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Two skinny J's
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21,806 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's your landing zone.
 
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Two skinny J's
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21,806 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'd love to buy/build a gravel bike but there is literally nowhere to ride "true" gravel for hours from here.
 
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YAY BAIKS!
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1,632 Posts
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.
 

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Spin Spin Spin
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4,337 Posts
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!
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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6,008 Posts
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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Spin Spin Spin
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4,337 Posts
Maybe more of a preference than anxiety and because of how a large percentage of people act in general nowadays, I agree and share those feelings of getting away and enjoying the environment.
 

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tall old member
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1,587 Posts
I like gravel. I live on a gravel/dirt road. It is seldom smooth enough to ride my road bike out to the nearest paved road. My touring bike can handle gravel but it’s a little bit sketchy with 32 slicks. My gravel touring bike feels right at home on gravel. It will be good on unpaved trails like the C&O too.
 

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tall old member
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1,587 Posts
Not much happening on this gravel forum. I changed my saddle again. Try as hard as I could to get used to my fancy Bi-saddle my butt just said no. I have gained twenty five pounds and thought that would help, it didn’t. The townships that maintain our gravel roads have a tough time. I don’t know if it is our weather or they just don’t know what they are doing. The latest problem is the gravel roads turning into washboards that will rattle your brains. I found the only part of the road that isn’t washboard is the extreme edge. I’m talking six inches from the ditch, sometimes three. Sometimes I find a gravel road that is like they are supposed to be. I get all excited but a few miles down the road it turns to crap.
I have to ride gravel because that’s what I have but the joy that other gravel riders experience escapes me.

Lately I have been riding my gravel bike on a lot of pavement. Well kinda pavement, the roads that are not gravel are mostly chip seal. A big improvement over gravel. I have signed up to do the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure in less than two weeks. I’m thinking of doing it on my gravel bike. It’s not a gravel ride but I really like my gravel bike. It’s either that or my Trek 520. I don’t ride my road bike on anything but the trainer anymore. It just beats me up too much. If we had smooth roads it would be a joy to ride but we don’t.
 

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Spin Spin Spin
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4,337 Posts
added a leg tach awhile back......after a generous gifting of a non used cylometer from a forum member...

Tire Wheel Bicycle wheel Vehicle Bicycle tire


Wheel Bicycle Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Crankset Tire


I know....cadence

Bicycle handlebar Bicycle Automotive tire Vehicle Bicycle part
 

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Old, fat, and slow
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1,208 Posts
I have gained twenty five pounds ...
So now you are weighing in at what .... 45?

As for hills .... you live in regions where there are actual hills. I live in Flatahoma, where the ridges on Ruffles would be considered formidable climbs.

As for what i did to my bike .... it is what I failed to do.

I took off the cassette, cleaned it completely, reassembled it, and put the wheel back into my work bike, but a test ride proved that I have not solved the obnoxious gringing noise in the top four or so cogs. I am almost forced to conclude that the cogs--the most-used--are worn. I shudder to think of even investigating replacement costs .... and I don't even know if Shimazzle makes an 11-32 any more.
 

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Spin Spin Spin
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4,337 Posts
11-32 how many speeds? I'll send ya a link....hg lx or xt shouldn't be more than 40-60$....new chain 30ish. Then question would be how do teeth on crankset rings look?
 

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Old, fat, and slow
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1,208 Posts
11-speed, 5800 105 .... the bike is fine in the middle of the cassette, a little noisy in the lowest gears (two biggest cogs) and sounds terrible in the bottom (smallest) three or four cogs. The chain ring looks okay ..... I am a little surprised, because the bike was nearly silent until I cleaned the chain. I put on the clean chain and it seemed to skip a little and grind. I changed the chain for another used chain and it grinded. I bought a new chain but I don't want to put a new chain on old gear and chew it up if there is a problem.

I guess I need to look into buying a new cassette ... i will need one eventually anyway.

