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Gravel Bike Buyer's Guide

Gravel biking is a popular way to explore backcountry roads, trails, and gravel paths. It's a versatile cycling experience that allows riders to traverse varying terrain, including dirt, gravel, and mud. However, to fully enjoy the experience, you need a suitable bike. In this gravel bike buyer's guide, we'll walk you through what you need to know when selecting the right gravel bike for you.

Frame and Geometry

The frame is the most crucial part of a gravel bike. It's what provides the structural integrity of the bike and determines its performance. The ideal frame should be lightweight, sturdy, and responsive. Carbon fiber and aluminum are the most common frame materials used in gravel bikes.

The geometry of the bike also plays a significant role in determining the riding experience. Gravel bikes typically have a more relaxed geometry than road bikes, which puts the rider in a more upright position. This posture is more comfortable for long rides and provides better control on varied terrain.

Tires and Wheels

Gravel tires need to be versatile enough to handle all kinds of terrain. Wider tires with a tread pattern designed for grip and traction on loose surfaces like gravel and dirt are ideal for gravel biking. The standard tire size for gravel bikes is around 35-40mm, but some bikes can accommodate up to 50mm tires.

The wheel size also affects the performance of the bike. While some gravel bikes come with traditional road bike-sized 700c wheels, others come with smaller 650b wheels, which provide a more stable ride on rough terrain.


Gravel biking involves a lot of off-road riding, and as such, braking performance is critical. Disc brakes are the most common brake type found on gravel bikes, offering reliable stopping power in all weather conditions. Mechanical disc brakes are a more affordable option, while hydraulic disc brakes offer better performance but come at a higher cost.


The drivetrain is what allows the bike to move, and gravel bikes typically have a wide range of gears to handle the varied terrain. Gravel bikes typically come with a 1x or 2x drivetrain, with a range of gears to tackle steep climbs and fast descents. Shimano and SRAM are the most common brands found on gravel bikes.

Additional Features

Gravel bikes come with additional features that make them more versatile. Some bikes come with mounts for racks and fenders, which makes them a great option for touring or commuting. Others come with dropper seatposts, which allow riders to adjust the height of the saddle on the fly for better control on technical terrain.


The price of a gravel bike can vary significantly depending on the components, materials, and brand. Entry-level bikes typically start at around $1,000, while high-end models can cost up to $10,000 or more. The key is to find a bike that fits your needs and budget.


A good gravel bike is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable gravel biking experience. When selecting a gravel bike, consider the frame, tires, brakes, drivetrain, additional features, and price. By doing so, you'll be able to find a bike that's perfect for your riding style and preferences. Happy gravel biking!