZqbnylJ8YpSScVg1Tc59zH-D1qv-uGKbh2azf7YvxfeTv3xw-isEdCgSgZfhNChg3AFjmMbRBGTAT6ruIKy3DS6TQR1PaXe61GdDLZhfa92-aAC70zJLLPMijXW16CBMbA2x_GO7VK8GV-N_HFbv_vHxJbEqYW-9jzLgPWDTAEcvsUSUrAaVYel79cVp04zN1B9eHRl42C9rQdRpYFZcxDKurYbD-OyoBbifRRD_BVzJwM0QqCGUfkpJoNvryHyCmVLRn_-wd24fpmF_vHk07fkp32glKyCQaraGGoxbCRKBzynNoBGNpffJ_DOHgEzHp7A4=w828-h561-no)
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Oxford_Guy on July 18, 2018, 04:56:45 pm
the problem with the term "gravel" (besides the unappealing word) is that it may mean a fine compacted one suitable for 23mm tyres or coarse and loose stone which is too rough even for a gravel bike (and only suitable for an mtb or a fat bike). gravel bikes have a place in cycling by being fairly versatile, like hybrid bikes but with drop bars.

Or a proper touring bike...
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Porkins on July 18, 2018, 05:11:14 pm
Clearly I was ahead of the times with my Porkins/Yates frame. It has fittings for caliper and canti brakes and can accommodate tyres from 20 to 50mm.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on July 19, 2018, 08:04:18 am
I think it's easy to get hung up on names here.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Canardly on July 19, 2018, 10:51:53 am
Mr Macadam will be twirling in his wotsaname.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: rogerzilla on July 19, 2018, 01:42:48 pm
It's a way to sell bikes that look like the one John Tomac rode in the early 90s, but with disc brakes.  They're not much use for anything except maybe crappy Sustrans paths, which is where most legally rideable gravel is.  Not much good for commuting as few are designed for mudguards, no good for heavy mud (Tomac's was because it was really an MTB) and too slow on tarmac unless you fit road tyres - in which case you've just made a heavy road bike.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on July 19, 2018, 02:03:20 pm
It's a way to sell bikes that look like the one John Tomac rode in the early 90s, but with disc brakes.  They're not much use for anything except maybe crappy Sustrans paths, which is where most legally rideable gravel is.  Not much good for commuting as few are designed for mudguards, no good for heavy mud (Tomac's was because it was really an MTB) and too slow on tarmac unless you fit road tyres - in which case you've just made a heavy road bike.

You realise that there is a world outside the home counties right?

Unsealed roads are surprisingly common. Be it bridal ways of Britain, or the many unsealed roads of the rest of the world. Even in the Netherlands with it's thousands of km of paved cycle ways, it's possible to find unsealed road surfaces for which the gravel bike comes into it's own. Germany has the Trans germany bike route, which is 1600km offroad, most of which is on fast gravel roads. etc...

I commute on my bike (see up thread for photos). It has mudguard eyelets, tho I haven't actually fitted mudguards, as I use my saddle bag to keep the worst off. And the right choice of tyres works well both on and off road.

I think one of the other "features" of the "gravel bikes" is that they piss off grumpy old farts that don't understand them.

Yes the name sucks. But the use case for gravel bikes is a real one, that for many is the one they need of their bike.

Now if the industry could make more groupsets aimed at the gravel market,that would be lovely. I'm talking 46/30 and 44/28 chainsets! and rear mechs that will take a 11-36.

J

Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on July 19, 2018, 03:31:07 pm
Roger doesn't live in the home counties...
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: rogerzilla on July 19, 2018, 04:16:22 pm
I think QG is quite defensive about his gravel bike!  A couple of the super-fit Weds night riders have them and they ride them so we can keep up; the extra drag kind of levels the playing field between whippets and those of us built more like 1980s Belgian sprinters.

Still, it's the first time I've been called an old fart  ;D
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on July 19, 2018, 04:30:40 pm
I think QG is quite defensive about his gravel bike!  A couple of the super-fit Weds night riders have them and they ride them so we can keep up; the extra drag kind of levels the playing field between whippets and those of us built more like 1980s Belgian sprinters.

Her bike. Yes I am very protective of said bike.

Gravel bikes, despite the name, are a wonderful idea that fills that gap between the out and out road bikes for those who think they are Chris Froome, and the out and out mountain bikes for people who don't like roads. And with the likes of FSA making groupsets aimed at the gravel market (FSA SL-K Modular crankset for example), this provides useful gearing options for mortals for whom even a 50/34 compact is too big.

Quote

Still, it's the first time I've been called an old fart  ;D

I wasn't solely aiming it at you, there's a lot of people moaning about gravel bikes acting like you're average grouchy old fart "back in my day..." "new fangled..." etc...

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: grams on July 19, 2018, 05:05:36 pm
It's a way to sell bikes that look like the one John Tomac rode in the early 90s, but with disc brakes.  They're not much use for anything except maybe crappy Sustrans paths, which is where most legally rideable gravel is.  Not much good for commuting as few are designed for mudguards, no good for heavy mud (Tomac's was because it was really an MTB) and too slow on tarmac unless you fit road tyres - in which case you've just made a heavy road bike.

Gravel bikes often have mudguard and rack eyelets - it's one of their distinguishing features! And part of the point of them is that (in the disc brake era) you can build a road bike with bigger clearances for negligible weight penalty.

And "crappy sustrans paths" covers an awful lot of places people want to cycle. I'm not sure why this is a negative!

There's a lot of silly hype around them, but what you're basically rubbishing here is the idea of making road bikes with bigger clearances and more practical features, which seems... odd.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Porkins on July 19, 2018, 05:09:14 pm
I don't object to the bikes, it's the nonsensical, confusing marketing I don't like. We hardly have any gravel here. But they do have proper gravel racing in the US. What we have here is crap road surfaces, huge potholes and bits of muddy cycle path. Maybe we need a new name for a new niche...the austerity bike.

I am extra grouchy about marketing because I used to do it for a living. The bullshit drove me crazy. Still does.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Samuel D on July 19, 2018, 05:29:07 pm
I am extra grouchy about marketing because I used to do it for a living. The bullshit drove me crazy. Still does.

How did you get out? Asking for a friend.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on July 19, 2018, 05:31:25 pm
If it weren't for marketing, all bikes would be as expensive (and difficult to purchase) as an equivalently specced recumbent.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Porkins on July 19, 2018, 05:46:57 pm
Customers don't need marketing to vote with their wallet. Look at Ribble.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Porkins on July 19, 2018, 05:49:24 pm
I am extra grouchy about marketing because I used to do it for a living. The bullshit drove me crazy. Still does.

How did you get out? Asking for a friend.

Forced out by illness. I somehow ended up running a growing PR company but I'm not one of those who thrives on stress.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: SoreTween on July 19, 2018, 05:54:41 pm
I've no idea where RZ lives but I can safely say it is nowhere near any forestry commission land.  Ditto Porkins.   Look for a map of FC land, every bit of it is full of gravel fire roads and all is permissive access.

According to whoownsengland.com FC is the largest land owner in England & Scotland.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Chris S on July 19, 2018, 06:02:45 pm
I've no idea where RZ lives but I can safely say it is nowhere near any forestry commission land.  Ditto Porkins.   Look for a map of FC land, every bit of it is full of gravel fire roads and all is permissive access.

According to whoownsengland.com FC is the largest land owner in England & Scotland.

And a fair number round here are in much better shape that the roads!
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Porkins on July 19, 2018, 06:14:17 pm
gravel fire roads
Believe it or not I've seen fire roads in UK forests, done a fair bit of enduro motorcycling in such places. In my experience they're at least 10 parts earth to 1 part gravel. Sometimes there's a layer of fresh gravel on top but it soon gets scattered and buried by vehicles.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Hot Flatus on July 19, 2018, 06:28:50 pm
I don't object to the bikes, it's the nonsensical, confusing marketing I don't like. We hardly have any gravel here. But they do have proper gravel racing in the US. What we have here is crap road surfaces, huge potholes and bits of muddy cycle path. Maybe we need a new name for a new niche...the austerity bike.

I am extra grouchy about marketing because I used to do it for a living. The bullshit drove me crazy. Still does.

There's loads of it round here. There's a whole 15 mile section of Fosseway.

Nope I'm not going to join in with the luddites. Products need to be sold or companies won't make them. They fill a niche.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Chris S on July 19, 2018, 07:11:29 pm
OK, so it's a Cross not a Gravel bike, but my Caadx is by far and away the fastest bike I have (tandem excluded) - I find it much faster than the Synapse which was £1200 more, and the Sammy Slick tyres (no longer available - FFS) are great for hooning along at evens on tarmac; and it's my go-to bike for any off-road except the proper gnarly bits of the moors - it's great for FC tracks.

So in my limited experience, I haven't found gravel/cross tyres slow at all - quite the contrary. They do wear out quickly though - although that might just be because I'm a fat fucker.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on July 19, 2018, 07:24:04 pm
gravel fire roads
Believe it or not I've seen fire roads in UK forests, done a fair bit of enduro motorcycling in such places. In my experience they're at least 10 parts earth to 1 part gravel. Sometimes there's a layer of fresh gravel on top but it soon gets scattered and buried by vehicles.
You're taking the word 'gravel' literally. That's a mistake. You've fallen for the marketing over the product.  ;)

In similar vein, it's a mistake to think an older bike can't be a 'gravel bike' because the term hadn't been invented then.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mattc on July 19, 2018, 07:55:11 pm
How long since anyone objected to the term "Mountain" bikes? - which as we know are almost never ridden up mountains.




I think the UK is generally very lacking in rideable, non-muddy gravel. Or rather it is very localised e.g. once I've ridden 40 miles to Salisbury Plain there is many miles of the stuff. Or 110 miles to the start of the TINAT rides, which had some glorious bits in gorgeous surroundings.

Are these bikes good for nothing? Well, they only excel in very specific conditions. Are they pretty good over a wide range of surfaces? Yup, and you can probably ride many interesting routes round the UK without being pathetically slow, or riding miles without being able to look around you. (Mine probably does most miles on shitty low-traffic tarmac.)

My current problem is locating trails that aren't muddy - everything else is generally good fun. (admittedly as I write - with no rain for over a month - mud isn't a big problem! But most of the year, most years, "off-road" mostly = mud. I don't like mud. )

My "gravel bike" is an aged aluminium ex-CX frame (raced to a vets world champs win I'll have you know!!!) with  mudguards, 1x8 + Cantis, down-tube friction shifter.  :smug: It was bought (for pennies) for my commute, but has proved a brilliant "general" bike.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 06, 2018, 07:12:03 pm
I was skimming through some old CTC Cycle magazines the other day and came across a review of "Sonder and Whyte gravel bikes" by Dan Joyce. Some extracts:
Quote
Both bikes are at their best on some kind of road. They excel on smooth unsurfaced ones, such as good-quality forest fire-roads. ... On actual gravel, ironically, they were underwhelming; loose chippings make for skittery handling on tyres that are, in off-road terms, relatively narrow and high pressure.

Quote
These bikes are to rough-stuff tourers what audax bikes are to traditional tourers: lighter, sportier alternatives. They'll carry less luggage (or none) at higher speeds. I don't think either the Sonder Camino Ti or the Whyte Friston is the only bike you'll need, but either might be the only drop-bar bike you need. They will do country lanes exploring, club riding, gentle off-road riding, commuting, lightweight touring, minimalist backpacking, and more.

If you own multiple bikes, there's less incentive to buy a jack-of-many-trades gravel bike. You're likely to have specialised bikes that already perform specific roles better. So pause before drinking the gravel bikes Kool-Aid and think hard about what you'd really use one of them for. 

And he concludes by saying:
Quote
...The Sonder Camino Ti... would make a fine road-plus bike and, with treaded tyres, a very capable backpacking bike. ...

...The Whyte Friston... would then be a cracking all-roads bike, with the emphasis on surfaced ones.

I was first formally introduced to the concept of splitters and lumpers twenty years ago in the context of dictionary compilers. Dan Joyce is clearly a splitter who sees distinctions between gravel bikes, all-road bikes, road-plus bikes, backpacking bikes and indeed rough-stuff touring bikes. I suspect in this he's typical of people who write about semi-technical things in a marketing-type context (as in reviews) for a living. To me, they're all flavours of the same thing.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on August 06, 2018, 07:19:24 pm
I was first formally introduced to the concept of splitters and lumpers twenty years ago in the context of dictionary compilers.

*tapity-tap*

*learns that there's a term for a thing*
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Brucey on August 06, 2018, 07:24:18 pm
+1.

Confusion to be avoided with other uses of 'splitters' though, e.g.

(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-zXpq5hRaYyw/UErN0V_x91I/AAAAAAAAAz4/HjXhHOlceZ8/s1600/brian9.jpg)

cheers
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 06, 2018, 07:41:46 pm
You can't lump all splitters together!

Erm...
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 06, 2018, 08:06:41 pm
I was first formally introduced to the concept of splitters and lumpers twenty years ago in the context of dictionary compilers.

*tapity-tap*

*learns that there's a term for a thing*

Women, fire, and dangerous things...

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Jakob W on August 06, 2018, 11:49:52 pm
I first heard the lumper/splitter terms used in reference to historians, but it is one of those concepts that can be applied wonderfully productively to many different domains (which of the two this might make me is left as an exercise for the reader...)

I'm with Cuzdo in that I reckon they're all basically the same thing, but I'm slightly perturbed in that I could probably enumerate most of the various fine distinctions between Joyce's categories. I read _Cycle_ whenever it drops through my letterbox, but that's the closest thing to a reviews mag that I look at; I suspect this means I spend rather too much time reading about bicycles online, rather than just riding them...
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 08, 2018, 09:13:43 am
I suspect this means I spend rather too much time reading about bicycles online, rather than just riding them...
This is probably true of us all.  :-\
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on August 09, 2018, 01:39:58 pm
Once upon a time there were bicyclettes, randonneuses and vélos de course. Bicyclettes had luggage racks, dynamo lighting and mudguards and could be ridden anywhere due to the fat tyres (provided you had superhuman strength) but were supremely successful at fetching the bread and and getting the eggs home over ruts and cobbles without making an omelette. Vélos de course did just that extremely successfully but wre less well suited to riding for non-course type things and completely inutile for carrying eggs anywhere (due to absence of mudguards, luggage facilities and comfy tyres). In the middle was the randonneuse, light frame and relatively tight geometry like a course with fat tyres , mudguards, dynamo lights and luggage racks - and a lot more gears suited to going more places faster than a bicyclette) Fans of the randonneuse claimed it was ideally suited to long randonnées like Thonon-Trieste with a lot of mountain and a certain quantity of unmade road - to be done with "sacoches'.

