Sunday, July 07, 2013

Make Believe

You'd best have a dialed bike for this!
When something starts to smell like "money", it is amusing to see what some marketing departments will do. This was all brought home to me this weekend when I came across THIS from mtbr.com.

It's a "double-whammy" of marketing hoo-hah. You get the 27.5"er wheels on one introduction and the term "gravel grinder" on the other. The fact that it comes from Schwinn, who  is said to be looking to increase its independent bike shop dealer presence, makes this stand out even more. Clearly, both bikes are purely exercises to cash in on what Schwinn marketing sees as trends.

The hard tail can be seen as "just another hard tail". Really- 27.5"er wheels are not going to really make a hill of beans difference here. However; the other bike is flat out hilarious. The YouTube clip will show you that not only do the marketers feel that "gravel grinder" is marketable, but "adventure bike", and "versatile" carry as much weight or more. Don't forget that the name of the model has "CX" in it!

It must be said: Yes- you could use this bike on gravel roads. As I have said, you can ride any bike on gravel roads. You can also ride a road bike on single track, but that doesn't make that bike a "mountain bike", or a "touring bike", or anything but a road bike that's being used on dirt. Is there a better bike for that? This is the question a potential buyer has to answer for themselves.

However; this "gravel grinder" term that is being affixed to any bicycle that has larger than 25mm tire clearance and/or disc brakes, drop bars, and 700c wheels is nothing less than "make believe" and consumers had best be careful of the snake oil being purveyed as a cure for your dirt road disease.

6 comments:

Johann Rissik said...


Too much of cycling is driven by marketing, and marketing is about lying. Full stop.

Well done for calling them on this.

PS Where can I get the latest gravel grinder compatible helmet? ;)

Steve Fuller said...

I will say that it appears that Gregg Kato, the guy who wrote the article for MTBR, is the one that uses the phrase gravel grinder (at least that I could see). It looks like Schwinn just used the letters CX in the product name. Other than that, it looks like an entry level cross bike with generous tire clearances.

It will be interesting to see if their push back into LBS's works for them. It's still not gonna be like the Schwinns from my youth.

Ari said...

Does that mean that Next dual suspension bikes are not good for downhill racing??
Ari

MG said...

LOL..I love the 'old Schwinn. But did you see the shot of the front disc brake mount? That has to take the cake for 'ugliest bike part of the year'.

It looks like they took standard fork blades and just welded a plate on there to mount a brake to.... Nice.

Mauricio Babilonia said...

I quite agree that aspiring gravel bike customers should be careful, just like fat bike customers should be wary of the Mongoose Beast.

Still, I'm very curious to see the geometry chart for that CX bike. There's a chance that it may fit your own criteria for a "gravel bike" as closely as the Salsa Warbird. Better with regard to tire clearance.

Guitar Ted said...

@Mauricio Babilonia: And there is just as high of a chance that it is merely an off the shelf hybrid bike frame with drop bars. We'll see......