To help, many major online retailers such as REI Co-op, Jenson USA, and Backcountry provide geometry charts and size recommendations for most of their models. 27 of the very best gravel bikes tested and rated by our team. The Grail’s proven and tubeless-ready DT Swiss wheels also are wrapped in one of our favorite gravel tires at the moment: Schwalbe’s 40-millimeter G-One Bite, which transition nicely from tarmac to trail. This is the least expensive model we tested, less than half the price of our top-rated models. Gravel bikes, the sweet spot between road cycling and mountain biking, invite open adventure along any road. The out and out stiffness of its chassis means it can’t match a dedicated gravel bike off-road but what it loses here it more than makes up for with its road credentials. Diamondback is best known for their budget-friendly bikes sold at big-box stores, but being value-driven isn't necessarily a bad thing. And one final note: if you’re upgrading or replacing tires on an existing bike, it’s important to make sure you have enough room for these larger sizes. Gravel bikes—also known as adventure or all-road bikes—are built to handle terrain ranging from forest service roads to pavement, dirt, and even mellow singletrack. For $949, the Rove includes a quality aluminum frame, ample mounting locations for accessories, water, and gear, and a dependable Shimano Claris drivetrain. Bottom brackets are often lower, which gives the rider the sensation of riding in, rather than on the bicycle. The bike still has GT’s signature ‘triple triangle’ at the back, but the seat tube is now entirely free-floating and the seatstays have lost some girth allowing for heaps of compliance. As their name suggests, gravel bikes are designed to be ridden on surfaces like gravel trails, doubletrack, and forest service roads. As with any budget offering, the Rove AL 650 has its fair share of compromises. You’ll likely feel the object beneath you. You’ll also have to replace the sealant a couple of times per year—it has a tendency to dry and become ineffective at sealing small holes. Why isn't the Co-op Cycles ADV 3.1 ranked higher? If you choose to go the online route, most bikes shipped to your home will require some assembly. The 1×11 SRAM GX drivetrain is a good example of this, offering dependable and smooth shifts that are endlessly more appealing than the loose triple setup a 90’s MTB would wear. Devinci’s Hatchet is a fun, fast and versatile gravel bike. For more background information, see our gravel bike comparison table and buying advice below the picks. Added up, you’d be hard-pressed to find a similarly equipped and well-made carbon design at this price point. For example, Backcountry and REI often have an additional charge for shipping a bike, although REI offers a free ship-to-store option, which is a great alternative for buyers who want the added benefit of employee advice and expertise. We loved the ride of the Hatchet and found the factory fit dropper post really helped us exploit the impressive stability from its long, slack geometry. Gravel bikes also feature a wider gear range for the varied terrain you can expect on forest service and backroads. Next, lay an object larger than a pencil in your driveway or on the sidewalk—a wooden dowel or mixing spoon handle works great—and ride over it at a comfortable speed (about 10mph). Of note, Specialized’s Diverge lineup is expansive, starting at $1,200 and going all the way up to $10,000, so most riders should be able to find exactly what they’re looking for.See the Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon. Plus, eliminating tubes in favor of sealant can drop a little rotational weight from your kit. Put simply, gravel bikes can continue on when traditional roads bikes are forced to turn around, and they can easily handle the daily commute to work too. The widest gravel bike handlebars you can buy: broad bars for bikepackers; The 11 gravel-specific products you never knew you needed; Opinion: We need to be more specific about what 'gravel' is [Updated 15th December 2020] 11 of the best 2020/2021 electric gravel bikes. The end result of these geometry differences is a more comfortable, confidence-inspiring and forgiving ride than one would find in a typical road bike. This also translates to a larger contact patch with the ground, making them ideal for off-road use. It would be easy to discard this bike based on its simple steel frame and fork and relatively high weight, but that would be a real mistake. Head tubes are generally taller as well, placing the rider in a more relaxed, upright position. Compared to road and cyclocross bikes, gravel grinders feature significantly more mounting locations for extra water bottles, bags, and gear. Tubeless tyres are also commonly found on gravel bikes, because the latex sealant provides a degree of insurance against punctures. The bikes share the same Shimano GRX 800/600 drivetrain and GRX 400 brakes, and we’ve found Cannondale’s aluminum builds are impressively comfortable (a common knock on aluminum is it’s too harsh). As expected from the brand, the Aspero models put a premium on climbing speed and responsiveness with a high-quality and very lightweight carbon frame, upright