That was once. Certain USAnians invented Something called a VTT which somehow reclaimed the place of the bicyclette. They were cheap to buy from the Chinese but lacked mudguards, luggage racks and lights. They also posed a threat to the randonneuse because for some bizarre reason tyre manufacturers (and bike manufacturers) decided that USAnian was a better language for selling bikes than froggish (although a small band of irreluctible Gauls continued the battle against the foreign invaders). Vélos de course became the choice for all those who could count beyond 10 and wanted to go faster (in order to get where they wanted to go before their nether régions lost all feeling!)

This situation could not last of course. The once well-ordered world split asunder with VTTs that had (shock horror) suspension and would go to places their originators dreamt of (but not their detractors, of course). Along came VTCs which, along with cheapo Vtts, filled the void left by the bicyclette. Some even gained mudguards and luggage - although not very often dynamos. Vélos de course now needed a degree in computer science and cybernetics to go with the thighs of Superman/Wonderwoman but still progressed ever onward and upward. But what could replace the randonneuse??

Well someone came up with the idea of a bike that could go fast when needed, go places when needed, carry luggage when needed and even carry eggs without making omelettes (helped it must be admitted by modern styrofoam packaging). The dynamo is not yet obligatory. Some even have 650B tyres, to gain acceptance with the irreluctable frogs, although framebags still meet a bit of resistance compared to the Berthoud sacoche. It might be called a "gravel bike" but that's just for the USAnians, we all know that really it's a "randonneuse".

What's in a name - they're all bikes!! Now get out and ride.

Ps Julia I think you might find Thonon-Trieste is your sort of ride - but it is touring, mind.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 09, 2018, 02:52:08 pm
Never mind carrying eggs without making omelettes, sometimes it's the egos that get scrambled!
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: zigzag on August 09, 2018, 04:18:22 pm
the irony is that so called gravel bikes are crap for riding on gravel (an mtb with suspension or a fat bike are best bet). for gravel that is compacted and fine a normal road bike (even with 23mm tyres) does the job just fine, so there's no need to consider another type of bike. once the gravel gets coarse and loose you need proper wide tyres, otherwise the bike will just weave about with tyres digging in and it will be hard work just to keep moving and stay balanced. there are no bikes that ride pretty well on all surfaces (without a motor attached).
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 10, 2018, 07:50:29 am
Once upon a time there were bicyclettes, randonneuses and vélos de course. Bicyclettes had luggage racks, dynamo lighting and mudguards and could be ridden anywhere due to the fat tyres (provided you had superhuman strength) but were supremely successful at fetching the bread and and getting the eggs home over ruts and cobbles without making an omelette. Vélos de course did just that extremely successfully but wre less well suited to riding for non-course type things and completely inutile for carrying eggs anywhere (due to absence of mudguards, luggage facilities and comfy tyres). In the middle was the randonneuse, light frame and relatively tight geometry like a course with fat tyres , mudguards, dynamo lights and luggage racks - and a lot more gears suited to going more places faster than a bicyclette) Fans of the randonneuse claimed it was ideally suited to long randonnées like Thonon-Trieste with a lot of mountain and a certain quantity of unmade road - to be done with "sacoches'.

That was once. Certain USAnians invented Something called a VTT which somehow reclaimed the place of the bicyclette. They were cheap to buy from the Chinese but lacked mudguards, luggage racks and lights. They also posed a threat to the randonneuse because for some bizarre reason tyre manufacturers (and bike manufacturers) decided that USAnian was a better language for selling bikes than froggish (although a small band of irreluctible Gauls continued the battle against the foreign invaders). Vélos de course became the choice for all those who could count beyond 10 and wanted to go faster (in order to get where they wanted to go before their nether régions lost all feeling!)

This situation could not last of course. The once well-ordered world split asunder with VTTs that had (shock horror) suspension and would go to places their originators dreamt of (but not their detractors, of course). Along came VTCs which, along with cheapo Vtts, filled the void left by the bicyclette. Some even gained mudguards and luggage - although not very often dynamos. Vélos de course now needed a degree in computer science and cybernetics to go with the thighs of Superman/Wonderwoman but still progressed ever onward and upward. But what could replace the randonneuse??

Well someone came up with the idea of a bike that could go fast when needed, go places when needed, carry luggage when needed and even carry eggs without making omelettes (helped it must be admitted by modern styrofoam packaging). The dynamo is not yet obligatory. Some even have 650B tyres, to gain acceptance with the irreluctable frogs, although framebags still meet a bit of resistance compared to the Berthoud sacoche. It might be called a "gravel bike" but that's just for the USAnians, we all know that really it's a "randonneuse".

What's in a name - they're all bikes!! Now get out and ride.

Ps Julia I think you might find Thonon-Trieste is your sort of ride - but it is touring, mind.
Another way of looking at gravel bikes, that might not occur to those of us not in the French retro/Jan Heine field. So what do the French press and trade call "gravel bikes"? Have they resurrected the term randonneuse, do they call them "vélo de gravier" (google tells me gravier is the word for gravel... ) or what?
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on August 10, 2018, 09:23:10 pm
Quite frankly I haven't a clue what the french call a gravel bike. A fat bike is a "fat" so a gravel bike is probably "un gravel" but I don"t read cycling press over here any longer. With the slow adoption of disc road bikes and the slavish obsession with 23mm tyres I doubt many (outside the Confrérie des 650B) even know that such a machine exists. Someone turned up on one at a 650 ride complete with framebags and I think it was accepted as a modern take on a randonneuse. I will have to look at the write-up to be sure.

My text was a very personal view and not intended to be taken too seriously - but there may be a few grains of Truth somewhere in there.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Moleman76 on August 11, 2018, 06:31:01 am
Gravel, as aggregate used in paving and for concrete, is more valuable than all the gold ore around.  Price is low (but going up), but much more is needed than gold
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 11, 2018, 04:12:20 pm
"I tend to ride gravel bikes because I enjoy the added mild peril that comes with drop bars off road"
"Like me, you might enjoy the peril of cross bike fun on mountain bike trails, ... Certainly much of my own gravel riding is pushing at the boundaries of what’s really mountain biking, ... However, if you’re planning to ride mixed surface canal paths and quiet roads, then the [cx/gravel bike] will likely give them more confidence and comfort than a road bike, and more speed than a flat bar/hybrid option."
Some opinions from "Eve's Mummy" on grit.cx. The rest of it is more relevant to making bike components fit kids.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 23, 2018, 08:01:37 pm
Gravel? Pah! We're at hyper-gravel (http://off.road.cc/content/news/hyper-gravel-you-say-we-ride-the-bombtrack-hook-adv-2796) now.
Quote
Has Bombtrack Bikes created another bike category – the ‘hyper-gravel’ bike? I’ve been out to a beautiful forested area just outside of Cologne in the rain to try the new...

This is no US-style race gravel bike with superlight frame and max tyre clearance of 47c this is a big hairy arsed ‘hyper gravel ‘ bike with a 2.25” front tyre and some radical component choices.

Quote
As gravel/adventure bikes continue to push up to and start to overlap the traditional XC mountain bike you have to start to think what bike would actually be better for the type of riding you are doing. Is it about how fast you can cover the ground off road or is it about the comfort provided by the drop bars many hand positions and the ability to see a lot more as you go a bit slower. Both are fine of course it’s just a personal preference.

Quote
As for 'hyper gravel' - we'll get back to you on that...
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on August 23, 2018, 08:57:05 pm
That looks like someone's put silly handlebars on a hardtail mountain bike.  Hyper.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: phantasmagoriana on August 23, 2018, 09:07:44 pm
That tiny single chainring - how does it work on anything other than steep climbs? ??? I'm a fan of low gears, but that just seems a bit...extreme. I can't imagine pedalling at any sort of sensible cadence on the flat with it.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 23, 2018, 09:09:47 pm
That looks like someone's put silly handlebars on a hardtail mountain bike.  Hyper.

Pfft, who would do such a thing...

[imghttp://photos.quixotic.eu/Netherlands/2017/12/31/PC311038_sm.JPG[/img]http://Now with even sillier bars...

(http://photos.quixotic.eu/TG5/2018/07/16/Q7161428_sm.JPG)

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 23, 2018, 09:20:42 pm
That tiny single chainring - how does it work on anything other than steep climbs? ??? I'm a fan of low gears, but that just seems a bit...extreme. I can't imagine pedalling at any sort of sensible cadence on the flat with it.

Well let's do the maths. It has a 38t FSA chain ring, with an 11-42 cassette. That gives us the following gears:

8.6,7.2,6.3,5.5,5.0,4.3,3.8,3.4,2.9,2.6,2.2 - Metres of development.

For comparison a 34/34 on 700c 28mm tyres gives you 2.1m as a gear. So this doesn't have a very low gear.

At the top end, 8.6m isn't that small, at 90 rpm, you'd still be able to get to 45.9. Which for most of us, is going down hill territory, either that or in the local chain gang.

Now to get that low gear down to the same level as the with a 46/30 and a 13-34 sub compact double you'd need to reduce that front chain ring to something around a 32. Which then means your top gear is only 7.2m, which at 90rpm is 38.6kph. Compared to 47kph for my 46/30 and 13-34...

So in short, it's not particularly low (I think someone has had a rant about gears not being low enough on this forum recently...), And as with all 1x setups, you're gonna either lose top end, or low end, or have huge jumps, or both. This seems top heavy... in the words of James Hayden "pedalling over 45kph is just wasting energy"

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: phantasmagoriana on August 23, 2018, 09:27:03 pm
Ah, 38t? That makes more sense. It looked much smaller to me; I was thinking it must be a 22t or something!
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 23, 2018, 09:56:22 pm
That looks like someone's put silly handlebars on a hardtail mountain bike.  Hyper.
The reviewer thought the same.
Quote
The Hood ADV is one of the first production gravel bikes to feature a telescopic front fork and is therefore much more similar to the old school mountain bikes from the early 90’s in its appearance. It also features a modern internally routed KS dropper post and a remote lever on the handlebars and large tyres. Looked at from the side profile it looks remarkably like one of those old drop handlebar XC bikes with their short travel forks.
And the John Tomac comparisons. Whether Bombtrack, who apparently are 3 bods in Cologne, were inspired by this, and either hoped to bask in reflected nostalgia so to speak or hoped no one would notice, or it's just coincidence – or convergent design – I do not know.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 23, 2018, 10:34:18 pm
Oh look! On the same site, or its sister, we have "go anywhere bikes."
Quote
Road bikes have gotten so much more capable in recent years, with the gravel bike trend inspiring a new breed of highly versatile, adaptable and capable road bikes that can handle so much more than roads.
https://road.cc/content/feature/238285-video-six-best-go-anywhere-road-bikes
Really we know any bike can go anywhere if you're prepared to go slow enough, ride hard enough, take enough care, carry it a bit, put up with some jarring, mend a few punctures, etc etc... Some bikes excel at one thing, some at another, some are competent at most things brilliant at none – but how many more phrases can we think of?

I'm off for a ride on my hyper-adventure-go-road-gravel-anywhere-plus bike!
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on August 25, 2018, 08:01:03 pm
Ah, 38t? That makes more sense. It looked much smaller to me; I was thinking it must be a 22t or something!
That tiny single chainring - how does it work on anything other than steep climbs? ??? I'm a fan of low gears, but that just seems a bit...extreme. I can't imagine pedalling at any sort of sensible cadence on the flat with it.

Well let's do the maths. It has a 38t FSA chain ring, with an 11-42 cassette. That gives us the following gears:

8.6,7.2,6.3,5.5,5.0,4.3,3.8,3.4,2.9,2.6,2.2 - Metres of development.

For comparison a 34/34 on 700c 28mm tyres gives you 2.1m as a gear. So this doesn't have a very low gear.

At the top end, 8.6m isn't that small, at 90 rpm, you'd still be able to get to 45.9. Which for most of us, is going down hill territory, either that or in the local chain gang.

Now to get that low gear down to the same level as the with a 46/30 and a 13-34 sub compact double you'd need to reduce that front chain ring to something around a 32. Which then means your top gear is only 7.2m, which at 90rpm is 38.6kph. Compared to 47kph for my 46/30 and 13-34...

So in short, it's not particularly low (I think someone has had a rant about gears not being low enough on this forum recently...), And as with all 1x setups, you're gonna either lose top end, or low end, or have huge jumps, or both. This seems top heavy... in the words of James Hayden "pedalling over 45kph is just wasting energy"

J

Visually judging I would have put that chainring much smaller than 38T. It looks about the same as the single 30I I once fitted to one of my bikes. Certainly closer to 3/4 of the size of the big sprocket on the cassette. It's a pity the reviewer didn't give any details like that.
Nit picking I know but as far as I can remember Columbus Cromor was plain gauge, not butted (it's what Gitane used on one of my frames) and I thought it was no longer made, replaced by Gara or Aelle. Heavy old stuff which says a lot about this particular bike's conception. Cromor was seamed tubing

Be careful when using development to make gearing comparisons, particularly as here with fat tyres on a different rim size. A system  that relies on 10cm increments in wheel size tends to give misleading results (a comment that I have made to FFCT monitors on several occasions and which explains why the country that invented the metric system tends to avoid using the dévelopement measure)
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 25, 2018, 08:49:07 pm
Be careful when using development to make gearing comparisons, particularly as here with fat tyres on a different rim size. A system  that relies on 10cm increments in wheel size tends to give misleading results (a comment that I have made to FFCT monitors on several occasions and which explains why the country that invented the metric system tends to avoid using the dévelopement measure)

What do they use instead? Gear inches seems to be a barbarian measure used by the US and the UK...

Ultimately if the flaw of MoD is the single decimal place, surely the solution is to goto 2 or more decimal places...

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: JonBuoy on August 25, 2018, 09:25:43 pm
Ah, 38t? That makes more sense. It looked much smaller to me; I was thinking it must be a 22t or something!
That tiny single chainring - how does it work on anything other than steep climbs? ??? I'm a fan of low gears, but that just seems a bit...extreme. I can't imagine pedalling at any sort of sensible cadence on the flat with it.

Well let's do the maths. It has a 38t FSA chain ring, with an 11-42 cassette. That gives us the following gears:

8.6,7.2,6.3,5.5,5.0,4.3,3.8,3.4,2.9,2.6,2.2 - Metres of development.