It is funny .... up until about 2017 i could build bikes for fun. Now the prices of everything have doubled, at least, and just maintaining my bikes is a financial drain.

Thanks for suggesting MTB gear .... I was thinking of buying new or old 105, but those are not my only options.
 

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Spin Spin Spin
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4,337 Posts
Well based on prices of new 105 or Ultegra 11-32 11 speed cassettes, I would consider Sunrace or SRAM. Here is a candidate....


.....but I saw in another thread that the new chain solved most of your issues. When cassette or chainring teeth get that angled look like a shark fin it's pretty much done. As long as they are at least semi-circular valleys with a bit of flat on tip of tooth, should be good to go. A tired stretched chain may look OK but be problem no matter if other parts are new. An old chain will eat new rings/cassettes even if shifting properly and a new chain on worn ring/casettes generally won't work right either.
 

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tall old member
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1,587 Posts
Holy moly, last summer when I was on chemo I couldn’t get up the hills on my new bike. It had an 11/32 cassette 11 speed. I found a Shimano’s 11/40 cassette on competitive cyclist for $60. I swapped them out and haven’t had any trouble (needed a longer chain). I checked the website now and they want over $200.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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6,008 Posts
Holy moly, last summer when I was on chemo I couldn’t get up the hills on my new bike. It had an 11/32 cassette 11 speed. I found a Shimano’s 11/40 cassette on competitive cyclist for $60. I swapped them out and haven’t had any trouble (needed a longer chain). I checked the website now and they want over $200.
Good for you! I ended up going from an 11-34 to a 12-46 and I'm in love. I almost never need the lowest gears unless I'm riding too far for my current fitness level or hauling heavy loads. I don't mind going slow on ascents, but I like to finish a ride without sore knees. The downside is the price. Based on your experience, I'm thinking I should have grabbed an extra cogset while they were in the $70 range.
 

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tall old member
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1,587 Posts
Our annual Pedal The Lakes September ride has some changes this year. They always offered a 30 ish mile ride, a 65 mile ride, and a century, on these western Pennsylvania hills. This year they are offering a 35 mile ride and a 65 mile ride. They dropped the century and said if you want to do the century, ride the 35 and then the 65. Both these rides have SAG support and rest stops. They added a 75 mile gravel ride with no SAG, they say you should arrange your own SAG if you are a new gravel rider. No rest stops on the gravel ride, they said the ride will take you through two small towns that have a convenience store that you can buy drinks and nutrition.

I think the gravel riders are getting the short end of the stick. They haven’t published the route yet and they won’t publish it until next week and only if you sign up and pay they will email you the route. They will attempt to mark the turns with arrows spray painted on the dirt/gravel but said those arrows won’t last long with four wheelers and other vehicles running over them. They said a GPS with turn by turn is required.

This ride will probably go right past my house and on all the roads I normally ride. They warned people that the difficulty of this ride would be similar to a 125 mile pavement ride. Why they have to make it so difficult is beyond me. We start with the road riders at the marina. When you leave the marina there is a gravel road crosses the paved road less than 100 yards away. If we go to the left it will involve a hill that is probably unridable. I have been down it on my bike one time and after I made the decision to try it I had regrets all the way down, but I made it. I personally can’t even imagine myself or anybody else making it UP that hill.

I so wanted to do an organized gravel ride but with them saying how difficult this ride is, no SAG, no rest stops, and I know most of the roads we will probably ride I think I will just have to do the road rides. They also said you will need to download the directions to your device because many areas won’t have signal.

The only thing I can think of as to why they are making it so hard is people have been asking for a gravel ride and they didn’t want to be bothered. They made it hard so they could say they offered a gravel ride and nobody signed up.
 

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Old, fat, and slow
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1,208 Posts
I was going to suggest riding along on the gravel as a private rider making use of public roads, which would allow you to turn back home whenever you wanted ..... but my next thought is, "Why bother?" It sounds like not a fun gravel ride.

Sounds to me like you need to get on the Board of Directors for next year.
 
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