Is it Worth Buying A Gravel Bike?

It’s not often that you find a two-wheel that brings together the worlds of a road bike, cyclocross bicycle, and mountain bike. One such bike is the gravel bike, also known as the adventure bike. But is it worth buying a gravel bike?

The versatility of a gravel bike makes it worth it. This bike can take on off-road trails, paved roads, and any other terrain. That’s thanks to its relaxed geometry, wide gear range, powerful disc brakes, and strong all-terrain wheels.

We’ll expound more on things that set gravel bicycles apart. But still, we’ll share a few concerns about the bikes you’ve to consider when making a choice.

What’s more, we’ll compare gravel bicycles and others and go through a quick buying guide.

is it worth getting a gravel bike

In a hurry? Find some of the hottest and most affordable gravel bicycles on the market below.

4 Best Gravel Bikes Under 1500 Dollars

  1. Schwinn Sporterra Gravel Bike: Best for Cross Country
  2. Tommaso Siena Gravel Bike: Best for Dirt Touring
  3. Mongoose Elroy Adventure Bike: Best for Men
  4. Raleigh Bikes Willard 1: Best for Loose Gravel

Is It Worth Buying A Gravel Bike? The Pros and Cons

The Pros – What We Like About Gravel Bikes

After detailed research and from personal experience, here are things we like about gravel bicycles:

All-Terrain Choice

Gravel bicycles, as I mentioned, can take on any terrain. You can ride on tarmac, gravel, dirt roads, and even mud.

Their broad and robust wheels allow you to roll over obstacles like rocks, roots, and rough gravel. And if you want to tour or commute with the bike, gravel bicycles allow you to mount light luggage.

On-road, gravel bicycles may not match road bikes’ speed, but they are faster than MTBs off-road and equally as quick as cyclocross bikes.

Relaxed Geometry

Gravel bikes have a stretched frame that allows you to sit more relaxed when cycling. Their headtube is usually taller, while their head angle has a sleeker look to let you sit more casually.

Additionally, there is a slopping top-tube that allows you to stand over the bike comfortably.

Powerful Disc Brakes

All gravel two-wheels come with disc brakes that offer them exceptional stopping power. So, whether you go through the mud, dirt trails, or loose gravel, you wouldn’t have to worry about the bike’s braking power.

Impressive Gear Range

One primary reason why you can conquer all terrains on a gravel bike is the cycle’s impressive gear range. Whether you want to gear up or down, you can have smooth transitions.

So, the bike lets you shift smoothly depending on terrain and the need for speed.

Multi-Position Cycling

Gravel bicycles allow you to modify them as much as you want to suit your cycling preference.

For example, you can stick with their slightly-rise narrow drop handlebars to be more aerodynamic or switch to an MTB’s flat bar if you want more control.

You can also ride upright or slightly more aerodynamic, depending on preference.

Accepts Virtually All Wheels

A gravel bicycle’s versatility stretches to its wheels. If you want to improve your gravel bike’s speed, you can fit a road bike’s skinny wheels, and it’ll be just fine.

You can also fit a tour or racing bike’s wheels to improve the bike’s speed, and it’ll be okay too.

Why Are Gravel Bikes More Expensive

The Cons – What We Don’t Like About Gravel Bikes

Now, despite their outstanding features, gravel bikes fall short in these ways:

Slightly Costly

Compared to basic MTBs and road bikes, gravel bicycles are slightly expensive. Though you can get the best gravel bikes under 1000, they are not as many as MTBs and road bicycles.

But lucky for you, the options that I’ve reviewed cost under $1,500, thus budget-friendly.

Slightly Heavier and Slower

Compared to road bikes, gravel bikes are slightly heavier, making them slightly slower on the road, maybe by 5%. They are, however, faster than mountain bikes off-road, and that is a good thing.

So, Is It Worth Getting A Gravel Bike? Our Verdict

While the weight and speed are an issue if you are a commuter, we cannot deny the versatility and capability of gravel bikes.

Yes, these bikes are also slightly costly than basic road bicycles and MTBs, and that’s because they combine both worlds.

So, whether you want a touring bike, an adventure two-wheel, or a commuter option, you cannot go wrong with a gravel bike.

