Author Topic: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?  (Read 2327 times)

Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2019, 10:09:32 pm »
the 'old timers' could have used 26 x 1-1/2" tyres (584mm bead seat diameter) quite easily if they had wanted to.   If 584mm bead seat diameter sounds familiar, it should do, it is better known  today as the 650B size.  This rim/tyre  size was invented in the UK (the French pinched it and gave it a different name) and has been available here for over 110 years.
However for most of that time it has been (probably rightly) reserved for butcher's bikes, post office bikes, and bikes of that ilk. 

If you wanted a knobbly tyre in the 1970s, you would probably have chosen 26 x 1-3/8" size and used cycle speedway tyres on it.

Yer rider  in the picture looks to have been using 27 x 1-1/4" (weinmann/birmalux?) rims, with Michelin 'speed' tyres?. IIRC 'speed' tyres came up a bit fatter than a lot of other nominally 1-1/4" tyres.  Single wall rims of the time were not as strong or as stiff as most modern rims; however they were easier to straighten too.   The damage looks terrible but it is not unrealistic to think of some brute force and  twenty minute's work with a spoke key  rendering that wheel rideable again, at least to get home with.

cheers

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #26 on: September 18, 2019, 10:19:31 pm »
Yes they say they straightened it out and rode on it for 3 days!
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Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #27 on: September 18, 2019, 10:19:50 pm »
I actually own a copy of the rough stuff book. One of my favourite photos is this one:

Twin horns.
Clicky odometers. 
Centre pulls.
Buckles like that!

Hard to date it - a 60s bike, photo taken in the 70s?

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2019, 10:20:33 pm »
1972 according to the book.
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Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2019, 06:55:38 am »
I thought about getting a new frame this time last year. 

I considered a few.  In particular the Kinesis RTD and the Mason Bokeh.  I wanted something with relaxed geometry and a lower bottom bracket - as much for aeros as for stability.  I discovered that the trend is towards more relaxed / stable frames for this kind of bike - which makes sense as that was what I wanted.

The Bokeh is slacker and IIRC has a lower bottom bracket.  I almost bought it, then I dug out the geometry chart of my current frame and found it was very similar.  The BB is lower but the frame angles were identical.  So I thought, what is the point, and didn't bother. 

Also I didn't particularly want to have an aluminium frame.  I've nothing against aluminium frames - I ride one most days - just they are always going to be 3-400g heavier than a carbon one.  That's not much weight, but I don't see the point in adding it if I can avoid it.

The other thing that put me off was learning about through axles - essentially if I bought a new frame all my current wheels would instantly become obsolete.

Finally, when I was doing the Shark back in March, I overheard a couple of guys who had Bokehs talking about them.  They had both wanted to like them but had been really disappointed.  The phrase I recall was along the lines of 'it is marketed as a bike that can do everything, but what you find is that it isn't particularly good at anything'.

I was kind of pleased to hear that, to reassure me that I wasn't missing out.  Although I think it is probably being a bit unfair.  I am firmly of the view that, as long as the geometry enables you to set it up to your chosen fit, the frame doesn't matter very much.  The tyres and, to a lesser extent, the wheels, are what make the difference to the ride.  Suspension seat posts and suspension stems are also options. 

One thing that I've never fallen for is titanium frames.  I looked at some, such as Jesse Carlsson's Curve Belgie, to check out the geometry (it's a bit tighter than the Bokeh and fairly similar to RTD).  If  I rode one I might have an instant conversion, but I don't see the point in them.

Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #30 on: September 20, 2019, 03:11:50 pm »
Thanks, everyone.

I think I'll go carbon but may not bother with discs/wide tyres.   The 2 long races that I have registered for are mostly on road or cycle path and this looks like the scope of use for the next couple of years at least.

On wheels I'll need to restock anyway as all of my wheels are fixed.   I suspect, though that I will avoid the through-axle design.   Similarly I'm happy with a double chainset and a reasonable range of gears.   I've been pushing a chunky single gear for long enough that a 34*28 bottom gear will be more than enough.

As long as the frame is sound I can upgrade the other components as they wear out.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #31 on: September 20, 2019, 03:55:10 pm »
There are bound to be some really terrific rim brake carbon deals coming up soon.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
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quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #32 on: September 20, 2019, 04:54:54 pm »
Thanks, everyone.

