Gravel bikes typically do not have front suspension. Adding suspension to a gravel bike increases weight and complexity, making them more prone to breakdown and requiring more maintenance compared to fully rigid bikes.
Moreover, suspension elements significantly increase the weight of the overall bike.
Understanding Gravel Bikes
Gravel bikes typically don’t have front suspension due to the added weight and complexity it brings. While suspension can provide comfort on rough terrain, it also requires more maintenance and can increase the chances of breakdowns. However, some gravel bikes may have rear micro-suspension for added comfort.
Definition And Purpose Of Gravel Bikes:
Gravel bikes, also known as adventure bikes or all-road bikes, are specially designed bicycles that are versatile and capable of handling various terrains. These bikes are a cross between road bikes and mountain bikes, offering a balance between speed and stability.
Gravel bikes are built to tackle gravel roads, unpaved trails, and rough surfaces, making them perfect for long-distance rides, bikepacking, and off-road adventures.
The primary purpose of gravel bikes is to provide cyclists with the freedom to explore different terrains while maintaining a comfortable and efficient riding experience. These bikes allow riders to venture off the beaten path and discover new routes, expanding the possibilities of their cycling journeys.
Major Components of Gravel Bikes:
Gravel bikes are equipped with specific components that optimize their performance on mixed terrains. The major components of gravel bikes include:
- Frame: Gravel bike frames are typically made from lightweight materials like aluminum, carbon fiber, or steel. They are designed to be stronger and sturdier compared to road bike frames, with wider tire clearances to accommodate gravel-specific tires.
- Wheelset: Gravel bike wheelsets are designed to withstand rough terrains and absorb vibrations, ensuring a comfortable ride. They are usually wider and more durable than traditional road bike wheelsets.
- Tires: Gravel bike tires have wider profiles with tread patterns that provide grip on gravel, dirt, and loose surfaces. They strike a balance between the rolling efficiency of road bike tires and the traction of mountain bike tires.
- Drivetrain: Gravel bikes often have a wide range of gears to handle different terrains. They typically feature either a 1x (single chainring) or 2x (double chainring) drivetrain, offering cyclists the necessary gear ratios for climbing steep hills and maintaining speed on flatter sections.
- Brakes: Gravel bikes commonly come with disc brakes for reliable stopping power in various weather conditions. Disc brakes offer better modulation and control compared to traditional rim brakes.
- Handlebars: Gravel bikes feature different handlebar options, including drop bars or flared drop bars. These handlebars provide multiple hand positions for improved comfort and control during long rides on mixed surfaces.
Common Features of Gravel Bikes:
Gravel bikes share common features that make them suitable for off-road riding and long-distance adventures. These features include:
- Mounting Points: Gravel bikes have additional mounting points on the frame and fork for attaching racks, fenders, and other accessories. This allows riders to carry extra gear for bikepacking or long-distance touring.
- Clearance for Wide Tires: Gravel bikes have enough clearance to accommodate wider tires, which provide better traction and stability on gravel and rough surfaces.
- Suspension Flexibility: While not every gravel bike has front suspension, some models may offer suspension options like a suspension stem or a suspension fork. These features provide additional comfort and control on rough terrains.
- Durable Construction: Gravel bikes are built with durability in mind. They are designed to withstand the rigors of off-road riding and gravel surfaces, making them more durable than traditional road bikes.
- Lower Bottom Bracket Height: Gravel bikes typically have a lower bottom bracket height compared to road bikes. This lower height offers increased stability and better handling on uneven terrain.
With their versatility and ruggedness, gravel bikes have gained popularity among cyclists who enjoy exploring new routes and challenging terrains. Whether riding on gravel roads, unpaved trails, or even tackling multi-day bikepacking adventures, gravel bikes offer the perfect balance of comfort, durability, and performance for off-road enthusiasts.
Exploring Suspension Options For Gravel Bikes
Exploring suspension options for gravel bikes is crucial, but do gravel bikes have front suspension? Although some gravel bikes may have front suspension, it’s important to consider the added weight and maintenance that come with it, as well as the potential increase in complexity compared to fully rigid frames.
Off-road biking on gravel terrain can offer a thrilling experience for enthusiasts, but the question of whether or not gravel bikes should have front suspension is a topic of debate. In this section, we will delve into the role of suspension in off-road biking and explore the different suspension options available for gravel bikes.
