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Road bike to gravel bike,....?

On road, off road, Mamils, Club rides or just share your routes and tips
Tedx
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Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671471

Postby Tedx » June 28th, 2024, 9:03 pm

We have a couple of road bikes (a btwin and a Halfords Carrera) both with 700c wheels

Now that we have the van I'm thinking of converting them to gravel bikes. Nothing serious - we have some long and beautiful forestry tracks on my door step that could be explored much quicker on wheels rather than foot.

So for gentle gravel tracking are we talking just levering on off-road tyres....or new wheels too?

Other websites suggest the frame will be strong enough.

Advice gratefully received

Mike4
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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671476

Postby Mike4 » June 28th, 2024, 9:44 pm

Tedx wrote:We have a couple of road bikes (a btwin and a Halfords Carrera) both with 700c wheels

Now that we have the van I'm thinking of converting them to gravel bikes. Nothing serious - we have some long and beautiful forestry tracks on my door step that could be explored much quicker on wheels rather than foot.

So for gentle gravel tracking are we talking just levering on off-road tyres....or new wheels too?

Other websites suggest the frame will be strong enough.

Advice gratefully received


Stick with walking.

I've biked and walked canal towpaths extensively and although its slower, I find walking far more enjoyable (until I get tired). I notice tonnes more stuff compared to biking and am much more inclined to go off piste, so to speak.

If you just want to get to the other end quicker, a bike is far better but when on wheels (two or four) one tends just keep going to get to the other end, rather than properly explore. Walking a towpath I've previously biked shows up just how much I missed on the bike!

Just my personal experience...

Tedx
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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671481

Postby Tedx » June 28th, 2024, 9:57 pm

Mike4 wrote:
Tedx wrote:We have a couple of road bikes (a btwin and a Halfords Carrera) both with 700c wheels

Now that we have the van I'm thinking of converting them to gravel bikes. Nothing serious - we have some long and beautiful forestry tracks on my door step that could be explored much quicker on wheels rather than foot.

So for gentle gravel tracking are we talking just levering on off-road tyres....or new wheels too?

Other websites suggest the frame will be strong enough.

Advice gratefully received




Stick with walking.

I've biked and walked canal towpaths extensively and although its slower, I find walking far more enjoyable (until I get tired). I notice tonnes more stuff compared to biking and am much more inclined to go off piste, so to speak.

If you just want to get to the other end quicker, a bike is far better but when on wheels (two or four) one tends just keep going to get to the other end, rather than properly explore. Walking a towpath I've previously biked shows up just how much I missed on the bike!

Just my personal experience...

Yeah, I hear you Mike. I like the aimless wander too. The bikes we have are pretty much redundant these days. The roads are just too dicey. So the thought of bunging on a set of knobblies and parking the van up in the middle of Fangorn Forest and exploring on wheels has a certain appeal.

Mike4
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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671486

Postby Mike4 » June 28th, 2024, 10:05 pm

Tedx wrote:
Yeah, I hear you Mike. I like the aimless wander too. The bikes we have are pretty much redundant these days. The roads are just too dicey. So the thought of bunging on a set of knobblies and parking the van up in the middle of Fangorn Forest and exploring on wheels has a certain appeal.

Stick with walking.


I see what you mean and I'd say it's just a different experience, biking.

Do both! Compare and contrast!

To answer your question I'd say yes just fit knobbly tyres to your wheels if you can find them the right size. Road bikes tend to be 700mm but knobbly tyres tend to be 26" IIRC, so it might be difficult.

Curiously Asda sell (or used to sell) particularly cheap and good value mountain bike tyres.

UncleEbenezer
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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671508

Postby UncleEbenezer » June 29th, 2024, 1:37 am

I wouldn't hesitate to do gravel on a regular road bike with 700c wheels. Anything short of a highly-tuned and delicate racer should be fine.

