What is a Gravel Bike?

In recent years, gravel bikes have appeared and are developing more and more. They are halfway between a road bike, a cyclo-cross bike, and a mountain bike and allow you to do many things. So what is a gravel bike?

What is the gravel bike made of?

Gravel bikes look a lot like cyclocross bikes, with big tires ready to tackle just about anything that comes their way. The gravel bike is a tough, sturdy bike from the increasingly popular cyclocross category that uses wider tires to tackle all kinds of terrain. Indeed, most of the key components of a gravel bike are already familiar to cyclo-crossers.

They are built for a more upright riding position, with a higher bottom bracket than a road bike but a lower one than a cyclo-cross bike. They usually have fairly wide handlebars, slightly larger than those found on cyclo-cross bikes. They generally use 700 wheels with tire sections ranging from 38 to 42 mm, with studs but fewer than on cyclo-cross tires. Indeed, the tires used for gravel are smoother because they are used on terrain that is often more rolling.

What are the advantages of gravel bikes?

Gravel bikes are built for adventure. You will be able to ride them on a variety of surfaces, including paved roads, rough roads, grass, and paths. They have heavier frame tubes and large tires for better comfort , better puncture resistance, and better traction.

They’re designed to accommodate mudguards and racks, so you can free up your clothes and stay dry, or just take things with you wherever your plans take you.

What are the disadvantages of the gravel bike?

Gravel bikes are heavier and less aerodynamic than many road bikes. Depending on frame size and your height, a gravel bike may have the same or even less stiffness than a road bike, which means it will be less responsive. Although this encourages you to use your own power, it will be more difficult to go fast on long, flat sections.

Also, if you hesitate between a gravel bike and a cyclo-cross bike, be aware that you will not be able to start a race with a gravel bike.

The gravel bike: a bike made to support accessories

There are many accessories that can allow you to equip your gravel. Indeed, gravel is often used to cover long distances. You therefore have the possibility of easily equipping your bike with panniers that can be placed on the handlebars or at the back of your bike, lights, and mudguards.

How much does a gravel bike cost?

The gravel market is becoming more and more complete, which means that you can find bikes at several price levels. Indeed, it is possible to find gravel for 999 euros, for example with the Triban RC 520. The prices can then easily go up to more than 4000 € with the Cervelo Aspero or the 3T Exploro Race.

Our opinion on gravel bikes

For us, gravel bikes are a great way to ride a bike over all possible types of terrain without having to ask too many questions. They are comfortable, practical, and robust bikes, with all the qualities required to have fun with your bike. On top of that, this handy is pretty affordable, with prices starting at $999.

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