PROS + CONS GRAVEL SIM­PLY SAD­DLE UP AND RIDE

Bicycling (South Africa) - - STORIES -

PROS

1 / One = two. Get your gravel grinder and a set of road wheels, and you solve stor­age prob­lems. If you pre­fer off-road rid­ing but also en­joy the odd road race, it makes sense to have one bike that can trans­form into two – rather than two, with one gath­er­ing dust most of the year. 2 / Steel your­self. Gravel rid­ing is the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to pur­chase a steel frame. “The SOMA Wolver­ine is a steel-frame bike,” says David Malan. “These frames are more springy than car­bon or alu­minium, which is what you want on the gravel. Even though the bikes don’t have sus­pen­sion, the frame acts as sus­pen­sion for you, with no com­fort sac­ri­fice.” 3 / No lim­its. “I see so many more grav­el­type bikes on the moun­tain now,” says Stan En­gel­brecht. “That tells me peo­ple are ‘get­ting’ it – which is to say, you re­ally can ride any­where on these bikes.” 4 / Karmic calm. The gravel bike also lends it­self to a more soul­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. With no dropper post or dual sus­pen­sion there’s less in­cen­tive, on your

week­end jolly, to pre­tend you’re Greg Min­naar. Sim­ply sad­dle up and head into the un­known (or to the near­est cof­fee shop) at a se­date and gen­tle­manly pace. 5 / Fuss- free. No shock ser­vices, no drop­per­post mal­func­tions, no cracked car­bon frame, no tube changes. To (mis)quote Freddy Mer­cury: get on your bike and ride.

CONS

1 Choos­ing/ Choice a as­sort­ment.bike may be be­wil­der­ing, as more and more op­tions are start­ing to pre­sent them­selves. 2 / Op­por­tu­nity cost. There’s no real gravel trail net­work to speak of yet (but then, that’s the beauty of ex­plor­ing). 3 / False di­ag­no­sis. Your rid­ing bud­dies will think you’re mad – un­til they’ve ex­pe­ri­enced the joy­ful sim­plic­ity of gravel grind­ing for them­selves. 4 / Mis­taken iden­tity. There’s the po­ten­tial for you to be seen as a fringe hip­ster lu­natic, be­cause there’s no race for you to win. 5 / Closed door. It’ll be tough to sell the ‘I re­ally need this bike’ line to the mis­sus ever again, af­ter she reads the above and learns that the gravel grinder is so very ver­sa­tile.

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