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