Best gravel bikes 2024: our pick of the top models

The best gravel bikes to suit all styles, terrain and budgets from bikepacking to gravel racing

Male cyclist riding the Giant Revolt which is one of the best gravel bikes
(Image credit: Future)
Best Gravel Bikes 2023: Jump Menu

What is the best gravel bike? This deceptively simple question is almost impossible to answer as the gravel bike genre now covers so many different facets and sub-genres that what is best for you and your riding might be totally unsuitable for the next rider. We rode lots of bikes in our gravel bike of the year test, and some of them feature again here, including the overall winner, the Giant Revolt Advanced Pro.

In this article, we have bikes that are out-and-out gravel racers along with bikes that will make perfect bikepacking companions, all tempered with some more all-round options. There are premium bikes that cost more than $10,000 / £10,000 and some of the best budget gravel bikes too, so there should be something of interest for everyone.

What to look for in a good gravel bike is covered towards the bottom of the article with advice about fit, frame material and other features to look out for. 

The Quick List

Best value

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High-performance

Best value gravel bikes 2023: Our picks

Best for adventure

Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon which is one of the best gravel bikes

The Diverge is a do-it-all machine that can handle on and off road adventures

(Image credit: Future)
Best gravel bike for big rides

Specifications

Frame : E5 alloy
Fork: Specialized Future Shock 1.5
Groupset: SRAM Apex 1x11
Wheels: AXIS Elite Disc
Tires: Specialized Pathfinder Sport 38c (Max clearance: 700x47c or 650b x 53 (2.1”))
Weight: 10.1kg

Reasons to buy

+
Adaptability across gravel genres
+
Future Shock for front end comfort and compliance

Reasons to avoid

-
Tires compromise off-road capability
-
Geometry might not be aggressive enough for some

If your riding leans towards the more adventurous end of the spectrum, exploring new trails, all-day epics and occasional multi-day bikepacking trips, then the Specialized Diverge Comp E5 is well suited to you.

It comes with a relaxed geometry and a high front end for a more comfortable riding position - with the caveat that we found it a little more difficult to weight the front tire sufficiently when really pinning the corners. 

There's a full complement of mounts, with pairs under the down tube and on top of the top tube, as well as triple bosses on the fork legs. Full fenders and a pannier rack are also catered for if you prefer a more traditional luggage-carrying and splash-defending setup.

However, the most significant feature of the Diverge Comp E5 is the Future Shock 1.5, which is usually only found on carbon models. This does a good job of damping out some of the trail chatter and high-frequency bumps, but we found that it's not sufficient to replace front suspension, if you were considering this as an alternative.

Read more: Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon full review

Most versatile

Vitus Venon Evo Force AXS gravel bike on a pink background

The Vitus Venon Evo Force AXS is light and versatile

(Image credit: Future)
Best gravel bike for versatility

Specifications

Frame : Venon Evo carbon
Fork: Venon Evo carbon
Groupset: SRAM Force AXS XPLR 1x
Wheels: Prime Primavera 44 carbon
Tires : Michelin Power Gravel 40mm
Weight: 7.9kg

Reasons to buy

+
Good looks
+
Low weight
+
Plenty of clearance
+
Gravel and road specs available

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited mounting area on the aero bars

The Vitus Venon Evo combines a fast gravel bike and an endurance road bike in one all-road package, with Vitus selling GR specs geared towards gravel and RS specs for road use. We found the riding position is a good compromise between upright and aggressive.

This Force AXS XPLR 1x build is gravelly, with 40mm wide Michelin Power Gravel tires mounted on Prime Primavera 44 carbon wheels and clearance for 45mm if wanted. Even so, the bike weighed just 7.9kg, making for lively progress even on trickier off-road terrain. Swap in 28mm tires and you're good for endurance road rides too.

You do miss out on some of the mounting points typically found on the best gravel bikes, although no more so than on many gravel race bikes, and the aero front end and fast ride certainly make the Vitus Venon Evo a good option for competitive riding.

Read more: Vitus Venon Evo-GR Force AXS full review

Best Value

Ribble Gravel AL Sport which is one of the best gravel bikes

Ribble's Gravel AL Sport comes equipped with a reliable Shimano GRX drivechain

(Image credit: Future)
Best value gravel bike

Specifications

Frame : Ribble Gravel AL
Fork: Gravel AL carbon
Groupset: Shimano GRX RX400 2x
Wheels: Mavic Allroad
Tires : WTB Sendero 650b x 47mm
Weight: 10.9kg

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable ride on wide tires
+
Plenty of grip except in the muddiest conditions
+
Excellent value

Reasons to avoid

-
No rack mounts
-
Quite long reach

The Ribble Gravel AL Sport has 47mm tires on 650b wheels, although you can also spec 700c wheels. The 650b option makes it a highly capable go-anywhere option that doesn't break the bank. 

