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Bikepacking/gravel bikes
Hey, I've been looking into bikepacking/gravel biking and was curious if anyone had an opinion on no suspension gravel bikes. I've had a no suspension triathlon bike before and I remember it being pretty bad on gravel roads. That being said the majority of gravel bikes I've been looking at don't have any suspension, would you guys recommend getting a hardtail or am I better off with no suspension maybe for easier pedaling/lighter weight? I'm thinking for mostly riding gravel roads/fire access roads in national forests etc.
Most of the destination trails should be doable on gravel bikes, like the ones in state parks. Start on the road until you get to the park. Some are on the rails to trails routes so full suspension may not be needed. If you are packing heavy with saddlebags or backpacks, maybe single suspension can work, but that's a journey I don't want to take. I like to have someone bring our gear in a car so I can get a good ride in. The thought of bike packing also means extra fuel. If your young and need an adventure, the East Coast Greenway is the way to explore. You can take a few days, or a few months. "Plan Your Ride, And Ride Your Plan!"
Hi Lss, not sure if you've made a decision about the bike yet but I thought I'd give you my thoughts. Gravel bikes are going to feel quite different from a triathlon bike. Gravel bikes are going to have better vibration absorption qualities and won't beat you up as much as a tri bike would on a bumpy road. Triathlon bikes have super aggressive frame geometry that is designed to get every last bit of your energy into the rear wheel and move you forward...fast! Gravel bikes are designed with...well...gravel roads in mind. In general, they have a more relaxed head tube angle, longer wheel base, and a different frame design/shape that will make the ride far more comfortable than a triathlon bike even though gravel bikes don't have suspension either.

I would say for what you're doing a gravel bike with no suspension would be really fun, more comfortable, and faster, than something with suspension. I hope this helps!

So, did you make a purchase? What did you buy?
My YouTube channel about life and riding bikes in Ecuador: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC53LAQO8WH782Tjr_N8WPOg
Hello Lss555, I would suggest going with gravel bike. Not sure which National forests/fire roads you were planning on exploring but I rented and used a gravel bike while doing parts of the Great Mountain Divide route in Montana. I had to walk/haul my gravel bike a few times. This was in a bikepacking setup with a frame bag and a light weight backpack. I am glad that I had a gravel bike with non-suspension as suspension would have added weight. Also, my riding buddies then recommended that I lower air pressure on downhills for a comfortable ride and that was like having suspension..:-)

On a sidenote, I have been riding a fat bike with a bikepacking set-up down in South America for the past 8-months. Over 6-months of that were on Trans Ecuador Mountain Bike Route- Dirt Road (TEMBR). I am really glad that I've a fat bike and not a suspension bike. It's pure dirt, sand and wet mountainous route. And, we had to walk/haul our bikes quite a few times everyday. That suspension would make life a bit more interesting. I could always change air pressure if I needed some suspension..:-)

Below is my blog if you want to take a look at my route and make your life more difficult by adding fat bikes to your list of choices..:-)

In the following post, my riding buddy was on a "gravel bike with pannier" setup with no suspension. Everyday, he adjusted air pressure to ride comfortably. While I stuck to one constant pressure, as adjusting pressure meant I would need to pump air into my fat bike every few hours or so. Because TEMBR is up-down-up-down..
Suspension is a important subject for gravel bikes. As i know suspension offers a significant amount of front and rear cushions. This feature also helps to dampen high-frequency vibration. This can make rides more comfortable and stable. So, it’s no surprise that suspension is fixed on most bikes.
Schwinn Phocus 1400 is my favorite one as a suspension gravel bike.
Appreciate it you guys, I’ve been considering what you guys said and I’ll probably just go for a hard tail as looking at the trails around where I live there’s a lot of single track as well and I know I’m going to want to explore those at some point or even do something like the Colorado trail from denver to Durango. So if I get a hard tail then I can do both with one bike and kind of kill
Two birds with one stone 🤘🏼
For gravel trails, you don't need as much suspension as people think. My suggestion is take a look at the trail and the types of bikes people bring. If you see a lot of mountain bikes, it's better to get the rear suspensions. If not, save some cash and get a hardtail. Btw, most gravel bikes' forks have less travel compared to MTBs and given you're coming from a triathlon background, it's better you get some good forks, so the first couple of rides are easy.

Weight is everything on gravel bikes, so the lesser components the better.
Check this artile here to know details about a fews great gravel bikes. Hope will be helpfull for you.

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