Gravel Biking

I’d like to know if anyone does much gravel biking, especially near Taipei or down the east coast, and has favorite jeep trails or single-track they can recommend. I have mountain and cyclocross bikes, but would rather leave them in the U.S. and not bring them to Taiwan. So I’m considering investing in a decent off-road bike, and wonder if mountain bikes might be overkill for cross-country off-road biking in Taiwan if you’re not into the steep semi-suicidal downhill stuff that requires body armor, super long-travel shocks and extra health insurance.

The best resource I’ve found is the Gravel Bike & Cyclocross Taiwan FB Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/554223488105806/. One rider talks about a dirt access road near the caoshan radar site (草山雷達站的草山戰備道). Isn’t that within Yangmingshan Nat’l Park?

I recall one post on this forum discussing mountain biking from southern Taipei to Yilan. So I’ll look that one up again. I’m also curious about trails that follow dry river beds up into the mountains on the east coast. Thanks for your recommendations!

I can’t help with you trail queries but, I will caution you about trying to find a bike here. Gravel bikes are hard to find outside the big 2(Giant, Merida) and sizes are limited in range. I bought a gravel bike a couple of years ago and it was quite a hunt and search to find one I liked.

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there just isn’t the east coast terrain for much of this. There are plenty of farm tracks that head up into the foothills of the Central Mountains, often rough concrete - they tend to get very steep, and then stop, rarely allow for that much fun coming back down.

not so many river bed trails either - sometimes the locals make them,but eventually they get taken out by typhoon damage. Shoufeng River, for example.

there’s 20k of gravel road on the #197 in Taidong county, nice riding. But you can do it on a suitable cross or touring bike, mountain bike not needed.

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Thanks, @flatlandr. I noticed the same, that Giant’s TW site has no gravel bikes, and only found them on Rikulau’s website. Maybe I need to just bring my cross bike here.

Thanks, @Nuit. Too bad about the river trails. Also too bad that there are few trails near Taipei. I really wanted to spend less time biking on roads.

I’m not tied to these guys at all but I’m saving my change to buy one.
http://www.velocicycle.com/bike-frame
If you’re in a pinch, grab a frame to bring with you. Finding parts for a build isn’t difficult, just a little pricier.

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Give this dude a shout…he seems to search out some gravel stuff in the Taoyuan area…

Check out Nathan Miller on Strava

Some photos of his rides give some hints of what’s available all over Taiwan. There won’t be any massively long stretches of gravel road like what you might find in the US. You sort of have to jump from road to gravel and back again to string together a ride worth doing in that regard.

As for bikes, as suggested, bring a frameset and build it up here. Recommend 160mm rotors, a big gear range, and something that can accommodate at least 700x32.

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Lol, I have that guy as recommended on my account, dunno why.

Gravel bikes in tw? Yeah… Nah. Better a jungle bike. Although on a second thought they would be good for roads here.

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I know that 106Clbhouse has some titanium gravel bikes available in No22 and Passoni. Those are made to order, but they may have some No22 in stock.

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What happened to the Anyroad? Did they discontinue it?

I just found the Anyroad, at https://www.giantcyclingworld.com/bike.php?id=67c54492-ca06-4ede-88f2-46a7b09c44da. Thanks, I’ll take a look.

Thanks, @squall1. He certainly puts in serious mileage. And thanks for the build recommendation.

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Why a special gravel bike? Just up your skills in a regular road bike with updated 25 mm tires. Works for me. Almost no difference in geometry just tires. Rim brakes are fine.

Bit rough on carbon wheel rims but hey, everything wears out eventually.

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Wow, those are serious gravel bikes. I’ll take a look. Thanks, @ranlee. So if you’re going to spend that much money on a bike, where are people riding them? If you need a bike that can handle rough pavement, why not just get a cross bike and save your cash? I like the idea of taking 35 - 40 mm tires with drop bars on a dirt road, but riding that on pavement for very long doesn’t sound fun.

I agree, if you’re talking about rough pavement or gentler dirt roads. My point was to find rough dirt/gravel roads that previously would be attempted with only a cross-country mtn bike. But there don’t appear to be many of those roads, unless someone has different info.

IMO 28-35 with dropped bars and discs is perfect for here. I ride bikes with 25 and rim brakes (both carbon and aluminum), as @urodacus mentions it’s fine even for this type of riding here, but my disc brake bike with 28s does better. There are some seriously steep and sketchy descents. I often wonder why I didn’t pull my disc bike in these moments. Anyway, either will let you stay faster on the smoother stretches in between.

This type of riding is typically done in relatively small loops with a focus going downhill, sometimes very technical but sometimes not. There’s a group of local guys I know in Taichung focused on this type of riding using mountain bikes. PM me if you are interested once you arrive…but this really requires a different kind of bike. There aren’t a lot of long trails like what you might be thinking about here… that I know of.

Riding here really is wonderful…even in the cities once you get used to it…and it doesn’t take long to get out of them even if you don’t. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I like going fast, but I’m not interested in downhill mountain biking. Perhaps I should just get a good steel frame road bike with disc brakes and enough clearance for 30 mm tires. Thanks, @squall1.

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I am a supplier for them, let me know if you want to test ride a Veloci before buying one, I have my personal one in the shop. Taipei Bike Works.

I can help you build a good custom gravel bike under 45k. I own a shop called Taipei Bike Works. We are open 11am-7pm.

https://g.page/TaipeiBikeTours?share

Thanks for the heads-up. I’ll be looking closer toward the winter for a new whip so I’ll get in touch then.

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