The alloy frame is long and low, with a slack headtube. longish reach and short stem. There are loads of mounting points, although oddly not those needed for a rack. The 2x10-speed Shimano GRX 400 build is the bottom of the range, but still offers excellent performance and ratios down to 30x34t to tackle the rough stuff. 

Although not light, we discovered that the bike still felt quick and that it coped well with both degraded tarmac and rough tracks, although the grip tended to wane when we ventured on to muddier passages. 

Read more: Ribble Gravel AL Sport full review

Best performance gravel bikes 2023: Our picks

Best overall gravel bike

Giant Revolt gravel bike on a blue studio background shot in three quarter view

Giant Revolt won the Gravel Bike of the Year award 2023

(Image credit: Future)
Overall winner of our Gravel Bike of the Year award 2023

Specifications

Frame : Advanced SL-Grade Composite carbon frame
Fork: Advanced-Grade Composite carbon
Groupset: Shimano GRX RX815 Di2 2x
Wheels: Giant CXR 1 Carbon
Tires: Maxxis Receptor, 700x40c
Weight: 8.3kg

Reasons to buy

+
Superb front and rear comfort
+
Flippable geometry
+
53mm max tire clearance

Reasons to avoid

-
High front end limits ride position adjustability
-
Tires are best suited to dry use

The Giant Revolt won our Gravel Bike of the Year title in 2023. It's a gravel bike that covers the broad spectrum of gravel riding really well. Its saddle comfort is augmented by a D-shaped seatpost with a claimed 12mm of flex, but it fits in a standard 30.9mm round seat tube, so you can fit a dropper if you ride more technical terrain.

The rear dropouts feature two-position adjustable geometry, which lets you choose between a more agile ride for racing or wider clearance with increased stability. You also have mounting points for bikepacking kit, including on the fork legs. 

The frame soaks up bumps well too, both front and rear, although we'd have preferred a shorter head tube for more versatility in the bike's set-up.

We were impressed with the value offered as well, with the spec tested including Shimano GRX RX815 Di2 electronic shifting and Giant carbon wheels.

Read more: Giant Revolt Advanced Pro 0 gravel bike full review

Best for bikepacking

Trek Checkpoint SL7 gravel bike on a blue background

Trek's Checkpoint SL7 is ideal for long rides and bikepacking

(Image credit: Future)
Best expedition gravel bike

Specifications

Frame : 500 Series OCLV Carbon
Fork: Checkpoint Carbon
Groupset: Shimano GRX 2x
Wheels: WTB ST i23 TCS
Tires: Vittoria Terreno Dry 700x38c
Weight: 9.2kg

Reasons to buy

+
Large number of mounts and carrying capacity
+
Wide clearance and long wheelbase
+
IsoSpeed seatpost decoupler for comfort

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive range than other gravel bikes reviewed

The Checkpoint majors on mounts, including on the fork legs, as well as storage in Trek's down tube cubbyhole for tools and a tube. The frame allows you to fit 2.1" 650bs and the IsoSpeed seat tube decoupler provides added comfort when in the saddle.

We thought that the Checkpoint's long wheelbase and high fork trail provided great stability for longer rides, without going overboard. It's still quick enough though, despite its carrying capacity, and remained good to ride whether fully laden for bikepacking or stripped down for a shorter blast.

Our long-term test concluded that the Checkpoint is best suited for crushing long-distance rides with its reassuring handling, comfy ride characteristics and considered componentry.

Read more: Trek Checkpoint SL 7 gravel bike full review

Best for gravel racing

BMC Kaius 01 gravel bike on a grey background

BMC Kaius 01 gravel is perfect for racing

(Image credit: Future)

3. BMC Kaius

Best gravel bike for speed

Specifications

Frame : Kaius 01 Premium Carbon
Fork: Kaius 01 Premium Carbon
Groupset: SRAM Rival AXS Wide 2x
Wheels: BMC CRD-400 carbon
Tires: Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H - 40mm
Weight: 8.9kg

Reasons to buy

+
Very fast handling
+
Road bike-like ride

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as comfortable as rivals
-
No fender / mudguard mounts

At the other end of the gravel spectrum from the Trek Checkpoint, the BMC Kaius is an out-and-out gravel race bike, with a low ride position and aero frame that borrows from the BMC Teammachine road race bike. 

The ride feels similar to BMC's road bikes as well and you get a pared-down road bike-style set of mounting points that doesn't even include fender / mudguard bosses. There is room for 44mm tires though, which might help mitigate the lack of comfort in the stiff, race-tuned frame.