For comparison a 34/34 on 700c 28mm tyres gives you 2.1m as a gear. So this doesn't have a very low gear.

At the top end, 8.6m isn't that small, at 90 rpm, you'd still be able to get to 45.9. Which for most of us, is going down hill territory, either that or in the local chain gang.

Now to get that low gear down to the same level as the with a 46/30 and a 13-34 sub compact double you'd need to reduce that front chain ring to something around a 32. Which then means your top gear is only 7.2m, which at 90rpm is 38.6kph. Compared to 47kph for my 46/30 and 13-34...

So in short, it's not particularly low (I think someone has had a rant about gears not being low enough on this forum recently...), And as with all 1x setups, you're gonna either lose top end, or low end, or have huge jumps, or both. This seems top heavy... in the words of James Hayden "pedalling over 45kph is just wasting energy"

J

Visually judging I would have put that chainring much smaller than 38T. It looks about the same as the single 30I I once fitted to one of my bikes. Certainly closer to 3/4 of the size of the big sprocket on the cassette. It's a pity the reviewer didn't give any details like that.

Counting the teeth on the pictures it is significantly smaller than 38T too!
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 25, 2018, 10:13:40 pm
Are we all talking about the same bike? Phanta was asking, I think, about the Bombtrack "hyper-gravel" bike. I don't know where Quixotic got the 38T figure from, there's nothing stated in the review; is she talking about the bike in the photo she's posted, her own bike? Of which we can't see the chainring, but if it's her bike, we'll take her word for it! The Bombtrack's chainring definitely looks a lot less than 38 to me.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on August 25, 2018, 10:35:30 pm
That particular 'hyper-gravel' bike has a 28 or 30t chainring. Stupidly small unless you wanted to potter around on fatbike tyres. Other reviews of the same model have a different crankset though, which looks a bit bigger.
https://theradavist.com/2018/08/bombtracks-new-hook-adv-all-road-with-40mm-of-front-suspension/
http://www.gravelcyclist.com/bicycle-tech/press-release-bombtrack-announces-the-hook-adv-a-drop-bar-front-suspension-hyper-gravel-bike/ lists a 38t chainring.

Columbus Cromor was/ is decent quality tubing but not fancy shaped or a super-steel
http://equusbicycle.com/bike/columbus/columbuschart.htm
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 25, 2018, 11:08:38 pm
Are we all talking about the same bike? Phanta was asking, I think, about the Bombtrack "hyper-gravel" bike. I don't know where Quixotic got the 38T figure from, there's nothing stated in the review; is she talking about the bike in the photo she's posted, her own bike? Of which we can't see the chainring, but if it's her bike, we'll take her word for it! The Bombtrack's chainring definitely looks a lot less than 38 to me.

I googled for the spec of the bike as sold... I'm happy to be wrong.

My own bike has a 28/40 double chainring.

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 26, 2018, 09:54:04 pm
Seems to be two different versions of it. As LWaB pointed out, the bike "reviewed" by the Radavist, which I think is a USAnian site, has a much bigger chainring – could well be 38T. In fact I've just spotted he's added a link to a site where they state it is. Why they sent one with a smaller chainring to the UK site, I cannot imagine.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on August 27, 2018, 12:16:53 am
Be careful when using development to make gearing comparisons, particularly as here with fat tyres on a different rim size. A system  that relies on 10cm increments in wheel size tends to give misleading results (a comment that I have made to FFCT monitors on several occasions and which explains why the country that invented the metric system tends to avoid using the dévelopement measure)

What do they use instead? Gear inches seems to be a barbarian measure used by the US and the UK...

Ultimately if the flaw of MoD is the single decimal place, surely the solution is to goto 2 or more decimal places...

J

The usual habit in road circles is to talk about "braquet" which basically means what gearing you are running. I am not sure what the vtt folk use (if anything at all, other than the groupset manufacturer's options) but it won't be dévelopment because that notion doesn't exist for inch tyre sizes with fat sections. Don't knock gear inches - what they do is to give a gearing comparison system which gives results in a range 1-100 for most purposes, which is why it has kept going because the results are easily understood and remembered by common mortals.

"Dévelopment" would be a lot more useful if it could be based on decimetres rather than metres (and keep the one decimal point) but the first step would also be to get away from calling tyres "650" and "700" (nominally a 700B tyre which uses a 635mm rim is the same size as 700C, on a 622mm rim). Nice to think that cms would work as the base unit but I think the numbers would get too big to be handy. Sad to say but inches really do have quite a lot going for them in being uncumbersome as a unit.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 27, 2018, 12:37:41 am

The usual habit in road circles is to talk about "braquet" which basically means what gearing you are running. I am not sure what the vtt folk use (if anything at all, other than the groupset manufacturer's options) but it won't be dévelopment because that notion doesn't exist for inch tyre sizes with fat sections. Don't knock gear inches - what they do is to give a gearing comparison system which gives results in a range 1-100 for most purposes, which is why it has kept going because the results are easily understood and remembered by common mortals.

"Dévelopment" would be a lot more useful if it could be based on decimetres rather than metres (and keep the one decimal point) but the first step would also be to get away from calling tyres "650" and "700" (nominally a 700B tyre which uses a 635mm rim is the same size as 700C, on a 622mm rim). Nice to think that cms would work as the base unit but I think the numbers would get too big to be handy. Sad to say but inches really do have quite a lot going for them in being uncumbersome as a unit.

Nice point, except, if I were to describe a 25" gear round these parts the question would be "what's an inch?"

As for tyre sizes, in the civilised world we say things like 622x28, or 584x50, or 349x32... Thus letting you know the nominal width, and the rim it should sit on.

Comparing what is the equivalent size penny farthing to the gear you're running is... archaic at best...

But this is an argument we've had on yacf at least twice in the last 3 years, and that's just the threads where I started it...

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Jakob W on August 27, 2018, 10:14:59 am
I'd agree that ERTO tyre designations are the One True Way, but, despite being fully metricated in my daily life (pints and miles perhaps excepted), gear inches do make sense; as mzjo points out, you end up with a useful range of between about 20 and 100, and quoting to the nearest exact inch gives a useful amount of precision. Yes, if you trace the origin back it's easy to be all 'hur dur penny farthing', but plenty of fields have weird customary units that work for their purposes; think wire gauges, gem carats, or typographic points. It's not like development, despite the apparent rationality, is actually all that useful in and of itself; to go from cadence to speed (whether m/s or km/h) still involves a conversion factor, meaning it's not any better from a mental arithmetic POV.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 27, 2018, 12:26:53 pm
I'd agree that ERTO tyre designations are the One True Way, but, despite being fully metricated in my daily life (pints and miles perhaps excepted), gear inches do make sense; as mzjo points out, you end up with a useful range of between about 20 and 100, and quoting to the nearest exact inch gives a useful amount of precision. Yes, if you trace the origin back it's easy to be all 'hur dur penny farthing', but plenty of fields have weird customary units that work for their purposes; think wire gauges, gem carats, or typographic points. It's not like development, despite the apparent rationality, is actually all that useful in and of itself; to go from cadence to speed (whether m/s or km/h) still involves a conversion factor, meaning it's not any better from a mental arithmetic POV.

Except for the simple fact that outside the UK and the US, your average person doesn't know what an inch is. I described something to a Dutch work colleague the other day as 6 inches. He said "what's an inch?"

It's easy when you have been brought up with the abominable combination of units in the UK, to think everyone knows that an inch is 25.4mm, but the reality is, that noone does. For many who use gear inches for their gearing, it's purely because they are familiar with it. I wasn't bought up on it, and have to sit down and do maths to realise that a 28" gear is the same as my 2.1m gear (34/34 * 28).

Thing is if I know that my gear is is 5m of development, I can than easily work out that 5m x 90 rpm, gives me 450m per minute, x 60, gives me 27000m/h or 27kph. You can also do something same thing in reverse. "I want my top gear to allow me to do 50kph at 90rpm." 50000 / 60 / 90 = 9.26. divide by pi, then divide the wheel diameter (I'm using 0.7 just for simple maths in this example).  This gives you the ratio between your front and rear sprockets. If I want to decide on which chain ring to use, multiply by that, so if my cassette is fixed at 11, so what chain ring do I need.

50000/60/90/pi/0.7 * 11 = 46.3

46t chain ring. And if I have my 50t chain ring and want to decide on my cassette size, I divide the chain ring instead

50 / (50000/60/90/pi/0.7) = 11.875 so a 12 tooth realistically.

At risk of tying this to a discussion elsewhere on the forum anyone born after the mid seventies should have been brought up in an education system that is fully metric, they should have been taught m, cm, l, g, etc... and unless they picked it up from parents or elsewhere, shouldn't have been taught inches[1], as such the continued use of archaic units within the older reaches of the cycling community just goes further to alienate them.

Meters of development is not perfect, it doesn't take into account crank length for example, and far too many calculators give it to you in single decimal places (Sheldon's website does say it should be to 2dp). However for those bought up in a metric world, which is something in the region of 95% of the worlds population, it is the best system on offer.

After all, to 95% of the world? what's an inch[2]? 

J

[1] I appreciate that this hasn't quite worked out like that, but still.
[2] Useless trivia, to the 4.4% of the worlds population in the US, the inch is actually defined in law by it's metric value of 25.4mm. In law at least, the US is a metric country. For more info, the 99% invisible podcast did a great episode on it called Half measures - https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/half-measures/

Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: JennyB on August 27, 2018, 12:41:57 pm
So development in metres is roughtly 3/40 your gear in inches. Good to know.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: hubner on August 27, 2018, 12:50:51 pm
Re gravel and gravel bikes, it's just the latest in rebranding of touring/general purpose bikes. The last time it was "cross", next time it''ll probably be "camping" then "trekking" etc.

Writers need something "new" to write about and the bike industry needs to sell new bikes.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 27, 2018, 01:06:37 pm
I'd agree that ERTO tyre designations are the One True Way, but, despite being fully metricated in my daily life (pints and miles perhaps excepted), gear inches do make sense; as mzjo points out, you end up with a useful range of between about 20 and 100, and quoting to the nearest exact inch gives a useful amount of precision. Yes, if you trace the origin back it's easy to be all 'hur dur penny farthing', but plenty of fields have weird customary units that work for their purposes; think wire gauges, gem carats, or typographic points. It's not like development, despite the apparent rationality, is actually all that useful in and of itself; to go from cadence to speed (whether m/s or km/h) still involves a conversion factor, meaning it's not any better from a mental arithmetic POV.

Except for the simple fact that outside the UK and the US, your average person doesn't know what an inch is. I described something to a Dutch work colleague the other day as 6 inches. He said "what's an inch?"

It's easy when you have been brought up with the abominable combination of units in the UK, to think everyone knows that an inch is 25.4mm, but the reality is, that noone does. For many who use gear inches for their gearing, it's purely because they are familiar with it. I wasn't bought up on it, and have to sit down and do maths to realise that a 28" gear is the same as my 2.1m gear (34/34 * 28).

...
Thing is, for the purposes of gear inches (as opposed to eg measuring Mars landers) you don't have to know that an inch is 25.4mm. Because in fact it's just a name for a numerical scale whose numbers indicate gear size. Higher numbers, higher gears. Just like you don't need to know that British shoe sizes are based on barley corns or European ones on a unit of 2/3cm in order to compare shoe sizes.

I'd also disagree that nobody outside UK and US knows what an inch is. My FiL, who spent his entire life in Poland, spoke in inches occasionally (usually referring to plumbing, I think, though he was an electrician). But it's certainly true that one system or the other seems better to us because we're used to it.

(https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1869/44251882392_f418f56654_c.jpg)
Inch-full photo taken (not by me) in a German supermarket.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mattc on August 27, 2018, 04:36:21 pm
Re gravel and gravel bikes, it's just the latest in rebranding of touring/general purpose bikes. The last time it was "cross", next time it''ll probably be "camping" then "trekking" etc.

Writers need something "new" to write about and the bike industry needs to sell new bikes.
Oh absolutely!

But isn't it nice that they're trying to sell us bikes that are actually good for quite a lot of real-world riding?  :thumbsup:

(If you already own such a bike and are happy with it ... well keep reading the reviews and feel smug! )
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Paul H on August 27, 2018, 04:59:34 pm
Re gravel and gravel bikes, it's just the latest in rebranding of touring/general purpose bikes. The last time it was "cross", next time it''ll probably be "camping" then "trekking" etc.

Writers need something "new" to write about and the bike industry needs to sell new bikes.
Oh absolutely!

But isn't it nice that they're trying to sell us bikes that are actually good for quite a lot of real-world riding?  :thumbsup:

(If you already own such a bike and are happy with it ... well keep reading the reviews and feel smug! )
I disagree - the marketing is a re-branding of touring, which given it's long standing image is IMO probably a good thing.
The bikes are different and it's hard to see how anyone giving them more than a glance could conclude otherwise - geometry, weight, components - and it contributes in each case to a bike better suited to it's intended purpose.  Of course there's loads of overlap, there is with all bikes, but load up something sold as a Gravel bike with 30kg of luggage and it'll handle as well as a touring bike pushed to it's limit off road, both poorly.
I know, I know, people are going to tell us they used to ride on gravel before gravel bikes were invented*, so what? I'm a bit bored with hearing it.  You used to be able to get an obscure frame and pick and mix components to have a bike that looked like a dogs dinner and did just what you wanted, now you can get something better from Halfords, that's only a bad thing for those who think they've lost some elitism.

* or ride Audax before audax bikes were invented, or mountains before mountain bikes, or race before racing bikes, or tour before touring bikes...
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Paul H on August 27, 2018, 05:09:00 pm
After all, to 95% of the world? what's an inch[2]? 
We've had a referendum and we're taking back control, we don't care what the rest of the World understands, or if we have an economy, or any World trade, we have our British Inch and Blue passports. 
The People have decided, just accept it.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mattc on August 27, 2018, 05:40:32 pm
Paul, you obviously have a lot of issues that are weighing on your shoulders.

Just get them out - we're here for you dude  :-*
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on August 27, 2018, 05:55:26 pm
I'd agree that ERTO tyre designations are the One True Way, but, despite being fully metricated in my daily life (pints and miles perhaps excepted), gear inches do make sense; as mzjo points out, you end up with a useful range of between about 20 and 100, and quoting to the nearest exact inch gives a useful amount of precision. Yes, if you trace the origin back it's easy to be all 'hur dur penny farthing', but plenty of fields have weird customary units that work for their purposes; think wire gauges, gem carats, or typographic points. It's not like development, despite the apparent rationality, is actually all that useful in and of itself; to go from cadence to speed (whether m/s or km/h) still involves a conversion factor, meaning it's not any better from a mental arithmetic POV.