So, yes, a gravel bicycle is worth buying if you don’t mind the weight and speed and probably paying a little extra.

Is It Worth Getting A Gravel Bike

Is A Gravel Bike Worth It? How Do Gravel Bikes Compare With Others?

Since gravel bicycles are a blend of road bikes, cyclocross bicycles, and MTBs, let’s see how the four compare in the table below:

FeatureGravel BikeRoad BikeMountain bike Cyclocross Bicycle
TerrainSuits all terrainsBest for on-road cyclingBest for off-road cyclingSuits all terrains
SpeedReasonably fast but slower than road bikesOptimized for fast riding on paved roadsSlower than the other threeOptimized for speed racing
BrakesDisc brakesRim brakes and disc brakesRim brakes and disc brakesDisc brakes
GeometryRelaxed geometrySlightly aggressive geometryAggressive geometryAggressive geometry
HandlebarsDrop barsDrop barsFlat barsBoth drop bars and flat bars

Is it Worth Buying A Gravel Bike? What to Look for in a Gravel Bike

Hopefully, you aren’t asking, ‘do I really need a gravel bike?’ by now. If so, here are the essential buying considerations:

  • Strong But Lightweight Frame

Consider a frame that is not just strong and durable but also lightweight. That explains why most gravel two-wheels come with aluminum frames. So, consider it.

  • Quality Components

With all gravel bicycles featuring disc brakes, you are guaranteed powerful and efficient stopping. So, you shouldn’t worry about the quality of the brakes.

What you should pay special attention to is the drivetrain. In that case, consider SRAM and Shimano components as they’re more reliable.

  • Powerful Wheels

Ensure that the wheels can take on all terrains. So, they should be bigger and broader to facilitate that.

Preferably, the wheels should have a higher spoke count to promote optimal strength.

  • Correct Size

When picking a gravel bicycle, you’ve to consider your inseam length and height to get the correct frame size.

Here’s a table to guide you on that:

Frame Size Inseam Rider’s Height
15 inch26-29 inches5’0-5’7”
17 inch28-31 inches5’7”-5’11”
18 inch30-33 inches5’11”-6’2”
20 inch32-35 inches6’2”-6’4”
22 inch36 plus inches6’4”-6’6”

4 Best Gravel Bikes Reviewed (Is it Worth Buying A Gravel Bike?)

1. Schwinn Sporterra Adventure Gravel Bike (Best Gravel Bike for Cross Country)

The Schwinn Sporterra Adventure Gravel Bike is everything a cross-country cyclist wants from a gravel bike.

This adventure bike comes with a lightweight frame and drop-bars to give you a road bike-like experience.

Impressively, it features 700x38c multi-terrain wheels that allow you to conquer all terrains comfortably.

And with the gravel bicycle coming with a 14-speed Shimano drivetrain with shifters, gear changes are almost a breeze.

The best part is that its seat-post has a quick-release to allow you to adjust its height hassle-free, and it features powerful mechanical disc brakes.

Overall, the bike suits adventurous cyclists who are 5’4-6’2” tall.

is a gravel bike worth it

Best Features

  • Aluminum frame with drop bars
  • 14-speed Shimano drivetrain
  • 700x38c multi-terrain wheels
  • Adjustable seat post
  • Mechanical disc brakes

2. Tommaso Siena Shimano Tourney Gravel Bike (Best Gravel Bike for Dirt Touring)

Dirt touring is fun when you have the Tommaso Siena Shimano Tourney Gravel Bike. This budget gravel bike comes in an aluminum frame but features a steel fork for the ultimate riding experience.

Its 700x40c all-terrain wheels allow you to take on all terrains and not just dirt paths.

Its Tektro Lyra mechanical disc brakes, on the other hand, guarantee efficient stopping while its 21-speed Shimano Tourney Groupset enables you to shift smoothly.

Moreover, it enjoys a compact geometry plus a compact handlebar to improve your riding comfort and offer you more power.

Best Features

  • Compact frame and handlebar
  • 700x40c all-terrain wheels
  • 21-speed Shimano groupset
  • Aluminum frame with a steel fork
  • Tektro disc brakes

3. Mongoose Men’s Elroy Adventure Bike (Best Gravel Bike for Men)

With the Mongoose Men’s Elroy Adventure Bike, men have the ultimate adventure two-wheel.

