Author Topic: Does anyone know what gravel is?  (Read 7492 times)

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #75 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.  :-\
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #76 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.

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #77 on: August 09, 2018, 02:52:08 pm »
Never mind carrying eggs without making omelettes, sometimes it's the egos that get scrambled!
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #78 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).

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #79 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?
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #80 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.

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #81 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

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #82 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.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #83 on: August 23, 2018, 08:01:37 pm »
Gravel? Pah! We're at hyper-gravel 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...
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #84 on: August 23, 2018, 08:57:05 pm »
That looks like someone's put silly handlebars on a hardtail mountain bike.  Hyper.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #85 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.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #86 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...



J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #87 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
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #88 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!

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #89 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.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #90 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!
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #91 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)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #92 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
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #93 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!

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #94 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.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #95 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
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #96 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
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #97 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.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #98 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.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #99 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
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/