What Are The Best Gravel Bikes?

Gravel bikes are considered to be the newest revolution and one of the fastest-growing trends in the sport. So, let’s see what the best gravel bikes on the market are.

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Jeff Balton |

Best Gravel Bikes

Gravel bikes are considered to be the newest revolution and one of the fastest-growing trends in the sport. So, let’s see what the best gravel bikes on the market are.

But what exactly is a gravel bike? And do we actually need it with all the other types of bikes out there?


What Is a Gravel Bike?

Simply speaking, gravel bikes are a blend between road, mountain, and cyclocross bikes. Best gravel bikes combine the best features of these three types into one extremely versatile category. They allow you to ride on dirt, mud, asphalt, and gravel (of course). So they basically impose no limits when it comes to terrain.

Gravel bikes are characterized by drop handlebars seen on road bikes, wide tire clearance for tires that can be as wide as those on mountain bikes, low bottom bracket, and a more upright geometry. They have the quick handling of a cyclocross bike and the stability of a touring bike.


Is Gravel Good on the Road?

Gravel BikeGravel bikes are good on the road as well. They are not strictly meant for riding off-road and can be a good alternative to hybrid bikes. They are more oriented towards off-road rides, but they perform well on asphalt as well.

Nothing can beat a road bike on the road, but the best gravel bikes out there are not that much slower that speed becomes a deal-breaker. The GCN show actually made a good comparison video of the two, concluding that gravel bikes are just a couple of percent slower in the same conditions.

Related: Gravel Bikes vs Road Bikes

If you’re racing, that’s a big deal; but if you’re a recreational rider, the benefits far outweigh those several seconds/minutes lost.

Check out the best gravel bikes of 2022 below!

BeginnersTrainingRacingFor EnthusiastsBikepackingElectric



— Cheap Options for Beginners —


We know that $1,000 is not considered cheap, but looking for the best gravel bikes under $500 will yield you no results, as there are none out there.

Gravel bikes use plenty of technology to provide you with maximum reliability and the development process is thus longer. That comes at a high price. Even looking for the best gravel bikes under $1,000 would put you in a tight spot.

However, you can still get a feel for gravel riding without taking a loan from the bank. Below are the best gravel bikes of 2022 that you can get right now, in our opinion.


Marin Nicasio+

Best Gravel Bike for Beginners

Marin Nicasio+

MSRP $1,179

In the first position, we have a fantastic cheap bike that you should definitely shortlist if you want to try gravel. It is available in a unique sand-like color that befits this bike ideally.

Nicasio+ is built with a durable Chromoly steel frame and fork, which is a common choice of materials for gravel bikes in this price range. It’s combined with a MicroShift Advent 9-speed drivetrain, which is becoming a popular choice on entry-level bikes nowadays.

This bike doesn’t come with any accessories, but it has numerous eyelets that you can use to attach three water bottles, fenders, and front and rear racks. Therefore, you can use it for multi-day tours and bikepacking trips.

Marin Nicasio+ is definitely the proof that cheap bikes can look good and do well when ridden hard.

The Tektro mechanical disc brakes perform well both in dry and in wet weather and are easy to maintain. If you have any problems and you’re far from home or your local bike shop, you can fix them yourself more easily.

Nicasio+ has aluminum double-wall rims and WTB Horizon 650B tires that are 47 mm wide. This is a proper gravel rubber that will allow you to ride on hard-packed and loose surfaces.

All in all, this is a very good choice for anyone without a very deep pocket, but with a deep desire to explore gravel roads around their area. Marin Nicasio+ is a well-equipped gravel rig that’s hard to pass.



— For Training —

Norco Search XR S1

Best Steel Frame for Bikepacking

Norco Search Steel gravel bike

MSRP $3,299 on evo.com

Full Review of the Brand

Norco Search XR S1 is a unique gravel bike that is expressly rising in popularity. It comes with a super durable steel frame and carbon fork, combined with an efficient 2×11 Shimano 105/GRX drivetrain that’s ideal for gravel riding.

Steel is growing a fan base in the gravel world because it is much more comfortable and reliable than aluminum and carbon. It is also significantly stronger and offers better pliability than both of these materials!

But Norco Search has other features as well that make it an excellent gravel bike.

