Looking for your next bike?  Should it be a gravel bike?  We answer your questions on gravel bikes and provide 15 of the best gravel bikes.

What is a Gravel Bike?

Gravel bikes are the latest trend having emerged in 2019.  They are also known as adventure bikes gaining a big following with people looking for something other than a road or mountain bike.  Gravel bikes originated in America from their gravel race series.  The trend is spreading across the globe as more people discover the versatility of this new breed of bike.  While they are labelled as a gravel bike they are equally relevant on trail rides or even winter commuting rides. 

Fit for gravel and trails, but still fast rolling over roads, Gravel bikes blur the boundaries of on and off-bikes.
norco-search-xr-s2-2020-gravel-bike
Gravel Bikes

No big surprises that disc brakes are a perfect solution for gravel bikes.  With various benefits but mainly more frame clearance allowing for larger tyres to cater for a variety of road surfaces.  Couple this with a set of brakes that do not fade as a result of mud or rain then you have a winning formula for gravel bikes.  Again this latest bike type is benefitting from various innovations to bikes over the past decade.  

Gravel bikes tend to come with tyres between 32mm and 48mm width sizes.  This is an increase on the latest trend of road bikes hitting 30mm tyre sizes but well below that of a standard mountain bike tyre.  For all-round conditions the best size emerging seems to be 38mm.  This coupled with a modern grip design means you can have an adaptable yet quick cycling option.  

Gravel Bike vs Cyclo-Cross

So is it just another name for a cyclo-cross bike that was the latest big thing we all wanted? According to the manufacturers such as Giant they claim that a gravel bike is not the same as a cyclocross bike.  Just marketing spin?  The frame geometry is a more relaxed riding position with a taller head tube and shallower head.  The relaxed upright ride geometry helps make them a more suitable companion for a long ride making it easier on your back and shoulders.  But unlike a mountain bike still lightweight and fast.  

A true cycle-cross bike is for racing and is not a gravel bike. A cyclo-cross bike is lighter in weight for sections of races where the rider has to carry the bike.  Geometry is in-between a road bike and a road bike in terms of relaxed riding position.  If you go as far as racing cyclo-cross tyres are limited to a width of 33mm so frames only need to accommodate tyres this size.  Cyclo-cross bikes don’t come fitted with eyelets and bottle cage features so suited for short race series only.  Afraid you need another n+1 bike.  

What are Gravel Bikes good for?

Gravel bikes are perfect for commuting in particular when trying to train through the winter months.  They are equally well suited to cycling touring.  With a more relaxed ride position and strong frame able to be racked up it is a good option for all day touring.  With all the necessary fittings for mudguards and bags they can cope with being fully fitted out.  

Gravel bikes offer robust components able to work as a winter commuter, trail bike, touring or general one size fits all.  We are yet to see anyone racing one in a triathlon race but given we’ve seen people using Brompton’s to BMX’s it is surely only a matter of time.  They are lightweight and quick although never going to be as suited as a purist TT bike.  

Are Gravel Bikes Fast?

Festka_ONE-Gravel_carbon

Wider tyres create more wind resistance, but a 10 mm increase in frontal area doesn’t make a huge difference. Better rolling technology of tyres counters the larger surface area.  Stronger frames increase weight over pure road frames.  A more relaxed riding position putting you upright creates more resistance than tyres.  Net result is gravel bikes are faster than mountain bikes but slower than road bikes if you want a simple answer.  

Key Features of Gravel Bikes

  • Mudguards and rack eyelets  – Gravel bikes come with a full compliment of eyelets to support racks and mudguards.
  • Disc Brakes – Disc brakes as standard for gravel bikes 
  • Tyre clearance – Wide clearance sizes permitting tyres up to 48mm 
  • Handlebars – Drop handlebars permitting an aero style riding position 
  • Frame – Lightweight robust frames with relaxed geometry beyond conventional sportive frames 

Gravel Bikes for under £1000

  • Marin Four Corners
  • Specialized Diverge E5 Sport
  • Merida Silex
  • Vitus Substance Tiagra 
  • Raleigh Mustang Sport

Marin Four Corners

Marin_Four_Corners_black
Specification:
Groupset – Shimano Sora
Gears – 27 Speed
Frame – CrMo Steel
Fork – CrMo Steel
Tyres – 42mm width 
Brakes – Shimano mechanical disc
Weight – 13.62kg

The Marin Four Corners has a versatile butted 4130 CrMo steel frame and fork.  It’s heavier than some other gravel bikes given the steel frame which might come as a surprise if stepping onto this from a conventional alloy frame road bike.  Frame designed to handle six bottle mounts, rack and mudguards.   

