4 Best Gravel Bikes in 2020

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Thanks to advancements in technology, the world has been blessed with different kinds of bikes that are tailored to serve unique purposes. Gravel bikes are versatile and capable of being used on various terrains. In fact, they are also known as all-road bikes, or adventure bikes in some cases.

Thanks to their overall design, these bikes can serve the purpose of mountain bikes, road bikes, and more. If you mostly ride within the city and you need a bike for some weekend MTB exercise, your gravel bike is cut out for the task.

These bikes come in various brands but they must satisfy certain requirements. We researched the market for the best gravel bikes and have reviewed them with their individual pros and cons. From our list, you should be able to find one that suits your needs.

Gravel Bike Reviews

These gravel bicycles have been put together so that you can make an easy choice. Here are our top picks:

1. Royce Union Men’s Gravel Bike

This Royce Union Gravel Bike is a quality product that comes at an affordable price. It isn’t heavy and it has a comfortable design. The bike is quite efficient and provides you with enjoyable cycling experience.

As expected, this bicycle is versatile – it is among the best gravel bikes for braving different terrains. The unit is equipped with all the necessary features and accessories to make cycling a breeze.

The material used to fabricate this bike’s body is lightweight aluminum. Thanks to its Shimano 2×9 shifters cyclists get to switch between 18 different speeds. This is a wide range of speeds that help conquer different obstacles.

Whenever you suddenly need to bring the bike to a halt, you can rely on its brakes to quickly stop the bicycle. The bike is designed to last long.

Pros
  • It features Shimano 2 x 9 shifters
  • Provides cyclists with 18 variable speeds
  • Equipped with durable WTB Nano 700C tires
  • Dual Shimano disc brakes
  • Aluminum frame
Cons
  • No kickstand included

2. Tommaso Illimitate Gravel Adventure Bike

If you want to get great quality at a reasonable price you should go for this model. It has earned a great name for itself among bikers.

This Tommaso gravel bike has a visually appealing design. It’s striking and has top-notch quality. You can be sure of getting some stares of appreciation from other bikers and commuters.

Since the bike is made to be durable, you won’t have to keep spending on getting new bicycles. It provides cyclists with various speeds to switch between. In addition to all that, this gravel bike offers good control.

Pros
  • It offers several speeds
  • Very reliable and comfortable
  • Features a long-lasting 50/34T Tiagra compact crankset and 11x32T Tiagra cassette
  • Lifetime frame warranty
Cons
  • Setting up the bike needs professional assistance

3. Giordano Trieste Gravel Bike

The next item on our list is the Giordano Trieste Gravel Bike. This compact and lightweight gravel bike is a great match for shorter individuals. In addition to that, it’s also sold at an affordable price. This product is a favorite in the gravel bike community.

Not only does it satisfy the requirements of a gravel bike, but it also works great for bikers of all levels – whether you’re a newbie or you’ve been cycling for years.

One major feature that makes any product desirable is durability. The manufacturers of the Giordano Gravel Bike have made sure that it isn’t lacking durability.

The bicycle’s structure facilitates comfort and efficiency while riding. A remarkable suspension feature absorbs vibrations from bumpy trails and makes sure that your ride is as smooth as possible.

Pros
  • Designed with a drop-bar handle that facilitates bike control
  • Thanks to its Shimano Claris 16 speed drivetrain and STI shifters, you get up to 16 variable speeds with this unit
  • Steel frame and fork
  • Mechanical disc brakes
Cons
  • It doesn’t come with the necessary tools

4. Tommaso Sentiero Shimano Claris Gravel Adventure Bike

The last item in our gravel bike reviews is the Tommaso Sentiero Adventure Bike. It’s equipped with a quality carbon fiber fork that makes the bike lightweight. Compared to the steel fork, carbon fiber forks are more advantageous in terms of weight and ergonomic implementation.

In addition to its carbon fiber fork, this Tommaso bike is equipped with a triple front ring. Other bikes featured in this review have just a pair of rings.

This unit’s triple front ring gives it an edge when it comes to the availability of lower gears. These lower gears are useful for overcoming certain slopes and steep elevations.

Pros
  • Features an Aluminum Compact Frame and an SST Steel Fork that ensure durability
  • Its Tommaso TC-20D rims give comparable durability with the 28 spoke rim
  • The frame has a compact shape and features premium well-designed handlebars
  • It has a 3×8 Shimano Claris Groupset
Cons
  • Poor customer service

How to Get the Best Gravel Bikes

Before making a final pick, these are the things to look out for:

Terrain

One of the key factors to consider before buying a gravel bike is where you’ll be riding.

