Unarguably, ‘Gravel’ has transformed into a buzzword when it comes to cycling nowadays, with more and more tarmac-loving runners discovering how delightful off-road trail riding is! For those who have yet to succumb, consider that gravel bikes are simply road bikes with marginally wider tires. Well, it is a fact, however, not an entirely correct statement, since they differentiate considerably in different ways. As per Steven Rindner, they are different, and one should know the differences.
Since road bikes are frequently designed to be as lightweight as possible, they are not the most robust vehicles available. Conversely, gravel bikes are made to withstand a lot of abuse. Despite the availability of carbon gravel bikes, these bikes are still heavier than road cycles to accommodate the wear and tear of the surfaces they are ridden on. As a result, mounting racks and bags to a gravel bike is simpler than on a road cycle.
The two bikes’ drivetrains are as dissimilar as the tires they ride on. Gravel bikes can be purchased with one or two chainrings while single-chaining setups are becoming more and more common. Conversely, road bikes are nearly always equipped with a double-chaining configuration.
A gravel bike with a single chainring has a wide range of ratios even if it technically has the same gears as a road cycle. Adventure cassettes provide one-by systems with the same gearing range as a double chainring arrangement by using a specified wide ratio. The leaps between each gear do alter, becoming more noticeable.
Additionally, gravel bikes are made to be ridden off-road, albeit at slower speeds, on more difficult terrain. Compared to road bikes, gravel bikes usually have a smaller chainring to provide runners with the optimal gearing for this. This makes great sense on gravel, but not on the roads, as the bikers may find them short of gears.
The size and pressure of the tires are the primary and most noticeable distinctions between a road bike and a gravel bike. Road bikes are made with the lowest rolling resistance in mind, which translates to 23–25mm tires at 90–100 PSI. As Steven Rindner considers, these specifications ensure that tires will roll quickly on the road, but they also make little bumps more noticeably.
As such, this configuration is just too uncomfortable for gravel bikes. Wider tires are necessary for gravel bikes to increase traction on uneven, loose terrain. A 30–40mm tire is normally filled to roughly 40 PSI. Because of the wider tire and low PSI, the tire is more resistant to punctures and can absorb bumps on the road.
Road bikes are usually substantially lighter than gravel bikes. A comparable road bike may occasionally weigh more than one kilogram less than a gravel cycle. Part of the reason for this is that a road bike is not designed to withstand the kind of riding that a gravel bike is intended for. The weight quickly accumulates due to the studier framework of gravel bikes and due to their thicker and wider wheels.