Gravel Bikes are fun, easy, and comfortable to use, they are also known as an all-rounder and adventure bikes. Their unique construction allows them to perform well in any kind of terrain, may it be service roads or dirt tracks. You can call them a jack of all trades, they do a better job than mountain and road bikes combined. It does not matter if you want to use gravel bikes for daily commute routines or weekend adventures, they will always be providing the best performance.
Some of these bikes have developed a category of their own, and by having a diverse marketplace of their own, choosing the perfect model could become difficult. That’s why this guide is aimed to present some of the best gravel bike options you can avail of in the market.
Best Gravel Bikes Review and Ranked
|Best Feature||Bike||Price ($)|
|Best Overall||Apollo Gravel||1,999.00|
|Best Built||VAAST A/1 700C Rival||
|Best Ride||All-City Nature Cross Rival||
|Best Tire Clearance||Marin Gestalt 2||1,459.99|
|Best Handling||Giant Revolt Advanced 1||$3,500.00|
|Best Suspension||Focus Atlas 6.8||2,325.00|
|Best Comfort||Polygon Bend R5||1,749.00|
|Best Handling||Merida Silex+ 8000-E||4800|
|Best Mounts||Surly Midnight Special||2,349.00|
|Best Stopping Power||Niner RLT 9 2-Star||2,599.00|
|Best Speed||Orbea Terra H40||2000|
|Best Assembly||Tomasso Sterrata Disc||1,245.99|
|Best Geometry||Specialized Men’s Diverge Comp 2020||3,000.00|
|Best Kit||Alchemy Ronin||8,999.00|
|Best Weight Limit||Co-op Cycles ADV 4.2||1,599.00|
These are some of the amazing bikes that we will be discussing today. I will share all the necessary information like who this bike is best for, the pros and cons, and hopefully, by the end of the guide, you will be able to make a sound and satisfactory decision. Let’s start!
1. Apollo Gravel – Editor’s Choice
Price: MSRP $ 1,999.00
Having an extent of experience in off-roading, I can confidently vouch for the game-changing capabilities of the Apollo. Apollo has been designing amazing bikes since 1978 and the newest addition definitely tops my list. My first ride on this bike was nothing short of extraordinary. The lightweight body combined with the carbon fork delivered a powerful yet sturdy ride. Its features allowed me to navigate the trickier tracks with ease.
Those who are just starting out with off-road adventures and want to enjoy the best out of their bikes should definitely go with the Apollo Gravel bike. Trying out something different requires a lot of confidence, this bike will not just provide amazing performance but also fill your share of confidence.
The bike has a very lightweight aluminum frame and carbon fork, this ensures that the bike remains strong and sturdy during the rides.
The Apollo Gravel is one of the very unique bikes in the market as it features the Shimano Alfine 11-speed gear hub, not many bikes pack this amount of punch. You must be wondering what this bike can do then? The first thing that it does is give you an enhanced gear range (409%), this is very crucial when you are climbing steep hills. As this is an amazing beginner-level bike you don’t have to worry about maintenance or anything.
Another stand-out feature of this bike is the TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes, they are not just easy to maintain but do extremely well in wet and dry environments. If you have any kind of problem with the bike, feel free to bring it to a local mechanic. You can repair the bike easily yourself too!
The bike performs extremely well on hard trails because of the WTB i23 ST 700C rims. Apollo Priority Gravel is a bike that is a great choice for those who are just starting out. The components and performance both are amazing. Plus, you also don’t need to worry about maintenance!
- WTB i23 ST 700C Rims
- Available In Two Unique Colors
- Shimano Alfine Internal Gear Hub
- TRP Spyre Mechanical Disc Brakes
- Short Kickstand
- Poor Gear Range
2. VAAST A/1 700C Rival
Price: MSRP $2,699.00
Most of us would be choosing gravel bikes for either adventure or training purposes, If the goal is to have an amazing training companion then the VAAST is a perfect choice. Now here is a bike that is steadily becoming quite famous, I wanted to know what was so unique about this bike, and upon further research, I finally had the answer.
