322 S Union St.
Traverse City, MI 49684
(231)947-1312
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CITY BIKE SHOP



August 28, 2017, 12:00 am

It's prime season for adventure. There's a slight lull in the race scene, group rides are winding down, and the temperatures are prime for heading out for a big day in the saddle. 

If you've chatted with CBS diehards Gary Chastain and Brad Miller, you know how much fun they've been having heading out and piecing together everything from gravel roads, singletrack, pavement, and two-tracks. Rides like that call for a bike that can handle it all, but still be fun and efficient. The Giant TCX is a great option to combine the speed of road, the tire width of cyclocross, and the all-day comfort of Giant's mountain line up all in one sweet bike. 

This past weekend, Gary and Brad tackled a very cool route that included sections of the Iceman Cometh course, the Holy Grail singletrack, and the gravel roads to connect it all together. It's a great way to avoid the traffic and retreating daylight on the pavement, but still put in some big miles. Riding it with a pal certainly helps keep the motivation high. 

Getting the right gravel bike for you comes down to fit, spec, and tire clearance. The right bike fit is essential for any bike, and we make sure it's absolutely perfect when you're picking out your new rig. It's important to approach each bike differently; even if you're always ridden a 54, we want to look at the differences between brands and measurements to really get the top tube and head tube measurements correct. 

For the spec, perhaps the biggest factor for gravel bikes is the choice between a single ring or traditional two ring crankset. There are pros and cons to both. Single rings are less maintenance, less adjustment, and cleaner looking. Two chain rings offer a slightly wider range, but more over-lapping gear options. They're also very useful for steep climbs or slow, sandy sections with a bit of an incline as well. If you're planning on using this bike on group road rides, a 2x crankset also offers more top end for sprints, if you're into that sort of thing. 

Finally, tire clearance. Here in Northern Michigan, sand is the ultimate challenge. We don't have 1,000 foot climbs, rocks, roots, or even mud. We have sand, and that sand can often dictate just how much fun you're having at any given time of the day. Even our gravel roads are very loose from July through mid-September, and the wider the tire you can fit into your frame the better. We recommend getting a frame that can clear at least a 40c tire. The wider, the more floatation, and the more fun you'll have in the sand pits. 

Check out the 2017 and 2018 TCXs we have in stock, and let us know what questions you have about sizing, builds, and of course, tires! 

 

 


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