I’m absolutely in love with my Cutthroat with 29x2.2 tires. It seems like there’s a trend toward bigger tires for gravel as more frames seem to take 45mm, 50mm or even bigger tires This Lauf looks amazing and would have been on my shortlist if available last fall when I was hunting for the Cutty.
Ashton Lambie is obviously a beast though…48T ring and XPLR cassette for those huge climbs
I’m all for bigger tires but gravel bikes have quite literally hit their limits. Notice that the Lauf and many others with massive tire clearance only allow for a single chainring because there literally is not room for larger tires when you take into account the cranks, chainrings, and chainstay.
Bikes like the Cutthroat can go bigger because they have MTB drivetrains or a hybrid. I have an Otso Waheela C which maxes out at 2.1" (with a 2x11 drivetrain). I love the 2.1 but there are some compromises in chainstay length to make that happen and avoid the seat tube. Luckily Otso has an adjustable rear end so I can shorten up the chainstay when I’m using something more standard like a 40 or 42.
Companies are going to have to really innovate if they want to keep growing tire sizes and I predict we will see more geometry adjustment chips to allow for larger tires when needed. I’m not sold on single ring drivetrains for gravel bikes but it seems to be the direction the market is headed and I think it is all to do with larger tire clearance.
That said, running 2.1" on my gravel bike has opened my eyess to the advantages of going bigger. It’s exciting to see all of the innovation happening here. I really want to get my hands on theatnew Lauf fork so I can run 2.25 in the front!
Pretty soon gravel bikes will have flat bars and suspension forks!
Jokes aside - I actually love riding gravel on my flat bar, 100mm travel fork,
hardtail gravel bike!
I just added a dropper post and tire inserts to my All Terrain Bike, blurring the lines!
OK, I gotta bitch about that paint job…he won his stripes on the track, not gravel.
And you kids get off my lawn!
So funny but, sort of true too. The bike biz will find every way to market old is the new new.
This kinda thing makes me wonder about the current advanced thinking regarding aero for gravel racing…
Surely such a wide tire will have an aero penalty, but then again they are using that big fork which already must add some drag.
Does it not matter as much for the super fast pro gravel racers who are drafting? Perhaps the added cushion allows for an overall faster/more efficient setup vs getting shaken around on slimmer tires?
Put an AXS dropper on my Cutty and it’s amazing!!
Market is becoming more sophisticated and segmented. This is good, there should be options for every single type of riding and taste.
Aero is always important but, I feel like tires are the most important component to the gravel set up. The right tire (and how it’s set up for the individual) or the wrong tire will just affect speed more than what small gains could be had from a slightly narrower tire etc…If not penalty for going narrower then go narrow. Test, test, test.
I’m no expert, but I have to think the added compliance of big tires would help offset aero losses to a degree (but I certainly don’t know the tipping point). Even reaching for a bottle disrupts airflow and affects aerodynamics. I’m thinking a more compliant ride would allow you to stay in a more efficient position for more of the ride.
Plus, there are big tires like Continental Racekings or Schwalbe Thunderburts that test comparably to narrower gravel/road tires from a rolling resistance perspective.
the thunderburts are only fast if you don’t get a flat!
That was my exact thought when I saw this news article pop up the other day on Google .
i think part of it is that gravel encompasses such a range of different surfaces. You’ve got BWR on one end, and something like maybe the grasshoper series on the other that is really a MTB series. So you don’t see the same tires across the spectrum on the pointy end even if the same racers show up
This is exactly what I was thinking - gravel covers such a wide range. Something like Wilmington Whiteface could likely be handled really well with an aggressive gravel bike like Ashton’s Lauf Seigla. In Leadville the Powerline, Sugarloaf, and top of the Goat Trail would worry me on a gravel bike, even the Lauf Seigla, but everything else it would be perfect for.
I’ve got a Checkpoint SLR, a Niner Air 9 RDO hard tail, and then a Trek Supercaliber. There is a lot of overlap in terms of these bikes and what I can ride where. I was surprised last year when one traditional Ohio gravel routes I wasn’t much faster on my Checkpoint SL (didn’t have the SLR last year) compared to my Supercaliber with fast wheels. This year I’ve only ridden them on the Checkpoint SLR, so curious what happens this Saturday when I take the Supercaliber on the same routes (Race King mounted on the rear for max speed).
I lived in NM for a while and the fastest gravel bikes were Cutthroats. Floating over the trail on a bigger cushion just trumps the aero gains or the lower rolling resistance of narrower tires. And when it got sandy, the Cuthroats and a friend on a 3" fat tire bike would just ride away from me.
Trends to come? Didn’t the Open UP come out in 2015, 7 years ago? And Salsa also has been at it for years. Wide tired on drop bar bikes have been available for a long time