£995 from Tredz (contact us for latest discount codes available)

Specialized Diverge E5 Sport

specialized-gravel-bike
Specification:
Groupset – Shimano Claris
Gears – 16 Speed
Frame – Aluminium
Fork – Carbon Fibre
Tyres – 35mm width 
Brakes – Tektro mechanical disc
Weight – 10kg

The Diverge gravel bike geometry is more of a road spec of the trail bike geometry. It provides predictable handling and steering for dirt, trail and gravel.  Fitted with Shimano Claris 8-speed groupset and a durable Axis Sport Disc wheelset.  The 35mm Roadsport tyres come with built-in flat protection for incident free rides.  

£899 from Tredz (contact us for latest discount codes available)

Merida Silex

merida-silex-gravel-bike
Specification:
Groupset – Shimano Sora
Gears – 18 Speed
Frame – Aluminium
Fork – Carbon Fibre
Tyres – 38mm width 
Brakes – Promax mechanical disc
Weight – 10kg

The Merida Silex 200 gravel bike sits in the adventure road bike category. It comes with   road style geometry using drop bars for speed on the road, dirt or gravel. The Silex 200 is built with a lightweight 6066 triple butted and hydroformed aluminium frame with upright gravel geometry for stable yet nimble handling. 

£1000 from Tredz (contact us for latest discount codes available)

Vitus Substance Tiagra

vitus-substance
Specification:
Groupset – Shimano Sora
Gears – 10 Speed
Frame – Aluminium
Fork – Carbon Fibre
Tyres – 47mm width 
Brakes – TRP mechanical disc
Weight – 10kg

Specifically designed for gravel use, the Vitus Substance V-2 Adventure Road Bike offers incredible control on mixed terrain conditions. It features a double-butted aluminium frame, which makes it more than ready for unpredictable road bike journeys.

£849 from Wiggle (contact us for latest discount codes available)

Raleigh Mustang Sport

raleigh-mustang-gravel-bike
Specification:
Groupset – Shimano Claris
Gears – 10 Speed
Frame – Aluminium
Fork – Carbon Fibre
Tyres – 36mm width 
Brakes – Promax mechanical disc
Weight – 10.6kg

The all new Mustang Sport features a super lightweight Double butted Aluminium frame and tapered headtube with Gravel frame geometry.  Designed to offer a more relaxed riding position than a traditional road bike without compromising too much on speed. The Gravel-specific carbon fork is lightweight and shock absorbent while the tapered alloy steerer affords precise handling and great tyre clearance.

£720 from Tredz (contact us for latest discount codes available)

Gravel bikes for under £2000

  • Giant Revolt 1
  • Ribble CGR AL Shimano 105
  • Bergamont Grandurance 6
  • Nukeproof Digger Pro
  • Kinesis Tripster AT

Giant Revolt 1

giant-revolt-1
Specification:
Groupset – Shimano Tiagra
Gears – 20 Speed
Frame – Aluminium
Fork – Carbon Fibre
Tyres – 38mm width 
Brakes – Shimano mechanical disc
Weight – 10.6kg

The new Revolt features a lightweight ALUXX aluminium frame and carbon fork.   Engineered to balance stiffness (for efficiency) and compliance (for comfort and control). The frame is integrated for disc brakes and it has clearance for larger tyres (up to 45c). 

£1049 from Tredz (contact us for latest discount codes available)

Ribble CGR AL Shimano 105

Ribble-cgr-gravel-bike
Specification:
Groupset – Shimano 105
Gears – 22 Speed
Frame – Aluminium
Fork – Carbon Fibre
Tyres – 40mm width 
Brakes – Shimano hydraulic disc
Weight – 10.6kg

The Ribble CGR (Cross, Gravel and Road) comes with Shimano’s 105 groupset and the addition of Mavic’s popular Aksium wheelset.  The CGR AL has an aluminium frame although if you throw more money at Ribble titanium is available.  Available in a range of custom colours to get the bike styled to your taste.  Tango orange used in our imagery for you!

