|White tires. Old school look.|
I thought I'd take that one step further and ask, "Shouldn't a gravel bike be most people's road bike?"
As in an "all road bike" kind of bicycle. Let's think about it, shall we? Because I think most road bikes are not the right bikes for most people.
First of all, as I have written here before, traditional road bikes that are sold now are largely based off of expectations that a "road racing style bike" is "faster" and "lighter" which is obviously "better" for anyone. Right? It's the same type of bike, (and in some cases- the very same bike), that the "Pros" use, and why wouldn't you want that bike? Bike shop sales are largely based off of playing on this perception because it is easy, and the marketing machines make it seem that way. However; it is all pretty much snake oil. Most folks do not need such a bike. Most folks end up trying to make a road racing based bike something else, and even the manufacturers have been trying to play off that fact for a decade.
Witness the rising tide of "endurance road bikes", as an example. This is just another repackaging of previous ideas that were foisted on us by the industry. These bikes are largely impractical since they are a road racing bike with only a slight nod to a relaxed seated position.
My take is that the public isn't really ready for "the right bike", but that it is already appearing. The "gravel grinder" bike, with bigger tires, more relaxed geometry, and more practicality built in really makes a lot more sense than the traditional avenues folks take for their two wheeled pavement satisfaction.
|Raleigh Tamland 1- (Image courtesy of Cyclo Cross Mag)|
Oh yeah, maybe you need a rack, fenders, or a frame pack. try any of that on your fancy carbon shaped tubing. Uh-huh...... The gravel specific bikes will be way more practical in these areas. Areas that give traditional road bike owners fits because they can not make their racing bike fit their needs.
See, you don't need three different pavement bikes, (road racing, urban, hybrid), you just need one- the right bike for every road and need. That's why calling these new bikes "gravel specific" is probably a bad idea. Just like calling a fat bike a "snow bike" automatically limits the imagination, so does "gravel grinder bike". I'm thinking "all road" is better, but maybe there is a better term than that. Whatever it is, these new bikes coming out, (and that are out), deserve a much wider audience.