You already have the bike that works
Your current road bike can be used for an introduction to gravel riding. All you need are slightly bigger tires. Continental 28mm Gator Hardshell tires work fine for many dirt roads here in North County San Diego. I have ridden the BWR on 25mm tires, but this year I rode tubeless 28mm tires and was so glad I did.
The term “gravel riding” means riding a road or cyclocross bicycle on adventures which include riding both road and off road. Unlike many areas of the country, North County of San Diego does not have long stretches of dirt or gravel roads, but it does sport some great off road riding. We have to connect these short to medium lengths of dirt road by riding on pavement. This is where 28mm tires shine. In many cases 28mm tires are the largest tires most road bicycles can run. Also this size does not slow you down on pavement. This will allow for exploration of many local dirt roads and trails.
Have you caught the Gravel Riding Fever?
After you have ridden a few gravel rides, it is time to think about a second set of wheels. One wheelset would be paired with your current tires. The other wheelset would have a more gravel friendly tire. For example, the aluminum Reynolds Stratus Pro is a great choice. Weighing in at 1450 grams a pair, they are tubeless ready and can take a beating on the trails. With two sets of wheels you can optimize your ride time and ride options.
When it is time to get your Gravel Bike?
Until recently a gravel bike was a cyclocross bike with different tires. The new category of “endurance bike” with disc brakes has a good compromise of features that allow riding on pavement and dirt.
Perfect gravel bike for Southern California
So, you have a road bike, but you also want the perfect gravel bike. Several manufactures are starting to make gravel specific bikes. These bikes have hydraulic disc brakes, a lightweight frame, can absorb the rough road and is stable in the dirt. Add electronic di2 shifting and you have the perfect gravel bike. Nytro has that bike
Nytro has that bike.
Nytro has two great choices for gravel bikes; the Scott Addict and Cervelo’s C5 & C3. If your rides are going to be mostly dirt, get the Addict as it allows for a greater tire size. If you will be riding more road than dirt get the the Cervelo, it will be lighter and more stable. If you only want one bike, the C series Cervelo is the bike that performs on the road and is agile on the dirt.