Arbuckle23 wrote:The reason for raising this subject is the push with various magazines and YouTube sites for "Gravel" riding.
Is it the manufacturers driving this keenness via these media outlets and building up a desire, or is there a genuine need for these bikes?
Jesusmaryandjoseph, where have you been for the last half decade or so? Under a rock?
For at least a decade those of us who don't ride exclusively in velodromes or on freshly groomed hot mix had abandoned the idea that skinny tyres made any sense. Any sort of kerb jumping or root lifting of PSPs or a few hundred meters of unsealed road on the commute was positively evil on 21mm tyres. Plus that riding in all weather without mudguards sucked.
In those parts of the world where the roads aren't funded better than, well, everything else, people started discovering that all those unsealed and poorly maintained roads were simultaneously safer, quieter and more interesting than the well sealed highways. About the same time the sub24 movement took off meaning that a fully loaded tourer (or 30kg pack) was no longer necessary to get "off the beaten path".
The problem was that you couldn't fit tyres bigger than about 25mm in 2000 era frames and it got continually worse in the noughties. And mudguards? Forgettaboutit!
Bespoke manufactures like Rivendell and VO had been making "sensible" bikes for a long time and people like "bikes for the rest of us" have been championing them. Like in Audio, the French and Japanese had never really forgotten "the good old ways" of randonneuring and cyclotourism and the Americans have now come on board in a big way. But that involved sending lots of $$$ to get your bike (especially in 650B)
I'm not a-typical for .au/.nz in that my answer to find an old, lightweight CroMo frame capable of taking 27" x 1 1/4 tyres, complete with full mudguards.
A decade on 650B/27.5 and 35x700C tyres and rims are commonly available, and the big names are starting to try and cash in.
But, as we have to have a new name for this "new" (old) thing, fast all-road bikes have been called "gravel grinders".