The Sport Conrad Gravelbike Guide
Gravelbikes are no longer indispensable in the bike industry. And they have their justification not for nothing! They were initially ridiculed by many as a one-hit wonder, but today the gravel bike has a true fan base around him. We have taken on the topic and the Gravelbikes times a little closer under the microscope. We show you here what a gravel bike is at all. Why so many swear by the Gravelbike and for whom it is suitable. In addition, we show the advantages and disadvantages compared to other bikes such as the road bike. In the end, you will be a real gravel bike pro and can decide whether you want to make the roads and off-road trails unsafe with the gravel bike in the future.
Gravel bikes are the alternative for all cycling fans who like to ride on the asphalt and off-road. A gravel bike allows you to cover long distances outside of paved roads. In addition, with the Gravelbike you have the possibility to transport all your equipment. This is probably the biggest difference to a road bike. Bikepacking has become increasingly popular in recent years. But to find out the exact differences to a road bike and what exactly bikepacking is all about, you are welcome to read on.
THE BIRTH OF GRAVEL BIKES
Unpaved roads are almost impossible to conquer with a normal racing bike. That's why 10 years ago cycling fans from the USA came up with the idea of racing on unpaved roads in the future. The so-called "Gravel Grinder" races were born. Since such gravel roads could hardly be conquered with a racing bike, an alternative had to be found. The alternative was cross racing bikes, as used in cyclocross ("cross country racing"). Now you mix in some comfort to ride long distances comfortably and the Gravel Bike is born.
A gravel bike offers a much more relaxed riding position than a cyclocross. The upright riding position resembles, thanks to the higher head tube and shorter top tube, is more like riding a marathon marathon road bike. Due to wider tires, however, a gravel bike offers better better damping than a road bike. The tires can range from 30 to 47 millimeters and a long wheelbase results in stable straight running. directional stability.
Gravel bikes are very versatile and offer you all kinds of possibilities. Semi slicks (tires with tread on the outside) allow you to master a wide variety of surfaces without any problems. This makes the Gravel Bike a faithful companion in the city. In addition, gravel bikes usually offer the possibility of attaching mudguards, which is again interesting for commuters.
THE WEIGHT ISSUE
Gravel bikes are significantly heavier than cyclocross bikes or road bikes. So if the competition idea is in the foreground, it is better to fall back on a cyclocross - Compared to a trekking bike, the gravel bike is also a lightweight.
GRAVEL BIKE VS. RACE BICYCLE
Tyre width: More tyre clearance for wider tyres.
Frame: The frame geometry of gravel bikes has a longer wheelbase, a lower bottom bracket and a flatter head tube angle.
Brakes: Hydraulic disc brakes are a must.
Accessories: Mounts for accessories such as extra water bottles, mudguards and luggage racks.
Steering: The lower handlebar is often flared to allow more control and stability.
Saddle: Some gravel bikes have a dropper post so the saddle can be lowered for technical descents.
Tyre width: Optimised for speed and efficiency on asphalt roads, racing bikes usually have narrower tyres.
Frame: Racing bikes have a steeper head tube angle and shorter wheelbase.
Brakes: Most racing bikes today are equipped with (hydraulic) disc brakes. However, there are also models with rim brakes, which are much lighter.
Accessories: Usually only space for two water bottles.
Steering: Here the handlebars are designed for speed and efficiency.
Saddle: On a road bike, the rider sits in the saddle during descents, so a normal seat post is used.
AREAS OF APPLICATION OF THE GRAVEL BIKE
Whether spontaneous or planned down to the smallest detail - with your Gravel Bike you can easily start your adventure for one or several days. Gravel bikes are the alternative for all cycling fans who like to ride on asphalt and off-road. A gravel bike makes it possible to cover long distances or ride trails outside of paved roads.
Commuter bike - Many employees now use a gravel bike to get to the office. And why not? You get a bit of exercise, save money on gas, and thanks to the gravel bike you can easily vary between tarred roads and off-road routes.
Bikepacking - Traveling by bicycle becomes ever more popular. Decelerated and also reduced to the essentials, because bikepackers can take care of themselves, the call of freedom on the trail. What you need for bikepacking is nothing more than a small selection of equipment and your personal luggage. Attach your bags and go! If not now, when?
Gravel Racer - Bike racing has been around for a very very long time, but the racing scene in gravel sports is still very young and for a gravel race you probably have to ride a little further, but thanks to the growing popularity of the bikes, competitions are also becoming more frequent. If you buy a gravel bike with the ulterior motive of competition, your bike should really be very well matched to you. Here a personal consultation is quite reasonable.
Winter bike - Many road cyclists switch to a gravel bike in the winter. You wonder why? This question is quickly answered if you have ever been on the road bike on frozen roads. Here, the wide tires of the gravel bike are definitely an advantage.
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