Best Gravel Bikes In 2018 – High Quality Models Tested & Reviewed!
Miles of an unpaved road can take its toll on a typical road bike. Nowadays you see savvy gravel-curious riders shifting their focus to gravel bikes. In layman’s terms, a gravel bike is more like a tougher cousin of a road bike. It’s more forgiving, confidence-inspiring, and above all, comfortable.
But let’s cut the long definition short. What you’re here for is to discover the best gravel bikes currently on sale, right? This article reviews the best models out there including the features and benefits that make them stay ahead of the competition.
But then, come to think of it. Giving you a list of the gravel bikes is only a short-term gain. What you need is knowledge of how to choose the best one for yourself. Therefore, we’ve included a buying guide as an extra.
Itching to dive into things right away? Well, I can’t afford to keep you waiting!
Best Gravel Bikes - Comparison
Top 5 Gravel Bikes Review
1. Tommaso Sterrata Shimano Claris R2000 Gravel Adventure Bike
Looking for a gravel bike that’s practical and fun for new adventure riders? Well, you might want to consider a rugged and powerful performer boasting all-terrain capabilities.
That’s what you get from Tommaso Sterrata. It’s a top-of-the-line Tommaso Sentiero offering unbeatable value.
Compact Aluminum Frame with Carbon Fork:
The frame comprises premium-shaped tubing that’s light and durable to provide years of riding fun. The top tube narrows toward the seat tube providing more room for the legs and knees.
A perfect combination with a high modulus carbon fork offers maximum comfort and vibration dampening. The frame is drilled to accept racks and fenders. It’s an option that transforms the bike into a commuter.
Powerful 24-Speed Shimano:
Shimano Claris groupset gives a boost of performance, durability, and speed. The 24-speed drivetrain offers a wide range of gears for riders of all levels regardless of the riding conditions. It makes it less of a hassle to conquer varying, rugged terrain.
The shifters and derailleurs work in harmony with the drivetrain. You get smooth and consistent shifting.
Rugged, All-Terrain Wheels and Disc Brakes:
Rugged wheels keep you rolling in all types of terrain and riding conditions. The rims provide heavy-duty performance on and off the road. The 32mm tires provide good grip.
Add that to disc brakes and you get an all-weather performer. The brakes provide added stopping power and combine with the wheels to give you ultimate control in all situations.
Tommaso Sterrata is a ready-to-ride gravel bike. That means it comes fully adjusted. However, it needs additional parts installation. You need to attach the handlebars, pedals, seat, and front wheel. Professional assembly is advised to validate the warranty.
2. Mongoose Selous Sport Gravel Road Bike
Want an ultimate do-it-all gravel bike? Mongoose Selous sports bike is sure to put you in a better position.
It’s a versatile companion for gravel, fitness, trail, or fun weekend ride. Selous is a competent performer that wraps up everything into one smooth and comfortable ride.
High-Clearance Aluminum Frame:
The frame is made of aluminum and has a double-butted construction. That gives greater strength to weight ratio. A similar material (aluminum alloy) is used for the fork to give you all the benefits of an aluminum bike.
The frame and the fork provide more clearance to let you experiment with different tire sizes. It accommodates tires as wide as 40mm for increased versatility.
Shimano 18-Gear Performance Drivetrain:
Shimano Sora groupset has long been the ideal partner for urban living. It’s robust, stylish, and focuses on fitness and sports riders. The 18-speed drivetrain makes for a wide gear range to achieve a stress-free ride on a variety of terrains.
Each of the 9-speed levers provides an adjustable reach. You get light-action steering and control and a clean handlebar area.
40mm All-Terrain Tires:
Ultimate off-road performance without a trade-off, how does that sound? Well, the 40mm all-road adventure tires let you achieve that and more. The tires balance ride quality with durability. You get impressive performance, whether on chunky gravel or rugged singletrack.
Raised center treads and round profile make for fast rolling in a straight line. Plenty of tread and knobs inspire confidence when making turns and increase braking traction.
Powerful Mechanical Disc Brakes:
Selous Sport uses all-weather disc brakes for superior stopping power whenever you need it. The brakes offer tool-free adjustability to make your life on the road easy and fun.
Mongoose Selous Sport requires assembly before riding. You’ll need to install the seat, front wheel, handlebars, and pedals.
3. Diamondback Bicycles 2015 Haanjo Alternative Road Bike
Enters Haanjo alternative road bike - a bike that doesn’t discriminate the surface on which it rides. It’s gravel-friendly and commute-friendly, which keeps you in control all time and in all riding conditions.
Add that to a bit of mountain bike attributes and you get a bike that pushes far and beyond.
Endurance Aluminum Frame:
Endurance frame gives all-day comfort. It’s an aluminum frame that provides lightweight handling. Increased frame strength makes this a bike for any route, whether gravel or paved.
Road disc alloy fork provides secure, confident handling. You get improved steering precision without the weight penalty.
Super Reliable 18-Gear Drivetrain:
Haanjo has a drivetrain that will appeal to most budget bike hunters. It makes use of resilient Sora groupset suitable for new starters and enthusiasts. The drivetrain comes with a choice of 9 available speeds on the rear derailleur.
There are 18 versatile gears that conquer all terrains. A big sprocket pairs with the rear derailleur for hassle-free spinning uphill. The crankset is super compact for a reliable shifting performance.