Fat, knobbly tyres are for surfaces that offer no grip to road tyres: extreme mud, powder (erm, not like sand or anything else I've encountered in Blighty, but in the mediterranean summer ...), or snow/ice. Or else for posing. Gravel (or sand) - absolutely no problem.

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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671511

Postby servodude » June 29th, 2024, 5:34 am

UncleEbenezer wrote:I wouldn't hesitate to do gravel on a regular road bike with 700c wheels. Anything short of a highly-tuned and delicate racer should be fine.

Fat, knobbly tyres are for surfaces that offer no grip to road tyres: extreme mud, powder (erm, not like sand or anything else I've encountered in Blighty, but in the mediterranean summer ...), or snow/ice. Or else for posing. Gravel (or sand) - absolutely no problem.


with the proviso that you can go with lower pressure on larger tyres and the experience on gravel becomes a lot more pleasant (I'm assuming that cos we're on this part of the forum we're not the type to run tyres at the typical arm chair pressures one sees on the occasional bike rider)

an issue one might encounter is having lovely larger knobbly tyres on 700cc wheels that you can't get back on the bike because of the clearance

another one is that rim brakes collect mud like it's going out of fashion

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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671519

Postby Golam » June 29th, 2024, 7:31 am

Tedx wrote:We have a couple of road bikes (a btwin and a Halfords Carrera) both with 700c wheels

Now that we have the van I'm thinking of converting them to gravel bikes. Nothing serious - we have some long and beautiful forestry tracks on my door step that could be explored much quicker on wheels rather than foot.

So for gentle gravel tracking are we talking just levering on off-road tyres....or new wheels too?

Other websites suggest the frame will be strong enough.

Advice gratefully received


Give consideration to going tubeless. It is my experience that they are a major improvement to off road cycling. Far, far less punctures and the tyres self seal. In your case, new wheels may well be needed. Worth spending a few pounds for the health and temper benefits.

Tedx
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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671520

Postby Tedx » June 29th, 2024, 7:35 am

Thanks chaps. My main concern was tyres and strength of the bike (they look pretty weedy, although I know they're not).

A whole new world awaits!

Tedx
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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671540

Postby Tedx » June 29th, 2024, 9:36 am

Ok, so I take the point about tubeless tyres (and needing new wheels)

WIthout going down that route quite yet, would this type of thing (with puncture protection, apparently), do the job?


https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fincci-Antipun ... r=1-7&th=1

Tedx
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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671556

Postby Tedx » June 29th, 2024, 10:01 am

The tyres on the Halfords Carrera are 700 x 28c

This cycling bod seems to think that 28mm tyres are 'perfectly wide enough to tackle some proper gravel'

https://youtu.be/d1CCH0LrVlo?si=IIesEieSelSCBUjO

Mike4
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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671558

Postby Mike4 » June 29th, 2024, 10:08 am

Numpty edit. I must read the post I'm replying to!

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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671586

Postby servodude » June 29th, 2024, 12:06 pm

Tedx wrote:The tyres on the Halfords Carrera are 700 x 28c

This cycling bod seems to think that 28mm tyres are 'perfectly wide enough to tackle some proper gravel'

https://youtu.be/d1CCH0LrVlo?si=IIesEieSelSCBUjO


They look quite nice - and if it's just the surface changing you've likely got the clearance for them to spin once they're on.
Fitting the wheel is the first part, getting into the frame, or under guards, or between calipers might be a different matter.

You can also look at slimed inner tubes to get some of the benefit of tubeless (lower pressure/wider surface area can mean more chance of punctures/flints)

Howard
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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671590

Postby Howard » June 29th, 2024, 12:23 pm

Mike4 wrote:Numpty edit. I must read the post I'm replying to!