Except for the simple fact that outside the UK and the US, your average person doesn't know what an inch is. I described something to a Dutch work colleague the other day as 6 inches. He said "what's an inch?"

It's easy when you have been brought up with the abominable combination of units in the UK, to think everyone knows that an inch is 25.4mm, but the reality is, that noone does. For many who use gear inches for their gearing, it's purely because they are familiar with it. I wasn't bought up on it, and have to sit down and do maths to realise that a 28" gear is the same as my 2.1m gear (34/34 * 28).

Thing is if I know that my gear is is 5m of development, I can than easily work out that 5m x 90 rpm, gives me 450m per minute, x 60, gives me 27000m/h or 27kph. You can also do something same thing in reverse. "I want my top gear to allow me to do 50kph at 90rpm." 50000 / 60 / 90 = 9.26. divide by pi, then divide the wheel diameter (I'm using 0.7 just for simple maths in this example).  This gives you the ratio between your front and rear sprockets. If I want to decide on which chain ring to use, multiply by that, so if my cassette is fixed at 11, so what chain ring do I need.

50000/60/90/pi/0.7 * 11 = 46.3

46t chain ring. And if I have my 50t chain ring and want to decide on my cassette size, I divide the chain ring instead

50 / (50000/60/90/pi/0.7) = 11.875 so a 12 tooth realistically.

At risk of tying this to a discussion elsewhere on the forum anyone born after the mid seventies should have been brought up in an education system that is fully metric, they should have been taught m, cm, l, g, etc... and unless they picked it up from parents or elsewhere, shouldn't have been taught inches[1], as such the continued use of archaic units within the older reaches of the cycling community just goes further to alienate them.

Meters of development is not perfect, it doesn't take into account crank length for example, and far too many calculators give it to you in single decimal places (Sheldon's website does say it should be to 2dp). However for those bought up in a metric world, which is something in the region of 95% of the worlds population, it is the best system on offer.

After all, to 95% of the world? what's an inch[2]? 

J

[1] I appreciate that this hasn't quite worked out like that, but still.
[2] Useless trivia, to the 4.4% of the worlds population in the US, the inch is actually defined in law by it's metric value of 25.4mm. In law at least, the US is a metric country. For more info, the 99% invisible podcast did a great episode on it called Half measures - https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/half-measures/

System failure: your 28" wheel has a tyre height of 44.5mm and a total diameter of 711.2mm giving a dévelopment of 2.2352m with 34/34 (assuming you are on a 622mm rim - of course this figure will be correct only when your load compresses the tyre to give that diameter, the actual diameter could vary quite a lot with load at htese bigger tyre sections which is why vttists were always advised to set their bicycle computers by doing a rollout measure with the appropriate normal load).

Useless trivia - gold is sold in ounces, beer in pints and for a lot of french who weren't born when the franc changed "un bric" is still "un million ancien" (even now we have the euro.

I will have to check which are the official ISO units, I should know but there may be a few surprises.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Paul H on August 27, 2018, 06:46:30 pm
Paul, you obviously have a lot of issues that are weighing on your shoulders.

Just get them out - we're here for you dude  :-*
As long as they're weighing in lb and oz I can handle it ;)
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on August 27, 2018, 06:58:26 pm
Not all touring bikes were/are loaded touring bikes, so not all traditional touring bikes handle 30kg of luggage very well.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on August 27, 2018, 08:02:42 pm
To return to an earlier post, what do the french call them I have this, extracted from "Le  650B", the magazine of the Confrérie

(https://i.imgur.com/uzcdaj7.png?2)

The relevant bit of text is in the rhs paragraph. Don't know that I have permission for this, don't know if I need it. The author is Christophe Courbou.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on August 27, 2018, 08:06:48 pm
Be careful when using development to make gearing comparisons, particularly as here with fat tyres on a different rim size. A system  that relies on 10cm increments in wheel size tends to give misleading results (a comment that I have made to FFCT monitors on several occasions and which explains why the country that invented the metric system tends to avoid using the dévelopement measure)

What do they use instead? Gear inches seems to be a barbarian measure used by the US and the UK...

Gain Ratio (how far the bike travels for a given distance travelled by the pedal) is the One True Measurement of gearing.  Can't beat the purity of a dimensionless measurement that actually tells you what it feels like (development and inches are fundamentally flawed, as they disregard the mechanical advantage of the crank[1]).

I can't help feeling that thoughtless use of Gear Inches (or metric equivalent) is part of the 170mm-should-be-good-enough-for-anyone hegemony.


[1] And note that it's perfectly reasonable for the same rider to use different crank lengths on different types of bikes.  Why wouldn't you want a system that allows you to meaningfully compare the gearing of your track bike to your mountain bike?
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: ElyDave on August 27, 2018, 08:13:03 pm
Kim wins again!!!!

Despite having grown up in the 70's and 80's, being an engineer, now working in the most archaic industry going (acre-feet anyone?) I have f@%k all idea what a gear inch is. 

My one true value is if I turn the pedals once, how far do i go? From that all else is true.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on August 27, 2018, 08:15:45 pm
My one true value is if I turn the pedals once, how far do i go? From that all else is true.

That's Development (whether you measure it in metres or milliFurlongs), and disregards the effect of crank length.


Tragically, unless I'm sitting down for a maths session, I have no sense of real-world values for gain ratio.  I've been known to calculate gear ratios in 170mm-crank-equivalent-inches in order to compare them.   :facepalm:
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on August 27, 2018, 08:17:01 pm
Because I'm not using a track bike and a mountain bike for the same sort of riding, so their gearing will always differ. I'm only interested in how the gearing relates within each type of machine.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: ElyDave on August 27, 2018, 08:19:28 pm
My one true value is if I turn the pedals once, how far do i go? From that all else is true.

That's Development (whether you measure it in metres or milliFurlongs), and disregards the effect of crank length.

Boooo, Kim loses, suggest non- logical measure.

Crank length is irrelevant to how fast I'm going, only has an effect on knee upanddownness, which is a non-si unit.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 27, 2018, 08:20:18 pm
To return to an earlier post, what do the french call them I have this, extracted from "Le  650B", the magazine of the Confrérie

(https://i.imgur.com/uzcdaj7.png?2)

The relevant bit of text is in the rhs paragraph. Don't know that I have permission for this, don't know if I need it. The author is Christophe Courbou.
Demain, on roule rackless á vélo gravier.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on August 27, 2018, 08:22:40 pm
My one true value is if I turn the pedals once, how far do i go? From that all else is true.

That's Development (whether you measure it in metres or milliFurlongs), and disregards the effect of crank length.

Boooo, Kim loses, suggest non- logical measure.

Crank length is irrelevant to how fast I'm going, only has an effect on knee upanddownness, which is a non-si unit.

Crank length is directly relevant to how hard you have to push on the pedals in order to get your bike moving, just like the rest of the system.  When cycling I'm more interested in force on the pedals than how fast they're turning.

If you're going to dismiss gain ratios as non-logical, you need to argue why another system is better.  The main arguments for the traditional measures are that they make the maths easier, or make intuitive sense to experienced penny farthing / unicycle riders.

You might as well argue that chainring size is irrelevant, as it only affects how fast the cranks are turning.  What matters is how far the wheel travels for a given amount of chain.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on August 27, 2018, 08:25:11 pm
Because I'm not using a track bike and a mountain for the same sort of riding, so their gearing will always differ. I'm only interested in how the gearing relates within each type of machine.

This is a reasonable argument, if you've committed sufficient n+1s that you don't need to compare to the gearing on a different class of bike you have experience of when specifying a new type.

While the track bike example is extreme, it seems perfectly reasonable to want to compare the gearing of, say, a prospective touring bike with a road or mountain bike you already have.  Given that it's a sometimes-useful thing to do (you could say that about comparing gear ratios at all), a unit of measurement that allows you to do it is better.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 27, 2018, 08:38:26 pm
Every time somebody (and it is usually Kim) mentions gain ratio, I have to consult Sheldon to remind myself what it is and how to calculate and use it.
Quote
I would like to propose a new system, which does take crank length into account. This system is independent of units, being expressed as a pure ratio.

This ratio would be calculated as follows: divide the wheel radius by the crank length; this will yield a single radius ratio applicable to all of the gears of a given bike. The individual gear ratios are calculated as with gear inches, using this radius ratio instead of the wheel size.

An Example:
A road bike with 170 mm cranks: (The usual generic diameter value for road wheels is 680 mm, so the radius would be 340 mm.)

340 mm / 170 mm = 2.0. (The radius ratio)

2.0 X 53 / 19 = 5.58

This number is a pure ratio, the units cancel out. I call this a "gain ratio" (with thanks to Osman Isvan for suggesting this term.) What it means is that for every inch, or kilometer, or furlong the pedal travels in its orbit around the bottom bracket, the bicycle will travel 5.58 inches, or kilometers, or furlongs.

Given that you still have to pedal the cranks round a whole circle to get anywhere, I can't help feeling that useful as it is for giving a different view, it's not that much use without knowing how long the cranks are. Unless you're talking about an elliptigo or other push-pull mechanism cycle.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on August 27, 2018, 08:50:10 pm


At risk of tying this to a discussion elsewhere on the forum anyone born after the mid seventies should have been brought up in an education system that is fully metric, they should have been taught m, cm, l, g, etc... and unless they picked it up from parents or elsewhere, shouldn't have been taught inches[1], as such the continued use of archaic units within the older reaches of the cycling community just goes further to alienate them.



J

[1] I appreciate that this hasn't quite worked out like that, but still.
[2] Useless trivia, to the 4.4% of the worlds population in the US, the inch is actually defined in law by it's metric value of 25.4mm. In law at least, the US is a metric country. For more info, the 99% invisible podcast did a great episode on it called Half measures - https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/half-measures/

So you believe that kids should listen and learn what they are taught in school to the detriment of all else. If they had done that a couple of centuries ago there would never have been a metric system in the first place. I can think of quite a few dictators and other autocrats who would have definitely agreed with that.
Sorry hysterical historical background getting the better of me.
Interesting, that podcast. A bit aligned on the USAnians (for me a gallon is 4.45l or thereabouts) but interesting all the same. I once worked on a brand new factory installation with metric and imperial measures on the same plans. It was a bit of a disaster as installations go.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 27, 2018, 09:09:59 pm
I've read newspaper reports in Fiji about people having their houses demolished for road widening (big news in Fiji!) where the length of the road was given in km and the width in chains.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Jakob W on August 27, 2018, 09:17:35 pm
Complaining about the use of inches on an English-language cycling forum seems to me to be rather, well, quixotic; however superior the mks system is for scientific and engineering calculation, the customary units aren't going anywhere, and will continue to be used (even if I suspect that, as for me, for many people of my generation an inch is 'about two and a half cm'). For hysterical raisins bikes are going to have weird hybrid metric/imperial dimensions for the foreseeable future. I'm surprised that QG's colleagues have no idea what an inch is; 'zoll' was fairly well known to the German and Swiss people I worked with, and I'd have thought anyone technical would have come across them, even only in the sense of 'weird USian legacy unit (see also feet, yards, miles...) that's a couple of cm large - check your databook for conversion factors'.

As Kim has pointed out, if you want a rational measure for gearing then gain ratio is the best, but, like development, I find the range somewhat unintuitive (& elegant though it is, I'm not entirely convinced it's necessary - one size up/down from 170mm is only 3% or so difference, and more than that suggests the riding will be different enough not to be directly comparable anyway).
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: ElyDave on August 27, 2018, 09:27:51 pm
My one true value is if I turn the pedals once, how far do i go? From that all else is true.

That's Development (whether you measure it in metres or milliFurlongs), and disregards the effect of crank length.

Boooo, Kim loses, suggest non- logical measure.

Crank length is irrelevant to how fast I'm going, only has an effect on knee upanddownness, which is a non-si unit.

Crank length is directly relevant to how hard you have to push on the pedals in order to get your bike moving, just like the rest of the system.  When cycling I'm more interested in force on the pedals than how fast they're turning.

If you're going to dismiss gain ratios as non-logical, you need to argue why another system is better.  The main arguments for the traditional measures are that they make the maths easier, or make intuitive sense to experienced penny farthing / unicycle riders.

You might as well argue that chainring size is irrelevant, as it only affects how fast the cranks are turning.  What matters is how far the wheel travels for a given amount of chain.
The question was not how hard I have to push, gear-inches doesn't address that either.

The most logical measure must be development, whether metres, centimetres or Angstroms makes no difference. If I make one revolution I go X distance, if I do that 90 times a minute I have Y speed, none of the other measures do that, and it is independent of wheel size, tyre size, chainring etc for comparative purposes, therefore the most logical.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 27, 2018, 09:46:57 pm
My one true value is if I turn the pedals once, how far do i go? From that all else is true.

That's Development (whether you measure it in metres or milliFurlongs), and disregards the effect of crank length.

Tragically, unless I'm sitting down for a maths session, I have no sense of real-world values for gain ratio.  I've been known to calculate gear ratios in 170mm-crank-equivalent-inches in order to compare them.   :facepalm:

I some times wonder if Kim has a some alert set for metres of development. As without fail when I talk about it she comes along to rightly correct me that gain ratio, taking into account cranks is the one true way of expressing gears. Tho I am not sure how to go from gain ratio to "if I do x rpm in this gear, I go y distance in Z time"

System failure: your 28" wheel has a tyre height of 44.5mm and a total diameter of 711.2mm giving a dévelopment of 2.2352m with 34/34 (assuming you are on a 622mm rim - of course this figure will be correct only when your load compresses the tyre to give that diameter, the actual diameter could vary quite a lot with load at htese bigger tyre sections which is why vttists were always advised to set their bicycle computers by doing a rollout measure with the appropriate normal load).

Reading failure, I used 0.7m as a random number to complete the example. To fully apply it you need to know the actual radius or diameter of your wheel, which can only be accurately ascertained for a single combination of pressure and bike load, by doing a roll out. However you can get a good idea to a relatively good tolerance by using a magic number for your wheel diameter.

Quote

Useless trivia - gold is sold in ounces, beer in pints and for a lot of french who weren't born when the franc changed "un bric" is still "un million ancien" (even now we have the euro.

I will have to check which are the official ISO units, I should know but there may be a few surprises.

