in this guide we will check what is the best gravel bike for the money
The search for the best gravel bike value is akin to embarking on an exciting journey towards finding a reliable companion for your multi-terrain adventures. Gravel biking has been carving a notable niche within the cycling community, thanks to its versatility that combines the best of road and mountain biking. As an entrant to this exciting realm or perhaps a seasoned cyclist looking to add a gravel bike to your collection, the importance of finding a blend of affordability and quality cannot be overstressed. This guide aims to navigate you through the process, shedding light on key factors and presenting you with top picks to ensure you get the best gravel bike for your money without compromising on performance. Your quest for a budget-friendly yet high-quality gravel bike is about to get a lot easier, as we unveil the gems that promise a seamless blend of cost-effectiveness and reliable performance on the trails and tarmac alike.
Understanding Gravel Bikes
Gravel bikes are a fantastic bridge between the agility of road bikes and the resilience of mountain bikes, offering a unique blend that’s becoming increasingly popular among cycling aficionados. At the core, a gravel bike is designed to be versatile, capable of handling a variety of terrains with a level of ease that makes them highly sought after. However, the question that looms is, what is the best gravel bike for the money? To address this, it’s essential to delve into the defining features of gravel bikes that contribute to their cost and performance.
The hallmark of a good gravel bike is its ability to traverse both smooth roads and rough gravel trails with equal prowess. This is achieved through a combination of design elements including wider tires for better grip and stability, a relaxed geometry for comfortable long rides, and a robust frame to withstand rough terrains.
- Wider Tires: Gravel bikes come with wider tires usually ranging between 35mm to 45mm, which provide better traction and comfort on uneven surfaces.
- Relaxed Geometry: The geometry of gravel bikes is more relaxed compared to road bikes, which allows for a more comfortable riding position, especially over long distances.
- Versatile Gearing: Gravel bikes are equipped with a wide range of gears to tackle varying terrains, be it steep uphill climbs or fast descents.
- Disc Brakes: For enhanced stopping power in all weather conditions, gravel bikes are typically outfitted with disc brakes.
- Mounting Points: They often come with multiple mounting points for carrying gear, making them a suitable choice for bikepacking and long-distance touring.
Gravel bikes can be a significant investment due to the high-quality materials and engineering required to ensure they perform well across different terrains. The price spectrum is broad, with high-end models boasting of carbon frames and top-tier components, while more budget-friendly options may have aluminum or steel frames with reliable, but less prestigious, components.
In wrapping up this section, understanding the inherent value in the features and capabilities of gravel bikes is crucial in determining what the best gravel bike for the money is for your specific needs. It sets the foundation for making an informed decision as you venture into the subsequent section where we delve into the factors to consider when making your purchase.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Gravel Bike
Investing in a gravel bike is a thrilling venture, but it requires a meticulous approach to ensure you’re making a worthy investment. Several factors play a pivotal role in determining the performance, durability, and overall satisfaction you’ll derive from your gravel bike. Here, we delve into some critical considerations:
The gear system is the heart of your gravel bike’s performance across varying terrains. For those on a budget, a Shimano 105 or SRAM Apex gear set is a solid choice. These gear sets offer a good balance of performance and cost-effectiveness, ensuring smooth shifting and reliable operation. The Shimano 105 is renowned for its durability and efficiency, while the SRAM Apex is praised for its wide gear range, which is a boon on hilly terrains. Both gear sets are excellent starting points for those seeking the best gravel bike value without compromising on essential performance features.
A robust braking system is non-negotiable for ensuring safety and control while navigating through diverse terrains. Disc brakes are the standard for gravel bikes, offering superior stopping power in various weather conditions. Hydraulic disc brakes are the top choice as they require less hand strength and provide more precise control. However, mechanical disc brakes are also a viable option, especially for budget-conscious buyers. They may require a bit more maintenance but still provide reliable stopping power and are generally easier to service.
A thru axle is a desirable feature on a gravel bike as it significantly enhances the stiffness and handling of the bike, especially when navigating through rough terrains. Unlike traditional quick-release axles, thru axles provide a more secure wheel attachment, ensuring better alignment of the disc brakes and reducing the flex in the front fork. This feature may come with a slight weight penalty but the improvement in stability and control is well worth the trade-off, making your gravel bike more resilient and enjoyable to ride.
