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  • Writer's pictureMark Currie

Gravel vs. Allroad - what's the difference?!

Fewer cars, more socializing. Gravel riding is all about fun.

So, you've probably picked up on a bit of an emerging and flourishing trend in cycling... Gravel. It seems to be all we're talking about these days. However, I think there's still a level of uncertainty around gravel for many of us that only years ago would have labeled ourselves as either mountain bikers, OR, road riders. Now, a very attractive and popular bit of middle ground exists (and always has done...). So, what is "gravel"? Where do I find this "gravel"? Why is everyone doing it all of a sudden? Is it fun? Do I need a special bike for it? What kind of tires should I use? What size should they be? Hang on a second, Allroad is something different?! If you find yourself wondering about these kind of things, keep reading, we've got your back.

What is gravel?

Well, to us, gravel takes on many different forms. It's the dirt path through your neighborhood park or city greenway, the seemingly endless network of fire roads through the mountains, farm roads on the plains, little pieces of urban single track connected to make a loop, and frequently, trails that are probably better suited to mountain bikes if we're honest! As the iconic roads around Boulder get busier, we find ourselves looking toward these creative, less traveled, mixed surface routes all the more frequently. Routes that wouldn't be as enjoyable on a pure road bike or on a mountain bike.

Wave and be friendly. It's the gravel way.

These dirt roads and trails aren't new, so why all of a sudden are we riding them more? There's no doubt that new bike technology and the excitement around gravel are synonymous with each other. Sure, you can ride plenty of dirt roads on a 25mm tire and rim brakes - and you'll probably still have a good time. Having the right tool for the job however, will result in a riding experience that's a hell of a lot more fun, and one that inspires you to push the realm of possibility just a bit further. High volume tubeless tires, disc brakes, a wider gear range, and updates to frame geometry all contribute to the gravel bike's huge popularity. Part of what makes gravel so attractive is the versatility and ride quality offered by a modern gravel bike. Unless you live somewhere like Kansas or Oklahoma, there's a good chance that most of your gravel riding will also include some pavement. For us in Boulder, our favorite dirt roads and trails are connected or accessed via pavement. Having a bike that's capable, confident, and most importantly fun on mixed surfaces is paramount in creating a great riding experience. Depending on your ratio of dirt to pavement, we've got a few options to perfectly meet your needs. Our GT-1 and GT-2 frames are available in two distinct versions, Allroad and Gravel 45.

G-Series Gravel 45

Gravel 45 is our response to the increase in popularity of events like Dirty Kanza, Mid-South Gravel, Lost and Found, and the desire to explore even further off the beaten path. The terrain at these events is extremely demanding and unforgiving on both the rider and their equipment, making the bike, tire, wheel, and component choice absolutely crucial to completing the route. For many gravel riders, myself included, the attention to detail and obsession over choosing the right parts has become one of my favorite parts leading up to any event. For riders and racers taking a Mosaic to the Flint Hills of Kansas for example, we needed to create a frame with more tire clearance, a longer wheelbase, and the kind of geometry that's comfortable to ride all day long on the roughest, and longest routes imaginable. At that point, the rest is up to you! The gallery below has a selection of recent GT-1 45's and our latest addition, the GT-2 45 which is available in stock sizing and complete build options.

G-Series Allroad

Allroad bikes are designed for the rider that tends to split their time close to 50/50 on smooth dirt and pavement. A Mosaic G-Series Allroad frame and ENVE Allroad Fork will accept a maximum tire size of 38mm, but we find that most of our Allroad riders opt for a fast rolling, low profile, 32-35mm tire. A G-Series Allroad is the perfect bike for the rider that likes the feel of a fast and efficient road bike, but wants something just a bit more capable for the kind of routes that include a healthy mix of dirt and pavement, without having to make a compromise. Below are a few examples of GT-1 Allroad bikes that we've built, one in 700c and the other in 650b, a choice that's available on any G-Series bike - just ask!

If you want to discuss your dream gravel build, or you have any questions at all, please get in touch with your local Mosaic dealer, send us an email, or pick up the phone! We'd love to hear from you.


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