What makes a good gravel bike?
Tire clearance is a big deal. With gravel bikes, you have to find what works best for you. Do you like more of relaxed geometry? Me personally, I spend a lot of time on the road so I wanted something similar to my road geometry.
What specific equipment choices did you make?
If I had it to do over again, I would switch to 1X. I’ve been kind of a 2X or die guy for a long time! You see this evolution of bikes. I feel it’s pushed everyone in the industry to think of things differently. I have my bike set up as a 48-35 on the front and 10-36 on the back. If I had a frame where I could go a larger 1X chainring, I would probably run a true XPLR group, like 46 with a 10-44 is ideally what I would have gone with. I see the draw the 1X (with mud in gravel). I use 303 Firecrest on gravel and have great luck with those. For handlebars, I run the SL-70, 42cms. I kind of like having a wider stance on the gravel.
What attracted you to gravel? You already have a busy schedule of racing criteriums. Why make time for gravel?
My partner, Shannon, she’d been very interested in gravel. It’s a way for us to go to a race. She’s involved, too. She’s got her own race, her own goals. That’s been really cool. Another thing that has drawn me to gravel, road racing (not criteriums) are few and far between anymore. For me to get a three or four race-type effort in, gravel is a good option.