The bike’s frame is made from the ALLITE Super Magnesium, now this is a very strong material. It isn’t just lighter than aluminum but also 50% lighter than titanium. Comparatively, it is stronger than both of these materials combined! The bike comes packed with a sturdy carbon fork, SRAM Rival 1×11 drivetrain, SRAM’s Rival 1 hydraulic brakes, and Maxxis Rambler 700 x 38mm tubeless-ready tires
The carbon fork of the bike is packed and ready to withstand any kind of abuse thrown at it, it also makes the bike aligned and tough. You can convert this gravel bike into a tourist bike any time you wish thanks to its frame. If you are a hardcore rider like me then you would be happy to know that this bike does amazingly well on hard trails, this is made possible because of the incredible internal cable routing.
The bike isn’t shy to pack amazing Shimano components, it actually flaunts its performance. The VAAST bike has an SRAM Rival 1*11 drivetrain. This enables 42T chainring while giving you the 11-42T cassette, with this, you will notice that climbing each hill will be a piece of cake!
You also get amazing stopping power thanks to the SRAM’s Rival 1 hydraulic brakes. You command it and the bike will stop instantly regardless of the terrain. These brakes make descending cheese!
When it comes to tires, you will be needing the best, VAAST comes with Maxxis Rambler 700 x 38mm tubeless-ready tires. No matter what type of terrain it is, these tires will provide amazing performance.
- Strong Built
- Value For Money
- Lacks Tubeless Tires
- Difficult Gearing
3. All-City Nature Cross Rival
Price: MSRP $2,499.00
Gravel Riding is a unique adventure of its own and you certainly can’t enjoy it if you don’t have the right bike. The All-City Nature Cross Rival is one of those amazing bikes that you can get your hands on. This sport isn’t cheap but it also isn’t that expensive, I personally think that the price tag of the All-City bike is attractive.
With this bike at your side, you can go anywhere anytime as you won’t be bound by restrictions. The amazing components of this bike give you complete freedom.
The bike is made with an A.C.E. steel frame with different and attractive paint jobs. It comes packed with the SRAM Rival 1×11 drivetrain. It also has TRP Spyre flat-mount mechanical disc brakes and 700C x 42mm tires
The Cross Rival bike is extremely sturdy and strong thanks to the A.C.E. steel frame, not many bikes have that. The frame also comes with a carbon fork. With this construction, expect amazing handling and comfort.
This bike just doesn’t perform well but also looks fabulous while doing it. There are many attractive paint jobs to choose from, my all-time favorite would be the Cyclone Popsicle paint job, the color combination is spectacular.
The Shimano components enhance the performance of the bike, the SRAM Rival 1×11 drivetrain makes climbing steep roads and hills easy as a piece of cake. If you want amazing stopping power though then the TRP Spyre flat-mount mechanical disc brakes are going to be all you need. These components make the bike very reliable and strong!
What I liked the most is that you can customize the tires of this bike as you please as the limit is the 700C x 42mm tires, still, there are plenty of customizable options that you can use.
- Stiff Ride
- Able To Ride On A Variety Of Terrains
- Great Handling
- Flaky Paint Job
4. Marin Gestalt 2
Price: MSRP $1,459.99
You may be familiar with Marin, they make amazing high-end bikes, and their bikes are known to enhance skills and win tournaments. Do you want to become a professional? Then you would definitely need a Marin by your side! Marin is also making amazing gravel bikes, and that is why we have included their Gestalt 2 bike, it blew our minds!
Let’s start with the construction of the bike, it has a 6061 aluminum frame that comes with a carbon fork. The Marin Gestalt 2 can handle any kind of terrain in any kind of weather, you have the utmost freedom with it. Some of the best features of the bike are:
The bike has Shimano Tiagra parts with Tektro mechanical disc brakes and WTB Exposure Comp 700x32c tires. With the inclusion of Shimano Tiagra parts like the 20 gears with 50/34T crankset and 11-34T cassette, the bike has amazing performance. You also get amazing stopping power with the Tektro mechanical disc brakes. Don’t worry about wheels, the WTB Exposure Comp 700x32c tires are more than enough for any kind of adventurer.
- Great Clearance
- Fun Ride
- Above-Average Brakes
- Faulty Gearing
5. Giant Revolt Advanced 1
Price: MSRP $3,500.00
If you want to go beyond the world of normal racing and discover something new then you should definitely get the Giant Revolt Advanced 1. This is one of the most amazing bikes I ever tried, it has the technology and components to be something quite unique. Even the price tag is very attractive when you compare it to other bikes in the market. The performance of this bike is definitely on par with the high-end options.
