Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    106

    Help me set up my bike for gravel . . .

    Towards the end of the summer, I'm going to be doing my first 50-mile gravel event, and I need to get one of my bikes reasonably set up for it. My goal is to finish the ride without doing too much damage to myself. The bike I'll be using is a Scott Sub 45 that could work OK, but I think I can make it even better for the gravel.

    Help me set up my bike for gravel . . .-scott_sub_45_bike_color_silver_black_p5_.jpg

    Right now, I just use the bike for shorter rides (10-15 miles) mostly on pavement. The bike is quite durable, but it is also quite stiff - plus, it has an aluminum fork. It also has hydraulic discs, 700cx37 tires, a flat bar (I have grips with bar ends) - your basic rugged hybrid. Other than the fork, it should be fine. So, I'm thinking of getting a carbon fork for the bike to help smooth things out and reduce vibration fatigue. My question is, should I be looking at any other upgrades that might help me do the 50-miler a little easier (carbon seat post or handlebars)? And do any of you have a recommendation for a carbon fork for the bike? I'm not going to spend a ton of $$ - I got the bike for a song and it is a decent machine that could be made even better.

    Suggestions are greatly appreciated!

    Dean

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: TonyTx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    91
    You can find carbon forks on ebay sonetimes for a reasonable price if you shop around. As far as carbon bars and such it well help with dampening some. If your looking for comfort or to take some of the bite out of the ride on gravel I think I woukd start with the tires. Find out the widest tire your bike can take and invest in a good set of tires. The wider tire shoukd help improve on the ride some and is going to be cheaper.

    I have seen some posts where some guys where using Hylix Carbon Forks they got off of Ebay but I can not speak of their quality or durability.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: plantdude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    619

    Help me set up my bike for gravel . . .

    You might want to consider just getting a decent steel fork. The carbon fork would be light for sure, but some are actually quite stiff. Also, look into the Ergon grips (with/without bar ends), might be helpful for a more comfortable hand position. And make sure your seat and your body are compatible for a longer day in the saddle. Personally, the seat might be my first swap (not knowing what you have now).

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    106
    Thanks for the replies - I appreciate them. I think I'm pretty well tuned in for the saddle (I use a Brooks on my road bike and a Pure V on my 29er), but I'll try both on the Scott to see which one feel best over the long haul. The Brooks is very good, but it might feel different with the more upright position of the Scott Sub. I'm used to doing 30-35 miles on the road bike and 15-18 on singletracks with the 29er, so I'll be stretching things out a bit. And thanks for mentioning the tires - that will go on my list, too.

    The only thing I really need now, though, is for the snow to melt so I can get back out there! Thanks, again.

  5. #5
    AZ
    AZ is offline
    banned
    Reputation: AZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    19,996
    Points of contact, saddle, bar/grips, pedals. TWheels/tires after that. Forget about carbon, there is little real return on the expenditure. Get a fitting from someone that knows what their doing.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    2,102
    Before you throw money at...what kind of gravel ride are you doing?
    Soft gravel is very different that hard packed roads.
    A flat ride is a lot different than a ride with 8K feet of climbing.

    As AZ said above....carbon might not be the answer....sometimes carbon forks are way TOO stiff.

    If you're going to do a 50 mile gravel ride....the best thing to do is start doing longer gravel rides.....it's also free

  7. #7
    Positively negative
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    970
    I have recently taken a few co-workers on their first GGs. One guy with a steel cross bikes and two women with hybrids, both aluminum, one with a cheap carbon fork, one with a cheap steel fork. The only thing we changed on their bikes was tires, and one of the girls we just took some air out of the ones she had. Everybody finished without complaint.

    My advice, get some 40mm cross tires, talc your tubes and run low pressure. I weigh 190lbs and can get away with 30-35 psi in 700x35 on most terrain.

    If you NEED carbon make sure you get the good stuff. Cheap carbon is light but as stiff as anything else.

    Don't fret, 50 miles isn't that far, and when you finish you will know what parts actually need to be replaced.

  8. #8
    FBI tested, NSA approved!
    Reputation: Forster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    1,356
    Quote Originally Posted by Ddeand View Post
    Towards the end of the summer, I'm going to be doing my first 50-mile gravel event, and I need to get one of my bikes reasonably set up for it. My goal is to finish the ride without doing too much damage to myself. The bike I'll be using is a Scott Sub 45 that could work OK, but I think I can make it even better for the gravel.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	scott_sub_45_bike_color_silver_black_p5_.jpg 
Views:	309 
Size:	37.9 KB 
ID:	881305

    Right now, I just use the bike for shorter rides (10-15 miles) mostly on pavement. The bike is quite durable, but it is also quite stiff - plus, it has an aluminum fork. It also has hydraulic discs, 700cx37 tires, a flat bar (I have grips with bar ends) - your basic rugged hybrid. Other than the fork, it should be fine. So, I'm thinking of getting a carbon fork for the bike to help smooth things out and reduce vibration fatigue. My question is, should I be looking at any other upgrades that might help me do the 50-miler a little easier (carbon seat post or handlebars)? And do any of you have a recommendation for a carbon fork for the bike? I'm not going to spend a ton of $$ - I got the bike for a song and it is a decent machine that could be made even better.