geometry that gives it a quick-handling and nimble feel, and a nice spec sheet with efficiency-minded components. The slender aluminium frame and carbon fork include plenty of fittings for touring or bikepacking accessories as well as the usual mudguard mounts. All that said, there’s a reason behind the saying “steel is real.” In short, it’s hard to ignore the ride characteristics, burly feel, and long-term durability of a steel build. Designed to be the fastest gravel race bike in the Salsa stable, the Warbird is a model where every detail has been carefully considered to ensure that riders have the best possible advantage. One of only two steel-framed designs on our list, the Surly Straggler is a gravel bike with a do-it-all personality. The Diverge is a supremely versatile bike that could successfully do everything from fully-loaded touring through to ultra-light gravel racing. 700c tires are narrower than 650b options, usually weigh less, and roll faster on tarmac and most gravel paths. If you’ve ever spent time on washboard roads at speed, you’ll understand why this is so important. The idea is that it’s stable at speed but lets you get tucked up in an aero position when the need arises. All told, there’s a lot to like about the speed-hungry G//C Force. There are only two build kits currently offered (plus a frame-only option), but the GRX model is well-appointed with high-end 800-series components, an all-carbon frame, and off-road extras like a dropper post and meaty tires. Uphill-focused riders that want a twitchy and extremely responsive ride won’t like the laidback stance or beefed-up construction, which adds weight. Naked Bicycles—Custom Naked Bicycles based on Quadra Island in B.C. Which is the best gravel bike? With additional mounting locations for food, water, and gear, the Warbird more effectively moonlights as a backcountry adventure machine. From all-out touring to weekend gravel rides and everything in between, the Straggler makes for a solid one-bike quiver. But for those hoping to stay under $1,000, Kona’s entry-level Rove is undeniably a good value.See the Kona Rove AL 650. All of the bikes in this article have been ridden and rated by BikeRadar’s expert testers. It comes equipped with hydraulic brake discs, wide wheels, and a Shimano 105 drivetrain. The Canyon Grail 6 is a versatile aluminium gravel bike that’s a direct replacement for the hugely successful Grail AL. For a complete list of options, see our article on the best mountain bike shoes. It’s also worth noting the max tire width for the Aspero is 42 millimeters, which is a few millimeters less than most designs on this list. All told, Salsa’s fourth-generation Warbird is an enviable gravel race bike that happily pulls double duty as a lightweight bikepacking rig for weekend trips. Which bike is the new god of gravel? Best gravel bike 2020: show true grit with these ultra-versatile, very bad-ass bikes. Trek’s Best Road Bike Is the Gen-Three Domane SLR. Four key features can usually be used to distinguish a gravel bike from a traditional road bike. Better known for their extensive lineup of mountain bikes, Norco did a nice job with the dirt-focused Search XR A2. 19/20 – Norco Search XR – A killer bike with low gear ratios, modern features and 27.5″ wheels for small sizes. How much will shipping cost? If you plan to transport your e-bike with any regularity, it’s important to consider the weight limit of your rack and your ability to lift and load the bike. Further, you get thru-axles for a stiffer ride in the rough stuff and tubeless-ready wheels (in our opinion, it’s is a no-brainer to set up your gravel bike this way for less weight, fewer flats, and more grip). Geometry It’s a composed off-roader that manages to feel fast and relatively uncompromised on the road too. The SRAM 1x drivetrain starts out with a really low crawler gear that will become your very best friend when climbing or riding off road. This GRX equipped version is the cheapest way to get your hands on a carbon Grail, but if you’ve got a bit more money to spend we also got on very well with, Read our full review of the Canyon Grail CF SL 7.0, Read our Canyon Grail CF8.0 SL eTap review, Cheap gravel bikes: adventure bike bargains, Head to Canyon’s website to buy factory direct, Read our full review of the Canyon Grail 6, full-suspension Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Read our full review of the Devinci Hatchet Carbon GRX LTD, Read our full review of the Focus Atlas 6.8, Read our full review of the Mason Bokeh Ti GRX Di2, Read our full review of the Orbea Terra M20-D1x GRX, Read the full review of the Vitus Energie EVO CRS eTap Force, Read our full review of the 3T Exploro RaceMax, Read the full review of the BiVi Bunker Malvern, Read the full review of the Fuji Jari 1.3, Read our full review of the Juliana Quincy CC Rival, Read our full review of the Merida Silex 400, Read our review of the On-One Free Ranger SRAM Force 1, Read our review of the Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon, Read our full review of the Vitus Substance CRX, Nukeproof unveils the Giga, its all-new ‘super enduro’ bike, WTB Verdict TCS Light High Grip + Slash guard 29 x 2.5in tyre, Oakley launches customisation