frontrangegravel
What do you think? Is "gravel grinding" just another push by marketers sitting in their cubes to make more money?
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Mr. Dirt Bag
I think that gravel grinders started to take off before the cubibots got involved, but I do agree that they are now trying to cash in. 

Let's just hope that certain governing bodies don't step in and try to take away our fun.

Mr. Dirt Bag
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ayjaydee
 manufacturers couldnt do this if the participants were not swayed by the hype that they need "gravel specific" bikes. let the few "pro" racer types ride the latest high priced iterations. there is no need for those who just want to participate to buy the latest product.  
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drwelby
I don't get this 'hype' backlash. People want comfortable, sporty bikes that can go anywhere and companies are trying to fill that demand. This isn't F1 bikes all over again. They now have an agreed-upon vocabulary to describe these bikes.
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Guitar Ted
It is only natural that the flat, not gaining any market share bike industry is going to latch on to whatever they feel is a trend that can garner them some market share from some other part of the industry. Right now that seems to be the gravel riding/back road/any road type of cycling genre.

Having been keeping track of the gravel racing scene since 2008, I can say with some certainty that the gravel road scene is growing. Certainly one only has to pay attention to some of the bigger events to see this is true. Marketing wonks at the cycling companies are paying attention, and this caught their eye.

So what? Some folks seem to think it is "unnecessary", or just a way to leverage foolish people into unnecessarily spending their money on unnecessary bicycles. Really?

I find that a rather strange attitude when looked at with the perspective of cycling history. If "gravel grinder" bikes are unnecessary, they will die on the vine, and we can all go back to cruising on whatever trips our triggers out there. If folks see there is a reason for them, then they will sell and continue to be made.

My experience riding on gravel for several years got me to thinking what would be better for that specific task,and I have an idea that I think works best, which may or may not be what others even want or desire, but I figured I would have it custom made and not bother anyone with it. However; it seems to be an interesting idea to more than just myself, judging from responses I get, so there ya go. Horses for courses.

I don't find it at all surprising either, since a similar thing happened with mountain bikes, road bikes, and other genres of bikes before this.

Again, it will either thrive or not. Nothing to get bent about. I will say I think it is a better answer for cycling any roads, not just gravel, than most road racing style bikes.
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DustyRhodes
I have been riding gravel for only a year or so.  I ride my hardtail 29er mtn bike with Vee Rubber V12 1.95 tires.  The ride is plush on the big tires but I would prefer a drop bar bike.  What (I think) I really want is a drop bar bike, with road cranks (for the Q factor) and a frame that will handle a tire up to 700x42.  I was disappointed the Warbird didn't quite make the cut.  A year ago there were not many frames that fit that description.  The choice of tires in the 700x38-42 range was limited too.  Now that "gravel grinding" is so popular (with the bike marketing folks), I see a new bike and new tire every week and am overwhelmed with choices.  What a difference a year makes!  It's (almost) all good as far as I am concerned.
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ayjaydee
DustyRhodes wrote:
I have been riding gravel for only a year or so.  I ride my hardtail 29er mtn bike with Vee Rubber V12 1.95 tires.  The ride is plush on the big tires but I would prefer a drop bar bike.  What (I think) I really want is a drop bar bike, with road cranks (for the Q factor) and a frame that will handle a tire up to 700x42.  I was disappointed the Warbird didn't quite make the cut.  A year ago there were not many frames that fit that description.  The choice of tires in the 700x38-42 range was limited too.  Now that "gravel grinding" is so popular (with the bike marketing folks), I see a new bike and new tire every week and am overwhelmed with choices.  What a difference a year makes!  It's (almost) all good as far as I am concerned.


http://www.blackmtncycles.com/p/cross-build-kits_07.html
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bford64
DustyRhodes wrote:
I have been riding gravel for only a year or so.  I ride my hardtail 29er mtn bike with Vee Rubber V12 1.95 tires.  The ride is plush on the big tires but I would prefer a drop bar bike.  What (I think) I really want is a drop bar bike, with road cranks (for the Q factor) and a frame that will handle a tire up to 700x42.  I was disappointed the Warbird didn't quite make the cut.  A year ago there were not many frames that fit that description.  The choice of tires in the 700x38-42 range was limited too.  Now that "gravel grinding" is so popular (with the bike marketing folks), I see a new bike and new tire every week and am overwhelmed with choices.  What a difference a year makes!  It's (almost) all good as far as I am concerned.


