So I watched the Chris Miller Cycling video released a couple of days ago where he talks with the guy from GC performance. They were pretty adamant that a bike like the Vitus GR and RS, bikes meant to be suited for both gravel and at least casual racing (amateur crits) wouldn’t possibly work and would be garbage at both disciplines, essentially. Is that really the case and are cyclists being sold a bill of goods? I hope that’s not the case as I’ll be in the market in a couple of years for just the sort of bike the Vitus GR or RS promises to be. Something I can ride on gravel or swap some wheels out and go race a amateur novice sort of crit on the weekend. I currently ride a Giant TCR Advanced 1 KOM that I picked up out here in Japan and have managed to log about 8200 miles on since last April. I’m planning to get a new bike when I head back to the US in a couple of years and I want to get into gravel as well as amateur crit racing when I get back. The trouble is I’ll have a 4-5k budget that will cover one pretty good bike but definitely not two. A bike like the Vitus seemed to be the answer to my prayers so I was/am a bit bummed to hear Chis Miller and Jesse Coyle along with the GC guy just take a crap on the whole idea.
Can you share a link to the video to review their thoughts?
The key to this basic question lies a bit in your goals and preferences that may lean towards one discipline over the other. This matters since the limitations that exist in bike design along with the potentially unique demands in each discipline mean that there is potential for conflicting priorities.
There are bikes that definitely would lean one way or the other with some elements that are neutral or at least not overly negative towards the other. Without more info, the basic suggestion I’d consider would be looking at “race gravel” bikes. These tend to be more “road bike like” in geometry, stiffness and handling while still offering decent ability to fit larger tires appropriate for gravel use.
Here is a worthwhile topic to read since it covers bikes that may well get close to your goal:
Good idea on linking the video. It’s a long video but one of the first things they talked about so it’s right at the beginning. GC Performance on “Do it All” Road/Gravel bikes, Clincher vs Tubeless & YouTube Income - YouTube. I have no issue with the bike favoring one discipline over the other, I think that’s probably to be expected.
I have a friend that has a Giant TCR and a Specialized Crux (not S-Works). He put road wheels and tires on his Crux this past week and went out on a 40-mile road ride and came back stating he no longer needed the TCR as the Crux was faster. Seems like the Crux could possibly work for Crits and Gravel. He loves the Crux on gravel. We both have Lauf Seiglas (with rigid fork / didn’t like the leaf spring suspension fork), and he prefers the Crux.
I can imagine some gravel bikes with very long, stable geometry would be unsuitable for crit racing. I would think there are some models with suitably nimble geometry to handle both. Cross bikes should also be an option. Handling wise, they prioritize a lot of the same things that are important for crits. Gearing is also going to be a consideration. Most gravel/cross bikes do not have enough top end gearing out of the box for road racing. That should be able to be fixed as long as you are not boxed in with a 1X drivetrain.
Yeah the 1x of the Vitus GR was one reason I was thinking I might prefer the RS since it comes with a 2x drivetrain. I’m honestly not sure which discipline I’ll do more of when I get to the States, road or gravel. It’ll depend largely on where I end up which will likely be the South or South East part of the country anywhere between North Carolina and Alabama. I love road riding out here in Okinawa Japan where the traffic speeds are a lot lower and drivers are pretty respectful of bikes. I’m not sure I’ll be too thrilled to get in the mix with American drivers and so gravel might make up the majority of my riding.
I have done this and am currently doing this.
In the past I was using my Focus Mares 1x with two wheelsets for gravel, cx, and crits. It was great. I regret selling it. Snagged a few crit podiums and do well at gravel.
Now I’m on an Exploro RaceMax. So far so good. The only negative is tire clearance in the rear for gravel. Probably selling it. Replacement for it would be the Aspero, Crux, or GS1 for the do it all. It’s doable. Cat 3 crits and usually race age group or open pending the gravel course.
It’s not impossible and also probably not ideal. (FWIW, I have a Crux and a road bike and a mountain bike.)
Gearing - my Crux is 1x and it sucks when I ride it on the road. Even if you have 2X, you can’t just swap wheels and a smaller cassette without also swapping the chain and probably chainrings. It will be a giant PITA.