Bikes are tailored to function best in different conditions and on various tracks or terrain. The best value gravel bike for you should be able to serve well wherever you’ll be riding.

Based on the intensity and jaggedness of your usual riding spot, you must pick a gravel bike that can withstand the work to come.

Bikers who are into more relaxed and casual forms of cycling can settle for a model that’s designed for smooth cruising and facilitates fun rides.

Wheels

A bicycle’s wheel size has a significant influence on its overall function. When it comes to bike wheel size, you’ll mostly come across 650b and 700c specifications.

The latter wheel size is commonly found on road bikes, while the former is usually found on mountain bikes. The 650b is favorable for mountain bicycles because of its weight and ease of navigation.

With respect to gravel bikes, the 700c wheel size spec is matching with a narrow-width tire. This reduces rotational mass and boosts rolling. Larger tires are matched to the 650b wheel size spec – the diameter of the tire has to match the diameter of the 650b wheel.

This would facilitate reduced tire pressure and boost tire grip. When it comes to weight, the 700c is a bit heavier than the 650b. The tires fitted on the wheels also influence the overall weight difference.

Frame

The frame geometry of these bikes is quite similar to that of road bikes. One of the noticeable differences between both is the bigger tires fitted on the gravel bike’s wheels.

The gearing systems on both bikes are also different. The entire frame geometry and fittings on the gravel bike are tailored towards adapting to off-road trips.

Other features that distinguish the gravel bike from road bicycles include a more elevated bottom bracket drop, longer wheelbase, lower bottom bracket, and longer chainstay. These features combine to give the gravel bike better balance.

Brakes

What type of brakes are these bikes equipped with? The answer is disc brakes. All gravel bicycles are fitted with disc brakes so that they can cope properly on off-road tracks.

From another perspective, it makes sense that the these bikes are equipped with hydraulic disc brakes instead of mechanical brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes are best known to come with top-notch bikes. The hydraulic disc brakes have a flat-mount design that matches carbon frames.

You should know that gravel bikes have a bigger rotor size (160mm) in front. The rotors at the back have a smaller size of 140mm. This size variation is done to facilitate braking power when weight is shifted to the forward side of the bike when the brake is applied.

Gears

There are three different gear shifting methods. These gear shifting methods include hydraulic, mechanical, and electronic methods.

Although the mechanical gear shifting method is somewhat general, the electronic shifting is faster and more contemporary. If you’ll be using the hydraulic gear shifting, it has to go along with scope automation.

Brand

The best gravel bikes come in different brands. You must be careful with the brand you’re selecting.

It should be a reliable brand that is known to deliver quality and durable products. We have reviewed some excellent brands for you and you can pick from them.

Weight

As you explore gravel bikes, you should watch out for their different weight specifications.

Quality gravel bicycles weigh more than quality road bicycles. However, they aren’t as heavy as top-notch mountain bikes.

The weight of a gravel bike is contributed to by the lightweight framework and bulkier attachments. The wheels fitted on the bike are also equipped to withstand off-road trails. Some weight is shed due to the lack of suspension structures.

Extras

Apart from a sturdy frame and reliable wheels, there are extra features added to gravel bikes for optimal biking.

Things like suspension systems for shock absorption, which facilitates smooth riding, matter a lot. You should know that the presence of these extra features will affect your bike’s overall weight. You need to be sure that the extra feature is worth the additional weight.

There are also extras that are mounted on different parts of the bike. For instance, a bike beer bottle is an extra that can be mounted on the upper tube of the bicycle. Before you make a final purchase, make sure the bike can support all the extra mounts you desire.

What is a Gravel Bike?

Gravel bikes are bikes that are designed to excellently match the off-road trails and terrains. They work better on such terrain than the typical road bike. Instead of subjecting your road bike to the rigors of these off-road tracks, get a gravel bike.

There are certain features that are expected to be found on the best gravel bicycles. For instance, the gravel bike of choice should have enough frame clearance to fit tires with 700c x 45mm specification.

In addition to that, there should also be various mounting positions – preferably 3 and above – that can hold refillable bottles and food items.