programme with “40-million different combinations”, Best gravel wheels 2021: 8 top-rated picks, Best gravel bike shoes | Gravel-friendly footwear for adventure riding, Trail adjusting flip chip on fork improves handling between wheel sizes, £4,699 / €5,000 / $5,500 / AU$7,299 as tested, Clearance for 45mm (700c) and 50mm (650b) tyres, Sublime frame with lovely ride quality and great kit, The chunky tyres make it a little pedestrian on the road and it’s pretty expensive, Lively, well priced bike with a bold paint job, Dropper improves control in rough terrain, Wildcard choice due to cyclocross race origins, Decent ride characteristics on- and off-road, Heaps of tyre clearance and mudguard mounts, Same great race-ready frame as the True Grit, Regular fork opens up options for mounting luggage. In essence, they are more capable than road bikes yet more efficient than mountain bikes, transitioning nicely from daily commutes to weekend adventures. Compared to the top-ranked Cannondale Topstone 1 above, the Niner RLT 2-Star comes in $250 more expensive yet sees a slight downgrade in the drivetrain department with its 1x drivetrain (the Cannondale features 2x Shimano GRX components). The steel frame and wide 650b x 50mm tires make for a comfortable ride, but they also add a lot of weight. Cervelo has made their name in light, fast, and aerodynamic pavement racers, and they’ve taken that expertise into the gravel world with their Aspero collection. How does the rest of the build compare with the aforementioned Trek? And although the Warbird’s high-performing TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes are one of the better options of their kind on the market, they simply can’t match the ease of use or stopping power of the hydraulic version on the Giant. Lower your tire pressure by 3 to 5 psi and repeat this process again until you barely feel the item. A used cyclocross bike, for example, could work perfectly well as a gravel bike and cost you a fraction of the cost of even the most basic ‘true’ gravel machine. If you’re looking at a purpose-built gravel / all-road bike, expect to pay around £800 / $1,200 for an alloy frame with entry-level components. Although quite a bit heavier than the carbon and aluminum models above, the Straggler’s smooth-riding steel frame and classic design are ideal for those who prioritize comfort and durability over speed and new tech. That smoothness is down to the slim back-end, but also some smart component choices. The bigger contact patch with the ground also translates to increased traction, which can be especially helpful on soft or loose sections of road. What designers have done is taken the best design cues … Gravel bikes and adventure bikes have gone very quickly from the latest craze to a significant part of most bike companies' ranges. If you plan to mix in a fair amount of extended and steep climbing and prioritize efficiency, it’s best to stick with a traditional, road-inspired design. The elite-level build listed here also features the crisp shifting of SRAM’s electronic Force AXS drivetrain. We're loving the influx of gravel bikes hitting the trails right now, and with so many to choose from you really can pick the perfect bike for you. 650b When you think of Lauf, the first thing that comes to mind is its crazy looking leaf spring fork, which allows for 30mm of front travel. We put the best gravel bike tyres head-to-head in 2021 with top-rated options from Maxxis, Kenda, Specialized, Donnelly and more. And finally, tubeless setups can be a bit of a mess should you ever need to put a tube in your tire. If the goal is covering ground quickly and efficiently, we recommend checking out a more focused design like Co-op Cycles’ ADV 2.2, which cuts over 1 pound of weight and features more performance-oriented geometry for $100 more. One of the best and least expensive upgrades you can make to your bike is upgrading to tubeless tires. As the name implies, the Anywhere rides well on both tarmac and F-Roads as they’re known in Iceland (gravel roads) as well as smooth singletrack, but is somewhat limited by the 40mm slick tyres that come stock. Today, there are numerous purpose-built machines that gravel-curious riders can choose from. While experienced cyclists might balk at this method, it’s a great way for new riders to understand and learn to adjust pressure based on conditions, terrain, and other factors. The Juliana Quincy is the women’s version of the Santa Cruz Stigmata. Those who already own a hardtail might be wondering: “Can’t I just ride my mountain bike on gravel roads instead of purchasing something new?” And the answer is a resounding “yes.” In fact, we actually encourage riders to use what they already have whenever possible. Mounts But once 29- and 27.5-inch wheels hit the market, the debate amongst bikers took off and has continued ever since. It’s also a competent ride on the road but a tyre swap would really get the most from this bike on the tarmac. It’ll officially take 650b wheels with tyres up to 53mm, too. Jack has been at BikeRadar for three years now and is regularly testing an esoteric mix of weird and wonderful bikes. We love 1x drivetrains for their simplicity, ease of use, and generally lower weight. Skip