What is a gravel bike

Gravel Bike - the sporty all-rounder

Gravel bike - what exactly is it?

Literally translated, a gravel bike is a “gravel bike”, which because of its off-road capabilities, just like cyclocross, is occasionally called a"Cyclo-cross bike"or "All-road bike" referred to as. As the name suggests, it is very suitable for, among other thingsgravel roads. Originallycoming from the USA, where there is a huge network of such paths, so-called “forest highways”, the gravel bike has been enjoying increasing popularity in Germany for several years. In principle, the gravel bike is a hybrid of cyclocross and racing bike, and accordingly borrowings have been made with these two types of bike in terms of geometry and components.

Gravel bike: construction and equipment with added value

  • Gravel bikes usually have onelonger wheelbase, one rathershort geometry(similar to endurance bikes)short top tubeand along head tube. This construction enables a less stretched and therefore more comfortable sitting position, which is particularly pleasant on longer journeys, it also improves the rolling properties and ensures high stability.
  • Mostly aremechanical or hydraulic disc brakesbuilt in and ensure safety in the field - even in adverse weather conditions and higher speeds. Of course, there are also gravel bikes that are equipped with rim brakes.
  • Often the frame consists ofAluminum, in the higher price segment also made of carbon. Due to its good damping and corrosion propertiestitaniumalso as a material, which, however, entails considerable costs. But alsoSteel framehave their fans in the gravel segment.
  • The gravel bike has oneRacing handlebars, the so-calledFlare handlebars: The lower link is exposed and therefore wider than the top link, which offers a high degree of steering control even in more difficult terrain.
  • Many models also offer the option ofFendersand possibly alsoPorterto be attached by means of integrated eyelets. This option is particularly interesting when it comes toSuitability for everyday useandBike toursgoes. It should be noted that a gravel bike cannot keep up with classic six-bag touring with a trekking bike, despite the optional luggage storage. The storage space is even more limited and a gravel bike that is too heavy or overly packed will lead to problems on a demanding trail. Transporting luggage on a gravel bike is a great way to do it in bikepacking style. In the postBikepacking: bike trips into adventure - without any unnecessary ballastyou will find detailed information on this and in the articlePacking list for a bike tour and a checklist for a bike tour: the perfectly planned cycling holidaythere is a helpful packing list for longer bike tours.

The biggestunique selling pointof the gravel bike is certainly the fact that the framedifferent tire widthscan accommodate, from a sporty 25 to at least 40 comfort-promising millimeters. An uncomplicated change of the wheels is mostly possible with quick-release axles. This flexibility enables problem-free driving on almost any surface and almost any terrain: the gravel bike feels just as comfortable on forest paths and asphalt as it does on gravel roads and trails!

Gravel bike vs. racing bike and mountain bike

At the same time, the optional width of the tires is also the biggest difference between the gravel bike and a racing bike and mountain bike. ARacing bikewith its narrow wheels and tires is extremely light and streamlined, making it possible on even, asphalted groundsignificantly higher speedsthan the gravel bike. On the other hand, this is the only surface on which a racing bike is ideally suited - terrain and unpaved roads are ruled out with this type of bike. TheMountain bikewith its up to 64 millimeters wide tires is a real oneKing of the Terrainand, depending on the equipment, masters even the toughest trails, where you could get problems with the gravel bike. On the other hand, mountain bikes are much less fun on asphalt - the rolling resistance is simply too great to really get going. You can also find more information about mountain bikes in our articleThe Mountainbike.

Gravel bike vs. cyclocross

In fact, cyclocross and gravel bikes look relatively similar, but were designed for different uses: That tooOff-road cyclocrossis more of aSports bike for competitionsand is also used by ambitious racing cyclists for endurance training when the traditional season of racing bikes is over, i.e. from autumn to spring. TheThe seating position of the cyclocross is sportily inclined, as with the racing bike, which makes this type of bike forfast, but rather short distancesis predestined. So if you want to decide between gravel bike and cyclocross, you should first and foremost ask yourself the question of whether you want to ride very fast and sporty, or whether you care about longer distances in addition to speed.

Gravel Bike: What acquisition costs do you have to expect?

As always, the price depends on which oneQuality and equipmentYour gravel bike should have. If you want a good aluminum frame and reliable mechanical disc brakes, but are not too demanding in terms of drive and other equipment, you can alreadyan entry-level model from 1,200 eurosthat is suitable for longer journeys.With 1,700 euros upwardsbeats a gravel bikeMiddle classto book. Here, too, the frame is mostly made of aluminum, but such a bike usually already has hydraulic disc brakes, better quality wheels and better tires, which is what the gravel bike doeseven more off-road and less prone to breakdownsmakes. Under certain circumstances, higher quality drives are already installed on a mid-range bike. Who is readyover 2,500 eurosSpending on a gravel bike is in theHigh end range. Crucial components such as drive and disc brakes are mostly of very high quality in this price segment and top brands are also often used for wheels and tires, which is particularly noticeable in terms of grip, puncture resistance and low rolling resistance. Such a top-class gravel bike weighs only between 8 and 10 kilograms and is extremely agile and powerful, which is extremely driver-friendly both on long journeys and off-road. As with many types of bicycles, there are now models with an integrated tailwind in this segment: Everything you need to know aboutGravel bikes with pedal assistanceyou can find out in the articleGravel e-bike - tailwind for every terrain?

Gravel bike - is this type of bike suitable for you?

As versatile as the gravel bike is, this bike is apparently a "big boob" - to put it colloquially. In fact, the bicycle type offers an outstanding variety of possible uses and can easily be used as a bike for commuters, as a touring bike or off-road. Of course, the gravel bike also occasionally reaches its limits: If top sporting performance is important to you, you should perhaps buy a racing bike or a cyclocross rather than a gravel bike. In any case, it is advisable to obtain advice on buying a gravel bike from a specialist dealer to clarify whether or which gravel bike might be ideal for you.