Gravel Grinders, Change, And Winter Projects

In the last few months while putting in mileage for Paul’s Dirty Enduro spent a lot of time riding new areas. Doesn’t seem significant but in the end it brought knowledge of something I wish I had 2 years ago. And like any new information we take it and make improvements to things like what we ride. Which of course becomes fall and winter projects

This time of year here in Ontario the trails are wet and we don’t get to ride as much singletrack. So other then riding road that leaves one with basically hydrolines and quad track. Up till this year I had not explored further north of town. This year that changed with looking for more riding in preparation for Paul’s. Long story in brief. Found new route options. With the hassle being there being road hook ups. This was one of a few problems but was the smallest.

The biggest problem was the bike I thought was usable left me wanting. And a change after much thought and kicking myself for not knowing better. Always easy to do when you know more.

Sure sounds easy to swap out a frame. Especially if one listens to the Bull Shit Grinders suggesting Gravel Grinder Bikes will fix it all. That one can have a winter non MTB to do it all. Until it meets reality. Reality in this case being simple basic hard rock……rock fill.


                                              Rock Fill…….killer of tires.

It doesn’t look like much but it will shred a standard CX tire no problem. And when I finally saw one of these up close at my local bike shop. I just shook my head as I could picture how many flats those CX type tires would have in one ride. It just proved that one has to build it to match the area you ride in. And in this case the routes I am riding exceed the abilities of a CX or Kaffenback frame.


And anything companies like Giant will try to tell me will work. So this leads funnily enough back to almost 2 and a half years ago with the first attempt. Which knowing what I know now would have been easily solved by simply buying a 21 inch frame. But back then there wasn’t as much information available coupled with my lack of research into this. Into what some call a Monstercross and others call it a Mutt.


Thanks to a few conversations with a local guy who has a Inbred 29er built the same way. He has raced it in Cyclocross as well as general rides. If I had only gone north of the 401 before but alas I had no reason till now. And because of the tire issue the Kaffenback has been neglected for almost 3 months. Does one keep banging their head on the wall trying to make what won’t meet requirements? No that is insanity. The sanity option is to switch to what will work.

In some ways it is frustrating to go backwards to get what will work. But knowing that the winter snows are coming it gives me a project. Well, a project for once I acquire the frame and fork. The rest will be upgrades over the winter. Because we all like doing that. Sure it is a 29er bastardized with drop bars and such to make it less singletrack friendly. But this is about a bike to ride those other tracks that are less technical. But it will match the local areas I will ride it. And in the end all that matters is what works for me.

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