Riding on pavement or concrete isn’t for everybody. Some enjoy getting off the beaten path and exploring what’s beyond the concrete jungle. For those who venture forth, a gravel bike becomes the best option. Getting your hands on the handlebars of one of the best gravel bikes to fit your needs and personal preferences requires some shopping around.
Our review will provide you with an opportunity to compare the various features including frame, forks, shifters, wheels, gearing, brakes and overall weight. Your budget and other personal preferences will also determine which gravel bike best suits your own needs, but through comparison, you will be able to narrow your choice to a well-informed one.
7. Retrospec AMOK v3 8-Speed Urban Gravel/Commuter Bike
- 6061 aluminum alloy frame
- Shimano Acara 8-speed derailleur and Shimano rapid fire shifter
- Aluminum alloy 30mm rise handlebars
- 700C aluminum alloy double wall rim and in nova dual purpose tread tires
- Tetra mechanical disc brakes for effortless and responsive braking
Recommended for: Those in need of a professional, yet lightweight bike
- The 6061 aluminum alloy frame is a durable, yet lightweight foundation upon the bike is built.
- Its double wall rims will help to prevent damage to the wheels on rough roads.
- It has a high-quality gearing and shifting system that you can depend upon.
Fusing technical sophistication with unrivaled agility makes the Retrospec AMOK v3 8-Speed Urban Gravel/Commuter Bike one of the best gravel bikes available. Its 6061 aluminum alloy frame makes it a lightweight bike to keep you out in front of the pack. Its hi-tensile steel threadless fork makes it a durable option as does its double wall alloy rims.
It has low-profile BMX pedals to withstand rough riding and it shifts with ease due to its Shimano Rapid Fire thumb shifter and Shimano Acera derailleur. Regardless of the conditions, you also get fade-free stopping power with its Tektro mechanical disc brakes. However, the limited number of gears may be a drawback to some. Remember that this bike requires professional assembly to maintain the warranty.
6. Takara Shiro Adventure Bike
- Retro Urban Style Steel Frame, 53cm
- 7 Speed Twist Grip Shifters
- 700c Wheels, Linear Pull Brakes for Great Stopping Power
- Chrome fenders and Rear Spring Loaded Rack
- Free Pedals and Locking Kickstand
Recommended for: Any terrain
- The durability of both the frame and the rims on this bike make it the perfect answer to gravel roads that can get a little too rough for most bikes.
- This bike includes front and rear mechanical disc brakes.
- This is one of the most affordable bikes in its class.
When it comes to being rugged enough to take on any terrain, the Takara Shiro Adventure Bike is one gravel bike you can’t overlook. This ultra-durable bike is made of hi-tensile steel. The larger volume tires on this bike and its 36 spoke double wall alloy rims allows it to absorb potholes and smooth out gravel and cobblestone.
It includes a Shimano drivetrain, cable-activated disc brakes and will fit a variety of riders from 5’-5” tall up to 6’-2” tall. Keep in mind that this bike is way heavier than the others on this list. Moreover, the build quality of this bike is somewhat questionable.
5. Populo Quest 16-Speed Gravel Bike
- Durable 4130 double butted Cro-Mo steel
- Shimano Claris 16-speed drivetrain
- Disc brakes for great stopping power
- Perfect for urban and gravel roads
- Frame and fork eyelets make it easy to mount rack and fenders
Recommended for: People who need a strong bike
- A solid frame and forks made of 4130 Chromoly steel make this a very durable bike for rough terrain.
- The Shimano Claris drivetrain is among the top performers of all road bikes.
- The braking system on this bike is second to none as well.
Solid performance and versatility place the Populo Quest 16-Speed Gravel Bike among the best gravel bikes on our list. This bike is built on a 4130 Chromoly steel frame with a 4130 Chromoly steel fork making it a strong performer in gravel and on less than smooth roads. Shimano Claris is used in the drivetrain of this bike which rolls on double wall aluminum rims. Besides having solid performance for traveling down those rough roads, the mechanical disc brakes on this bike can also stop you on a dime.
As an added bonus, this bike is set up to add on a wide range of accessories and attachments on several eyelets located in strategic places over the frame. As a con, the stock tires that come on this bike will need to be changed out for a better pair. Finally, this bike will require a lot of front derailleur adjustments before you get it rolling right.
Related: Best BMX Bikes – Top 7 in 2018
4. Tommaso Siena – Shimano Tourney Gravel Adventure Bike
- DURABLE AND RELIABLE: Durable Aluminum Compact Frame combined with a High Modulus Carbon Fiber Fork For Maximum Vibration Dampening and comfort, backed up with our industry leading Lifetime Frame & Fork Warranty. The frame is also drilled for easy installation of all varieties of racks and fenders, allowing you to seek adventure like never before.
- POWERFUL PEFORMANCE & SPEED: 2x10 Shimano Tiagra Groupset, featuring a 50/34T Tiagra compact crankset and 11x32T Tiagra cassette for a huge range of speeds, allowing riders to easily conquer anything the trail throws at them
- RUGGED, ALL-TERRAIN CAPABILITIES: Tommaso TC-40D rims offer even more rugged durability with a 28 spoke rim and can handle rough terrain, dirt, and gravel with ease. Wide 32c tires give you the added grip and control needed for off road riding, without slowing you down on the streets. The Illimitate is also equipped with Tektro Lyra disc brakes for added stopping power in adverse weather conditions, making this bike perfect for all weather and terrain conditions.
- GEOMETRY & COMFORT: Compact frame geometry and premium compact handlebars offer increased power and comfort in a sleek package. Every part of the Illimitate is designed for maximum comfort and efficiency, so you are getting the most out of every ride, whether it is 10 miles or 100 miles
- PROFESSIONAL ASSEMBLY REQUIRED: To ensure optimal performance and to validate the warranties of your new bike we recommend that you have it professionally assembled before riding.
Recommended for: Speed on a rough terrain
- The frame, fork, and rims of this bike make it extremely durable for all terrain types while maintaining its lightweight status.
- It has one of the best powering 30/39/50T Claris cranksets and 12x28T Tourney cassette and 3×7 Shimano Tourney gearing sets on the market.
- Its Tektro Lyra disc brakes provide excellent stopping control regardless of road conditions.
- There are a lifetime frame and fork warranty on this bike.
This lightweight bike is an affordable option with features that position the Tommaso Siena – Shimano Tourney Gravel Adventure Bike as one of the best gravel bikes out there. The durable construction of this bike defies its weight. It comes with a powerful powering set as well as one of the best gearing sets in the business.
Besides being great for moving fast over rough terrain, this bike also features Tektro Lyra disc calipers to bring it to a smooth stop when you need it. This is a comfortable option whether you are riding 10 miles or 100. Keep in mind that a professional assembly is required to maintain its warranty. Moreover, these rims only have 28 spokes.
3. Diamondback Haanjo Trail 24 Alternative Road Bike
- YOU DON'T NEED TO SPEND MORE THAN $600: Because Tommaso is a direct to the consumer brand you can now get a bike with 100% Shimano gears, super lightweight aluminum frame, and lightweight wheels for under $600. Tommaso gives you value like no other brand. We provide a lifetime frame warranty and great service through our U.S. based customer service team.
- STEP UP TO THE BRAND NEW SHIMANO CLARIS R2000: The Shifters, Derailleurs, Crank, and Brakes are all new 2018 Claris. R2000 Claris STI shifters now mimic 105 and Tiagra components up the line. Cables are routed under the bar for a clean look that shifts perfectly. Only bikes with integrated shifters and brake levers will perform at optimal levels. Don't be fooled by imitators using off-brand cranks or shifters, they aren't optimized for Shimano gearing and can't deliver precision shifting.
- YOU DESERVE A COMFORTABLE RIDE: Our compact frame geometry offers a more relaxed position for all riding styles, with a shallow handlebar drop so that you can still be comfortable when riding in the lower handlebar position. We even added extra control on turns by equipping the Imola with wider 25mm, 700c road bike tires. Every part of the Imola is designed for maximum comfort and efficiency, so that you can get the most out of every ride
- THE IMOLA IS AFFORDABLE PERFORMANCE, NOT ENTRY LEVEL: If you are just getting into cycling or returning after a long hiatus, this is your bike. New and returning cyclists don't need "beginner bikes", that won't meet your needs or last. You deserve affordable performance! The Imola embodies the idea of affordable performance with a full Shimano groupset you hope is on bikes costing $100's more. Compare the Imola's specs with any bike, and you will see the difference between us and the competition
- BUILT TO LAST: All too often things are made cheaply and break before their time. We believe that bikes should be reliable and built to last. This is why we use the highest quality aluminum in our bikes, and back it with our industry leading lifetime warranty. We also use only Shimano components, which are backed up with Shimano's two year warranty and are designed function better and last longer than anything else on the market. Ride with confidence, knowing your new bike was built to last!
Recommended for: Younger riders
- This bike is built on a well-crafted durable 6061 T6 frame for lightweight strength.
