Check out cycling channels on YouTube or have a look at cycling bike and component suppliers and all you see is gravel bikes......
Well let me tell you now I hate gravel. In this country most so called gravel routes turn into mud and slime. I have always liked to ride with clean components. Everything runs smoothly just as it was intended to do. Ride with the bike covered in mud and it will all grind into the components and speed up the wear.
The riders on a lot of you tube channels are sponsored often riding bikes that are given to them to ride... They don't have to worry about wearing out the components as they often haven't paid for them. Currently there is a shortage of componentry. My local bike shop is having great difficulty accessing new bikes and parts.
Why would I want to ruin my new bike that cost me almost £5k. I can understand the fun that some people get from riding gravel but it really doesn't suit the type of riding that I enjoy as well as making it more expensive.
Another thing with gravel is the popularity of the 1x drive train. My Focus has a 2x with a 50/34 and a 11/34 11 speed cassette.. It's great for climbing with the emphasis on climbing gears with fairly close jumps between cogs. Use the front 2x properly and the chain keeps in line reducing the wear on the chain and cassette.
A lot of 1x drive trains have some big jumps on the cassette wth cogs going to 44 or 46. Aside from the extra wear on those components a 1x will be slower uphill. The chain is not going to run in a straight line being prone to twisting because of the 1x and the very large dinner plate of a cassette. Add in all the mud and muck grinding away and the lifespan of the components will be reduced by quite a big margin.....
No gravel riding is not for me. No way I want to keep replacing parts on the bike assuming that I could get them in the current climate of bike and part shortage couldn't afford it any way.
The image above shows the cassette and chain on my touring bike ( now sold on) Nice and clean and smooth to ride. That's the condition I like all my bikes components to be in .......
My cancer pain has still not been brought under total control yet but it is still being worked on by the palliative care team. My bones have lesions that distort my skeletal system. They have a mind of their own... The one on my chest is really bad. It's a bit like the film Alien with something alive inside me and trying to burst out.:-)
My worry is that now Boris has decided that COVID is virtually no more people will not bother with sensible caution..... For me I have to maintain very strict care as a person at extreme risk. Once the better weather arrives I will be able to sit outside and have visitors but I still need to observe very strict social distancing. I can't believe that I have been socially distanced with a few exceptions for almost two years now.
I do plan on visiting some friends this year but I will be super cautious.