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Gravel Bikes Exist Because Mountain Biking Is Now Boring

Gravel Bikes Exist Because Mountain Biking Is Now Boring


– What on earth is a gravel bike? Nobody really knows, do they? Although we think we might, because we’ve got a theory on this. – We do. A gravel bike is a modern retro
mountain bike, only better. And to prove this, we’re going
to put our theory to the test. Before we do that though, we need to take you on a journey. (dream sequence noises) – Didn’t think we were
actually going to do that bit. – Hey? (chimes and light music) (retro upbeat music) Back in the mists of time,
mountain bikes were cool. They were the antidote
to boring road bikes. They allowed us to
venture away from tarmac, and onto the dirt, in
search of added thrills. As technology evolved over the years, so to did mountain biking, and now events like
Rampage, or the Fest Series, show just what’s possible. And the best thing is
we can all do it too. Or, we can at least try. – This is going to be unlike
anything you’ve ever seen before. As in worse than anything
you’ve ever seen before. Watch this. (upbeat music) Whoa. – Yes! Ah, man that felt amazing. How high was it? – I looked amazing. It was probably about
three or four inches. – Serious, three or four?
– Yeah. It was rather radical dude.
– Yes, oh man, I’m going to do that again. – Yeah, probably the best idea. And that’s the problem really, isn’t it? I mean we all want the
best, most capable bikes. Perhaps a bike that’s equally at home hucking cliffs in Utah, as it is carving endless Alpine descents, but come on, how many of us actually have that sort of
terrain on our doorsteps? Let alone in fact the
guts needed to do it. – [Si] No, what happens
is that mountain bikers typically get what we call over-biked. Riding the same trails
that have been ridden for the last 20 or 30 years, but on bikes that can now
eat them for breakfast. There’s no challenge. It’s like driving a tractor over a twig. We’re isolated from any sort of thrill from these simple trails. Basically they’re just a bit boring. (snores) – You heard, boring. Modern mountain bikers are boring. Admittedly, not many of them would like to go back to 26 inch wheels and V brakes, but I think it’s hard to deny that those old mountain bikes made the kind of simple trails that we all actually ride,
an enormous amount of fun. – And they made them fun, because the bikes weren’t
actually that good, so simple trails felt challenging. However, what they were really good at was actually pedaling. Cycling, some people like to call it. I mean the handlebars
are not stupidly wide, but sensibly narrow, and
they have bar ends attached, and everyone knows they’re just ace. – Oh man, bar ends are so ace. Especially for climbing, or getting aero for the good bits. – That slender elegant construction is an indication of its light weight, and this is just over
10 kilos, or 22 pounds. And then, you also have those
smaller diameter wheels, coupled to that steep head angle, and short wheelbase. I mean the whole bike just feels small, and agile, and lively. (dramatic music) – Some people might even
say they’re sketchy. Although let’s face it, we’re not actually launching ourselves over 30 foot gap drops here, even though that was
pretty blooming close. This is a bike for the common people. – Exactly. So is it a coincidence then that at just about the time when normal on mountain bikes
meant monster truck tires, had 140 mill of suspension front and back, that a new trend began to emerge, riding bikes that felt familiar on tarmac, but yet could also go off-road as well, riding all terrains,
even biking up mountains? – A bike that is fast, but challenging. Light, and responsive,
and small, and agile, and fun to actually pedal, and to get out the saddle on. A bit like this. It’s been said before, but gravel bikes are a lot like taking the best bit of retro mountain bikes,
and making them even better. But how similar are they, and what do they do better? And what if anything do they do worse? – Well, to find out, as you can see our mates
at Lauf have got onboard with this project, and
very kindly supplied a True Grit frameset, and
Grit SL suspension forks, but sprayed up in an homage to those killer mountain