- The double-wall alloy rims and the tires fitted to this bike are excellent in gravel and rough terrain.
- It has some of the most dependable powertrain and braking components on the market.
- There is a lot of value packed into the moderate pricing of this bike.
If you are in the market for one of the best gravel bikes for a younger rider, you can hardly go wrong with the durability and dependability of the DiamondBack Haanjo Trail 24. This bike is constructed on a 6061 T6 aluminum alloy tubing frame and features a DB Jr. alloy fork. The Shimano Claris powertrain on this bike is one of the most dependable.
It rolls on double-wall alloy rims and its Tektro Mira mechanical disc brakes are trustworthy for stopping the bike as well. The versatility of this bike for touring on hard-pack or light trail riding is something to keep in mind when considering this bike. On the other hand, this bike is noticeably heavier than most 24” bikes in its class. Moreover, the adults will probably not be comfortable riding this model.
2. Raleigh Bikes RX 2.0 Cyclocross Bike
- Designed for cyclocross riding and racing
- Sizing: 52cm=5'4-5'7, 54cm=5'7-5'9, 56cm=5'9-5'11, 58cm=5'11-6'1, 60cm=6'1-6'3, 62cm=6'3-6'5
- Made with a superlight butted alloy frame with thru axles, disc tabs, and a lightweight Carbon-Alloy tapered steer disc brake thru axle fork
- Features SRAM Rival shifter for 11 gears and TRP spyre dual actuated mechanical disc brakes for great stopping power in all the conditions
- Includes durable weinmann impulse TL, double wall rims and clement MXP, 700x33 tires made to perform
Recommended for: Those who want a quick and smooth stop
- This bike is built on a very solid lightweight frame and has a durable and dependable fork.
- The powertrain on this bike is smooth and makes it easy to handle and a great climber.
- This is a highly responsive bike with a great feel to it.
The Raleigh Bikes RX 2.0 Cyclocross Bike combines the best of mountain bikes and road bikes into a single unit making a runner-up on our list of best gravel bikes. Manufactured by a pioneer in road bikes, this bike is not only built on a dependable and durable superlight 6061 aluminum alloy frame but it has one of the best German engineered powertrains available.
With 11 speeds contained in a single rear derailleur, the complexities and weak-points of shifting have been removed from the equation. The full carbon alloy tapered fork on this bike makes it a smooth handler and its TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes bring you to a quick and smooth stop when the need arises. Note that the wheels of this bike add considerably to its overall weight. Plus, this is a pretty pricey bike if you have to ride on a budget.
1. Nashbar Alloy Sora Cyclocross Bike
- Designed for Women's cyclocross riding and racing with the option for commuting and city riding as well
- Sizing: 50cm=5'3-5'5, 52cm=5'4-5'7, 54cm=5'7-5'9, 56cm=5'9-5'11
- Made with a superlight butted 6061 alloy, women-specific geometry dsc brake frame with thru axles, and a lightweight Carbon-Alloy disc brake fork
- Features SRAM Rival 1x11 shifter for the Rigors of racing and TRP spyre dual actuated mechanical disc brakes for great stopping power
- Includes durable weinmann impulse TL, double wall rims and clement mxp, 700x33 tires made to perform
Recommended for: Those who need a good braking system
- You get an extremely durable frame for not a lot of weight with this bike.
- Control over this bike in gravel is much easier to manage with its carbon fiber fork.
- The powertrain and braking systems on this bike are second to none in its class.
- This bike is actually pretty affordable given that it is overloaded with some great high-end features.
When it comes to best overall value for the dollar, the Nashbar Alloy Sora Cyclocross Bike comes in at the top of our list. The A6 SL aluminum frame upon which this bike is built is both solid and lightweight. It utilizes some of the best powertrain components you can get your hands on and it rolls on some heavy-duty Weinmann Zac 19 alloy wheels.
Besides being a pleasant ride when you are moving down the road, this bike will stop on a dime with smooth precision due to its Tektro MDC-400 mechanical disc braking system. It FC770 carbon fiber fork allows you to stay in complete control while chewing up gravel and changing gears couldn’t be smoother. As a con, it utilizes wider rims and tires for more control and that extra width slows you down a bit. Also, this bike might ride a bit slower on off-road surfaces than some cyclists would like.
If you are going to get off the beaten path, but still want to cruise long distances, you will want to get your hands on the handlebars of one of the best gravel bikes on the market. Having just taken a look at seven solid choices on the market, you should be well-qualified to make a purchasing decision when it comes to buying your next gravel bike.
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