Apart from the bulletproof frame, the Search also comes with an endurance-focused geometry that will allow you to ride for hours without pains and aches. The front triangle has mounts for two water bottles, or you can fit a huge frame bag to carry all of your supplies. The frame also features a dropper post, so it supports more serious endeavors.

When it comes to the components, Norco Search does not disappoint. It comes with a mix and match of Shimano 105 and GRX components on a 2×11 drivetrain that gives you an 11-34T cassette and a 46-30T crankset, which will make climbing most hills a breeze.

Descending is a trifle as well thanks to Shimano GRX hydraulic brakes that’ll stop you on command whenever you need it.

The Search also comes with WTB Resolute TCS 700 x 42 mm tubeless-ready tires, which is the right width to combine rides on paved and unpaved roads.

So, if you want a bike with a modern frame that’s light and stiff, equipped with quality components, and has an eye-catching paint job, you’re in for a treat with the Norco Search XR S1 gravel grinder. It’s easily one of the best gravel bikes around $3,000 on this list.


All-City Gorilla Monsoon

Best-Looking Steel Gravel Bike

All-City Gorilla Monsoon

MSRP $2,599 on Backcountry

Cycling is not a cheap sport, but it does not have to be expensive either. You can enjoy the beauty of gravel riding and see what all the fuss is about at a reasonably low price with the All-City Gorilla Monsoon.

All-City has built the Gorilla Monsoon model around a 612 chromoly steel frame with a chromoly steel fork. Steel is becoming a popular material for gravel rigs because of the comfort and durability it provides.

This All-City model not only performs well on tough terrain but also looks good. The Charred Berry paint job with a blend of purple and black colors makes it look attractive and mean at the same time, so you know it means business the moment you see it.

You can ride All-City Gorilla Monsoon anyway you want and anywhere you want. Go on off-road trips and adventures? Check! Commute on all types of roads? Check! Complete gravel events? Check!

The set of components that this bike sports also tells you that it is more than capable to do what it is intended to do. It comes with a SRAM Apex 1×11 drivetrain with an 11-42T cassette ideal for steep roads. You’ll stop by using Tektro flat-mount mechanical disc brakes, which are reliable and strong.

Gorilla Monsoon has wide tire clearance for up to 700C x 42mm tires, though the stock tire width is 27.5 x 2.4in, which puts it in the MTB category.

These are all good reasons why any gravel beginner, enthusiast, or adventurer should not hesitate to add this All-City model to their collection.


Co-op Cycles ADV 2.2

Best Gravel Bike With Carbon Fork

Co-op Cycles ADV 2.2

MSRP $1,599 on REI.com

Co-op Cycles is well-known for its entry-level and mid-range MTB bikes that suit a huge variety of riders. However, they were not immune to the gravel craze, and we’re very happy because of that! One of their best creations is called ADV 2.2. It’s excellent both for beginners and for experienced riders.

To give you an idea, Co-op Cycles ADV 2.2 is a bike with an aluminum frame and a full carbon fork. It comes with a beautiful creme white paint job that looks fantastic. This bike is made to feel comfortable on any terrain, including gravel, dirt, single tracks, and anything else that comes to your mind.

If you come closer and look at the drivetrain, you will notice Shimano GRX 400 parts all around. It offers 20 gears with a 46-30T crankset and an 11-36T cassette.

The package also includes reliable Tektro mechanical disc brakes with brake levers from the same groupset.

Co-op Cycles ADV 2.2 offers exceptional value for money reflected in the components and the carbon fork, and is made to spend its lifetime on dirt and gravel roads.

This Co-op model rolls on WTB ST i19 wheels and WTB Nano Comp 700C x 40mm tires that have a discreet tread that grips well.

See our full review of the ADV models

If you want a bike that can do anything you ask from it when you get off the beaten path, you should not hesitate to invest in a Co-op Cycles ADV 2.2!



— For Racing —

Ibis Hakka MX

Best for Amateur Racing

Ibis Hakka MX

MSRP $3,599 on Backcountry

Ibis Hakka MX is perhaps one of the most authentic gravel bikes out there. What makes it one of the best is the bang for the buck ratio you get when you buy it! This bike costs around $3,600, so you may rest assured that it will deliver a powerful punch when you’re out and about, conquering loose gravel roads.