    Suggestions are greatly appreciated!

    Dean
    Tire/Tire pressure suggestions are solid, I'm also a steel fork fan but I don't know if I would sweat it for a 50 miler. Other than what's been mentioned, I would look at a cane creek shock-type seat post, good grips (I like Oury) and some cane creek bar ends or metal bar ends wrapped with gel tape (you need to be able to move your hands around). I'm a big believer in eggbeater pedals, I use mine on XC/Cross and Gravel and they keep the knees happy. Contact points are everything: Gloves/Grips/bars, Saddle/Shorts (I'd get some chamios buttr), shoes/socks/pedals (stiffer soles are better here).
    The most expensive bike in the world is still cheaper than the cheapest open heart surgery.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    264
    Your bike needs nothing. It's fine.

    Go find some gravel roads, and fine tune the tire pressure. Then see what you don't like.
    '15 Giant Anthem SX - '01 Schwinn Homegrown Comp - '12 Giant Defy 1 - '14 Kona Jake the Snake

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    106
    Thanks, everyone - again, I appreciate the help. In regard to some of the suggestions, I work in a bike shop (part time - I'm retired), so I pretty much have all of the gear I'll need (although, I don't have a pair of mtb shoes for clipless - only road shoes). The bike has Ergon grips w/bar ends, and I have plenty of shorts and butt cream.

    I figured this bike would be the most relevant for this ride (which is on hard, packed gravel), but still wondered if there was more I could do to make the bike ride even better. My other bikes are a Bianchi Giro roadie and. Scott Spark 940 - I figured the hybrid would best the best bet.

    I'll concentrate on the tires for now and see if that how that feels. I still would like to hear from more of you.

    Thanks!
    Dean

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    2,102
    While "hard packed gravel" leaves things open to interpretation.....take a look at Clement's Xplor series tires. The Ush and MSO are great "do it all" tires

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    106
    mayor -

    Attached is a photo from last year's event from their website - I think this is pretty typical of the roads we'll be on, although I think much of the ride will be on wider country roads. There will be some tough ups and downs, but this is the Midwest, so you won't see those Colorado-like ascents.

    After reading the posts last night, I searched for possible tires and came up with the same two Clements you listed. Thanks!

    Name:  image.jpg
Views: 341
Size:  185.8 KB

  13. #13
    enjoying the scenery
    Reputation: danec99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    251
    A second to the Clement Xplor USH, 700 X 35. Nice and fat and comfy. I did 85 miles in muddy washboard farm roads, then put some more air in it for a road century - great tire for many surfaces.
    2010 Niner EMD9
    2005 RM ETSX-50
    2002 Trek 8500
    1997 Marin Bear Valley
    1993 Miyata Elevation 2000

  14. #14
    Ride Everything
    Reputation: GRAVELBIKE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    2,403
    Quote Originally Posted by the mayor View Post
    While "hard packed gravel" leaves things open to interpretation.....take a look at Clement's Xplor series tires. The Ush and MSO are great "do it all" tires
    Clement has some really good tires available. You can read my review of the MSO here.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Spindelatron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    788
    Quote Originally Posted by Manning View Post
    Your bike needs nothing. It's fine.

    Go find some gravel roads, and fine tune the tire pressure. Then see what you don't like.
    yep. maybe a tubeless conversion...

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    106
    So . . . what would the tubeless conversion do for me?

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: FatCloud's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    196
    Quote Originally Posted by Ddeand View Post
    So . . . what would the tubeless conversion do for me?
    It allows you to run lower pressure (as you can't pinch flat, since there is no tube to pinch). It also makes puncture flats easier to fix.
    Tire tears though? Those suck to fix, but they are rare.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    106
    Thanks! Looks like we have the Clement Xplor USH in our store - I'll check that out when I go to work tonight.

    Maybe I'm over-thinking this - a little pre-season anticipation, I guess. I'll get out on some gravel and see how things feel and then go from there. Tires will be changed, though.

  19. #19
    FBI tested, NSA approved!
    Reputation: Forster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    1,356
    Quote Originally Posted by Ddeand View Post
    Thanks! Looks like we have the Clement Xplor USH in our store - I'll check that out when I go to work tonight.

    Maybe I'm over-thinking this - a little pre-season anticipation, I guess. I'll get out on some gravel and see how things feel and then go from there. Tires will be changed, though.
    That can happen. My first season of cross racing I was advised to race my MTB but bought a new CX bike anyway. At season's end, my best finish was a race where I used the MTB after the first lap due to a seat post issue (rocket launching seat). May have finished every race better with just the MTB and different tires.
    The most expensive bike in the world is still cheaper than the cheapest open heart surgery.

Similar Threads

  1. First real bike: Road bike that's dirt/gravel ready?
    By Canz92 in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 08-07-2014, 07:34 PM
  2. New Gravel Grinding Bike
    By How27spd in forum Endurance XC Racing
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 02-24-2014, 06:42 PM
  3. Thinking about a new gravel bike.
    By smharstedt in forum Salsa
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 01-15-2014, 10:55 AM
  4. Which Bike for the Gravel Grovel?
    By Fett in forum Cyclocross
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 12-02-2013, 07:42 AM
  5. All around gravel/road bike
    By Mr Pink57 in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-15-2011, 07:30 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •