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Apr 27, 2021

This week Randall and Craig take a look at the new Cervelo Aspero  and discuss its fit in the spectrum of gravel bikes.  We then dive head first into a discussion of the myriad of ways one achieves suspension on a gravel bike.  

Cervelo Aspero

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Automated Transcript, please excuse the errors

In the Dirt 20

Craig Dalton: [00:00:00] [00:00:00]Hello and welcome to in the dirt from the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. I'll be joined shortly by my cohost Randall Jacobs. 

[00:00:13]Each week we muse about gravel cycling and how it's fitting into our lives.

[00:00:18] These episodes are supported by listeners. Like you simply visit buy me a gravel ride to support the podcast. Additionally we encourage you to visit the ridership a free global cycling community

[00:00:33] It's something we created to serve the cycling community. And also serve as a back channel for any suggestions you had for the podcast

[00:00:41]With all that said let's dive right into my conversation with Randall.    .   hey Randall,

[00:00:46] how are you doing?


[00:00:47] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:00:47] I'm doing well, Craig,

[00:00:48] Craig Dalton: [00:00:48] how are you? I'm doing okay. A little bit rainy day here in Marin. So I'm glad I got a nice ride in yesterday.

[00:00:55] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:00:55] Very much needed given the water table throughout California and fire risks coming up next season. So not a bad thing.

[00:01:03] Craig Dalton: [00:01:03] Yeah. Fortunately they were actually, so I looked at the weather forecast and I made sure I got our ride in on Friday, which was great to see you. And then I got a nice ride in on Saturday.

[00:01:11] So I feel relatively fulfilled with my last few days of riding.

[00:01:16] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:01:16] Excellent. Yeah, I've gotten been back on the bikes since being back in the Bay and I've gotten a few rides in with friends and it's been great. Two people who are vaccinated. The statistics increasingly show that the risk of transmission is exceedingly [00:01:30] low, at least with the variants that are out there now.

[00:01:32] And so being able to go out for a ride with a friend and not have it be, something that has to be overly worried about is quite a relief.

[00:01:39]Craig Dalton: [00:01:39] Absolutely. I think we talked about this maybe on the last, in the dirt. It is a little bit awkward right now. I We run into people on the trails and there's still, I'm pulling my mask up to be courteous, but it, I feel like there's going to need to be some statements by the government to say, Hey, it's okay to be outside.

[00:01:54] If you're not, if you're vaccinated and eventually we can get back to normal trail use.

[00:02:00] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:02:00] Yeah. There's a lot that shows that outdoor mask usage, when you have a lot of space can be somewhat performative. But I do think that, especially in dense urban areas, there's still some value to that.

[00:02:11] And plus people are just getting over this traumatic experience of Being afraid of this pandemic. And so when I'm out and about, I have my mask with me and if I pass somebody even if I'm sufficiently distant, if they're wearing a mask, I honor their boundaries by putting my mask up and just, just so everyone is comfortable, but we're slowly getting to a greater degree of normalcy while at the same time needing to remain vigilant.

[00:02:34] Yeah.

[00:02:35] Craig Dalton: [00:02:35] Yeah. And we certainly have to acknowledge that other parts of the world aren't. Getting as close as we are to returning back to normalcy. So keep masking up, keep protecting yourself and keep protecting others for sure. Yeah. Yeah. But on, onto the gravel world, I saw pretty cool announcement from  about their newest Sparrow.

[00:02:53] Did you catch

[00:02:54] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:02:54] that? I did. Yeah, it seems that they have shed some weights and gone internal with all the [00:03:00] cables and hoses and the I also,

[00:03:02] Craig Dalton: [00:03:02] they did a good job of, aesthetically, it's a sexy, fast looking bike and I've always appreciated that they're very much in this race, bike category, which may not be for everybody.

[00:03:13] But I think it is for some, and it's, it's an attractive package.

[00:03:17] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:03:17] Yeah, and it's in the same mode of the, endurance, roadie type geometry. So this could be an excellent bike as the one bike for everything. Yeah. It's 72 head angle reasonably sporty handling and so on.

[00:03:30]And they have this flip chip that is interesting in the fork too. So it's in the fork, the flip chip.

[00:03:35] Craig Dalton: [00:03:35] Correct. And what's that

[00:03:36] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:03:36] all about? So the way that, that they're marketing it in the way that they've implemented, it is it's really a way to maintain the same trail figure when you have tires of different radius.

