Weight vs. Aero for a gravel racer

Especially for light weight issues concerning cyclocross / touring bikes & parts.

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caad4rep
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:18 pm
Location: Minnesota, USA

by caad4rep

I'm building up an Ibis Hakkalugi disc for the primary purpose of gravel racing. I'm in the midwest so we're talking a lot of rolling gravel farm roads and some short steep climbs in and out of river valleys. On pavement I think we have things figured out that aero beats light weight except for the steepest of climbs. Does this change at all if the surface is gravel? In gravel racing there is a higher chance of being isolated and also a higher chance of getting into some wind both of which I'd think aero would help out.

I ask because I really don't see much for aero components, wheels, bars, frames, etc... in gravel racing. Sure a lot of people are using their stock cross bikes or a touring rig but there are plenty of serious gravel racers out there. Why isn't more emphasis put on aero?

Curious as to others thoughts.

fromtrektocolnago
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Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:15 pm

by fromtrektocolnago

gravel racing tends to be slower than road racing and other factors such as wheels and braking solutions tend to be larger considerations. never even hear of an aero-gravel bike i think one compny 3t came out with one in the summer of 2016, never really understood the point. is this really a good direction to go in?
Colnago C-59 (Dura Ace)
Firefly(Ultegra)
Trek 5200(ultegra)

by Weenie


caad4rep
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:18 pm
Location: Minnesota, USA

by caad4rep

fromtrektocolnago wrote:gravel racing tends to be slower than road racing and other factors such as wheels and braking solutions tend to be larger considerations. never even hear of an aero-gravel bike. is this really a good direction to go in?


A little slower but still around 20mph over 100-150 miles. Would a 60mm wheel make a difference vs. a box rim? Just thinking on a saturday night....

1swiftvelo
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:37 pm
Location: NC

by 1swiftvelo

I'm doing Dk200 this year. Running Roval clx 64. Talked with Hed about this. They said the jet 60 would save 34 mins over thei Ardennes wheels.

1swiftvelo
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Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:37 pm
Location: NC

by 1swiftvelo

I'm doing Dk200 this year. Running Roval clx 64. Talked with Hed about this. They said the jet 60 would save 34 mins over their Ardennes wheels. That includes the weight penalty of the wheels.

mattr
Posts: 3412
Joined: Fri May 25, 2007 6:43 pm
Location: The Grim North.

by mattr

Have seen clip on tri bars used in some long distance gravel/endurance events.

Not only (slightly) more aero. But somewhere else to rest your aching body.

boots2000
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:28 pm

by boots2000

Depends on average speed.
That said, I think aero frames and aero handlebars are a waste for gravel (even for racing).
Often time times the bars are obscured by lights or number plates, also the bars need to be as user friendly as possible in all positions.
You actually need tops with tape on them to grip them.
Frames- I would not want a frame that rides harsh. I guess it depends on the frame.

But for wheels- there are many good aero wheels that take Tubeless tires. I would consider Enve AR 4.5 or the Royal CLX 50.

fromtrektocolnago
Posts: 980
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:15 pm

by fromtrektocolnago

For gravel racing, i'd be worried about carbon chips, crashes, etc. For this type of riding i'd be on a metal frame, Titanium or Steel preferably but if cost were an issue aluminum with alloy wheels.
Colnago C-59 (Dura Ace)
Firefly(Ultegra)
Trek 5200(ultegra)

Marin
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Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:48 am
Location: Vienna Austria

by Marin

Aero helps a lot, even on gravel.

However, most gains are to be had from position, clothing and helmet choice, and despite what manufacturers are trying to tell us, most bike parts will make almost no difference.

If you are riding tires that are much wider than your rims, wheel aero won't work anyway :(

Your best bet is to reduce frontal area, but narrow bars aren't ideal for descending on loose stuff, so clip-ons might really be a good idea.

fromtrektocolnago
Posts: 980
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:15 pm

by fromtrektocolnago

well said Marin!
Colnago C-59 (Dura Ace)
Firefly(Ultegra)
Trek 5200(ultegra)

tilf
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:56 am

by tilf

Rolling Resistance > Aero > Weight

If your tire is too narrow to float on whatever surface you are on, then everything else is lost. Aero next since it seems there is always a headwind no matter where you go. Clip on aero bars are half for the aero advantage, part to getting your hands some rest from washboard, and part someplace to hang things off of. Weight is important, but mostly in choosing what to bring/not bring in the longer unsupported races.

Cheetahmk7
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:09 am

by Cheetahmk7

For the last month I have being riding my Boardman CXR 9.4 whilst the batteries in my SRM from my Giant Propel SL0 where being replaced. Even with exactly the same position, clothing, helmet and 32mm slick Gatorskin tyres, the CX is around 2 km/h slower than my Propel is on the very same roads.

As for carbon chips my carbon CX cops a flogging and it doesn't have a single stone chip after 6000 km of use.

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LeDuke
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Location: Front Range, CO

by LeDuke

fromtrektocolnago wrote:For gravel racing, i'd be worried about carbon chips, crashes, etc. For this type of riding i'd be on a metal frame, Titanium or Steel preferably but if cost were an issue aluminum with alloy wheels.


As someone who rides almost exclusively on gravel or mountain bike trails, this is a complete non-issue.

One coating of helicopter tape on "vulnerable" areas and away you go.

nickf
Posts: 535
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:34 pm

by nickf

I'm not one in the aero camp even on the road. I do like "aero" wheels, deep carbon wheels are just stuff and snappy. Wheels seem to be the only thing with a noticable benefit. Everything else just seems like marginal gains. For me when it comes to gravel I'm more concerned about comfort. Cork bar tape, or double layers, tire choice, air pressure. I did build my trek crockett up with weight in mind. Went with mini v's for the weight savings. Disc are just too heavy for no real benefit. But that's just my own thoughts.

by Weenie


boots2000
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:28 pm

by boots2000

It is also worth mentioning that a gravel bike with discs and some meaty tires will never be truly light.
I have one of the lightest frames out there (Scott Addict CX10), and a decently light build.
Bike still weighs 18 lb.- 8.17 kg.

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