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frontrangegravel

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Reply with quote  #1 
I got to thinking after NAHBS and then reading Bike Snob's post about NAHBS got me thinking more.

I posted an editorial piece in the news section - read it here.

What do you think? Is "gravel grinding" a fad?

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slowride

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Reply with quote  #2 
Who cares? I don't care what mama don't allow, gonna ride that gravel anyhow!

Lyric hack, thanks JJ http://www.releaselyrics.com/1e7e/j.j.-cale-mama-don%27t/

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Rod, aka slowride, just doin' it!
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Jim Rice

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Reply with quote  #3 

Well, people have been riding on gravel / dirt roads longer than paved. 

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drwelby

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Reply with quote  #4 
Gravel riding isn't a fad, it's a trend

Fads boom and are over quickly. They're driven by emotional needs and hype. They usually have limited scope. 

Trends slowly build up. They're driven more by functional needs and have larger scopes.

Gravel bikes aren't anything new. Most people would have just used a cyclocross bike but the evolution away from cross racing features to a larger scope of utility indicates that this isn't a fad. The gravel bike is still a little bit amorphous as more and more people take the concept and do something with it. For some it's about racing others, for some challenging themselves, and for others it's the right horse for the course. They don't have a defined authenticity.

Fixie bikes, on the other hand, are bikes that are defined more by style, not by their function. They're a fad.

I think there also should be a distinction between gravel riding and gravel bikes. The trend really is gravel riding. The events are inclusive and easy to organize and successfully pull off. They have a low barrier to entry for organizers and participants. Gravel bikes are the manufacturers attempt to sell bikes to something that now is at least an identifiable thing. They may end up overestimating demand, but this isn't an example of a manufacturer trying to invent a category to sell a new gruppo (anyone remember Formula 1?).
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BluesDawg

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Reply with quote  #5 
Reading Bike Snob NYC was a fad.
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Jim Rice

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Reply with quote  #6 

drwelby - well put. I appreciate your distinction.  I don't have a specific or made for gravel bike but i do gravel riding on three of my bikes.  A Litespeed Tuscany road bike (can fit 28's), Salsa Casseroll (my do everyting commuter, light tourer, dirt road bike) and a Ritchey Breakaway Cross.  Finally, i'm not a fan of the term gravel grinding.  My favorite roads in Georgia may have gravel but they can also be hard pack, double track or some combination with or without gravel.  Hardpack can be a fast surface to ride on and the term "grinding" doesn't fit. 

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rideonpurpose

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Reply with quote  #7 
The marketing is a fad

People riding bikes on whatever road is in front of them, that's not a fad.

It's such a 1st world distinction too.
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ArmedLeftist

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Reply with quote  #8 
I've been riding dirt roads for 45 years. Can't see that being a fad.

Hipster gravel riding very likely is a fad.
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RonDempsey

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Reply with quote  #9 
It's not just a fad. Perhaps it's even more than a trend. It's growing like a religious movement. Many who come to experience these iconic rides leave changed forever. They take that experience with them and occasionally one of these new disciples creates another iconic ride.... So goes the movement: "Unlearn Pavement!"
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GravelCyclist

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Reply with quote  #10 
Not a fad!  I've been riding and racing on gravel since 2006, and plan to in the foreseeable future.

Positives about riding dirt and gravel:

1. Scenery.
2. Low vehicular traffic.
3. New roads.
4. Off the beaten track.
5. Way laid back.

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William buttry

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Reply with quote  #11 
I learned to ride a bike on gravel and I am 42 so I been riding on gravel for 35 yrs at least  not a fad to me either I just use my mtn bike with lite treaded tires  for speed .
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IcySmooth52

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Reply with quote  #12 
Gravel bikes are a fad, but gravel grinding is not. This happens all the time in the cycling industry! Look at the track bike: They've been around since before the freewheel, used in velodromes for a long time, and they certainly were extremely popular a few years ago. (Starting to die off). But they were being sold to people who weren't riding them where they were ideal. They were riding the fashion statement when they should've been on some sort of hybrid.

I think it's nice there's finally more options for these locations and conditions, but more than half of the new buyers will be using them solely on pavement I bet. [frown]

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Laeljon

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Reply with quote  #13 
We have been riding gravel, fire roads for centuries.....its just a new term....


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ayjaydee

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Reply with quote  #14 
There will never be enough folks gravel racing to justify the mass production of dozens of different brands of so called gravel bikes so , once more, the manufacturers are going to have to convince the average rider that they MUST have what the racers are riding. They did it with road bikes, they did it with snow skis and now theyre gonna do it with gravel racing bikes.
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AlanEsh

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayjaydee
There will never be enough folks gravel racing to justify the mass production of dozens of different brands of so called gravel bikes so , once more, the manufacturers are going to have to convince the average rider that they MUST have what the racers are riding. They did it with road bikes, they did it with snow skis and now theyre gonna do it with gravel racing bikes.