[00:03:49] And so if you have a six 50 by 47 tire, right? That's going to be 10 millimeters less radius than a 700 by 40. If you go 700 by 45, it's 15 millimeters. But just taking those two sizes. So it's going to be about 10, 10, 11 millimeters difference, depending on tire pressure and things like that.

[00:04:07] And so they have a flip chip in there that keeps their, the trail figure at, around 58, 58 and a half millimeters, which they. Have defined as the sweet spot. And so if that's important to you to maintain the same trail with two different wheel tire volumes tire radio, and then that can be useful.

[00:04:24] Craig Dalton: [00:04:24] So not effect of that. So what when for the uninitiated, what does that trail figure when you're [00:04:30] designing a bike and you said that, that 58 or whatever was what they thought was the ideal is that have to do with the steering quickness, the stability. What does it, how does it play out?

[00:04:41] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:04:41] He can think of it partially as quickness. It's really like the proponent. It's also the propensity of the bison to want to travel in a straight line. And so it's hard to explain without a diagram, but just in terms of numbers, yeah. A lower trail figure is going to be a little bit more responsive.

[00:04:59] So the ratio of input at the steering to output in terms of turning and so on we'll be great. Will be greater versus a. Larger trail figure, getting into 60, 65 or so that's going to be slower handling. So the inputs at the steering are going to be result in less outputs in terms of the bicycle actually turning.

[00:05:19]Craig Dalton: [00:05:19] Okay. So if you talk about extremes, like if we talk about a chopper, that's got a very extreme high trail number. And as everybody can imagine riding a choppered out bicycle, when you turn the handlebar, it's very slow to steer.

[00:05:34] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:05:34] Correct. And you end up with another problem. Which when you're talking about subtle differences in trail and, relatively steep head angles and the like, 70 to 73 range then you know, we'll flop, isn't an issue, but if you've ever been on like a really slacked out mountain bike, you'll notice that like the bicycle when it's straight.

[00:05:54] It's at one height. And then when you turn it one way or another, the bicycle actually drops a little bit. So the bicycle has a natural [00:06:00] propensity to want to turn in. And in fact, the more it's turning the faster it's going to turn. Cause there's the weight, your weights pressing down is causing that turning it's supporting that turning.

[00:06:11]And so that, that can be an issue when bikes get really,

[00:06:13] Craig Dalton: [00:06:13] so that's the net effect on climbing, but the net effect on descending, if we talk about on the mountain bike side is. Just stability through rough

[00:06:21] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:06:21] terrain, correct? Correct. And also when you're descending, you're, you're pointed downhill.

[00:06:27] So your head angle relative to the downward vector of gravity is going to be more steep when you're going downhill. And so the steering characteristics are different. And so there's a bunch the variables here.

[00:06:39] Craig Dalton: [00:06:39] Yeah. No, it makes sense. As I jumped from my. Heavily cross-country oriented 29 or a mountain bike to a more kind of all mountain bike that was full suspension.

[00:06:49] It became way back in Slack and climbing became maybe less fun, but descending became a hell of a lot more fun. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Particular bike. I know if with the gravel athlete, a lot of times maybe you don't get into thinking about the geometry and what it's going to do when you're buying the bike, but you mentioned that.

[00:07:09]The flip ship is just making it a neutral change between tire sizes. If you had two wheel sets on there, right?

[00:07:16] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:07:16] Yeah. And neutral in terms of, again, this trail figure. So steering input to steering output and the propensity of the bike to want to travel in a straight line. And this is one way to achieve this.

[00:07:26]And the other thing that, I look at this and it's okay, that's great. [00:07:30] But actually through the bikes geo in a little CAD program, and I just, queried what if I took the just. The standard, 51 millimeter trail position, and to change the wheels without flipping the chip, what would be the the impact on trail and the impact on trails only three millimeters.

[00:07:49] So we're actually not, I'm not sure that the juice is worth the squeeze. With regards to having this extra components three millimeters of trail may be noticeable to somebody who's really can appreciate that subtlety, but frankly our bike actually has the same front end geo.

[00:08:05]The DOB one is the same front NGO, 72 degree head angle in the large and a 51 offset. And I've written it with the 700 by forties and the node, the difference is subtle, but actually. The higher radius tire, like a 700 by 40 will, oftentimes you'd be running that tire when you're doing more straight, flat stuff anyways.