bikes from the early 90s. (light retro music) In comparison, we have a Raleigh titanium, with full XTR groupset, ridden to several top 14 finishes by none other than Daniel
Lloyd back in 1999. This you got to say was
an advanced machine. I mean, no V brakes here. This has got hydraulic brakes. – Hydraulic rim brakes, but still. We also have this, a GT
Zaskar, which is a true icon of the 90s cross country
mountain bike scene. It comes with RockShox
SID suspension forks, although it appears that
the air got left in the 90s, and it’s also got an XTR groupset. However, this is the bike
that Si is going to be using. As I pointed out to him, he’s only got XT shifters,
and mismatched brake levers. – To find out just how
similar they all are, we are firstly going to
shred our mountain bikes, and the gravel bike, before unleashing something of a special edition. Something we’re going to call a hybrid. – Yeah, about that. I’m not sure about the word hybrid for this.
– Really? Why not? – Well the hybrids are not exactly the coolest bikes around town are they? It’s a bit unfair.
– No. No, I take your point. Uh. A mutant. – Mutant?
– Yeah. – I like it, yeah.
– Yeah. – Well our mutant is
basically like a gravel bike, isn’t it, with wide flat bars, and a slightly longer stem. – [Si] Yeah. I mean that’s exactly
what it is, isn’t it? – Yeah. Our test track is the perfect mix of gravel, climbing, some
tarmac, some single track, and of course some gnarly jumps. We will be getting rad over those. It’s quite a simple format. Ride on each bike and compare the times, plus how each bike feels. – Okay, now because GPS
hadn’t been invented when Dan was racing this, and also because our
Wahoos won’t actually fit on these microscopically thin handlebars, I’m going to use something
called a stopwatch. Remember those? – Yeah. Stopwatch on a smartphone. – Yes, okay. Right Lloydy, you ready mate? – Hold on a sec, right. Yep. – You are looking good. Three, two, one, go. – Whoa, I’m not clipped in yet. – Wha, yes! (upbeat music) – I must admit, this bike
is quite hard to handle in this position. I have got another mountain bike at home, and I’ve still got the
bars chopped right down. I don’t have bar ends on it, but it’s a 29er, and
you’re just so much higher at the front. And it gives you a lot more control. So I love the bar ends on the climb. But I think I’d definitely
choose a different type of bike for those descents. I’m going to be very, very interested to see how the gravel
bike feels down there, compared to this one. Now, Si’s modern mutant does have bars upon which you can fit a Wahoo ELMNT Bolt, so he’s going to be timing himself, but just to make sure he’s not cheating, I will also be timing it on my smartphone. Are you ready Si? – I am. I’m a bit nervous about that massive jump that you’ve been getting air on. – I styled it over that, mate. – I know you did. – Anyway, three, two, one, go. (upbeat music) – Ah, that was mega. It does feel very different still to a retro mountain bike. It feels a lot lighter, and like, it would take you a while
to get used to that. The steering’s super responsive, because that stem, and
the flat bars combined, means that you’re a little bit shorter than you would be on drops. But that’s a genuine grin. – Also because he was quicker. – While we’re cranking out some hot laps, let’s dive into a little bit more detail about the tech, so we can actually try and get to the bottom of why we think these two genres of bikes are so similar. If we start with the first point, and we’ve touched on it already, both retro mountain bikes and gravel bikes have been designed principally with pedaling, and
actually riding in mind, over just the ability to
go downhill really fast, so their suspension travel is perfect for taking the edge off things, but you’re not going to be able
to swallow entire ruts whole, and it also means that the
front end can be low enough that you can get a really
nice comfortably stretched out and low position on both
these types of bikes. Dan’s retro mountain bike perhaps is taking things to extremes, in that he’s actually more aero on that than he would be on a time trial bike. – Which means that both
retro mountain bikes and gravel bikes are
easier to ride faster, and in more comfort. And it’s not just the position, the geometry is also remarkably similar. In fact the chainstay lengths on the GT Zaskar and both
