Is Gravel Bike Suspension the Future? (Or a Gimmick?)

David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes
18 Jun 202313:57

Summary

TLDRThis video explores the impact of suspension on gravel bikes through a comparative test between a Giant Revolt X with a suspension fork and seat post, and a Specialized Crux with no suspension. The test includes timed trials on a set course to determine which bike offers better speed, ride quality, handling, and confidence off-road. Sponsored by Squarespace, the video also discusses the bikes' specifications and differences, revealing that the lighter Crux was faster overall, but the Revolt provided a smoother, more controlled ride on rough terrain.

Takeaways

  • 🚴 The video compares the performance of two gravel bikes: a Giant Revolt X with suspension and a Specialized Crux without suspension.
  • 🔍 The test includes timed trials on a set course to determine which bike is faster and provides better ride quality, handling, and confidence off-road.
  • 🎥 The video is sponsored by Squarespace, offering a platform for building websites without needing technical skills.
  • 🏁 The Specialized Crux, being lighter at 7.5 kilograms, offers a significant advantage in speed and handling on the road.
  • 📊 The Crux was one minute faster than the Revolt X over a 7-kilometer course, highlighting the impact of weight on performance.
  • 📉 Despite feeling faster and more controlled on rough terrain, the Revolt X with suspension was outperformed by the lighter Crux on the road and final gravel section.
  • 🌟 The Revolt X features a unique combination of a suspension fork and a dropper seat post, designed to enhance off-road riding experience.
  • 🛤️ On the rocky descent, the Revolt X was 8 seconds faster than the Crux, showing the benefits of suspension in rough conditions.
  • 🛣️ However, on the road sections and the final gravel, the Crux demonstrated superior speed, averaging 32 km/h compared to 30 km/h for the Revolt X.
  • 🤔 The video suggests that suspension on gravel bikes may not be necessary for all riders, and the choice depends on the type of terrain and personal preference.
  • 🌈 The presenter concludes that there may be a future for gravel bikes with suspension for those who desire it, alongside traditional gravel bikes without.

Q & A

  • What is the main topic of the video?

    -The main topic of the video is a comparison between a gravel bike with suspension (Giant Revolt X) and one without (Specialized Crux) to determine which is faster and provides better ride quality, handling, and confidence off-road.

  • What is the purpose of the timed testing in the video?

    -The purpose of the timed testing is to objectively compare the speed and performance of the two bikes, the Giant Revolt X with suspension and the Specialized Crux without suspension, on a set course.

  • What are the subjective aspects the video aims to evaluate besides speed?

    -The video aims to evaluate subjective aspects such as ride quality, handling, and the confidence a bike gives the rider when riding off-road.

  • What is the role of Squarespace in the video?

    -Squarespace is the sponsor of the video, providing an all-in-one platform for building websites, and offering a free trial and discount for viewers using a special code provided in the video description.

  • What was the benchmark time set on which bike?

    -The benchmark time was set on the Specialized Crux, the bike without suspension.

  • How does the Specialized Crux's weight compare to many road bikes?

    -The Specialized Crux weighs 7.5 kilograms, which is lighter than many road bikes.

  • What modifications have been made to the Specialized Crux for gravel riding?

    -The Specialized Crux, originally a cyclocross race bike, has been modified for gravel riding with wider tire clearance up to 47mm, modified geometry, and other details.

  • What is unique about the Giant Revolt X's design?

    -The Giant Revolt X is designed around a suspension fork, with geometry modified to account for the suspension, and it features a combined dropper and suspension seat post, which is a novel feature in gravel bikes.

  • How does the Giant Revolt X perform on the road?

    -The Giant Revolt X feels a bit sluggish on the road due to its extra weight and is not as quick to accelerate as the Specialized Crux.

  • What was the outcome of the timed test comparing the two bikes?

    -The Specialized Crux was one minute faster than the Giant Revolt X over the seven-kilometer course, indicating that the lighter bike was faster than the one with suspension.

  • What does the video suggest about the future of gravel bikes?

