|The road less traveled...|
Thanks to the literally 100's of responses on the last few blog posts. Both the comment sections, e-mails, and from elsewhere. It was overwhelming and I am amazed at the varied and thoughtful responses to the query regarding the renaming of gravel grinder bikes. I am going to leave that be for now, but it will become interesting to see if anything at all becomes of it.
Backlash: As with anything involving passionate people, there were some instances where I noted folks saying this exercise was "dumb", "a waste of time", or that "they didn't care if the name changed, I am still calling it a gravel grinder bike". That's all good. However; I think many of these folks do not understand that it isn't about their perception and name for their bikes. It is about expanding the appeal of such bikes to others.
It may be a surprise to some of you, but I have read other commentary that states "gravel grinder bikes are stupid", unnecessary, and a waste of time. Gravel grinding is silly, and why does this even need to be addressed, just ride your road bike. Yep. Obviously these folks don't have a grasp on this deal either, but hey- that's okay. They may not get the appeal of riding all sorts of rural roads. Fine.
But again, I say these bikes make more sense than road racing bikes. You know, because you don't drive an F-1 car for a daily driver, yet we keep foisting F-1-like road racing rigs on the average cyclist. That's limiting, and frankly, I think it is a bad thing for the cycling industry. The "All Road" bike is about having fun, going where you don't normally go in a car, (or on a road bike because they don't work very well for this activity), stopping for a beer, or coffee, or heck.....just to look at something. You know....having fun! Why fight traffic when there are literally thousands of miles of back roads, country roads, or gravel at your disposal? Yeah....that's what these "gravel bikes" are really for. At least in my opinion.
Then there are the questions about "gravel grinders". (Bear with me, you gotta speak the current language to be understood.) Why a different bike? Isn't this a touring bike? Isn't this a cyclo cross bike?
Once again, let history teach us a lesson. Many folks have either plain forgotten, or just are ignorant to facts. Let me tell you a dirty little secret......The "gravel grinder" design is nothing new. It is actually a throw-back bike. Let me explain...
In American Classic's Interbike booth, I stopped to chat with Bill Shook, the man behind American Classic and its designs. I explained my take on "gravel geometry". He got it immediately and said, "Well, you just described my first racing bike...." (Yes...Bill is a seasoned veteran of humanity.)
That's right, gravel geometry is "old racing bike geometry" because old racing bikes needed bigger tires, slacker angles for more stability, and were focused on rider comfort. Why? Because the roads those old guys and gals raced on sucked! That's why. Many were unpaved. You know........gravel? Yes, gravel, and dirt, and the infamous cobble stones.
They say the first roads were made for cyclists, but that hasn't been the case for decades, and if you ride most any paved road, you are fighting a losing battle with cars, trucks, SUV's, and adults and teenagers texting while driving. Get outta there and hit a back road though, and all that is left behind you, and you can actually enjoy riding again, but you'll want a better bike than a carbon fiber road rocket.
|Clearances for 40mm tires|
Yes, it would be a great gravel grinder, but it is more than that. It can be ridden anywhere save for "real" mountain bike trails and should be more stable, more comfortable, and more fun than a "real road bike", which is designed to be raced. Last time I checked, most people buying bicycles at the shop where I work do not race. Nothing wrong with racing and those who do it, its just that you are in the minority of cyclists. So again, why should these folks even be on a bike designed with a limited use? It's stupid, really.
And if I am wrong about bikes like the Tamland, I will admit to such, but I really don't think that I have to. It's different for good reasons. It is not a cyclo cross geometry. It is lighter and uses more delicate tubing than a true touring bike for reasons of comfort. Calling this bike a "gravel grinder" will only limit its appeal, so there is why I feel the name should be more widely appealing.
So, there you go. You do not have to agree. You can call your bike what you want to, I am fine with that. You can say I'm daft and all I need is a road bike or a cyclo cross bike. However; I believe this kind of bike is what would be fun, and a bike that would appeal to the senses of those who don't want to race, (but could on a bike like this), folks that do want adventure, practicality, and versatility. If I had to peel it back to one bike for almost everything, it would be a bike like this, or my Black Mountain Cycles rig seen so much on this blog. One Bike To Rule Them All, as one commenter posted in the comments here this week.
3GR: The forecast calls for rain and so if it gets wet around 8:30am, or looks bad, I may not be out there. If there is a window for a ride, I will be going at the same time, same place as I have all year.