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Distinguishing Between All Road and Gravel Bikes: Exploring the Variances

November 27, 2023

When it comes to All Road and Gravel bikes, distinctions in tire dimensions, wheel size, geometry, transmission systems, and braking mechanisms set them apart.


Tires and Clearance:

Both All Road and Gravel bike tires are designed for diverse terrains, featuring tread patterns suitable for rougher surfaces and trails. However, All Road tires typically range from 28mm to 38mm, while Gravel bike tires span between 35mm to 57mm. Brands like Teravail offer varied options within the All Road category, from nearly slick tires like the Rampart to those with smoother centers and grippier edges like the Teravail Washburn, catering to a spectrum of road conditions.


Wheel Size:

All Road bikes often feature the more common 700c wheel size, accommodating wider tires. Conversely, Gravel bikes may utilize either 700c or 650b wheels, providing flexibility for riders seeking different geometries and tire options, especially for smaller frames.


Geometry:

The frame geometry of All Road bikes typically falls between that of traditional road bikes and Gravel bikes. While All Road frames are more comfortable than most road bikes, they don't precisely align with the geometry of Gravel bikes. For instance, the Salsa Warroad's head tube angle of 71 degrees contrasts with the Warbird Gravel bike's 70.75 degrees, along with noticeable differences in their wheelbases.


Drivetrain and Brakes:

All Road bikes commonly employ 2x drivetrain systems akin to traditional road bikes. While Gravel bikes might offer both 1x and 2x systems, the former is more prevalent in this category due to its simplicity, despite potentially larger gear jumps between cogs. Both bike types favor disc brakes for reliability and superior braking across diverse conditions.


Dropper Posts and Utility Features:

Gravel bikes often incorporate dropper seat posts, a feature less likely found in All Road bikes. However, All Road bikes might feature additional mounting points for bikepacking accessories, offering greater versatility for long-distance rides or multi-day trips.


Choosing Between All Road and Gravel Bikes

Deciding between these bike types depends on your preferred riding terrain. All Road bikes serve as a gateway to adventure, suitable for brief forays onto gravel or dirt roads. Alternatively, Gravel bikes excel in remote and challenging landscapes, offering durability and wider tire options for technical routes and off-road trails.


Remember, altering tires can significantly transform a bike's riding experience. Narrower, smoother tires offer a different feel compared to wider, more rugged ones. Ultimately, Gravel bikes accommodate both riding styles effectively.


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