Dependable Mechanical Disc Brakes:
The brakes are made with simplicity in mind, but without sacrificing the superior stopping power. You get improved durability and control in all weather and riding conditions. Adjustment knobs provide a quick setup, which makes brake maintenance a piece of cake.
Fatter Multi-Road Tires:
40mm Kenda tires provide a true multi-road capability. It’s a good size for fast-rolling performance. The tires are made of soft yet super-grip rubber. You get versatility in both speed and grip with extra comfort.
Assembling Diamondback 2015 Haanjo is a four-step process. It’s ready for the ride after installing the pedals, front wheel, seat, and handlebars.
4. Retrospec Bicycles AMOK-16 CycloCross or Gravel Bike
You definitely want an urban cyclocross that stands out from the rest, don’t you? If yes, then Retrospec Amok is the bike for you. It’s an aerodynamic, aggressive rider with endless versatility. Amok is a gravel bike for all times and all places.
Ultra-Light, Ultra-Strong Chromoly Frame and Fork:
A light yet strong steel makes a workhorse frame that’s ready to take a beating. It’s butted to take off excess weight making it less cumbersome to carry. The same material is used for the fork to make the bike more responsive and add flex. The frame is easy to maneuver, which gives easy time weaving through traffic or the dirt trail.
Terrain-Crushing 16-Speed Drivetrain:
Amok is a gear-oriented bike built for speed. The drivetrain uses Shimano Claris components that provide reliable rear shifting and intuitive control. The brake lever becomes some sort of shift lever. Be it shifting or braking, all is made available at your fingertips.
Amok has a good range of gear options, 16 to be precise. You get to conquer more terrain than ever.
Efficient Cantilever Brakes:
Simple yet reliable cantilever brakes offer precision and control. Adjusting them is a piece of cake and you get a level of durability that can cope with off-road cycling.
Lightweight Knobby Tires:
The tires ensure nothing gets in your way, even on the rough terrain. A lightweight design makes them a good option for fast acceleration. The grip is excellent to provide maximum efficiency and control.
Retrospec Bicycles AMOK-16 isn’t a ready-to-ride gravel bike. It needs additional parts installation and adjustments. The pedals, seat, handlebars, and front wheel need to be installed. Adjustment is required for the brakes.
5. Takara Shiro Adventure Bike
Do most gravel road bikes you desire seem to be out of your reach in terms of price? Well, there’s one model you might be missing out - Takara Shiro.
This affordable adventure bike costs a fraction of most gravel bikes but offers quality performance that’s quite similar.
Strong High-Tensile Steel Frame:
To start with, this is no ordinary steel frame. It’s a stronger, long-lasting frame that’s relatively light. The frame is flexible to give a smooth and responsive ride. It provides more support to accommodate heavier riders.
21-Speed Drivetrain with Easy Action Shifters:
Shimano Tourney groupset offers a smooth riding experience for entry-level riders. It creates a basic yet powerful drivetrain that conquers hills and flats. There are 21 gear options to make the ride easy on yourself.
Powerful Cable-Activated Disc Brakes:
Disc brakes for the price of Takara Shiro are more like a dream come true for budget bike hunters. The brakes keep you in control, whether rain or shine. The performance is consistent and the setup isn’t a headache.
All-Terrain Big Volume Tires:
Potholes, gravel, and cobblestones are a thing of the past. That’s made sure by 40mm big volume tires. The tires provide a smooth, cushy ride without sacrificing speed. They fit onto strong 700c wheels to provide a stable base.
Like all gravel bike on the list, Takara Shiro requires assembly before riding. Additional parts to install are pedals, front wheel, seat, and pedals.
Things To Consider Before Buying Gravel Bikes
Gravel bike frames are made using aluminum, steel, or carbon. Aluminum is lightweight and strong. In some cases, you get an aluminum frame and a carbon fork for vibration-absorption advantage. Steel makes a responsive, flexible frame for a smooth ride. The issue with steel is that it tends to be heavier. Carbon performs best, both in structure and quality. It offers the lightest, strongest frame structure. Carbon frames are found on high-end gravel bikes, so there’s a cost to pay for all the benefits.
Standard 700c wheels are common in gravel bikes. There’s the option of the large 28-inch wheels and the slightly smaller 27.5-inch wheels. Choose a wheel that’s tough for the ride and consider wider tires. The size of tires can range up to 40mm, a size that supports all-terrain riding.
The drivetrain of a gravel bike and a racing bike differ in terms of the number of gears and teeth. In some cases, gravel bikes come with integrated brake and gear controls. The number of gears you choose depends on the type of terrain and your level of fitness. For instance, hilly terrains require more gears. A strong rider will do just fine with fewer gears.
Disc brakes stand as the top option for gravel bikes. You get them in mechanical and hydraulic varieties. Disc brakes are all-weather performers, especially for riders who don’t have a well-defined ride schedule. Rims brakes, the likes of cantilever brakes are sometimes preferred for their simplicity, easy setup, and of course, affordability.
Choose a handlebar that conforms to your riding style. After all, they’re just as important as the wheels, brakes, and other components that make up the best gravel bike. Drop and flat bars are the most commonly used.
Flat bars are versatile, simple, and better for climbing. Flat bars result into a less back load. Drop bars offer great aerodynamics. These bars are highly versatile and provide better leverage for pedaling. It’s a top choice for bike enthusiasts.
The best gravel bikes are ones that make the ride more forgiving, whether on or off the paved path. This ought to be achieved without sacrificing rider comfort. Well, we have the top contenders listed for you. Make up your mind and decide which model works best for you.