Some of the best features of the bike are the SRAM Apex 1*11 drivetrain, SRAM Apex hydraulic disc brakes, and the Giant Crosscut AT 1 tires. Going for this bike is made so easy, thanks to the amazing Shimano components powering it.
Firstly, it has a Shimano Apex 1*11 drivetrain with an 11*42T cassette, climbing up hills has never been this much fun and easier. You also get amazing stopping power thanks to the SRAM Apex hydraulic disc brakes, their performance is just unmatched.
The bike is also fitted with the latest tubeless tires, The Giant Crosscut AT 1 tires complement the amazing performance of the bike.
- Responsive Handling
- High Volume Tires
- Abundant Mounting Points
- Unadjustable Dropper Post
6. Focus Atlas 6.8
Price: MSRP $2,325.00
The Focus Atlas 6.8 is an amazing bike, trust me. Yes, it came out when the party of Gravel bikes was almost over but being late can also be catchy right? I tried out the Focus Atlas 6.8 thoroughly and I had nothing but great impressions of the bike. The bike is a great companion if you want to go on adventures or even go for everyday activities.
I would consider the bike to give amazing smooth rides, as it should because it is extremely lightweight. If you are planning to even carry some luggage with you on your adventures then the Focus Atlas 6.8 should be able to handle it.
The Focus Atlas 6.8 packs a strong aluminum frame that has triple mounts for additional positioning, you can even install an additional dropper post if you wanted to. Now comes the part where I discuss the amazing Shimano components this bike has.
Well, there is a mixture of Shimano GRX 600 and 800, presumably the best of both over here. The tires are Novatex tubeless and have 700c wheels. No terrain would seem difficult with the Focus Atlas 6.8 at your side.
- Amazing Suspension Fork
- Outstanding Shimano Components
- Great Tire Clearance
- Small Top Tube Bag
7. Polygon Bend R5
Price: MSRP $1,749.00
Are you excited to go on amazing off-road adventures? The Polygon Bend R5 is going to be an amazing choice for a gravel bike. First things first, do not think that this is a cheap bike, it is on par with the major leagues, and the value for money is too good.
The bike is constructed with the ALX alloy frame, it is modified but definitely more enhanced than the normal material. Not to mention that the alloy frame is combined with a carbon fork which makes things more easier and comfortable.
Think of the Polygon Bend R5 as a trusty steed, it has the power to go anywhere you want and climb tough hills whenever you want, I think bikes can’t get more trusty than this. You have crazy customization options, the first one being that you can choose between 2 drivetrains: 1x or 2x Shimano GRX drivetrain. If you go with the second option, you also get a Tranz-X dropper post which is amazing.
Tires are no problem as the Polygon Bend R5 comes packed with 650b wheels, these are more than enough for any kind of adventure!
- Extremely Comfortable
- Damage Resistant Design
- Value For Money
- Shimano GRX Drivetrain
- Limited Sizes
8. Merida Silex+ 8000-E
Price: MSRP $4800
All bikes enhance skills but there are a few that enhance the confidence to attain those skills, the Merida Silex+ is one of those unique bikes. This is a bike that is an upgraded version of the previous Merida Silex and adds the 650b wheels. These heavy-duty tires can mow down any kind of terrain without problems, just try them out!
With a comfortable feel and amazing handling, this bike is a gravel-killer, it’s like it was made for perfection. True, the price tag is a bit much but the value that you get for your money is unmatched.
When riding the Merida Silex+ you have complete control all the time, being in control and not being interrupted boosts confidence and skill. With the inclusion of amazing components like the Shimano GRX Di2 shifting, the performance of the bike becomes exemplary. One of my favorite parts about the bike is the 45mm Kenda Flintridge Pro tires.
Whether it is off-road adventures or everyday routines, this bike proves to be an absolute beast.
- Powerful handling
- Phenomenal Shimano GRX Di2
- Best For Bikepacking
- Limited Geometry
9. Surly Midnight Special
Price: MSRP $2,349.00
In terms of comfort and performance, the Surly Midnight Special holds a very special place in my heart. The price may be $2100 but you get every ounce of value from it, the performance of the bike is the lone reason to pay so many dollars. People looking for a comfortable and fun option for gravel riding definitely need to check out the Surly Midnight Special bike.
