Posted on: 19/09/2019 at 1:42pm
What are Gravel Bikes (and why we love them)
Simply put, a gravel bike is a kind of hybrid between road and cyclocross bike that is built tough enough to tackle gravel tracks, forest fire roads and a little light dirt yet remain light and efficient enough to still make swift progress on tarmac road. The tires are usually a little bigger than you would expect on a road or even commuter bike, usually around 35-40mm and many come well equipped with mounting options so that they can be used for bike-packing or adventure cycle racing.
So why do we like them so much. Well, its basically because they are a superb choice for accessing the fine riding that we have on our doorstep. In fact we’ve been riding and championing bikes of this kind for years as they are the perfect match for adventure riding here in West Wales. For years we’ve been taking CX, road, hybrid and touring bikes, slinging on the chunkiest tyres the frame will allow and heading for the hills, so to see these bikes gain their own identity makes us very happy.
The emergence of the gravel bike as a class means that this style of riding gets the attention from designers that it really deserves, because while we have certainly managed to get by with a little clever repurposing of frames and tyres, its far from idea.
Enter the Gravel Bike
What we see emerging new are not simply road or CX bikes with a little more tyre clearance, they have been designed ground-up for the purpose of gravel riding. Frame geometry, component spec and provision for luggage and equipment have all be carefully considered from design concept onward so you get a bike that fits this riding, without compromise.
These bikes are fun on day epics and short blasts from your own door. They are supremely versatile and able to get you swiftly into wild country, sustaining the action far beyond the paved confines of where a0 road bike can safely venture. Wild country is unlocked and as a result you may find that your rides tend to grow a little.
Get a gravel bike and you’ll gain a totally different view of the map, searching out new routes on trails that you would never have considered on a road bike. Linking road sections and pushing the boundaries of your old favourites with the addition of a little wild time.
Give it a try
Summit Cycles now have 4 gravel demo bikes available for customers to try and to make things even more interesting you can join us on one of our Gravel Social rides. These are not guided or supported rides so you need to make all the provision that you would for a usual ride on your own but we’ll have a planned route and members of staff from Summit Cycles along for moral support and to provide information tips and advice.
Gravel Social Rides
Interested? You can join us to sample some of the back road and trail delights that are available to the adventurous gravel rider as we will be heading out on a series of Gravel Social rides and you are welcome to come along.
These are inclusive No Drop social rides of varying distance and challenge that we hope will be enjoyable to the experienced while still providing a great initiation for those ready to try out gravel riding in the superb terrain that we have right on our doorstep.
You will need a suitable bike but if you don’t worry. Summit now have 4 gravel demo bikes available for customers to try and these can be booked for the gravel social rides (see above).
If you wish to demo a bike you will need to pre book by contacting the store where staff will discuss your requirements and size/fit to see if we have a suitable model available.
Routes will vary but expect back road, forest trail, gravel trail and a little light dirt
Gravel Social – 2020
Saturday 11th January – 9.30am
Moderate 49km ride with 500m ascent. Leaving Summit Cycles at 09.30, to Cwtch & back. To join this ride you will have reasonable fitness, ideally suited to YCC Sunday Social riders. SPD (MTB) shoes and pedals recommended.
Saturday 25th January – 9.30am
Intermediate 55km ride with 600m ascent, leaving Summit at 09.30, to Cwtch & back. To join this ride you will need reasonable fitness, ideally suited to YCC Sunday Social riders. SPD (MTB) shoes and pedals recommended.
Sunday 2nd February – 9.00am
Tougher 60km ride with 1300m ascent. Start and finish at Tynbedw NRW car park, near Llanafan saw mill. Lifts to and from Summit Cycles available, leaving at 09.00. To join this ride you will need good fitness, ideally suited to YCC longer Sunday rides. Endurance is more important than speed. SPD (MTB) shoes and pedals recommended.
Sunday 16th Feb, 09.30am.
Expert 80km ride with 1650m of ascent. Start & finish at Strata Florida Abbey. Lifts to and from Summit Cycles available, leaving shop at 08.45. To join this ride you will need good fitness, ideally suited to YCC longer rides. Endurance is more important than speed. SPD (MTB) shoes and pedals recommended.
October 13th – 9.am for 9.30 depart – Meet at Summit Cycles
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