Gravel Bikes – Everything You Need to Know About the Versatile off-Road Racing Bikes!
Right where the paved roads end for other cyclists, fun and adventure are just beginning for you. With a gravel bike, you'll be fast and yet flexible from spring to fall. Latest touring as well as gravel race bikes convince all year round in moderate off-road terrain and transform easily into a gravel road bike on tarmac. Whether you want to buy a Gravel bike for sporty after-work rides or a Gravel bike with rack for maximum flexibility in everyday life, you will find it here! Read more
Gravel Bikes – Fascinating Topics:
Riding Gravel-Bikes – More than just an Adventure Trend from Overseas
While gravel bikes (sometimes written: gravelbikes) were considered a new trend in Europe just a few years ago, these stylish breed of all-round bicycles are now increasingly the first choice over other bikes such as mountain and road bikes. The gravel concept comes from the USA, because on the one hand there are fewer quiet tarmac roads and on the other hand the desire of many road cyclists to be able to move around more freely had grown. The pioneers of this riding style wanted to be able to explore the world beyond smooth tarmac roads, far away from traffic. Gravel bikes were the solution and the foundation of an upcoming very individual cycling culture. Discover now what makes a Gravel bike and why the stylish all-rounders are now increasingly the first choice over other bikes such as mountain and road bikes.
What is a Gravel Bike?
Gravel bikes are special road bikes, which are designed in such a way that you can ride them also off the tarmac, for example on gravel roads. Gravel bikes can be equipped with relatively wide tires (e.g. 40 mm), some are also equipped with especially nimble 27.5-inch wheels (650B) instead of the usual 28-inch wheelsets. Gravel bikes are designed for high riding comfort, which is why the saddle superelevation is considerably lower. Specially designed gravel bars with particularly low drop and reach, as well as the flared drops further increase the comfort. For bikepacking tours lasting several days, most gravel bikes have many mounting points for pannier racks respectively frame, handlebar and saddle bags. And to make sure you don't have to buy all the accessories separately afterwards, in addition to sporty bikes you also often have the choice of riding a complete gravel bike with luggage rack, lights and more.
Drivetrain and Brakes of Gravel Bikes
While the 1x drivetrains have not yet become popular on road bikes, gravel bikes with 1x11 or 1x12-speeds are dominating the market. Like most parts of the gravel bike, also the drivetrain combines the best of both worlds: 11- and 12-speed cassettes with up to 44-tooth mountain gears – almost like on the MTB – for steep climbs or challenging uphills combined with finely graduated high-speed cogs for fast action on tarmac roads. So with a current gravel bike, you can smoothly traverse for an after-work sporty ride with quick changes of pace or a multi-day bike-packing tour in the mountains with long, steady climbs. Gravel gearing with wide ranges of over 400% and the bike's low weight make you ready for all challenges.
A lot of currently available gravel bikes are built with only one Narrow-Wide chainring. Furthermore a single, medium-sized chainring simplifies shifting and will reduce the risk of malfunction as well – the risk of shifting mistakes or chain dropping is reduced. Maintenance and adjustment of the front derailleur are also eliminated.
Nowadays, hydraulic road disc brakes are standard on gravel bikes. These braking systems, which have been specially optimized for this field of application in terms of lightweight construction and performance, offer high and precisely doseable braking power and enable good control even in the wet. Furthermore, they allow the use of tires and rims of different widths without any problems.
Aluminium & Carbon for Best Ergonomics
Modern aluminium or carbon gravel bikes impress with their low weight, high strength, acceleration stiffness and a great level of long-distance comfort. This is possible thanks to a targeted material design on gravel frame and fork as well as state-of-the-art manufacturing processes such as aluminium hydroforming or carbon preforming and countless prototypes.
You are still not sure whether you should choose an aluminium or carbon Gravel bike? Find out what are the most important advantages and disadvantages:
Carbon Frames – best for Gravel Race Bikes:
+ super lightweight
+ highest stiffness but still comfortable
+ sleek, aerodynamic tube shapes
+ unique frame design and finishes
- medium to high-end price range
- in some cases more sensitive to impacts
Aluminium Frames – great for daily rides and touring:
+ very good price-performance ratio
+ high stiffness
+ great nimbleness
- larger tube cross-sections
- less riding comfort
- faster material aging
In addition to the manufacturing, the frame geometry is also decisive in determining whether a bike is designed to be more sporty, like a gravel race bike, or whether it focuses more on the optimal balance of high comfort and easy handling.
Head and seat angle are steeper and frames are shorter overall compared to road bikes, which makes the typical seating position on a gravel bike less stretched, and for touring even quite upright. At the same time, the bikes are pleasantly nimble off-road, and if you do have to stop, the often sloping top tubes make this a breeze, too.
The Application Field of Gravel Bikes
This breed of bike comfortable due to its geometry, which allows great adventures, extended tours lasting several days and daily commuting. Thanks to the wide tires, a gravel bike is fast, safe and comfortable on forest tracks and gravel roads. A bike designed for gravel use, unlike a conventional road bike, has mounting points for luggage carriers and fenders.
How Much Does a Gravel Bike Cost?
Despite all the benefits a gravel bike offers, it does not necessarily have to be more expensive than other bikes. Of course, as with road bikes and cyclocross bikes, there are also very high-priced gravel bikes, which have a particularly high-quality configuration. However, since gravel bikes are primarily designed for comfort and reliability and therefore not every gram counts (which usually accounts for a high additional price) in terms of frame and components, some entry-level gravel bikes are comparatively affordable. They are more often made of aluminium or steel than carbon and are rarely equipped with the expensive electronic derailleur systems often found on cyclocross and road bikes of the upper segment. No excuses anymore, get ready for adventure!
The Best Way to Buy a Gravel Bike
If you want to fulfill your dream of a stylish gravel bike with an aluminium or carbon frame for sporty exploration ride or a comfortable long distance bike for extended bike-packing adventure tours, BIKE24 is the right choice for you! In our online shop you can buy the best gravel bikes from top brands in the comfort of your own home