Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Another Day- Another Gravel Bike

The new Santa Cruz Stigmata
It seems that about every day I am hearing about someone's new gravel bike that is coming out. And, really, it shouldn't be all that surprising. If it isn't gravel, it is the so-called "e-bike", or hey! Gravel e-bikes!

yawn...... Okay, so this all strikes me as being pretty crazy. You all know, if you've been here long enough, that I was bantering on about bicycles for this task ten years ago. I was researching the ideas, talking with trusted friends, and looking at the few things that were coming up that were "gravel oriented". The thing was, there weren't many that believed in gravel cycling as being anything worthy of making a bicycle for. Heck, even specific tires for the task were hard to come by.

But that was okay. I mean, it wasn't stopping any of us that were riding gravel from, you know......riding gravel. Now it seems like "you are doing it all wrong" if you are not on a gravel bike. Well, here is another thing I've been saying all along- you can ride any bike on gravel. Don't let anyone make you feel you have to have "such-and-such" bike to really do an event, ride, or adventure. But that said, there are sharper tools in the shed now. If you are so inclined, grab one.

And when it comes down to it, you all may also remember that I said most people would be better served by such a bike as a "gravel bike". (For the record, I really do not like that moniker. ) So, it would make sense that if the bicycle industry got off the "racing bike" nonsense, that more gravel bikes would be made, and it has happened. The people spoke with their purchases and whatta ya know? More gravel bikes are being proffered to satisfy demand.

They say this is actually going to happen this year.

Unlike fat bikes, which spiked and then fell flat within three years, this "bubble" hasn't popped yet. Now, I think it will, but I don't think it will fall flat on its face like fat bikes have done. But time will tell. All I know now is that another announcement of a gravel bike had better be pretty different to grab the spotlight these days. You know, kinda like that Niner gravel bike, or something radical like Canyon's weird handle bar rig. Otherwise it is just another day.........


Rydn9ers said...

Still think a good fat bike is one of the most comfortable "gravel bikes" out there. If everyone wasn't afraid of "being slow" the fat bike would still be on the incline.

Blain said...

It reminds me in a lot of ways of the rise of the 29ers where the bike companies are trying to keep up. I used to be a regular 'twentynineinches' reader, but eventually 29ers just became 'mountain bikes'. You seem to be about 10 years ahead of the bike industry, Mark. I suspect before long 'gravel/allroad' will just become 'road bikes'. I'm curious what your next website will be ;).

One nice side affect (depending on your position, I guess) of the influx of gravel-specific bikes is that canti brake cross bikes can be had cheeeaaap. It's been a good way of getting into the gravel/allroad scene on a budget without having a cheaply built rig.