    -The video suggests that there might be a future where there are gravel bikes with suspension for those who want it, and conventional gravel bikes without suspension for those who prefer a lighter option.

Outlines

00:00

🚴‍♂️ Gravel Bike Suspension Test

This paragraph introduces a comparison test between two gravel bikes: the Giant Revolt X with a suspension fork and seat post, and the Specialized Crux with no suspension. The test aims to determine which bike offers better speed, ride quality, handling, and confidence off-road. The video is sponsored by Squarespace, which is highlighted as an easy-to-use platform for creating websites. The narrator sets up a timed test on a rocky course to evaluate the performance of both bikes.

05:00

🏁 Benchmark Time and Bike Comparison

The narrator begins the test with the Specialized Crux, noting its lightweight and the roughness of the rocky descent. The Crux, being a modified cyclocross bike, is praised for its handling on the road and its ability to maintain speed. The paragraph also discusses the differences in weight and specifications between the two bikes, with the Crux being significantly lighter. The test continues with the Giant Revolt X, which feels faster and more stable due to its suspension, allowing for a more aggressive line choice without worrying about picking a smooth path.

10:01

🔢 Results and Insights from the Test

The results show that the Specialized Crux was one minute faster than the Giant Revolt X over a 7-kilometer course. The Revolt X was faster on the rocky descent, providing a smoother and more controlled ride, but the Crux outperformed it on the road section and the final gravel section. The narrator reflects on the comfort and control offered by suspension on rougher trails and the benefits of a lighter bike on smoother terrain. The video concludes with the idea that suspension may not be necessary for all gravel biking scenarios but could be beneficial for those seeking extra comfort and control.

Mindmap

Keywords

💡Suspension

Suspension in the context of bicycles refers to the system of springs, shock absorbers, and linkages that connects a wheel to the frame, allowing the wheel to move relative to the frame. In the video, the host compares the performance of gravel bikes with and without suspension. The main theme revolves around whether suspension enhances or detracts from the riding experience on rough terrains, as seen in the test between the Giant Revolt X with a suspension fork and seat post versus the Specialized Crux with no suspension.

💡Gravel Bikes

Gravel bikes are a type of bicycle designed for riding on a variety of surfaces, including paved roads, dirt paths, and gravel. They are characterized by their drop-bar handlebars and wider tires, offering more comfort and control than road bikes on uneven terrain. The video focuses on the performance of two different gravel bikes, one with suspension and one without, to determine which is faster and provides better ride quality on a set course.

💡Ride Quality

Ride quality is a subjective measure of how comfortable and enjoyable it is to ride a bicycle. It can be influenced by factors such as the bike's frame, tires, and suspension system. In the video, the host evaluates the ride quality of the two bikes by riding them on a rocky descent and a flat gravel section, noting the differences in feedback and comfort provided by the suspension system.

💡Handling

Handling refers to the way a bicycle responds to the rider's inputs, such as steering, braking, and accelerating. Good handling is crucial for controlling the bike, especially on off-road terrains. The video script discusses the handling of the two bikes, noting that the suspension on the Giant Revolt X provides a more planted and stable feel, allowing for more confident line choices on rough sections.

💡Confidence

Confidence, in the context of cycling, relates to the rider's sense of security and assurance in their ability to control the bike, especially in challenging conditions. The video explores how the presence of suspension on the Giant Revolt X affects the rider's confidence when navigating rough terrains, suggesting that it allows for higher speeds and more control.

💡Timed Testing

Timed testing is a method used to measure and compare the performance of different bicycles by recording the time taken to complete a set course. In the video, the host uses timed testing to determine which bike, with or without suspension, is faster on a specific route involving rocky descents, road climbs, and flat gravel sections.

💡Specialized Crux

The Specialized Crux is a model of gravel bike known for its lightweight design and performance in cyclocross racing. In the video, the Crux is used as a comparison bike without suspension to the Giant Revolt X. The host notes its light weight of 7.5 kilograms, which contributes to its speed and responsiveness on the road and gravel.

