The world needs some gravel bikes

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by DesertPilot, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    The big thing at bike shops these days seems to be ‘gravel bikes’ – something that might not be as good off-road as well as a mountain bike, but is more fun on-road than a mountain bike and handles gravel, potholes, and ruts better than some delicate pampered street bike (“Oops!” CRUNCH! “Oh well, I didn’t need that front wheel. Or those forks. Or that frame.”)

    I want the moto equivalent – something that’s lower, lighter, and sleeker than an Adv bike, has an inch or two more ground-clearance and suspension travel than a street bike, and is more fun on long rides than perching atop some mammoth thumper that’s almost as tall as a pro basketball player (“He shoots! He scores!” Beep beep). Unfortunately, the only option around here seems to be the Ducati Scrambler, and I’m not so sure about this hipster thing. I’d have to get a beard and grow a few decades younger, which might be a bit of a trick :D

    When is Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, or Kawasaki going to make a machine (“Ho! It’s Scrambuleru!”) to go head-to-head with the Ducati?
    #1
  2. beemerphile

    beemerphile Long timer

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  3. c_m_shooter

    c_m_shooter Ninja Warrior

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    Every bike made except supersport bikes with clip ons already is a gravel bike.
    #3
  4. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    DL650/DL1000. They get bagged for the lack of ground clearance but they really shine on gravel roads.
    #4
  5. Bucho

    Bucho DAMNrider

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    KTM 390 Duke looks like it would kick azz on street or smooth dirt road.
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  6. Bucho

    Bucho DAMNrider

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  7. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Check out the Aprilia Dorsoduro. They have grown to a 900cc supermoto with ABS, but back in the early years (2009-2013-ish) they were non-ABS and 750cc. They are down in the $4K-$5K range now.

    I have done everything from mild singletrack to track days on mine. The adjustable throttle map can be set to a calm "rain" mode for use on gravel, and it still spins the tire in every gear.

    I've tried a bunch of different tires on mine.

    Off road knobbies. Looks cool, but dangerous on asphalt.
    [​IMG]

    Track day wheelset. Yeah, baby!
    [​IMG]

    All terrains. Ahhhh...perfect!
    [​IMG]
    #7
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  8. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    Aprilia Dorsoduro's! I'd entirely overlooked those. Thanks for reminding me! I'll have to look into this...

    I must admit that I'm leaning towards, "Get an FZ-07, put in some emulators, sort out the springs, thrown on some Shinko 705's, and figure that 'under 400 lbs' makes up for 'only 140mm of ground clearance!" but that's only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I think, "Get the Ducati!" and on Sundays, I take the Tiger out and ride :D
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  9. beemerphile

    beemerphile Long timer

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    This old street bird LOVES unpaved roads and even trails. It thinks it is a dirt bike. Ground clearance be damned. It drags its undercarriage with impunity (so far!).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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  10. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    Doesn't pretty much any bike sitting on dual sport tires meet your requirements as a gravel bike?
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  11. AwDang

    AwDang Been here awhile

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    me thinks you need to ride the Tiger more
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  12. bwringer

    bwringer Gimpy, Yet Alacritous

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    Older/high mileage DL650. They last forever, can be had incredibly cheap (often around $2K), and usually arrive well-farkled.

    Spoon on tires to taste and enjoy.
    #12
  13. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @oneworldcycles

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    Dooooo iiiiiiit !!! :D

    I bought an FZ07 for exactly that. Put over 40k miles on it with about half that mileage being mixed route touring (forestry roads, WMA trails, Jeep Track , etc). Like a big super moto once setup right.

    KIMG0411.JPG

    KIMG0363.JPG
    #13
  14. JaySwear

    JaySwear Been here awhile

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    Give the Scrambler a test ride! It might not be for you, but it's a fantastic bike for what it is. Although that Aprilia VERY likely has better suspension right out of the box.

    I love my Scrambler, ignore the "hipster" marketing, and just ride it. Huge selection of modifications and parts for it going in any direction. Want to make it more of a trail-beast? Plenty out there. Looking for a fun road bike? Lots of mods for that.
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  15. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    Great pics! What have you done to it and what tires are you running?

    So I don't need a beard? Darn! You guys are making my choice difficult :D
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  16. JaySwear

    JaySwear Been here awhile

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    If I needed to be able to grow a beard to buy a Scrambler they wouldn't have even let me in the door

    :lol3 ... :(
    #16
  17. JaySwear

    JaySwear Been here awhile

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    A couple pictures of the Scrambler in it’s natural environment and me totally out of mine

    Attached Files:

    #17
  18. William Wolfen

    William Wolfen Dirt Seeker

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    How about a Triumph scrambler? Classic Bonneville lines with an upswept exhaust and, iirc, longer suspension travel and more ground clearance. Plus the one in British racing green with the brown seat is just beautiful!
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  19. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Long timer

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    +1 for the Triumph Scrambler. I'm very partial to the air cooled one, which mine (obvi) is. Gravel roads are part of every single ride, because of where I live. It does a dandy job, even on the steep stuff, thanks to a relatively grunty engine. I put some money into the suspension, which made it a pretty good all-rounder. It's the last bike I'll ever sell.

    The only thing I'd say is, invest in some kind of bash plate. You would be amazed at the cumulative damage gravel does. On both the bikes I have at the farm, the bash plates look like they've taken shotgun blasts.
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  20. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @oneworldcycles

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    Mods to it were : 1 1/8 bar risers, Protaper Evo ADV High bars , D-flex hand guards, Corbin seat , custom racks with sidecases , Phone and GPS mount.


    Tires were Shinko 705s. I've found them to be an extremely competent "all roads" tire. They take to off pavement stuff better than tires like the tkc 80 (a tire which I just can't stand. No idea why they are so popular. YMMV of course) and last much longer. They also handle fantastically in the twisties.
    #20
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