When we tested it we enjoyed the novel combination of a short wheelbase and low bottom bracket, which gave the bike snappy, precise handling and prodigious speed.

This lower-spec model is more affordable than the top level of the BMC Kaius, but is still more expensive than the highest spec available for the Giant Revolt though.

Read our review of the BMC Kaius in our Gravel Bike of the Year coverage.

Scott Addict Gravel bike on a blue background

The Scott Addict 10 Gravel bike offers good value and great performance

(Image credit: Future)

4. Scott Addict Gravel 10

Best value performance gravel bike

Specifications

Frame : Addict Gravel Disc HMF Carbon
Fork: Addict Gravel HMF Carbon
Groupset: SRAM Force AXS 2x
Wheels: DT Swiss GRC1400 Disc
Tires: Schwalbe G-One Bite Performance 45mm
Weight: 8.7kg

Reasons to buy

+
Middle-of-the-road ride position
+
Good value for the spec offered
+
Superb paint job

Reasons to avoid

-
No fork mounts

The Addict Gravel is designed for speed rather than off-road load-lugging, but still with a longer wheelbase and higher stack than other gravel race bikes like the BMC Kaius. This results in a well-balanced ride that's as good for fast, technical riding as it is for multi-day bikepacking, despite the absence of fork leg mounts.

We loved Scott's paint job on the Addict Gravel and the bike is good value, with the lower spec SRAM Rival AXS-equipped bike as reasonably priced as bikes from brands that are normally more value-oriented than Scott.

Read our review of the Scott Addict Gravel 10 in our Gravel Bike of the Year coverage.

Cannondale Topstone carbon three on pink background

The Topstone features Cannondale's Kingpin suspension system

(Image credit: Richard Butcher)
Best gravel bike for rear end grip

Specifications

Frame : BallisTec Carbon Frame
Fork: BallisTec Carbon
Groupset: Shimano GRX 2x
Wheels: WTB ST i23 TCS 650
Tires: Vittoria Terreno Dry 38mm
Weight: 9.2kg

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent frame with 30mm of travel
+
Good traction on rough, loose terrain
+
Option to add or spec Smart Sense lights/radar

Reasons to avoid

-
Front end comfort doesn't match that at the rear

The Cannondale Topstone Carbon has a geometry that, on paper, looks aggressive, but is more forgiving than you'd expect. It also includes Cannondale's now-simplified and lower-weight Kingpin rear suspension. This provides 30mm of travel from a pivotless design which improves rear-end traction over rougher ground, although it doesn't aid front-end comfort. For that, you'll need the Topstone Carbon Lefty with its suspension fork. 

There's the option to spec Cannondale's Smart Sense lighting system, with its rearview radar. Cannondale's prices are competitive too, despite the high-tech frame features.

Our test of the Topstone 3 concluded that it is “a sublime blend of exuberance, speed and comfort” that gives a poised and playful ride, but it is also perfectly at home carrying overnight gear on multi-day epics thanks to multiple mounting points.

Read more: Cannondale Topstone Carbon 3 full review 

Specialized Crux Pro gravel bike

The Crux is lightweight, stripped back and ready to race

(Image credit: Future)

6. Specialized Crux Pro

Best lightweight gravel bike

Specifications

Frame: Crux FACT 10r Carbon
Fork: FACT Carbon
Groupset: SRAM Force AXS
Wheels: Roval Terra CL
Tires: Pathfinder Pro 38mm
Weight: 7.4kg

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and responsive frameset
+
Agile and fast ride
+
Space for 2.1" 650b tires

Reasons to avoid

-
Jittery on rougher surfaces on 38mm tires specced

More reasonably priced than the S-Works Crux, the Crux Pro is still very light and has the same responsive geometry as the top-spec bike. That results in lightning-fast acceleration, although the 38mm tires result in a jittery ride over rougher surfaces.

You could plump things up to 2.1" 650b rubber though, which should help add a touch more comfort and extra traction whilst the round seatpost allows you to fit a dropper or suspension seatpost.

We reckon that the Crux fits the bill for riders who want agile performance on gravel, but with the ability to put down the power for outright speed. 

Read more: Specialized Crux Pro full review

ADVICE

Gravel bikes: all you need to know

What are gravel bikes?

Gravel bikes are drop-bar bikes that allow you to veer off paved roads and onto more exciting terrain.

From racing to bikepacking, there'll be a best gravel bike for you, built ready to cope with the demands of tricky terrain and longer, multi-day off-road rides.  

