If you’re just getting into cycling, you risk being overwhelmed by the number of different bikes that the market has to offer. There seems to be a specific bike for any kind of riding you may think of, and the choice may prove extremely difficult if you’re not sure of what field you would like to specialize in. The best gravel bikes provide a way to fix this since they take a bit of everything and end up becoming a great jack of all trades.
The best gravel road bikes will have the body of a road bike but can accommodate larger and tougher wheels that make them usable even on unpaved roads. If you want dropped handlebars, there is not much else on the market that can work in such a variety of situations. In this article, we have compiled a list of the best gravel bikes on the market. Read on to discover what are the most exciting and reliable two-wheelers you can acquire today, ready to take you exploring new roads and trails the world over.
How To Choose A Gravel Bike – Buying Guide
When looking to purchase a good gravel bike, you will probably be faced with two possibilities when it comes to wheel size, 700c, also known as 29-inch, or 650b, 27.5 inches. These are the two most common sizes for wheels, but they have different advantages and drawbacks that it is important to consider when making your decision. 700c is the wheel size of most road bikes, and these wheels are built to roll faster but will offer slightly less control than smaller ones. They will also require less energy to be kept turning after the initial effort. 650b wheels, on the other hand, will require less energy to get them to start rolling but are less suited for high speeds. Where they will really shine is maneuvering on tight trails, also because they allow you to mount wider tires (more on that in a second) which provide greater grip and the trail.
When it comes to tire sizes for the best gravel road bikes, there is a great variety of options on the market, and much will also depend on where you plan to be riding. One of the great advantages of a gravel bike is that they allow you to mount tires that are valid options both on the paved roads and off of them. Tires that resemble more closely the ones used by road bikes will be thinner and with fewer knobs on the outside, while the ones designed to work off the road will look more like the ones you find on mountain bikes. Wide and knobbly, they are made to bite into the softer surface of off-road trails and keep you well in control of your bike at all times.
The rim width of a wheel is the number that tells you how wide of a tire you can mount, so it is one of those factors that need to be kept in check when you are looking for a gravel bike. The most common width, at least for the inner rim, has settled around 21mm, and this already gives you plenty of room to mount a wide variety of tires. This is slightly larger than the average measure for road bikes, but still works nicely and doesn’t cause a significant increase in aerodynamic drag.
The frames of gravel bikes are the fruit of the constant evolution that characterizes the biking world, and incorporate features from both mountain bikes and road bikes to produce an interesting hybrid that feels at home on many different surfaces. Every manufacturer has taken a slightly different approach, depending on which kind of frame they have chosen as a starting reference point. Typically, frames that are based on mountain bike frames will be slightly shorter and designed to keep your center of gravity lower in the seat, to make you more agile and nimble during turns, while the ones that are more closely related to road bikes tend to be longer and stiffer, built more for speed than for maneuverability.
The seats and saddles of gravel bikes are built more for comfort than for speed, since the riders tend to stay on the bike for much longer, even several days sometimes. They will be placed at a less aggressive angle, in a more relaxed position, to keep you in a comfortable stance during all the ride so you don’t suffer as much on the bumpy and unpaved sections of the road. Saddle soreness can always be an issue, no matter how good the bike seat is, but a good pair of bib shorts and some nice padding can go a long way towards making the ride more enjoyable and leaving you free to focus more intensely on the road that lies ahead.
Having suspensions on your flat bar gravel bike is a great way to make the ride more comfortable or even push yourself to tackle harsher terrain, given that you know you have a way of reducing its impact on your bike and your bones. As with any other kind of bike, the suspensions will be placed on the front fork even on a gravel bike. You won’t see bikes with two sets of suspensions since this is mostly reserved for specialized, downhill mountain bikes, and the whole idea of a gravel bike is having a tool that works well on a wide range of surfaces.
Q: Are Gravel Bikes Worth It?
Definitely. Gravel bikes are one of the hottest things in the bike market right now, and they open up a whole world of possibilities for the avid cyclist. Knowing you have a bike under you that can confidently take on almost any surface you encounter will give you the boost you need to push yourself to overcome your limits and head towards new and more challenging destinations.
Q: How Do I Choose A Gravel Bike?
Choosing a gravel bike may be a complicated process, given the wealth of options available today. Much will depend on your budget and in how much time you are planning to spend on the pedals, to know if you need the ultimate carbon fiber beast or even a cheaper, but still performing, steel version may suffice.
Q: Why Are Gravel Bikes So Expensive?
Gravel bikes are expensive because they are always built to the highest standards and use the best materials, otherwise they would not be able to perform as they do, and also because they are one of the hottest trends in the market right now, and manufacturers are planning to benefit from their popularity.
Globo Surf Overview
Finding the best gravel bike is not an easy task, especially if you are new to the world of cycling and are not entirely sure of what you are looking for. The options and prices are many and far between, but we are confident that by following the tips you have found in our gravel bike reviews you’ll easily manage to understand what the features that are more important to you and pick a bike that will suit you like a glove and carry you towards many exciting new adventures.
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