that extra bit of carbon instead. Whether you’re passing through technical singletrack, rocks, gravel and tarmac, deep sand or slick mud, the Hatchet has immense composure. Some simply require throwing on the front wheel and pedals, but others will need an extensive amount of work before they’re ready to ride. There are smart details galore, from the numerous mounts for bottles, racks and mudguards, to the MultiPort cabling system that ensures compatibility with all kinds of drivetrain. Looking to enter the realm of gravel bikes but not sure where to begin? Despite being the most affordable carbon fibre Canyon Grail, this model still arrives with a great spec. Slotted somewhere between the … These bikes have generous tyre clearance and geometry that is more stable and forgiving than traditional road bikes. It’s reasonably priced too, particularly for a, Read our full review of the Reilly Gradient, Despite being the most affordable carbon fibre Canyon Grail, this model still arrives with a great spec. A simple swap of tyres is all it takes to make this a bike that shines both off-road and on. Santa Cruz is lauded within the mountain biking community for their quality frames and remarkable attention to detail, and that reputation holds true with the gravel-oriented Stigmata. For starters, while most modern road bikes max out at about 30-millimeter tires and cyclocross bikes at around 40 millimeters, gravel bikes typically are able to accommodate up to 700c x 45-millimeter or 650c x 50-millimeter tires (Salsa’s Warbird, for example, can accommodate both). After all, people have been riding all sorts of bikes on dirt roads for decades—long before the advent of this niche category. In short, the main differences between the two relate to power and ease of use. In addition to wider tyres, gravel bikes have geometry that favours stability and comfort. Already have an account with us? Put another way, it’s the polar opposite of the Evil Chamois Hagar above, which crushes the downhills at the expense of power and efficiency when pedaling. It’s impressively light too, with our extra-large test bike weighing just 9.87kg (21.76lbs). If you’re searching for the best way to transport bikes, hitch-mounted bike racks are the way to go. The main advantage to these beefier tires is their ability to run lower air pressure, which results in a more forgiving ride and greater traction. Not to mention, we can’t help but love the old-school look of the RLT’s aluminum frame. You do pay a steep premium for the Bosch drive unit and 500Wh battery, but it’s a boon for daylong enjoyment on remote backroads. However, if you consistently frequent pavement and mellow trails, you’ll probably be better served by 700c wheels described above. This one’s a bit of a wildcard, you can either see it as an on-trend flat bar gravel adventure bike or a retro mountain bike with a few modern touches. For $200-$300 less, the Trek and Specialized models above feature similar components but include a notable upgrade in ride quality over bumpy terrain with their proprietary suspension designs. Written by martinp25. Our tester praised the Exploro RaceMax for its superbly balanced handling and supreme versatility. Tires are an often-overlooked component, but as the only thing connecting you to the ground, are an important consideration for gravel riding. This unique tech and impressive performance do come at a cost. While gravel bikes bear a strong resemblance to both cyclocross and road bikes, there are a number of key differences to point out. By decoupling the top and seat tubes, this technology effectively reduces vibrations and creates a less jarring, smoother ride. And with a comfortable upright seating position and mounting locations for racks and panniers, it makes for a solid commuting and touring companion too. Released last year, the mid-range Topstone 105 features a sturdy aluminum frame... A quality mountain bike shoe plays a number of important roles. Gearing is another area where these bikes diverge from the pack. Taken together, if price were no issue and we could only ride one gravel bike for the rest of our lives, it almost certainly would be the Routt YBB. Back in the day, if you wanted a road bike that could handle rougher terrain you would simply find an old steel rigid-framed mountain bike, fit a set of drop handlebars to it and maybe some mixed terrain tyres and hey presto… you’d have a gravel bike or ‘gravel grinder’. Further, when the time comes to replace your tires (or you simply need a different tread pattern that better suits your local terrain), there are significantly more options available in the 700c size. In general, long gravel rides pass through far fewer service areas, meaning you’ll need to stock up on food, water, and other gear before heading out. Providing you aren’t discouraged by geometry that’s on the racier side, this makes a top gravel or even winter road bike thanks to heaps of clearance, well-chosen components and mudguard mounts. Most gravel tyres feature a fast-rolling centre tread with knurling or side knobs to improve cornering ability on mixed surfaces. Our sub-9kg XL test bike is impressive for a gravel bike at this price, particularly when you consider the aforementioned 