Tuesday, September 7, 2021

What's the Difference Between a Gravel Bike and a Road Bike?

Gravel Bikes


A new style of cycling, gravel, has emerged in the last five years and is becoming more popular than anyone could have imagined.

It's easy for people to understand why. Because it's in the wild, there's a relaxed atmosphere, and most importantly, no traffic. Although it doesn't require as many skills as downhill mountain biking for riders, it is still an outdoor adventure that allows them to explore the outdoors with other like-minded athletes and get their hands dirty.

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Gravel racing is becoming so popular that even professional cyclists are starting to take notice. EF Education First Pro Cycling offers gravel racing as an option to its professional riders. TJ Eisenhart, Ian Boswell and other professional cyclists have opted out from their road contracts to concentrate on gravel racing.

Technology is rapidly improving in the gravel bike industry, as well as gravel races that are popping up across the country. Although gravel bikes may look like a road bike or cyclocross bicycle, you will find gravel-specific features that can make a huge difference on the trail.


We'll be taking a closer look at what the differences are between a gravel and road bike.


Tire size and pressure

It's not surprising that gravel bikes and road bikes have very different tire sizes, which means they require different tire pressures.


Road bikes are designed to have as little rolling resistance as possible. This usually means that they use a 23mm or 25mm slick tire, with 90 to 100 PSI. It is fast, but riders will feel every bump and imperfection on the road. Gravel bikes need more tread to keep traction on loose, mixed terrain. A 30- to 40 millimeter tire with about 40 PSI is a good choice. The combination of the lower PSI and the larger tire makes it more comfortable and efficient (and also puncture-resistant) on long gravel roads.


Brakes

Although disc brakes are a well-known feature of mountain biking, they have only recently become popular in road cycling. You can see that some teams choose traditional rim-style disc brakes systems for weight savings, while others prefer discs for maximum stopping power and control.


Gravel bikes exclusively run disc brakes. This is due to the fact that gravel bikes need a bigger tire than a traditional rim brake. (Not enough clearance). Disc brakes are more efficient and reliable in all conditions, including mud, dusty, and wet.


Durability

A gravel bike is more durable than a road bicycle. They are still available in carbon fibre, but they have a heavier weight to withstand the wear of gravel and trail riding. This allows riders to attach bags and racks for touring, which is a big advantage over performance road bikes.


Geometry

Last but not least, gravel bikes combine comfort and efficiency into one package. Gravel bikes are different from performance road bikes, which have a higher aerodynamic geometry for racing. They have a longer wheelbase and taller headtubes that allow the rider to sit upright and relax. The headtube is also angled in a relaxed position so it doesn't feel as twitchy like race-oriented roadbikes. This improves stability and handling in dealing with trail hazards and loose gravel.

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What's the Difference Between a Gravel Bike and a Road Bike?

A new style of cycling, gravel , has emerged in the last five years and is becoming more popular than anyone could have imagined. It's e...