Beer is only sold in pints where you are, and only in some outlets. By law in the UK beer sold in a glass (As opposed to a bottle), has to be sold in 1/3rd of a pint, 1/2 of a pint, or multiples there of. (an argument I've had with many a UK barman who;s tried to tell me he can't legally sell me a 3rd of a pint). Else where in Europe there usually no legal requirement on the size of a glass of beer that is sold, tho there is a convention on 200ml and 500ml and in some cases 1000ml. Gold is sold in troy ounces, which shouldn't be confused with the usual ounce used in British imperial units (which is different from a US fluid ounce too). You can however in many places buy gold per gram, and there is no legal statue saying you can only buy gold in troy ounces.

And if we're having a measuring units trivia match, in .nl they have the pond, which is 500g, They simply took the pound and turned it into the nearest metric sensible number, which is 500g. So you often hear someone ask for a pond of beef at the slagerij. Conversely with the ounce, the metric ons in .nl is 100g. This lead to an interesting issue when baking a cake with a Dutch partner whilst using my grandmothers recipe. The 12 ounces of flour turned out to be 1.2kg...

Perhaps we should measure gears using Smoots...


So you believe that kids should listen and learn what they are taught in school to the detriment of all else. If they had done that a couple of centuries ago there would never have been a metric system in the first place. I can think of quite a few dictators and other autocrats who would have definitely agreed with that.
Sorry hysterical historical background getting the better of me.
Interesting, that podcast. A bit aligned on the USAnians (for me a gallon is 4.45l or thereabouts) but interesting all the same. I once worked on a brand new factory installation with metric and imperial measures on the same plans. It was a bit of a disaster as installations go.

No, I am talking as someone who has worked on international projects, worked in aerospace, and who lives an international life, and I believe that in some areas standardisation is fundamental to an efficient society. If we all use the same measures, then it makes things a lot more interoperable. Yes the Mars Polar lander is a poster child of how it can all go wrong, but funny tho it is to laugh at. It makes a good point. And by working with a standardised unit system it allows interoperability. 95% of the world use metric.

Yes there is historical interest to be had in the imperial system, and yes I can do a nice spiel to confused Dutch people explaining how there are 3 barley corns to an inch, 12 inchs to a foot, 3 feet in a yard, 2 yards in a fathom, 22 yards in a chain, 10 chains in a furlong, 8 furlongs in a mile, and 3 miles in a league, and it's not fscking rocket science! But the reality is, if I go into a hardware store anywhere but the US, and ask for a 200mm piece of wood 34x34 mm wide, they are going to understand what I mean. Where as if I was to ask for a 6' 4 5/8" x 1 5/16" x 1 5/16", anywhere except the US, or some UK stores with older staff, they are going to just think I'm crazy.

It's fair to say that for all it's faults, the Metric system is here, and it's here to stay,

Complaining about the use of inches on an English-language cycling forum seems to me to be rather, well, quixotic; however superior the mks system is for scientific and engineering calculation, the customary units aren't going anywhere, and will continue to be used (even if I suspect that, as for me, for many people of my generation an inch is 'about two and a half cm'). For hysterical raisins bikes are going to have weird hybrid metric/imperial dimensions for the foreseeable future. I'm surprised that QG's colleagues have no idea what an inch is; 'zoll' was fairly well known to the German and Swiss people I worked with, and I'd have thought anyone technical would have come across them, even only in the sense of 'weird USian legacy unit (see also feet, yards, miles...) that's a couple of cm large - check your databook for conversion factors'.

The actual reality is it was others complaining about my use of metric units rather than imperial ones.

As for if the imperial units are going anywhere. I'd say that actually within the UK, within about 50 years they will be very much a minority, almost died out unit. Anyone under about 40 has been brought up in Metric Britain, and unless the lunatics have really taken over the asylum that's not going to change

As for the English language forum thing. It's the internet, never assume where people are. Just cos we are all using English, doesn't mean that it is a) their first language, b) they are in the UK. The Dutch equivalent of Audax UK has a number of members who are on this forum, enough that this forum could be considered the unofficial home of randonneurs.nl online.

Quote

As Kim has pointed out, if you want a rational measure for gearing then gain ratio is the best, but, like development, I find the range somewhat unintuitive (& elegant though it is, I'm not entirely convinced it's necessary - one size up/down from 170mm is only 3% or so difference, and more than that suggests the riding will be different enough not to be directly comparable anyway).

and I find MoD an entirely rational system, I can look at a 2.1 and a 5.8, and I know roughly what that means, what it will feel like. It's the system I grew up with, it's the system I know, and it is the system used by most of the people I ride with.

Yes gain ratio is a unitless pure unit that should perhaps have wider utilisation, it hasn't. MoD has. Be me in a bike shop in Amsterdam, Trondheim, or Zurich, if I say my gear is 3m, they will understand me. If I say it is 45", they will just think I'm an ignorant foreigner.

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on August 27, 2018, 10:10:32 pm
I'm not in UK either J. Here we have livres (500g)and pieds. Also noeuds (for the mariners), cordes (for buying and selling firewood). A lot of fixie riders don't bother about wheel size, they use the gearing ratio (2.5, 3 etc) and use the braquet as a way of calculating their skid patches. And if I want a beer I'll ask for a demi - which can be a variety of sizes.

In a way, with cadence measures on bike computers, GPS for speed and at least two different ways of measuring altitude, and a computer at home  that will figure it out and relate it all, why should anyone need to work out this stuff for themselves. If it's only for interest you use what you like as a system. The only difference between gear inches and MoD is that MoD puts pi into the equation. Otherwise they are both gear ratio multiplied by wheel size (mind I am not offering to calculate mph from inches/minute, I have enough trouble converting inch-ounces to Newtons for B&S lawnmower engines). 1 mile = 1760 yds, might be easier to just measure everything in furlongs.

Perhaps I might understand gain ratios if I could relate them to torque measures.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 27, 2018, 10:30:18 pm
I'm not in UK either J.

Excellent!

Quote

In a way, with cadence measures on bike computers, GPS for speed and at least two different ways of measuring altitude, and a computer at home  that will figure it out and relate it all, why should anyone need to work out this stuff for themselves. If it's only for interest you use what you like as a system. The only difference between gear inches and MoD is that MoD puts pi into the equation. Otherwise they are both gear ratio multiplied by wheel size (mind I am not offering to calculate mph from inches/minute, I have enough trouble converting inch-ounces to Newtons for B&S lawnmower engines). 1 mile = 1760 yds, might be easier to just measure everything in furlongs.

Perhaps I might understand gain ratios if I could relate them to torque measures.

The main reason I've been caring about such things is to try and decide on the gears on my new bike. I know that even a 50/34 and 11/34 is too high, so then I need to start looking at other combos. What can I get from different manufacturers. I'm currently looking at a Miche 34/13, and FSA 46/30. This should give me 1.9m-7.6m giving me a top speed at 90rpm of 40kph. Which is plenty for me, if I'm trying to go faster than that, I'm probably just wasting energy. It also means that at 60rpm, I'm doing 6.7kph, which if I can get to target weight means about 160w to get up a 10%. Which should be achievable.

This compares to my current gearing of 28/40 on a 34-11. Which is 1.8m -> 7.8m. I'm not going for this combo on the new bike as I can't do it with Di2, and shimano also don't make this chainset anymore.

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on August 27, 2018, 10:36:27 pm
My one true value is if I turn the pedals once, how far do i go? From that all else is true.

That's Development (whether you measure it in metres or milliFurlongs), and disregards the effect of crank length.

Tragically, unless I'm sitting down for a maths session, I have no sense of real-world values for gain ratio.  I've been known to calculate gear ratios in 170mm-crank-equivalent-inches in order to compare them.   :facepalm:

I some times wonder if Kim has a some alert set for metres of development. As without fail when I talk about it she comes along to rightly correct me that gain ratio, taking into account cranks is the one true way of expressing gears. Tho I am not sure how to go from gain ratio to "if I do x rpm in this gear, I go y distance in Z time"

While it's a subset of making the maths easier, that is a use-case I hadn't really considered.  When I start nerding gear ratios, it's because I want to specify a configuration that will allow me to get a bike with such-and-such-a-load up a whatever-bastard hill without undue risk of exacerbating chronic knee trouble, uselessly spinning the drive wheel or falling over sideways before I pass stall speed.  Or it's about how close I can make the ratios without excessively compromising the available range.  Basically, my emphasis is on the bottom end, and the force on the pedals.

The top end is about what speed you cruise or spin out at, and I can see that it's then potentially more useful to consider crank length (ie. ease of spinning a given cadence) and development (what speed that cadence will occur at) separately.  That's always been a secondary priority for me when specifying gearing, so other than as a quick sanity check with limited-range hub gears I've not found it particularly important in practice.

I know - you can tell I don't ride single-speed.  But also the difficulty of achieving decently low gearing with off-the-shelf road bike components has a lot to do with why I end up calculating gear ratios in the first place.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: citoyen on August 27, 2018, 11:05:29 pm
And the John Tomac comparisons. Whether Bombtrack, who apparently are 3 bods in Cologne, were inspired by this, and either hoped to bask in reflected nostalgia so to speak or hoped no one would notice, or it's just coincidence – or convergent design – I do not know.

Bombtrack mentioned John Tomac in their own press release, so...

I also got in touch with the owner of Bombtrack to ask for the spec and according to the info he sent, it comes with an FSA Gossamer narrow-wide 38T chainring.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Jakob W on August 27, 2018, 11:14:54 pm

It's fair to say that for all it's faults, the Metric system is here, and it's here to stay,


Definitely.

Quote
As for if the imperial units are going anywhere. I'd say that actually within the UK, within about 50 years they will be very much a minority, almost died out unit. Anyone under about 40 has been brought up in Metric Britain, and unless the lunatics have really taken over the asylum that's not going to change

I'm less sanguine. For them to die out would take a couple of things, not least metrication of road signs and clothing sizes. That might happen in the next fifty years, but I wouldn't like to bet on it.

Quote
As for the English language forum thing. It's the internet, never assume where people are. Just cos we are all using English, doesn't mean that it is a) their first language, b) they are in the UK. The Dutch equivalent of Audax UK has a number of members who are on this forum, enough that this forum could be considered the unofficial home of randonneurs.nl online.

Sure; I've lived all across Europe and all, but I'm pretty sure the overwhelming majority of the regulars on here are Brits or British residents - in that context talk of 'barbarian measures' is likely to meet with a shrug, because:
Quote
It's the system I grew up with, it's the system I know, and it is the system used by most of the people I ride with.

Is going to hold for GIs for most of the people on here. Just because it's got inches in the title doesn't mean its adherents want everything in furlong-fortnights; I'd have to do a bit of mental reckoning to tell you exactly how big a dimension 72" is, but I know that for tapping along on the flat I'll want a gear of roughly thereabouts.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: citoyen on August 27, 2018, 11:34:06 pm
I'd have to do a bit of mental reckoning to tell you exactly how big a dimension 72" is, but I know that for tapping along on the flat I'll want a gear of roughly thereabouts.

Same here. The actual unit means nothing to me, it's just an arbitrary scale that gives me a rough idea of how hard a gear will be to push.

I taught myself to think of body weight in kilograms and distances in kilometres but I've not yet taught myself an alternative way of measuring gears.

I agree with Kim re the importance of crank length. The limits of my knowledge are reflected in the B I got in GCSE Physics around 30 years ago, but even so I can remember some of the stuff I was taught about levers and moments.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on August 28, 2018, 02:19:47 am

I'm less sanguine. For them to die out would take a couple of things, not least metrication of road signs and clothing sizes. That might happen in the next fifty years, but I wouldn't like to bet on it.


Clothing sizes? I don't think my size 16 skirt has any relationship to maths, let alone to a measurement system...

But given the international nature of many brands, a lot of clothes already come with 36"/91cm marked on them...

Quote

Sure; I've lived all across Europe and all, but I'm pretty sure the overwhelming majority of the regulars on here are Brits or British residents - in that context talk of 'barbarian measures' is likely to meet with a shrug, because:
Quote
It's the system I grew up with, it's the system I know, and it is the system used by most of the people I ride with.

Oh just cos someone holds a British passport doesn't mean they are a British resident. Her Britannic majesty requests all let me pass without let or hindrance, even tho I'm not actually in the British isles. I had a UK education, in metric.

Pretty much anyone a couple of years older than me, and younger who was educated in the UK, should have been educated with metric.

Quote

Is going to hold for GIs for most of the people on here. Just because it's got inches in the title doesn't mean its adherents want everything in furlong-fortnights; I'd have to do a bit of mental reckoning to tell you exactly how big a dimension 72" is, but I know that for tapping along on the flat I'll want a gear of roughly thereabouts.

72" == 6' == 1.83m. Thats one I'm used to converting, as fence panels whilst being 1830mm wide, are just 6' panels, that have been relabeled. Even when sold in Hornbach. However i have no idea what a 72" gear would feel like.

Let's run some maths. 1.83m X pi = 5.75M i think, if I've done my maths right, and understood how the conversion works... Which is roughly on my bike big ring and 3rd or 4th sprocket from the smaller end (11t end). Or on my Brompton big ring 5th or 6th gear.

Ultimately what this boils down to is we can argue all day over which is the better system, which makes more sense, which we prefer. But the fact of the matter is, 95% of the world's population look at the users if imperial units and just think if it as uneducated heathens that haven't joined the 20th century yet. You may like betamax, but the world has chosen VHS, and if you want to play with the world, you're gonna need to understand VHS. To stretch the analogy somewhat.

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 28, 2018, 12:16:35 pm
And the John Tomac comparisons. Whether Bombtrack, who apparently are 3 bods in Cologne, were inspired by this, and either hoped to bask in reflected nostalgia so to speak or hoped no one would notice, or it's just coincidence – or convergent design – I do not know.

Bombtrack mentioned John Tomac in their own press release, so...

I also got in touch with the owner of Bombtrack to ask for the spec and according to the info he sent, it comes with an FSA Gossamer narrow-wide 38T chainring.
Seems that either the review I saw (was it off-road.cc? I can't remember now!) was sent a bike with a different chainring or they changed it for some reason. I wonder why?
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 28, 2018, 12:21:30 pm
Clothing: sure trousers are sold in waist inches in countries which are generally speaking fully metricated. Waist inches should be considered a nominal unit not a measurement, just as gear inches should, and so should metres of development.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 28, 2018, 01:06:57 pm
Apparently – according to Wikipedia – metrication in the UK started, in small way, in 1864, which is only 40 years after the formalisation of the Imperial system.
Quote
In 1824 the Weights and Measures Act imposed one standard 'imperial' system of weights and measures on the British Empire.[49] The effect of this act was to standardise existing British units of measure rather than to align them with the metric system.