Full Review of Ibis Hakka MX

This time around we’re reviewing the Hakka MX model which has some interesting features. These make it ideal for adventures into the wild where ease of maintenance is an important factor, as well as for top-level racing.

Ibis equipped this model with a SRAM Rival 1x groupset. This is an off-road-ready group that is known to provide the best value for money in SRAM’s mid-range hierarchy.

Ibis Hakka MX is built around an aerodynamic and stylish carbon frame with endurance geometry and a premium carbon Enve CX fork which means this bike is ready for tough and long gravel events.

The 1×11 drivetrain definitely has enough gears, so you can ride the entirety of the route—no need to hike on your rides! The same goes for downhill sections, thanks to the SRAM Rival hydraulic disc brakes. They are a good choice on gravel bikes because they provide the best and most precise stopping power.

We also love the grippy Schwalbe G-One 700C x 40mm tires which simply do not make compromises with any obstacles on the gravel roads!

If you are willing to spend a bit more on a gravel bike and experience everything gravel riding has to offer, then Ibis Hakka MX is the bike for you.


Juliana Quincy CC

Best Carbon Gravel Bike for Women

Juliana - Quincy CC Rival 700c Complete Bike - Women's 2022

MSRP $4,299 on evo.com

The second gravel bike on our list is the Juliana Quincy women’s adventure bike. It’s a bike that can’t really be called affordable, but it’s definitely worth the money to the right rider. It’s built for gravel and dirt roads, which is where it excels.

For this price, you will get a premium Carbon CC frame and a full carbon fork with internal cable routing, three mounts for bottle cages, and plenty of room for frame bags. Therefore, you can load Juliana Quincy to the brim and stay on the road for months.

You can ride and take Juliana Quincy whichever direction your imagination takes you and this machine will just beg for more.

You can have these adventures on the most unforgiving terrains, thanks to a wide tire clearance and the ability to fit a 45mm 700c or a 2.1″ 650b tire. The stock model already comes with 700 x 40c tires, so you can only go up from there.

When it comes to the drivetrain, Quincy is built with SRAM Rival 1 components. It has a 10-42T cassette, and a 40T crankset. The powerful hydraulic disc brakes also carry the Rival logo.

Juliana Quincy is the ideal companion of any female gravel enthusiast who loves solo rides, group rides, and long gravel events.


Cannondale Topstone Neo 5

Best Electric Gravel Bike

Cannondale Topstone Neo 5

MSRP $5,000 on REI

Road riding is still very popular but road cyclists are slowly discovering a completely new universe hidden behind the edge of the paved roads. If you are one of those, we recommend looking into the Cannondale Topstone Neo 5.

Topstone Neo 5 is powered by a Bosch Performance Line Speed motor and a 500Wh battery integrated into the down tube. As a Class 3 e-bike, it will assist you up to 28 mph on bumpy gravel roads and the battery will ensure a maximum 70-mile range.

Cannondale Topstone Neo 5 is reasonably priced and it will break the boundaries you have set for yourself regarding where you can and can’t ride thanks to its clever geometry and capable components.

This bike has a lot of technology to offer which justifies the steep price tag. It’s one of the bikes with the best bang for the buck on this list, but it will meet and exceed all your expectations if you’re an experienced rider.

Cannondale equips all of its models with novel Kingpin rear suspension that adds 30mm of rear suspension.

Apart from what we have already mentioned above, if you go for this bike, you will also get a decent set of Shimano components. This Topstone comes with a 1×11 drivetrain powered by a Shimano GRX 400 groupset. The 11-42T cassette offers a decent range which will help you keep your cadence high anywhere.

The brakes are Shimano GRX hydraulic discs, controlled by GRX brake levers and operating on 160/160mm rotors.

The WTB Exposure tires come in the 700c x 36 mm dimension and the WTB ST TCS i23 rims are double-walled and tubeless-ready, so you can go hard on gravel and dirt roads.

Definitely consider Cannondale Topstone Neo 5 if you want to get a taste of that sweet gravel dust everybody is talking about! It’s one of the best electric gravel bikes around $5,000 we could find.



— For Enthusiasts —

Orbea Terra H40

Best Gravel-Specific Spec List

Orbea Terra Ultegra

MSRP $2,099 on Jenson USA

Gravel riding is becoming popular among both male and female riders. There are no rules regarding whom you can come across at a local gravel road. That’s why here we have one of the best gravel bikes called Orbea Terra H40!

