Gravel bikes are meant to be versatile. Often described as “all terrain,” these bikes differ from cyclocross in subtle but significant ways. There are many considerations when choosing a gravel bike, and here are a few to think about:
Frame and Tires
Gravel bikes frames are designed to provide greater compliance and stability to handle loose surfaces. Their frames are heavier and reinforced, unlike racing cyclocross bikes, which are designed to be lighter and easy to shoulder up hills and over obstacles. Gravel bikes have bigger tires – 40 mm or more – which are out of the acceptable range for sanctioned races.
Gravel bikes anticipate adventure; their stronger frames are often studded with hooks and brackets to carry additional gear for exploring. While cross bikes are designed for maximizing cross racing, gravel bikes maximize fun.
Gravel bikes have a greater range of gears than the relatively slower cyclocross bikes. Even though cyclocross races cover a wide variety of terrain, that terrain is compacted into short courses with sharp turns, stairs, and other obstacles. By contrast, gravel bikes anticipate any combination of terrain the rider can choose, from rocks to roads, and are made to endure longer stretches of differing terrain. The bottom bracket on a gravel bike is a little lower than on a cross bike, and the stretched frame results in a longer wheelbase. Both bikes use disc brakes, and require a lot of clearance for their bigger tires.
A more upright riding position and frame with looser angles is a consideration when choosing a gravel bike; the different frame angles might affect the correct fit for a gravel bike. Whether you’re looking for cyclocross or gravel bikes for sale, consult our team of experienced riders for the best fit. These bikes are versatile, and riders often use them for commuting, touring, winter training, and off-roading, so keep that in mind when selecting the best fit for you.