The 7 Finest Gravel Bikes

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Gravel biking has develop into one of the vital common biking actions up to now yr, in response to a January 2024 report from exercise tracker app Strava.

On this latest development report, which incorporates knowledge from uploaded actions from October 2022 via September 2023, Strava discovered gravel biking is the quickest rising sport amongst its customers, with a 55 p.c international improve and 48 p.c U.S. improve on this off-road sport.

Gravel biking entails driving on packed filth or gravel roads, usually with a gravel-specific bike. Not like mountain biking, gravel biking not often entails main rocks or tree roots. Generally, gravel biking would require some driving on paved roads so as to get to your most well-liked 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 known as a “gravel bike,” could make gravel driving 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 supply vibration resistance in opposition to the rocks and filth you’ll experience 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 slender down which bike is finest for you.

TIP

As a result of some producers market bikes in response to gender, we have listed each ladies’s and males’s picks under. 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 finest, no matter what the label says.

Our favourite gravel bikes at a look:

  1. Finest total: Trek Checkpoint sequence, $1,800+
  2. Finest for learners: 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 quite a lot of sizes and styles with totally different parts, 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 probably 1000’s of {dollars} on a brand new experience.

We spoke with 4 consultants to get their takes on the seven finest gravel bikes of 2024. They took model recognition, high quality, construct, and value 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 group to advocate their picks.

Store the most effective gravel bikes for each kind of rider

Trek checkpoint gravel bike on white background

1. Finest total: 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 together with your native bike store or bike fitter will assist you decide what the most effective total gravel bike is in your particular wants.

Though there are a lot of fashions Lin considers among the many finest total gravel bikes of 2024, he recommends the Trek Checkpoint sequence.

“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 possibility, 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.

Should you’re trying to spend a bit extra, for $3,300 and up, you may 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 value, 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 learners: 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 most effective gravel bike for learners.

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 model standpoint. An alloy body means the bike is made by combining two totally different metals collectively—normally 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 received’t have to fret about transitioning between entrance chainrings—solely shifting between simpler and more durable gears situated on the rear wheel of the bike.

This bike additionally has the flexibility 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 beneath $1,000, the Polygon Tambora G4 offers riders an alloy body and carbon entrance fork, with none difficult configurations, Dunkle says.

The entrance fork even provides 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 somewhat stick 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 may put some giant, steady tires on the bike if desired. A 40-tooth chainring accommodates even probably the most various driving 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

Should you plan on racing —and being aggressive—in gravel biking, it’s doubtless you’ll need to put money into a carbon gravel bike.

Carbon frames are typically lighter and extra nimble than frames made from alloy or metal, permitting a rider to hold much less weight from their bike as they traverse already troublesome 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 received’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 masking 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 doubtless “isn’t an amazing reply to the query of the most effective gravel bike for males” as a result of the most effective bike is “the one that matches correctly.” In actual fact, many bike producers are shifting away from the normal mannequin of getting men- or women-specific fashions and are trending towards providing extra expansive sizing to accommodate quite a lot of physique measurements, he says.

That being stated, the Large Revolt line provides frames that should accommodate riders as tall as 6’7″ and 330 kilos, which may work effectively for individuals 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 won’t match excellent out of the field,” Lin says. You ought to chat with an area bike store or bike fitter to find out in case you want an extended stem, wider handlebars, or a distinct saddle to accommodate your particular measurements and to discover a comfy setup in your physique dimension and driving 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 assist female-owned bike manufacturers—it’s typically not mandatory for a girl to hunt out a female-specific bike, in response to Marni and Karel Sumbal, elite triathletes, gravel cyclists, and endurance sports activities coaches.

As a substitute, 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 completely perceive her measurements and the way they’ll apply, or not, to no matter gravel bike she’s taking a look at.

Working with an skilled bike fitter may help any bike owner perceive key measurements that’ll make deciding on 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 could 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 steady and responsive for her dimension and desires on the bike. She additionally notes that as a consequence of an individual’s distinctive measurements, any bike might require a little bit of finessing after buying, similar to new handlebars for smaller shoulder widths or shorter crank arms for shorter legs. All of this needs to be thought-about 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. Finest 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 glossy and light-weight, and the low torque motor feels very pure to experience,” Lin says. “[The bike] blends in effectively with ‘common’ bikes, too.”

Lin notes that the Turbo Creo won’t 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 effectively over 35 kilos. The bike’s battery has a variety 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 expensive, however in case you’re on the lookout for a gravel e-bike that may idiot even your most gravel-educated buddies into considering it’s analog, this award-winning bike is the transfer.

Suggestions for getting a gravel bike

Shopping for a brand new gravel bike is an enormous buy, so it’s essential to talk with an professional beforehand. An area bike store or bike fitter could be nice assets to debate what dimension bike you want or if it’s worthwhile to improve parts such because the gearing or cranks (what the pedals connect 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 a couple of elements:

  1. How a lot are you keen to spend on a brand new bike? Understanding your price range vary will assist slender your search and preserve you from overspending.
  2. What model of motorcycle do you want? Some folks favor flat handlebars and a extra upright place, whereas others need curved handlebars and a extra aerodynamic technique to sit on the bike.
  3. How a lot will you experience the bike? Understanding in case you plan on driving this bike every single day of the week or as soon as in a blue moon may even 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, it’s possible you’ll need to put money into a barely extra aerodynamic and lighter gravel bike. If you wish to take part on a no-drop group experience as soon as per week, it’s possible you’ll 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 normally within the 38 to 50mm width vary, which is wider than highway tires however nonetheless not as huge as mountain bike tires. This width vary makes gravel tires extra nimble than mountain bikes on packed filth 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 huge 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 likely to lack the upper gears highway bikes have for hitting larger speeds on paved roads.

Lin describes gravel bikes as the most effective “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 driving?

Gravel bikes are most likely the most effective bike for long-distance driving, Lin says.

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

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

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

Due to advances in bike materials know-how, there isn’t one specific materials that reigns supreme, Lin explains.

“The ‘finest’ body materials actually depends 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 will make to assist athletes select the most effective 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 assume.
  • Metal bikes are typically the heaviest, however they’re usually probably the most sturdy and comfy frames. Titanium is just like metal however lighter and dearer.
  • Carbon frames are normally the lightest possibility, and so they’re what you may normally see being utilized by execs and aggressive racers.

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

Our editors independently choose these merchandise. Making a purchase order via our hyperlinks might earn Effectively+Good a fee.

The 7 Finest Gravel Bikes

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