the Lauf gravel bikes are exactly the same, and also the head tube angles, and trail numbers are
exactly the same too. (bike whirring) – Lightweight was also a real priority for retro mountain bikes, that they felt fast and lively, and were also able to
climb really efficiently, and the same is true for a
modern gravel bike as well. The difference being now though, is that technology has
advanced to the extent that this Lauf is 1.6 kilos lighter than our GT Zaskar, and let’s face it, it’s not even trying all that hard. It’s just that technology
and materials have moved on. It has a carbon fiber
frame, a carbon fiber fork, carbon fiber cranks, handlebars. – Also slightly weirdly, the tires are a very similar width, so those green ones on
my Raleigh mountain bike measure up at 46 millimeters in width, whilst these WTB Resolutes
come in at 44 millimeters, although obviously these
wheels are bigger in diameter, so they do roll a bit quicker. Also, the tires, like
the rest of the bike, prioritize light weight,
and therefore fast riding, and again modern technology is a bit of a game changer with these,
because they are tubeless. That allows you to run
lower tire pressures, which in turn means more
comfort, and more grip. – Tubeless tech is just the tip of the iceberg though really. The fact that this has a one-by 12 speed, electronic wireless drivetrain, puts it in something of a
different league as well, not just in the speed and the smoothness of the shifting. (shifting) And the fact that it
makes a really cool noise, but also actually in tech advancements that we kind of now take for granted, like the clutch in the rear mech, that pretty much eliminates chain slap. – A bit like disc brakes, which were somewhat of a game changer when they were introduced
to mountain bikes, probably about 20 years ago, and the same can be said
since their introduction onto drop bar bikes a
little bit more recently. The question is then,
with all this technology, and the fact that these Laus have 20 years of use on their side, versus the retro mountain
bikes, will they be faster? – All right Lloydy, you ready mate? – I am. It does seem a bit of a shame to get such a beautiful
brand new bike so muddy in the space of six minutes, isn’t it? – It does.
– 5 1/2 minutes maybe on this one. – Yeah. Cannings can clean them pretty well mate, it’ll be all right. Okay, all right, you got
your Wahoo on this time, so, off you go. – You’re not going to give me a count in? – Oh, sorry mate. (beeping) – Right in the pedal. – [Si] Wha! – I almost came off there. (upbeat music) (gravel rattling) – Uh, right, are you ready? – I think so mate. I’m feeling a bit of
pressure to get some rad air over that lip there. – I don’t think your forks are feeling much pressure at all there Si. (laughter) – Fair enough.
– A distinct lack of air in them. Anyway, don’t go over the front of the handlebars, will you. – Nope. – On your marks, get set, go. (upbeat music) Even his fork’s got more air than he did. (upbeat music) – Retro mountain bike, first impressions. Probably not a fair test, given the state of the forks, but, let it be said, I forgot how much fun mountain bikes of that ilk are. It’s easy to think that they’re outdated, and don’t work, but that is cool. And also let it be said, the narrowish handlebars and
bar ends are utterly amazing. And if I was going to do one thing, it would be to put slightly
narrower bars on the mutant. And a slightly longer stem. 130 mill rules, yeah. (horn) Funny how different our mutant bike, and our true gravel bike feel, and that I think is entirely down to the fact that the bars are narrower, and the effective reach is longer, meaning that it kind of slows the steering down every so slightly, so actually it feels a
lot easier to handle. So this felt absolutely bob-on. Yeah. I don’t know, mutant, gravel bike, mutant? Let’s crunch some data. Right, time to put our money
where our mouths are Dan. Although before we say that, we should just point out, we have got cleaned up
since our race runs. – Well we should probably
be completely transparent, and admit that this is the day after, Si. We got very wet and very cold, didn’t we? – Yeah we did, but let’s not
let that spoil a good story. On the slightly deflated