💡Giant Revolt X

The Giant Revolt X is a gravel bike designed with a focus on suspension, featuring a suspension fork and a suspension seat post. The video discusses the unique design of the Revolt X and its performance on various terrains, highlighting how the suspension system affects the bike's speed, comfort, and control.

💡Squarespace

Squarespace is a website building platform mentioned in the video as the sponsor. It is an all-in-one solution that allows users to create websites without needing technical skills, offering features like drag-and-drop interfaces, online galleries, blogging, and e-commerce capabilities. The mention of Squarespace serves as a promotional aspect of the video, unrelated to the main theme of bicycle testing.

💡Rocky Descent

A rocky descent refers to a section of a cycling route that involves going downhill over rough, rocky terrain. In the video, the host starts the timed test with a rocky descent to immediately test the bikes' performance on challenging surfaces. The script notes that the Revolt X with suspension was faster in this section, providing a smoother and more controlled ride.

💡Road Climb

A road climb is a section of a cycling route that involves riding uphill on a paved road. The video script mentions a road climb as part of the timed test, where the Specialized Crux, being lighter, was faster than the Giant Revolt X, showcasing the advantages of a lighter bike on such terrain.

Highlights

Suspension on gravel bikes is tested for its effectiveness in comparison to rigid bikes.

A Giant Revolt X with suspension fork and seat post is compared against a Specialized Crux with no suspension.

The test includes timed trials to determine which bike is faster on a set course.

The Specialized Crux is noted for its light weight of 7.5 kilograms, which is lighter than many road bikes.

The Crux is a modified cyclocross bike adapted for gravel with wider tires and altered geometry.

The Giant Revolt X weighs 9.7 kilograms and is designed with a suspension fork in mind.

The Revolt X features a unique combined dropper and suspension seat post.

On a rocky descent, the Revolt X with suspension felt faster and more controlled than the Crux.

The Crux's lighter weight gave it an advantage on road sections and climbs.

The final gravel section of the test showed the Crux to be faster than the Revolt X, contrary to expectations.

The Revolt X was 8 seconds faster on the rocky descent, offering a smoother and more controlled ride.

The Crux was 23 seconds faster on the road section, highlighting its efficiency on paved surfaces.

The final gravel section saw the Crux 16 seconds faster than the Revolt X, despite the latter's smooth ride.

The video concludes that suspension may not be necessary for all gravel riding, but it has its place for rougher terrain.

The Revolt X's suspension design is noted for offering more comfort and control on rough sections.

The video suggests a future where gravel bikes may be available with or without suspension to cater to different preferences.

The video is sponsored by Squarespace, offering a platform for building websites without the need for tech skills.