The Surly Midnight has a special frame that makes it more strong and more durable than the other bikes in the series. As mentioned, the SRAM Rival 1 Groupset aims to deliver some of the best performance for off-road trails.
There is a 1*11 drivetrain that makes sure that even the steepest of hills are mounted without any kind of problems. Honestly, I was blown away by the performance of the bike, this was not expected at all! Do you want amazing stopping power? The TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes will give you value for your money with their amazing prowess.
The amazing tubeless 650b x 47c WTB Horizon tires elevate the bike to amazing standards which you definitely need to try out!
- Rack And Fender Mounts
- Nimble Riding Position
10. Niner RLT 9 2-Star
Price: MSRP $2,599.00
You want an amazing gravel racing bike, but don’t want to break the bank? The Niner RLT 9 2-Star is the perfect fit for you. Yes, it is a cheaper option to get a hold-off but the performance is no doubt on par with the major leagues, as tested by myself.
I was never disappointed while trying out this bike, it truly shines on off-road trails and dirt roads. The construction of the bike is very impressive, it is constructed with a hydroformed aluminum frame alongside an RDO carbon fork, it is very impressive yes.
In conclusion, you can fill this beauty with loads of luggage and it would still provide amazing performance. Dangerous terrains demand the most capable bikes and the Niner RLT is definitely one of them. The stock tires that you get with the bike are the 700 x 40c tires but they can be fully kitted out and that makes them more attractive.
I went out and had the honor of customizing them and was very impressed with the results. The drivetrain is also very impressive, with the SRAM 11-42T cassette I easily mounted the steepest of hills. Of course, the Apex hydraulic disc brakes were a big help too.
- Powerful Stopping Power
- Generous Tire Clearance
- Excessively Stiff
11. Orbea Terra H40
Price: MSRP $2000
Gravel Riding, and going on these beautiful and thrilling adventures are both for men and women. There should be no restrictions on adventures and fun, that is why I picked up the amazing gravel-killing unisex bike: Orbea Terra H40.
Do you want to have adventures all day? No problem! The Orbea Terra H40 has a 72°-73° head tube angle that makes sure that you are always in a comfortable upright position. Say goodbye to those ridiculous neck pains!
If you are a serious rider like me then you would be glad to know that the bike has an aluminum frame, it is then combined with a carbon fork. You would be more than comfortable on this bike and the vibrations will be limited so that you can fully focus on the ride.
You won’t have to worry about being short on gears because, with the Shimano GRX RX400 drivetrain, you get 20 speeds which is more than enough. The 11-34T cassette is much appreciated, you can climb any hill, descend without worries and have fun adventures.
The Shimano RX400 hydraulic disc brakes provide the necessary stopping power you need, in combination with the Vittoria Terreno Dry Gravel G2.0 TNT, 700 x 38c tires, you don’t have anything to worry about. Your comfort is the priority here and you get the best for it.
- Responsive Handling
- Fast Ride
- Wheels Require An Upgrade
12. Tomasso Sterrata Disc
Price: MSRP $1,245.99
We all love companies that make capable yet amazing gravel bikes that don’t break the bank, Tomasso is one of those amazing companies. The reason I added their Sterrata bike to the list is that it just shocked me with its performance. The price isn’t that much, 1000 bucks and you get a great entry-level bike at your disposal. The performance of the bike is amazing, as I tested it out myself.
The bike is very dependable, it has amazing components and can do almost anything. It is made with an aluminum frame which makes it very durable. No matter what kind of riding style you have, the Tomasso Sterrata will be a phenomenal companion.
This is an entry-level bike, the Shimano Claris drivetrain is a very nice addition to the bike. You have a very dependable gear set that you can use without any kind of problems. I thought that the bike would have some kind of problem, that’s why the price is so low, but that wasn’t the case. Even though the brakes are amazing, the AVID BB5 mechanical disc brakes are a Godsend.
The exclusive Tommaso Corsa TC-30D wheelset makes climbing and descending so easy and fun. This is a bike that will stick with me for a very long time.