[00:08:25] And maybe you want slower trail when you put on that higher rate, the greater radius tire. And so that change in trail is actually a benefit because it's it makes sense for the the tire being mounted. So are you

[00:08:37] Craig Dalton: [00:08:37] suggesting maybe this particular implicate implementation of a flip ship didn't go far enough?

[00:08:42]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:08:42] And think that there's it is useful if you are, if you really have a a sense of the subtlety when you change this, but don't expect a radical difference when flipping the chip versus

[00:08:54] Craig Dalton: [00:08:54] changing the tire. It sounds if you're committed to one wheel size or another. When you put the six fifties on and you [00:09:00] put the chip in that particular position, you've got the bike that the Savallo engineer designed, correct?

[00:09:06] Precisely. So if you're like a one wheel set kind of guy or girl. You got, what's promised to you by the engineers, but it's not necessarily trying to change the performance from more of a road bike experience to more of a off-road bike experience.

[00:09:22] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:09:22] Correct? Yeah. It's really keeping the gravel focused experience.

[00:09:27]Consistent across different wheel sizes though, at the same time, like there is a, I'd have to take a look at how they've implemented here, but presumably one position there would be well, so there's a, trade-off here too, in that you, in a road bike geo you want. You also want the generally the handlebar position maybe to be lower and maybe the axle to be more underneath your where your hands are on the bar.

[00:09:54] So the either bars going out, the axle coming in, so that front ends more planted because on the road take like a high-speed road descent. You really want that front end planted because you have the grip and you want to feel you don't want the wheel wallowing. And then a lot of your braking performances there too on the dirt, it's exactly the opposite.

[00:10:13] You want to be able to get your weight back. You have limited traction up front, you don't want the front wheel to wash out. And so you'd want to be a little bit more upright the axle a little bit further out and so on. And it's hard to this, this implementation doesn't really achieve anything with regards to changing that dynamic.

[00:10:27] So it doesn't really make it more of a road, [00:10:30] more or less of a road bike in different positions. It's really about again, maintaining consistent trail. Across the two different wheel sizes that it accommodates. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:10:38]Craig Dalton: [00:10:38] I think it's interesting. It's an interesting model. I know a number of people who ride this bike, a number of people, frankly, who have given up their road bike, because this one was so good at riding on the road, as well as off-road, as you mentioned, very close to an endurance road bike, geo with the exception that they D they have built in decent tire clearance.

[00:10:57] I think at a six 50, you can go all the way out to a 49.

[00:11:01] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:11:01] Correct. Yeah. And I can't recall what they allow with a 700 I'm guessing at least 700 by 40. Maybe it fits a 42 or 45. I think it was a 42. Yeah to overlap, probably come. That becomes an issue in some of the smaller sizes in particular, beyond that point, which gets into yet another one of these like variables that have to be considered when you're looking at all these geometry PM parameters.

[00:11:24] Cause you can have the perfect geo, but if if you're gonna have to overlap, that's going to be a real compromise and may result in some safety issues.

[00:11:31] Craig Dalton: [00:11:31] Yeah, for sure. I feel fortunate that I'm in the medium or 56 kind of size because typically I do all right. When it comes to toe overlap,

[00:11:40] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:11:40] Yeah and I think we did one 70 cranks fee or one 60 fives.

[00:11:44] I would not

[00:11:45] Craig Dalton: [00:11:45] capitulate at the time in which I bought my bike and I went one 72, five, but I think I'm sold now that I would go one 70 in the future.

[00:11:53] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:11:53] Yeah. Proportional, crank length helps with that a little bit and allows you to do a slightly tighter front-end geo on the smaller bikes without adding to that [00:12:00] risk of a tow, right?

[00:12:01] Craig Dalton: [00:12:01] Yeah. And I don't have a particularly large foot, so that helps as well. It makes me skirt, the issue entirely.

[00:12:08] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:12:08] So this gets into, so we talked about a little bit about geo. The other thing we wanted to discuss today is the advent of, suspension. We're starting to see suspension particularly for, front end suspension on gravel bikes.

[00:12:18] Craig Dalton: [00:12:18] Yeah. I've been obsessing a little bit over it. Just trying to figure out the best way to articulate a conversation around suspension, because I think. A lot of times, and this may be true for some of the listeners out there. The moment you mentioned the word suspension, you get a hard stop.

