Upon writing this, Fall has just started, bringing with it the soft crunch of leaves, cloudy days, and an entire shop staff strung out on Pumpkin Spice. With it comes something else: Gravel Bikes. Gravel bikes are less often discussed than road and mountain bikes which is perplexing — they are a veritable Swiss Army Knife.
As the stereotype goes, gravel bikes are road bikes you can fit a big, plush tire on. Some are just that. But not all. For instance, the Specialized Diverge started life as something quite similar to the Specialized Roubaix, a comfy endurance road bike. But gravel bikes have evolved far past that. With a combination of longer chainstays, slacker head tube, and increased fork rake, the Diverge’s wheelbase is much longer than its road cousin’s. On one hand, it will feel a little less lively on pavement than a road bike, but it will feel exceptionally more stable when the roads get rough or even disappear. Combined with supple tires and mount points for as many accessories as your heart desires, the Diverge, like many other gravel bikes, is a fantastic option for doing it all from a stint on the Capital Trail to a rip by the river, bikes like this do it all comfortably and confidently.
Being a new market, gravel bikes are rapidly evolving and bringing new ideas for the market. For instance, take the Diverge E5 Evo which doubles down on Mountain influences and adopts knobbier tires, riser bars, and a dropper seat post. For entry-level riders, gravel bikes are a great way to get into a drop-bar bike without sacrificing stability and confident handling.
Gravel bikes are still a relatively new phenomenon and one worth watching. Interested? You know you are. Come visit our shop and check one out!