Related: 8 Reasons Why Gravel Is the Hottest Trend in the Cycling World

Orbea Terra H40 is a quality mid-range gravel bike with a decent set of components ideal for enthusiasts and those who aim to ride more seriously than before.

This bike comes with a geometry that’s suitable for spending the entire day in the saddle, crushing previous PRs. It has a steep 70.5° head tube angle that will put you in a relaxed, upright riding position.

Orbea Terra invites any serious rider to hop on its aluminum frame coupled with a lightweight carbon fork with internal cable routing. This setup provides a comfortable and responsive ride that limits vibrations and acts well in most riding conditions.

This Orbea model comes with a Shimano GRX RX400 drivetrain that puts 20 speeds at your disposal with an 11-34T cassette and a 30-46T crankset. Therefore, you can comfortably ride it on flats, hills, and descents, without worrying that you will end up being short of gears.

We should also mention the RX400 hydraulic disc brakes that will fill you with confidence. The Orbea aluminum double-wall 700c wheelset comes complete with Vittoria Terreno Dry Gravel G2.0 TNT 700 x 38c tires. They’re not as wide as you can get on some other bikes, but they are wide enough to feel comfortable and confident on your rides.

If you’re looking for a reliable, capable, and good-looking unisex gravel bike, we recommend the Orbea Terra H40!

Related: Buying From JensonUSA


Evil Chamois Hagar

Best Race Gravel Bike

Evil Chamois gravel bike

MSRP $5,899 on evo.com

Evil has been sticking to making exquisite adventure bikes for a long time. However, they’ve now decided to test the gravel waters as well with the Chamois Hagar model.

It costs around $5,900 which makes it a high-end option, but it offers some great value in components. It features a low, long, and slack frame and a gravel-specific carbon fork with full internal cable routing, plenty of frame and fork mounts, and large tire clearance.

Apart from the carbon fork, this Evil bike also has dependable components, better geometry than ever before, and excellent handling for all riding styles.

Evil Chamois Hagar is a unique gravel machine that has everything it takes to make your gravel rides smoother, longer, and faster than ever before.

The Chamois Hagar gravel bike touts the high-end SRAM AXS X01 Eagle rear derailleur that puts 12 wide-range gears at your disposal. Within the package is also a pair of SRAM Force hydraulic disc brakes which will give you the ever-needed confidence when cornering and descending on gravel.

To round everything up, this attractive Evil model rolls on the tried and true tubeless WTB Proterra Light i23 wheelset, clad in WTB Venture TCS 700 x 50c tires. They grip the loose gravel surface like their life depends on it.

Evil Chamois Hagar has 7 water bottle cage mounts, which makes it the perfect choice for long-distance bikepacking trip. Equip it with frame bags and carry everything you need.

If you want something new and never-before-seen on the gravel roads you frequent, this gravel bike is what you need. With it, you get the best features from the road, mountain, and cyclocross world at a reasonable price.


Alchemy Ronin Titanium

Flagship Titanium Gravel Racer

Alchemy Ronin

MSRP $7,499 on Alchemy Bicycles

Have you ever thought about what would it take to take that detour and see what’s at the end of that tempting gravel road? Alchemy Ronin is probably the answer!

This bad boy is all-titanium and lets you customize it any way you want in order to end up with the perfect ride for your needs. The stock option is just breathtaking. The titanium frame and fork are available in gray and olive green colors, but you can also choose a custom paint job for $500.

One of the things that make Alchemy Ronin stand out from most other gravel bikes out there is that you can choose your own build kit. The cheapest option is going for a Shimano GRX drivetrain with GRX disc brakes, which is already race-ready. With the right legs, you can easily win top gravel events with this setup.

However, if you’re willing to spend more money to get the best possible components, you should go for the Red Etap AXS Gravel groupset. Keep in mind that it will cost you $10,499.

Alchemy Ronin Titanium is a highly versatile and customizable gravel bike that can suit different types of top-tier riders with a tunnel vision of podium finishes.

Alchemy Ronin has plenty of tire clearance, so you can fit wide tires that can take the power from the high-end drivetrain. You can fit it with either 700c x 45 mm, or 650b x 2.1″.

