I’m bewildered by gravel bikes. I understand taking a road bike and putting some thicker knobby tires on it and riding on gravel but the entire gravel genre feels a little manufactured when it comes to companies making gravel bikes. My bewilderment only grows when the whole “bikepacking” thing gets thrown in on top of it.
I like it because it is basically a more versatile and comfortable "road" bike that is a bit heavier, allows for moderate offroad singletrack, or gravel roads as well as any paved surface with less worries of flats. My true road bike is not comfy for all day riding and riding it is stressful as far as picking a path free of debris and cracks. It is lighter and considerably faster and that comes in handy way less than what the gravel bike offers. I don't race so the gravel bike makes more sense for my riding preferences.....and suiting your own personal preferences is what it's all about IMO. Make it what you want and have many for all your wants, lol. n +1 rules!
Yes! My touting bike is technically an 'expedition' model with room for the wider tires which make gravel rides a joy. I am fortunate enough to live in an area with plenty of gravel and mild singletrack,, including the iconic Highline Canal. That is a 71mi mostly contiguous canal through the middle of the Denver Metro area. It's flanked by a mostly gravel pathway and provides magnificent views of both urban and natural sights. Whether for a long ride or just a few miles, it's always a great choice. It's also the most popular of an array of local gravel options.
As much as I love riding pavement, gravel has a special place in my heart. As I have shared in other threads, I have suffered from the effects of PTSD for nearly all my life. Part of that is a level of social anxiety which ranges from 'high' to 'are you kidding?'. When the weather is good, local paved options get crowded quickly. That can be hard on my comfort level. I'd rather that wasn't true, but it is my reality. Gravel options fill more slowly and outright repel a higher percentage of both pedestrians and other cyclists. Between that and the added challenge of gravel mileage over pavement, I'm a fan.
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