This bike is not just best for outdoor touring but also commuting, cruising, and exercising.

Primarily, that’s owing to its lightweight but strong aluminum frame, 14-speed Shimano drivetrain with micro shifters, and potent mechanical disc brakes.

The bike’s frame offers you three mounts for your water bottle cages to allow you to stay hydrated. Its steel fork and sleek geometry promise a relaxed ride outdoors, and it comes with a stylish patch for your cycling essentials.

Furthermore, it has a spacious front rack for your stuff, which happens to feature a bottle opener.

cheap gravel bike

Best Features

  • Slick aluminum frame with steel fork
  • 2×7 speed drivetrain with micro shifters
  • Front rack with bottle opener
  • Rear rack mount
  • Water cag mounts

4. Raleigh Bikes Willard 1 Gravel Bike (Best Gravel Bike for Loose Gravel)

The Raleigh is never a push-over in the biking world, and the Raleigh Bikes Willard 1 Gravel Bike is proof of that. This cheap gravel bike is a beast of a bicycle on loose gravel and all off-road.

It comes in a traditional road bike design, featuring an aluminum frame, skinny 700x35c tires, and drop bars.

The aluminum frame gives it a lightweight build, while the skinny tires improve its rolling efficiency outdoors. As for the drop bars, they allow you to enjoy a more aerodynamic position when there’s a need for speed.

With its 16 gears and 8-speed Shimano Claris shifters, you can smoothly shift outdoors. Plus, its Tektro Lycra disc brakes are always efficient.

Best Features

  • Aluminum frame
  • Drop bars
  • 8-speed shifters and 16-gears
  • Fast-rolling 700x35c tires
  • Tektro Lyra disc brakes

FAQs (About Is It Worth Buying A Gravel Bike?)

1. Should I Buy A Gravel Bike Or Road Bike?

Gravel bikes are generally more durable and somewhat more robust than road bikes. They also can take on all-terrains, something road bicycles are not good at.

On the other hand, road bikes are lighter and faster than gravel bikes, thus best for on-road cycling.

So, if speed matters most to you, go for a road bike. But if you prefer versatility and durability, consider gravel bicycles.

2. How Much Should I Spend On A Grave Bike?

There are budget gravel bikes out there, some costing under $500. Sadly, a majority of cheaper options lack quality.

If you don’t plan to compromise on quality, prepare to spend about $1,000-$2,000 on the best value gravel bike.

3. Are Gravel Bikes A Fad?

There is no reason to think that gravel bicycles are a fad. These bikes are not just versatile but also fun to ride on all terrains.

The fact that they have a relaxed geometry and can accept any wheel makes them a fantastic investment.

4. Are Gravel Bikes Good For Long Distance?

If you don’t mind going slightly slower, then yes, you can ride gravel bicycles long distances. They enjoy a relaxed geometry to allow you to take on long stretches.

Additionally, they allow you to mount light luggage on transit.

5. Is A Gravel Bike Slower Than A Road Bike? How Slow?

Given that gravel bikes are slightly heavier and have slightly wider tires, they tend to be marginally slower than road bikes.

Note, however, that they are only marginally slower, perhaps by 5%.

6. What Is The Best Gravel Bike For The Money?

Here are the best gravel bikes for the money:

  1. Schwinn Sporterra Gravel Bike: Best for Cross Country
  2. Tommaso Siena Gravel Bike: Best for Dirt Touring
  3. Mongoose Elroy Adventure Bike: Best for Men
  4. Raleigh Bikes Willard 1: Best for Loose Gravel

7. Why Are Gravel Bikes More Expensive?

One reason why gravel bicycles are more expensive is their versatility. The fact that they can take on all terrains means more people covet them each day.

They are also durable than most bikes and fun to ride. Furthermore, most of them feature high-quality components to serve you better.

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Concluding Thought:

So, is it worth buying a gravel bike? Given that a gravel bike combines the toughness of an MTB and the speed of a cyclocross bike, and the efficiency of a road bike, it’s undeniable that the purchase is worth it.