[00:12:36] I don't want to hear about it. I've got no interest in suspension whatsoever, but the reality is every single bike out there in the world is suspended in some way.

[00:12:45] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:12:45] Absolutely. We use pneumatic tires. Exactly. As a suspension system.

[00:12:49] Craig Dalton: [00:12:49] And when we talk so much about tire pressure, as we have ad nauseum on this podcast, that is the number one spot in which a lot of people are getting their suspension.

[00:13:00] Correct.

[00:13:00] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:13:00] Yeah. And it, it is a pretty ideal place to get it too, because there are other benefits that come with getting your suspension from the tires. It is a rolling efficiency, comfort, traction, and so on versus say adding a suspension fork you're getting. It's helping with traction for sure.

[00:13:17] And that's one of the key benefits and helping with comfort, but you're adding a tremendous amount of weight and potentially some slop in the front end. So even if you block that out, it's never going to have the responsiveness when you get up and [00:13:30] stand up and really hammer on the pedals that are, a standard solid fork would have.

[00:13:34] Yeah.

[00:13:34]Craig Dalton: [00:13:34] I think that's an experiment it's like going back to tire pressure. I've got an experiment that every rider should do. And I encourage is go out there and ride on high tire pressure and see what happens in terms of traction and control.

[00:13:49] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:13:49] Oh, geez.

[00:13:50] Craig Dalton: [00:13:50] For us, for us and me, particularly here in Marin, like that, the repercussions become a very stark and are delivered very quickly.

[00:13:58] Like you can't, you just can't keep control of the bike.

[00:14:01] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:14:01] You get a little bit of a Pogo effect. And you just can't maintain traction because you have a much smaller contact.

[00:14:07] Craig Dalton: [00:14:07] Yep. Yeah, because I think you've got traction as one of the vectors that you need to think about around suspension. You've got just overall performance and how it, how the.

[00:14:17] Bike is feeling underneath your body, right? So we can only all take a certain amount of abuse from these bicycles. Sure. So again, figuring out suspension on the bike is critical. First starting point is, tire volume and tire pressure, and to put some specific numbers around it. And we riffed on this, on our ride.

[00:14:38] If you've got a six 50 by. 47 millimeter tire. How many millimeters of suspension do you think you get? If you're running a reasonably low tire pressure?

[00:14:48] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:14:48] So this is pure speculate. And if somebody hasn't done a study on this, I'm sure that we'll see this at some point. Think about like really when I set my tire pressure I'm [00:15:00] setting, when I have my tires on on a nice wide rim, so I can run them low without them squirming around. So in the case of the 60 feet by 47, this is like 25 millimeters. Plus I run on a 27.4 internal and that's plenty wide. So then from there it's what are the, what is the lowest pressure I can run and not bottom out the rim, given the train I'm riding and how hard I'm riding it.

[00:15:21]And so wanting to have a little bit of buffer in there. The one way I think of it as like over the course of the ride, I'm probably using. Two thirds of the tires travel. So 47 and be around 30 millimeters or so of the tires travel, just going over rough stuff as I'm, descending and so on.

[00:15:40]And then for those bigger hits, I still have a little bit of buffer there and the pressure is actually increasing slightly as the tire is being compressed. And so there's almost like a, it's a, it has a ramped air spring. Yeah.

[00:15:53] Craig Dalton: [00:15:53] And I think as we talk about other ways in which bikes are getting suspended, just having that 30 millimeter odd figure in our head is going to be interesting for discussion.

[00:16:02] Obviously, if you're running a 700 by 40 tire, you're getting less than that. So maybe it's, 22 or something, but as a listener keeps that in mind as we move forward, as some of I've been riding the Redshift suspension STEM for gosh, well over a year now, in fact, I just. Got sent the pro version to shed a little weight on it.

[00:16:25] I put the thing on, I initially thought that, I'd ride it and test it and let [00:16:30] people know what I thought about it and I'd take it off, but I haven't taken it off. And it's because it is just blended in the movement and motion, which I've set up to be around 15 millimeters. So again, half of what I'm getting out of the tires is subtle enough.

[00:16:44]And the performance changes is in my mind, positive that I keep that I've kept that on this whole time. So that's yet another way to achieve suspension on the bike.

[00:16:54]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:16:54] And with that STEM, they have different elastomers that you can put in so that you could get like the first bit of travel. Maybe your tires are more sensitive.

