HomeFitnessThe 7 Best Gravel Bikes for Every Type of Cyclist

The 7 Best Gravel Bikes for Every Type of Cyclist

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Gravel biking has grow to be one of the fashionable biking actions previously 12 months, based on a January 2024 report from exercise tracker app Strava.

On this current development report, which incorporates information from uploaded actions from October 2022 by September 2023, Strava discovered gravel biking is the quickest rising sport amongst its customers, with a 55 % world improve and 48 % U.S. improve on this off-road sport.

Gravel biking entails using on packed dust or gravel roads, usually with a gravel-specific bike. Not like mountain biking, gravel biking hardly ever entails main rocks or tree roots. Generally, gravel biking would require some using on paved roads with the intention to get to your most well-liked off-road route.


Specialists In This Article

  • Bruce Lin, tech author for The Professional’s Closet, a Colorado-based licensed bike reselling web site
  • Julie Dunkle, an elite triathlete, skilled gravel bicycle owner, and triathlon coach
  • Karel Sumbal, an elite triathlete, gravel bicycle owner, endurance sports activities coach, and veteran bike fitter
  • Marni Sumbal, an elite triathlete, gravel bicycle owner, and endurance sports activities coach

Whereas not required, a gravel-specific bike, colloquially generally known as a “gravel bike,” could make gravel using safer and extra enjoyable. That is as a result of gravel bikes have thicker, knobbier tires to accommodate for the tough roads and should have sturdier, alloy frames to supply vibration resistance towards the rocks and dust you’ll experience over.

Need to give gravel biking a strive or simply out there for a motorbike improve? To take the guesswork out of your search, we spoke with elite cyclists, coaches, and bike sellers that will help you slender down which bike is greatest for you.

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As a result of some producers market bikes based on gender, we have listed each girls’s and males’s picks beneath. The distinction between most males’s and girls’s bikes lies within the bike’s body dimension. We encourage you to decide on the bike that matches your proportions greatest, no matter what the label says.

Our favourite gravel bikes at a look:

  1. Greatest general: Trek Checkpoint sequence, $1,800+
  2. Greatest for newbies: Cannondale Topstone 4, $1,325
  3. Greatest funds: Polygon Tambora G4, $900
  4. Greatest for racing: Specialised Diverge Knowledgeable Carbon, $5,000
  5. Greatest for males: Large Revolt line, $1,283+
  6. Greatest for girls: Juliana Quincy, $4,000
  7. Greatest electrical: Specialised Turbo Creo SL Knowledgeable EVO, $9,000

How we selected our prime picks

Bikes are available a wide range of sizes and styles with completely different elements, like as handlebars and gears. It’s essential to contemplate how a lot you need to spend on a brand new bike, how a lot you’ll experience the bike, and what your targets are in biking earlier than doling over doubtlessly 1000’s of {dollars} on a brand new experience.

We spoke with 4 specialists to get their takes on the seven greatest gravel bikes of 2024. They took model recognition, high quality, construct, and worth factors into consideration when recommending the next bikes.

All 4 specialists leveraged their collective many years of expertise as cyclists and from interacting with the biking group to advocate their picks.

Store one of the best gravel bikes for each kind of rider

Trek checkpoint gravel bike on white background

1. Greatest general: Trek Checkpoint sequence — $1,800+

“The perfect gravel bike is the one that matches correctly,” says Bruce Lin, a tech author for The Professional’s Closet, a Colorado-based licensed bike reselling web site.

So, connecting along with your native bike store or bike fitter will make it easier to decide what one of the best general gravel bike is in your particular wants.

Though there are lots of fashions Lin considers among the many greatest general gravel bikes of 2024, he recommends the Trek Checkpoint sequence.

“I contemplate Trek Checkpoints to be benchmark gravel bikes,” Lin says. “The carbon model of the Checkpoint provides additional consolation on the rear with its IsoSpeed Decoupler, and there may be additionally an reasonably priced aluminum Checkpoint choice, too.”

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You’ll be able to personal a Checkpoint for as little as $1,800 with an aluminum body, a SRAM Apex 11-speed single drivetrain, and mechanical disc brakes.

If you happen to’re seeking to spend a bit extra, for $3,300 and up, you possibly can have a totally carbon Checkpoint full with inside storage (which means inside the body), a number of gear and water bottle mounts and a 2x drivetrain (which implies there are two chainrings within the entrance).

With 11 fashions of various worth, supplies, and sizes within the Checkpoint household, Trek has really constructed a gravel bike for everybody.

cannondale topstone 4 gravel bike on gray background

2. Greatest for newbies: Cannondale Topstone 4 — $1,325 — $1,325.00

Julie Dunkle, an elite triathlete, skilled gravel bicycle owner, and triathlon coach, recommends the Cannondale Topstone 4 as one of the best gravel bike for newbies.

This bike is a “stable alloy gravel bike with a full carbon fork, a 1x drivetrain, and ample gear mounting factors,” she says.

