Gravity 27fivess (BikesDirect) part 2 - "Some bikes are just meant to be themselves"- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Gravity 27fivess (BikesDirect) part 2 - "Some bikes are just meant to be themselves"

    Part 1 is HERE

    Gravity 27fivess (BikesDirect) part 2 - "Some bikes are just meant to be themselves"-fullsizerender-8.jpg

    So much for a single-speed mountain bike.

    Since my last review, just a mere two weeks ago, I've changed it up. This bike just, well, SUCKED for mountain bike riding. I am either spoiled with my Specialized Crave or just over-romanticized what riding a single-speed rigid MTB was like. I mean, it was okay. But having gone back to modern standards, I don't know... I think rigid single-speed ended up being kinda "meh". And this is coming from a guy who was "that guy" - you know - the guy who used to claim that riding a rigid single speed is "pure"?

    Since moving back to Santa Cruz, I've learned to enjoy the layout. I mean, this is where I grew up, but as an kid, I really didn't appreciate how small and concentrated Santa Cruz is and how the bicycle is truly the best way to get around here. No wonder why you see nothing but old mountain bikes, road bikes, fixed gear bikes, klunkers and hybrids strewn about; haphazard luggage systems strapped on for utility. And given the student vibe from UCSC, it really kicks things up into true bicycleville. This is aside from the massive mountain bike and road bike scene... and yes, me and our band of BMX riders.

    It was while riding my klunker when I thought to myself how slow I was going. The klunker is great for farting around and locking up to go for errand runs, but it is slow - and not a very friendly pedal. For down the street? No problem. For downtown? A little inefficient.

    I work from home, so my "commute" is generally post office runs, store runs, errands, etc. I don't need luggage on my bike, and typically my Timbuk2 or Chrome Backpack works just fine for what I do.

    It was then I decided to turn the Gravity 27.5/650b into an "urban" MTB. Simple changes like flat pedals, gearing change (38 X 16; 63.9 gear inches), and most importantly a tire swap. Also, a bell and a light were added.

    What I ended up with is a very fast, very efficient, and very FUN urban bike. The Schwalbe Big Ben's are amazing tires. Being a big proponent of the Big Apples (which I still roll on my klunker), I knew the Big Ben tire was going to be a winner, and I was right. Although Schwalbe says you can keep them at low PSI (like 35 psi), for this bike I actually like 60psi. On my klunker, I like 40psi. So one will have to experiment with what feels good.

    The biggest issue I've had with 700c urban single speed bikes are the skinny options. While I do have 700 X 45c on my Pake C'Mute, still, just not enough beef for the bunnyhops.

    Gravity 27fivess (BikesDirect) part 2 - "Some bikes are just meant to be themselves"-fullsizerender-6.jpg

    Gravity 27fivess (BikesDirect) part 2 - "Some bikes are just meant to be themselves"-fullsizerender-7.jpg

    As you can see, the tread on the Big Ben's is the same pattern as the Big Apples, just cut deeper for dirt paths and off-road adventures. I did take these tires through sand, and they held well. On the dirt path - no problems, whatsoever.

    Gravity 27fivess (BikesDirect) part 2 - "Some bikes are just meant to be themselves"-fullsizerender-5.jpg

    With the high puncture resistance, you do get a weight penalty. But for urban riding, I'd prefer a little weight over sliced tires. I did accidentally ride over a broken bottle, and all was well. I wouldn't make that a habit, but it was confidence building.

    And because I hate flats so much, I filled my inner tubes with sealant (Stan's works best). If you've never done that hack, it's a great way to protect yourself against flats from thorns, pins, staples and any other small puncture.

    The other day, I set out in my cargo shorts, t-shirt and Vans. Strapped on my Bell Super 2 helmet and started mashing. It was then I realized that some bikes are just meant to be themselves. As a BMX rider, I hate it when people compare urban MTB's to "big BMX bikes" because BMX riding is pretty unique and in a niche in itself - very different than riding a MTB with street tires. However, sometimes, I want to mash around the city, jump curbs, bunnyhop, wheelie down driveway wedges, endos... or just cruise. And sometimes (here comes the blasphemy) the BMX bike isn't the best for that. Especially long rides. 15 miles and 500 feet of climbing in 1:08 time through the city, this bike killed.

    I'm happy I found the right place for this bike, even though it resulted in me dumping a bunch of money into it to make it right. While it's not bad as a MTB, to me, as a gravel grinder/urban bike, this is the bike to do it on.

  2. #2
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    looks good. For me I don't have the space for so many different types of bikes, but if I did I'd have something like this. However there are not that many flat areas of Switzerland so maybe that wouldn't be the best.
    check out my youtube channel if you want: https://www.youtube.com/HACKANDRIDEBIKES

  3. #3
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    Nice reviews, both of them.

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