5 Rookie Gravel Bike Riding Mistakes to Avoid

5 Rookie Gravel Bike Riding Mistakes to Avoid

Gravel biking is a fun way to explore the great outdoors, but it comes with its own set of challenges, especially for beginners. Here's a deeper dive into the five rookie mistakes to watch out for, coupled with tips to keep your adventure on track.

Table of Contents

Overlooking Tyre Pressure
Inadequate Preparation
Choosing the Wrong Bike
Incorrect Tyre Selection
Misjudging Gear Selection


Overlooking Tyre Pressure

High tyre pressure might be the norm for road cycling, but on gravel, it's a different story. Too much air and you'll feel every bump and jolt in the road. On the flip side, too little pressure and you're in the danger zone for punctures and rim damage. The trick is to find that sweet spot where your tyres are firm enough to ward off flats but soft enough to cushion the ride. A pressure gauge becomes your best friend here, helping you adjust to the day's terrain and conditions.

        Inadequate Preparation 

        Setting off on a gravel adventure without proper planning is like heading into a storm without an umbrella. The allure of the unknown paths can quickly fade when you find yourself miles from civilization, hungry, thirsty, or ill-equipped for a sudden weather change. Planning your route, checking the weather, and packing extra food and gear can turn what might have been a tough situation into a great adventure story.

            Choosing the Wrong Bike 

            Not all bikes are created equal, especially when it comes to gravel. Opting for a bike that's not cut out for the rigors of gravel can dampen your experience. What you need is a bike that strikes a balance between being a sturdy workhorse and a nimble steed. Look for a bike with frame geometry that's designed for comfort over long distances, can accommodate wider tyres for that extra grip and cushion, and suits your style—whether it's carbon for vibration absorption, aluminium for cost-effectiveness, or steel for its unyielding durability. 

            Incorrect Tyre Selection 

            Tyres are your only point of contact with the ground, so choosing wisely can make or break your ride. The wrong tread pattern can leave you slipping and sliding on loose surfaces, while the wrong size can bog you down or leave you rattled. For gnarly, loose gravel, go for tyres with a beefy tread and higher volume. On mixed surfaces, a semi-slick tyre can offer a good compromise between grip and speed. Remember, wider tyres add comfort but watch out for increased rolling resistance that could slow you down.

            Misjudging Gear Selection

            Gravel riding often involves a mix of challenging climbs, speedy flats, and everything in between. Having a gear range that leaves you grinding up hills or spinning out on flats can turn your ride into a struggle. A wide-range cassette and a compact or sub-compact crankset can give you the gears for every scenario. Whether you prefer the simplicity of a 1x drivetrain or the versatility of a 2x, making an informed choice ensures you're never left wanting on the trail.

            Back to blog