The Salsa Vaya fits the bill perfectly for you. I had the Vee Rubber V12 29x1.95 mounted on my Vaya for DK last year. Granted , there isn't much room for mud between the chain stays. And if you like to ride with a fender then all bets are off.  I also like the Vaya because it is equipped with braze ons. I use my Vaya like an SUV. Its a great gravel grinder. I think GT even has one.  
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Guitar Ted
Quote:
I think GT even has one. 


Yes, I have a Vaya. If Salsa would make that bike with lighter, livelier tubing and shorten the chain stays a bit, it would be exactly what the Warbird should have been. [wink]
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ayjaydee
and would it still be a touring bike?
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DustyRhodes
Good to know about the Vaya.  I double checked the Salsa web site and it shows a max tire of 700x42.  I wonder if that is larger than in the past.  I asked the Salsa guys at DK last year and could have sworn they told me something like (maybe) 38c max.  Yes, I would love a BMC Monster Cross in orange!  6 months ago that was definitely my #1 choice and the Surly Crosscheck was #2.  The BMC might still be my #1.  I will make a decision in mid January when I have money burning a hole in my pocket.
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drwelby
One option with the Vaya is to run it with 650b wheels when you need a little more cushioning in your life.
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ayjaydee
DustyRhodes wrote:
Good to know about the Vaya.  I double checked the Salsa web site and it shows a max tire of 700x42.  I wonder if that is larger than in the past.  I asked the Salsa guys at DK last year and could have sworn they told me something like (maybe) 38c max.  Yes, I would love a BMC Monster Cross in orange!  6 months ago that was definitely my #1 choice and the Surly Crosscheck was #2.  The BMC might still be my #1.  I will make a decision in mid January when I have money burning a hole in my pocket.


Ted sure wrote good things about his black mountain
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BluesDawg
Black Mountain Monster Cross with Vee Rubber V12 1.95s.


bartram closeup by BluesDawg, on Flickr


On the road to the trails by BluesDawg, on Flickr


Vee Rubber 12 - 1.95 by BluesDawg, on Flickr
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bford64
Good looking rig. Are you running those Vee 12s tubeless?
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ctwfo
The GG here in NC are great! I have raced XC for years and riding in circles is kinda old. Besides Enduros, its all I look forward to. Ill never give up my HT or Singletrack but riding gravel is a great way to explore and stay off the road. I would love to see a frame that fit a 1.8 and I would love to see the Specialized Renegade in a 1.5. As far as frames, I have a Crux which is X specific. I love the way it handles going up or down and on the flats. But some of the descents here are 50+ so making a specific gravel bike makes sense. Looking forward to the future of GG!
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Croz
I have the first generation Vaya... I actually had S&S Couplers welded into it and it really is a solid GG ride - not to mention a great touring rig and a good commuter.

I think GT is spot on with regards to his thoughts on what the Vaya needs. I just got a Ritchey P-29er and if Salsa could make a frameset with steel of that quality, I believe they'd have a winner. Perhaps just a tad more tire clearance... and then there is the bit of toe overlap in the 55 that is a bit irksome with fenders... ;-)

The popularity of this facet of cycling is nice to see. I'm sure there will be some newer, slicker aspects tat come long, but the self-supporting nature and lack of formality/official timing is what I enjoy... Now let's hope USAC doesn't try to get involved ;-).
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ayjaydee
Guitar Ted wrote:
It is only natural that the flat, not gaining any market share bike industry is going to latch on to whatever they feel is a trend that can garner them some market share from some other part of the industry. Right now that seems to be the gravel riding/back road/any road type of cycling genre.

Having been keeping track of the gravel racing scene since 2008, I can say with some certainty that the gravel road scene is growing. Certainly one only has to pay attention to some of the bigger events to see this is true. Marketing wonks at the cycling companies are paying attention, and this caught their eye.

