Gravel bikes have become popular over the years, and this is not without reason. These outstanding bikes give riders the chance to go on amazing adventures while ensuring versatility. With a great gravel bike, an everyday rider can enjoy a mix of rough terrain and smooth surfaces depending on what they prefer.
However, even with the huge popularity of these bikes, not many people know about them. This guide will cover everything you need to know about Gravel bikes, including their essential features.
Gravel Bike: What is it?
Gravel bikes are sometimes called adventure bikes. They are road bikes that can deal with various surfaces and are ideal for long riding on less traveled terrains. These bikes are constructed to have more durability than other typical road bikes. Also, they come with wider tires and an improved gear range, so they can easily work on numerous terrains.
Uses of Gravel Bikes
Gravel bikes, as we mentioned earlier, are extremely versatile. For this reason, they are ideal for a range of cycling needs. Riders can use them for fast road riding, while off-road riding is also easy with the help of extended gears and wider tires. These bikes do not compromise comfort, which makes them great for long touring adventures.
Unique Features of Gravel Bikes
Gravel bikes are distinct from one another as different manufacturers add their touch to each bike. While some brands may focus on creating bikes for adventure, others may develop light bikes emphasizing racing. You will also find bikes that are ideal for both racing and adventure.
However, most gravel bikes have the same basic features that differentiate them from other kinds of bikes. Let us have a look at these features and details below.
Gravel bikes may look like your typical road bike, but a closer look at these bikes will let you spot the difference in designs. They are designed for handling, off-road convenience, and stability, while the frames on road bikes focus on speed and performance. Since the gravel bikes will be used mostly off-road, they have slack head tube angles and longer wheelbases. These ensure it can easily go past corners and tricky terrains.
With the slack head tube angle, a gravel bike makes certain that riders can enjoy better handling at slow speeds. It will also take away the twitchy feeling that is common in some road bikes. The gravel bike also allows for a more upright and relaxed position because of the slacker fork angle and shorter reach.
Users will enjoy more comfortable rides and the capacity to easily adjust to complex terrains and descents. Since some gravel bikes are designed for even more complex terrains, they tend to come with wider tires and flared or flat bars instead of drops.
Gravel bikes come with a frame that is heavier than your typical road bike. This makes it extremely durable and offers additional support for luggage, mudguards, and other accessories. This is especially important for riders who use their gravel bikes for long distance rides. Like most other bikes you will find today; Gravel bikes are created using steel, aluminum, or carbon.
Steel frames are bulkier than both carbon and aluminum but provide more durability and comfort. This makes it the best option if you want to go backpacking. On the other hand, aluminum frames don’t cost as much as carbon frames and are also lightweight and durable, while carbon frames are the lightest. For this reason, they are the best option for riders who are after speed and performance. Regardless of the frame material you decide to go with; you want to ensure it goes with your riding style.
Gravel bikes come in a broad range of tire sizes and shapes. Most gravel frames will fit tires ranging from 28mm – 47mm and come with all kinds of treads. A majority of the gravel bike tires will have a width of around 40mm, which makes them wider than the typical road bike tires. This will also ensure off-road capability and better resistance to puncture.
The addition, the wide tires imply that riders can use gravel bikes with pressures between 30 – 50 psi. Gravel bikes also offer better speed than mountain bikes when riding on tarmacs, making them great for use on both gravel and tarmac.
In addition, gravel bike tires come with various treads, and you will find the right one for your needs regardless of if you are riding on muddy trails, smooth tarmac, wet descents, or light gravel. The majority of the gravel bike tires are tubeless, implying that they retain air with sealant instead of using an inner tube. These tires don’t get punctured easily since the sealants help seal cuts made by thorns, rocks, and other sharp items.
Gravel bikes offer a variety of gearing options. This is very handy since the gravel terrains consist of technical, slippery, and steep climbs, which is critical to low gearing. In off-road ascents, it is usually better to remain in the saddle to ensure no wheel slip, thus making a wider gearing range crucial.
Most gravel bikes come with disc brakes. These brakes ensure better modulation, stopping power, and performance in a variety of weather conditions in comparison to rim brakes. Also, they have more space for wide tires.
700c wheels are most commonly used in gravel bikes, making them all-around options for performance and comfort. But some gravel bikes have 650b tires which come with a smaller diameter, allowing them to fit tires wider than what the 700c wheels can take. These tires are better for off-road trails because they support wider tires, ensuring better traction on rough terrain. They are also a better option for shorter riders as they come with smaller frames to make promotions consistent.
Gravel bikes take some of the best aspects from the road, mountain, and crossroad bikes. This makes them a good option for those who want a versatile bike. They are fast, durable, comfortable, and open riders to a world of adventure.