Best Entry Level Gravel Bike [Review] in 2020
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This guide has been written by Cycle expert Alex Bristol
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Have you ever tried to ride down a gravel road using a road bike? Even if you have never tried, the truth is that it is not easy. This means that you will need a versatile bike that you can use even on rugged terrains. If you are searching for such a bike, gravel bikes will give you the best performance. They are also the best for long distance cycling since they have a nice design that allows you to add a rear rack and fenders. Again, they come with different gears which allows makes them suitable for hill climbing. Below are the best gravel bikes that will give you an exceptional performance.
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Our Best Entry Level Gravel Bike Contenders
Mongoose Men's Elroy Adventure Bike 700C Wheel Bicycle
Top Choice Item
Mongoose Men’s Elroy Adventure Bike is among the most versatile touring bikes you should consider. It has a sleek alloy frame and a steel fork to provide a comfortable ride. Again, it has an inbuilt micro shift shifters and mechanical disc brakes which provides a smooth ride. In addition, it has a large front rack with an inbuilt bottle opener. You can carry two panniers and there is also a rear rack mount which allows you to carry more items. Another feature is the integrated frame bag which has a stylish embroidered patch for carrying different items you would require when cycling.
Large front rack
Excellent internal cable routing
5 water bottle cage mounts
For higher budgets
Latest deal: Mongoose Elroy
Diamondback Bicycles Haanjo 2 Gravel Adventure Road Bike
Best Value Item
Second in our list is the Diamondback Bicycle Haanjo 2 Gravel Bike. This bike comes with many amazing features to give you the comfort you would require when cycling. To start with, you will find that it has an aluminum alloy frame which means that it is not only lightweight but also durable. Due to this construction, you can ride the whole day without any problems. Additionally, it uses Tetra Lira mechanical disc brakes which are very strong. It also features Shimano Claris 2 X8-speed drive train which provides incredible shifting performance.
Aluminum frame to enhance durability
Reliable disc brakes
Frame has a lifetime warranty
Latest deal: Diamondback Haanjo 2
Hiland Gravel Cyclocross 650B Road Bike
Prime Picked Item
Once you order this bike, you will find that it come 85% pre assembled. All the necessary tools are also included in the package. It has an aluminum 6061 frame and uses aluminum disc brakes to enhance performance. It also comes with an 8-speed derailleur plus a quick release fork Again, Harvey disk brakes are also included to provide effective stopping power. Due to this, the bike is suitable for all terrains and weather conditions. As compared to other gravel bikes, this one contains wider tires to enhance versatility and stability.
It comes 85% pre assembled
Sturdy aluminum 6061 frame
Limited on gears
Latest deal: Hiland Gravel Cyclocross
Tommaso Sterrata Shimano Claris R2000 Gravel Adventure Bike
When it comes to performance, durability and strength, Tommaso Sterrata Shimano Claris R2000 is the best when it comes to entry-level gravel bikes. In order to boost comfort, it has a compact frame and premium compact handlebars. All the other parts are uniquely made to provide maximum comfort and efficiency. The TC-300 rims and the 28 spoke rim makes the bike suitable for all terrains. You will also find that it uses 700 x 40c tires which provides additional versatility and stability. It is also equipped with different gears which means that you can use it anywhere.
Ideal for all terrains
Very strong and durable
Little on the pricey side
Latest deal: Tommaso Sterrata
Tommaso Siena Shimano Tourney Gravel Adventure Bike with Disc Brakes
If you are searching for a powerful bike you can use on rugged or any other terrain, Tommaso Siena Shimano will be a perfect choice. It is made of an aluminum compact frame which is combined with a SST steel fork to enhance durability. Whether you will be riding on hilly or flat terrains, this bike is equipped with several gears which makes it easy to use even on the most difficult terrains. The Tommaso TC-20D rims features 28 spokes and they enable the bike to roll easily. Note that the bike uses Avid BB5 disc brakes which provides incredible stopping power.
All terrain capabilities
Optimized for comfort
Tires slower on tarmac
Latest deal: Tommaso Siena
What should a good entry level gravel bike have?
When buying a gravel bike, you need to check the following;
- Frame geometry – If you want a good gravel bike for rough terrains, choose one with a long wheelbase. This will provide the required stability in such terrains. Again, the handlebars should be wider than those on a typical road bike to enhance control and maneuverability. Also the height of the bottom bracket should be low to boost stability in high speed situations.
- Wheels and tires – If possible go for 29-inch wheels. These ones provide a better control and maneuverability as compared to the 27.5-inch wheels. The wheels also have two options. You can choose either aluminum alloys or premium carbon fiber models. The problem with carbon fiber wheels is that they break easily. In terms of durability, aluminum alloy wheels are the best.
- Fork – Ensure that the fork can comfortably fit a 29-inch wheel. Such a fork will provide a better rolling resistance and also a wide range of tire clearance.
- Gear shifting – Mechanical drivetrains are very common due to their cheap price. They work by pulling a steer cable which runs across the frame either internally or externally. High-end gravel bikes use electronic shifting. These bikes do not use cables or any housing since they are wireless. When shifting, you do not need to use a lot of effort since everything is electronic
What you will realize about the entry level gravel bikes we have reviewed is that they have every feature you would expect from a top quality gravel bike. Remember we have spent a lot of time trying to compare different products to come up with the ones that suits you most.
Frequently Asked Questions
– What is a gravel bike?
Gravel bikes are also known as adventure road bikes. They combine the benefits if off, road bikes, road bikes and touring bikes. You can easily confuse them with road bikes due to their close resemblance. However, their parts are slightly modifies to handle tough terrains. Again, they feature racks which enables them to carry extra items.
– What makes gravel bikes better than road bikes and mountain bikes?
In terms of durability, they last longer than road bikes. They are also faster as compared to mountain bikes.
– What are the key features of a gravel bike?
The most common feature you will find in these bikes includes, fatter tires, dropped handlebar, mounts for racks and mudguards.
Whether you are searching for a quality bike for commuting or touring, gravel bikes are the best. What makes them stand out from the rest is because they provide better performance in trough terrains as compared to the road bikes. You can also mount racks when you want to carry various items and this is one of the reasons why they are preferred for touring.
Alex Bristol - Cycle sport content expert
Alex is London Cycle Sports Head of Content and specialises in road bike accessories and general cycling. Alex scours the internet finding the latest product that matches the needs of cyclists across the world. Alex looks at the best bike set ups and sources the newest tech in the cycle industry. Whether its a buyer guide, product review or a general post about bikes, Alex is a trusted source for everything cycle sport.
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