GT Zaskar, I did 4:49, and then on the drop
handlebar Lauf True Grit, I did 4:05.
– Blimey. – [Si] And then on the mutant, 4:10. – [Dan] Right, quite a difference then. – [Si] Yeah. – Well I, Si, on my Raleigh
retro mountain bike did 3:59. – Whoa!
– I jo, of course I’m joking. Actually, on the Raleigh retro
mountain bike, I did 5:11, and remarkably I was
quicker on the True Grit. I say remarkably, because
my legs felt like lead after just one five minute
effort on that first climb, but I still managed to shave 21 seconds off with this bike, at 4:50. – [Si] Right. So Dan. – [Dan] So Si. – How much time do you think we lost from riding vintage mountain bikes that had been used for 20-odd years? – [Dan] Obviously you mean the fact that they’re not brand spanking new. – [Si] Yeah. – I don’t think I would
have lost that much, mainly down to the fact that
I’ve well maintained my bike over the last 25 years or so, Si, including pumping air
– Right, fair enough. – into the forks. – Well yes, basic maintenance I guess. Now one thing that is
very clear from this, and that is that the mutant is
not quite the perfect hybrid of retro mountain bike
and modern gravel bike, that I thought it might be. Amazing fun, nevertheless, but perhaps it shouldn’t
have come as a surprise, when you put flat handlebars on a bike that has been perfected to
be used with drop handlebars, it kind of, it just, there’s a little something
that is just not quite right. – [Dan] Which is a shame actually, because it looks great, doesn’t it? – It does look amazing. And the other thing, Dan, is that I really miss
my bar ends on there. Having spent a bit more time on this now, anytime you’re climbing,
or riding fast flat stuff, you just really crave- – Yeah. – Some, basically some brake hoods. – I’ve been saying this for years. Bring back bar ends to mountain bikes. Let’s start a petition. – [Si] Yeah. – Right, before we finish this video Si, there is one thing about both these bikes that we haven’t even told
our viewers about yet. – What’s that mate? – Well that is the fact that they both have an
integrated beer bottle opener. – Yes they do.
– Where the front derailleur used to go. And so, in the interim between
yesterday’s riding and today, I bought some beers. – Good lad, Dan. Excellent. It’s an advantage of one-by that’s not often talked about, is it, but there we go.
– No. – I suppose whilst you’re… Ooh, easy mate. Whilst you’re opening- – I haven’t drunk one yet, honestly. – Whilst you’re opening
our bottles of beer, I think we should probably try and address that initial question, shouldn’t we, and that is that… – Sorry. – We should probably try and
address that initial question of whether gravel bikes are related to retro mountain bikes, and I think in spirit yes, but it’s not quite
brother and sister, is it? It’s kind of more like cousins, I suppose. I mean they are designed to
be used on gravel and tarmac, as well as being good off-road, whereas retro mountain bikes
were designed principally for off-road, weren’t they? – Well I would agree with that. – Yeah. – Although I would like
to clarify one thing that we said earlier Si. You know when we said that
mountain bikes are boring? – Yeah. – We didn’t really mean it, did we?
– No we didn’t. – Mountain bikers, you
know the people on them… But no, I don’t mean that either. And what we are trying to say, is that those modern mountain bikes might not be the most fun on the trails that you have on your doorstep, and that’s particularly apt for me, living down in New Forest, and that is where these
gravel alternatives really come into play. – That’s right. It is, as we said earlier, like a bike for normal life, isn’t it I guess?
– I would agree with that yeah. – Yeah, right.
– All right. – Cheers mate.
– Cheers. Oh don’t drink it, it’s not gluten free. I shall have that one as well. – Okay. All right, well, while
Dan drinks his beers, I will say please give
this video a big thumbs up if you’ve enjoyed it. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed
it half as much as we have, and also let me point in the direction of another cracking video, where Ollie got to use one
of these Lauf True Grits in its natural habitat, in the volcanoes of Iceland’s Highlands. – I’ve got a bottle of
Diet Coke if you want it. – Not really.