If you’re looking to get the best of the best and become the best of the best, Alchemy Ronin is the right answer!



— For Bikepacking —

Santa Cruz Stigmata CC

Best Gravel Bike for Bikepacking

Santa Cruz Bicycles - Stigmata CC Rival 700c Complete Bike 2022

MSRP $4,299 on evo.com

Riding gravel does not only mean riding as fast as you can on a terrain that will punish every single mistake that you make. Riding gravel also means enjoying the outdoors, exploring what nature has to offer, and even taking the shorter route to make your commute faster.

Santa Cruz Stigmata CC is the best gravel bike for racing and bikepacking. It’s one of the most exciting bikes on this list that offers plenty of value for the money you spend.

It’s built around a carbon frame and fork keep the weight down and improve stiffness and performance.

Gravel riding is not intended just for adrenaline junkies. Those who seek comfort can enjoy it as well. That’s one of the reasons the Stigmata has 700C tires that are 40mm wide! They offer a wide and stable contact surface for maximum confidence on any terrain.

Santa Cruz Stigmata is an ideal choice for adventurers and bikepackers as it has dependable components, mounts for three water bottles, and room for frame bags.

Santa Cruz didn’t skimp on components either when it comes to this bike. The SRAM Rival 1x drivetrain has 11 gears and a 10-42T cassette, which will give you a good gear range for climbing and pedaling all day long.

This bike also features powerful and precise hydraulic SRAM Rival disc brakes that will not let you down any time you need to slow down or come to a stop.

Get it if you want to commute, travel, or simply explore local gravel roads.



— Best Electric Gravel Bikes —

Niner RLT e9 RDO 4-Star

Best Electric Gravel Bike

Niner RLT e9 RDO 4-Star

MSRP $5,695 on Jenson USA

If you do not want the fun to end when you run out of power, the Niner RLT e9 RDO is the type of bike you need. It will not get intimidated by any time of terrain you send it along because it comes equipped with everything it needs to tackle different obstacles. Plus, it has a motor and a battery that will help you ride past your physical limitations.

Related: Our review of the Niner RLT Series

First of all, it has the ever-famous Niner RDO carbon frame with gravel-specific geometry. It puts you in an upright position and gives you the ultimate control over the bike. This frame also comes coupled with an RDO carbon fork with a tapered carbon steerer.

Niner RLT e9 is equipped with a Bosch Performance mid-drive motor that will assist you up to 28mph. The 500Wh integrated battery gives you a decent range and is completely concealed inside the down tube.

The full Shimano GRX 600 drivetrain can definitely handle every obstacle. With a 1×11 drivetrain, you won’t have an excuse to avoid any hill you come across. The same goes for downhills thanks to Shimano GRX 400 hydraulic disc brakes.

Niner RLT e9 RDO 4-Star is a seriously capable electric gravel bicycle designed for the roughest of conditions, fast gravel events, and long explorative rides.

This bike also comes with the massive Schwalbe G-One Speed Performance, 700x50c tires. They’re mounted on a light and durable Stan’s NoTubes Arch D Boost wheels, so you have everything you need to go fast and strong.

All things considered, this is the perfect bike for anyone who wants to ride gravel seriously despite dealing with injuries or old age.


How Do Gravel Bikes Perform?

Gravel bikes vs other bikes

Many people already have a bike (or two, or three!) and are wondering why they would need a gravel bike as well. How do these bikes perform compared to other popular types of bicycles such as cyclocross, MTB, road, and hybrid?

Let compare the best gravel bikes to these four popular categories and see how they are similar to and different from each other.


Gravel Bikes vs Cyclocross (CX)

CX bikesTo a layman, gravel and cyclocross bikes (CX) look pretty much the same.

However, an experienced rider would spot the differences and definitely feel them when they start riding.

The biggest difference is related to geometry. Gravel bikes are made for long and exhausting rides that should be comfortable. On the other hand, cyclocross bikes are intended for shorter and faster events, so comfort is not of such big importance.

A gravel bike usually has a lower bottom bracket, slacker seat tube, and head tube angle, a longer wheelbase, and longer chainstays.

Gravel bikes also have more gears and wider tire clearance, both of which make them more practical on longer rides. Finally, gravel bikes have plenty of mounts that you can use to attach numerous accessories, which you do not need in a cyclocross event.

