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  1. #1
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    Gravel Road and Path / Doubletrack / Singletrack

    I like a variety of riding and thought a thread for folks to share what type of bike they ride on a particular surface, and why, might be interesting. I think the 'why' may not always have to do with what works best, rather someone is looking for a challenge, or to try something new.

    I ride all of the above (in the thread title). In addition I ride on the road, on a skinny tire road bike, and on singletrack with a FS mountain bike. I like all of my bikes and riding conditions/surfaces, but I sometimes question what bike is most fun (overall, and for each of the types of riding). In the end it's a personal choice and there is no wrong answer.

    In addition to the skinny tire road bike and mountain bike, I also have a cross bike (aluminum frame, disks, 40mm tires that replaced the 35mm knobbies) and a steel frame touring type bike with 32mm tires.

    For me, I've found the following bike/surface combinations work the best:

    Gravel road/path: touring bike with 32mm tires. Where I ride this tire is enough, though I would put a larger tire on there if needed. The bike has long chain stays, so is stable and slow to turn, perfect for the gravel roads.

    (Dirt) Doubletrack: the cross bike is great here. The 40mm tires absorb most of the feedback from the uneven dirt and small roots and rocks. Plus the doubletrack I ride has some twisty sections and I find the cross bike handling works well. I've also ridden a mountain bike on the same tracks but it's a bit overkill. The touring bike can do this too, but it seems less nimble.

    Singletrack: I really enjoy my mountain bike. The full suspension works great and I can relax a little. I have tried my cross bike on these same trails and find that I'm beaten up pretty good afterwards, though it is fun and very challenging.

  2. #2
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    For gravel, dirt, single track, this is the bike I ride:



    It's a blast to ride. It's fast on just about anything other than the technical stuff, that's when I break out the mountain bike.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by davejs View Post
    For gravel, dirt, single track, this is the bike I ride:



    It's a blast to ride. It's fast on just about anything other than the technical stuff, that's when I break out the mountain bike.
    Nice looking bike and great in-action photo.

    Do you find that even on non-technical dirt/gravel that there are situations where you scrape by with the cross bike and wish you had the mountain bike, or after a long ride you think that may have been more enjoyable on a mountain bike?

    Yesterday I was on double track (sections with gravel, and dirt) and found myself wishing for the mountain bike on two occasions: first was a steep descent that was twisty and where the gravel had sections with small ruts and washed out gravel. I had to brake very carefully and distribute my weight perfectly to maximize braking traction. Second was that at the end of the ride my arms/shoulders were stiff as I was spending too much time on the hoods (less upright time on the tops as I would on a road).

  4. #4
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    Where I live it is pretty flat land.. So, I don't get into much technical stuff. The main thing with a cross type bike offroad is that you need good bike handling skills. It's similar to a fully ridged mountain bike. You just have to pick good lines and develop a lot of "flow" on the bike. I haven't found that I would rather have a mountain bike on those trails - I don't think it would have been anymore or less enjoyable on a mountain bike. I usually hop on the mountain bike when I want to hit some jumps/drops etc.

    Based on the description of what you were riding "steep descents that are washed out" that is usually better suited for a mountain bike. Flowing/smoothish single track, gravel roads, or dirt roads is where these type of bikes shine.

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