100 thoughts on “Gravel Bikes Exist Because Mountain Biking Is Now Boring

  1. Would love to see a video with timed runs comparing the gravel bike to a modern xc hardtail. And to hear which is more fun.

  2. That's EXACTLY what I have been experiencing on our home trails for the past few years. Trails became boring and without challenge with modern Fullys who feel like monster trucks in a city park tour. I recently got me on ebay a 90's Trek Multitrack with 28" wheels, V-Brakes, no suspension and suddenly the local trails become challenging and exciting again. Now I found this video that confirms my suspicions about fun and technology and I am considering converting the ol' Multitrack to a gravel racer with drop bars. Thanks mates. 🙂

  3. I am still riding my 2006 Ghost 26"HT MTB with narrow flat handlebars and bar ends with great pleasure. And it is still fast!

  4. Gravel are for those absolutely stubborn road bikers who won't deal with flat bars…let alone a mountain bike in general.
    Honestly MOST people (road and MTB) "overbike" considering what, where and their fitness level… Half the people I see with $3,000+ bikes could have done with a $199 bike (or less) from Walmart.
    ***The guy at the trailhead in his forties (not that his age was the issue) at LEAST 280# panting like he was on Everest geared up in ALL his MTB stuff riding a $6,500 full suspension MTB (I later looked it up online) riding on a green trail? Ummm…WTF?!?!?!

  5. The duo are back to there funniest, honest and showing you what enjoyment is all about. Racing around forests in under the 5 minute goal, getting splashed with mud, with the kids are what memories are all about,, Steve.

  6. You lot are totally missing the point of mountain biking by using times as the only measure to judge these bikes by. Gravel bikes exist for people who are not racing, but want to adventure and explore and stop to smell the roses and faff about. @CupandCone below is on the right track. Why didn't you talk more about the quality of the ride and general experience ?
    Very disappointed that Si did not work a cafe stop into this episode.  
    Long travel DS MTB exist for people who want to ride proper rough stuff without beating the bike to death or making their raging neck worse. Yes, I'm currently replacing my rigid e-fattie wiht a new E-over-bike !! On't have a lot of those nice forest trails you have but do have a fair whack of downhill gnarl. Not a lot of fancy MTB park near me. Wife and I tend to go adventuring in the boonies more.

  7. Agreed, that is why I am bringing back Fully Rigid Mountain Biking to Eastern Mass… Cyclo-Cross is even more fun on technical trails…

  8. Why do you call it "Mutant" and not Scrambler? Mtb isn't boring but fucking expensive a fully with 140mm is cheaper then a middle class xc bike, so if you have the choice between a trail bike 14kg and a middle class hardtail 14kg, you take the trail bike. The reason to buy a gravel bike is because you don't want to be annoyed by stupid car drivers, so you go off road to avoid heavy traffic and go back to normal road when you like.

  9. BEST GCN VIDEO in a very long time. IMO I completely agree – 100% – with everything said! There wasn’t an opinion or sentiment that didn’t resonate with me. As an MTBer that came up racing in the 90’s I came up with these opinions two years ago when I conducted the exact same “experiment”. I even agree with Dan, bring bar ends back!

  10. So… what you are saying is investing in modern bike technology, with all of it's performance improvements and huge expense, is worth 10 seconds on a 5 minute course. And boring. Got it.

  11. Okay, to each his own on this one. I only want to call you guys out on this beef you have with “boring mountain bikers”. I fall into the category of people who love mountain biking but don’t give a flying flip about shaving 30 seconds off my time. In fact, I find it pointless and when I do go for speedy rides like this I feel completely detached from my enjoyment of being outside. If I want a great cardio workout I’d MUCH rather leave the bike in the van and run it. So I’ll take heavy and slow ANY day over any of the bikes on this video. My Surly Wednesday allows me to seriously not give a f&@k about where my front wheel goes, and have an amazing time. And unlike you wankers, and I use it affectionately, I actually START my ride with a beer!

    Further more, gravel bikes exist so the people can ride on gravel and still maintain grip without needing a heavy mountain bike. Does this actually need to be told?

  12. I think a lot of people are forgetting about the good old 29er hardtail. These are our local trails, they are very rocky. I've ridden them on my cross bike with 40mm tires but if you don't baby your bike you'll dent rims:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BZv4U_PjcnH/?utm_source=ig_web_options_share_sheet

  13. I remember younger me looking at pictures of Raleigh mountain bikes in a magazine just waiting for the day I could afford one.