- Easy Assembly
- Good Fit
- Sleek Design
13. Specialized Men’s Diverge Comp 2020
Price: MSRP $3,000.00
Sometimes when the fun ends, you just have to go home and relax, what about a bike that doesn’t get exhausted at all? The Diverge Comp is a bike that will be able to handle anything you throw at it, whenever you want, wherever you want. It is one of the few capable bikes I have ever reviewed. The components are so amazing that make the bike perform so well!
Construction is what gives the bike its strength, that is the same case here. The Diverge Comp has a Specialized FACT 9r carbon frame that is just perfect. You get full comfort and amazing handling, the plus point is that the bike is also equipped with a future shock suspension, so you get more mm of travel.
We all know how hard it can be shifting gears on tough and dangerous terrains, but the Full Ultegra R8000 groupset in this bike makes everything easy and comfortable. It has a 2*11 drivetrain if you were wondering and you would be able to conquer any kind of terrain without a sweat.
The disc brake combined with the Specialized Sawtooth 2Bliss Ready, Transparent Sidewall, 700x38c tires are amazing and work beautifully.
- Abundant Tire Clearance
- Stable Rides
- Modern Geometry
14. Alchemy Ronin
Price: MSRP $8,999.00
Time to discuss high-end gravel bikes, If you want a bike that pushes its limits and yours then the Alchemy Ronin is the best choice that you will make. The customization options are crazy, this bike can become whatever you want it to be! It starts with a carbon frame but then you get other options with it, the possibilities are literally endless with this bike.
This is a truly unique bike because you get to customize it from top to bottom, you choose your own kit. You can go for the least expensive options like the Ultegra drivetrain. Or, if you want to go full ham then opt for the Red Etap AXS Gravel groupset. The choice is fully yours to make here!
You can even change the tires whenever you want with full customization options. People who love to customize will definitely love this bike!
- Custom Paint Job
- Fully Kitted
- Comfortable Bike
- Limited Cargo Mounts
15. Co-op Cycles ADV 4.2
Price: MSRP $1,599.00
Sometimes being fast and wild on the gravel trails does not mean everything. Sometimes you need to stop, take in the view, and enjoy every minute of your adventure, maybe even take friends and family with you. Backpacking is a fun endeavor, it is an adventure that you and your loved ones will certainly come to love. You need a great bike for this and the Co-op Cycles ADV 4.2 is one of the best options so far.
It is not for hardcore adventures but for your everyday routines and fun adventures with the family. The bike isn’t that expensive and you would be enjoying a lot of value if you decide to get it. In terms of construction, the bike is made from an aluminum frame.
You get maximum comfort from this gravel bike, thanks to the 27.5” tires, no matter what kind of terrain you are on, you will always get the best comfort and handling. The Shimano Deore XT drivetrain offers 20-speed which should be more than enough for the fun. The TRP Hylex disc brakes also provide amazing stopping power whenever you need it.
- Strong Tires
- Can Carry Cargo Eaily
- Powerful Hylex Disc Brakes
How Are Gravel Bikes Different? Let’s Find Out
Gravel race bikes are designed for riding on a variety of terrains. You can take them out for a casual day ride or do some serious off-road riding. They are a blend of different kinds of bicycles which makes them much more versatile than any kind of bike. Let’s take a look at the key components which will help you better understand how gravel bikes are different from other kinds of bikes.
The frame geometry of gravel bikes is much more relaxed when compared to road bikes. They offer a slightly more upright riding position. This position makes your rides comfortable and adds stability while you ride on rough tracks.
The tire has a tread pattern that maintains a balance between the rolling and the grip. This means you can easily ride on pavements as well as loose surfaces.
Gravel bikes have a wider tire clearance with more tread. Due to this, you will find better shock absorption and traction than any other kind of bike.
Usually, gravel bikes have a lot of mounting points. You can easily carry your accessories like racks, water bottle cages, and other cargo in the rack mounts. They are really fun to take on backpacking trips because of their ability to carry more stuff.
While many gravel bikes will lack suspension, however, a few models are available with suspension forks that allow your bike to have a better suspension. This provides extra comfort on rough terrain.
If you compare road bikes with gravel bikes, you will find that gravel bikes have a more variety of gears that help you while climbing steep slopes. Some gravel bikes even feature a drivetrain which makes it easier to shift gears.
How Do You Choose The Perfect Gravel Bike?
