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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2018

    Would this hardtail 27.5 mtb be a good gravel bike?

    My main question is what are the draw backs of having such an aggressive bike for very long gravel rides? ive never done this before and did not want to buy a gravel bike, because i feel like they are just a knock off mountain bike lol. coming from the road cycling side, how much of a penalty will i have with this bike for long distance and comfort? hopefully im phrasing this correctly lol ive done short mtb rides and it seems good. do people take bikes like this on very long trips? (100 miles type of long)

    thats not my exact bike, i dont know how to upload my own image

  2. #2
    mbtr member
    Reputation: scottzg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    That's a hardtail trail bike. Could you ride it on dirt roads? Sure. I think it would be kinda bland. Nothing wrong with that if that's what you want.

    I think instead of saying 'gravel bike' you should identify your needs and go from there. That bike has a geo that would be best suited to heavy singly ply tires, a dropper, suspension fork, and blue/black singletrack.

    For me, a gravel bike is a road bike that has just enough stability and tire volume that it can do everything your typical endurance/race road bike can do PLUS skate around on gravel in style. I want road bike style handling, where you drop your outside foot and balance on the front wheel, and i'm not going to jump it (much). It's not a handicap riding in a bunch. It's a supremely competent road bike.

    That bike is a somewhat incompetent mountain bike. (and it looks fun, this is my fave style of bike) A bike with that geo would typically be a 130mm full suspension bike that someone owned to go explore hiking trails and maybe do an annual trip to the bike park. No dropper post would be silly, and many corners will be navigated by standing in the attack position and pressing the rear wheel into obstacles (rocks, berms) to facilitate direction change. Absolutely you're gonna jump it, and in a bunch the steering is gonna feel pretty lazy and clumsy. Even with roadie-ish tires it's gonna be pretty slow on the road thanks to a rearward weight distribution and an upright riding position.

    There's like 2-3 styles of bikes between a typical gravel bike and what you've chosen here. XC, XC race, monstercross. They're all fun and in the real world choosing slightly the 'wrong' tool isn't going to fundamentally alter your experience.

    Edit- nobody takes these on 100 milers. At that distance... if you're on road/gravel then drop bars offer multiple hand positions, superior aero and weight distribution, and intuitive handling. Your necessary speed implies you can manage most roughness with high volume tires, a comfy saddle, and cushy grips. If that's not enough, the efficiency penalty of a full suspension endurance mtb is easily outpaced by its being comfortable past mile 35. With a hardtail your legs are constantly doing double-duty as suspension and locomotion. While a hardtail can be really fast and amazing in an afternoon, it's a double-whammy after about 3 hours.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

  3. #3
    Ride On
    Reputation: geraldooka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Nobody takes a hardtail on 100 mile long rides?... Darn, I better tell everyone.

    I agree a needs assessment would be the best way to arrive at something that meets as many of yours as possible. Still that particular hardtail in 29er mode seems just fine, itís trail bike geo but would work on gravel grinds or as a long distance bikepacking machine perfectly.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    For gravel rides I'd look more towards a bike with XC geometry moreso than a trail bike.

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