A monster bike may seem like a simple evolution of a gravel bike, but that’s not the case. They are two distinct bikes with significant differences, both conceptual and technical. And this difference does not only concern the size of the tyres.
What is a Monster bike?
Let’s assume that everyone knows what a gravel bike is. Gavel bikes are the super fashion nowadays. The monster is a kind of more robust evolution for those who experience gravel in a more adventurous way. We could actually say that monster bikes have always existed. In the 90s, many bikers mounted racing bike handlebars on their mtb and created some kind of monster bikes. This practice was then prohibited by the regulation and therefore abandoned. Today, however, thanks to modern technologies, the return of monster bikes has taken on a stronger and more personal connotation.
Monster bike versus gravel bike frames
As frame builders, at Daccordi our first concern is the frame. And this, between gravel bikes and monster bikes differs in some macro points:
- The frame of the monster bike must accept mtb tyres, therefore up to about 56 mm, against the 44 of the gravel. For the frame builder, this means widening the rear and using an mtb fork, usually a rigid carbon one. Rarely a suspension fork.
- Widening the rear has disadvantages. The first is an increase in the flex of the rear end itself, made less rigid by the enlarged dimensions. The second is less clearance for the crankset. If we are talking about a double crankset, no problem. For a single chainring, however, the limit of the usable chainring will be lower.
- The frame’s geometry will be different due to the different fork. A gravel bike usually mounts 390 or 395 mm high forks. A monster mounts forks ranging from 470 to 500 mm. The difference is significant.
Gears and length of ratios
Cyclists often must correct the mistake of comparing gravel bikes to monster bikes’ gearing. The first thing we must remember is that gravel with a 700×40 tire develops a wheel circumference of 2200 mm. While a 29×2.20″ produces 2300mm for each wheel revolution. This means that if, for example, we have a gravel bike with a 40 – 19 teeth ratio, we will develop 4.63 meters per pedal stroke, so 25.01 km/h if we pedal at 90 rpm.
The same ratio on a monster bike will be considered with a 2300mm wheel, which will develop 2.84 metres, or 26.14 km/h at 90 rpm. It seems like a slight difference, but a gear difference can be a big problem on a speck of dirt climb. This is why we recommend using mtb gears on our monster bikes.
Monster bike versus Gravel bike: which one to choose?
The choice is hard, but it mainly depends on our routes. If we love to divide our bike rides into dirt and asphalt by 50%, the right choice is a smoother gravel bike. If, on the other hand, we often ride very stony roads, almost like MTBs, then a monster bike will undoubtedly give us more satisfaction.