It rained yesterday, on and off, from about noon till 4:30 in the afternoon. I’d planned on taking the Trek, my rain bike, out but as clean as it is (shiny, baby), I was having a tough time wanting to take it out the door knowing it was going to get gnarlied up. I mentioned this in passing to my wife who said, matter of factly, “Why don’t you take the gravel bike?” Why don’t I, indeed, I thought.
It’s funny, when I start to think about how silly a few pounds is, comparing the Venge to the Trek. That is until I take my 23 pound gravel bike out for a ride.
The Diverge is almost eight pounds heavier than the Venge, five heavier than my Trek. Getting that beast up to speed takes a little bit of effort! On the other hand, once it’s rolling, keeping it up to speed isn’t all that bad.
So, my buddy Chuck and I went out for what was supposed to be an easy ride – he brought his A bike, so it was an easy ride for him, and I had the beast so it was quite a bit more work for me. After lollygagging around for the first few miles, as is normally the case on a Wednesday evening (after a hard ride on Tuesday evening), we actually got after it a little bit. That’s when I figured out the Diverge wasn’t so bad once I got it rolling. I was cranking out 21-mph easily enough and I was able to sustain between 20 and 22 without much more effort than I put into my Trek.
What makes the Diverge reasonable is the 28mm tires (I can go up to 32’s, but it came with 28’s and I’m going to ride those till the threads are popping before I replace them). On fairly rough pavement, and at 70psi, there’s enough give and enough roll for the aluminum bike to be quite comfortable, while maintaining enough firmness to roll well.
While I wouldn’t go all crazy and start spouting off that an entry-level gravel bike isn’t all that different from a high-end race bike, it certainly wasn’t all that bad, either. There was even a little excitement at the upcoming gravel road season. Not too much, mind you – it’s a little early for that, but I’m not going to grudgingly pull out the gravel bike when the day gets here, either.
Lest we not forget, with just a second lightweight set of wheels and slick tires (for speedier rides), the gravel bike is the most versatile bike on the market. You can do anything on a gravel bike (or a cross-bike for that matter).