  14. Great video. I had a PACE RC100, square aluminium tubes and Magura rim brakes. I loved it, even in 1991 it was £1600, a small mortgage back then. Great bike though but I love that dropped bar Lauf.

  15. I got the idea of this video as 'Ride worse equipment to get more entertainment on the same trails/routes'. And I really disagree with that. I could predict next videos would address installing narrow and slick/semislick tires for dirty trails, throwing away hydraulic brakes in favor of calipers, and last but not least getting rid of index shifting.
    Your fork also should be powered by old, proven, classic and effectively non-working elastomer 🙂 Blame this fashion carbon rigid forks!

  16. I have a gf tassajara, it's fun on gravel, but not comfortable for long distances. I'm no cyclist, or downhill mtb'er. Cant seem to find what kind of new bike to buy.

  17. I am fortunate to have trails within a half mile of my place that actually call for a proper mountain (extremely rocky/techy/ with fun down hills) so my 64 deg head angle, 150mm travel, 1275mm wheelbase hardtail actually makes a lot more sense for me then a gravel bike since I'd either have to drive 2-5 miles or bike on roads that I'd rather not bike due to the idiots driving to get to singletrack that makes sense for a gravel bike. The nearest gravel is probably 15 miles away on interstate.

    But I am building an old 1990 Schwinn High Plain (back from when Schwinn made good bikes) into a "gravelish bike" with dropbars for those types of rides.

    Also I don't know how any likes narrow bars. Those suck.

  18. Las bicis de grável son las más divertidas que hay. Cuando salieron las btt de 26 pulgadas, no me gustaron por las ruedas pequeñas y la geometría: te tragas todos los baches y no ruedan bien. Las antiguas 26 pulgadas son muy divertidas para saltos y recorridos cerrados y estrechos, pero limitó el concepto de "bici todo terreno". Estas tenían que haber salido de una evolución del ciclocrós y el cicloturismo, no de bicis puras para saltos y requiebros.

  19. THE fuck is the bicycle industry trying to sell?? Too much bikes already. This bike is some kind of martyrdom fetish on wheels if someone wants to really do some mountain biking and not just going through a gravel road

  20. In defense of the modern mountain bike: trade off for making local trails too easy is you can ride them much more often since your body isn't getting beat up. Also you have that extra travel when you do go somewhere that requires it. Win win.

  21. The results of evolution make it so much harder to go to the mountains on a modern mountainbike, if you do not live there, than back in the 90s on that divine old machines. OK, I am older now but that is not the reason, its just hard to ride 50km on tarmak and farm roads and the same back to take the forrest trail for example in the "Harz- mountains" under the wheels. The older MTBs were more allrounder in my opinion and it was not such a battle if there is strong wind like we have here in northern germany really often. Happy people have their forests in front of their home door, I do not have it and putting a bike in a car to go cycling? No Option!
    The bar ends and narrover bars, combined with a longer stem turned down, thats what modern MTBs need. Underbiking with a modern MTB is not the aspect to choose a gravelbike.

  22. Over-biked? TRUTH! I work at an IBD and people come in asking for "at least 150mm". When asked where they're riding, they invariably mention the local beginner/intermediate trails where I train on my hardtail . WITH MY LOCKOUT ON! And I have taken my gravel bike on some relatively heinous trails (albiet with my wheels firmly planted)

  23. 02:00 to 02:18 I've never herd such a load of coblers in my life. I own a bike shop and large amount ofm my MTBer customers give it laldy. However I've been know to take my hybrid with 700×38's off road and jump it too and that's completely rigid. I no longer own a hybrid but i'm quite happy on my 29×2.35 Hardtail 140mm travel XC, or my 4.3" fatty with 120mm, or even my fully rigid steel framed (On One inbred) 29×2.35 slick tour bike. all 3 are of road bike but the fatty and Xc bike excels where the rigid will take a pounding just not a massive pace cause my wrist wont take it.
    So yes CX (not watched all the video) is totally able to do mtb'y stuff. Modern hardtail XC bikes do it better, otherwise XC would be covered in CX.
    EDIT1 Also who fuck wants drop bars on the trail?
    EDIT2: Roadbiking, hours and hours of boring tarmac. come on now you have to admit that roads have nothing to offer except well…. road… No tree roots, no mud, not grass, no jumps, no fun.

