The 7 Greatest Gravel Bikes


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Gravel biking has turn into some of the in style biking actions up to now yr, in keeping with a January 2024 report from exercise tracker app Strava.

On this current pattern 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 % world enhance and 48 % U.S. enhance on this off-road sport.

Gravel biking includes using on packed grime or gravel roads, typically with a gravel-specific bike. Not like mountain biking, gravel biking hardly ever includes main rocks or tree roots. Typically, gravel biking would require some using on paved roads as a way 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 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 supply vibration resistance towards the rocks and grime you’ll journey over.

Wish to give gravel biking a attempt or simply out there for a motorcycle 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 in keeping with 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. Greatest general: Trek Checkpoint collection, $1,800+
  2. Greatest for rookies: Cannondale Topstone 4, $1,325
  3. Greatest funds: Polygon Tambora G4, $900
  4. Greatest for racing: Specialised Diverge Professional 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 Professional EVO, $9,000

How we selected our high picks

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

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 group to suggest their picks.

Store the very best gravel bikes for each kind of rider

Trek checkpoint gravel bike on white background

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

“The very best 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 provide help to decide what the very best general gravel bike is on your particular wants.

Though there are numerous fashions Lin considers among the many greatest general 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’s additionally an reasonably priced aluminum Checkpoint possibility, too.”

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.

When 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 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. Greatest for rookies: 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 very best gravel bike for rookies.

This bike is a “strong 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 fashion standpoint. An alloy body means the bike is made by combining two totally 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 received’t have to fret about transitioning between entrance chainrings—solely shifting between simpler and more durable 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. Greatest funds: Polygon Tambora G4 — $900 — $900.00

For beneath $1,000, the Polygon Tambora G4 provides riders an alloy body and carbon entrance fork, with none difficult 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 slightly 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 may put some giant, 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 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. Greatest for racing: Specialised Diverge Professional Carbon — $5,000 — $5,000.00

When you plan on racing —and being aggressive—in gravel biking, it’s probably you’ll wish to spend money on 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 best way as much as $12,500, however the Diverge Professional Carbon ($5,000) is a superb starter racing bike that received’t set you again so far as different racing bikes budget-wise.

The Professional Carbon is a fully-carbon bike full with inside cable routing and disc brakes for correct cease time and distance. The bike additionally accommodates 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 probably “isn’t an awesome reply to the query of the very best gravel bike for males” as a result of the very best bike is “the one that matches correctly.” Actually, 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 mentioned, the Large Revolt line affords frames that should accommodate riders as tall as 6’7″ and 330 kilos, which might work effectively for individuals who are taller and naturally have extra weight to their physique.

The Revolt line spans reasonably priced alloy frames all the best way 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 comfy setup on your physique measurement 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 help female-owned bike manufacturers—it’s usually not essential for a girl to hunt out a female-specific bike, in keeping with Marni and Karel Sumbal, elite triathletes, gravel cyclists, and endurance sports activities coaches.

As a substitute, the Sumbals suggest discovering a motorcycle that can suit your distinctive measurements. Marni notes that as a result of she’s 5’0″, she typically feels restricted in her bike decisions. She shares how necessary 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 .

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

Marni recommends the Juliana Quincy, which she at present 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 might 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 measurement and wishes on the bike. She additionally notes that because of 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 must 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. Greatest electrical: Specialised Turbo Creo SL Professional EVO — $9,000 — $9,000.00

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

“The Turbo Creo is smooth and light-weight, and the low torque motor feels very pure to journey,” Lin says. “[The bike] blends in effectively 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 effectively over 35 kilos. The bike’s battery has a variety 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 expensive, however when you’re searching for a gravel e-bike that can idiot even your most gravel-educated associates into considering it’s analog, this award-winning bike is the transfer.

Ideas for getting a gravel bike

Shopping for a brand new gravel bike is a giant buy, so it’s necessary to speak with an professional beforehand. A neighborhood bike store or bike fitter may be nice sources to debate what measurement bike you want or if it’s worthwhile to improve elements 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 necessary to step again and take into account just a few components:

  1. How a lot are you keen to spend on a brand new bike? Figuring out your funds vary will assist slender your search and hold you from overspending.
  2. What fashion of motorcycle do you want? Some individuals choose flat handlebars and a extra upright place, whereas others need curved handlebars and a extra aerodynamic option to sit on the bike.
  3. How a lot will you journey the bike? Understanding when you plan on using this bike each 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 objectives? If you wish to work towards your first gravel race, it’s possible you’ll wish to spend money on a barely extra aerodynamic and lighter gravel bike. If you wish to take part on a no-drop group journey 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 grime 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 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 essential.

Gravel gearing is commonly “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 very best “comfortable 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 the very best bike for long-distance using, 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 beat the world’s greatest gravel races, the place riders cowl effectively 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 ideally suited 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 objectives,” Lin says. “Aluminum, metal, alloy, and carbon all work nice—however there are some generalizations we will make to assist athletes select the very best bike for them.”

Lin explains the next:

  • Aluminum frames are typically probably the most reasonably priced. They’re additionally stiff, sturdy, and never as heavy as many individuals suppose.
  • Metal bikes are typically the heaviest, however they’re typically probably the most sturdy and comfy frames. Titanium is just like metal however lighter and costlier.
  • Carbon frames are normally the lightest possibility, they usually’re what you may normally see being utilized by professionals and aggressive racers.

Aluminum or metal frames are an awesome funding for these trying to buy a gravel bike that might 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 degree up their sport in gravel bike racing.

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

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