Gravel gear from this year’s Dirty Kanza
Tech trends from the ultimate gravel road race
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…