Gravel Bike Vs MTB | Iceland Bikepacking Epic - Which Is The Ultimate All-Rounder?
Gravel. Bikes are becoming, more and more popular as riders are increasingly, looking beyond, the road to, routes less traveled, and to meet this need rope bikes are effectively, evolving, to give more comfort, more control, and the, ability to ride over anything. What, like a mountain bike some, mountain bikes are invented for mountain. Bikers do well. That that, is a fair point Neil but is a man bike actually the best tool for the job what can a gravel bike do, better Can I grab a bike do anything better off-road, in fact I've, a feeling it probably can but, with, the help of these two hand-built. Titanium, bikes from, moot and 200. Kilometres of epic, Iceland, gravel we're, going to find out we. Will find out but it, could be quite a challenge Iceland. Is a remote, and inhospitable island. In the North Atlantic there. Is road riding here you could do a lap of the island in a week or so or perhaps explore, the northwest, fjords, but to really make the most of the very short summer season, we're heading for the highlands a land of glass, ears and volcanoes. Our. Route is split, over two days but with the weather hovering, at around about freezing, and the, fact that there is no guarantee that it will even stay as warm as that overnight we're, gonna aim for a remote Hut for, our nighttime stop, rather. Than sleeping, in a hedge. Sorry, but. Actually also don't really feel very qualified to, head off into the wilderness given, my still, very limited, experience. Hence the, support from Neil Donohue who you will no doubt recognize from, our system, and by channel at GMB n as well, as being an ace mountain, biker, Neil is also an experienced, Piper yes I triumph for you as Pat my bike is loads of bag oh I, thought you mean now, I get it not very done it once I went to Wales with Blake was great we stopped in pubs every half an hour Bell Road, 50 miles in two days right well. We've got a pretty good idea of what's in stores well I don't we we've consulted with the local experts we then plotted, and planned our, route on kamut where it's giving us the, breakdown, apparently. 40, percent of this route is on gravel. 60%. Is unsurfaced, and interestingly. 284. Meters, are, on, tarmac boom, now they've classed it as a mountain bike ride but, when you try and investigate a little bit more closely using. Google satellite imagery, well, frankly it just looks terrifying, but cold would be a problem for both bikes Jonny's both cyclists, what, I'm worried about is if it gets too rough and too, rocky then. I could well come unstuck on this gravel bike where's Neil he's gonna absolutely, fly on his fat bike fat, bike it's, our fat bike size a plus bi out sorry it's, gonna be great when they go and get some roughage all bomb, dynam, when, it comes to the gravel roads or should we say even volcanic, ash it's been compacted roads, I think, when I struggle a little bit be, a lot slower rolling, in than your tires and actually 200 K could feel like 400 K Oh 400. K that's. Quite that's a long way Neil good. Look at that and so. The, adventure starts. Conveniently. At, the highest point of our whole ride at nine hundred and twenty metres above sea level, if nothing, else you got to say mountain, bikers know the, value of gravity it. Does however mean that it's really, really, cold we're on the snow line and we can see our nice warm support, vehicle, disappearing. Off into the distance, shall we let's. Do it me you. Lead on fatty where, we go though it's possible. Well. That's. Cool Arty's and water back home. We. Can't go too far, into this video without, addressing the, burning, question just what a gravel, bike actually, is now, unfortunately there is no easy answer, but I think they, have to have drop handlebars they, have to have tires that are thinner than a mountain bike tires and the, geometry of the bike so, the combination, of angles, and dimensions, of the tubes has, to bear a resemblance to.
