Forums › Mountain Bike Forum › Why a full-sus XC Mountainbike might be a better GravelBike? › Reply To: Why a full-sus XC Mountainbike might be a better GravelBike?
vapidoscar, tires make a MASSIVE difference. For instance, I did the Love Valley Roubaix (49mi mostly gravel back country NC mountain/logging road) race two years in a row. First year, I did it on my 29er hardtail (carbon, 21 pounds) with 2.1″ tires. Finished just above five hours. Year 2, I did it on 38c gravel tires, and finished in just UNDER four hours, similar conditions to the first round.
I agree with OP, that just putting skinnier tires on a MTB and using that for gravel is all well and good….but I’ve found that riding 50 miles, I want to be able to shift around a little bit and remain in control (hand positioning), which is something that flat bars can’t really do, and converting a MTB to drop bars COULD be just as expensive as getting a cheap gravel bike. (Converting means you’re screwing with the fit dimensions, buying tons of extra components, etc…).
Don’t get me wrong, a hardtail is great for long distance, but the issue with gravel/road riding is you’re in the saddle almost 100% of the time, whereas on the trail my buttocks are an inch or two above my saddle as I’m going over bumpy sections or cornering, or over the back wheel when descending. I physically move my positioning a lot more, whereas that doesn’t really happen on gravel track.