What can a gravel bike do that a road bike can’t?
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Gravel bikes – they’ve got bigger tyres, disc brakes and a bit more stability built in. But how does that translate when it comes to tackling some off-road terrain? And can it’s skinny-tyred road bike brother keep up when the path gets rough? We went for an epic gravel ride, putting the new Ridley X-Trail up against Dan’s road bike to find out some answers!

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32 COMMENTS

  1. IMO there's no need for a specialized machine for "gravel", unless your current road bike is super-steep and/or unable to fit more than a 25mm tire. Sadly, the marketers suckered us into these skinny-only bikes that were good for one thing on one kind of surface — racing on perfect roads. Had the frames and forks provided just a bit more space, one bike could handle 90% of riding just by fitting biggish, supple, smooth tires. Really, I hope to see bikes get back to a bit of sanity, though I shouldn't hold my breath.

  2. My parents gave me a MERIDA gravel bike for my 13th birthday and now im using it for our long rides. And BTW im from Philippines

  3. GCN gods (Matt, Si and Dan, maybe Lasty – in no particular order) I'd love to know your thoughts on the Cannondale Slate for this very kind of riding.

  4. Not very helpful. It was more of a tire size comparison than a bike comparison. What I want to know is how does a gravel bike with road tires compare to a road bike with road tires (on the road, that is).

  5. Has the UCI allowed gravel bikes in the pro tour? Seeing if you ride a gravel bike, with a double ring in front. You can swap wheels at any point (UCI allows this). Meaning enter a section of dirt and gravel in say the Tour de France, swap to gravel spec wheels and swap back when you returned to smooth conditions. Before anyone misunderstood that, I don't mean a 2/5/10 km area but a 40 or more. Much like disc brakes in rain, you would have an advantage. I know some local races do allow this and more riders are swapping wheels as I stated. If the frame geometry is the same, except for a wider chain and seat stay area…it could be faster and the future or road racing.

  6. You should have shown us who won the race to bar, what was the distance, and by how much…(Assuming the Roadie would have taken you both) to give us and idea how the large, 40# tires was dragging you down.

  7. I have a CX bike for winter rides. Great as it has discs and plenty of room for good mudguards, but it is slower than my road bikes.
    Have Road slicks on but haven't tried it off Road yet. I wouldn't fancy doing a 100 mile sportive on the CX bike though.

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