Enjoyed mine kitted out with 700×43 on a Road/Gnarmac/Gravel ride today, only a hour spin but got me out the house.
Can’t say I’d want to go as far as fitting a dropper post to one but I was a latecomer to droppers on MTBs so got pretty adapt at sticking weight out over the back of the saddle with it at full height. Still forget to drop my dropper half the time….
I do kinda wish I bought a Slate when I had the change….
I’m a confirmed “Gravel” fanboi, however nobody has ever actually defined what the Gravel niche really is.
I know what I think it is, and my idea is quite a loose definition, I just view it as owning/using a bike (almost any bike) that you can enjoy riding on/off road without a uniform (wear lycra/baggies/boiler suits/whatever) where the focus isn’t on competition “race pace” or outright speed (although there are races and events now) but on simply enjoying riding that bicycle where it can take you, what you get to see…. The bike is almost secondary, if it’s an MTB to you then fine, ride an MTB, you’re as well riding an “industry approved gravel bike, a tourer a fixie… I don’t think it really matters TBH.
I do think it’s funny though for MTBerists to be criticising gravel as a marketing promoted niche… Of course it is! So is just about every sub-genre and splinter faction of MTBing, or for that matter road/CX/touring/BMX/commuting and so on, there are very few “non-commercial” bike companies, I’ve never managed to buy anything from one…
Very few forms of cycling are really the counter-cultural, underground phenomenon participants often think they are, “gravel riding” arguably comes closest (at present) despite being one of the bike industry’s favourite hype trains, precisely because it’s so poorly defined…
i said earlier that for me its a training tool. i took the mtb out this weekend and the speeds just felt pedestrian after riding the gravel bike so much recently, not to mention everything is that little bit calmer with suspension. im therefore concluding it was entirely down to gravel bike training that i managed some sneaky top 10 strava segments.