So what? Some folks seem to think it is "unnecessary", or just a way to leverage foolish people into unnecessarily spending their money on unnecessary bicycles. Really?

I find that a rather strange attitude when looked at with the perspective of cycling history. If "gravel grinder" bikes are unnecessary, they will die on the vine, and we can all go back to cruising on whatever trips our triggers out there. If folks see there is a reason for them, then they will sell and continue to be made.

My experience riding on gravel for several years got me to thinking what would be better for that specific task,and I have an idea that I think works best, which may or may not be what others even want or desire, but I figured I would have it custom made and not bother anyone with it. However; it seems to be an interesting idea to more than just myself, judging from responses I get, so there ya go. Horses for courses.

I don't find it at all surprising either, since a similar thing happened with mountain bikes, road bikes, and other genres of bikes before this.

Again, it will either thrive or not. Nothing to get bent about. I will say I think it is a better answer for cycling any roads, not just gravel, than most road racing style bikes.


there is a big difference between necessary and "it would be nice to have one"
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drwelby
ayjaydee wrote:

there is a big difference between necessary and "it would be nice to have one"


I think most first world discretionary purchases fall into the "it would be nice to have one" category.
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ayjaydee
if you are going to ride a bicycle, it is necessary to have a bicycle. much more than that (except top level competition) becomes "it would be nice to have one"
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BluesDawg
I like things that are nice to have.
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Guitar Ted
ayjaydee wrote:


there is a big difference between necessary and "it would be nice to have one"


As the other posters are pointing out, this doesn't really tell us anything that isn't obvious.

The thing is, in regard to cycling specifically, specialization of bicycles has been happening for as long as bicycles have been around, and especially so within the last 35 years. The argument that "such-and-such" type bicycle is not necessary, just use "any bike" is obvious and not based on reality. When humans pursue an activity or task, it is inevitable that ideas to make that certain activity or task more ___________ (fill in the blank- appealing, efficient, fun, easier, marketable, beautiful, cheaper, etc....) will start to be developed.

With regard specifically to a gravel bike, my personal take is that while several bicycles could be employed for riding gravel, a specifically designed bike, (hearkening back to when road racing was done on gravel), would be more stable, comfortable, and therefore more efficient than the typical cyclo cross bike or other bikes used on gravel.

If I am wrong about that, or right about that? I guess we'll find out soon enough. Then the question of would it be nice or necessary to have one won't matter when the consumer votes with their dollars.
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ayjaydee
the fact that its obvious doesnt make it any less true. and the fact that someone may have enough money to own a specific "more efficient" bike for each and every niche of  bicycle riding  doesnt make it necessary.  how the modern consumer votes with his dollars has nothing to do with it. modern north american consumerism is not exactly a feather in society's cap in the eyes of many, myself included.
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Guitar Ted
ayjaydee wrote:
the fact that its obvious doesnt make it any less true. and the fact that someone may have enough money to own a specific "more efficient" bike for each and every niche of  bicycle riding  doesnt make it necessary.


Again, this isn't saying anything new to anyone, or adding to the discussion. In other words "obvious". Of course there is a difference between "need" and "want", but that ship has sailed here.

Quote:
[ how the modern consumer votes with his dollars has nothing to do with it.


As far as whether we will be seeing a "need" for gravel specific bicycles? Yes, it has everything to do with the discussion at hand.


Quote:
modern north american consumerism is not exactly a feather in society's cap in the eyes of many, myself included.


So, maybe the issue isn't bicycles at all then, eh? [wink]
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BluesDawg
Not everyone already has a bike that is good for a wide variety of riding surfaces. Every day someone buys his first bike. If a new bike buyer wants a bike that he can ride for several miles on paved roads and then turn onto dirt or gravel roads and maybe go offroad on some more primitive trails, why shouldn't he have the benefit of the opportunity to buy a bike designed with all this in mind rather than settling something that can make do?
Just because many niches exist doesn't mean any individual has to have a bike for each niche. There will always be overlap and individuals can choose whether one or two or twenty bikes cover all the bases they want to cover. One person may want one bike for all purposes while another may follow the N+1 policy and want a quiver full of different bikes for different rides or different moods. "To each his own" said the old lady as she kissed the cow.

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