Read more on Gravel vs CX differences


Gravel Bike vs Mountain Bike

MountainsBoth gravel bikes and mountain bikes perform well off-road.

However, that’s where their similarities end. Gravel bikes can also be comfortably ridden on roads. They are slower than road bikes, but not significantly. On the other hand, mountain bikes are very slow and impractical on paved roads.

Moreover, a gravel bike usually has drop bars whereas mountain bikes have flat bars. This makes gravel bikes more suitable for longer rides because of different types of grips.

Mountain bikes usually come with front or both front and rear suspension, which is not the case with gravel bikes. Some recent models have short travel suspension that eliminates some vibrations, but it is not as sophisticated as that seen on mountain bikes.

Finally, the best pedals for gravel bikes are the same that are used on mountain bikes. The same goes for the best gravel bike shoes. Both types commonly use SPD equipment.

All in all, gravel bikes are much more versatile than mountain bikes, but mountain bikes can tackle much more extreme terrain.


Gravel Bike vs Road Bike

gravel bikes vs road bikesGravel and road bikes appear to be very similar.

After all, gravel bikes were partially modeled after road bikes, but with a twist that makes them great on loose and rugged terrain.

Both gravel and road bikes have drop bars, but gravel machines have a more relaxed geometry. The head tube is usually taller and the head tube angle has more slack.

Many road bikes come with rim brakes (though that is changing), but all gravel bikes come with disc brakes (hydraulic or mechanical). This makes them more suitable for riding in wet and extreme conditions.

Other big differences include bigger tires on gravel bikes and more mount points. All of this makes gravel bikes more versatile, whereas road bikes only perform well on perfectly smooth roads.


Gravel Bike vs Hybrid

Hybrid bikes vs Gravel bikesNo, gravel bikes are not the same as hybrid bikes.

Even though hybrid bikes can do well on both paved and unpaved surfaces, they’re not nearly as capable as gravel two-wheelers. Even the best cheap gravel bike will be able to do more than a hybrid.

Hybrid bikes usually have flat bars, whereas gravel bikes have drop bards. Moreover, gravel models have much wider tires compared to hybrids. They’re sometimes as wide as those on mountain bikes.

Even though hybrid bikes can go both on and off-road, they usually do well on road. However, the contrary is true for gravel bikes. Therefore, the two are definitely not the same.


Best Frame Materials

The majority of gravel bikes are built around aluminum or carbon frames, as you can see from our list of the best gravel bikes below. However, there are some models with steel or even titanium frames as well.

Each material has its pros and cons. Carbon, of course, is the best choice performance-wise, as it is incredibly light and stiff. That makes it the favorite choice for gravel racing bikes. However, the best carbon gravel bikes are more expensive than other types.

On the other hand, aluminum provides the best ratio between money and value. Modern alloys are almost as light as carbon but cost significantly less. The majority of the best gravel bikes under $1,500 have aluminum frames.

You can usually get a bike with the same components for several hundred dollars less if you choose an aluminum frame.

Steel is often seen on the best budget gravel bikes, but sometimes even high-end bikes are made with it.

Therefore, if you are not a performance cyclist and you’re not chasing marginal gains by shedding every gram off your bike, we recommend going for aluminum. It will give you the best bang for your buck. 


Number of Gears

Gravel bikes usually come with either 1x or 2x drivetrains. That means they have one or two chainrings in the front and more or fewer gears overall.Lower Gear ratios

The correct drivetrain type and the number of gears depend on your riding preferences. 1x setups are easier to use because of just one derailleur, which also makes them simpler and cheaper to maintain. However, they come with a smaller gear range that’s suitable for moderate rolling hills. Depending on the class, you’ll get a 1×10, 1×11, or a 1×12 setup. 

2x drivetrains are a bit heavier, but they give you a lot more gears. They are often seen on the best affordable gravel bikes and have between 16 and 22 gears, so they are an excellent choice for big climbs and big descents.

You win some and lose some with either of the two options, so consider the pros and cons and choose the one that suits you better.

Related: Bike Gears Explained


Best Gravel Bikes Have 650b or 700c Wheels?

Both 700c and 650b wheels have their own unique advantages. 700c wheels and tires are still more common on gravel bikes, but there’s a decent choice of models with 650b wheels as well.

