Looking back at the first gravel bikes, which might be a lot older than you think
By James Stout; Images courtesy of The Pro's Closet
There is no denying that gravel bikes have taken the cycling world by storm in the last few years. The chances are that if you’ve bought a new drop bar bike recently, or are reading this because you are thinking about buying one, it is designed to take wider tires, uses disc brakes, and probably has gearing that most roadies would have laughed at a decade ago.
It’s easy to see why gravel bikes are so popular, they are considerably more capable than road bikes both in terms of the terrain they can cover and the confidence they inspire. Riders buying their first drop bar bike will find the wider tires make riding on potholed and cracked roads far less intimidating, and disc brakes make descending and riding in the rain feel a lot less risky. Add to that the fact that you can spice up your rides with a singletrack shortcut and that lots of gravel bikes like the Viathon G1 offer the ability to mount racks and fenders that make them great for commuting, and you can see why they’re outselling road bikes all over the US.