Brilliant ride today on my adapted Superfly 29er, classic 'gravel' terrain, exploring coastal landrover tracks, cycle paths, canal towpaths, farm tracks, even some proper CX along the verge of a field.
Bike felt brilliant, lightweight CX tyres and latex tubes felt fast but also invincible on stoney tracks, and 100mm suspension forks took the edge off bigger puddles etc. Bike basically galloped everywhere and made me feel like some Flandrian hero (at 25km/h average, lol!).
The only fly in the ointment was the disc brakes. New Shimano Deores on XT rotors, with resin pads. Painstakingly bedded in and working perfectly in the dry. Problem is with the sort of riding I was doing, in constant rain, was that the brakes rarely got used, and never got hot, certainly never dried out. Result? Squeeling and howling every time I tried to slow down slightly for dog walkers/narrow sections etc. Must have almost given at least three people heart attacks along the way.
And for what? A marginal increase in power which seemed slightly redundant on 'gravel' terrain.
I wouldn't mind so much but my old winter commuter with posh mini-vs and decent pads brakes about 95% as well with none of the noise. In fact, because there's no squeeling I can brake harder without deafening myself or others.
Anyone else in the same boat? Feels like if manufacturers had bothered speccing bikes with decent rim brakes in the first place thete wouldn't be this mass migration to discs, and we'd all be enjoying lighter, cheaper bikes with only very slightly worse braking than we currently have.
Anyway, rant over, will just persevere trying to convert my rim braked singlespeed commuter into my perfect gravel bike...