As with all bikes, it's vital that you get the best bike to fit you, and it doesn't need to be gender specified. But if you are after a women's specific model, which often includes smaller sizes and different touchpoints like a wider saddle and narrower bars, you might want to check out our best women's gravel bikes for off-road adventures page. 

If you're juggling a tighter budget, but still want the best, our page dedicated to the best budget gravel bikes: gravel bikes under £1,000/$1500 is ideal for getting the best value for money adventures on two wheels. 

Born with the spirit of adventure, the best gravel bikes sit somewhere between the best endurance and sportive bikes and the best cyclocross bikes, with a blend of the best hardtail mountain bikes thrown in. They're nimble on paved sections of road compared to fat-tired MTB steeds, but more confidence-inspiring when it comes to tackling rough surfaces when compared to their slick-tired road-going siblings. 

These bikes are ideal for mixed-terrain adventures; gravel paths, broken tarmac, fire roads, and of course unpaved dirt tracks. Taking cues from their cyclocross cousins and MTB siblings, don't let the drop bars fool you, these bikes can tackle some pretty technical terrain, including flowy mountain bike trails.

This crossover discipline can add a slight confusion in the cycling gear department too, i.e. to Lycra or not to Lycra. Thankfully our guide on the best gravel bike clothing: cycling kit for your gravel ride should sort out any kit quandries.  

The best gravel bikes will come with wide tires, with room for extra mud clearance, and disc brakes as standard. Expect anything up to 47c or more on either 700c or 650b wheels.

Mounts for pannier racks and extra storage will often feature on the best gravel bikes, as will the option for fitting fender / mudguards. In fact, that's probably the biggest difference between gravel and cyclocross bikes, along with bottle cage mounts.

Are gravel bikes any good on the road?

Compared to road bikes, you'll also find wider and lower gear ratios on the best gravel bikes, which will help you ride over loose or hilly terrain especially when carrying bikepacking bags if you're gearing up for multi-day expeditions.

In general, the best gravel bikes will also have a lower bottom bracket than a cyclocross bike, helping to provide enhanced stability on rocky, rooty and rough terrain.  For more details on exactly what the differences are, you might find our gravel vs cyclocross bikes: what is the difference page really helpful. 

For those wanting to head off the beaten track, but worried about keeping up, you might want to consider an electric version. Electric gravel bikes give you all-terrain capability and confidence-inspiring stability, but with some additional assistance.

Why are gravel and adventure bikes so popular?

If you’ve ever gone out on a ride on your best road bike and noticed unpaved roads, fire trails or alluring singletrack as you passed, wondering where they lead but hesitating to head off the tarmac, then a gravel bike or adventure road bike may be for you.

These bikes aim to meld on-road efficiency with off-road capability, so you'll find overlaps in design features with both road and cyclocross bikes, as well as incorporating elements from mountain bike technology. When you're shopping for your first gravel bike, as standard you should expect disc brakes and clearance for wider tires.

Whereas cyclocross bikes are designed with short, muddy races in mind, gravel and adventure bikes take longer unpaved rides into account. You'll still find race-orientated builds in the gravel category for gravel racing, alongside adventure bikes that feature additional clearance and mounts to accommodate luggage and often even wider tires for more remote journeys.

Does the frame and fork material matter on a gravel bike?

As with road bikes, gravel bikes can be made from carbon, aluminum, titanium or steel.

Carbon and aluminum are the two most commonly used frame materials, and all the bikes in this guide are made from one or other of these two options. Carbon tends to be more expensive and lighter whilst aluminum frames are heavier but cheaper. This means that for a similar price, you can expect better components on an aluminum-framed bike than on one with a carbon frame so you might have to decide where your priorities lie when choosing between the two.

The big advantage of using carbon as a frame material is that it can be added exactly where it is needed for strength and stiffness or removed where it is not needed to lower weight and fine-tune compliance. 

Titanium gravel bikes are less widely available, with aficionados often describing the ride quality as being more ‘lively’ than carbon or aluminum whilst also offering low weight and high strength among its qualities.

High-end steel frames offer an almost titanium-like ride, albeit with a bit of a weight penalty whilst at the lower end some manufacturers offer steel bikes as a potentially more durable and repairable option to aluminum.

Regardless of frame material, most gravel bikes have carbon forks as the carbon layup can be tuned to provide some degree of protection against trail vibrations which is important at the front end of an off-road bike.

How does gravel bike geometry differ from road bikes?

Stability and handling are key when it comes to riding off-road. Expect to see a lengthened wheelbase, slack headtube angle and lower bottom bracket compared to road bikes, all of which aid with technical terrain and steeper descents.

The rider position is typically more upright than on road bikes, both for comfort over