Gravel Riding Chit Chat

I’ve used the search function and can’t find anything specific …

… so, without taking over other topics, let us discuss anything Gravel related here :heart_eyes:

This follows on from @GeordieM and @sowler having a chat to me over on the Training Peaks thread;

Things I’d Like to Know

  1. Do you need a power meter? If so, what’s the best/cheapest option?
    I miss the “number” but feel like it’s not essential, as I’m more just enjoying thrashing around and getting some “air” when I see a little jump :face_with_peeking_eye:

  2. Frame bags Vs Saddlebags?
    The latter look as though they might swing around.
    Frame bags look “cleaner”

  3. Lights and Garmin.
    How do you get these to work with a handlebar bag? Mine is all properly in the way :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

  4. Wheels.
    What’s a good option with 50-60mm depth for Gravel? Looking at say £800-£1200, new or s/h, clincher and tubeless. Obviously.

  5. Erm…

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You don’t “need” a powermeter (or deep section carbon wheels for that matter), just like you don’t “need” separate road and gravel wardrobes :joy:


Touche! :rofl:

Okay - then I “want” them :slight_smile:
Maybe not power, as I feel as I can do without that…but some nice Zipp 303-esque wheels would look sick

  1. I’ve never had a power meter at all so can’t answer. But if your not racing I can’t see a huge amount of point.

  2. Frame bags definitely look cleaner. But they can’t store as much, can impede a bottle (depends how adjustable your cage is) and if your worried about it looking clean, having one that fits nicely with your frame could bother you. I got the MAAP x Apidura one as I saw in the promo shots they were on Diverges so knew it would be perfect. And for clothes and the like a saddle bag is way better. A stuffed frame bag could bulge and brush your legs. A fairly empty ish saddlebag won’t swing around, and the more expensive ones have better designs to stop this,

  3. I don’t like handle bar bags, they are the least clean looking things about. I use my frame bag or inside frame (SWAT) storage for whatever I’d put in one.

  4. Can’t help too much on this, I bought some budget but good value DT Swiss GR1600 wheels as my second wheel set for the bike.

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How much stuff are you looking to carry? If single day maybe a frame bag for heavy stuff and a medium saddle bag for light stuff clothes etc.

I’ve got a 13l saddle bag, not used it off road but it’s only really noticeable out of the saddle and even then you get used to it quickly enough.

Agree bar bags are a bit of a pita on drop handlebars

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Is this to quickly swap between road and gravel set-up? Any set-up issues when you swap?

Yep, well light gravel/road and mud setup. (Spesh Pathfinder 37s and Teravail Rutland 47s)

No issues at all. I bought a pair of second hand Shimano 180mm discs to upgrade to the front and then split the discs across both wheel sets. (Both wheels sets are centre lock) Bought a Sunrace cassette which is 2 cogs (34 v 36 I think) bigger but still works fine with the existing chain length.


The Reiver kit list, plus what @Sowler said on the other thread (flip flops, boxers, shorts, t-shirt, spare cycling socks and base layers)

  1. I don’t have a power meter on my Pickenflick. I don’t miss it really. If I were so inclined i might get a pair of Garmin Rally pedals in SPD and swap them back and forth with my MTB, but I can’t justify the £££.

  2. Frame bags just look cleaner. I think those giant wobbly seat pack look shit. I actually think a proper rear rack is the gold standard, but it’s unfashionable and my Pickenflick, and may other gravel frames, lack the mounts anyway. I’m seeing a lot of these Tailfin racks in my socials (because they splash the sponsorship on YouTube gravel “influencers”.) They at least look aero/modern.

I’ve a Restrap frame bag in large. And a dirt-cheap Planet X Podsacs one too. Both are fine. If I were buying new I’d either go Adipura or the Restrap Race range, plus a matching top-tube bag.

Aside: I did 300 miles of the North Coast 500 a few years back (before the NC 500 had been named and marketed!) going from hostel to hostel using only a 15L Carradice bag behind the saddle. It made the bike very swingy and it felt odd being out of the saddle. And that was 95% road. My next graod tour will be frame + top tube + light (<5kg) rucsac. Or a wee downtube bag near the chainset.

  1. My wife and I night ride on MTBs. We are an Exposure Lights family. A Diablo on the helmet works well. Six Pack on the bars. If I were running a bar bag (I don’t) then I’d have the light on top of the bars above the bag.

  2. I’ve got some Zipp 303s (700c) but have yet to use them on gravel. I’m looking at a box right now containing new Tubolight tyre inserts, Panracer Gravelking SKs 700c x 43mm pair, some thru axle to skewer conversion caps and a bottle of Stans sealant, but I’m still waiting on an eBay wonk to post me a new cassette (9-46 SRAM XD). I’d wanted to get out this weekend too as it is thawing rapidly :smiling_face_with_tear:. Typing this reminds me, one of the reasons I chose Zipp is the lifetime warranty and I need to register those wheels…

Are you going 700c or 650b size wheels? My frame can accommodate 45mm tyres at 700c so I’m ok with that. But if I wanted to run 50mm tyres/2.1" I’d need to go 650b. I didn’t look into other wheels too much TBH. There were some good deals on Zipp 303s around e.g. Start Fitness + their 10% off new customer discount. Something to consider.

Got a mud guard? I’m eyeing one of these Win Wings.


Exposure six packs are :money_mouth_face: :money_mouth_face:

I’m rarely out of the saddle for any length of time unless its uber steep, but I’m not 1x. I don’t find saddle bag swing that much of an issue. I’m full Apidura these days and it straps up well to the saddle. A few companies do a good system with a bar off the saddle to stop swing or you go tailfin.

Win wing, reminds me I need to order another cheapo MTB fork guard to revise my removable seat stay bridge mud guard.

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Check out Josh Amberger on the insta at the moment. He’s on some epic, muti day grav tour. Looks ace.

I think my Six Pack was from their Outlet page (factory second - dodgy etched logo), so it was perhaps 25% cheaper, but still $$$.

It’s all sandy gravel in Deeside/Donside as it’s granite bedrock so mud is never too much of an issue. Still, soggy buttocks are to be avoided :smile:

I got the Pickenflick a few years ago but the chainring rubbed against the frame so PX said I could either wait a few months for a new frame or swap it for something else, so I got the Tempest. Hopefully out on it tomorrow as suitably muddy.


This was my set up for Dirty Reiver in 2018, pretty basic but did the job


Very dry day when I did it, I took my guards off.


So … @r0bh and @Doonhamer - just how hard is <7:30 ???

Very hard I would think.

Route was 120 miles when I did it, and I was 9:30 moving, 10:12 elapsed. Should have faffed around a bit less to get under 10 but I’m not sure I could have gone much faster than that.


9:12 & 9:33 for me, most of that resting was done in the last 70km when I was suffering like a :dog:.


Is there any flat? :exploding_head::exploding_head::exploding_head:

That profile looks mental!

Top tube bottle full of gels?