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What is a Gravel Bike What is a Gravel Bike

What is a gravel bike?

Gravel bikes are sporty bikes with racing handlebars that can be ridden on both asphalt and gravel. This is mainly due to the usually wider tires compared to racing and cyclocross bikes. Many gravel bikers ride on a mix of dirt roads and roads - but there are big differences in preferences regarding the nature of the path and what the gravel bike is primarily used for. With the gravel bike you can go on quick after-work tours as well as extended bikepacking tours with luggage. Gravel bikes are therefore available from the factory with different orientations: from racer, all-rounder, commuter to randonneur - which is reflected in both the geometry and the equipment.

Due to their versatility, gravel bikes have become an integral part of the bicycle industry. And not without reason! Initially ridiculed by many as a “one-hit wonder”, the gravel bike has now gathered a true fan base. We took on the topic and took a closer look at gravel bikes. We will also show you the advantages and disadvantages compared to other bicycles, such as racing bikes. In the end, you too are a real gravel bike professional and can decide whether you want to hit the streets and gravel tracks with your gravel bike in the future.

Gravel Bikes - What's different?


Unpaved roads are almost impossible to conquer with a normal racing bike. That's why 10 years ago cycling fans from the USA came up with the idea of racing on unpaved roads in the future. The so-called "Gravel Grinder" races were born. Since such gravel roads could hardly be conquered with a road bike, an alternative had to be found. The alternative was cross racing bikes, as used in cyclocross ("cross country racing"). Now you mix in some comfort to ride long distances comfortably and the gravel bike is born.


A gravel bike offers a much more relaxed riding position than a cyclocross. The upright riding position resembles, thanks to the higher head tube and shorter top tube, is more like riding a marathon marathon road bike. Due to wider tires, however, a gravel bike offers better better damping than a road bike. The tires can range from 30 to 47 millimeters and a long wheelbase results in straight running directional stability.

Gravel bikes are very versatile and offer you all kinds of possibilities. Semi slicks (tires with tread on the outside) allow you to master a wide variety of surfaces without any problems. This makes the gravel bike a faithful companion in the city. In addition, gravel bikes usually offer the possibility of attaching mudguards, which is again interesting for commuters.


Gravel bikes are significantly heavier than cyclocross bikes or road bikes. So if the competition idea is in the foreground, it is better to fall back on a cyclocross - Compared to a trekking bike, the gravel bike is also a lightweight.


Gravel bike:

Tyre width: More tyre clearance for wider tyres.

Frame: The frame geometry of gravel bikes has a longer wheelbase, a lower bottom bracket and a flatter head tube angle.

Brakes: Hydraulic disc brakes are a must.

Accessories: Mounts for accessories such as extra water bottles, mudguards and luggage racks.

Steering: The lower handlebar is often flared to allow more control and stability.

Saddle: Some gravel bikes have a dropper post so the saddle can be lowered for technical descents.

Road bike:

Tyre width: Optimised for speed and efficiency on asphalt roads, racing bikes usually have narrower tyres.

Frame: Racing bikes have a steeper head tube angle and shorter wheelbase.

Brakes: Most racing bikes today are equipped with (hydraulic) disc brakes. However, there are also models with rim brakes, which are much lighter.

Accessories: Usually only space for two water bottles.

Steering: Here the handlebars are designed for speed and efficiency.

Saddle: On a road bike, the rider sits in the saddle during descents, so a normal seat post is used.


Whether spontaneous or planned down to the smallest detail - with your gravel bike you can easily start your adventure for one or several days. Gravel bikes are the alternative for all cycling fans who like to ride on asphalt and off-road. A gravel bike makes it possible to cover long distances or ride trails outside of paved roads.

Commuter bike - Many employees now use a gravel bike to get to the office. And why not? You get a bit of exercise, save money on gas, and thanks to the gravel bike you can easily vary between tarred roads and off-road routes.

Bikepacking - Traveling by bicycle becomes ever more popular. Decelerated and also reduced to the essentials, because bikepackers can take care of themselves, the call of freedom on the trail. What you need for bikepacking is nothing more than a small selection of equipment and your personal luggage. Attach your bags and go! If not now, when?

Gravel Racer - Bike racing has been around for a very very long time, but the racing scene in gravel sports is still very young and for a gravel race you probably have to ride a little further, but thanks to the growing popularity of the bikes, competitions are also becoming more frequent. If you buy a gravel bike with the ulterior motive of competition, your bike should really be very well matched to you. Here a personal consultation is quite reasonable.

Winter bike - Many road cyclists switch to a gravel bike in the winter. You wonder why? This question is quickly answered if you have ever been on the road bike on frozen roads. Here, the wide tires of the gravel bike are definitely an advantage.