Transcripts

play00:00

suspension on gravel bikes is a bit

play00:03

pointless isn't it or is it to help me

play00:06

find out in this video either same with

play00:08

two bikes to do some timed testing this

play00:11

is a brand new giant Revolt x with a

play00:14

suspension fork and suspension seat post

play00:17

while over here in my specialized Crux

play00:20

with no suspension at all

play00:23

but which is faster when it comes to

play00:25

riding on a set course but today we will

play00:28

find out and also find out more

play00:31

subjectively which is better when it

play00:33

comes to ride quality handling and a

play00:36

confidence a bike gives you when riding

play00:38

off-road now I do know that many of you

play00:41

will have a strong opinion on this topic

play00:44

already and be letting me know by

play00:45

leaving a comment down below and that's

play00:47

fine

play00:48

but I genuinely have an open mind to new

play00:51

technology if it can enhance my

play00:53

experience of riding bikes or maybe

play00:55

faster because I need all the help I can

play00:57

get these days but I have no agenda here

play01:00

I'm not being paid to promote suspension

play01:02

and neither black brand is sponsoring

play01:05

this video because this video is

play01:07

sponsored by Squarespace if you need a

play01:10

new website this summer Squarespace is

play01:12

the all-in-one platform that makes it

play01:13

really quick and easy and good news you

play01:16

don't need to be tech savvy at all

play01:18

Squarespace does all the hard work for

play01:20

you so no coding needed with why select

play01:24

your template to choose from and they're

play01:25

easy to customize with a drag and drop

play01:27

interface it really can be any easier

play01:30

and let Around the Clock support as well

play01:32

and Squarespace offers tons of features

play01:35

build an online photo gallery start

play01:38

blogging build an online shop to sell

play01:41

you cool buy products share social media

play01:43

photos and much much more

play01:46

so if you like the sound of that you get

play01:48

a free trial and 10 of your first

play01:50

purchase right now by using my special

play01:52

code and Link Down Below in the

play01:55

description right let's start with the

play01:57

Crux and set a benchmark time on their

play02:00

bike in three two one go

play02:08

so I picked a rocky descent to start

play02:10

with

play02:12

and we'll see how we get on with the

play02:14

rigid gravel bike first

play02:17

and straight away it's quite rough a lot

play02:19

of feedback coming through the

play02:20

handlebars

play02:21

answering pedals

play02:24

they're quite tricky see where you're

play02:26

riding on is dappled lights

play02:29

quite Rocky down here

play02:32

a lot of branches

play02:34

big boulders

play02:37

hit the rim then

play02:40

the little tripod left here

play02:43

a bit of single track

play02:49

it's just feels rough and bumpy

play02:52

sort of acid you'd expect really and

play02:54

back onto the rock gravel

play02:57

and get it as fast as I there you go

play03:00

ready

play03:05

are you Safety First of course

play03:08

try and pick a smooth line

play03:12

that's it

play03:14

not uh the roughest or the most

play03:16

technical descent in the world

play03:18

but a good enough length to get a feel

play03:20

how the bikes compare hopefully

play03:23

now I've got a short road climb up to

play03:26

the next gravel section

play03:28

so while I get my head down

play03:30

get the power down

play03:31

let's talk about your two bikes and the

play03:33

difference is a bit more now aside from

play03:36

the obvious difference of the suspension

play03:38

on a Revolt there is a big difference on

play03:40

the scales

play03:42

that's a Crux over there is 7.5

play03:44

kilograms which is lighter than many

play03:47

road bikes and that is insane all thanks

play03:50

to a frame that weighs

play03:52

725 Grand which is just bonkers the Crux

play03:56

is of course originally a CX slightly

play03:59

cross race bike but a new version has

play04:01

been modified and moved into a gravel

play04:04

space with space with wide tires up to

play04:06

47 modified drometry so better away from

play04:10

the CX circuit and some other cool

play04:12

details as well this Revolt X meanwhile

play04:15

is 9.7 kilograms both weighed without

play04:19

pedals and both essentially the same

play04:21

size but a lot of differences and

play04:23

specification wheels and so on so not

play04:25

quite a absolutely light for light

play04:27

comparison but the two bikes I have

play04:29

available the Crux really is an

play04:32

incredible bike because here on a road

play04:35

even with 40 ml white eyes that low

play04:38

weight and a geometry

play04:40

means it feels really good

play04:42

and look at that 40K an hour

play04:45

so it's definitely no slouch

play04:49