Tire clearance - on a lot of the gravel I’ve ridden, the wider the tires the better and faster you are. My Crux was actually a limiter here with it’s 38mm (40mm absolute max). My buddies on Salsa Cutthroats and 65mm tires were way faster. So it really depends on the local gravel and how much clearance you ideally want.
Ship your TCR back and use it for road/crits and buy a new gravel or Allroad bike. Also, it’s nice to have an older beater bike to race crits on. You wouldn’t want to destroy a new carbon frame in your first crit and then be with zero bike and no budget left.
I’ve tried this and i think its very bike specific. I’m currently on a Willier Jenna and have raced road, circuit/crits and of course gravel on it and it is very much a gravel bike. Especially as a crit bike the HTA is too slack, its too heavy, wheel base too long and just not snappy. When i had a 3T Exploro it was a little better but still not ideal. I could see the Crux working or any other more CX type of frame. Gearing is another issue where if you have a 46 or smaller it would suck for anything over 30mph.
I have a Focus Mares CX bike and very happily race both cross, crits, and gravel on it.
I had a Trek Emonda that got run over…and had considered replacing it with another road bike. After a couple weeks of riding the Focus on the road, decided I would never be able to tell any meaningful difference between them. Bought a set of 55mm deep carbon wheels to use on the road and called it a day.
I used to have a roubaix and a diverge… Sold those a couple years ago and bought a Trek Domane. I use it for everything.
I use the factory wheels with gp5000 to race road.
I have a set of Giant px-2 weels with gatorskins for my long distance touring (1500km trips).
And I have a really nice set of mavic gravels wheels with 40mm tires on it for gravel races and riding.
It is not ideal but it works and I am happy.
A guy in my club races has the same bike as me and raced with it last year. Tuesday night he showed up with a factor one TDF edition bike. 6 pounds lighter than my bike… I could not hang with him before the Factor so it doesn’t really matter… Kind of
Have you tried the rigid Lauf in a crit? Thoughts.
basing a decision upon the opinions of gc performance…
Not his opinions so much as the other two. In GC’s case his status as a bike shop owner means I weight his opinion a bit low to begin with since he has an incentive to crap on the one bike to do everything idea so he can sell more bikes.
I’d have no problem racing my checkpoint in crits or road races. I’d rather use my aero race bike, but the checkpoint would be workable. I’d probably go for a bigger chainring (typically run a 42), but I doubt the 42 would be a reason to get dropped (just a bit uncomfortable at times). Nobody is going to struggle navigating a crit just because it’s got more stable geometry, I’d bet a lot of amateurs would actually do better with a less twitchy bike. I ride my checkpoint on fast group rides all the time, it’s super cushy on rough roads on long days. If running the same wheels and riding in similar body position, the big downside of a gravel bike is going to be the extra watts to push it through the air and maybe gearing depending on the course.
Yea gearing is a concern but certainly solvable. I’ve got a 46/36 double. I can spin comfortably at 28+ with a normal cadence. Sprinting is completely fine at 35. If I need to sustain speed at over 28-29mph…I assure you I’m in the wrong field .
This is flat ground of course…we dont have hills for a hundred miles in all directions. If I had a long pedalable downhill section in a crit maybe I’d want a bigger chainring.
Edit: I’d say the only real, tangible drawback is with the slacker front end, there’s a couple extra inches of wheel to protect.
Must have been an old Crux? The new one can take up to 47mm.
Yes, older Crux and also as aero as a brick.
It’s a fantastic bike but not a pure gravel bike.
I have not tried the Lauf Seigla in a crit because I have N+1 syndrome. I have a bike for each discipline. My Crit bike is a Trek Madone. The Lauf seems to handle well on the road, so it may not be bad in a crit. I would definitely want a different cassette and chain ring setup for crits though, currently the Lauf has a 42 chain ring and a 9-46 cassette. It works great for gravel, but the larger jumps between gears on the cassette would drive me insane on the road since I would never be in the just right gear.
Agree about the gear spacing…I should add my cross bike is a double…that makes things much more manageable for multiple disciplines.
1X is nice for chain retention…but kind of sucks for gear spacing.