  24. …And a gravel bike is the bomb when all the necessary mounts are installed on it in order to go bike packing with the bike. 🙂

  25. Gravel bikes are positively useless, as are cyclocross bikes. I mean, biking has controlled races such that only cyclocross bikes can enter cyclocross races with arbitrary tire width rules, and such. But in all off road, and even gravel road conditions a mountain bike is faster. Going off road onto single track, it's not even a competition. I ride my incredibly light full sus Canyon Lux and more than keep up with the gravel bikes, and when we actually go off road, it's no competition.

  26. What are the tooth counts & GI for the wheels on these bikes. I still am having difficulty with the time discrepancies. I have a 1997 Fuji MX-200, was 48/38/28 x 14-28 on 26×2.10 knobby, swapped to same cranks x 12-18 on 26×1.75 tour rides. GI went from 89 to 103 GI. Has a rigid fork, so no power loss from spongy fork dive that even a lockout produces. At cadence it's 3-5 mph faster on flat land between 70-90 cadence. Imagine 26-27.5 mph on a 28-30 lb ATB. Just what I see, that 36 or 42T cassette cog, worthless gear that it is, dead weight on greenways & beginner trails. I know my 26er has the GI to beat 29ers & 27.5 MTB on less challenging terrain like asphalt & gravel flat land. It's soft enough gearing to handle seated climbs with 28×18. Hard enough to really go with a tail wind for flats & downhills.

  27. fully rigid 29er mtbs are funniest things to ride. One second you feel that bike is on control and moment later you think you gonna die. Full suspensions are more like "point and ride" solutions.

  28. So, basically you're saying MTB is boring because nowadays bikes have too much travel for the trails you're running, and this is why you use a modern retro bike. The problem is not modern MTB, the problem is the type of MTB you're using for your needs . I ride a full suspension XC bike "short"? with 100mm front and rear travel from a few years ago and I really enjoy every kind of terrain, Fire roads and gravel roads feel fast and smooth, small bumps are mostly skipped vibrations to focus on speed and fun, and the more technical trails can be ridden both uphill (which is easier as well because of the lower weight) and downhill, and the more technical it gets, the more challenge it is for you which requires your attention, your skills and hence it makes it fun.

  29. So, the new and imo overrated genre of Gravel bikes are a modern take on retro Mtb 's? Id say they're merely drop barred hybrids, no doubt good bikes for bike packing etc. My cheap Carerra hybrid (one of the finest bikes ever created) is a flat bar hybrid its similar to a retro mtb-having 26 wheels and a rigid fork. I have no doubt the bike industry is enjoying the high sales of the new 'gravel wonder bikes' that are really good fun as they are sketchy to ride off road with? A decent hard tail MTB is a more versatile and capable bike that wont make easy trails boring. You could always fit semi slicks pumped up to a high pressure if you wanted your MTB to be more challenging on easy trails if you wanted to make the bike harder to control like a Gravel bike!?

  30. when i boring with mtb biking, i ride with road bike on gravel and forest roads 😉 Trek madone 5.9 2013 with 28mm continental grandprix GT tyres 🙂 #Velopeak500

  31. Great video, good points. I built up a Bontrager mtb as a singlespeed and love it. On a local western CO desert technical rocky trail, my best times are about the same as my geared, 140 mm front travel 29×3 Krampus. And the entire build cost less than one tire on the newer bike.

  32. I still ride my unsuspended '96 p7 and it's great fun. Also quite enjoy beating all the guys on their brand new MTBs when I go on group rides

  33. 26" and V-brakes.  Exactly the bike I'm still riding.  It's not mountain biking that's boring, its your personal choice to buy bikes that remove any challenges to mountain biking.  So you buy Gravel bikes instead of the old style hard tails?  Whose fault is that?