and now for the final gravel sector

play04:54

mostly flat

play04:56

they're quite a fastest section

play04:58

thankfully dried out

play05:00

nice and Dusty

play05:04

I could have hammer down

play05:07

the Crux feels good

play05:09

on this gravel track it's not too bumpy

play05:14

Rhino tires quite low

play05:18

there's still quite a lot of feedback

play05:20

through the main contact points

play05:23

definitely not a Magic Carpet experience

play05:27

you know you're riding off-road

play05:29

but there is a question to be asked

play05:31

about how much comfort do you want

play05:34

from a bike like this

play05:36

because of its maximum comfort you see a

play05:39

full suspension Mass bike they can offer

play05:41

way more Comfort less moviness

play05:44

and there we are

play05:46

seven kilometers

play05:52

right bike swap get a Revolt out and

play05:55

repeat

play06:00

righty ho time for lap two on a giant

play06:03

with suspension so they crack on in

play06:06

three two one and go

play06:10

so giant should be much quicker down

play06:13

here got suspension fork and a drop of

play06:16

seatpost

play06:18

and straight away it feels faster

play06:21

might as well planted more stable

play06:24

it's not about feedback through the

play06:25

hammer bars and the pedals

play06:29

feels so much quicker

play06:32

off in the same track

play06:39

wow it feels amazing

play06:45

feel I can take much more limited to the

play06:47

line choice and not worry about picking

play06:49

a smooth line Choice as much as the Crux

play06:55

whoa

play06:57

so giant felt insane down that rough

play06:59

track just much smoother I was in more

play07:02

control

play07:03

and having more fun

play07:05

but now a bit of row section

play07:07

so I'm getting my head down and crack on

play07:10

and let me give you a closer look at his

play07:12

new Revolt X so this is the Revolt X and

play07:16

one of the few gravel bikes available

play07:18

right now designed around a suspension

play07:21

Fork so we have a rock shot Rudy

play07:24

delivering 40 millimeters of travel up

play07:26

front and the head tube is shorter and a

play07:28

geometry modified to account for the

play07:31

suspension Fork because if you put a

play07:34

fork on my cruxet I'm gonna raise a

play07:36

front and slack in the head angle where

play07:39

giant had considered that as part of the

play07:41

design process of his new bike

play07:43

then we have a combined dropper and

play07:46

suspension seat post which is very novel

play07:49

normally you get either a suspension

play07:51

seat post or a dropper not combined in

play07:54

the same unit the rockshot rear

play07:56

suspension can be adjusted for body

play07:58

weight with an airspring on the left

play08:00

side of the fork and it's a lockout

play08:01

lever on the front here as well so on

play08:04

the road you can lock it out and

play08:05

off-road you can open it up or you can

play08:08

do as I do and leave it open all the

play08:10

time because it's not really losing much

play08:11

on the road unless you're re-sprinting

play08:13

and who really Sprints a gravel bike

play08:15

unless you're racing on the road a giant

play08:18

does feel a bit more sluggish

play08:20

you feel extra weight

play08:22

doesn't feel quite as uh willing to get

play08:25

out of speed

play08:26

but we'll find out later

play08:28

we'll see what a clock says which are

play08:31

faster

play08:32

feels faster than a mountain bike that's

play08:34

for sure

play08:36

and it feels way better at 90's mountain

play08:38

bike

play08:39

all right so back off road

play08:41

open up their suspension mustn't forget

play08:44

a handlebar dial will be quite useful

play08:46

for that

play08:46

and let's get a power down

play08:48

uh straight away

play08:50

you can feel the suspension

play08:52

through a seat pace and a forks and

play08:54

handlebar

play08:55

it's just so much smoother and calmer

play08:58

it may feel slur but I think that might

play09:00

be psychological

play09:02

I'm able to focus on getting the power

play09:04

out really focusing on pedaling as hard

play09:07

as I can

play09:08

not being bounced around so much

play09:11

the giant just feels so much more at

play09:13

home

play09:14

off-road

play09:16

so smooth amazing what a difference it

play09:18

makes

play09:20

yeah now it feels really fast

play09:22

it feels good

play09:25

clearly what it's like designed for

play09:32

I'll take the same line

play09:33

over the letters deal with the Crux

play09:37

even here though it feels so much

play09:39

smoother

play09:44

oh my goodness me so hot so sweaty after

play09:46

two runs so I need a cold shower go home

play09:49

do that and then dive into results and

play09:52

my observations and findings from riding

play09:54

both of bikes and so I'm quite

play09:57

interesting differences so I can't wait

play09:58