[00:17:02] So the first bit of travel is coming from the tires. And it's only when you have a bigger hit that suspension STEM is starting to engage. Yeah. And then

[00:17:10] Craig Dalton: [00:17:10] you do have some frame manufacturers building a little bit of travel into their frames. I should state that in a different way. You have some that are building, the capacity for travel within a rigid frame.

[00:17:22] And then others obviously are gone. I've gone to completely fully suspended route like the Niner, for example.

[00:17:30] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:17:30] Yeah. And I think maybe we start with the first one. So this would be like the steerer based suspension systems. And I think that on the one hand it is ultimately If we put aside the E any sort of structural complexity or compromise it's created with such a design in terms of the handlebar and not rotating that's a benefit relative to a suspension STEM, right?

[00:17:52] So you get, with your bars, I assume that you rotate them back a tiny bit so that when they're fully compressed, your hands aren't sliding forward on the [00:18:00] leavers, is that right? Yeah. This

[00:18:00] Craig Dalton: [00:18:00] is a slight adjustment to be made. Yeah.

[00:18:02] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:18:02] So a small adjustment. And I think that adjustment, frankly is a better compromise than, getting a suspension steer, which keeps the bars oriented in the same way.

[00:18:11] They just dropped down, but adds a huge amount of complexity in an area that is there's a lot of stress and it's very high consequences. If something goes wrong and if a part fails or something like that, and nothing bad happens while you still, you can't just swap it up. Apart really easily.

[00:18:27] Or if you don't want suspension on the front anymore, I guess you could lock it out. But with, a suspension STEM, you could always just put in a normal STEM. Yep.

[00:18:35] Craig Dalton: [00:18:35] Yeah. And there's also the rear end of the bike works. Some people are doing some trickery. I know BMC with their URS bike has a little bit of movement designed into the back end and even going back so far as their hard tail mountain bikes, which I owned one from about 10 years ago, they always brought the stays in.

[00:18:54] Pretty super low on the seat tube. So you got a little bit of movement designed into the carbon fiber. Now we're not, we are talking about a little bit what might you guess, like five millimeters?

[00:19:04]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:19:04] I think it's more than that. So in the case of that design, I'd have to look it up. Anecdotally, I have actually been to the factory where that is, is designed to without, as manufactured in Southern China.

[00:19:13] So I've seen how it's built and they're just using an elastomer in the upper part of the seat stays. And then the inherent flex in the carbon chain stays in order to achieve. Probably if I had to guess it's probably on the order of 22 millimeters of so or so. Okay. So it's not nothing.

[00:19:30] [00:19:30] Craig Dalton: [00:19:30] Yeah. Yeah. In the grand scheme of things, as we're adding things up. Let's do it as to what's your maximum amount of suspension that you could build into a bike. That's not insignificant,

[00:19:40] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:19:40] but I'm guessing they're adding a solid 200 grams or so to the frame to achieve that. And so you have the additional, the addition of the weights, plus again, as a road bike, you get out of the pedals, you want that, that responsiveness, and this is something that's inevitably sapping some energy.

[00:19:54] So there's always some trade off that bike. Of course is very much optimized for the off-road, all day in the saddle, hammering sort of scenario. You can see it reflected in the geo has a pretty long wheel base a shorter STEM pretty slacked out, front end. I think it's on the order of 79 or less than sorry, 69 degrees, 69 and a half degrees.

[00:20:15]That's pretty, pretty slacked. So you wouldn't really want to use that as a road bike anyways. It would feel somewhat piggish on the road. It's probably a good compromise for that specific application that bike is designed for. So then the question is do you want a bike that is really targeted?

[00:20:30] Or do you want a bike that is very much general purpose and versatile? Yeah.

[00:20:35] Craig Dalton: [00:20:35] I think this is really interesting to me because it reminds me of the journey that mountain bikes have gone on over the decades and how you really started to see the. Emergence of, these cross-country specific bikes that had these specific attributes and specific handling characteristics and you had on the other end of the extreme, downhill and the Enduro bikes that are completely different beasts at this point.

[00:20:58] Yeah. And [00:21:00] similarly, in the gravel market, I feel like there's maybe a little bit intention around the existence of all these bikes. Whereas you don't see that on the mountain bike side. When I see someone with a DH bike, I just assume they like to go downhill and they don't like to go uphill.