  34. What’s that red flash? It’s me on my 1993 Saracen Kili Racer, overtaking your carbon gravel bike. Then stopping for knee surgery and an espresso.

  35. Sorry, is it really a surprise that a modern non-suspended bike is a pound lighter than an older front suspended MTB?  I'm more surprised it's not pounds lighter, rather than just over one pound lighter.  Plus, you're riding these bikes on smooth park walking path equivalent trails.  You could really ride your high falutin road bikes on those 'mtb' trails if you wanted to.

  36. Ditched my road and DH bike and rode my fat tyred cx bike to over 2k Koms in 4 yrs plus 3Peaks .Now fitted with Lauf fork.Awesome fun ,challenging on DH tracks and hard work up hill.Wouldnt have it any other way. Brilliant fun video,thanks

  37. Sorry but there is no point in gravel bikes there only good for cycling around you local park if you take them on PROPER mtb trails you will get rattled to death and the next day you will be in so much pain it is like bringing a knife to a gun fight

  38. Typical roadies – you measure fun with a stopwatch ;-P
    Tried & rejected full sus three times because the bike had more talent than me and was doing too much; hardtail most likely less efficient but more fun. Now switching back to full rigid; your gravel bike looks OK for undulating trails, but wouldn't fancy it on anything too technical: recommend you try Genesis Longitude.

  39. I don't know what all of you are talking about, enduro and downhill is the most fun you can ever have on any type of bike.

  40. My £120 Muddyfox Tempo 200 is just as much fun on the trails as my £600 gravel bike.. MTBs have their place… in the shop! 😉

  41. You just don't know how to smash a trail. The more capable the bike, the faster and harder you ride making your ride better and more fun! You roadies can't be talking.

  42. I still don't know where yall are putting your nuts and bolt in those cycling shorts. I'm new to them and my boys don't know where theyre supposed to be laying. Over one of the thighs or fold them up to your belly or get bigger shorts. Then there's the occasional numb pecker.

  43. Gravel bike is the most ridicules idea to have ever popped out of the bike industrie and there aggressive marketing strategy. Road bike for the road, mountain bike for off road. If it is a very light of road ride, then a front suspension only mountain bike will do. And you can have them under 9Kg this days. I do not understand or follow the hype.

  44. I agree with the sentiment that better bikes making rides less challenging, and hence take some of the fun out of it… but I really don't need to go back to my sketchy old setup. Let old dogs lie in peace. Great video guys.

  45. God, I love that term "over biked." I raced for many years and retired a few years ago. What do I ride. Hardtail with no front suspension 7005 series aluminum 26 inch mountain bike and I still beat the pants off of everybody I come in contact with. And I have a whole lot more fun. I am the suspension. My athleticism is the suspension. And my bike doesn't weigh 9000 lb either

  46. Interesting how their logic shifts when it suits their case. Simon's motto is "faster is better" until he loses to a mountain bike. In the Iceland bike packing video he says his gravel bike is better because it is slower and harder than on Neil's mountain bike. Now they claim mountain biking is too easy because bikes are better and faster now. So, I guess they should ditch their new lightweight, aero bikes since they make road biking too fast and easy, right?

  47. So why the needed for the bottle opener on the frame. When you have a perfectly good set of spd's pedals on those rigs. Come on lads! Show people how to use a spd pedal to pop that top.

  48. These retro bikes arent retro to me. I remember my friend getting a Kona with hydro Maguras or whatever was new at the new millenium, and i had a GT Avalanche looked like that zaskar but cheaper. My current bike is an early 2000s raleigh hardtail and honestly this generation of bikes is so versatile with 1.75 street tires at 65 psi and a rear rack.

  49. As a roadie-come-mtb'er I must say …. I AGREE! Nothing has been as much fun as my 26" 4" travel suspension hard tail. Everything else has felt detached. Though … I do also suspect gravel bikes are the choice for the purist roadies who wouldn't be seen dead mixing with grubby mountain bikers. LOL

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