Gravel gear from this year’s Dirty Kanza

Tech trends from the ultimate gravel road race

Bikeradar.com Dirty Kanza 200 Clement X'Plor MSO 700 X 36 Tubeless Ready

The Clement MSO X'PLOR in 36 and 40mm versions is a popular tire choice

Josh Patterson | BIKERADAR--The dust has settled on another edition of the Dirty Kanza 200, one of the most grueling gravel road races in North America. More than two thousand riders toed the start line in the small town of Emporia, Kansas, for distances ranging from 25 miles to the premier 200-mile event.

The Flint Hills of Kansas have become the epicenter for gravel racing, and the Dirty Kanza is now the proving grounds for gravel-centric bikes and components.

As a tech geek perusing the expo and inspecting fellow racers’ rigs during all 206 miles of the race, there were certainly some trends to make note of.

Here are three trends in gravel tech from the 12th running of the Dirty Kanza 200.

The future of gravel is suspended

bikeradar.com Dirty Kanza 200 Yuri Hauswald Scott Additct Gravel 10

Former Dirty Kanza winner Yuri Hauswald rode a Scott Addict Gravel 10 with a painted to match Lauf Grit

It seemed that every Lauf Grit fork on the planet was present in this small Kansas town.

This undamped carbon fork with carbon leaf springs is a very popular option for

endurance gravel events.

bikeradar.com Dirty Kanza 200 Lauf Grit carbon forks with carbon leaf springs

The Lauf Grit has 30mm of flex, thanks to its carbon leaf springs

Cannondale’s Slate with its 30mm of travel supplied by the Lefty Oliver fork was less common, but still present. Ted King rode the Slate to victory last year. Alison Tetrick rode the Slate to victory in the women’s division this year.

bikeradar.com Dirty Kanza 200 Cannondale Lefty Oliver Fork

The Lefty Oliver offers just enough suspension to take the edge off long gravel rides

Last but not least on the suspension front, Specialized used this year’s race to tease the redesigned Diverge, which features the Future Shock system introduced with the Roubaix.

bikeradara.com Dirty Kanza 200 Specializd Diverge Future Shock

Specialized has several of these yet-to-be-released bikes kicking around the expo area

The new bike clearly borrows heavily from the Roubaix’s aesthetics, including the dropped seatstays for increased flex.

bikeradar.com Dirty Kanza 200 Four-time winner Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop

Four-time winner of the Dirty Kanza and owner of Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop was riding Specialized's new gravel bike

Stay tuned for more on this bike…

New-school cyclocross is still as common as

purpose-built gravel