Home / Community / Cycling News / Getting Out On The Gravel!


Marin's Perfect Bike.

Forget traditional routes. Get out on the gravel and explore!
Why narrow yourself down to road or mountain when you can enjoy both?
With some of the top brands in the industry building gravel bikes it is no wonder why we have all caught the bug! For many years, we have had the opportunity to ride some fantastic road and mountain-specific bikes. Thanks to brands like Moots, Independent Fabrication, Guru, and Parlee we now get to enjoy the gravel on the best in the biz.
Over the past year, Studio Velo has led the latest bicycling innovations in gravel bikes. Similar to the advent of 29ers many years ago, we have been keen to embrace this new diverse and free form of cycling. Few have been more addicted than Chris and Colin. Come by the shop and let them tell you why Gravel Bikes are so appealing here in Marin County and beyond.


Answers provided by Colin Beardsley
When Colin set out to build his Gravel bike, he had a few specific details in mind. He knew he wanted a sturdy, MOOTS frame with Shimano Di2 MOOTS brake components.  


1. Why a gravel bike?
"To be able to ride with no boundaries. I'm not the type of guy who can be contained"

2. Why this brand?
"Moots has a long history of making some of the best and most durable bikes. I needed a bike to support my heavy frame and aggressive riding style"


3. What components did you opt for?
"Shimano Di2 with disc brakes. Main reason being that these brakes are the best on the market, and the Di2 components work in any conditions....as long as it is charged"

4. Do you think you will ride more with this new bike?...Really?
"Yes, definitely! More than I plan on keeping my New Year's resolutions of eating fewer cookies!"



Answers provided by Chris Reed
Things were a bit different for Chris when he set out to build his Gravel bike. At that point, we had only seen a few of these types of bike builds, and besides the fact that it had to be an Independent Fabrication bike with disc brakes, the rest was up in the air.


1. Why a gravel bike?
"Gravel bikes are perfect for a lot of the roads and trails we have in Marin. Some days you don’t feel like riding your road or mountain bike, and this is the best compromise. It's a great way to piece together some road and trail and create a whole new kind of ride, and they are pretty damn fun. My road bike also needed a vacation from all the trails I was riding it on.

2. Why this brand?
"IF builds every bike custom for each rider. I knew exactly what I wanted and how I wanted the bike to ride. They were able to execute on that perfectly. The exercise of designing the aesthetic was great as well. It's the ideal way to make the bike look and feel like your own."   

IMG_9264_900x450 copy

3. What components did you opt for?
"Shimano Di2 with disc brakes. I really wanted to test out the disc brakes before we started selling them to people. I knew the shifting would be flawless, and I had very high expectations for the disc brakes. Having ridden gravel bikes with Canti brakes in the past, I now know I will never go back. I also went with Enve XC Carbon rims and Chris King hubs. I wanted to be able to run tubeless tires, and I also wanted to run king hubs, so we built up some custom wheels. I have no regrets on any parts choice.

4. Have you been able to get out on your new bike?
"Yes. I have had the bike for close to 6 months now, and it’s gotten me out on days when I didn’t want to ride the road or mountain bikes. Yes, really."   


5. Are gravel bikes new to the scene or do you think we were all waiting for the right brand?
"Gravel riding has been around since bike riding began. We are just at a great time in the world of cycling where components are being manufactured that actually cater to gravel riding, and frame builders are really building awesome bikes to accommodate that style of riding.

6. What exactly makes this a gravel bike vs a cross bike?
"Subtle changes in the geometry to make it handle well on the road and on the dirt. They are a little less aggressive than traditional racing cross frames, but plenty capable for long days in the dirt. Having them slightly reinforced to handle disc brakes is a great option and makes the bike a fair bit more efficient in the dirt and wet conditions"   


7. Do you have any fun races planned on the new ride?
"No races planned yet, but I have all kinds of routes put together for some BIG days on the bike."

8. What is your favorite local ride to take this beauty out on?
"The ones that I make up as I go along. I rarely have a planned route in mind when I head out on this bike.  Half of the fun is making it up when you are out there."


9. Did you consider another bike before settling on this brand/model?
"There are lots of great options out there, but I had been building this bike in my mind for a while, and when it came time to pull the trigger, I knew exactly what I wanted."

10. If you had to describe your new whip in five words, what would you say?
"She is bad ass!"..."DUH!"



A mechanic's point of view provided by SV Mechanic Josh Flexman

1. Was it fun building this Guru Gravel bike?
"It was one of the first I built of this kind, especially with the mechanical hydraulic setup. It is always fun working on Guru bikes because they do such a professional job building the frames, and we can regularly trust that right out of the box, they are 100% ready to be built up.

2. Was this a fully custom bike?
"Yes, we started with deciding on the stiffness of the frame, tire clearance, and the terrain he wanted to ride on. Everything from the DFU fit, color scheme, and components were custom for Stephen. 


3. What components did he go with?
"Hydraulic mechanical Dura Ace. So he went with a hydraulic disc brake but opted for a more traditional style of shifting.

4. What sets the Guru Praemio R Gravel bike apart from the rest?
"They are made-to-order only. So each one is unique to the individual both by the geometry and the tubing they select for the rider

4. What makes this bike different from the rest? 

"Stephen's ride is a gravel road bike which is modeled after a road bike but with more tire clearance. Where as others might have a racier frame modeled more like traditional cross bikes


5. What makes a gravel bike special?
"For me, it is the durability of the bike. You can confidently and aggressively ride it. These bikes are specially designed for riding hard!

9. If you had to describe the bike in five words, what would you say?
"I have two..."
"1. Ready for anything and everything."
"2. One-of-a-kind whip!"