47mm tyres. It’s so good out of the box that there’s little beyond the tyres that we’d look to change in the future. The standard 45mm tan-wall WTB tyres excel off road with huge amounts of comfort and grip but you’ll likely want to swap them if you’re using this bike mostly for commuting. We think the sweet spot is in the 20- to 23-pound range for most riders, which will usually set you back roughly $2,000. As with the rest of the Liv range, the frame’s geometry/sizing and carbon layup has been chosen specifically for female riders. For those looking for a little more capability at a still-reasonable price, check out Norco’s XR A Suspension model ($1,899), which features a front fork with 50 millimeters of travel and a dropper seat post.See the Norco Search XR A2. Liv’s first gravel bike is a true do-it-all bike for women seeking on- and 0ff-road adventures. Frame: SteelGears: 1 x 11Tires: 700c x 41mmBrakes: Mechanical discWhat we like: Quality steel frame and versatile geometry.What we don’t: Heavier and more expensive than aluminum models. For the perfect set up while riding, people want to make sure that they cover all the different components. A new full-suspension Cannondale Topstone Lefty has been announced for 2021 and we’ll be reviewing it as soon as possible. Alternatively, XC pedals and shoes still are lightweight yet feature a much more walkable and more comfortable outsole. To get even more from the Silex chassis, we think this bike could do with tyres a little wider than the 38mm Maxxis Rambler parts that come as standard (42mm is max for this frame and fork). There’s a huge amount of clearance, with room for 45mm tyres if you’re on 700c wheels or a full 2.1in with 650b wheels in place. Alternatively, those consistently tackling long, steep grades likely will prefer the Giant Revolt Advanced 2’s wider gear range (although the G//C Force is perfectly adequate for riding rolling terrain). Tack on off-road-ready features like protection along the chain stays and downtube and dropper post compatibility (note: a dropper is not included), and you get a nice option for road riders looking to add a gravel grinder to their quiver. Compared to the Cannondale Topstone 1 above, the Grail AL 6 is fairly close in price (technically the AL 7 is a more direct competitor) but comes up slightly short in a couple key areas. There... Sweden-based Thule is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of car racks and bike accessories, and the T2 Pro XT is their top hitch-mounted offering. And performance benefits aside, we always welcome lifting less weight onto our rack. And for a hardcore racing bike, see the Trek Checkpoint SL 6 below. The Diverge gets the edge in max tire clearance (47mm vs. 45mm on the Checkpoint) and includes in-frame storage with their unique and very functional SWAT system. What pushes the Straggler towards the bottom of our list? Like the Stigmata, it started out as a cyclocross bike but naturally makes a great gravel or adventure option. That said, we prefer 2x setups for more mountainous terrain. There's just no replacement for a great local shop, the bike and trail advice that goes with it, and the ability to ride a certain model beforehand and easily get replacement parts and service. In addition to wide tyres, relaxed geometry and low gearing, many gravel bikes have active or passive suspension systems built into them. Don't miss out on MBUK – get your next 3 issues for just £5, Get the next 3 issues of the UK's number one cycling magazine for just £5. It’s nice to see Shimano GRX derailleurs and crank, but the shifters are from the road-focused Tiagra line, so they’re not as user-friendly on gravel. For those on a tighter budget who don’t want to make big sacrifices in ride quality, Trek’s Checkpoint SL 6 above is roughly one-third the price and features similar bump-absorbing tech with its rear IsoSpeed.See the Moots Routt YBB Force AXS. Giant’s shock-absorbing seatpost is very effective at reducing trail buzz, although the 30.9mm hole it sits in will willingly accept a dropper post should you want to maximise the bike’s handling on descents. However, these are relatively small nitpicks about an otherwise impressive all-around gravel bike. Other thoughtful features include a rubber downtube protector to ward off high-speed rock impacts and a chainstay guard to help keep the chain quiet on bumpy rides. The five-model Candy family is the best all-arounder (and most gravel-friendly) in the Crank lineup. We thoroughly enjoyed the huge gear range, slick shifts and easy set up of SRAM’s eTap AXS groupset, and its AXS brakes were not short of power or feel. There’s a SRAM Rival groupset, lightweight 650b carbon fibre wheels from Prime with a generous 24.5mm internal width and WTB’s Venture 650b x 47c TCS tubeless tyres. In general, 700c wheels and tires offer the best overall performance for mixed-terrain riding, and they continue to be the most common option for gravel bikes. Both brands offer a solid lineup of sizes and tread patterns that cover everything from smooth road tires to aggressive gravel options. To include Salsa ’ s excellent GRX RX600 and RX800 groupset components at this price.! 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