Bike packing, Commuting, or Weekend Escaping?


The gravel bike has more in common with sport-touring bikes first designed in the 1970’s for cyclists who wanted a single platform to commute, perform speedy weekend rides and head out on a week-long or weekend light tour. These bikes have continued to exist as custom bikes (Waterford, the Marinoni Sportivo) until recently, when they made another comeback (Raleigh Clubman). These bikes share almost the exact same geometry as a gravel bike but don’t have the tire width for speedy off-road flotation. And, that’s really the only big diff. It’s also representative of how the world has changed since the 70’s. Touring has become more adventurous with the arrival of cheaper airfare and meanwhile, all over North America, old train routes are being turned into gravel trails for cycling and walking. The gravel bike is not made strictly for gravel (far from it), but it is in essence a sport-touring bike (a versatile performance bike) that can way more places (even more versatile!).


A gravel bike has a more relaxed seat angle to active endurance muscles in the hamstrings, so you can do longer rides more efficiently. Finally, the bottom bracket doesn’t need to sit high. If you’re carrying weight on a bike the center of gravity needs to be low, that’s why a touring bike has an exceptionally low bottom bracket. So how is a gravel bike different from a cyclocross bike? It can ride the same terrain but privileges multi-terrain endurance and adventure over race-environment competitive advantage.


Like the sport-touring bikes of old, a gravel bike also makes a great commuter bike – especially if distances are longer. Unlike a road racing bike, a gravel bike is made for rough surfaces or dirt trails. That means it needs to have strong wheels, perfect for city streets (road bikes generally do not have strong wheels!). For a commuter, a gravel bike offers multi-position drop bars and a road-bike feeling that closes urban distances faster than a hybrid and safer than a road bike. So, it can do long speedy day rides over (most) any surface, it can commute, and it can tour. READY TO ROAD AHEAD, COME SEE US

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