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Gravel vs Cross
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goldenboots




Joined: 01 Apr 2011
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:49 pm    Post subject: Gravel vs Cross Reply with quote

Having just moved a bit further away from work I've suddenly realized how crap and inappropriate my aero road bike is for winter conditions. Can't put mudguards on except for one of the Ass Savers which does nothing, and similar story for a rear light.

Wondering what 1k or so (or cheaper if possible) might get me in terms of a cross bike or a gravel bike? And what's even the difference?

To be used for commuting but also as my main bike - not that I 'currently' do any riding other than my commute which I have just started (temporary accommodation has me riding 12 miles each way, with the option for laps before/after in Richmond Park in the dark).

I'm about to move to the USA though and imagine it may get a bit more use as I explore a few new areas, particularly on some of the bike trails, and might deal slightly better with a New England winter/early spring.

Anybody have much experience with either and can argue one against the other?
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mattsurf




Joined: 28 Sep 2016
Posts: 838
Location: Zug, Switzerland

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have both a Gravel and a Cross Bike

If you took your Aero road bike at one end and a hard tail MB at the other end, a CX bike is in the mid point, a gravel bike is between the CX and Road bike

The CX I have is a 2016 GT Grade X
The gravel bike is a 2017/18 BMC Cross Machine

The GT is an Alloy Frame, with SRAM Rival 1 x 11 groupset, it cost 975 but my company paid 50% (not cycle to work, it was done through our Vitality health insurance)

The BMC I bought the frame very cheap from Evans, it was 750 and a Shimano RX8020 Groupset for 500, all of the other components I had in my spares drawer

In terms of a comparison, the BMC feels much more like a road bike, but it has clearance for big tyres, I can use 35mm cycling off road, but with a set of fast 30mm gravel tyres it is almost as fast as my road bike, in poor weather I do club rides on this bike and have no issues keeping up

On the Road, the GT is perfectly good, much nicer than any mountain bike, however, the 1 X 11 setup is not as good as 2 X 11, On the GT it is also hard work to keep up with the "fast group" of riders

Off road, the situation is reversed, the GT feels almost as capable as my hard tail MB while the BMC is great on gravel trails, as soon as it gets really rough, with tree roots and rocks, I am definitely dismounting earlier than I would on the GT

For me at the end of the day I take the BMC gravel bike every time for everyday riding. I can cycle to work at a good pace on road, but on my commute home I cycle on trails, alongside a river, then up a local mountain (Uetliberg), followed by a 10 km ride along the ridge, before descending and riding along gravel tracks by the Zugersee lake. With a much wider range of gears and being a bit lighter, the BMC is without doubt the better bike to be on in these conditions
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Jorgan




Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 18163
Location: alles was ich bin, alles was ich war

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gravel bikes are more like Road geometry, and CX bikes are shorter wheelbase iirc to make them more agile. Thing to look for on a CX bike, is that it has mountings for mudguards and a rack if you want one. I commute on a Boardman Team CX, which is effectively a utility commuter bike, as you can fit guards and a rack on it, and fatter tyres than a touring bike; it's not really a CX bike... more like a gravel bike really, but they didn't exist in 2011!
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goldenboots




Joined: 01 Apr 2011
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers guys... looks like it's a gravel bike that I want then as it will be a replacement for the road bike and may look to join a club once we move.

Do I need two pairs of wheels or can I just change the tyres for road vs off-road action?

Now to keep an eye out on a good deal... which isn't ideal when ideally I'd like something asap
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mattsurf




Joined: 28 Sep 2016
Posts: 838
Location: Zug, Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

goldenboots wrote:
Cheers guys... looks like it's a gravel bike that I want then as it will be a replacement for the road bike and may look to join a club once we move.

Do I need two pairs of wheels or can I just change the tyres for road vs off-road action?

Now to keep an eye out on a good deal... which isn't ideal when ideally I'd like something asap


With wheels & tyres you have a few options:

I use Challenge Strada Bianca 30mm gravel tyres (they are designed for the typical gravel and tarmac roads in Tuscany), they do not have a deep tread, so have good rolling resistance on road, when inflated to 90psi, however, run them at 60psi and they are fine off road in dry / slightly damp conditions. They also have excellent puncture protection. You could easily manage with just these tyres for 90% of your riding

The alternative is to run a road tyre, like the new GP5000, which is available up to a 32mm tube or tubeless version, this will meet all of your road needs, and have an off road tyre like the Continental X-King for off roading. Put the X-king on the standard alloy rims that come with the bike and at some point upgrade to a nice set of road wheels for your road tyres.
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goldenboots




Joined: 01 Apr 2011
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mattsurf wrote:
... but on my commute home I cycle on trails, alongside a river, then up a local mountain (Uetliberg), followed by a 10 km ride along the ridge, before descending and riding along gravel tracks by the Zugersee lake.