[00:21:16] You know what I mean? That's just your choice. That's where you're looking to optimize. And we're starting to see that around gravel bikes that you're you, as we've always said, gravel bikes, it's going to be so dependent on where you are and what you want to ride. How you're going to set these things up.

[00:21:31] So when you see a friend from out of town, come with a radically different setup, don't start Hocking them crap about their setup. Start to embrace and understand they're going to kill it in one section of the ride where you've elected to compromise the other direction on your bike, potentially.

[00:21:46]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:21:46] Yes though. I still I have a pretty strong point of view on this. Which, which how amount of not shy to share, I've shared it before, which is start with a bike that is as versatile as possible. So this is where I really like, we mentioned the, a Sparrow, it has like more of an endurance road, geometry.

[00:22:03]It, that, and then make accommodations to that bike such that it allows it to go as much into kind of off-road borderline cross-country as possible without compromising, that on-road feel. And you can do that. In a way that actually you get the best of both worlds and the trick to it is a dropper post because with the dropper post, if you think about one way you can do it is with Gio MITRE to make it more competent off-road so you [00:22:30] longer wheel base shorter STEM slacker, head angle more trail and everything that will make the bike want to travel in a straight line, give it stability and make you feel more confident.

[00:22:39]But the dropper posts. You can have the snappy or front end geo shift, your center of mass down and back over the rear wheel. Now your front wheel is nice in lights and can roll in sail over terrain. You don't have a bunch of mass distributed over that front axle in that situation.

[00:22:55]Those road surface that the trail surface is not causing significant torques. Torques to be applied at the handlebars. You can control that and I'm using a rear wheel for speed control. And so you can have a bike that has a snappier on-road geometry. But then when you go into downhill mode, you can get your weight so far back that you still have immense competency.

[00:23:15]We ride a bike that has the same front end. Is this a Sparrow with the thesis and with the dropper, you can ride it, down some pretty gnarly stuff. You're really limited by tires. Rather than

[00:23:26] Craig Dalton: [00:23:26] geometry. Yeah. I don't think we specified that the sort of the greatest travel in suspension between the bike and body is the body.

[00:23:34]If you allow the bike room to to you to really use your legs and arms and knees and elbows to absorb shocks, that's where the big suspension is

[00:23:45] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:23:45] happening. And allowing the, by having your upper body nice and loose and the front end, nice and light. The, not only can you be using your arms as some suspension, but the bicycle can rock.

[00:23:57] Underneath you and dance underneath you as [00:24:00] your, your legs and your arms are taking that up. And once you learn that technique, it is a night and day difference in terms of one's ability to ride even pretty rough stuff. Quite hard on these bikes.

[00:24:12] Craig Dalton: [00:24:12] It's true. The final category we didn't actually discuss yet is the emergence of gravel specific suspension forks.

[00:24:19] Yeah. Which would probably be, from an equipment perspective. The place where you could gain the most travel in a single location.

[00:24:28]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:24:28] I'm still very much in the dropper post camp in that regard given the amount of travel with these forks, but what's your take on, have you written one yet?

[00:24:36] I

[00:24:36] Craig Dalton: [00:24:36] haven't I should say I've written the Fox acts a little bit, but never on my home terrain. And similarly I've demoed a lefty Oliver, but never really in a place where I could compare it specifically to what I've, what I'm used to. I will say, when you make comments about, your setup versus mine, I increasingly feel inclined to have more suspension.

[00:25:02] And I think about it. In the context of, my rides versus yours, even if we're doing the same loop, because you're riding over to meet me from the city, my ride may have 90% dirt and 10% pavement. And the mileage you ride from the city may put you at, 25% pavement, just throwing something out there.

[00:25:22] And do you

[00:25:23] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:25:23] have a dedicated road bike still?

[00:25:24] Craig Dalton: [00:25:24] I don't. And it's a great point, Randall I've all, but given up on road riding, and I [00:25:30] may on occasion, I've mentioned this before, like a friend may come into town that just rides on the road and I'm, I'm happily, I'll happily join them for the company versus my desire to ride on the road.

[00:25:39] So more and more, I find myself willing to relinquish the road part of the performance of the bike and traded off for off-road performance.

[00:25:50]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:25:50] And that totally makes sense. And that's where I think starting to look at one of these more focused machines may make sense for some writers. I still am of the mind though, that you can like, so there's an evolution of what we have now where, you run a bigger tire up front.