Having a tubeless-ready setup is a great asset in a gravel bike. Tubeless tires offer several advantages including a lower risk of flats, better traction, and the ability to run lower tire pressures for improved comfort on rough terrains. Moreover, in the case of a puncture, a tubeless setup with sealant can self-seal, allowing you to continue riding without having to fix a flat on the trail. While transitioning to a tubeless setup has an initial cost, the long-term benefits and the enhancement in ride quality make it a worthwhile consideration for anyone seeking the best gravel bike value. Check out our articles about tubeless vs tubed.
The frame is the backbone of your gravel bike, and the material used in its construction significantly impacts both the price and performance. Here are the common frame materials:
- Aluminum: Aluminum frames are a popular choice for budget-friendly gravel bikes due to their lightweight nature and adequate stiffness. They provide a responsive ride and are corrosion-resistant, making them durable for long-term use.
- Steel: Steel frames are known for their exceptional durability and comfortable ride quality. They are heavier compared to aluminum but offer a smoother ride by dampening road vibrations.
- Carbon: Carbon fiber frames are at the high end of the price spectrum but are prized for their weight savings and high stiffness, delivering a highly responsive and comfortable ride. They also excel in vibration damping, providing a smooth ride on rough terrains.
check out our article about the different frame materials.
Wheel Size and Tires
The wheel size and tire width play crucial roles in how a gravel bike performs on different terrains.
- Wheel Size: The common wheel sizes for gravel bikes are 700c (similar to road bikes) and 650b. A 700c wheel rolls faster and is ideal for long gravel rides or mixed-terrain riding, while a 650b wheel, being smaller, offers better agility and control on technical terrains.
- Tire Width: Wider tires provide better traction, stability, and comfort on rough surfaces. Most gravel bikes can accommodate tire widths ranging from 35mm to 45mm or even wider, allowing riders to choose based on the terrain they’ll be tackling most.
read more about this here
A versatile gearing system is pivotal for tackling varying terrains efficiently, making it an essential consideration when choosing a gravel bike. A broad gear range with lower ratios is beneficial for climbing steep hills, while higher ratios are suitable for faster riding on flat terrains. The choice between a 1x (single chainring) or 2x (double chainring) setup will depend on the rider’s preference and the terrains they plan to explore. The 1x setup offers simplicity and sufficient range for most terrains, while a 2x setup provides finer gear increments and a wider overall range. check out our article about gearing.
Brand reputation can be a good indicator of the quality and value you’re likely to get from a gravel bike. Some reputable brands known for offering good value in the gravel bike segment include:
- Canyon: Known for producing high-quality bikes at competitive prices.
- Specialized: Offers a range of gravel bikes catering to both budget-conscious and premium buyers.
- Trek: Renowned for its well-engineered bikes that provide a good balance of performance and price.
- Cannondale: Known for innovative designs and offering a good range of gravel bikes for different price points.
Investing in a gravel bike from a reputable brand not only assures you of a quality product but also better resale value and support services such as warranty and access to spare parts.
what is the best gravel bike for the money: Top Picks
Triban GRVL 520
The Gravelbike GRVL 520 SRAM APEX 1 Herren by TRIBAN is designed for gravel riding. Key features include a SRAM APEX 1×11-speed drivetrain for smooth shifting, hydraulic disc brakes for effective stopping, and a comfortable geometry for long rides. It’s priced competitively, making it a good option for those looking to explore gravel riding without a hefty investment. The 650B tires are perfect for a good control in rougth confitions. It is tubeless ready. For more details, you can visit the product page
Canyon Grizl 7
The Grizl 7 by Canyon is designed for gravel riding, featuring a robust aluminum frame, Shimano GRX600 1×11-speed drivetrain for efficient shifting, and hydraulic disc brakes for reliable stopping. It also has Schwalbe G-One Bite tires, providing good traction on loose surfaces. The bike is priced at €1,799.00 and comes in a green color option. For further details, you can visit the product page. If 1.8K is too much you can also check out the canyon Endurace 7 RB. It is a roadbike but you can fit wider tires with profile.