A, Road, bike, this. Moots looks, kind of like a robot doesn't it although when you look closer the. Change days are quite a bit longer and the front end is a little bit more relaxed and both of those combine, to, give a bike that, has a lot more control a lot more fun in fact when, you're riding fast, in loose, conditions. But yet it is a long way from, a mountain bike although. You've, got to say I see that there is a lot of tech here that comes straight for a mountain biking so the, wheels they, are tubeless, compatible, which means that we can run less pressure in our tires and we, still reduce the risk of punctures, and then, although those Reynolds carbon ATR rims have a similar, silhouette for, us roadies, I mean they're 40 millimeters deep the, fact that the internal, width of them is so broad to support that wider tire that's, tech that comes straight from the mountain bike world just, like the disc brakes straight, from mountain bikes even the rear derailleur borrows, technology, from, Shimano's, mountain, bike group says this, is the Ortega rx, and it has a clutch mechanism on, there which is designed to keep the chain on the control when, you're bouncing, around over. Bumpy, ground but. Yet despite all of that mountain, bike influence, like. I sell it beginning it is still very much like, a Roebuck it feels fast it feels agile it, feels, responsive, like, a road bike. It's. Just more capable, more. Like, this mountain bike this, is a moots Mountaineer. Yvb it's. Hard to help but not hard tell such a soft tale so no pivots on the back of this bike you've. Just got flex and this titanium frame that damper on the back just to smooth those things I a proper, adventure bike these. Reynolds, Black Label total, Plus, wheels on here actually, the. Inner width of these are 40, but the actual external. Width of this is 45. Millimeters. Famous sized hires so, I've got some 2.6, inch tires on air but. Actually renamed ball and surprisingly. Good really. Good taken, out the bumps on these gravel trails I was, it. Let's. Get one that's, pedal. I realize, he was sitting, on the front. Oh. Oh my, god. And so yeah go. Make yeah. We've. Been descending, for what feels like ages, on. A fairly. Rough, mix till either super, smooth tracks or, some pretty gnarly rocky stuff I think our. Turnings, just here they'll on the right this is our hiking trail link oh yeah it's on a stop and double check I've got yeah boot up on the phone yeah good plan, how. You finding it Neil and that we're pretty much halfway through, now yeah I think three honest I've sort of forgotten about my cuz really the breathtaking scenery, but I love. Bobby knows descents, those like double tracks and there guys. It's mazing and the grip and the comfort, struggling, slightly, compared to a bike on the clients but not massively no no, it's funny I see they don't really, feel like they're not evenly, matched inevitably, probably, cuz you're a bet down in any way but, you're bombing in a sense whereas, I'm running out gears but on the climb so I'm gapping you a bit there but actually given. How different, the bikes are yeah, it's quite easy to have quite a social riding it I can say hi everybody I reckon there's the Starbucks, alright, yeah. Heard that although, Neil we do know that there is not a single McDonald's, in the whole of Iceland I did, know right yeah missing sight. Would. You recommend so I've seen a variety of scenery, it's changes, thought the, trails I was on they really they have a new one it's been perfect, because I think we've, seen the, strengths of the gravel bike and strengths, of your mountain bike already like. This. One does get. Over, face when it's really rocky but I've. Been giving it a lot of thought because there's a seed disappearing, off into the distance I kind. Of think well like you're. Going faster, but I reckon you're probably having the same amount of fun true yeah just because this is slower it. Doesn't mean you. Know like I have to go slower, to pick my way through rocks and stuff but. Actually I'm on the limit still so it's kind of I'm still getting the same kind of the.
Same Vibes that you're getting maybe some, of these gravel, trails are in like the double tracks and ride have been surprisingly. Really, good fun ever though yeah. And. Some of that single track is why. It's not Sam does it it must be volcanic, dust but soft and I feel like I'm floating. Nicely. Over the top really, enjoying it away you must be digging in a little bit yeah it's. I'm. Getting there bitch cyclocross, yeah. Reminiscing. I've got some good shots for the rest of you go sideways, I was going over the past. The. Scenery, I can't. Be real sometimes, no, mistake, and had it. Cuts. It through finally, after winter. I, tell. You one night out it's like pretty, banging, puffs. Kids. Do that still want it. Oh, look. At this place. Right, day two coming. Up once again Iceland, has come up trumps on the weather, although looks, might be exciting to see think it's bitterly. Cold this morning well, having said that we, had an amazing night's, sleep in that, Hut's just, next to us there now, according to commute, today is, a little bit shorter, than yesterday, which given, all, the filming we did we finished properly late yesterday so that's a bit of a bonus just 63, kilometers. And also, this, is a little bit less technical, so probably gonna go, in the favorite the gravel bike as opposed to yesterday's, three star technical, difficulty, this is just one, star and, then otherwise we, are entirely. Offroad on gravel. Or, unpaved. Roads so potentially a little bit more of that lava field dust action, which we had yesterday so, I can't. Wait to get started. Right, now shall we push off. This. Is the last river we'll see today so I say two. Of these should do us right it yeah, it's weird isn't it like it's. So dry, like. The trails. Is dry like, the air is dry but yet like. It rains a lot here it's weird isn't it it's like so, anyway, we're, going through quite a bit of water even, though it's cold we're fortunate I think it's the two dry stays about in ages and we're here too right yeah.