I think I'll go carbon but may not bother with discs/wide tyres.   The 2 long races that I have registered for are mostly on road or cycle path and this looks like the scope of use for the next couple of years at least.

On wheels I'll need to restock anyway as all of my wheels are fixed.   I suspect, though that I will avoid the through-axle design.   Similarly I'm happy with a double chainset and a reasonable range of gears.   I've been pushing a chunky single gear for long enough that a 34*28 bottom gear will be more than enough.

As long as the frame is sound I can upgrade the other components as they wear out.

If one of those is RatN, personally I wouldn't want to do it on anything less than 28mm, and ideally 32mm...

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

Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #33 on: September 20, 2019, 05:02:12 pm »
Thanks, everyone.

I think I'll go carbon but may not bother with discs/wide tyres.   The 2 long races that I have registered for are mostly on road or cycle path and this looks like the scope of use for the next couple of years at least.

On wheels I'll need to restock anyway as all of my wheels are fixed.   I suspect, though that I will avoid the through-axle design.   Similarly I'm happy with a double chainset and a reasonable range of gears.   I've been pushing a chunky single gear for long enough that a 34*28 bottom gear will be more than enough.

As long as the frame is sound I can upgrade the other components as they wear out.

If one of those is RatN, personally I wouldn't want to do it on anything less than 28mm, and ideally 32mm...

J

It's a good point.   My theory is that I have done all of my long riding in the last 2 years on 23mm tyres pumped to 100psi with an ally frame and no tri-bars.   Whilst I recognise the new build will not be super comfy it should represent an improvement whilst not losing much in the way of speed/responsiveness.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2019, 05:07:04 pm »
It's a good point.   My theory is that I have done all of my long riding in the last 2 years on 23mm tyres pumped to 100psi with an ally frame and no tri-bars.   Whilst I recognise the new build will not be super comfy it should represent an improvement whilst not losing much in the way of speed/responsiveness.

How much of that has been on shitty block paving? RatN is "100% paved" but I'd say that less than 200km of it is quality tarmac, and the rest is various forms of block paving. I did literally scream in agony on one stretch as it was so horrible (around Volendaam, area, north of Amsterdam).

And the Friesen coast leg just sucks, horrible surface.

What's the other race you're planning ?

I really love my 32mm GP5k. I hadn't realised how much faster over shit surface they were until I made up a couple of hundred meters on 3 people on a recent audax. They were on 23, 25, and 28's. I'm putting a lot of it down to the tires, it's unlikely to be better bike handling.

J

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

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #35 on: September 20, 2019, 08:00:46 pm »
Dutch paving seems optimised for wide (by road standards) tyres with no air in them.  Wide tyres with a sensible amount of air in them seem to have a real advantage over the skinny ones that work best on good tarmac.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #36 on: September 20, 2019, 08:13:47 pm »
Dutch paving seems optimised for wide (by road standards) tyres with no air in them.  Wide tyres with a sensible amount of air in them seem to have a real advantage over the skinny ones that work best on good tarmac.

This suggests way more thought process related to it than reality...


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

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #37 on: September 20, 2019, 08:20:35 pm »
Yeah, I know it's more about sinking sand, combined with a distinctly un-British approach[1] to maintenance.


[1] For an example of what happens when you take a British approach to maintaining Dutch-style block paving in subsidence-prone conditions, I refer you to the University Of York's very own Arenberg Trench.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #38 on: September 20, 2019, 08:24:32 pm »
Yeah, I know it's more about sinking sand, combined with a distinctly un-British approach[1] to maintenance.

Un-British approach to what? I don't understand, what does that last word mean? I can't find it in my English->Dutch dictionary...

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

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #39 on: September 20, 2019, 08:33:37 pm »
Yeah, I know it's more about sinking sand, combined with a distinctly un-British approach[1] to maintenance.

Un-British approach to what? I don't understand, what does that last word mean? I can't find it in my English->Dutch dictionary...

What's the one thing that's worse than just leaving a block paving path to disintegrate as the ground subsides?

(click to show/hide)

Obviously bodges this terrible can only be properly implemented with a couple of layers of outsourcing to protect the guilty.


It's stuff like this that makes me appreciate the wheelbarrow man at UKC whose job it was roam the campus shovelling sand under the wobblier paving slabs.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #40 on: September 20, 2019, 09:08:26 pm »
wider tyres -of the same construction- have lower rolling resistance at any given pressure and work better on poor surfaces.

