The word gravel, whose meaning is gravel, represents exactly the spirit of the socio-cultural movement behind this new cycling current.
“Gravel” bicycles must comply with certain particular characteristics to be drivable and comfortable on white roads, and this obviously causes a different position of the cyclist on the middle.
If we analyze in detail a gravel bicycle we find that it adopts a greater drop between the wheel hub and the bottom bracket to increase stability, uses a slightly more extended column angle to distribute less load on the front, avoiding the understeer in tight curves on small “rolling stones” and, consequently, a slightly longer rear stay, also useful for housing a wheel with a more generous tire.
Gravel bicycles have a more open steering angle for softer and less nervous driving. The cyclist must partly adapt to these geometries and at the same time must adopt a position that increases driving safety without compromising speed and comfort.
In the first long it is necessary to reposition the saddle maintaining a knee angle as in a road bike but with a different orientation. By adopting a lower and slightly more backward saddle position the same range of knee travel can be maintained but it becomes easier to put the foot on the ground to correct the trajectory in the event of loss of control, as often happens on gravel or embankments.
The slightly longer fork favors a reduction in the drop between the saddle and the handlebar, but this feature is very useful for increasing the vehicle’s handling. A higher handlebar makes the bicycle extremely maneuverable even at low speeds and with tight bending angles.
And speaking of handlebars it is necessary to choose shapes that increase the safety of the handle when the hand is under the curve.
The stresses produced by the roughness of the ground can cause the contact between the hand and the handlebar to lose contact with unpleasant consequences.
Handlebars with an accentuated Drop Flare (23 ° – 24 °) facilitate the grip, guaranteeing excellent driveability.
Even if the “amateur road racers” do not like to get their hands under the curve of the handlebar but prefer mistakenly keeping their hands on the brake levers, on a gravel it is imperative to keep your hands underneath.
For this reason the handlebar must be positioned higher than the road bike and slightly further without exceeding with handlebars over 100 – 110 mm in length. By adopting a setting as described, the trunk will be more extended and aligned with the plane of the pelvis, changing the areas of contact between the lower back saddle.
Shorter saddles that facilitate movement when standing on the pedals and, generous but extremely light padding, guarantee an optimal seat for the gravel world.