At $1,325 the Topstone 4 isn’t an intimidating gravel bike from a funds or type standpoint. An alloy body means the bike is made by combining two completely different metals collectively—often aluminum and one other aspect—to create a sturdy, sturdy body.

The Topstone 4 additionally has a 1x drivetrain, which means there’s just one entrance chainring. This implies riders who’re new to gravel biking gained’t have to fret about transitioning between entrance chainrings—solely shifting between simpler and tougher gears situated on the rear wheel of the bike.

This bike additionally has the power to mount entrance and rear fenders for moist or muddy rides, and it has loads of spots to mount a water bottle holder.

Polygon Tambora G4 on white background

3. Greatest funds: Polygon Tambora G4 — $900 — $900.00

For underneath $1,000, the Polygon Tambora G4 provides riders an alloy body and carbon entrance fork, with none sophisticated configurations, Dunkle says.

The entrance fork even affords two configurations for the through axle—a gravel-specific slot-in for the axle, and a road-specific slot-in for the times you’d fairly persist with the pavement. The 2 slot-ins change the angle of the entrance setup ever-so-slightly to accommodate for upright, steady gravel wants and a extra angled highway place.

The Tambora G4 additionally options tire clearance as much as 45c tires, which means you possibly can put some massive, steady tires on the bike if desired. A 40-tooth chainring accommodates even probably the most numerous using wants and a 1x drivetrain makes this bike uncomplicated for brand new riders or those that merely don’t need the fuss of a couple of chainring.

Specialized Diverge Expert Carbon gravel bike on a white background

4. Greatest for racing: Specialised Diverge Knowledgeable Carbon — $5,000 — $5,000.00

If you happen to plan on racing —and being aggressive—in gravel biking, it’s seemingly you’ll need to spend money on a carbon gravel bike.

Carbon frames are usually lighter and extra nimble than frames product of alloy or metal, permitting a rider to hold much less weight from their bike as they traverse already tough terrain.

The Specialised Diverge sequence ranges from $1,300 all the way in which as much as $12,500, however the Diverge Knowledgeable Carbon ($5,000) is a good starter racing bike that gained’t set you again so far as different racing bikes budget-wise.

The Knowledgeable Carbon is a fully-carbon bike full with inside cable routing and disc brakes for correct cease time and distance. The bike additionally comprises a entrance fork suspension to deal with rougher terrain.

This bike additionally comes with nicer wheels than a less expensive, non-racing gravel bike: Roval 32mm depth carbon wheels and 42c tires, each of which are perfect for protecting off-road terrain whereas maximizing weight and aerodynamics.

giant revolt gravel bike on white background

5. Greatest for males: Large Revolt line — $1,283+

Lin notes there seemingly “isn’t an incredible reply to the query of one of the best gravel bike for males” as a result of one of the best bike is “the one that matches correctly.” The truth is, many bike producers are shifting away from the standard mannequin of getting men- or women-specific fashions and are trending towards providing extra expansive sizing to accommodate a wide range of physique measurements, he says.

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That being stated, the Large Revolt line affords frames that should accommodate riders as tall as 6’7″ and 330 kilos, which may work nicely for many who are taller and naturally have extra weight to their physique.

The Revolt line spans reasonably priced alloy frames all the way in which to elite carbon composite frames and options disc brakes on all its fashions in addition to carbon entrance forks on all its fashions.

“Even a correctly sized bike may not match good out of the field,” Lin says. You ought to chat with a neighborhood bike store or bike fitter to find out when you want an extended stem, wider handlebars, or a unique saddle to accommodate your particular measurements and to discover a snug setup in your physique dimension and using wants.

juliana quincy gravel bike on white background

6. Greatest for girls: Juliana Quincy — $4,000 — $4,000.00

Whereas it may be comforting to see women-specific bikes—and to assist female-owned bike manufacturers—it’s typically not essential for a lady to hunt out a female-specific bike, based on Marni and Karel Sumbal, elite triathletes, gravel cyclists, and endurance sports activities coaches.

As an alternative, the Sumbals advocate discovering a motorbike that may suit your distinctive measurements. Marni notes that as a result of she’s 5’0″, she usually feels restricted in her bike decisions. She shares how essential it’s for her— and for others who could also be shorter and smaller in stature—to totally perceive her measurements and the way they are going to apply, or not, to no matter gravel bike she’s taking a look at.

Working with an skilled bike fitter will help any bicycle owner perceive key measurements that’ll make choosing a motorbike simpler.

Marni recommends the Juliana Quincy, which she at the moment rides, as a result of it is available in each 700- and 650-sized wheels and will be configured from a 1x drivetrain to a 2x drivetrain, if desired.

The Juliana Quincy additionally has a extra sloped prime tube (the tube between the seat and the handlebars), which may make it simpler for individuals who could also be shorter to get on and off the bike.

Marni says that general, the bike is steady and responsive for her dimension and wishes on the bike. She additionally notes that as a result of an individual’s distinctive measurements, any bike might require a little bit of finessing after buying, resembling new handlebars for smaller shoulder widths or shorter crank arms for shorter legs. All of this needs to be thought of when taking a look at any gravel bike, female-specific or in any other case.

Specialized Turbo Creo SL Expert EVO gravel bike on white background

7. Greatest electrical: Specialised Turbo Creo SL Knowledgeable EVO — $9,000 — $9,000.00

Lin notes he’s a serious fan of the Specialised Turbo Creo SL Knowledgeable EVO gravel bike.

“The Turbo Creo is smooth and light-weight, and the low torque motor feels very pure to experience,” Lin says. “[The bike] blends in nicely with ‘common’ bikes, too.”

Lin notes that the Turbo Creo may not be proper for everybody, although—and that different gravel bikes, just like the Cannondale Topstone Neo, present much more help with a extra highly effective motor.

The Turbo Creo SL EVO weighs in at simply over 28 kilos, which is stunning for an e-bike—most clock in nicely over 35 kilos. The bike’s battery has a spread of about 80 miles when totally charged (and has the choice to buy an aftermarket 40-mile vary extender) and assists as much as 240 watts.

This bike is costly, however when you’re in search of a gravel e-bike that may idiot even your most gravel-educated associates into pondering it’s analog, this award-winning bike is the transfer.

Suggestions for purchasing a gravel bike

Shopping for a brand new gravel bike is an enormous buy, so it’s essential to talk with an professional beforehand. A neighborhood bike store or bike fitter will be nice sources to debate what dimension bike you want or if it is advisable improve elements such because the gearing or cranks (what the pedals connect with) after shopping for your bike.

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Earlier than going all-in in your new gravel bike, it’s essential to step again and contemplate a couple of elements:

  1. How a lot are you keen to spend on a brand new bike? Realizing your funds vary will assist slender your search and maintain you from overspending.
  2. What type of motorcycle do you want? Some folks want flat handlebars and a extra upright place, whereas others need curved handlebars and a extra aerodynamic approach to sit on the bike.
  3. How a lot will you experience the bike? Understanding when you plan on using this bike daily of the week or as soon as in a blue moon may also assist to slender your seek for a gravel bike.
  4. What are your athletic targets? If you wish to work towards your first gravel race, you might need to spend money on a barely extra aerodynamic and lighter gravel bike. If you wish to take part on a no-drop group experience as soon as every week, you might not have to shell out as a lot dough for a brand new gravel bike.

FAQ

1. How does a gravel bike differ from a highway or mountain bike?

Lin sums up the variations as “tires, geometry, gearing and meant use—gravel bikes sit in between highway and mountain bikes for all of those options.”

Gravel bike tires are often within the 38 to 50mm width vary, which is wider than highway tires however nonetheless not as extensive as mountain bike tires. This width vary makes gravel tires extra nimble than mountain bikes on packed dust or gravel terrain, however stabler than highway bikes could be off highway, Lin explains.

Lin goes on to say that gravel geometry is usually extra upright and steady than highway bike geometry, however not fairly as upright and extensive as mountain bikes. Gravel bikes might not really feel as aerodynamic or “sporty” when ridden on paved roads, however their upright place will profit riders on extra rugged terrain the place stability is essential.

Gravel gearing is usually “simpler” than highway gearing, Lin says. Gravel bikes have decrease gears that make it simpler to maintain the pedals turning when biking up steep or rocky terrain. The trade-off, Lin says, is that gravel bikes are inclined to lack the upper gears highway bikes have for hitting increased speeds on paved roads.

Lin describes gravel bikes as one of the best “completely happy medium” between highway and mountain bikes. Gravel bikes can be utilized on pavement and on some “tamer” mountain bike single-track trails.

2. Are gravel bikes good for long-distance using?

Gravel bikes are most likely one of the best bike for long-distance using, Lin says.

“Gravel bikes have the proper steadiness of snug geometry, compliance, and flexibility to deal with epic adventures,” Lin says. “Most are designed to beat the world’s greatest gravel races, the place riders cowl nicely over 100 miles or generally over 200 miles in a single day.”

Gravel bikes’ upright geometry and skill to deal with gritty off-road paths make them perfect for crafting an all-day journey by bike.

3. What’s the greatest body materials for a gravel bike?

Because of advances in bike materials expertise, there isn’t one specific materials that reigns supreme, Lin explains.

“The ‘greatest’ body materials actually relies on every athlete’s particular person wants and targets,” Lin says. “Aluminum, metal, alloy, and carbon all work nice—however there are some generalizations we will make to assist athletes select one of the best bike for them.”

Lin explains the next:

  • Aluminum frames are usually probably the most reasonably priced. They’re additionally stiff, sturdy, and never as heavy as many individuals assume.
  • Metal bikes are usually the heaviest, however they’re usually probably the most sturdy and comfy frames. Titanium is much like metal however lighter and dearer.
  • Carbon frames are often the lightest choice, they usually’re what you may often see being utilized by execs and aggressive racers.

Aluminum or metal frames are an incredible funding for these seeking to buy a gravel bike that will likely be sturdy, dependable, and can final for a few years, if not many years. A carbon-framed bike is a robust buy for somebody seeking to compete in gravel races or degree up their sport in gravel bike racing.

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