During the next eighty years a number of Parliamentary select committees recommended the adoption of the metric system, each with a greater degree of urgency, but Parliament prevaricated. A Select Committee report of 1862 recommended compulsory metrication, but with an "Intermediate permissive phase"; Parliament responded in 1864 by legalising metric units only for 'contracts and dealings'.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on August 29, 2018, 02:04:13 pm
Apparently – according to Wikipedia – metrication in the UK started, in small way, in 1864, which is only 40 years after the formalisation of the Imperial system.
Quote
In 1824 the Weights and Measures Act imposed one standard 'imperial' system of weights and measures on the British Empire.[49] The effect of this act was to standardise existing British units of measure rather than to align them with the metric system.

During the next eighty years a number of Parliamentary select committees recommended the adoption of the metric system, each with a greater degree of urgency, but Parliament prevaricated. A Select Committee report of 1862 recommended compulsory metrication, but with an "Intermediate permissive phase"; Parliament responded in 1864 by legalising metric units only for 'contracts and dealings'.

Continuing the historical bit, the notion of calculating gear size in relation to the size of an Ordinary driving wheel would not have been of much interest to the french since the Grand Bi was not particularly popular, its period of popularity in UK coinciding with the Franco-Prussian war and its fallout in France and cycling resuming a popular role only after the development of the Safety. I wondered why such machines were known as "Machines" but it would appear that that was why. This is what I can learn from Wikipedia and some french writing.

I was looking for the definition of "développement" but I can't find it in a geometric sense on the net, my googlefoo is not up to it. I think if I were to dig out my TMI notes I might find that it is the distance travelled by a point on the circumference during one rotation - which would make it equally relevant to a Grand Bi. I will continue searching. It seems that to cycletourists of the late 19th-early 20th century weight of their machine and tyre type were probably as important as gear size, although Dr Ruffier does quote his gear sizes, if only to show how clever he was in being able to change them.

What did/do the Germans refer to gear size as (or by)?

Shifted a bit from gravel bikes though
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on August 31, 2018, 10:51:05 am
Received a marketomail from Rose today:
Quote
Gravelówka znaczy wolność
"A gravel bike means freedom" It later calls it Rower typu gravel a "gravel" type bike, but although it talks about forest trails, meadows and "adventures where there are no roads" nowhere does it use words corresponding to "gravel" – even roads surfaced with gravel and cinders are actually very easy to find in Poland. Anyway, gravelówka is quite a neat sounding word.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: andrew_s on August 31, 2018, 02:34:13 pm
The actual unit means nothing to me, it's just an arbitrary scale that gives me a rough idea of how hard a gear will be to push.
Correct.

An arbitrary scale works best if it's easy to remember, talk, and write about.
That means integer values in the 2-3 digit range.
Decimals just give spurious precision, having to decide on rounding, and having to say two numbers and "point" rather than one number.

Gear inches are eminently suitable.
Development would also be OK if it were always given in dm (1 dm = 10 cm) rather than m, but it isn't.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: hubner on September 01, 2018, 08:25:08 am
The actual unit means nothing to me, it's just an arbitrary scale that gives me a rough idea of how hard a gear will be to push.
Correct.

An arbitrary scale works best if it's easy to remember, talk, and write about.
That means integer values in the 2-3 digit range.
Decimals just give spurious precision, having to decide on rounding, and having to say two numbers and "point" rather than one number.

Gear inches are eminently suitable.
Development would also be OK if it were always given in dm (1 dm = 10 cm) rather than m, but it isn't.

It's just what you're used to.

One has a range of about 30 to 100, the other about 2.5 to 8.0. Both have rounding off and about the same number of syllables, eg six-ty-three vs five-point-one, although the decimal point is one extra key to type.

Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on September 01, 2018, 12:27:52 pm
The actual unit means nothing to me, it's just an arbitrary scale that gives me a rough idea of how hard a gear will be to push.
Correct.

An arbitrary scale works best if it's easy to remember, talk, and write about.
That means integer values in the 2-3 digit range.
Decimals just give spurious precision, having to decide on rounding, and having to say two numbers and "point" rather than one number.

Gear inches are eminently suitable.
Development would also be OK if it were always given in dm (1 dm = 10 cm) rather than m, but it isn't.

It's just what you're used to.

One has a range of about 30 to 100, the other about 2.5 to 8.0. Both have rounding off and about the same number of syllables, eg six-ty-three vs five-point-one, although the decimal point is one extra key to type.

Anyone who has witnessed, as I have, the sheer hell experienced by kids (including my own) and some adults in trying to learn a system where a moving point changes all your values would doubt seriously the idea that metric is simple. The decimal point is the work of Stan and the system also demands a working knowledge of ancient Latin and Greek.

How many out there know how much 1 hectare is?

At least with feet and inches errors are easier to see and correct when learning the measures (even though the 12x table seems to have been forgotten in the modern age).
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mattc on September 01, 2018, 12:38:19 pm
That's a fair point.

I suspect metric works best in science - not on the High Street.

(I grew up with metric units - at least at school and in my physics degree - but I find feet the best unit for human heights. For example. )
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Jakob W on September 01, 2018, 01:25:59 pm
I think the decimal point thing is reaching a little; after all, the base-10 system is what we normally count and do arithmetic in. I'm in my mid-thirties, so I'm mostly metricated - I quote measurements in cm or mm, and weights in grams and kilos. Pounds make a kind of intuitive sense to me, but not ounces; similarly inches up to about a foot do, but anything over usually requires mental arithmetic and conversion to cm (though people's heights in the range of about 5' to 7' are perhaps the exception). I'm equally happy with miles and km, though probably default to km for cycling. Pretty much the only thing I would default to imperial for would be gear inches and clothing chest/waist sizes, both of which are semi-arbitrary. The whole metric martyr thing always seemed like old people spoiling for some other fight (not least because it wasn't like you couldn't quote pounds and ounces alongside grams).
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on September 01, 2018, 03:21:37 pm
I think the decimal point thing is reaching a little; after all, the base-10 system is what we normally count and do arithmetic in. I'm in my mid-thirties, so I'm mostly metricated - I quote measurements in cm or mm, and weights in grams and kilos. Pounds make a kind of intuitive sense to me, but not ounces; similarly inches up to about a foot do, but anything over usually requires mental arithmetic and conversion to cm (though people's heights in the range of about 5' to 7' are perhaps the exception). I'm equally happy with miles and km, though probably default to km for cycling. Pretty much the only thing I would default to imperial for would be gear inches and clothing chest/waist sizes, both of which are semi-arbitrary. The whole metric martyr thing always seemed like old people spoiling for some other fight (not least because it wasn't like you couldn't quote pounds and ounces alongside grams).

Sticking to one unit or going between cm and mm is easy enough. Go between the whole range from mm to km in the same exercise and a typical 10 year old is quickly confused. I have seen it! It isn't easy to sort out. Cl and cm3 is another one. I personally still have a problem about when you use a capital letter for the unit (greater than the SI unit I think), but that's really minor. Kg/cm2, Kpa and bar is something I note many people using hydraulics are a bit uncertain about, the kilo is a universal measure which covers a lot of errors!
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on September 01, 2018, 06:21:57 pm
How many out there know how much 1 hectare is?

At least with feet and inches errors are easier to see and correct when learning the measures (even though the 12x table seems to have been forgotten in the modern age).

10000m², or 100m x 100m.

I find that limiting the SI system to the Engineering subset can be very useful for error checking. This gives you km, m, mm, nm, etc... "I've been asked for a bit of wood 2m by 100*crackle*m, and 20mm thick" you can guess that there is a good chance it's 2m x 100mm x 20mm...


It's just what you're used to.

One has a range of about 30 to 100, the other about 2.5 to 8.0. Both have rounding off and about the same number of syllables, eg six-ty-three vs five-point-one, although the decimal point is one extra key to type.

2.5? really? My bike has gears sub 2.0... 

It's kinda a 0-10 scale for mortals.

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Andrew Br on September 01, 2018, 06:50:15 pm

.................. (even though the 12x table seems to have been forgotten in the modern age).

I think that's a gross exaggeration.

Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on September 01, 2018, 07:59:46 pm
How many out there know how much 1 hectare is?

At least with feet and inches errors are easier to see and correct when learning the measures (even though the 12x table seems to have been forgotten in the modern age).

10000m², or 100m x 100m.

I find that limiting the SI system to the Engineering subset can be very useful for error checking. This gives you km, m, mm, nm, etc... "I've been asked for a bit of wood 2m by 100*crackle*m, and 20mm thick" you can guess that there is a good chance it's 2m x 100mm x 20mm...


It's just what you're used to.

One has a range of about 30 to 100, the other about 2.5 to 8.0. Both have rounding off and about the same number of syllables, eg six-ty-three vs five-point-one, although the decimal point is one extra key to type.

2.5? really? My bike has gears sub 2.0... 

It's kinda a 0-10 scale for mortals.

J

Show me where the m is in 1Ha or how the h is equivalent to 10 000. 1 Hectare is 100 are, the are is a measure of area. 1ca is equivalent to 1m2 in the same way that 1cm3 is equivalent to 1ml (and 1 bar is equivalent to 1 kg/cm2). Of course we are not allowed to use kg/cm2 in most places where we used it before.


.................. (even though the 12x table seems to have been forgotten in the modern age).

I think that's a gross exaggeration.



I wish it were. It might just  be due to a pessimistic view of the world from living in a decimal country
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on September 01, 2018, 08:03:41 pm

.................. (even though the 12x table seems to have been forgotten in the modern age).

I think that's a gross exaggeration.

*groan*

well played sir, well played.

*claps 144 times*

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: ElyDave on September 01, 2018, 09:10:01 pm
The actual unit means nothing to me, it's just an arbitrary scale that gives me a rough idea of how hard a gear will be to push.
Correct.

An arbitrary scale works best if it's easy to remember, talk, and write about.
That means integer values in the 2-3 digit range.
Decimals just give spurious precision, having to decide on rounding, and having to say two numbers and "point" rather than one number.

Gear inches are eminently suitable.
Development would also be OK if it were always given in dm (1 dm = 10 cm) rather than m, but it isn't.

It's just what you're used to.

One has a range of about 30 to 100, the other about 2.5 to 8.0. Both have rounding off and about the same number of syllables, eg six-ty-three vs five-point-one, although the decimal point is one extra key to type.

Anyone who has witnessed, as I have, the sheer hell experienced by kids (including my own) and some adults in trying to learn a system where a moving point changes all your values would doubt seriously the idea that metric is simple. The decimal point is the work of Stan and the system also demands a working knowledge of ancient Latin and Greek.

How many out there know how much 1 hectare is?

At least with feet and inches errors are easier to see and correct when learning the measures (even though the 12x table seems to have been forgotten in the modern age).

1 hectare = 100 x 100m or equivalent.  Much more objective than an acre = the area of land a man with an oxen could plough in a day
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Tim Hall on September 01, 2018, 11:55:34 pm
An acre is also one furlong by one chain.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: LEE on September 02, 2018, 12:13:45 am
To the OP.

If it's proper gravel then you're walking and pushing your bike.  You ain't cycling on gravel.  In fact you'll be walking and struggling to push your bike.

"Canal Tow Path bikes" would probably describe most  "Gravel Bikes" capabilities more accurately.

Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mattc on September 02, 2018, 08:13:58 am
To the OP.

If it's proper gravel then you're walking and pushing your bike.  You ain't cycling on gravel.  In fact you'll be walking and struggling to push your bike.

"Canal Tow Path bikes" would probably describe most  "Gravel Bikes" capabilities more accurately.

Have you got a marketing degree young man? I see a bright future for you ...
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on September 02, 2018, 08:48:39 pm
Many years ago when vtt (mtb) was new someone asked Pierre Perrin, a well-known french builder of randonneuses and other bikes, why he was not building a "vélo tout terrain". "But my bikes are already capable of being ridden on all terrain" was his reply!
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: spesh on September 02, 2018, 09:06:53 pm
Many years ago when vtt (mtb) was new someone asked Pierre Perrin, a well-known french builder of randonneuses and other bikes, why he was not building a "vélo tout terrain". "But my bikes are already capable of being ridden on all terrain" was his reply!

The Marin County hippies were very late to the party - mixed terrain cycling is as old as cycling itself, given what many roads were like at the start of the 20th century.

Quote from: Wikinaccurate
Club riding in early 1900s Europe often included mixed terrain (called rough stuff or pass storming) as an integral part of typical routes. Early recreational cyclists would extend their biking range to include off-road cycling. "Evidence of how much rough stuff was viewed as an integral part of the experience for the touring cyclist can be found in the format of the BCTC (British Cycle Tourist Competition). Run by the CTC and inaugurated in 1952 until the late 1980s its aim was to find Britain's best tourist. Rough stuff riding was a key element and the organizers often went to great lengths to find awkward tracks, fords, etc. that would test a rider's skill."

By the 1950s in Europe, bike clubs were formed specifically around mixed terrain and off-road touring. In Great Britain, a club called Rough Stuff Fellowship was formed around mixed terrain and off-road touring. "The history of the RSF goes way back to its foundation in 1955, long before anyone had ever heard of Marin County. It was formed by cyclists who wanted to get away from roads and cycle on tracks, and byways." The Rough Stuff Fellowship is still an active club today. France also had a mixed terrain club called Velo Cross Club Parisien formed between 1951 and 1956. Not content with cyclo-cross racing of the day, around twenty French cyclists modified their 650-b bikes for mixed and off-road travel.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_terrain_cycle_touring#History
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 02, 2018, 09:15:42 pm
Most of the earlier pre-MTB riding was not done as fast as the Repackers' clunker racing and not as technical to ride over (the roughstuffers walked their bikes through the hard stuff) as where the early MTBs were taken.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 04, 2018, 08:30:51 pm
There is a difference between an untarmacced road, an unsurfaced road and not-a-road.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 04, 2018, 08:35:16 pm
As for the hectare, what does "know how much" it is, mean? I certainly couldn't look at a field and say "that's 2 hectares" and neither could I do the same in acres. I do know that 1ha is approximately 2.5 acres. Perhaps if I were a farmer or a developer (of land for building) I would be able to estimate sizes in both units.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 04, 2018, 08:42:50 pm
Quote
The Diverge is the company’s adventure, gravel, call-it-what-you-want road bike. It’s designed for tackling rough roads and gravel tracks basically, with bigger tyre clearance, disc brakes and geometry that splits the difference between a road bike and a cyclocross bike.
Never mind the name, ride it!
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on September 04, 2018, 10:37:05 pm
As for the hectare, what does "know how much" it is, mean? I certainly couldn't look at a field and say "that's 2 hectares" and neither could I do the same in acres. I do know that 1ha is approximately 2.5 acres. Perhaps if I were a farmer or a developer (of land for building) I would be able to estimate sizes in both units.