to uh dive into that okay the results

play10:01

are in and time to crunch some numbers

play10:04

and the headline news is that the

play10:07

specialized Crux behind me was an entire

play10:09

one minute faster than a giant Revolt X

play10:12

over my seven kilometer course so quite

play10:16

a clear margin of difference between the

play10:18

two bikes the lighter bike was faster

play10:21

than a bike with suspension but dive

play10:24

into more detail or the data show some

play10:26

interesting comparisons and insights my

play10:29

route as you remember started with a

play10:31

rocky descent measuring about 500 meters

play10:34

so not super long but here the Revolt

play10:37

was eight seconds faster than the Crux

play10:39

it definitely felt faster and the

play10:41

stopwatch shows it was indeed faster and

play10:44

if you extended that distance or went

play10:46

down some really rough and Rocky Trails

play10:48

I think the Revolt X would put an even

play10:51

bigger lead than the Crux it definitely

play10:53

felt faster and smoother and I was in

play10:56

more control and had more confidence to

play10:58

carry more speed so quite a significant

play11:00

difference between the two bikes on that

play11:02

one section but perhaps unsurprisingly

play11:05

on the road section and the road climb

play11:08

of this route the Crux pulled out a

play11:10

bigger lead 23 seconds faster than a

play11:14

Revolt X and an average speed of 32k an

play11:18

hour versus 30 for the Revolt so both

play11:20

bikes actually quite fast on that road

play11:22

session and but the Crux was a bit

play11:24

faster but then perhaps surprisingly on

play11:27

the final Grabber section which are

play11:29

quite flat flat to start with and then

play11:32

dip down and a gentle drag back to the

play11:35

Finish Line I thought the Revolt would

play11:37

be quicker because it felt smoother and

play11:39

therefore faster but the Crux actually

play11:41

pulled out a lead here completing that

play11:43

section of gravel 16 seconds faster than

play11:46

a joint and that really surprised me so

play11:48

against the clock in my admittedly quite

play11:51

short test the lighter weight gravel

play11:54

bike was faster than the bike with

play11:56

suspension so air suspension a fad

play12:00

well in a test perhaps it's not

play12:03

absolutely needed but away from the time

play12:06

differences I felt more comfortable

play12:09

riding the revolt on a rougher sections

play12:12

on a flat gravel they're more comfort

play12:14

and it felt smoother and I reckon I

play12:17

could ride that sort of Trail all day in

play12:19

more Comfort than the Crux which

play12:21

definitely gave you lots of feedback

play12:23

through the contact point and on that

play12:25

very rough section and I know the rough

play12:28

is in the world the Revolt was Head and

play12:30

Shoulders better than the Crux the

play12:32

suspension fork and a dropper seat post

play12:34

made a big difference down there I had

play12:36

more confidence to carrying my speed and

play12:38

I felt less dangerous and sketchy than

play12:40

the Crux

play12:41

so it all comes down to sort of writing

play12:44

you're doing if you're doing Road and

play12:46

smooth gravel then the lighter weight

play12:48

option clear the way to go but if you're

play12:51

trying to ride at very rough sections of

play12:53

Trail and you want extra speed and more

play12:56

control then I think suspension

play12:57

definitely has a place and a Revolt is a

play13:00

really interesting package because as I

play13:02

said earlier it's actually designed

play13:03

around a suspension fork with geometry

play13:06

modified for that suspension

play13:09

so I don't know if suspension is the

play13:11

future for all gravel bikes but I do see

play13:14

a future where there are gravel bikes

play13:16

with suspension for those of us who

play13:18

might want it and then more regular

play13:21

conventional bikes like this that don't

play13:23

have suspension and that means everybody

play13:25

can be happy have suspension if you want

play13:28

it or don't have it if you don't anyway

play13:30

hopefully you found this video mildly

play13:32

interesting and entertaining and you've

play13:35

got any feedback questions put them down

play13:37

below in the comment section as I'm sure

play13:38

you already have and if you'll see a

play13:41

video comparing a gravel bike with nubby

play13:44

tires and slick tires as a roadblock

play13:46

then do watch your video right here and

play13:48

don't forget to subscribe by hitting

play13:50

this button right here but that's all

play13:53

today thank you so much for watching

play13:54

I'll see you again very soon

Rate This
★
★
★
★
★

5.0 / 5 (0 votes)

Related Tags
Gravel BikesSuspension TestCycling GearRiding ComfortPerformance ReviewBike ComparisonOff-Road RidingSpecialized CruxGiant Revolt XCycling Tech