The Role Of Suspension In Off-Road Biking:
- Suspension systems on bikes are designed to absorb shocks and vibrations from rough surfaces, enhancing rider comfort and control.
- In off-road biking, suspension plays a crucial role in maintaining traction and stability, especially when navigating uneven terrain.
- The primary function of suspension is to prevent excessive vibrations from reaching the rider’s body, reducing fatigue and allowing for longer rides.
Suspension Stem: An Overview Of Its Functionality And Benefits:
- A suspension stem, also known as a shock-absorbing stem, is designed to provide a degree of front-end suspension on gravel bikes.
- This type of suspension system is built into the stem of the bike, offering a lightweight and cost-effective option.
- Benefits of a suspension stem include improved comfort and reduced strain on the wrists and upper body, particularly during extended rides on bumpy surfaces.
- A suspension stem can help to absorb small bumps and vibrations, allowing riders to maintain better control and traction on uneven terrain.
Suspension Fork: An Overview Of Its Functionality And Benefits:
- A suspension fork is a more advanced suspension option for gravel bikes, offering enhanced suspension performance and control.
- This type of suspension system is integrated into the front fork of the bike, providing improved shock absorption and damping capabilities.
- Benefits of a suspension fork include increased comfort, better handling, and improved traction on rough surfaces.
- A suspension fork can effectively absorb larger impacts and smooth out rough terrain, allowing riders to tackle challenging off-road conditions with greater confidence.
Comparison Of Sprung And Un-Sprung Mass In Relation To Suspension:
- Sprung mass refers to the weight of the bike and rider, which is supported by the suspension system.
- Un-sprung mass refers to the weight of components that are not supported by the suspension, such as the wheels and brakes.
- A higher proportion of un-sprung mass can negatively affect suspension performance, making it more challenging to absorb bumps and maintain control.
- It is essential to find a balance between the sprung and un-sprung mass to optimize suspension performance on gravel bikes.
Weighing The Pros And Cons Of Suspension On Gravel Bikes:
- Improved rider comfort and reduced fatigue on long rides.
- Better traction and control on rough surfaces.
- Enhanced handling and stability, especially in technical terrain.
- Increased confidence to tackle challenging off-road conditions.
- Added weight, which may impact overall bike performance.
- Cost implications, as suspension systems can be more expensive compared to rigid setups.
- Maintenance requirements, as suspension components may need regular servicing.
When considering whether or not to have suspension on a gravel bike, it is crucial to evaluate your riding style, terrain preferences, and personal comfort levels. Ultimately, the decision should be based on finding the right balance between comfort and performance that aligns with your specific needs.
Factors To Consider In Suspension Selection
When considering suspension selection for gravel bikes, it’s important to note that most gravel bikes do not have front suspension. Adding front suspension can increase weight and complexity, requiring more maintenance and potentially leading to breakdowns. However, some gravel bikes may have micro-suspension features for added comfort.
When it comes to choosing the right suspension components for your gravel bike, there are several factors to consider. These include weight considerations, the features and benefits of suspension stems and forks, compatibility with different bike models, tunability options, and alternative suspension options.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors:
Weight Considerations When Choosing Suspension Components:
- Weight plays a crucial role in the performance of your gravel bike. Consider the weight of the suspension components you choose, as it can impact your bike’s overall weight and maneuverability.
- Lighter suspension components can make your bike more agile and responsive, allowing you to navigate challenging terrains with ease.
- However, it’s important to strike a balance between weight and functionality. Heavier suspension components may offer increased durability and performance on rough terrains.
In-Depth Analysis Of Suspension Stem Features And Benefits:
- Suspension stems are designed to absorb shocks and vibrations, providing a smoother and more comfortable riding experience on uneven surfaces.
- These stems often come with adjustable preload and damping settings, allowing you to fine-tune the suspension to your preferred level of comfort and performance.
- Suspension stems can enhance your bike’s traction and handling capabilities, especially on bumpy gravel roads and trails.
Evaluating The Features And Benefits Of Suspension Forks:
- Suspension forks are another popular option for gravel bikes. They provide enhanced front-end suspension, reducing the impact of bumps and vibrations on your hands, arms, and upper body.