Many riders prefer 700c wheels because they are lighter, faster, and offer more options for tires. They are the best choice for all-around riding. If you plan to ride both paved and unpaved roads, 700c is the way to go as these wheels generally fit narrower tires. They will feel comfortable and grippy on gravel roads, and fast and dynamic on paved roads.

On the other hand, 650b wheels are a better choice for gravel-dominant rides. They are slightly heavier due to wider tires, so they roll more slowly, but the smaller diameter allows for better handling. If you plan to stick to rough gravel roads, the wide tires on 650b wheels will provide you with more comfort, more grip, especially on loose sections. Keep in mind that they will feel sluggish on paved roads.


Perfect Tire Width

Choosing the best gravel bike tires for your bike depends on many factors. If you plan to predominantly ride on tame gravel roads, go for narrower tires; if you want to tackle rough gravel roads, you need wider rubber.Adventure bike tire size

  • Pavement-Dominant

That said, 30mm to 32mm tires are a good choice for cyclists who plan to ride mostly on paved roads with occasional detours on gravel roads. These tires can be slick or with shallow treads, so they weigh little and roll fast. They’re also a good choice for city commutes.

  • Pavement-Gravel

Riders who plan to spend equal amounts of time on gravel and paved roads should look into 35mm and 38mm tires. They come in slick and knobby variations, so they can be pavement or gravel-dominant. They offer the best balance between weight and performance, offering decent speed and traction on all surfaces.

  • Gravel-only

Lastly, 40mm and wider are the best gravel bike tires for riders who intend to stick to gravel roads the majority of their time. These tires are heavier and slower than other options, but they provide the most grip. If you ride on hardpacked gravel, 40mm tires should do the trick. If you prefer loose and rough gravel, you can usually go up to 50mm on 650b wheels.


Best Air Pressure

When it comes to tire pressure, unfortunately, a universal number that works for everyone just doesn’t exist. Inflating your tires too much will result in the loss of comfort. Plus, you’ll be bouncing over every rock and thus losing momentum.Perfect tire pressure

On the contrary, inflating your tires too little will feel as if someone’s pulling you back. Your pedaling will not be efficient and you also risk getting a pinch flat or busting your rim if you bottom out.

The golden number is somewhere in-between these two extremes. It depends on your weight, tire width, terrain, as well as the riding style.

Trial and error is the only way to find the right air pressure for you. Try deflating or inflating your tires by 5 psi and noticing any differences on your next ride until you find a setting that works. As a rule of thumb, front tires should be inflated slightly less because most of your weight is on the rear tire.


So if you’re considering buying a gravel bike and adding some fun and versatility to your rides, below are the best models that you should consider. If we had to put them in any order, this is the one.


Why You Should Buy a Gravel Bike?

suggestedThe short answer is because they are fun!

The long answer has to do with versatility, geometry, price, components, and so much more.

Simply speaking, no other bike gives you what a gravel bike can offer. If you want to ride routes that have both paved and unpaved roads, road bikes and mountain bikes are not a good solution. They only perform well on one type of surface.

Best gravel bikes let you spend money on just one bike instead of breaking the bank and buying two or three different types. Of course, that’s only true if you live in such an area that you’re surrounded by roads that require two or three types of bikes.

Gravel bicycles have the speed of a road bike, the capability of a mountain bike, and the comfort of a hybrid/touring bike.

What else can you ask for in your garage?

See Gravel Bikes On




4 thoughts on “What Are The Best Gravel Bikes?

  1. I see all the reviews calling the Priority Apollo a “beginner’s gravel bike.” I am a beginner; I will retire at the end of the year and I am including a lot of bikepacking in my retirement plans. I am looking at the Apollo because I really like the idea of a low maintenance drive train. But that every article calls it a beginner’s bike makes me worry that I will soon outgrow it, and I am not one but buy and sell things on a whim. Can I ask what it is about the bike that makes it for beginners?

    1. Hi Billy,
      It can be a play of words. “Beginner’s gravel bike” can also mean entry level or budget bike. Perhaps this is due to its low maintenance feature and also the drave train itself. Let’s face it, majority of riders want a bike with gears, but then again they can be high maintenance.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      They have their strengths and weaknesses but if you compare quality, it can be a very close fight. These brands are excellent and all occupy the top of their own class.

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