BUT.... they are also heavier and less aerodynamic; and these things count all the tine, not just part of it.

  So over a distance you might be faster on different tyres depending on what the surface is like and how much of your energy cube is being burned up in aero losses.    My best guess is that, right now, a typical audax rider on tarmac is going to be fastest on 25mm or 28mm tyres.

It also makes a difference how springy your frame and fork are; the springier they are the less benefit you are liable to accrue from having fat tyres.  Thus anything that is liable to render the frame and fork stiffer is also liable to skew your tyre choice towards fatter tyres.  There's nothing cast in stone here (and goodness knows there are exceptions) but in many cases disc brakes = stiffer frame and fork  = fatter tyres = slower bike. 

It is comparatively rare that I get on a modern bike and I think the fork is nice and supple. Same with the frameset. It seems to me that they are all built for folk that weigh 120kg and don't necessarily appreciate ride quality. Bikes like this need fatter tyres more than most...

cheers

Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #41 on: September 20, 2019, 09:54:56 pm »
And that’s another useful point. I generally run 60-65kg and don’t suffer that badly with comfort on long rides.  I have tingly fingers and had a little saddle sore after PBP.

I did do the Dutch Capitals 1400 a few years back which followed a pretty similar route to RAtN.  It was a while ago, but I don’t remember suffering all that badly.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #42 on: September 23, 2019, 10:45:58 pm »
Seems like the right thread... Planet X just put out some new ti offroad/gravel bikes

This one is... wow. Ti frame, fulcrum wheels and SRAM Force for £1800.

https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CBTIGR650FOR1/titus-goldrush-force1



I want it.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
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vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #43 on: September 24, 2019, 10:43:27 am »
There are bound to be some really terrific rim brake carbon deals coming up soon.

I assume because there is less demand for rim brake bikes and there is old stock of rim brake bikes?  I'm not sure how well that holds.  There are increasingly fewer designs that use rim brakes already and there are still plenty of people who (for whatever reason) prefer rim brakes.  The reverse could be true, the diminishing pool of rim braked carbon bikes might be more in demand and so command a higher price
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bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #44 on: September 24, 2019, 01:31:28 pm »
I am thinking more because it's A. the end of season sales soon (in early November I got my bike reduced from RRP £1.8k to £1.1) and B. disc brakes seem to be definitely in vogue. The industry does hate having a long tail, my understanding is they will use discounts to shift stuff that is going out of style and open up warehouse space for the bigger sellers ahead of Christmas and the new year.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
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Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #45 on: September 24, 2019, 01:46:57 pm »
They'll only have unsold rim brake stock to shift if they somehow haven't noticed disc brakes catching on and over-ordered.

I bet the Chinese factories know what's up and have retooled to disc frames very closely in line with demand. Carbon raw materials and manpower are too expensive to waste on churning out things nobody wants.

I reckon if anything you'll find an over supply of disc frames from companies that have believed too much "everyone's going to buy a gravel bike" hype.

Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #46 on: September 24, 2019, 01:53:45 pm »
its all supply and demand.  If the importers/ retailers have guessed the market wrongly, this is the time of year where they drop the prices so that they make room for next year's stock.

I just took a look at P-X's website and the (rim brake version) EC-130E frameset is only £377 (in the medium-small 49cm frame size only) and their Pro-carbon frameset is only £233 (in all sizes).  Stonking value, even if a headset isn't necessarily supplied.

cheers

Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #47 on: September 24, 2019, 03:33:56 pm »
I assume the stuff like the Pro-Carbon has a long stock life, so they ordered a ton of them and they have been shifting them over time - now they need to clear the rest before they become obsolete.

The real bargains to be had are from people changing from a perfectly good rim brake bike to a new disc one (or even realising they are never going back to rim brakes and selling off all their old nice wheels). Canti-braked CX bikes are a particular bargain (providing you can live with canti or mini-V brakes).

Re: Do I NEED a Gravel Style Bike for Long Road Events ?
« Reply #48 on: September 26, 2019, 07:10:16 am »

I just took a look at P-X's website and the (rim brake version) EC-130E frameset is only £377 (in the medium-small 49cm frame size only) and their Pro-carbon frameset is only £233 (in all sizes).  Stonking value, even if a headset isn't necessarily supplied.


Yeah, I'm trying to resist a Pro Carbon frameset to make use of the rim brake wheels and groupset I've got hanging around...I really should just sell them, but... :facepalm: