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Mountain Bike Vs Gravel Bike – Which Is Faster? GMBN Vs GCN

– It’s the pinnacle of road
versus mountain bike showdowns. GMBN’s Neil Donoghue will
put his skills to the test against GCN’s Simon Richardson
in a brutal off-road battle. It’s cross-country versus gravel. – [Marshall] And a very good morning. – We didn’t sign up for that. – There’s nothing quite like having an uncomfortably large breakfast
at 5:30 in the morning. Neil, given this is your
first cross-country marathon, how’s that gone down? – Well, it’s actually my
first even cross-country race. I don’t know, I’m feeling a little bit
nervous, actually, Simon, so it’s quite hard eating this morning. Race starts at 7:30 in the morning. That’s a first for me as well. – Yeah, isn’t it? The race itself, probably
give a bit of background, so it’s the Dolomiti Superbike, actually the 23rd edition of this race. Apparently it was one of the first ever mountain bike marathon races, and by all accounts they thought the organisers were complete
bonkers at that time just cross-country races were hard enough, the fact that they were going to do one that’s 113 kilometres. But here we go, 23 years on and now we’re riding it. – And we’ve got Albon le Carter, World Marathon Champ to race today, Simon. – Yeah, we have. – Must get this cappuccino down. – We might see him at the start briefly, and then that might be it. (upbeat music) – Straight in, first climb. There’s the leaders. Check out how many people there are. – [Narrator] And the
race is on, out the gates and on to the first climb, totalling 900 metres of elevation. Simon is off to a flyer
and takes the early lead. While Neil plays to his strengths by pacing himself on the climb with an aim to make up
time on the descent. (upbeat music) – First climb, first descent done. Just had a little sketchy one. Pretty steep, pretty
wet, rocky and slippy. And all the guys I overtook
on the climb, poor guys. That’s come straight past me again. First time that’s ever happened
in a mountain bike race. – It’s hot, pace is fast, Si is long gone. No surprises there, good on him. We’ve sort of settled
into a bit of a pace. A group of riders arriving, we’re all riding about the same pace. Doing a lot of climbing. 900 metres of climbing so far, so almost a third of the climb then. It’s pretty hard work,
but look at the scenery. (chilled music) – Right then, first puncture stop. I say first because I’m
assuming there’s gonna be more. I think that’s what you get for riding on a gravel bike in a mountain bike race. Banana. – Banana. – Si. Okay grazie. Right then, back on. (chilled music) This is a long old climb. And dare I say, I forgot
it was a long old climb. So I started it a little bit hard. I keep getting these
glimpses, look at that. Just keep plugging away, look at the view, remembering to eat lots, drink lots. – [Narrator] Simon’s early puncture hasn’t slowed him down too much, and his gravel bike is gaining time halfway up the second
major climb of the day. Back at the foot, Neil
still has plenty to do. – Alright, so about 40K in now. 1700 metres climbed. That’s a toughie. I reckon I’ve been climbing
for about half an hour now. No sign of the top yet. (chilled music) Not cool, but at least
everyone around me is walking. It doesn’t look too bad. I suddenly now realise
my legs are like jelly. (chilled music) – Still alright. I reckon I’ve been climbing
for about 40 minutes. About 2000 metres elevation, 42K in. Not too bad, trying to
actually ride at a pace I know I can do another three hours. Think the race might be over with Si, but I’m enjoying it. I keep plugging away. (chilled music) Wow, had a ham sandwich at
the bottom of the climb, bit of dessert at the top. A watermelon, banana. Very nice. (upbeat music) – [Narrator] Neil’s XC bike has helped him claw back some time on the long descent. But despite Simon having to nurse his way down the trail, somewhat, it looks like he’s managed
to avoid another flat. – Okay, just made it down, I think, safely, from
the second big descent. There was a nice, but a
single track down there that couldn’t really do much with on this, but yeah, that was a bit of a shame. But nevertheless, some
easy Ks on the legs. Now, think we’ve got a bit of
a flat before the next climb. I need it, I really need it, really badly. (upbeat music) This is number two. It’s weird. I was expecting pinch flat, and actually, this has gone down on a section of road. So there’s a slight irony there. So no idea what’s inside. – Okay, so back in the
bottom of the valley now. – Argh, can’t find it. Phantom puncture. It went down pretty quick. – Just passed the 60-kilometer mark. – Okay, come on, this has gotta
work, this has got to work. – Which now means that is officially the furthest I’ve ever
ridden on a mountain bike. – Got my valve extender,
which is a roadie thing. Means that you can use
deep rims like that. – 50K left to go, hopefully I’ll make it. – (grunts) Onwards. (energetic music) – Legs are feeling it now, but I’m actually feeling confident that I might actually finish this race. Just heading up the
valley, it’s quite flat. Jumped in a chain gang
with 10 Italians there. Time’s running up here. – Neil isn’t far behind at all, which is great for Neil, but not gonna lie, even though this isn’t a race, it’s kind of a race. So I’m trying to get my head down, put as much time as soon as I can on this flat gravel section, ’cause I know, from the
top of the last climb, there’s like 15 Ks of descent, and I haemorrhage time on the downhills, whereas Neil, as you all know, is a bit of a legend, so, This could get really tight. (upbeat music) Okay, just started the last climb. I’m running on absolutely empty. (suspenseful music) I’m on my absolute limit. There’s nothing in my legs. – Alright, this is it. – What am I doing? Where is this? – Bottom of the final climb. – I’m really hurting. – [Narrator] Neil’s closed the gap to just a couple of kilometres. Does he have enough left in the tank to catch Simon on the final
descent to the finish? (upbeat music) – That was hard. Like, that last descent was torture, it was really rutted up ’cause of all the people
from the shorter route that had already gone down. And so I was literally just
hanging on for grim death, I went so slowly. (upbeat music) – Hey. I made it. Oh, man, that was good. – Alright, mate?
– How was it? – Well done.
– Oh, God. – Yeah, it was alright, mate. How are you?
– I’m alright. Feel pretty good, actually. – Bastard. – I was getting some boost. Even going up, you must’ve been struggling with traction going up.
– Yeah. – It’s definitely a mountain
bike race, that, isn’t it? – Yeah. I must say, that’s my first
ever cross country race. Loved it. Now a confirmed cross country racer. Getting in the ice bath. No partying for us, tonight. (club music) – That’s it, mate. A cross country rider
is all about recovery, no time for partying. (club music) There’s no way we’ll be seen dead at the after party tonight. (club music) Right, do make sure you subscribe
to GMBN after this video. Just click on the globe to do that. – And if you wanna see more
collaborations with GCN, click over here, where I
teach Dan Lloyd how to jump. – Yeah, or to watch Matt
Stephens go mountain biking, which is definitely worth seeing. Click just down there. Right, we’d better do it now, Neil. – Give us a thumbs up
if you liked the video. – (wailing) It’s colder than you think.

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39 thoughts on “Mountain Bike Vs Gravel Bike – Which Is Faster? GMBN Vs GCN

  1. not fair …. needs to be same person to run some circuit with distinct bikes to have a real results !

  2. I'd still rather take the gravel bike, mountain bikes just feel too heavy for climbing, that's why most people take the ski lift up…

  3. #askgmbn How about a Global Vs Network channel where all your other channels challenge each other :p I guarantee every video would get amazing views

  4. Great video. Sorry I'm late, but #askgcn a comment on hand numbness and muscle fatigue on the gravelbike relative an xc at this lenght of ride?

  5. Got a gravel bike(Saracen Hack2) a few years back because I essentially saw it as a more versatile road bike for a 20+ mile daily road commute. That said, I'd still probably go for a mountain bike as a preferred mode of transport in a SHTF scenario.

  6. Great stuff, Dolomites are stunning had out honeymoon there . Would love to go back and mountain bike there.
    What were the finish times #GMBN

  7. I challenge you to watch GMBN and then do anything other than hop on your bike afterwards. It's damn near impossible! Fantastic video guys!

  8. Basically A mountain bike can trace it.s origins to something that Peewee Herman would ride A gravel bike can trace It's origins to a sturdy steel frame ten speed from before 1990 which can still today take a tremendous amount of back road punishment, last you a lifetime. cost less than hundred bucks. and is what you should be riding instead of getting sucked in by marketing hype.

    PS : Buying secondhand steel is safest and buying secondhand is best for the environment !!!!

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