Man. You know when you just feel like you destruct it's so lucky there's. Basically no point going back to Iceland it's never going to be this good again. It's. We. Can't come all the way to Iceland, ride, for a couple hundred kilometers and not talk about geology, so bear, with me for one minute behind. Me those rocks there they're probably younger, than, many of you watching at home that is magma, that cooled, in. 1970. And it erupted from. That. Mountain behind this which is actually Iceland's, most active, volcano, Heckler, and it erupts, like clockwork apparently. Every 10 years except. It last erupted 12. Years ago so. We won't hang around too, long. The. Road today has been pretty different - yes around there Neal we've had a lot more yeah. Big wide open gravel. Tracks and an awful, lot more wind and Scots. Thinking about two more really important points differences. Between the gravel in a mountain bike and the first one is, position. So this. Bike is allowed me to pretty much get my Road position, on it so. I've got quite a big drop between the saddle and the bars and. It's impossible, to replicate that position on a man bike isn't it yeah I definitely feel like I'm much more sat up and when you, have told me in that window, Scott see over your shoulder most the time that's. Good when, it comes to riding fast or, riding long distances, the, fact that you are so much less aerodynamic. Makes. Quite a significant, difference you are having to work an awful lot harder not just because you're fatter tyres but. Also because. Of that wind resistance, and people, think about aerodynamics and spin about you know pro racing and stuff but it's not just, riding a 10k an hour into a headwind yeah, makes, a difference and then the other thing is the weight of the bike a man, bike is always going to have a weight penalty, over gravel bike so, again you've. Got that penalty when climbing, as well and it's also just going to change the way the bike feels again. That. Missus. I. Saw. We're in an abandoned, pool that Magne all of you guys find us and it's 42, degrees I'm boiling, yeah. It's bit like swimming in a bath isn't it but before we get to with that I think we should address our, initial, question which is he's a man Pike the best point for riding off-road what. Kind of ground white do better can a gravel bike do, anything, better well, we wrote some really varied terrain first time I've ever ridden gravel roads all that was fair but I just loved that bike for me at home especially the. My invited more versatile to bike that I would choose it's, in seeing that you're, right technically the. More a bike can do the more versatile is because there's nothing stopping it riding on the road but. What. Can i gravel bite do better, gravel bikes can, do Road better which I know Tech is not off-road but they can also do simple, gravel trails better and actually I think they can make simple. Matter bike trails more fun too as well because there you have make things a little bit difficult and they reduce that, kind of the, speed that you can sustain but. Without doubt you know anytime they've got technical, or downhill. You were absolutely flying past what I love by that mountain as well as I could swap out the 29th wheel so I can imagine that bike at home my travels at NIH will actually, fly as well so it's great versatile bike yeah what, I think was super interesting name it was the fact that we did ride these vastly, different bikes yeah on this incredible. Ride that touched and loads of and terrain and actually, both of us were.
Super Happy with the bikes that we were on yeah there were times when you could drop me there are times when I could drop you but actually the inter day we both had a massive grin in our faces I loved it great experience, I've fallen in love with that biking out there I love it. Yeah. So no surprises then perhaps that the mountain bike is better, at riding off-road but where the gravel bike comes into its own I think is the variation so, the longer the rides are doing and the. More of an influence of tarmac, and faster. Smoother, gravel roads and the less you want to actually do, proper, mountain biking, the better that bike is your, mountain bike could, not feel like a road bike my gravel bike would, be super, fun with 28 mill tires and I'm sure yeah right, just, get a bit of a sweat on which is never out and haroon pool before. Do. Make sure that you head over to GMP, n because Neil's got another perspective on our ice and epic class and over to the tech channels, yeah there's more info on your mooks Mountaineer, there's more info on my boots, route 45. So. Basically you've, got an, evening, to fill with amazing, bike, ride and videos yeah farmers, often kill I watched us having a great time. It's. Gonna be the least dumb down video ever new.