Road vs Gravel fit

I know the answer to my question is going to be ‘it depends’ but I’m going to ask it anyways! Starting to think about a gravel bike and I’m curious as to what people do for fit (not geometry, I get all that stuff) as compared to a road bike. I currently ride a Trek Domane set moderately upright since I don’t race road anymore. Would I want to reproduce that fit on a gravel bike? For my area (north shore of Boston) I’d be riding a combo of road, rail trails, logging roads, light single track etc. Probably 1-3 hr rides but occasionally all day adventures. Thoughts?

In general, people tend to go a little more upright and with shorter reach on gravel bikes.

*In general *

Sounds like you have already adjusted your position similarly vs a “race” position so if you find that position comfortable and stable, it would be a reasonable starting point for the rides you described. Just make sure whatever bike you get allows you to adapt further.


Given your description of your current fit, I would look to keep the same position on a gravel bike.

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ok and that makes sense intuitively I think. When I got my current bike my road racing was winding down and I made a conscious choice to get something more comfortable. Looks like I’ve already made the adjustment that most people make. And I would say that my current road position is very comfortable, even for 100mi+. So I think if I target something that can hit my position with some wiggle room to go more upright if I feel the need.

What about bar width? Do people go wider for stability?

I would consider wider bars If you are hitting difficult trails (underbiking), or if you have some really narrow on your road bike. Otherwise, I personally keep what I have. My gravel, and sounds like yours, is just road biking on different surfaces. It really is just road biking with fatter tires. No need to get all crazy with position changes.

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Yes, generally……if you do, you may want to shorten your stem a bit as increased width also increases reach. But it depends on what you are riding currently, too.

From your descriptions of what you will be riding, you certainly don’t need to go the uber-wide route that many gravel bars provide (46-50). Personally, I think those are pretty dumb unless you are doing a lot of technical stuff (on which case maybe you should be on a MTB)


also need to consider if you’re going with flared bars and how flared as that will alter effective width at the hoods vs drop and which of those two positions you’ll optimize for. Instead of measure straight horizontal reach to the hoods I like to measure from saddle contact at an angle to the hoods if that makes sense(think of the triangle formed between the hoods and wide part of the saddle) then you can kinda translate road to gravel fit a bit easier