Gravel bikes have taken the bike world by storm, now you're wondering if this bike makes sense for you and what you can actually use it for. This model is not only suitable for summer, a gravel bike is also a good companion in the cold season. Due to the possibility of attaching luggage or mudguards, among other things, the everyday way to work is no problem at all. Whether road or dirt road, snow-covered or cleared, both are no problem for the Gravelbike.
What is a Gravel bike?
Generally speaking, the Gravel bike can be classified between a road bike and a mountain Bike. It is an absolute all-rounder. The road bike is faster and usually lighter, but only designed for solid surfaces. The mountain bike is designed for trails and rough terrain, and is rather heavy and slow on paved roads. So the gravel bike fills the gap and combines the advantages of both bikes.
How does it differ from a road bike?
The first difference between a gravel bike and a road bike is the tires. While a road bike is designed to keep the tires relatively narrow to have as little rolling resistance as possible on paved roads, a gravel bike uses wider tires to have fun off-road. To have room for the wider tires, gravel bikes have a wider axle mount than road bikes. So when riding a road bike, the main goal is to get from A to B as fast as possible on flat roads. Whereas with your gravel bike you can also make a detour on gravel paths or trails.
Furthermore, the handlebar plays an important role. This is crucial for the seating position on the bike. While you choose a rather narrow, light handlebar on a road bike to save weight and
increase aerodynamics, you rely on a slightly wider handlebar on a gravel bike to enable better handling off-road due to the larger lever. With a handlebar, there are many other factors that must be considered, but these are mainly judged by personal well-being.
The frame shape of the two models is also different. In
principle, when buying a new bike must necessarily pay attention to the right
frame size, otherwise you will not have fun.
Now we come to the various factors of the frame. The top tube of gravel bikes is usually longer and sloping, which allows a more comfortable seating position than the road bike. The wider wheelbase gives the bike a certain stability, which you need in the terrain.
Furthermore, gravel bikes are higher on the road than road bikes. This means more ground clearance off-road, but on the road not as much wind cut as with the road bike.
Another important difference is the Q-factor. This describes the distance measured horizontally from one crank arm to the other (measured at pedal height). This factor is minimally larger on gravel bikes, which widens your stance. The wider stance helps you to have your bike better under control and gives you the necessary security, which you need, especially in the terrain.
Disc brakes are becoming increasingly popular for both road and gravel bikes. Especially off-road, a reliable brake is absolutely essential. This is where hydraulic disc brakes come in, combining maximum braking power and control. In addition, disc brakes are weather resistant and compared to rim brakes, there is no danger in mud or wet conditions.
Generally, both on the gravel bike and on the road bike, a
1-speed or a 2-speed circuit is driven. This refers to the number of chain rings on the crank. With a 1-speed circuit you can save weight, which is why many
road bikes are equipped with it, but also on gravel bikes it is no longer a
rarity. The 1-speed circuit offers many advantages. Among other things, you
save the front derailleur, which means you have one less wearing part. You also
avoid the duplication of gears, and shifting is mostly easier. So if you go
for a 12- or 13-speed cassette at the rear, you have a considerable gear range
and are well-equipped.
But the 1-speed also has its disadvantages. For example, to make a larger gear change, you have to shift through the entire cassette. Furthermore, large gear increments can interfere with acceleration.
The 2-speed circuit is and remains interesting because it is very versatile. Riders of long distances appreciate the circuit very much, because you have many gears to choose from. The front derailleur makes it possible to quickly change large gears. But here again there are disadvantages to consider. On the one hand, a higher weight because of additional components such as the front derailleur. This is also prone to error and dirt when the ground is uneven or impacts.
The standard frame material for entry-level to upper
mid-range gravel bikes is aluminum. It scores with attractive weight, high
stiffness and thus optimal acceleration. On bumpy ground, aluminum gravel bikes
feel rather stiff, so they are not the most comfortable.
If you are looking for the lowest possible weight, you should go for carbon. The carbon fiber frame impresses with its high stiffness and hardness. Another advantage over aluminum is the flexibility in layering. That is, you can use a lot of material exactly where you want stiffness, such as the bottom bracket and down tube. The material arrangement subsequently also affects the handling characteristics of the frame.
Old familiar names
In the meantime, gravel bikes have become an integral part of the bicycle world, which is why more and more well-known companies are building gravel bikes. From Centurion to Scott – the choice is huge. Which one suits you best depends on your individual needs.
If you have thought about where your next bike should take you, and you have come to the conclusion that a gravel bike would be the optimal choice for you, then browse through our online store or come visit us in our stores and let us advise you on your choice. You can also find usefulaccessories, bike helmets, protectors, backpacks and much more in our store.