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Gravel bike vs xc

  • 07-03-2023 12:15pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 184 ✭✭


    The Next bike I’d be interested in buying is either a gravel bike or xc. Would be interested in racing xc in the future but getting out to the hills etc would be a challenge. Would I be better off with a gravel and just enjoy the trails?



«1

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,605 ✭✭✭✭Squidgy Black


    Sounds like you need to buy one of each….

    Suppose it depends what kind of trails are nearest to you



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,713 ✭✭✭✭loyatemu


    what is the difference these days? racier geometry on the XC?



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,858 ✭✭✭cletus


    I think that, plus tyre clearance? Is 33 or 35mm the max for CX? Gravel bikes will take more than that



  • Registered Users Posts: 21,605 ✭✭✭✭Squidgy Black


    XC is a mountain bike, usually full suspension but some people run hard tails.

    Not to be confused with CX for cyclocross, unless the OP meant that



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,858 ✭✭✭cletus


    Yeah, I just assumed the op meant cx, so apologies



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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,367 ✭✭✭iwillhtfu


    I'd be a big fan of gravel bikes they cover such a wide range of cycling types. Obviously there'll be draw back from one over the other depending on what you consider racing.

    XC racing can be a mixed bag from forest trails to fire roads and are generally not to technical in Ireland but to be competitive you'd want a proper xc 29r with front suspension and dropper. Certainly a gravel bike will handle most trails but without suspension or a dropper you will be on the backfoot in my opinion. there are the odd exceptional riders who will take gravel bikes down enduro trails but they're few and far between and usually doing it for their audiences not out of choice.

    I'm guessing you mean CX cyclocross though which is basically where gravel bikes developed from so there's no reason you couldn't race and race well on a gravel bike.



  • Registered Users Posts: 184 ✭✭nqtfarmer


    Thanks for replies, I actually meant cross country bike. Trails near me suit a gravel bike but cross country racing looks like great fun. My fear of buying an mtb is that bar v few xc races in Ireland I’d spend my time on gravel roads



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,367 ✭✭✭iwillhtfu


    If you aim is xc races I'd be going with a hardtail 29r especially over here as they're nothing mad although they do seem to be improving. You'll see the pro races these days I'd be reluctant to go down some of them on my enduro bike 😂

    You will see lads at some of the xc races on gravel bikes though so they are capable but in saying that all the front runners will be on hardtails or full suss with short travel 120mm.

    For general use and the odd race biking blitz or similar I'd go for the gravel bike. There are some great gravel races also which wouldn't be dissimilar to xc races.

    A hardtail mtb is great though if you fancied doing the likes of Ticknock/ballinstoe/blooms or Sligo. A hard one to call as you'll know where you'll be riding most. Can't go wrong with a new bike though 😁



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,262 ✭✭✭Macy0161


    I love gravelling, but there's plenty that do the same groups and/or routes as I do on XC 29er Hard Tails. Again, it's hard to know you're local trails, and there's probably more MTB trails than you think as well - every forest I'm in has a few! I think long days could be a drag on an XC bike, and how much road in between trails.

    I can get around most of the 'stoe trails on my gravel bike (haven't tried bump and grind or expressway as I used to struggle on a mtb!), and done some of the "tricky" blue trails in GAP coming back from Dublin Mountain gravel.



  • Registered Users Posts: 657 ✭✭✭Whatwicklow


    While you 'can' cycle a xc tail on a cx or gravel bike you will have no fun on it, you will be rattled to death and be worried about breaking wheels, getting punctures or going over the bars.


    In all my years racing xc I only seen one gravel bike at one nire valley drop, not sure he did the full event (get a xc bike for xc racing)



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,331 ✭✭✭easygoing39


    A bicycle with dropped handlebars will not be allowed to take part in a XC race,be that the Blitz or the more important NPS race's.



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,713 ✭✭✭✭loyatemu


    enough about XC, he's already said that he meant CX



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,331 ✭✭✭easygoing39


    No he didnt,the OP explained in his 2nd post that he meant a cross country bike and he wants to try racing but fears if he buys a mtb there isnt enough races to enter.



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,713 ✭✭✭✭loyatemu




  • Registered Users Posts: 1,252 ✭✭✭saccades


    There are two clubs in Dublin run xc race events every week through summer (handicapped). They are great craic. Outside Dublin I don't know tbh.

    There are hundreds of MTB trails all over Ireland, to stupidly technical levels and xc bikes can do most of them, just a bit slower than the big bouncy (short travel full suss tick so many boxes for most riders). I find gravel riding a bit mleh though, so v biased.



  • Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭PJ_RS1800


    Cuchulainn Club in Dundalk also run a (Handicapped) XC League on Tuesday evenings from mid April - mid July.....



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,179 ✭✭✭DaveyDave


    I'd rather do gravel rides on an XC bike than MTB trails on a gravel bike.

    If you can afford it get a lighter set of wheels and tyres for gravel riding the XC bike then throw on the normal MTB wheels for the trails.