The wheelbases should be longer for better stability during fast-paced rides. The gravel bike should also feature disc brakes for descending sloppy terrain.

Because of their ability to function both on and off-road, they are more versatile than road bikes.

The Cost of Gravel Bikes

When it comes to the cost of purchasing these bikes, there are some things to consider. Some people would rather get a fairly used cyclocross bicycle and use it in place of an actual gravel bike. Doing that would cost just a little cash compared to the price paid for a real gravel bike.

Usually, proper gravel bicycles can start selling at about $1,200. At this price, the gravel bike would feature an alloy frame with basic parts. The products reviewed earlier are among the best affordable gravel bikes.

Coming in at prices above the $1,200 level are the top-end bikes from popular brand names. These may go for as much as $2,800.

Their framework is usually fabricated from carbon and they have hydraulic disc brakes. Note that the best budget gravel bike should provide you with all the necessary qualities.

Gravel Bikes vs. Road Bikes

There are noticeable similarities between the road bike and the gravel bike. However, gravel bicycles have been designed to excel where road bicycles fail – on off-road or unpaved terrain.

Just like gravel bicycles, road bicycles are also equipped with drop bars. Regardless of this fact, they are structured to offer more comfort – they have a higher elevated head tube and slacker head tube angle.

It’s common to find rim brakes on road bicycles and disc brakes on gravel bicycles Whether your gravel bike has a mechanical disc brake or hydraulic disc brake, it will function well in wet cycling situations.

In comparison to the road bike, gravel bicycles are fitted with larger tires and plenty of mount positions.

Gravel Bikes vs. Mountain Bikes

Mountain bikes and gravel bicycles have more differences than similarities. In fact, what they share in common is their reliable performance on off-road tracks. Apart from that, they only have differences.

Gravel bicycles are more versatile since they perform well on off-road trails and they also perform well on paved roads. Mountain bikes, on the other hand, aren’t reliable on paved roads – they move sluggishly. Since gravel bicycles are tailored to provide comfort on longer rides, they are equipped with drop bars. Mountain bikes have flat bars.

Unlike gravel models, mountain bicycles are usually equipped with either front suspension alone or both front and rear suspension, although newer versions of gravel bicycles are being equipped with short-travel suspension.

Gravel Bikes vs. Cyclocross Bikes

If you’ve seen a cyclocross bike beside a gravel bike, you’ll have noticed that they have a significant amount of resemblance. However, there are certain differences in their features and operation.

The shape of a gravel bike, although similar to that of the cyclocross bike, has unique characteristics. These include reduced bottom bracket, longer wheelbase, longer chainstay, and more relaxed seat tube and head tube angle. These features are intended to facilitate comfort during lengthy cycling exercises.

Additionally, gravel bicycles are equipped with more gears and spacious frame clearance to fit tires. These features also boost the reliability of gravel bicycles on lengthy rides. Gravel bicycles come with many mounts to fit different accessories.

Gravel Bikes vs. Hybrid Bikes

Gravel bikes have different features from hybrid bicycles. Just like gravel bicycles, hybrid bicycles are also feasible on paved roads and off-road terrain. However, gravel bicycles still perform better than hybrid bicycles.

The differences between gravel and hybrid bicycles include drop bars in gravel bicycles and larger tires; hybrid bikes make use of flat bars.

Hybrid bicycles perform better on paved roads than off-road tracks, while gravel bicycles have better performance on off-road tracks than paved roads.

Conclusion

Gravel bicycles are versatile models that are structured to perform well on all roads.

They are equipped with certain features that make them feasible and comfortable for long rides on off-road tracks. All gravel bicycles make use of disc brakes for significant stopping power in both wet and dry conditions.

Among many of the best gravel bikes, the Royce Union Men’s Gravel Bike stands out as number one. It has a lightweight aluminum frame and a sturdy design.

The bike has a set of Shimano 2×9 shifters that provide up to 18 variable speeds. In addition to that, it comes with great brakes and long-lasting WTB Nano 700C tires.

James is a passionate bicyclist who has done about every kind of biking there is. He loves the wind in his hair, the sun over his shoulder and maybe even the bugs in his teeth. No, just kidding about that last item. He isn’t crazy about road burns, either, but acknowledges that to have the good there is the occasional tumble. James feels that his bike is the place where he can unwind, leave troubles alongside the road, meet new people, go new places, and live the life of adventure that he loves. He is ready to share the ride with you.

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