£1349 from Ribble (contact us for latest discount codes available)

Bergamont Grandurance 6

bergamont-gravel-bike
Specification:
Groupset – Shimano GRX
Gears – 22 Speed
Frame – Aluminium
Fork – Carbon Fibre
Tyres – 35mm width 
Brakes – Shimano hydraulic disc
Weight – 10.6kg

Gravel and endurance racer made with an ultra light tubing aluminium frame and full carbon fork.  Specified with the new Shimano GRX components, specially developed for gravel riding.  Fitted with 35 mm Schwalbe G-One all-round tires with low rolling resistance tread and strong grip complete with side wall tan colours.  

£1399 from Tredz (contact us for latest discount codes available)

Nukeproof Digger 275 Comp Gravel Bike

nukeproof-gravel-bike
Specification:
Groupset – Shimano GRX
Gears – 22 Speed
Frame – Aluminium
Fork – Carbon Fibre
Tyres – 35mm width 
Brakes – Shimano hydraulic disc
Weight – 10.6kg

Rolling you from tarmac to trail with pace, reliability, confidence and style. Nukeproof’s Digger 275 Comp Gravel Bike features modern geometry, full carbon fork, Shimano GRX 11-Speed drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes and rear pannier mounts.

£1499 from Wiggle (contact us for latest discount codes available)

Orbea Terra H30-D 1X

Orbea-Terra-H30-D-1X-2020-Gravel-Bike
Specification:
Groupset – Shimano GRX
Gears – 11 Speed
Frame – Aluminium
Fork – Carbon Fibre
Tyres – 40mm width 
Brakes – Shimano hydraulic disc
Weight – 10.6kg

The Orbea is a real looker for such a robust bike. The Terra can work on Gravel, Road, CX, Winter Training or Commuting.   It has a blend of low weight and durability for a long life of miles ahead.  With a good range from an 11 speed cassette the Terra offers simple mechanics poached from mountain bikes with road bike frame capabilities.  Versatile for a variety of riders. 

£1599 from Tredz (contact us for latest discount codes available)

Gravel bikes for under £5000

At the very top end of budgets you can still have a wide choice of bikes if your pockets are deep enough for a carbon bike costing more than £2000.  

  • Cannondale Topstone Carbon Force ETap AXS
  • Giant Revolt Advanced Pro 
  • BMC URS 3
  • Scott Addict Gravel 30 
  • Specialized Diverge Expert 1X

Cannondale Topstone Carbon Force ETap AXS

cannondale-gravel-bike

£4799 from Tredz (contact us for latest discount codes available)

Giant Revolt Advanced Pro

giant-revolt-advanced-pro

£4699 from Tredz (contact us for latest discount codes available)

BMC URS 3

bmc-urs-gravel-bike

£3999 from Tredz (contact us for latest discount codes available)

Scott Addict Gravel 30

scott-addict-gravel-bike

£2799 from Tredz (contact us for latest discount codes available)

Specialized Diverge Expert 1X

Specialized-Diverge-Sport-2020-Gravel-Bike

£2749 from Tredz (contact us for latest discount codes available)

Full List of Gravel Bikes

  1. Marin Four Corners
  2. Specialized Diverge E5 Sport
  3. Merida Silex
  4. Vitus Substance Tiagra 
  5. Raleigh Mustang Sport
  6. Giant Revolt 1
  7. Ribble CGR AL Shimano 105
  8. Bergamont Grandurance 6
  9. Nukeproof Digger Pro
  10. Kinesis Tripster AT
  11. Cannondale Topstone Carbon Force ETap AXS
  12. Giant Revolt Advanced Pro 
  13. BMC URS 3
  14. Scott Addict Gravel 30 
  15. Specialized Diverge Expert 1X

If you are still not sure about gravel bikes and road bikes are more your thing.  Check our review of the best road bikes for £1500.


Billy Ferguson

Founder of Trivelo

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