- Look for suspension forks with features such as adjustable rebound and compression damping, lockout capability, and travel adjustment options.
- Suspension forks can offer improved control and stability, especially when riding at higher speeds on rough terrains.
Compatibility With Different Gravel Bike Models:
- Not all suspension components are compatible with every gravel bike model. Before purchasing, ensure that the suspension components you choose are compatible with your bike’s frame, wheel size, and brake type.
- Check the manufacturer’s specifications and consult bike experts or mechanics if needed to ensure a proper fit and optimal performance.
Tunability Options For Suspension Components:
- The ability to adjust and fine-tune your suspension components is essential for maximizing performance and comfort. Look for suspension components that offer tunability options such as adjustable damping, preload, and travel settings.
- Tuning your suspension to match your riding style, terrain, and weight can significantly enhance your overall riding experience.
Other Alternative Suspension Options For Gravel Bikes:
- Besides traditional suspension stems and forks, there are alternative suspension options available for gravel bikes, such as seatpost suspensions or elastomer-based systems.
- Seatpost suspensions can provide additional vertical compliance and shock absorption, reducing fatigue and discomfort during long rides on rough terrains.
- Elastomer-based suspension systems offer a lightweight and maintenance-free alternative to traditional suspension components, with the ability to absorb vibrations and smooth out bumps.
By considering factors such as weight, features, compatibility, and tunability options, you can select the right suspension components for your gravel bike. Remember to choose components that suit your riding style, terrain preference, and overall biking goals. With the right suspension setup, you can enjoy a more comfortable and controlled riding experience on your gravel adventures.
Deciding On The Right Suspension For Your Gravel Bike
Deciding on the right suspension for your gravel bike can be a tough choice. While gravel bikes generally don’t have front suspension, adding it can increase weight and complexity, requiring more maintenance. It’s important to consider the trade-offs and what suits your riding style and preferences.
When it comes to choosing suspension for your gravel bike, there are several factors to consider. The decision ultimately boils down to personal preferences and your riding style. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
Factors to consider when choosing suspension for your gravel bike:
- Terrain: Think about the types of terrain you’ll be riding on most frequently. If you’ll be tackling rough or rocky surfaces, front suspension may provide added comfort and control.
- Comfort vs. Speed: Suspension can offer a smoother ride, but it also adds weight and may reduce pedaling efficiency. Consider how much comfort you prioritize compared to speed and efficiency.
- Budget: Suspension systems can vary in price, so consider your budget when deciding on the type of suspension for your gravel bike.
- Maintenance: Suspension components may require regular maintenance and servicing. Consider your willingness and ability to perform or pay for maintenance.
Personal Preferences And Riding Style Impact On Suspension Selection:
- Suspension stem: Some riders prefer suspension stems, which provide a small amount of front-end cushioning. This option is suitable for those who prioritize simplicity and minimal maintenance.
- Suspension fork: A suspension fork is a more common choice for gravel bikes. It provides greater suspension travel and absorbs impacts, making it ideal for rougher terrains and riders seeking additional comfort.
- Tunability: Consider if you want the ability to fine-tune your suspension settings. Some suspension systems allow adjustments for rebound, compression, and air pressure, providing a customized riding experience.
- Compatibility: Ensure that the suspension system you choose is compatible with your gravel bike frame and fork. Not all frames and forks are designed to accommodate suspension components. Check with your bike manufacturer or a professional bike shop for compatibility information.
Addressing The Question Of Whether Suspension Is Necessary For Gravel Bikes:
The need for suspension on gravel bikes is subjective. While it may not be a necessity for all riders, suspension can enhance comfort and control, especially when riding on rough or unpredictable terrains. It can help absorb impacts, reduce vibrations, and minimize fatigue over long rides.
Ultimately, the decision to have suspension on your gravel bike depends on your individual riding preferences and the specific terrain you’ll be tackling.
Evaluating The Potential Future Trends Of Gravel Bike Suspension:
Gravel bike suspension is a constantly evolving field, and future trends may bring about new advancements and options. Here are some potential future trends to watch out for:
- Improved Technology: Suspension systems may become more advanced, providing smoother and more efficient performance.
- Lightweight Designs: Manufacturers may focus on developing lightweight suspension components to minimize the added weight on gravel bikes.