[00:26:07] So imagine a two to five upfront and a 2.0 in the rear and imagine there's some magic through which the geometry could be changed slightly so that the front end comes up a little bit. The bigger front tire is further out. So the geometry slows a little bit. So now you have the suspension of that extra volume plus shifting your weight back and increasing the stability.

[00:26:27] But then when you throw your road wheels on, you can change the geometry and still maintain that snappy that snappy handling. This is possible. And look forward to talking about that in the future

[00:26:37] Craig Dalton: [00:26:37] mean. I think that's super cool. And I totally hear you on the tire size. Cause if we go back to our kind of armchair calculation about getting 30 millimeters of travel out of a 47, maybe when I'm going up to a two to five, I'm actually taking that up to 45 millimeters of travel in the tire.

[00:26:57] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:26:57] Yeah, it's a 57 millimeter tire at [00:27:00] 2.25. So yeah, you could use a significant chunk of that and have that tire running at lower pressure. So it's going to be even more sensitive to the initial hit as well. Yeah,

[00:27:10] Craig Dalton: [00:27:10] I think it's interesting. Again, I harken back to just the world of mountain bikes and how everybody sets it up based on how they want to enjoy their personal rigs.

[00:27:20] And I, for 1:00 AM radically open. To radical diversity in gravel, bike, setups, and design.

[00:27:29] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:27:29] I think I really like these new even more aggressive, gravel bikes that we're seeing that are designed for like more aggressive, single track and so on with a flat handle bar and dual suspension and a bigger fork.

[00:27:40] I think they're called down country.

[00:27:44] Craig Dalton: [00:27:44] I was going to say, that's absolutely where you lose me on the flat bar, gravel bikes. I wouldn't have it. I, yeah you, it's a bridge too far into close, potentially to mountain bikes. Cause you know, for many of the listeners, they may not own a mountain bike.

[00:27:56] I know a lot of gravel athletes come to the sport from. From road cycling. And I will say I'm still a big fan of mountain bikes. They're just they're fun in a different way. And I continued to ride them to this day for sure.

[00:28:10] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:28:10] And I'm still like minimal number of bikes for the maximum amount of experiences is what I'm all about.

[00:28:16] So I'll be continuing to bang that drum for a while,

[00:28:21] Craig Dalton: [00:28:21] right on. The conversation was a lot of fun. I hope the listener got something out of it again there's a lot of products coming to market, lots of different ways to [00:28:30] personalize your ride experience based on where you are.

[00:28:33] And yeah. If you're interested in commenting, we're always here in the ridership forum for you to meet us and talk to other members of the community.

[00:28:43] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:28:43] Yeah, we'd love to meet you there. There's a lot of let's take a moment to talk about the ridership real quick. These we're starting to see some interesting dynamics there in terms of now that people are getting vaccinated, starting to coordinate rides, reaching out, being like, Hey, I'm in, this particular region, anyone nearby.

[00:28:57] And we're seeing people chime in and be like, yeah, let's get a ride going next weekend. This is exactly the mission of this is to facilitate those offline connections. The more people that we have participating, the more of those connect, more of those connections there are to be made.

[00:29:10] So we'd love to have you join us for that as well as all the components nerdery and route sharing and all that good stuff. Yeah,

[00:29:17] Craig Dalton: [00:29:17] totally. It's a blast seeing that community take off in different ways that. We aren't guiding. It's just happening naturally as these things do as when you're a member of the community you contribute and you navigate and you create, yeah.

[00:29:32] If you have questions, you get out there and just get in the mix. It's been a lot of fun to see.

[00:29:37] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:29:37] Yeah. And a reminder, everyone, we did buy a group rabid GPS account. That is offered to members free of charge. And if you'd like to sign up, just go to the and you can get into the Slack and start getting some of these benefits right

[00:29:51] Craig Dalton: [00:29:51] on.

[00:29:52] Perfect. Gretel. I will talk to you soon, my friend.

[00:29:55] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:29:55] Yeah, I'm looking forward to it again soon. All right. Bye.

[00:29:58]Craig Dalton: [00:29:58] So [00:30:00] that's it for this week's edition of, in the dirt, from the gravel ride podcast. Thank you for spending part of your week with us this week, we'll be back next week with a long form interview on the gravel ride. If you're interested in supporting the podcast, please visit. gravel ride.

[00:30:20] And if you're interested in joining the ridership, a global cycling community. Simply visit Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels