The 7 Best Gravel Bikes

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Gravel biking has change into one of the vital in style biking actions previously yr, based on a January 2024 report from exercise tracker app Strava.

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

Gravel biking entails using on packed filth or gravel roads, usually with a gravel-specific bike. In contrast to mountain biking, gravel biking hardly ever entails main rocks or tree roots. Generally, gravel biking would require some using on paved roads as a way to get to your most popular off-road route.


Consultants 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 bike owner, and triathlon coach
  • Karel Sumbal, an elite triathlete, gravel bike owner, endurance sports activities coach, and veteran bike fitter
  • Marni Sumbal, an elite triathlete, gravel bike owner, and endurance sports activities coach

Whereas not required, a gravel-specific bike, colloquially often called 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 will have sturdier, alloy frames to offer vibration resistance towards the rocks and filth you’ll trip over.

Need to give gravel biking a attempt or simply available in the market 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 slim 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 ladies’s bikes lies within the bike’s body measurement. 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. Finest total: Trek Checkpoint collection, $1,800+
  2. Finest for newcomers: Cannondale Topstone 4, $1,325
  3. Finest price range: Polygon Tambora G4, $900
  4. Finest for racing: Specialised Diverge Knowledgeable Carbon, $5,000
  5. Finest for males: Large Revolt line, $1,283+
  6. Finest for girls: Juliana Quincy, $4,000
  7. Finest electrical: Specialised Turbo Creo SL Knowledgeable EVO, $9,000

How we selected our high picks

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

We spoke with 4 consultants 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 consultants leveraged their collective a long time of expertise as cyclists and from interacting with the biking neighborhood to advocate their picks.

Store the perfect gravel bikes for each sort of rider

Trek checkpoint gravel bike on white background

1. Finest total: Trek Checkpoint collection — $1,800+

“The most effective 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 aid you decide what the perfect total gravel bike is in your particular wants.

Though there are numerous fashions Lin considers among the many greatest total gravel bikes of 2024, he recommends the Trek Checkpoint collection.

“I take into account 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 inexpensive aluminum Checkpoint choice, too.”

You possibly can personal a Checkpoint for as little as $1,800 with an aluminum body, a SRAM Apex 11-speed single drivetrain, and mechanical disc brakes.

In case you’re trying to spend a bit extra, for $3,300 and up, you possibly can have a completely carbon Checkpoint full with inside storage (that means within 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 actually constructed a gravel bike for everybody.

cannondale topstone 4 gravel bike on gray background

2. Finest for newcomers: Cannondale Topstone 4 — $1,325 — $1,325.00

Julie Dunkle, an elite triathlete, skilled gravel bike owner, and triathlon coach, recommends the Cannondale Topstone 4 as the perfect gravel bike for newcomers.

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 price range or type standpoint. An alloy body means the bike is made by combining two completely different metals collectively—normally aluminum and one other component—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 positioned 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. Finest price range: Polygon Tambora G4 — $900 — $900.00

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

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

The Tambora G4 additionally options tire clearance as much as 45c tires, that means you possibly can put some giant, secure tires on the bike if desired. A 40-tooth chainring accommodates even probably the most various using wants and a 1x drivetrain makes this bike uncomplicated for brand spanking 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. Finest for racing: Specialised Diverge Knowledgeable Carbon — $5,000 — $5,000.00

In case you plan on racing —and being aggressive—in gravel biking, it’s possible you’ll wish to put money into a carbon gravel bike.

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

The Specialised Diverge collection ranges from $1,300 all the way in which as much as $12,500, however the Diverge Knowledgeable Carbon ($5,000) is a superb 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 incorporates 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. Finest for males: Large Revolt line — $1,283+

Lin notes there possible “isn’t an important reply to the query of the perfect gravel bike for males” as a result of the perfect bike is “the one that matches correctly.” In reality, 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.

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 inexpensive 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 an area bike store or bike fitter to find out when you want an extended stem, wider handlebars, or a distinct saddle to accommodate your particular measurements and to discover a snug setup in your physique measurement and using wants.

juliana quincy gravel bike on white background

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

Whereas it may be comforting to see women-specific bikes—and to help female-owned bike manufacturers—it’s typically not mandatory 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 selections. She shares how essential it’s for her— and for others who could also be shorter and smaller in stature—to completely perceive her measurements and the way they may apply, or not, to no matter gravel bike she’s .

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

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

The Juliana Quincy additionally has a extra sloped high 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 total, the bike is secure and responsive for her measurement and wishes on the bike. She additionally notes that resulting from an individual’s distinctive measurements, any bike could require a little bit of finessing after buying, akin to new handlebars for smaller shoulder widths or shorter crank arms for shorter legs. All of this needs to be thought of when any gravel bike, female-specific or in any other case.

Specialized Turbo Creo SL Expert EVO gravel bike on white background

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

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

“The Turbo Creo is modern and light-weight, and the low torque motor feels very pure to trip,” 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 surprising for an e-bike—most clock in nicely over 35 kilos. The bike’s battery has a spread of about 80 miles when absolutely 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 searching for a gravel e-bike that may idiot even your most gravel-educated pals into pondering it’s analog, this award-winning bike is the transfer.

Suggestions for getting a gravel bike

Shopping for a brand new gravel bike is a giant buy, so it’s essential to talk with an skilled beforehand. An area bike store or bike fitter may be nice assets to debate what measurement bike you want or if that you must improve elements such because the gearing or cranks (what the pedals hook up with) after shopping for your bike.

Earlier than going all-in in your new gravel bike, it’s essential to step again and take into account just a few elements:

  1. How a lot are you prepared to spend on a brand new bike? Understanding your price range vary will assist slim your search and maintain you from overspending.
  2. What type of motorbike do you want? Some folks desire flat handlebars and a extra upright place, whereas others need curved handlebars and a extra aerodynamic method to sit on the bike.
  3. How a lot will you trip the bike? Understanding when you plan on using this bike every single day of the week or as soon as in a blue moon may even assist to slim your seek for a gravel bike.
  4. What are your athletic targets? If you wish to work towards your first gravel race, it’s possible you’ll wish to put money into a barely extra aerodynamic and lighter gravel bike. If you wish to take part on a no-drop group trip as soon as every week, it’s possible you’ll not must shell out as a lot dough for a brand new gravel bike.

FAQ

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

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

Gravel bike tires are normally within the 38 to 50mm width vary, which is wider than street tires however nonetheless not as vast as mountain bike tires. This width vary makes gravel tires extra nimble than mountain bikes on packed filth or gravel terrain, however stabler than street bikes can be off street, Lin explains.

Lin goes on to say that gravel geometry is mostly extra upright and secure than street bike geometry, however not fairly as upright and vast as mountain bikes. Gravel bikes could 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 vital.

Gravel gearing is usually “simpler” than street 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 likely to lack the upper gears street bikes have for hitting larger speeds on paved roads.

Lin describes gravel bikes as the perfect “completely satisfied medium” between street 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 the perfect bike for long-distance using, Lin says.

“Gravel bikes have the right stability 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 talent to deal with gritty off-road paths make them superb 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 know-how, there isn’t one explicit materials that reigns supreme, Lin explains.

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

Lin explains the next:

  • Aluminum frames are typically probably the most inexpensive. They’re additionally stiff, sturdy, and never as heavy as many individuals suppose.
  • Metal bikes are typically the heaviest, however they’re usually probably the most sturdy and cozy frames. Titanium is much like metal however lighter and costlier.
  • Carbon frames are normally the lightest choice, and so they’re what you will normally see being utilized by execs and aggressive racers.

Aluminum or metal frames are an important funding for these trying to buy a gravel bike that can be sturdy, dependable, and can final for a few years, if not a long time. A carbon-framed bike is a powerful buy for somebody trying to compete in gravel races or stage up their recreation in gravel bike racing.

Our editors independently choose these merchandise. Making a purchase order by our hyperlinks could earn Properly+Good a fee.

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