- Integrated Systems: We may see more integration between frame and suspension components, resulting in seamless designs.
- Adaptive Suspension: Adaptive suspension technology, which automatically adjusts to different terrains and riding conditions, could become more prevalent.
- Increased Customization: Future suspension systems may offer even more adjustability and customization, enabling riders to fine-tune their setups to suit their specific needs.
Overall, the decision to have suspension on your gravel bike depends on your personal preferences, riding style, and the terrain you’ll be tackling. Consider these factors carefully to choose the right suspension setup for your gravel adventures.
Top Suspension Stem Options For Gravel Bikes
Gravel bikes typically do not have front suspension, but there are suspension stem options available that can improve comfort and control on rough terrain. However, adding suspension to a gravel bike increases weight and complexity, requiring more maintenance. Consider the pros and cons before deciding if suspension is necessary for your riding style.
Gravel biking is a thrilling adventure that takes riders off the beaten path and onto rough terrains. While traditional gravel bikes don’t usually come with front suspension, there are suspension stem options available that can enhance your riding experience. We will explore three top suspension stem options for gravel bikes: Cirrus Cycles Kinekt Suspension, Redshift Sports ShockStop, and TranzX Anti Shock UL Stem Ultra.
Let’s dive into the features and benefits of each.
Cirrus Cycles Kinekt Suspension: Features And Benefits
- Provides up to 35mm of travel, improving comfort and reducing fatigue on bumpy terrains.
- The parallelogram design isolates the rider from road vibrations, maintaining stability and control.
- Adjustable preload and interchangeable springs allow riders to customize the suspension to their preference.
- Enhanced rider control, especially during descents and technical sections.
- Increases traction on rough surfaces, ensuring a smoother ride.
Redshift Sports Shockstop: Features And Benefits
- Offers up to 20mm of travel, taking the edge off rough roads and gravel trails.
- The unique parallelogram design absorbs shocks and vibrations, providing a smooth and comfortable ride.
- Adjustable suspension stiffness allows riders to fine-tune the stem to their desired level of comfort and performance.
- Compatible with most gravel bike handlebars and comes in various lengths to fit different bike sizes.
- Reduces hand fatigue, especially on long rides, by dampening road vibrations.
Tranzx Anti Shock Ul Stem Ultra: Features And Benefits
- Incorporates coil spring and elastomer technology for optimal shock absorption.
- Provides up to 40mm of suspension travel, smoothing out rough surfaces and improving comfort.
- Lightweight design for minimal impact on overall bike weight.
- Adjustable preload allows riders to adjust the suspension stiffness based on their preference.
- Easy installation and compatibility with standard 1 1/8″ steerer tubes.
Comparison Of Suspension Stem Options
Cirrus Cycles Kinekt Suspension:
- Offers the most travel with up to 35mm, providing a higher level of cushioning on rough terrains.
- Adjustable preload and interchangeable springs for personalized suspension tuning.
Redshift Sports ShockStop:
- The unique parallelogram design offers a balanced combination of comfort, control, and stiffness.
- Adjustable suspension stiffness for fine-tuning the stem to different riding conditions.
TranzX Anti Shock UL Stem Ultra:
- Provides the highest suspension travel of up to 40mm, giving riders a plush and smooth ride.
- Lightweight design for minimal weight penalty on the bike.
When considering which suspension stem option is right for you, think about your riding preferences, the type of terrains you’ll be riding on, and how much travel and adjustability you desire. Each of these suspension stems offers unique features and benefits that can enhance your gravel biking experience.
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Top Suspension Fork Options For Gravel Bikes
Gravel bikes typically do not have front suspension, as it adds weight and complexity to the bike. Suspension forks can be more prone to breakdown and require more maintenance. However, some gravel bikes may have micro-suspension options for added comfort.
