Gravel Bikes and Mountain Biking

Gravel Bikes and Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is a very popular activity around the world, and there are hundreds of thousands of people who enjoy cycling as a way to keep fit and well as for transportation. Mountain biking as a sport is great fun and highly enjoyable, and it is something that appeals to all people of all ages.

Unlike some other sports such as football, athletics or boxing, biking is a sport that you can enjoy from your early years well into your retirement years. As long as you are physically able to ride a bike then there isn’t really anything that can stop you from enjoying the activity.

There are many different types of mountain bikes and each type is specifically suited to a certain terrain and usage. The majority of people who go mountain biking do it simply as a hobby and way to do some exercise. The majority of these people will have a regular road bike that is built for use on flat and smooth surfaces as well as designated biking tracks that you might find in your neighborhood.

Though there is no restriction on where and how you can ride such mountain bikes, it should be noted that using them off-road could cause significant damage to them including the tires, wheels and the frame itself.

Think of it like footwear. Even though you could wear flip-flops to go mountain climbing, they are not really the most suitable footwear to use, and though you might be able to climb a good few meters without problem, you can bet your bottom dollar that at some point along the way, you are going to lose grip, slip and potentially seriously injure yourself. When you go mountain climbing, you wear climbing boots.

The same applies to mountain biking. When you plan to go off-road, then you should seriously consider using a different type of mountain bike. The type of bike you will want if you plan to cycle dirt paths and off-road routes is a gravel bike. These are also known as “adventure bikes”, because, as the name suggests, when you cycle on one of these, you are usually off an adventure into the unknown, and not simply cycling along your regular bike lane in your hometown.

Differences between road and gravel bikes

At first glance, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a regular mountain bike and a gravel mountain bike. However there are some slight differences between the two, and these are what make the gravel bike ideal for heavy duty cycling on rough terrain.

Gravel bikes have been designed to be more comfortable when you are cycling long distances. The riding position of the bike is more relaxed, and the small differences in the geometry of the frame between the two types of bike is what makes the difference.

Another aspect that is different is that on gravel bikes, you will usually find that they have longer wheelbases than regular bikes, which leads to much better comfort and stability when cycling over surfaces such as gravel, which can vary greatly in a small area. The disc brakes on gravel bikes provide the rider with more power, leading to more confidence when cycling off-road in new locations that one might not know so well.

Is a gravel bike for you?

There are many advantages of having a gravel bike over a regular mountain bike, but it really does depend on how you plan to use the bike. If you are someone who enjoys a weekly journey on your bike in your neighborhood, then you probably won’t need to switch over to a gravel bike, as there probably wouldn’t be too much benefit.

However, if you are someone who is out biking on a regular basis throughout the year, and often travel around the country to explore and cycle in new locations, then you should seriously consider looking to upgrade your bike. You will find a whole range of options if you are planning to buy a gravel bike. You can even go as far as to have one custom built for you, though you will be looking at quite an expensive outlay if you do go down that route.

Most likely you will be able to find a suitable gravel bike “off the shelf” as it were. If finances are tight, then you should spend a little time researching online to find any special deals or suppliers who have gravel bikes in the cheaper price region. For every collection of high-end options, you will also find a range of budget gravel bikes that will usually be more than sufficient for your needs.

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