The debate between a cross-country (XC) bike and a gravel bike has been a hot topic in the cycling world for some time now.
Both have their own set of pros and cons, so it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at both types of bikes and see how they compare.
Cross-country bikes are designed for speed and efficiency on smooth, groomed trails. They’re typically lighter and have less suspension than other mountain bikes, making them ideal for climbing.
Gravel bikes, on the other hand, are designed for riding on rough or unpaved roads. They have a more relaxed geometry than XC bikes, and they’re often equipped with wider tires and more powerful brakes.
XC vs Gravel Bike
The main difference between an XC vs gravel bike is the tires. Cross-country bikes have narrower tires that are designed for hardpacked dirt and rocks, while gravel bikes have wider tires that can handle looser terrain.
Other than that, the two types of bikes are very similar. Both are designed for riding on unpaved roads and trails. Both have suspension forks and disc brakes. And both can be outfitted with a variety of different components to suit the rider’s needs.
The biggest difference between a cross-country bike and a gravel bike is the frame. Cross-country bikes have steeper angles and shorter wheelbases, making them nimbler on tight, twisty trails.
Gravel bikes have slacker angles and longer wheelbases, making them more stable at high speeds on rough terrain.
Another difference between these two bikes is the handlebars. Cross-country bikes have narrower handlebars that are designed for quick, precise steering. Gravel bikes have wider handlebars that offer more control and stability on rough roads.
Cross-country bikes have narrower tires than gravel bikes. This makes them lighter and faster on smooth trails but less stable on rough roads. Gravel bikes have wider tires that offer more traction and stability on all types of terrain.
Cross-country bikes have less suspension than gravel bikes. This makes them lighter and faster but less comfortable on rough roads. Gravel bikes have more suspension that offers a smoother ride on all types of terrain.
Cross-country bikes have smaller wheels than gravel bikes. This makes them lighter and faster but less stable on rough roads.
Gravel bikes have larger wheels that offer more stability and traction on all types of terrain.
Cross-country bikes have shorter seatposts than gravel bikes. This makes them lighter and more agile on tight, twisty trails. Gravel bikes have longer seatposts that offer more comfort and stability on rough roads.
Cross-country bikes are lighter than gravel bikes because they have less suspension and smaller wheels. This makes them faster on smooth trails but less stable on rough roads.
Gravel bikes are heavier than cross-country bikes because they have more suspensions and larger wheels. This makes them slower on smooth trails but more stable on rough roads.
Cross-country bikes have cantilever brakes that are designed for quick, precise stopping on dry trails. Gravel bikes have disc brakes that offer more power and control in all conditions.
Are Gravel Bikes Faster Than XC Bikes?
Yes, gravel bikes are generally faster than XC bikes. This is because gravel bikes are designed for riding on both paved and unpaved surfaces, while XC bikes are designed primarily for riding on pavement.
Gravel bikes have wider tires that provide more traction and stability on unpaved surfaces, and they often have suspension forks to absorb bumps and shocks.
Additionally, gravel bikes usually have lower gear ratios than XC bikes, making them easier to pedal on steep terrain.
Is XC Bike Good For Trail?
The simple answer is yes, an XC bike can be good for trail riding. However, it really depends on the type of trails you’re planning on riding. To do some serious off-roading, then a full-suspension mountain bike would be a better option.
It’s important to keep in mind that XC bikes are designed for cross-country riding, which means they’re typically not as durable as mountain bikes.
Do I Really Need A Gravel Bike?
A gravel bike will have a more upright riding posture than road bike geometry, with a longer head tube and shorter reach. This riding position is more comfortable for many riders, and it also provides better visibility.
The extra tyre clearance on a gravel bike means that you can run wider tyres at lower pressures, providing more grip and comfort on rough surfaces.
Many people use gravel bikes as all-purpose bikes, both on and off the road. If you only have one bike, a gravel bike is a great choice.
Can You Do Jumps On A Gravel Bike?
No, you cannot do jumps on a gravel bike. Jumps are typically only possible on mountain bikes with full suspension. Gravel bikes have much less suspension travel and are not meant for jumping.
Tires on gravel bikes are also generally not as aggressive as mountain bike tires, so they would not provide enough traction for jumping.
Can I Turn My Mountain Bike Into A Gravel Bike?
Yes, you can turn your mountain bike into a gravel bike. However, there are a few things to consider before making the switch.
Mountain bikes are designed for off-road riding, so they typically have wider tires and suspensions that help absorb bumps and rough terrain.
Gravel bikes, on the other hand, are designed for riding on smoother surfaces like pavement and packed dirt.
The tires on a gravel bike are usually narrower and the suspension is often less robust, so it’s important to consider how you’ll be using your bike before making any changes.
Mountain bikes typically have a lower gear ratio than gravel bikes. This means that you’ll need to pedal more revolutions per minute to go the same speed on a gravel bike.
Mountain bikes are often heavier than gravel bikes, and the geometry of the frame can make them less efficient to ride on paved roads.
Can You Ride A Mountain Bike In A Gravel Race?
The simple answer is yes, you can. A mountain bike will have no problem navigating the majority of terrain you’ll encounter in a gravel race. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning on using a mountain bike in a gravel race.
First, mountain bikes are generally heavier than gravel bikes. This can make them more difficult to pedal for long periods of time.
Additionally, mountain bike tires are usually wider than gravel bike tires. This can make them slower on paved sections and more susceptible to flats.
Why Are Gravel Bikes So Popular?
Gravel bikes are popular because they offer a versatile and comfortable ride. They can be used for both road and off-road riding, and they’re usually equipped with features that make them more comfortable and easier to handle than traditional road bikes.
Gravel bikes usually have wider tires than road bikes, which helps them grip the road better and absorb bumps and vibrations.
They also often have lower gear ratios, which makes pedaling easier on rougher terrain. And because they’re designed for comfort, gravel bikes usually have a more upright riding position than road bikes.
Are XC Bikes Fast?
Yes, XC bikes are designed for speed and efficiency. They are often lighter weight than other types of bikes, and their geometry is optimized for pedaling and climbing. It’s not uncommon for XC bikes to have suspension forks and/or rear shocks to help smooth out the ride on rough terrain.
Why Do Gravel Bikes Not Have Suspension?
The simple answer is that most gravel riders don’t need or want suspension on their bikes. Gravel riding is generally done on smooth surfaces, so a suspension system would just add unnecessary weight and complexity to the bike.
Additionally, many gravel riders prefer the faster handling and lighter weight of a rigid bike.
However, there are some situations where a suspension fork might be beneficial on a gravel bike.
If you’re riding in particularly rough conditions, or if you simply prefer the comfort of a suspension fork, then you can certainly add one to your gravel bike. Just keep in mind that it will add some weight and complexity to the bike.
How Much Faster Is A Gravel Bike?
The average speed on a gravel bike is often described as being between 15 and 18 mph. However, if you can maintain an average speed of 13 to 14 mph, you will be able to cover more distance in a shorter period of time.
Gravel bikes are designed for comfort and stability, which means that they are wider and have more suspensions than a traditional road bike. This makes them ideal for riding on rough terrain, but it also means that they are not as fast as a road bike.
While a mountain bike can technically be used in a gravel race, it may not be the best choice for speed and efficiency.
Additionally, gravel bikes are more popular than ever because they offer a versatile and comfortable ride.
And finally, while gravel bikes are not as fast as road bikes, they can cover more distance in a shorter period of time.