Since I set the puzzle it was to see how many children of the metric era recognised that the hect- must mean a unit of the base unit multiplied by 100 (and that therefore a hectare can only be 100 ares, no matter how many equivalent sized measures one might find). Obviously a hectare could be defined like an acre in terms of how much you can plough with an ox, like 1 acre = the area ploughed in one day, 1 hectare is the area ploughed by wednesday lunchtime if you start on monday morning,- which can be rather more useful than calculations with a lump of caesium 233 and a light source in a vacuum - if you are ploughing with oxon and need to know how much you've done.

I used to be able to do a reasonable guess at a hectare but I never even tried in acres, they were from a time brfore I did such things. It would have been a useful skill for an agricultural historian though  (which I ceased being a rather long time ago).
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Samuel D on September 05, 2018, 09:51:32 am
Part of my childhood was spent in County Tyrone with beef farmers for neighbours, and there was often discussion about the size of a field being sold, cut for silage, or whatever. Usually I had walked across the field in question a hundred times. That gave me a fair feel for acres (I have no feel for hectares but can work it out from my feel for metres).

The hundredweight was another one. Used for describing cattle taken to market. I can look at a bullock and estimate its weight in hundredweight, but getting to kilograms requires mental arithmetic. On the other hand, I’m more comfortable with kilograms than any other unit for the weight of people, vehicles, suitcases, etc.

Your favoured units don’t make much practical difference. The more important distinction is between those people who have observed the world carefully for long enough to have a feel for the weights and dimensions of the things in it, and those who are airheaded about it all and couldn’t tell you the distance to thon byre in any unit under the sun. Big cities are full of the latter type.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mattc on September 05, 2018, 10:16:19 am
I've read all 7 pages, and STILL no one has told me whether Gravel is measured in metric or imperial  ::-)   ???
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: chris n on September 05, 2018, 10:22:52 am
Metric, of course: https://www.sis.se/api/document/preview/80000191/
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mattc on September 05, 2018, 10:32:13 am
Yes, but google says:

Quote
How to Select Gravel Sizes | Hunker

https://www.hunker.com/12139752/how-to-select-gravel-sizes

For a patio, select gravel that is 3/8 to 3/4 inch in diameter. A driveway requires a few layers of gravel to provide enough stability for vehicles. Start with a layer of stones that are about the size of baseballs or softballs, typically 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Next, install a layer of 2- to 3-inch-diameter stones.

Softballs??

Why can't everyone agree??  :-\
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 05, 2018, 10:42:23 am
As for the hectare, what does "know how much" it is, mean? I certainly couldn't look at a field and say "that's 2 hectares" and neither could I do the same in acres. I do know that 1ha is approximately 2.5 acres. Perhaps if I were a farmer or a developer (of land for building) I would be able to estimate sizes in both units.

Since I set the puzzle it was to see how many children of the metric era recognised that the hect- must mean a unit of the base unit multiplied by 100 (and that therefore a hectare can only be 100 ares, no matter how many equivalent sized measures one might find).
I'd take that bit for granted. Especially on YACF, seeing as brewery outputs seem to be quoted in hectolitres!
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: citoyen on September 05, 2018, 11:06:45 am
As for the hectare, what does "know how much" it is, mean? I certainly couldn't look at a field and say "that's 2 hectares" and neither could I do the same in acres. I do know that 1ha is approximately 2.5 acres. Perhaps if I were a farmer or a developer (of land for building) I would be able to estimate sizes in both units.

When I worked on the cheese counter in the Co-Op as a teenager, I got very good at measuring out quantities of cheese, which were usually requested in ounces, even though an ounce as a unit of measurement meant nothing to me. I just knew that 8oz was that much cheese. It's very satisfying to get a big block of cheese, cut off a chunk and put it on the scales to find it's exactly the amount the customer wanted.

I've never really given much thought to what the hecto- prefix means, so mzjo's question might have caught me out if I were put on the spot, but I know a hectare is a square of 100m x 100m and a hectolitre is 100L. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to make the correct inference from that. Kilo- is a more common multiplier prefix in everyday use. If making a cake, we would measure out 500g or 0.5kg of flour, not 5hg.

I doubt most children of the metric age know what a stere is either.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 05, 2018, 11:17:29 am
In some countries, you would measure 50dg, which might also be written 50dag and should probably be written 50Dg in strict metric terms. (dekkagrams)

I'm not sure if I'm a child of the metric age, more of the mixed age, but what is a stere? (Okay, I'll google it!)
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on September 05, 2018, 11:26:59 am
I'm certainly a child of the metric age, and had to google a stere.  I'm more used to working in litres (or in chemistry contexts, cubic decimetres, even though they've been the same thing since well before I was born).

Never having worked with areas of land I hadn't really thought about the hect in hectare, but a moments thought sees the commonality with hectopascals (as commonly used in meteorology).  I had no idea that hectolitres were a thing.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mattc on September 05, 2018, 11:31:31 am
Our maths teacher often said she wished "hundred"  and "centimetre" had never been invented as terms! Because it would be so much easier to just teach the multiples-of-3 (kilo, mega, milli, etc)

(hectos and deca anything were never taught to me - primary, secondary or degree level science/maths
</anecdata>)


I wonder if biology teachers think the same about centipedes ...
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on September 05, 2018, 11:37:35 am
Our maths teacher often said she wished "hundred"  and "centimetre" had never been invented as terms! Because it would be so much easier to just teach the multiples-of-3 (kilo, mega, milli, etc)

The older I get, the more I tend to think that way.

The computerists usually have the right idea about prefixes (when they can work out whether they mean 103 or 210), even if the base units are often a bit suspicious.

Centimetres have obvious primary school appeal, but they're a liability in the real world.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 05, 2018, 11:45:49 am
I had no idea that hectolitres were a thing.
You don't drink enough beer! :o
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 05, 2018, 11:46:11 am
What's wrong with centimetres? And presumably also centilitres and (not that I've ever heard these used, presumably they aren't very useful in practice, but certainly "exist") centigrams, centipascals, centinewtons, etc?
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on September 05, 2018, 11:56:27 am
What's wrong with centimetres?

That most things in the real world are done in metres or millimetres, and it's relatively easy to measure something in centimetres without thinking and communicate that measurement to someone who reasonably assumes it's going to be in millimetres.  Certainly seems to happen more often than metric/imperial cockups.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 05, 2018, 12:15:16 pm
I think that depends totally on what particular real world tasks you do.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: citoyen on September 05, 2018, 12:19:20 pm
also centilitres and (not that I've ever heard these used, presumably they aren't very useful in practice, but certainly "exist")

You don't drink enough wine! ;)

(Standard wine bottle is 70cl - as opposed to 700ml or 0.7L)


ETA: just realised I misread your post and you were referring to not having heard of the other centi- units you mentioned. Doh!
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 05, 2018, 12:21:05 pm
I prefer beer! I meant I haven't heard centigrams, centinewtons and centipascals used. Sorry that wasn't clear.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: citoyen on September 05, 2018, 12:22:21 pm
Sorry that wasn't clear.

It was clear enough, I just had my brain switched off.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: chris n on September 05, 2018, 12:27:58 pm
Centistokes is often used for kinematic viscosity.  The SI unit is m²/s.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 05, 2018, 12:32:38 pm
Centistokes is often used for kinematic viscosity.  The SI unit is m²/s.
One centistoke is a very disappointing tandem partner.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mattc on September 05, 2018, 01:04:15 pm
I think that depends totally on what particular real world tasks you do.
Or put another way:
All real world tasks COULD be done in metres or millimetres. Choosing to do some of them in centimetres gains very little, and adds the confusion that Kim describes (and makes school maths/science harder!).
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 05, 2018, 01:37:35 pm
The most recent thing I measured was a chest of drawers, to see whether a new one would fit in the same space. I measured it in cm, because my measuring isn't accurate enough, and neither is the space so critical, for mm to be appropriate – it would be spurious precision – but m would give measurements less than 1, which is not so usable in the real world. (It's just been delivered and it fits.  :thumbsup:)
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 05, 2018, 02:49:11 pm
Going back to the phrase "children of the metric age," I wonder if this is a real thing or if maybe the metric age came and went. At primary school, we were theoretically taught metric but in practice both metric and imperial, because imperial was what our teachers, parents, people on TV and in books, and Britain in general, were used to. Some of them even spoke in shillings (or more likely bob), and my parents had an item of furniture they called the Half-Crown Chair, because that was how much it cost. I think my sister has it now and she probably still calls it that, if it ever needs to be referred to. But of course the money we actually used was all decimal, so that Lsd stuff remained theoretical, and we learned metric measurements as well. I'm 25% older than the UK median, which means anyone who isn't positively geriatric should be at the very least familiar with metric and should probably think in it as their primary system.

But it doesn't seem to be like that. For instance, about two years ago I was buying a new bike. (Ooh exciting!) So obviously I went to some LBSes and had the following conversations about frame sizes:
LBS1, owner is about my age or slightly older:
"You're pretty much the same height as me, so I think you'd be best on this one."
"I'm 5'9".
"175cm, so yes, this one."

LBS2, bloke around 30:
"How tall are you?"
"175cm."
"What? How much is that in feet?"

I was also somewhat baffled a couple of months ago to flick through the Sun (I was waiting to have my hair cut) and see a heatwave scorcher! page forecasting temperatures in the hundreds. I don't know the age profile of Sun readers, but it's certainly not the Express.

It's Thatcher's fault, obviously.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: ElyDave on September 05, 2018, 08:02:35 pm
I think that depends totally on what particular real world tasks you do.
Or put another way:
All real world tasks COULD be done in metres or millimetres. Choosing to do some of them in centimetres gains very little, and adds the confusion that Kim describes (and makes school maths/science harder!).

all real world tasks could be done in ANY arbitrary units, cubic gnats farts, square weasels, landrover oil leaks, as long as the person doing the task in those units can translate them to a universal unit to talk to someone else.

Cue doctors and straight english - oedema = swelling, laceration=cut etc.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: perpetual dan on September 05, 2018, 08:26:42 pm

Your favoured units don’t make much practical difference. The more important distinction is between those people who have observed the world carefully for long enough to have a feel for the weights and dimensions of the things in it, and those who are airheaded about it all and couldn’t tell you the distance to thon byre in any unit under the sun. Big cities are full of the latter type.

Traffic and transport warp town and city space, so that time becomes the more useful measure of distance. It’s 10 minutes ride, 20 minutes walk or maybe about a km to the station from here. The time is what determines whether I’ve left in time to catch my train.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on September 05, 2018, 09:47:10 pm
Yes, but google says:

Quote
How to Select Gravel Sizes | Hunker

https://www.hunker.com/12139752/how-to-select-gravel-sizes

For a patio, select gravel that is 3/8 to 3/4 inch in diameter. A driveway requires a few layers of gravel to provide enough stability for vehicles. Start with a layer of stones that are about the size of baseballs or softballs, typically 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Next, install a layer of 2- to 3-inch-diameter stones.

Softballs??

Why can't everyone agree??  :-\

That's the proof that Google are USAnian and NOT to be trusted.
I had no idea that hectolitres were a thing.
You don't drink enough beer! :o

Hectolitres are vital to the (french) wine and alcohol ('cos everyone knows that wine isn't really alcohol, hic!) industries. It's what's used to calculate production generally and duties in particular.

centimetres seem to be favoured a lot by (french) builders and jobbing carpenters while kitchen fitters and the like tend to use millimetres. Probably the same elsewhere in the world.
My irish grandfather had a different system of subdividing inches. There was one inch, then one inch bold, then one inch very bold. After that it was two inches. Who needs decimals?

At least in my experience Newtons and Pascals are rarely used in units smaller than one. Thus the usual prefixes are deca- (or is that deka-, any greek scholars out there,), hecto- and kilo-. There must be scientific types who use the diminutives. There may even be beer drinkers who use kls although I've not yet met one.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on September 05, 2018, 09:58:16 pm
All this talk makes me feel that a 650B bike with discs, racks and guards would be quite nice (with generous clearances - 38 or 40mm would be fine). Of course it would have to have a triple chainset and no more than 9, preference 8, pinions which fortunately probably counts out most of the current production (and needs well laid back seat tube as well).
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: ElyDave on September 05, 2018, 10:06:02 pm
i believe the size of blood sample required for my blood glucose meter is measured in picolitres
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Kim on September 05, 2018, 10:19:24 pm
i believe the size of blood sample required for my blood glucose meter is measured in picolitres

That's a perfectly sensible SI prefix.  I bet the USAnian one is specified in nanograms or something...
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Jakob W on September 06, 2018, 08:18:06 am
Milipascal-seconds are a vaguely useful unit of viscosity, but otherwise milipascals are so small I can only see them being used in sensing or near-vacuum applications. I am bemused to see that Google's first autocomplete suggestion for 'milipascals' is 'milipascals to pascals'  :facepalm:
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 06, 2018, 08:30:55 am
All this talk makes me feel that a 650B bike with discs, racks and guards would be quite nice (with generous clearances - 38 or 40mm would be fine). Of course it would have to have a triple chainset and no more than 9, preference 8, pinions which fortunately probably counts out most of the current production (and needs well laid back seat tube as well).
Specialized Diverge is available with 8-speed, double not triple though. Or was last year. Shimano Claris, I think.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Jaded on September 06, 2018, 08:43:55 am
Centistokes is often used for kinematic viscosity.  The SI unit is m²/s.
One centistoke is a very disappointing tandem partner.

A centistoke is preferable to a centicoventry
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: chris n on September 06, 2018, 09:00:17 am
Milipascal-seconds are a vaguely useful unit of viscosity, but otherwise milipascals are so small I can only see them being used in sensing or near-vacuum applications. I am bemused to see that Google's first autocomplete suggestion for 'milipascals' is 'milipascals to pascals'  :facepalm:

When I tried that, google's first suggestion was millipascal. :P
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Jakob W on September 06, 2018, 09:37:02 am
Ha, yes, ok. I'm going to blame my phone keyboard for that one - I mistyped the first one and then it seems to have autocorrected the rest...
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: quixoticgeek on September 06, 2018, 05:28:28 pm
Our maths teacher often said she wished "hundred"  and "centimetre" had never been invented as terms! Because it would be so much easier to just teach the multiples-of-3 (kilo, mega, milli, etc)

The older I get, the more I tend to think that way.