Calling something a "gravel bike" is easy because there is no consensus on spec, so they're doing it. They can call them "any road" bikes if the gravel term becomes poison for some reason.

There's really nothing crazy about these supposedly gravel-specific bikes... they're typically a bit lower centered and longer, and they have room for more rubber. I'd say they can call that any number of different things and it will sell.
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ayjaydee

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Reply with quote  #16 
"a bit" being the defining phrase
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FlashBazbo

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Reply with quote  #17 
As for gravel riding . . . if you live in a lot of the Midwest (I'm thinking central and western Kansas), 95% of the roads in your county are dirt/gravel roads.  If you're a cyclist, you almost certainly ride gravel.  It's not a fad.  It's life on a bike.  Until there is universal paving, you're going to ride gravel.  On the other hand, there are tons of people riding gravel today who don't live anywhere near a gravel road.  There are counties in the U.S. that have no gravel roads at all.  It's easier to find a mountain bike trail.  For these people, eventually, it will be more trouble to transport their bike to gravel than they think it's worth.  For a lot of them, not all, gravel biking is a fad. It won't die for that group, but it will become much like mountain biking is, for most of the market, today. 

As for gravel bikes . . . longer wheelbase, more tire clearance, more stable geometry, more comfortable.  Whether you call them "gravel bikes" or not, they are a lot more practical and user-friendly than traditional roadie race bikes.  Calling them gravel bikes might be a fad, but I don't think the more versatile bike that's coming from this sport will go away.  In fact, it should expand the number of people who ride bikes.  Call them all-road and get the word out on how much fun they are and they will bring lots of new riders into the sport.  Unfortunately, not all bikes labeled "gravel bikes" by manufacturers today fit the rather broad definition -- every manufacturer is in a rush to capitalize on the trend, even if they don't have a bike to do it.  There will be a shake out among the bikes that don't fit the bill.  But the more versatile, comfortable bike should be a trend that changes the industry.  It's a better bike -- even on paved roads -- for 90+% of the people who might ride a bike. 
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ayjaydee

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Reply with quote  #18 
Bikes like the Specialized Cross Trail already cover this 90% demographic.

http://www.specialized.com/ca/en/bikes/multi-use/crosstrail/crosstrail#specs
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BluesDawg

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayjaydee
Bikes like the Specialized Cross Trail already cover this 90% demographic.

http://www.specialized.com/ca/en/bikes/multi-use/crosstrail/crosstrail#specs


The Crosstrail is a fine bike for part of that 90%, but it does not begin to cut it for someone who wants a more versatile drop bar road bike.
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ayjaydee

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Reply with quote  #20 
that guy isnt part of the 90%, he's part of the 10%.
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BluesDawg

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Reply with quote  #21 
He's not part of the 10% served by the typical road race style bike.
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ayjaydee

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Reply with quote  #22 
simply because the typical road bike does not properly serve that 10% of bike riders but that doesnt alter the fact he still belongs to the 10%. the 90% dont want drop bars
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BluesDawg

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Reply with quote  #23 
whatever
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FlashBazbo

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Reply with quote  #24 
Wow.  This thread spun off into strange places.  I'm not sure if I'm 90% or 10% or 43%.  Is being forcibly pigeon-holed into a certain percentage group a fad?
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Fakey

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Reply with quote  #25 
Boom, that's the first "whatever" I've read here!!!  I am a retrogrouch(and so are you Ajaydee admit it) and arguing with a retrogrouch is next to impossible. However, even though I don't like the cycling industry cashing in on a "fad", that's how all specific types of bikes were born. Mountain, fat bike, cyclocross, time trial etc... 
I know I am contradicting some of my earlier posts, but I can see how telling someone they're an idiot for buying a gravel specific bike when they already have a 'cross bike, or mountain bike is ridiculous. If you can  afford it and want to get the most out of where and how you ride your bike by purchasing a gravel specific bike who am I, or anyone else for that matter, to tell you what to do with your money and more importantly, your passion for the sport. Which brings me (finally) to the actual subject of this post. Is gravel grinding a fad?
Certainly not. It's a past time (as it's been done since the beginning of cycling itself), and many times it's a tonic for those who need a change from road cycling, mountain biking. triathlon or whatever it is they normally do. I ride the (tarmac)road from May to Sept, looking at back wheels or my tongue, whichever happens to be in front of me at the time, and switching to the back roads, crossing streams, finding old bridges, and getting waved at by people on tractors, instead of run off the road by angry drivers in pick-up trucks(why is it always pick-ups?), is like a breath of fresh air. Actually, it is literally a breath of fresh air. When winter hits here in Canada the gravel roads are a great alternative, as they are very ridable even when snow covered. By spring I'm ready to feel the smooth hum of the tarmac under my wheels again, and try in vain not to get dropped by my buddies (as much) in the coming months.
"Gravel Grinding", has always been here, but now it has an accepted name, and it's a real movement with like minded people being able to talk about, and argue about it, and occasionally a retrogrouch's mind may be changed, because of social media outlets like this one. Or whatever???

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