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Dear drop-bar riders: We see you and your adorable baby steps into gravel

Wider tires, wider bars, and suspension are all great things. Welcome to the party, gravel riders, from the new MTB media brand Beta.

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The new mountain bike media brand Beta is launching today, formed by the veterans who came to Pocket Outdoor Media from the late, great Bike Magazine. The following is an across-the-aisle welcome letter of sorts from Beta senior editor Ryan Palmer. Please take it in the fun-loving spirit in which it was given!

Dear curly-bar cuties,

We see what you’re doing, and we couldn’t be happier for you. Actually, we’re tickled because, you know what they say: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

We’re so proud that you’ve been growing and finding new activities. You discovered that riding can be more than a thing that creates data for you to upload to Strava and study while sitting in your ice bath, shopping for the most naturally-derived whey protein.

After years of mind-numbing tarmac torture, you’ve finally ventured onto rougher terrain. You’re turning off the trucker route and taking the road less traveled. It’s still a road, but that’s okay, these things take time.

Your tires are tubeless now, they’re developing adorable little knobs, and they’re nearly as wide as ours were 30 years ago. You’ve got disc brakes, a shorter stem, and wider bars. They’re still drop bars, but again, these things take time.

Some of your drop bars are also riser bars — which is confusing to us, but endearing nonetheless. It’s okay, you’ll get there. And please, rest assured knowing that we’re here for you when you decide you’d like to have control over your bicycle. We’ve been using flat bars for some time now, and boy-howdy it’s nice.

Good news, gravel riders! Experimenting with suspension is a worthwhile endeavor. We learned this, oh, 30 years ago… Photo: Anthony Smith

You even have a few charming suspension-y things to soak up the little pebbles you’re venturing onto. Aw, we remember our first suspension, too. Must have been … yup … 30 years ago.

If you think gravel is good, you should try dirt. And don’t even get us started on loam. OMG, you’re going to love it! Just beware, mountain biking requires actual fitness. You’ll need to put some muscle on those silky smooth bird legs to clean our climbs. It’s all good though, we don’t mind hanging back with you. We’re just looking for a good time.

Why wait another 30 years for your bikes to be as good as ours are now? Come join us today, there’s a beer in the creek with your name on it.

Yours truly,
Beta MTB