    In terms of getting to the hills being a challenge, how much of a challenge? I used to cycle from Lucan to Ticknock on 2.35" MTB tyres, climbing to the aerials was a serious workout after already doing 20km on knobbly tyres. It gets up to 12-15% in places. Savage fitness but took the fun out of it, had to make sure I had energy to get back home. Happy to have a car now...



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,407 ✭✭✭Tenzor07


    "Gravel" Bikes.... slower and harder work on the roads than a Road bike.. and slower and harder work off-road than an XC Orientated hardtail....


    At least with a CX bike you can tackle forestry fireroads and race CX in the winter...



  • Registered Users Posts: 2 Garyyang123


    Gravel bikes and XC (cross-country) bikes are both designed for off-road riding, but they have some key differences that make them better suited for different types of terrain and riding styles.What do you guys think of carbon fiber gravel roads? I recently saw that there are many websites, and the price is relatively cheap. I want to buy this one



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,262 ✭✭✭Macy0161


    However, rare there isn't a good bit of road between fireroads in my experience, notwithstanding boreens in between with are kinda a half way house. For long gravel spins, I'd still pick a gravel bike for the on road bits and multiple hand positions (same as we say road bike over hybrid for longer road spins). But if you can get a CX bike with enough clearance and are comfortable with the geometry.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,407 ✭✭✭Tenzor07


    The Gravel bikes coming out these days have more in common with the MTB's we used to cycle back in the 90's.. similar geometry and look.. basically dropped handlebar MTB's, they even have 40mm suspension forks..

    I honestly think they're more about marketing than anything else, a way to sell a slightly different bicycle...

    They came out of the U.S where you can ride unpaved roads for 100's of KM... we don't have so much of that here.. so i think the CX bike is more versatile..



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,410 ✭✭✭Paddigol


    Probably wouldn't work if you're looking at racing, but my next purchase will probably be a steel/ titanium gravel bike that has multiple mounts. It strikes me as the most versatile;

    • steel/ titanium will take a fair bit of abuse, which tends to come with the territory - don't see the need for carbon unless you're competitively racing - I've scratched/ chipped my carbon CX bike on fireroads and forest sections;
    • generally more clearance for wider tyres than CX bikes;
    • can be used as commuter bike in winter;
    • take everything off and its a streamlined gravel racer;
    • multiple mounts (a draw back with a lot of pure CX bikes) means allows for fixed mudguards and bike packing options.

    I think the carbon gravel thing is possibly marketing eating itself. Do you really need something uber-light for gravel riding? On any proper technical trails, if you were looking for gains then a dedicated XC bike would offer more over a steel/ titanium gravel bike that a carbon gravel bike. IMO anyway.

    There's always the aluminium option too (although that's not very sexy/ on trend these days). But alloy welding seems to have come on massively over the past 10/ 15 years, to the point where I really need to look at the joins on big tube sections to be sure I'm not looking at carbon. Steel probably makes the most sense to me (durability and ease of repair), but polished titanium is undeniably slick looking.



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,262 ✭✭✭Macy0161


    Some of them are more like mtb. Most are more like endurance road bikes with larger clearance and multiple mounting points for bikepacking - a much more relaxed geometry than a typical CX bike. It's not one bike fits all users.

    I do have a CX bike which I used initially (before I lost it to my daughter) that I picked up second hand. Plus points are it's light (partly because of the canti brakes) and fun if you've on something technical, but it's a lot more aggressive (not sure I could do 100km plus on it) and doesn't have the clearance for the tyres I currently run on my gravel bike.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,421 ✭✭✭Gerry


    An xc bike will do everything.

    Even on the supposed home of a gravel bike, on gravel or greenways, the xc bike will get far fewer punctures and sail over and through everything. You dont need to constantly look out for the next hazard or potential puncture. Far more comfortable, less mentally tiring as well .

    With proper xc tyres its not particularly slow on the road either. Theres not much difference in rolling resistance to the gravel/cx tyres .My giant xtc has seen a few commutes and is fine for a 26/27kmh average.

    So where are you losing out on the road, aero and hand position changes. Depends on the length of spins that you do really.


    And off road theres no comparison.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,252 ✭✭✭saccades




  • Registered Users Posts: 184 ✭✭nqtfarmer


    Thanks guys, think I’m set on a hardtail cross country bike. I can’t really see the difference between training on the road and gravel. At least the mtb allows for trail centres, new type of racing and training



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,410 ✭✭✭Paddigol




  • Registered Users Posts: 7,858 ✭✭✭cletus


    Really? Those welds are nice, very neatly stacked.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,367 ✭✭✭iwillhtfu


    The welds are fine the rear triangle design on the other hand isn't easy on the eye 🙈 although I was never a fan of Orange bikes. They do have some nice hardtails but hard to get those wrong.

    Enjoy the XC bike OP sounds like the best fit. 👍



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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,858 ✭✭✭cletus




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