You are quite wrong about the future direction of the FTSE 100.

regards

Howard :)

Tedx
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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671598

Postby Tedx » June 29th, 2024, 1:24 pm

servodude wrote:
Tedx wrote:The tyres on the Halfords Carrera are 700 x 28c

This cycling bod seems to think that 28mm tyres are 'perfectly wide enough to tackle some proper gravel'

https://youtu.be/d1CCH0LrVlo?si=IIesEieSelSCBUjO


They look quite nice - and if it's just the surface changing you've likely got the clearance for them to spin once they're on.
Fitting the wheel is the first part, getting into the frame, or under guards, or between calipers might be a different matter.

You can also look at slimed inner tubes to get some of the benefit of tubeless (lower pressure/wider surface area can mean more chance of punctures/flints)


I've ordered Schwalbe 700x28c tyres (so correct size) and, on your suggestion, 2 slime filled inner tubes. I think about £70 to repurpose a forgotten bike in the shed in money well spent

I'll let you all know how I get on with it. If it's all good, I might look at a similar exercise for the Btwin Triban....

ukmtk
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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671638

Postby ukmtk » June 29th, 2024, 4:29 pm

I use the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres on my gravel & MTB biikes.
I think I have 700*32 on the gravel bikes. I run them at 75psi as I mainly cycle on hard surfaces.
They do the Tissington/High Peak trails fine too.

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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671698

Postby servodude » June 30th, 2024, 12:24 am

ukmtk wrote:I use the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres on my gravel & MTB biikes.
I think I have 700*32 on the gravel bikes. I run them at 75psi as I mainly cycle on hard surfaces.
They do the Tissington/High Peak trails fine too.


They were my go to tyre for over a decade on my commuter (after 5 punctures in one week on their CityJets)

When you think about it, I'm pretty sure they were designed with riding around the planet in mind; and roads are gravel tracks for a good part of that!
They do take extra swearing when putting them on a rim though - just as well they rarely ever need to come off!

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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671727

Postby BigB » June 30th, 2024, 10:30 am

servodude wrote:
ukmtk wrote:I use the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres on my gravel & MTB biikes.
I think I have 700*32 on the gravel bikes. I run them at 75psi as I mainly cycle on hard surfaces.
They do the Tissington/High Peak trails fine too.


They were my go to tyre for over a decade on my commuter (after 5 punctures in one week on their CityJets)

When you think about it, I'm pretty sure they were designed with riding around the planet in mind; and roads are gravel tracks for a good part of that!
They do take extra swearing when putting them on a rim though - just as well they rarely ever need to come off!


I once over-reacted to getting a few punctures in short order on my recreational use road bike, and put Marathon Plus tyres on - bombproof, not many tyres are advertised with a half-life! But also heavy and I later relented and found a better compromise.

My other thought about converting road bikes for tracks/gravel would be to consider swapping drops to flatbar if you have drops currently. Drops are good for hours [faster] on road, but more tiring if you want to be more vertical and also less stable if you hit some wobbly stuff. Flared drops came from gravel I think, to offer better width stability with an aero drop position.

Tedx
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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671732

Postby Tedx » June 30th, 2024, 10:48 am

Drops on my Triban, but flats on the Carrera hybrid which is getting the treatment this weekend. I've swapped out the MTB clipless pedals for the traditional OEM serrated pedals. The clipless have their advantages, but the footwear aspect won the day....for now!

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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671739

Postby BigB » June 30th, 2024, 11:02 am

Tedx wrote:Drops on my Triban, but flats on the Carrera hybrid which is getting the treatment this weekend. I've swapped out the MTB clipless pedals for the traditional OEM serrated pedals. The clipless have their advantages, but the footwear aspect won the day....for now!


I use half and half pedals on all my bikes, so I can wear trainers or MTB clip shoes if I'm proper riding on road. I'm not serious enough to pull on the upstroke, nor do I want to wander into the pub in slippery clown shoes!

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Re: Road bike to gravel bike,....?

#671741

Postby Tedx » June 30th, 2024, 11:05 am

It was actually half and half s I took off. They may well go back on again eventually. It's under review.


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