The computerists usually have the right idea about prefixes (when they can work out whether they mean 103 or 210), even if the base units are often a bit suspicious.

Centimetres have obvious primary school appeal, but they're a liability in the real world.

Agreed. Sticking the the engineering subset of SI, which is the multiples of 3 approach, you have a certain amount of implicit error checking.

J
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on September 06, 2018, 07:52:56 pm
Our maths teacher often said she wished "hundred"  and "centimetre" had never been invented as terms! Because it would be so much easier to just teach the multiples-of-3 (kilo, mega, milli, etc)

The older I get, the more I tend to think that way.

The computerists usually have the right idea about prefixes (when they can work out whether they mean 103 or 210), even if the base units are often a bit suspicious.

Centimetres have obvious primary school appeal, but they're a liability in the real world.

Agreed. Sticking the the engineering subset of SI, which is the multiples of 3 approach, you have a certain amount of implicit error checking.

J

yet there must be some commercial interest. Most tape measures (the steel ribbon ones sold for DIY, I can't answer for dressmakers) seem to be marked primarily in cms with unnumbered divisions for the mms.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on September 06, 2018, 08:23:43 pm
All this talk makes me feel that a 650B bike with discs, racks and guards would be quite nice (with generous clearances - 38 or 40mm would be fine). Of course it would have to have a triple chainset and no more than 9, preference 8, pinions which fortunately probably counts out most of the current production (and needs well laid back seat tube as well).
Specialized Diverge is available with 8-speed, double not triple though. Or was last year. Shimano Claris, I think.

The Diverge suffers from one great failing, the seat angle is far too steep for me. The slammed stem would need a workaround but apart a look a bit bizarre that's not a deal stopper. The 700C wheels would have to be chucked of course, at first sight the site doesn't appear to be offering 650 as a base offer but perhaps I missed it somewhere. But the dealstopper is the seat angle, my current frames aren't as steep and already I am on max layback on seatposts. Fortunately that kills the affair before Mme does.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on September 08, 2018, 10:19:07 pm
Just out of curiosity I have been looking at the gravel offers of a few makers. The Trek ALR4 is a very interesting frame bt the spec sheet shows enough to horrify sensitive metricists. All dimensions in cms except the ones that aren't.  But the FAQ gives the dimensions of the rear thru'axle in reply to a question about fitting a trailer. These are "This may depend on the your trailer and the attachment style that company uses. If a replacement Thru Axle is required, the checkpoint uses a 12 x 142mm 1.75tpi rear thru axle." Spot the dimensional error!

I am sure there are more goodies on the way! Of course they are USAnian so don't speak the same language.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: sojournermike on September 08, 2018, 11:27:52 pm
Just out of curiosity I have been looking at the gravel offers of a few makers. The Trek ALR4 is a very interesting frame bt the spec sheet shows enough to horrify sensitive metricists. All dimensions in cms except the ones that aren't.  But the FAQ gives the dimensions of the rear thru'axle in reply to a question about fitting a trailer. These are "This may depend on the your trailer and the attachment style that company uses. If a replacement Thru Axle is required, the checkpoint uses a 12 x 142mm 1.75tpi rear thru axle." Spot the dimensional error!

I am sure there are more goodies on the way! Of course they are USAnian so don't speak the same language.

That’s going to tighten up quickly



And then unwind just as fast I suspect
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: ElyDave on September 09, 2018, 06:01:51 am
gravel is wot I rode on yesterday on my rebuilt Giant with 28mm tyres and bounced a bottle right out of its cage.  There were several sounds of things pinging off from under the tyres or scraping their way around the mudguards.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: hubner on September 09, 2018, 10:21:18 am
Gravel is the green shite they put on cycle paths!

It's also the stuff on drives, you'd need a massive tyre to ride on that otherwise you'd just sink in!

Actual "gravel roads" is a US thing.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 10, 2018, 12:41:32 pm
All this talk makes me feel that a 650B bike with discs, racks and guards would be quite nice (with generous clearances - 38 or 40mm would be fine). Of course it would have to have a triple chainset and no more than 9, preference 8, pinions which fortunately probably counts out most of the current production (and needs well laid back seat tube as well).
Specialized Diverge is available with 8-speed, double not triple though. Or was last year. Shimano Claris, I think.

The Diverge suffers from one great failing, the seat angle is far too steep for me. The slammed stem would need a workaround but apart a look a bit bizarre that's not a deal stopper. The 700C wheels would have to be chucked of course, at first sight the site doesn't appear to be offering 650 as a base offer but perhaps I missed it somewhere. But the dealstopper is the seat angle, my current frames aren't as steep and already I am on max layback on seatposts. Fortunately that kills the affair before Mme does.
Doubt if there's a 650 option, either B or C or indeed A. Does anyone still make 650A tyres and rims?* I was mentioning it more as evidence that Shimano still do make 8-speed transmissions and somebody is using them in gravel-type things.

*Turns out SJS at least still do, probably more because it's the same as ye olde British roadster 26" x 13/8 rather than as French size, IYSWIM – which I didn't until just now.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on September 10, 2018, 09:24:36 pm
All this talk makes me feel that a 650B bike with discs, racks and guards would be quite nice (with generous clearances - 38 or 40mm would be fine). Of course it would have to have a triple chainset and no more than 9, preference 8, pinions which fortunately probably counts out most of the current production (and needs well laid back seat tube as well).
Specialized Diverge is available with 8-speed, double not triple though. Or was last year. Shimano Claris, I think.

The Diverge suffers from one great failing, the seat angle is far too steep for me. The slammed stem would need a workaround but apart a look a bit bizarre that's not a deal stopper. The 700C wheels would have to be chucked of course, at first sight the site doesn't appear to be offering 650 as a base offer but perhaps I missed it somewhere. But the dealstopper is the seat angle, my current frames aren't as steep and already I am on max layback on seatposts. Fortunately that kills the affair before Mme does.
Doubt if there's a 650 option, either B or C or indeed A. Does anyone still make 650A tyres and rims?* I was mentioning it more as evidence that Shimano still do make 8-speed transmissions and somebody is using them in gravel-type things.

*Turns out SJS at least still do, probably more because it's the same as ye olde British roadster 26" x 13/8 rather than as French size, IYSWIM – which I didn't until just now.

Specialized mention the possibility of fitting 650B tyres with a huge section, they just don't seem to offer them fitted to a bike out of the box. Looking around there are several "gravel/adventure" bikes either specifically fitted with 650B tyes or with them as an option. For me personally Surly would appear to be the best bet with two models - Straggler and Midnight Special - with specifically 650B versions (and they sell the framesets - my local LBS should be able to get them, he got my clubmate a disc Trucker. Surly geometry seems to be me-compliant!
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 11, 2018, 08:56:21 am
The Midnight Special is a development of the Pacer, one of which I have and a very fine bicycle it is too. The Pacer is not a gravel bike but can certainly be ridden over gravel. I don't think the Midnight Special is actually particularly like the Pacer though, whatever they say. And the Straggler is quite a lot like a Cross Check with disc brakes, so should be great for gravel and stuff. I see they've also got something called the Pack Rat, which has 650B in larger sizes and 26" in smaller sizes, and "is specifically designed around porteur-style racks and front-loading optimization." Sounds very bike-packing-y.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on September 11, 2018, 12:25:11 pm
The Pack Rat has rim brakes. I must look to see what rims they use on the 650B version, there are not too many that are not disc specific.
I think the Midnight Special would appear to be as close as one could get to a modern randonneuse.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Samuel D on September 11, 2018, 01:48:40 pm
Speaking of tyre sizes and ‘gravel’, there’s a good recap of the early years of mountain biking by Tom Ritchey here:

https://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-podcast/pocast-tom-ritchey-on-the-birth-and-coming-of-age-of-the-mountain-bike/

He likens the Repack Road guys to downhill racers as opposed to his and Jobst Brandt’s interest in long rides with 30 miles of cross-country along the way. What he describes sounds as close to ‘gravel’ as anything else. I usually find Ritchey surprisingly eloquent through his slow drawl, and his reverence for Brandt always impresses me.

Well worth a listen.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Morbihan on September 12, 2018, 12:27:47 pm
Just catching up on this thread.
I used 44mm compass tires on TCR this year and they worked out a treat. A few riders had similar set ups with varying widths.
There were many stories of woe particularly down in the Balkans about sealed roads deteriorating into tracks/gravel/dirt. (parcour at 4th checkpoint was all unsealed track up a mountain)
Wide tires are good insurance if you are directional challenged like me.


Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 13, 2018, 10:22:17 am
Speaking of tyre sizes and ‘gravel’, there’s a good recap of the early years of mountain biking by Tom Ritchey here:

https://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-podcast/pocast-tom-ritchey-on-the-birth-and-coming-of-age-of-the-mountain-bike/

He likens the Repack Road guys to downhill racers as opposed to his and Jobst Brandt’s interest in long rides with 30 miles of cross-country along the way. What he describes sounds as close to ‘gravel’ as anything else. I usually find Ritchey surprisingly eloquent through his slow drawl, and his reverence for Brandt always impresses me.

Well worth a listen.
I listened to it. Interesting in parts certainly. I wish he'd said a bit more about the weakness of the rear through-axle standard (for a start, which standard?). About standards and development of parts and so on he was interesting. As for Repack, I think it's clearly (assuming what I've read about it is accurate) downhill and downhilling.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Samuel D on September 14, 2018, 01:50:43 pm
I wish he'd said a bit more about the weakness of the rear through-axle standard (for a start, which standard?).

That also intrigued me, not that I’m likely to use any through-axle if I can avoid it.

It is clear even without Ritchey’s comments that the industry is reverting to less standardisation, and where standards exist they’re not always thought through or likely to last. Gravel bikes have a lot of new technology, which is problematic since new standards are sometimes needed to make it work well (like through-axles for disc brakes). Consequently a lot of these bicycles will not be serviceable in just a few years, although the buyers mostly won’t care because they’ll have new, new bicycles by then. This consumerism causes me more distress than it should but the world spins on. The truth is I was born about forty years late.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Brucey on September 14, 2018, 04:47:38 pm

Doubt if there's a 650 option, either B or C or indeed A. Does anyone still make 650A tyres and rims?* I was mentioning it more as evidence that Shimano still do make 8-speed transmissions and somebody is using them in gravel-type things.

*Turns out SJS at least still do, probably more because it's the same as ye olde British roadster 26" x 13/8 rather than as French size, IYSWIM – which I didn't until just now.

erm, most of the rim sizes that you might think of as being 'French' and know as '650B' and '700C' etc are actually sizes that were originated by Dunlop over 110 years ago. 650B (584mm BSD) is just another name for 26 x 1-1/2" and 700C (622mm BSD) is just another name for 28 x 1-3/4" wheel size.  See this chart (which was published in 1911, by which time the sizes were already well established);

(http://www.oldbike.eu/museum/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/1911_Clincher_Tyres_28-copy.jpg)

Each 'wire edge' (Dunlop) rim lip stands 7/32" above the bead seat diameter. Thus if you subtract 9/16" from each OD measurement you get the BSD values. interesting the six sizes listed there all still exist, although 28x1-3/8" size is nearly extinct.

There are still new bikes being made with 26 x 1-3/8" tyres and rims.

cheers
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: mzjo on September 16, 2018, 01:29:22 pm

Doubt if there's a 650 option, either B or C or indeed A. Does anyone still make 650A tyres and rims?* I was mentioning it more as evidence that Shimano still do make 8-speed transmissions and somebody is using them in gravel-type things.

*Turns out SJS at least still do, probably more because it's the same as ye olde British roadster 26" x 13/8 rather than as French size, IYSWIM – which I didn't until just now.

erm, most of the rim sizes that you might think of as being 'French' and know as '650B' and '700C' etc are actually sizes that were originated by Dunlop over 110 years ago. 650B (584mm BSD) is just another name for 26 x 1-1/2" and 700C (622mm BSD) is just another name for 28 x 1-3/4" wheel size.  See this chart (which was published in 1911, by which time the sizes were already well established);

(http://www.oldbike.eu/museum/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/1911_Clincher_Tyres_28-copy.jpg)

Each 'wire edge' (Dunlop) rim lip stands 7/32" above the bead seat diameter. Thus if you subtract 9/16" from each OD measurement you get the BSD values. interesting the six sizes listed there all still exist, although 28x1-3/8" size is nearly extinct.

There are still new bikes being made with 26 x 1-3/8" tyres and rims.

cheers

The other tyre size that is often forgotten these days (although I believe they are very common in NL) is the 635mm rim standard (700B). It is common to the "real" all-road bikes, those commonly sold in west Africa and which are either ss or 3sp. I guess it must be 28x1 1/2" (the size of "Bobby" bikes).
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 16, 2018, 02:28:59 pm
635 lasted for quite a while in Oz but the tough one to get is 642. A friend has several bikes with 642 wheels and virtually no tyre options at all.
Title: Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on September 19, 2018, 12:21:49 pm
I wish he'd said a bit more about the weakness of the rear through-axle standard (for a start, which standard?).

That also intrigued me, not that I’m likely to use any through-axle if I can avoid it.

It is clear even without Ritchey’s comments that the industry is reverting to less standardisation, and where standards exist they’re not always thought through or likely to last. Gravel bikes have a lot of new technology, which is problematic since new standards are sometimes needed to make it work well (like through-axles for disc brakes). Consequently a lot of these bicycles will not be serviceable in just a few years, although the buyers mostly won’t care because they’ll have new, new bicycles by then. This consumerism causes me more distress than it should but the world spins on. The truth is I was born about forty years late.
Agree about the proliferation of standards, to the extent that they're sometimes only "standard" to one manufacturer. I'd have thought through-axles should be pretty durable items so they're probably not going to suffer availability problems, though we'll see if other problems emerge, but some bottom brackets for instance are certainly going to be problematic to obtain. But then, as Brucey's and LWaB's posts show, multiplicity of standards (and of names for standards) is not a new thing.

What he said about the LeMond effect on American bike manufacturing was interesting too. I don't think we've noticed a similar Wiggins-Froome-Thomas-Yates effect, but of course manufacturing and lots else has changed in the intervening decades.