Boardman ADV 8.6
The Boardman ADV 8.6 is a versatile bike designed for both on-road and off-road adventures. It features a lightweight aluminum frame, a Shimano Claris 2×8 speed drivetrain for a variety of gearing options, and mechanical disc brakes for reliable stopping power. It’s equipped with 700x38c tyres for good grip on mixed terrains. The bike also has mounts for mudguards and racks, making it a practical choice for commuting or touring. For more details, you can visit the product page.
Genesis CDA 30
The Genesis CDA 30 is a versatile bike built for both commuting and adventure rides. It features a double-butted aluminum frame, Shimano GRX 2×10 speed drivetrain for a wide range of gearing options, and mechanical disc brakes for consistent stopping power. It’s equipped with 37c tires to handle mixed terrains. The bike also includes mudguard and rack mounts for added practicality. For more details, you can visit the product page.
Cube Nuroad Pro
The Cube Nuroad Pro is a gravel bike designed for both tarmac roads and gravel tracks. It features an aluminum frame, Shimano GRX 2×11 speed drivetrain for smooth shifting, and hydraulic disc brakes for reliable stopping. It’s equipped with Schwalbe G-One Speed tyres and has internal cable routing which adds a clean look and reduces maintenance. For more details, you can visit the product page.
Specialized Diverge E5
The Specialized Diverge E5 is designed for exploring trails and roads. It comes with a Premium E5 Aluminum frame, a carbon fork to reduce vibrations, and Shimano Claris 2×8 speed drivetrain for various gearing options. It’s also equipped with Tektro Mira mechanical disc brakes for reliable stopping. For more details, you can visit the product page.
Trek Domane AL 2
The Trek Domane AL 2 Gen 3 is a road bike designed for smooth and efficient on-road cycling. But with the clearence of 35mm you can mount some profile tires. It features an Alpha Aluminum frame, Shimano Claris 2×8 speed drivetrain for a range of gearing options, and rim brakes for stopping. It’s a good option for those looking to get into road cycling. For more details, you can visit the product page.
Cannondale Topstone 4
The Cannondale Topstone 4 is a gravel bike designed for adventure rides. It features an aluminum frame, Shimano Claris 2×8 speed drivetrain for various gearing options, and mechanical disc brakes for reliable stopping. The bike is equipped with 700x37c tires for tackling mixed terrains. For more details, you can visit the product page.
Giant Revolt 2
The Giant Revolt 2 is designed for gravel riding with a durable ALUXX-Grade Aluminum frame, a Shimano Claris 2×8 speed drivetrain for a variety of gearing options, and mechanical disc brakes for reliable stopping. It’s equipped with Giant CrossCut AT 2, 700x38c tires for grip on mixed terrains. For more details, you can visit the product page.
Liv Devote 1
The Liv Devote 1 is a women-specific gravel bike designed for adventure rides. It features an ALUXX-Grade Aluminum frame, Shimano GRX RX-400 drivetrain for smooth shifting, and mechanical disc brakes for reliable stopping. It’s equipped with Giant CrossCut AT 2, 700x38c tires for tackling various terrains. For more details, you can visit the product page.
Embarking on the quest to find the best gravel bike for the money is a journey laden with many considerations, each playing a crucial role in shaping your cycling experience. From understanding the core essence of gravel bikes, dissecting the significance of frame material, gearing, wheel size, and tire width, to delving into the nuanced aspects like the gear shift, braking system, thru axles, and tubeless readiness, each facet contributes to the bike’s performance, durability, and the satisfaction it delivers on the trail or road.
The brand reputation further adds a layer of assurance, ensuring that your investment is backed by a legacy of quality and performance. Whether you’re drawn towards the budget-friendly yet robust aluminum frames, the comfortable and durable steel frames, or the lightweight and highly efficient carbon frames, the market has something to cater to your preferences and financial plan.
As you venture into the vibrant world of gravel biking, armed with the insights shared in this guide, you’re well on your path to making an informed decision. The curated list of considerations is designed to steer you towards a bike that not only matches your budget but also aligns with your cycling aspirations, ensuring that every dollar spent translates to value on the pedals.
With the gravel beneath your wheels and the wind against your face, the thrill of exploring new terrains awaits. The right gravel bike is not just a mode of transport, but a companion in your adventures, a tool of exploration, and a ticket to unbounded cycling freedom. Happy gravel grinding!