When it comes to gravel bikes, having the right suspension fork can greatly enhance your riding experience. Whether you’re tackling rough terrain or simply want a smoother ride, having front suspension can make all the difference. Here are three top suspension fork options that are worth considering for your gravel bike:
Ritchey WCS Carbon Gravel Fork: Features And Benefits
- Lightweight carbon construction for improved maneuverability
- Integrated fender mounts provide versatility in all weather conditions
- Tapered steerer tube enhances front-end stiffness and control
- Offers ample tire clearance for wider gravel tires
- Reliable and durable construction for long-lasting performance
ENVE Composites G Series Gravel Fork: Features And Benefits
- Carbon fiber construction for optimal strength and weight balance
- Compatible with both mechanical and electronic drivetrains
- Flat mount disc brake compatibility for reliable stopping power
- Adjustable axle-to-crown length for customizable fit and handling
- Designed for maximum tire clearance to accommodate various gravel tire sizes
State Bicycle Co. Carbon Fiber “Mons” Fork: Features And Benefits
- Full carbon fiber construction for exceptional strength and weight savings
- 12mm thru-axle design for improved stiffness and precise steering
- Tapered steerer tube for enhanced control and stability
- Integrated fender and rack mounts for added versatility
- Sleek and modern aesthetics for a stylish look on your gravel bike
Comparison Of Suspension Fork Options
- Ritchey WCS Carbon Gravel Fork: Lightweight and versatile, ideal for all weather conditions. Provides excellent control and tire clearance.
- ENVE Composites G Series Gravel Fork: A high-quality option with adjustable features and compatibility with various drivetrains. Offers reliable braking and tire clearance.
- State Bicycle Co. Carbon Fiber “Mons” Fork: Boasts outstanding strength and weight savings, with sleek aesthetics and multiple mounting options for customization.
Overall, these suspension fork options offer a range of benefits and features. It’s important to consider factors such as weight, tire clearance, and compatibility when choosing the right suspension fork for your gravel bike. Assess your specific needs and preferences to find the fork that will optimize your gravel riding experience.
Remember to always prioritize safety and ensure proper installation for optimal performance.
Notable Gravel Bikes Without Front Suspension
Notable gravel bikes without front suspension offer a lighter and less complex alternative for riders. Without the added weight and maintenance of suspension elements, these bikes provide a smoother riding experience on gravel terrain.
The world of gravel biking is vast and varied, offering a range of options to suit every rider’s preferences. While some gravel bikes come equipped with front suspension, there are also notable models that forgo this feature. Let’s explore some popular gravel bikes that don’t have front suspension:
Specialized Diverge STR Expert: Features And Specifications
- Lightweight and strong FACT 9r carbon frame for optimal performance.
- Future Shock suspension system in the stem, providing 20mm of travel to smooth out rough terrain.
- Shimano components for precise shifting and reliable braking.
- Wide-range cassette and X1 derailleur for tackling any gravel adventure.
- Clearance for up to 700x42mm tires, allowing for grip and stability on various surfaces.
Specialized Diverge STR S‑Works: Features And Specifications
- High-end S‑Works FACT 11r carbon frame for exceptional stiffness and responsiveness.
- Future Shock 2.0 suspension system in the stem, offering 20mm of travel and improved damping.
- Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting for seamless gear changes.
- Roval CLX 32 carbon wheels for enhanced speed and aerodynamics.
- Carbon seatpost and handlebars for added comfort and reducing fatigue on long rides.
Giant Revolt Advanced: Features And Specifications
- Advanced-grade composite frame for a lightweight and responsive ride.
- D-Fuse seatpost and handlebar technology to absorb road vibrations and increase comfort.
- Shimano GRX components for reliable shifting and braking performance.
- Tubeless-ready Giant wheels and tires for enhanced traction and puncture resistance.
- Integrated rack mounts for carrying essential gear on multi-day gravel adventures.
Giant Fastroad AR: Features And Specifications
- ALUXX SLR-grade aluminum frame for a robust and lightweight build.
- Advanced-grade composite fork for precise handling and vibration damping.
- Shimano Sora components for smooth shifting and efficient braking.
- Wide-range cassette and compact crankset for tackling various terrains.
- Tubeless ready Giant wheels and tires for improved control and grip on gravel roads.
These notable gravel bikes without front suspension offer a range of features and specifications to suit different riders and riding styles. Whether you prioritize lightweight construction, advanced technology, or versatile components, there’s a gravel bike out there to meet your needs.
With the right bike, you can confidently tackle gravel adventures with ease and enjoyment.
Understanding The Lack Of Front Suspension In Gravel Bikes
Gravel bikes typically do not have front suspension, as it adds weight and complexity to the bike. Suspension forks are more prone to breakdown and require more maintenance. While some gravel bikes may have rear micro-suspension for added comfort, it is not as extensive as conventional mountain bike suspension.
