I hear that... Unbiased assessments are hard to come by. Sometimes even the opinion of the layman is not worth much as they try too hard to justify their choices to others. It's human nature I guess. Have to admit I prefer hard riding bikes and my own steelie is very stiff in all directions although not as hard riding as my Bianchi. It was built to handle a heavy trailer pushing through the stays, often at angles. Lots of things, like the 78mm BB and its heft make it less than ideal, but it'll do. Thursday it was a short ride with the GF riding groomed gravel paths and farm fence lines that are worn smooth and fast by farmers (who aren't shy about dragging a length of chain mesh or a couple of tractor tyres around to keep them smooth) and it felt pretty good - it's the sort of thing I'd put my road bike down except for the 25C slicks (that usually ends badly) and being honest, it's the only sort of 'gravel' riding I'm interested in. Friday morning it was foot/cycle/horse worn single tracks on the MTB. Horses and courses. BTW, the GF decided on a Felt Fx frame set with Ultegra to replace her very well used 10-15yo MTB. It is a basic thing without the gimmicks and nose bleed tech (which always makes me wonder about durability in long term ownership) and should last her another 10-15 years doing what she's been doing.