"Gravel bikes are just 90s MTBs"

I loved my 90s MTB.
I really love my gravel bike! It takes me back to those fun days riding around in the 90s, but the gravel bike is so much better in every way.
I use the gravel bike predominantly offroad on smoother trails and gravel roads (when I find them in UK) but have also done “red” MTB routes on it. Also love it when riding it on road and see a bridalway I’ve not been down before, time to explore…
Horses for courses really though. Where I live the trails don’t necessarily warrant a mountain bike and the gravel bike is perfectly adequate, but in the end it’s each to their own and as long as people are riding and having fun, who cares.


I use mine in a similar way, even though I’m Yorkshire based most decent MTBing involves me driving somewhere. With my gravel bike, I can link up the local trails (which would be rather dull on a MTB) straight out of my door - or on the way home / to the office. I’ve ridden loads of new (to me) little lanes and trails in the last 2 years that I haven’t in the previous 10 years.


I thing the wildest thing in this thread is more your abyssal level of comprehension about what people are saying.


Nah… the wildest thing in this thread is you trying to talk shit but accidentally describing my comprehension as deep in typing “abyssal” instead of “abysmal.”

Hey, at least you tried.


My ‘95 Gary Fisher HooKooEKoo has 74/71 seat/head tube angles. I have seen a few geometries of gravel bikes with the same or very close for my size.

1 Like

Bike geometries are more complex than just HT / ST angles.

1 Like

Gravel bikes are the new 80s randonneurs for me. Drop bars, space for bigger tires, and meant for long rides :slight_smile:

My “gravel”:

Fits 42 mm tyres without mudguards (please indulge the TdF bottle, I was on holidays, had forgotten to take a bottle with me, and could only find that one where I stayed). Braking is excellent until there’s too much mud ^^

Though it’s not from the 80s but MY2017 :wink:


More seriously though, the point in the article that may have triggered that discussion was that flat bar gravel bike aren’t that different from hybrids that were all the rage at some point in the end of the 90s / beg. of 00s.
In France we used to call them “VTC” (“vélo tout chemin”, that would roughly translate as “any-path bike”), to differentiate with the burlier VTTs (“vélo tout terrain” - I assume rough translation is straightforward enough).

Funnily enough, those VTCs still exist in the same form as 20+ years ago (the one pictured - € 149- being very similar to something you could have bought 25 years ago for a bit more money then, save from the single chainring):

That’s a seriously good looking bike…bonus points for the Regal saddle.


1 Like

Just saw a post on a Facebook Gravel group where someone is building a new gravel bike and has some specifications they want, asking for recommendations on frames…

They want a “gravel bike needs to have a head angle around 69-70 degrees, 29” wheels with a lot of clearance (up to 2.6" tires), and be able to accommodate a dropper post"

So… apparently gravel bikes are actually 2020’s MTB’s.


Thanks :slight_smile:

More pics here: For the love of steel - #36 by Raphael
Too-many words bike description here: Show off your bike(s) - #6 by Raphael

Saddle is a Brooks Cambium C15, in the sadly discontinued “Rust” colour.

Sorry for the left-side pic, was the most “gravelly-looking” one I could find with the fancy wheels and tyres on (real-world use is commuting - not much those days, errands and kids rides - not much in January weather).


Gravel bikes are anything people want to call something that’s not a race bike or a full-blown mtb (even CX bikes are getting “gravelled” now).

Not so long ago, what you describe would have been called a “monstercross”, effectively an MTB with drop bars.

Yesterday, I undertook my first outing on my rebuilt 80s steel road bike that went from 2x6 to 1x1 to 1x11 and now shifts 42/11-46, rolls on 700c 33mm cross tires and won’t be slowed down too much by these Shimano 600 brakes.

It’s a scary kind of fun, but tons of it.

1 Like

Had I any available cash now, I would buy a Surly Cross-Check and build something similar with 42 mm knobby tyres. My commuter above is limited by its slick tyres and mudguards when things get muddy.

I will probably build some 650B wheels, get some Tektro R557 and go for 40+ rubber. These may allow for mudguards - but then my actual commuter would be a bit redundant. This bike is meant to get dirty on: if gravel bikes are 90s mtbs and 80s road bikes are gravel bikes - wtf?

Gotcha…the rivets threw me off. :wink:

A couple of weeks ago I took my flat bar, hub-geared hybrid with 35mm slicks over some pretty serious gravel/dual track trails. Somehow I didn’t die.

1 Like

Of course you didn’t die, that bike you used IS a gravel bike :wink:

1 Like

One of the accounts I follow on the twitters posted something last year that said “all bikes are gravel bikes” and I was gonna respond “My TT bike would like a word”, but then I realized that yes, I had taken it on gravel before.