Buying the first gravel bike or renewing it generates many good emotions but, let’s admit it, it also generates some anxiety, insecurity, indecision and, in some cases, even loss of sleep. To this must be added the long hours you spend browsing web pages to search, find and then analyze again and again, the bicycles that managed to reach the final stage.
I remember when I bought my last gravel bike (Giant Revolt Advanced) almost a year ago, I spent an enormous amount of hours visiting web pages and copying / pasting in a Power Point images of bicycles and their geometries to be able to contrast them more easily (next image).
Fortunately, technology has come to the process of buying bicycles to make it a systematic and interactive process, saving us a good amount of time, but above all to facilitate and speed up the decision of which bicycle to buy. It must be remembered that this type of software for comparing product models has already existed for years for other goods, such as smartphones (Phonearena.com, for example). So, it was high time that these types of pages, at this level of development, also existed for the bicycle industry.
99 Spokes, a website to compare bikes …
While surfing the Internet yesterday looking for some information about … bicycles, I found by chance the 99 Spokes site, which is developed by three young engineers who love cycling. Maybe this page is several months old (or maybe years old), but as I discovered the enormous amount of information it offers about road bikes, MTBs, cyclocross and gravel, I was generating a smile of satisfaction as if I had found a mine of gold.
99 Spokes is a website that, as they promote it, helps you in the process of buying a bicycle. However, this goes much further, as it also helps those of us who write articles about cycling and even helps industry analysts. 99 Spokes has cataloged, analyzed, and registered over 38,463 bikes at the time of this writing. And every day they add more.
Of that number of bikes 1,580 are gravel (next image). By the way, I do not know if knowing that there are so many models of gravel bikes is a relief or a problem to decide, but at least you have enough information to analyze.
The interesting thing about 99 spokes is when you compare the models of your preference. For example, in the image below you will notice that I am comparing four gravel models. The initial information that the website provides me is a photograph of the bicycles and the main aspects such as weight, frame material, fork material, type of brakes, among other characteristics.
But in addition to the basic information, and below it, it provides you with graphical information about the gear range to climb and descend, as well as the maximum speed you can achieve with it. I remember that, to obtain this same data when I bought my Revolt, I used the Bicycle Gear Calculator page, which will still be useful to me anyway.
As if this were not enough, in the following image you can also visualize the Spec Level graph and in it the bicycles you chose are located (colored dots), but many other gravel bicycles that you can choose are also grappled with just placing the cursor at the dots of your preference, because when doing so, the name of the respective bicycle is displayed.
The comparisons page also gives you frame geometry, other specifications, and other suggestion models to compare. In short, when you make your own comparisons you will discover all the information it provides and its interactivity.
… And also learn about trends in the industry
99 spokes has a section called Trends. Entering it will provide you with graphics and more graphics on bicycles by category (route, MTB, cyclocross, gravel) and trends on topics such as frame material, types of brakes, groupsets, tire width, fork brand, etc.
To illustrate the above, below you can see the graph on the trend in the width of tires on gravel bikes.
As you can see in the middle graph, the predominant gravel bicycle tire width is 40c with around 40% of the market. 38c follows. The measure of 47c begins to make its way with approximately 18% and that of 32c declines.
If a year ago I had discovered this website (and if it existed), it would have greatly facilitated my search for my gravel. Now it is up to you to enjoy it if you are currently in a purchase process. For my part I will continue using it because, in addition to being interesting to analyze the data it offers, it is now an input of information to prepare articles about bicycles. So, thanks 99 Spokes and well done. Keep improving for the benefit of all cycling lovers (gravel included).
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Article written by Jaime Villasana Dávila