If you're in the market for a new bike, you may have come across the term "gravel plus bike". But what exactly is a gravel plus bike, and why might it be a good choice for you? I'm not sure whether we coined the term or stole it from somewhere else, but "gravel plus" is a phrase we've been using for a couple of years now. We've seen the big brands push their ambassadors to ride narrow-tyre gravel bikes in more and more rugged events in recent years. It just didn't make sense to us. There are plenty of fast rolling, narrow MTB tyres on the market these days which offer more comfort, control and safety when the gravel grain-size gets larger and you're dealing with chunkier terrain. Narrower gravel tyres can get sketchy on rockier terrain especially when carrying a bikepacking load. For the gravel cyclist who wants a more from their gravel bike, it could be time to upgrade to a gravel plus bike.
The Big Kev is Curve's answer to a titanium gravel plus bike built around the 29er wheel format. In this blog, we'll explore five reasons why a gravel plus bike like Big Kev could be the perfect bike for you.
Gravel plus bikes are designed to handle a wide range of terrain, from smooth pavement to rough dirt roads. This versatility makes them a great choice for riders who want a bike that can handle a variety of conditions without having to switch to a different bike. Whether you're looking to tackle a long-distance bikepacking trip or just want a bike that can handle your local mixed-terrain routes, a gravel plus bike is a great choice. A fast rolling 29 x 2.1" tyre is the sweet spot for a gravel plus bike - it is plenty fast on the road, but also allows you to tackle rough terrain with confidence.
Gravel plus bikes typically have a slightly more upright, relaxed geometry than traditional road bikes, with a longer wheelbase and a lower bottom bracket. This makes them more comfortable to ride over long distances and on rough terrain. Additionally, the wider tires provide additional cushioning and absorb more shock than narrower tires, which further enhances comfort. A 2.1" wide tyre, perfect for a gravel plus bike, offers a lot more comfort on rough terrain than a narrow 33 mm wide gravel tyre.
The wider tires on gravel plus bikes provide more traction than narrower tires, making them easier to ride over loose or uneven terrain. 29" rims and 2.1" tyres are the norm providing plentiful grip and traction in all manner of terrains from gnarly gravel roads to technical singletrack. Additionally, the lower tire pressure that is possible with wider tires helps to increase traction further. This makes gravel plus bikes a great choice for riders who enjoy exploring off-road routes or who want a bike that can handle a variety of conditions.
Gravel plus bikes are designed to be stable and predictable, even at high speeds or on rough terrain. The longer wheelbase and lower bottom bracket help to increase stability, and the wider tires provide a larger contact patch with the ground, which also contributes to stability. This makes gravel plus bikes a great choice for riders who want a bike that is easy to handle and feels secure on all types of terrain. Our Big Kev is coupled with our Ride 415 fork features a multi-position offset capability that allows you to tailor your ride to your terrain or riding style. By changing the offset you can make the bike handle quicker with less steering input at lower speeds which is useful for bikepacking with load. It can also be positioned to slow down the handling which makes the bike more stable at speed which is useful for faster gravel rides and racing.
Perhaps the most important reason to consider a gravel plus bike is that they are just plain fun to ride. With their versatility, comfort, traction, and stability, gravel plus bikes are a joy to ride on a wide range of terrain. Whether you're exploring new routes or simply enjoying a leisurely ride on your local bike path, a gravel plus bike can add an extra level of enjoyment to your cycling experience.
There you have it! We think that a gravel plus bike is a versatile, comfortable, stable, and fun bike that can handle a wide range of terrain. Whether you're an experienced cyclist or just starting out, a gravel plus bike could be the perfect bike for you. So if you're in the market for a new bike, be sure to consider a gravel plus bike as a great option.
Big Kev is Curve's answer to the gravel plus bike. Built around the 29er format and optimised for 2.1" tyres, with capacity for up to 2.35" on the rear and 2.4" on the front, Big Kev is definitely at home on the rugged end of gravel riding. The larger diameter tyres aid comfort when the gravel roads & tracks start to get a bit more gnarly! Coupled with our Ride 415 fork, you can tune Big Kev to your riding style or terrain with the adjustable fork offset capability.