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Gravel bikes are often touted as being the perfect choice for commuters and mountain bikers looking to save weight. They are much faster on tarmac than mountain bikes and can handle gravel paths and light trails really well. But if they are a good choice for light trails, why do gravel bikes not have suspension? Surely this would make for a more comfortable ride? In this guide, I will look into why they don’t have suspension and how you can increase your ride comfort.
For those looking for the short answer…
Gravel bikes don’t have suspension as they are not designed to be used on particularly bumpy trails and downhill courses, where suspension absorbs the heavy shocks put on the bike. The frame geometry of gravel bikes allows them to absorb most smaller shocks without the need for suspension, which allows you to ride faster than if you did have suspension.
Want to learn more? Then read on.
Why Do Gravel Bikes Not Have Suspension?
Gravel bikes are designed to be ridden on unpaved surfaces, and as such, they typically do not have suspension. This is because a) gravel bikes are heavier than traditional road bikes, so they don’t need the extra weight of a suspension system, and b) a suspension system would add significantly to the cost of the bike.
Many gravel cyclists prefer to ride their bikes without suspension, believing that it makes them more nimble and able to handle rough terrain better. Additionally, a number of aftermarket companies have begun producing gravel-specific suspension forks and rear shocks, which means that those who want suspension on their gravel bike can now have it.
Whilst gravel bike riding can be harder than road riding due to the nature of the surface, it doesn’t mean that you need suspension in order to make it easier.
Can You Put Suspension Forks on Gravel Bikes?
Suspension forks are designed for mountain biking and gravel bikes share many of the same characteristics as mountain bikes. So can you put suspension forks on a gravel bike?
The short answer is yes, you can put suspension forks on a gravel bike, but it’s not always advisable. Gravel bikes are designed to be ridden on rough roads and trails, so adding a set of suspension forks will make them less efficient and more difficult to handle.
If you’re looking to convert your gravel bike into a full-blown mountain bike, then by all means go ahead and add some suspension forks. But if you’re just looking for a little extra comfort and stability on rough terrain, then there are better options available.
How Do I Make My Gravel Bike More Comfortable?
A gravel bike is a great option for those who want to experience the best of both worlds – the speed and efficiency of a road bike, combined with the versatility and durability of a mountain bike. However, even though gravel bikes are designed to be more comfortable than traditional road bikes, they can still be uncomfortable for some riders, especially those who are not used to riding on rough terrain. If you are looking to make your gravel bike more comfortable, here are a few tips that can help:
Adding bar tape or gel pads to the handlebars can increase your comfort. You can also try raising the handlebars a bit to make it more comfortable to ride in a higher position.
Investing in a good saddle will make any bike more comfortable. A saddle that is too wide or too narrow can cause discomfort, so be sure to choose one that is the right size for your body and that fits your riding style. Another option is to install a suspension seat post, which will help absorb some of the shocks from riding on rough terrain.
Are Gravel Bikes More Stable?
The answer to this question is a little complicated. It really depends on the specific bike and the type of terrain you are riding on. However, in general, gravel bikes are more stable than traditional road bikes because they have wider tires and a more upright riding position. This makes them better suited for rough terrain and off-road riding.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you are riding on very steep terrain or in tight corners, a traditional road bike may be more stable than a gravel bike.
Do Gravel Bikes Need Disc Brakes?
Gravel bikes are designed for off-road riding on unpaved surfaces. They typically have wider tires than a traditional road bike and come with disc brakes, which many riders believe provide more stopping power when compared to rim brakes. But do gravel bikes really need disc brakes?
There is no definitive answer, as it depends on the specific type of riding you plan to do. If you’re only going to be doing light trail riding or commuting on dirt roads, then rim brakes may be just fine. But if you’re heading out on more aggressive rides or tackling technical terrain, then disc brakes will give you a bit more peace of mind.
Another consideration is the weather. If it’s wet or icy out, disc brakes are definitely going to be more effective than rim brakes.
What Are the Limitations of Gravel Bikes?
Gravel bikes are becoming more and more popular, but what are the limitations of these bikes?
One limitation is that gravel bikes are not as fast as traditional road bikes. Gravel bikes have wider tires which create more drag, and they also have a different geometry which makes them less aerodynamic.
Another limitation of gravel bikes is that they are not as versatile as traditional mountain bikes. Gravel bikes are designed for riding on gravel roads and paved surfaces, whereas mountain bikes can be ridden on a variety of surfaces, including dirt trails and singletrack.
Finally, one of the biggest limitations of gravel bikes is their price tag. Because they are a newer category of bike, there aren’t as many options available yet, and the prices tend to be higher than for traditional road or mountain bikes.
So there you go, gravel bikes do not have suspension because it is not necessary. The tires and geometry of the bike are designed to handle the bumps and irregularities in the road. This makes for a more comfortable and enjoyable ride. So, if you are looking for a bike that can handle any terrain, a gravel bike is a great option.
If you are looking for a gravel bike to start your next adventure, check out our guide to the best gravel bikes under $1500 and find your perfect ride.