Gravel Bikes are adventure bikes, consider them the jack of all trades while being the master of none. With them, you can go on adventures, have fun, and experience the wildest terrains whenever you want. Their specialist design makes them one step ahead of the other bikes in the market and you should definitely get your hands on one.
What Kind Of Terrain Suits You Best?
Before you go on and start selecting gravel bikes from the front of your laptop screens, you need to be very honest with yourself. Gravel bikes are the mix between your mountain bikes and road bikes, they can be both or only one, that depends on your preferences. Their designs have evolved so much that getting them for the first time will certainly confuse you.
Decide first if you will be using the bike for pavements and mountain hills or either one of them. Then decide what kind of level will you be riding, professional or casual. All of these choices matter and you need to make the best decision.
You should also consider your skillset before getting the bike, there are some bikes out there that will enhance your skills and confidence while some won’t!
Consider The Geometry!
Considering the Bike’s Geometry chart is very crucial, by looking at these traits you will determine how the bike is going to feel. One of the most important things that you need to look out for here is the trail, it will decide if the choice is going to be more of a mountain bike or a road bike!
For people who don’t know what trail is, it is a mixture of head angle and fork offset. If the trail figure is tall then it will feel more like a mountain bike, you get amazing speed but the handling isn’t that great. Shorter trails result in better handling but the speed isn’t that great.
Focus On A Component
This is once again a question of your preferences, do you want your gravel bike to behave more like a road bike or gravel bike? You will need to focus on some components here.
Drivetrains are very important, if you would be going through roads and normal pavements then the best option for you is the 2x drivetrain. If you want some wild adventures like going on tough terrains then the 1x option would be perfect.
Gravel Tires are the next thing to worry about! If you are planning for more road adventures then the 700×40 mm tires would be perfect for you. If you want crazy adventures then definitely go with the 650b wheels.
Advantages of Gravel Bikes
Gravel bikes are a lot of fun to ride and I like to refer to them as a cross-over between road bikes and mountain bikes, just that they are not limited to a specific kind of terrain! They have some other benefits too:
With Gravel Bikes, you have no limitations at all. You can go anywhere you want, anytime! No need to worry about being stuck in traffic, just take out your gravel bike and go ham.
Gravel Bikes aren’t just fun to use, they are extremely strong and can handle any kind of terrain you throw at them. Every journey you have is going to be an adventure!
Simple And Reliable
The cost of these machines is very simple and relative, there are no hidden costs at all. Plus, you have crazy customization options, you can build your dream gravel bike from scratch without any kind of problems.
With Gravel Bikes, you can actually take things slow and enjoy every moment. These bikes don’t have dropper posts or any kind of dual suspension. This makes enjoying these adventures easier!
These bikes are very easy to handle and have simple components. There is no rocket science to understand them, just hop on and let the adventures begin!
How We Choose Gravel Bikes – Our Methodology
As an avid enthusiast of adventure, I understand the challenge of finding a high-quality bike that fits within a budget. That’s why I’ve dedicated countless hours to researching and analyzing the best gravel bikes on the market. I’ve scoured the web for honest reviews and feedback from verified customers, and I’ve even tested some of the top contenders myself, including the editor’s choice.
Using my extensive knowledge of bike components and their strengths and weaknesses, I’ve narrowed down the top options that offer the best value for your money. So whether you’re a beginner looking to get into the gravel bike scene or an experienced rider seeking an affordable upgrade, you can trust that these bikes have been thoroughly vetted and carefully selected.
Without compromising on quality or performance, these bikes offer features such as excellent maneuverability, top-notch suspension, and a durable design, all at a price point that won’t break the bank. So if you’re ready to enjoy riding off-road, these are some of the gravel bikes that you must consider.
Should I go tubeless on my gravel tires?
Honestly, If you want more protection from punctures then go for a tubeless or slime tube. If you don’t have to worry about maintenance and protection then go with tube tires.
Can I put gravel tires on my mountain bike?
Yes, If your bike has customization options then you can swap out the tires without any kind of problem.
Can I get an amazing gravel bike under $500?
This is tricky, even the simplest of gravel bikes will cost you around $1000, and that’s the least price.
Gravel Bikes are amazing, I have been using them for a while now, and let me tell you this, these are exactly the kind of bikes you need. The purpose of this guide is to provide amazing gravel bike options for you, the further categorization will make your choice easier. Have fun with the bikes!