As the road cycling industry moves towards disc brakes and wider tire clearances, a new breed of bikes has appeared : The Gravel Bike. These bikes fill a gap not much people knew about, but actually meets the needs of a large number of riders.
In the past, adventure in the cycling world meant hauling a heavy load on a heavy bike with no regards to performance whatsoever – only getting from one point to another. Although a reliable method to bikepacking, those of us used to the speed and performance of a road bike were greatly deceived. In comes : The Gravel Bike.
Generally thought of as road bikes with bigger tires, Gravel Bikes are much more than the recycling of an existing product. Component choice, geometry design, fit and even wheel size are all specific to the discipline which was confirmed as relevant with the release of Shimano’s gravel specific groupset : GRX.
As you move away from urban settlements, you will find that the number of gravel roads is astonishing – and now that it is possible to explore them, you will discover a whole new system of roads in your area. If you’ve ever wanted to cut through a field, hop onto the grass path off the side of the road, ride along train tracks until something crosses, climb those lace-up unpaved roads and more, this is for you.
While they come in many shapes, such as cyclocross bikes, gravel endurance, gravel race, endurance road bikes with huge clearance, they all have their place and their use. Here is your guide through the jungle, as you look into purchasing your first Gravel Bike.
Gravel Endurance Bikes
These bikes are designed for an easy, comfortable ride, typically on groomed gravel paths. They do not specialize in performance – rather, they seek to be comfortable and confidence inspiring, allowing you to make the most out of your day.
As the name suggests, these bikes are a cross between pure gravel bikes and road bikes. Typically built around an endurance road bike platform, they will have great tire clearance and allow you to ride efficiently both on road and somewhat maintained gravel roads, but do lean more on the road side of things.
Gravel Race bikes
Designed for the emerging Gravel Race discipline, these bikes seek performance and efficiency. Boasting an aggressive position, lightweight and stiff frame, and high end componentry, this is the vehicle of the competitive cyclist looking to exceed his/her limits off-road.
Cyclocross bikes are a great alternative to gravel specific race bikes, and are slightly more versatile for anyone looking to race both cyclocross and gravel. They share similar tire clearance, geometry and components. The only thing they might lack, is gear range as they are often set up with a 1x transmission.
They can carry heavy luggage, ride on groomed or ungroomed roads, singletrack, are light and fast enough for racing and hold their own on pavement. These are the bikes of the undecided, looking for a single bike to do most.
You can take a look at our gravel bike selection at primeauvelo.com or in one of our 3 retail stores. It’s worth it, this trend is here to stay.