Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)
  • Ti Gravel bike vs Ti large clearance endurance road bike
  • Premier Icon bozbozboz
    Free Member

    help me solve the one bike to do it all conundrum:

    Ti “Gravel” bike vs Ti large clearance “endurance/all season/4 season” road bike

    Reilly gradient (700c Max 45c) vs Reilly spectre (700c Max 35c, 32c w/ guards)
    Kinesis tripster atr (700c Max 45c, 40c w/ guards) vs Kinesis gtd (700c Max 34c, 30c with guards)
    Enigma escape (700c Max 45c) vs enigma etape (700c Max 35c, 32c w/ guards)

    I’m in the market for a titanium do it all bike which will be used for 60-70% road throughout year (audaxes & 200km + rides, together with hard effort training rides) and 30-40% “gravel” type riding +/- bike packing and touring. I’ve considered steel (Fairlight Strael 2 and Secan, both excellent but long lead times) and carbon (Canyon Grail and the new 2020 Trek Domane) but like the idea of the non corroding, potential life time longevity of Ti (+/- warranty).

    Question: what if any are downsides of using “gravel bikes” on the road with smaller volume tyres (28-32c)? I’m imagining that their slightly slacker head tube angles and longer chain stays/wheelbases will make handling a bit less direct on the road. However, I’ve been led to believe by manufacturers that the gravel bike examples above will perform fine on the road & no less direct than the endurance models, just have the facility for wider tyres. If this is the case then what’s the rationale of them producing extended clearance endurance road bikes (spectre, gtd & etape above) if gravel bikes can do what they do on the road? Surely the shorter wheelbases and slightly lower stack:reach ratios mean something in terms of road handling?

    Anyone have any experience of the above bikes/similar?


    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member


    I use a Van Nicholas Amazon for pretty much everything you’ve mentioned. I’d just stop focusing on little details and buy the one you like most – unless you’re actually planning to race it at a high level.

    I really can’t see a disadvantage on having better tyre clearance, especially once you start taking it off road.

    Premier Icon sheck
    Full Member

    I have a ti bike which is designed for the rough road end of the gravel-rough road spectrum. I have a set of 700×28 slicks on one wheelset and 700×35 knobblies on another. I use the latter wheelset for any ride that isn’t going to be exclusively tarmacced. With the road wheels on, it gives nothing away relative to the focused carbon road bike it replaced… it’s heavier, but I think slightly stiffer at the BB, which translates to no discernible difference (this stiffness could be the difference to a more gravelly bike with road biased wheels?)

    With the knobblier wheels on, it’s fun and comfy on anything you’d call a road – including gravel and dirt, but very compromised on rocks and roots. I’ve made the decision that’s what a mountain bike is for, so I’m not particularly concerned.

    Premier Icon Daffy
    Full Member

    I used a Tripster as my road bike with 32c tyres on one wheelset and 45s on another. It was fine and more than capable of keeping up with other roadies on Sportifs etc.

    I’ve now got an Open Up as my primary road bike. My average speed for most rides less than 2 hours is between 32 and 35kph on 32c tyres. They’re not, in any way, slow – sure you may be losing a few Watts, but it’s not much in the grand scheme of things.

    One thing I tend to struggle with on Ti Gravel bikes is that making them compliant with CEN MTB testing standards makes them notably heavier than Road bikes.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    As you say, I found small tyres made my gravel bike feel really low and over stable. With big slicks at high-ish pressue it feels* great though, the the bastard lovechild of a road bike and a fat bike it just pings off potholes.

    If you want to use it off road i would err towards 45mm tyres. Ive got 40’s and they’re fine but its a fine line between grip and dinging rims.

    I know a few people who ride ‘endurance’ bikes off road, and ehilst they cope, they look a bit out of their comfort zone nursing 28mm slicks across a rutted bridleway.

    * skinny tyres will be faster, but unless youre the least fit in a group that just means working slightly harder.

    Premier Icon boblo
    Free Member

    I use gravel bikes for road riding and road bikes for gravel. They’re not self aware so no issues. If I wanted a do it all bike, I’d buy one of the gravel/wide clearance jobbies and either put road tyres on for road or have a second set of wheels for road. Gearing might be different for road as well so a different cassette on your second set would help.

    I do that with my gravel bike and it’s brilliant on and off road.

    Premier Icon avdave2
    Free Member

    I’ve been having the same thoughts in deciding between those Enigma options. It’ll probably be the Etape as I really only envigage 10% or so of the routes it’ll be used on being off road. It’ll be when I want to avoid particularly busy roads and there is a off road option to get from one quiet road to another. I’d rather be slowed down on those bits rather than the road bits even if the difference is small.