Gravel biking has become increasingly popular among cycling enthusiasts due to its versatility and ability to handle varying terrains. However, one notable feature that is often absent in gravel bikes is front suspension. In this section, we will explore the reasons behind the absence of front suspension in gravel bikes and compare the performance of bikes with and without this feature.
Reasons For The Absence Of Front Suspension In Gravel Bikes:
- Weight considerations: Front suspension systems add weight to the bike, which can impact the overall performance and efficiency, especially when tackling long rides or climbs. Gravel bikes are designed to be lightweight and agile, prioritizing speed and agility over the need for extensive suspension.
- Simplicity and durability: Gravel bikes are built to withstand rugged terrains such as gravel roads and off-road trails. By eliminating front suspension, manufacturers can create a simpler and more durable bike frame that can handle the demands of rough surfaces, reducing the risk of mechanical failures.
- Efficient power transfer: Gravel biking involves a combination of off-road and on-road cycling. Without front suspension, more power is transferred directly to the pedals, allowing riders to maintain a greater level of control and efficiency, especially on smoother surfaces.
Comparing The Performance Of Gravel Bikes With And Without Front Suspension:
- Comfort on rough terrains: While front suspension can provide a smoother ride on rough terrains, gravel bikes without front suspension often compensate for this by incorporating wider tires and lower tire pressure. This combination allows the bike to absorb some of the vibrations and impact from uneven surfaces, providing a more comfortable ride.
- Agility and maneuverability: Gravel bikes without front suspension tend to be more agile and responsive, allowing riders to navigate tight corners and technical sections with greater ease. The absence of front suspension reduces the risk of “bouncing” and improves handling, making it easier to maintain control on challenging terrains.
- Versatility: Gravel bikes without front suspension offer greater versatility, as they can be used not only for off-road adventures but also for commuting, touring, and even road cycling. The lack of front suspension allows for a more efficient transfer of power on smoother surfaces, making them suitable for a wide range of cycling activities.
The Balance Between Comfort And Performance In Gravel Bike Design:
Gravel bike manufacturers understand the importance of achieving a balance between comfort and performance. While front suspension can enhance the comfort of a bike, it may sacrifice some performance aspects such as efficiency and maneuverability. By eliminating front suspension, manufacturers can focus on optimizing other design elements to provide a well-rounded gravel bike.
Front suspension is often absent in gravel bikes due to weight considerations, the need for simplicity and durability, and the desire to maximize power transfer. Gravel bikes without front suspension offer increased agility, versatility, and still provide a comfortable ride by incorporating wider tires and lower tire pressure.
The balance between comfort and performance is achieved through meticulous design and optimization of various components. So, before investing in a gravel bike, it’s essential to understand your specific riding needs and the terrain you’ll be tackling to make an informed decision.
Frequently Asked Questions On Do Gravel Bikes Have Front Suspension?
Why Do Gravel Bikes Not Have Front Suspension?
Gravel bikes don’t have front suspension because it adds weight and complexity, prone to breakdown and requires more maintenance.
Do Gravel Bikes Have Rear Suspension?
Gravel bikes typically do not have rear suspension, but some may have micro-suspension features for added comfort.
Why Do Gravel Bikes Not Have Shocks?
Gravel bikes do not have shocks because they would add weight and complexity to the bike, requiring more maintenance.
Can You Add A Suspension Fork To A Gravel Bike?
Yes, you can add a suspension fork to a gravel bike without altering its handling or fit.
Gravel bikes are designed to tackle rough terrains while still maintaining speed and efficiency. One common question that arises is whether gravel bikes have front suspension. While some gravel bikes do come with front suspension, the majority of them do not.
This is mainly due to the added weight and complexity that suspension elements bring. A gravel bike with front suspension will be significantly heavier compared to one with a fully rigid frame. Additionally, suspension forks are more prone to breakdowns and require more maintenance.
However, it’s worth mentioning that gravel bikes may have micro-suspension, such as the Trek Checkpoint IsoSpeed decoupler, which provides a bit of flex for added comfort without the full extent of conventional mountain bike suspension. Ultimately, the decision to have front suspension on a gravel bike depends on individual preferences and riding style.