"I see you laps of Richmond park in the dark, and I raise you..." Very Happy


mattsurf wrote:
You could easily manage with just these tyres for 90% of your riding


Thank's, that's exactly what I was looking/hoping for
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Jorgan




Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 18163
Location: alles was ich bin, alles was ich war

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Panaracer Gravel King 28mm on mine; good tyre for winter/gravel. It has a file tread with bobbles on the centre. 26.99 each on ebay iirc (Sigma Sport). I've used them on bridleways too, but there is the danger of pinch flats on narrow tyre like that.
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r0bh




Joined: 03 Aug 2005
Posts: 1608
Location: Manchester

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got a Merlin Axe7 gravel bike, alu frame and Shimano 105 hydraulic disc groupset

I use it with full guards and 32mm Armadillos for commuting (5 miles each way, mostly on a surfaced canal towpath).

I swap the Armadillos for 28mm Schwalbe Duranos for winter/wet weather riding (have done a 200km audax with this set up)

I take off the mudguards and swap the wheels for a set of tubeless ready gravel wheels with 35mm panaracer gravel king tyres for gravelly stuff (did the 200km Dirty Reiver gravel ride with this set up)

I'd happily ride the occasional CX race with some 32mm mud tyres.

Very versatile!
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mattsurf




Joined: 28 Sep 2016
Posts: 838
Location: Zug, Switzerland

PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the sort of terrain I use the Challenge Strada Bianca Tyres on

Gravel Bike just after build


My son riding off road


24 percent Gradient on Gravel no problem... helped by compact chainset and 11-36 cassette (lowest gear 34-36)


Fast loose decent, would be faster on a XC mountain bike, however, fine on Gravel bike
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Jorgan




Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 18163
Location: alles was ich bin, alles was ich war

PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ I've ridden the 28mm Gravel King on stuff like that, and even Bridleways, but I think something like the Schwalbe G One would be better if your frame can fit them, or you don't use mudguards (which I do). My mudguards are supposed to be good for up to 35mm tyres, but I don't see it myself. Practically all I do is commute on my CX bike anyway.
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goldenboots




Joined: 01 Apr 2011
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK thanks all - managed to snag a Giant TCX Advanced Pro cyclocross that i'm picking up at the weekend. Should hopefully be a nice introduction to getting off the road (and back on a bike again)
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mattsurf




Joined: 28 Sep 2016
Posts: 838
Location: Zug, Switzerland

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a nice bike, with a good range on the cassette: most CX bikes come with an 11-32, but looking at the specs, the Giant has 11-36, which is my preference on a Gravel / CX bike.

I would probably get some more road oriented tyres though
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goldenboots




Joined: 01 Apr 2011
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's only coming with a 11-28 and a 36/46 up front, will be fine for riding before I move out of the UK and then will judge based on what I seem to find once I'm settled. Same for tires, I'm currently living out of 2 suitcases and a bike box (what I'm moving with) as our luggage has already been shipped, so don't want to start buying more stuff to take with me. But definitely keen to get something a bit slicker for spring time

Cheers all... keen to get out this weekend even if only laps of Richmond Park perimeter path (I don't know any other areas I can really get some good use out of it heading out of SW London?)
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jibberjim




Joined: 15 Aug 2008
Posts: 8390
Location: Kingston

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

goldenboots wrote:
Cheers all... keen to get out this weekend even if only laps of Richmond Park perimeter path (I don't know any other areas I can really get some good use out of it heading out of SW London?)


From Kingston - There are off road road routes, you can head down the Hogsmill to the south (taking the west fork to Horton country park to Ashtead, Oxshott, then Esher common up to Hampton Court and Bushy/River back.

Alternatively, all along the river out to basically the wey, then turn south through Wisley, and back via Esher Common or Claygate / hogsmill.

The route to box hill isn't even too bad, although probably needs a bit too much road early on.

Strava CX searches would turn up routes I'm sure.
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goldenboots




Joined: 01 Apr 2011
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jibberjim wrote:
goldenboots wrote:
Cheers all... keen to get out this weekend even if only laps of Richmond Park perimeter path (I don't know any other areas I can really get some good use out of it heading out of SW London?)


From Kingston - There are off road road routes, you can head down the Hogsmill to the south (taking the west fork to Horton country park to Ashtead, Oxshott, then Esher common up to Hampton Court and Bushy/River back.

Alternatively, all along the river out to basically the wey, then turn south through Wisley, and back via Esher Common or Claygate / hogsmill.

The route to box hill isn't even too bad, although probably needs a bit too much road early on.

Strava CX searches would turn up routes I'm sure.


Perfect thank you - currently based in Kingston so looks great!
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