    Premier Icon boblo
    Free Member

    I’ve an Etape and max tyre width is 28c with guards. That’s fine for a bit if off road bumbling so long as you don’t go mad/it’s not too ‘off road’…

    Premier Icon TiRed
    Full Member

    I have a Ti cross bike. Gravel bikes as they used to be known. It’s fine on the road running 1×10 with a wheel swap. Mine has hideously unfashionable mini V brakes but I’m not dead yet.

    It’s very light. Road went to cross and was then rebranded gravel. Then came the discs. All good.

    For longer Audax you will want mudguards. You won’t want to keep removing them either. You’ll also want a 1x drivetrain. Slower handling geometry will help in the night hours of a 600 km.

    Premier Icon munrobiker
    Free Member

    I had a similar dilemma a couple of months ago with my new bike. I’d had a Pinnacle Dolomite stolen, an endurance road bike with clearance for 32c tyres, and wanted a replacement that’d let me do a bit more rough stuff. I was looking at a Sour Clueless (their endurance road bike, 35mm with guards) or the Sour Purple Haze (gravel bike, 2.1″ 29er tyre without guards).


    And my Purple Haze-

    I decided that more was better – if I wanted to fit smaller tyres I could, but have found that now I have the option I do a lot more gravel and off road stuff on it. I started with 35c Clement Xplor Ush tyres, with a fast central strip, but have already upgraded to 42c Conti Speed Rides which have more tread. I’ve found that it’s massively more enjoyable off road – more capable on singletrack and more comfortable on gravel – without a marked difference in average speeds on tarmac. In fact, having just had a quick look on Strava and my speeds with the new, bigger tyres are actually a little higher (18mph vs 17.5mph on solo rides of around 30 miles, 50/50 on and off road).

    It is a longer bike, which does mean it feels less snappy but the trade off is that it feels very stable, and I quite like that. It’s definitely not as fast as my actual road bike but I ride it a hell of a lot more.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    My experience with 2.1″ gravel 29ers is they get a bit heavy and uninspiring. Although the next owner of my vagabond got a bargain and loves it so horses for courses. I prefered ‘fast and light’.

    Following that Im more curious to try 650bx50mm or thereabouts. Lighter wheels with cushioning.

    Premier Icon w00dster
    Full Member

    I use my Domane for Gravel duties. Its carbon and I use 33mm knobblies on it for off-road use. It could go to 35mm if I changed the front deraillieur to the newer version of Shimano 105.
    Obviously this bike is fine on the road. But its compromised off road. 33mm isn’t enough for me – I’d personally want to ensure I could get at least 42mm for any off-road use.
    My view is that the compromise is bigger using the road bike off-road, as opposed to using a gravel bike as a road bike.

    Premier Icon cr500dom
    Free Member

    I have a Kinesis Decade Tripster ATR Mk1
    I have 2 sets of wheels, one with 28c 4 seasons, and one with 42c Conti X-kings
    Both fit under guards although it can get a bit tight on the knonblies
    Its a bike i brought to ride anywhere, it has a Ti Tubus rack too so I can commute on it with gear, or tour if the mood takes me.
    I sold my carbon road bike and was no slower on the tripster.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    I may have this dilemma next year, so following with interest

    Premier Icon ibnchris
    Full Member

    I used to have a carbon audax bike but when I bought the Reilly Gradient I’d be lusting after I long term lent it to a mate.

    The Gradient ‘feels’ heavier sometimes but I don’t think it is. I just have fatter tyres etc and feel more confident on it. I don’t feel too slow on the roads (use 32mm on Hope 20Fives) and can keep up with my mate on a super lightweight carbon canyon jobby.

    I have a lot more confidence than him on some of the sketchy lanes around Kent as well.

    The I have a set of hope xc 27.5 wheels with some 42mm Tyres that I take on routes that will be long and mixed.

    Happy with my choice but do sometimes wish I hadn’t given the carbon bike away. Just coz…

    Premier Icon kerley
    Free Member

    I’m imagining that their slightly slacker head tube angles and longer chain stays/wheelbases will make handling a bit less direct on the road.

    All depends how much slacker and how much longer. After 10 minutes of riding I am not sure you would really notice or care about 0.5 or 1 degree on the head angle or 20mm on the chainstay (I ride track bikes and the chainstay length effectively changes each time I change gearing and can’t say I notice it at all).
    The only thing I find very noticeable are tyres and as the gravel option allows a bigger range that would be my determining factor especially if you are using on the rougher end of gravel roads for any amount of time.

Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)

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