Best budget gravel bikes 2022

Looking for the best budget gravel bikes? Here's our pick of lower priced options

best budget gravel bikes let you tackle off-road riding for less

The best budget gravel bikes open up the opportunity for more of us to go on a different kind of riding adventure, without a massive outlay. 

Trying out a new discipline can be daunting, and buying a bike can be quite a gamble if it's something you haven't tried before. Thankfully, there are a number of great bikes on the market that offer cracking value, making the perfect starting point for rides with a little more spice!

Spanning the gap between road and mountain bikes, gravel and adventure bikes have surged in popularity over the last few years. Arguably the most versatile of bike categories, these steeds not only excel on bridleways, byways, dirt roads and singletrack, but can also make great commuters or winter road bikes too. 

Bike prices in general have gone up significantly over the last few years and it's now quite hard to find a bike other than a hybrid that comes in below $1,500/£1,000. So we've divided this guide up into budget gravel bikes that cost below $1,500/£1,000 and those costing between that and $2,000/£1,500, to help you find a gravel bike to suit your budget.

Of course, if your budget exceeds this, then check out our complete gravel and adventure bikes guide. Spend a bit more and if you get the gravel bug you'll not find yourself needing so many upgrades or hankering after a more performant model after a few months riding. 

Don't forget the extras you'll need either - we've run through these and other things to look out for in our buyer's guide to budget gravel bikes at the bottom of this page.

Best budget gravel bikes under $1,500/£1,000

Sub $1,500/£1,000 | Sub $2,000/£1,500

Below is our pick of the best budget adventure road bikes and gravel bikes. Read on for more tips on what to look for when shopping for a budget gravel bike to help you venture off the beaten track.

Best budget gravel bikes

Kona Rove AL 650

Best for durability

Specifications

Brakes: Shimano Claris levers w/ Tektro Mira CX mechanical disc calipers
Gearing: 50/34t chainrings w/ 11–34t 8-speed cassette
Wheels: WTB SX19 with Formula hubs
Max tyre clearance: 650b x 50mm
Sizes: 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58
Weight: TBC

Reasons to buy

+
Large tyre clearance
+
Durable components
+
Nice paintwork

Reasons to avoid

-
QR axles make it a bit more of a faff to avoid brake rub
-
Chainrings are a little large for a gravel bike

Based in Bellingham, Washington, Kona is no stranger to beefy touring bikes and now gravel bikes. It's got a reputation for no-nonsense, robust bikes with budget spec options that are durable and hassle-free.

This entry-level Rove is one of their aluminium alloy offerings, and available in either 700c or 650b builds at the same price. With beefy 47mm WTB Venture tyres fitted and mounts on the fork legs in addition to standard mudguard and rack eyelets, the Rove is a great choice for anyone wanting to dip their toe into the world of bikepacking.

Triban GRVL 120

(Image credit: Decathlon)

Triban GRVL 120 Disc

Best low priced option

Specifications

Brakes: Microshift XLT levers w/ Promax DSK calipers
Gearing: 38t chainring w/ 11–42t 10-speed cassette
Wheels: Triban Tubeless Ready
Max tyre clearance: 700c x 38mm
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
Weight: 10.9kg

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic value
+
10-speed single ring groupset
+
Tubeless ready wheels and tyres

Reasons to avoid

-
Rather upright geometry

Designed for mechanical simplicity, if you're just looking to dip a toe into gravel riding without spending too much cash, the Triban GRVL 120 Disc Brake might hit the mark. The ride position is upright and there's a fork with carbon legs and an alloy steerer. 

Despite the low price, you still get a 10-speed single chainring groupset with plenty of range and a clutched derailleur. The bike also comes specced with tubeless ready wheels with Hutchinson 38mm tubeless ready tyres. The 38mm max clearance is quite narrow, but at this price, the Triban RC 120 is hard to beat.

Trek Domane AL2 Disc


(Image credit: Trek)

Trek Domane AL 2 Disc

Best for higher speeds and tamer trails

Specifications

Brakes: Shimano Claris levers w/ Tektro C550 mechanical disc brake
Gearing: 50/34t chainrings w/ 11–32t 8-speed cassette
Wheels: Bontrager Affinity Disc TLR 700c
Max tyre clearance: 700c x 35mm
Sizes: 44, 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61
Weight: TBC

Reasons to buy

+
Mechanical disc brakes
+
Good range of mounting options
+
Helpful integration for lights and bike computers

Reasons to avoid

-
Narrow tyre clearance 
-
Gearing on the high end 

If you feel like you are more of an adventure touring or all-road rider the Trek Domane AL line of frames is a good fit. The endurance bike geometry works well both on and off road  and there's clearance for tyres up to 35mm. In today's world 35mm isn't big but it's more than enough to tackle well-groomed gravel roads.

For a lot of people this makes perfect sense as a first, or only, bike. Everything that makes it capable of heading off-road also makes it versatile. There are mounts for racks and fenders if you want to do some bike packing, or commuting, and weekend use just means changing tyres.

If your budget stretches a bit further, there are three alloy Domane models with higher spec finishing kit in the range.

Marin NICASIO+

(Image credit: Marin)

Marin Nicasio+

Best for hitting the singletrack

Specifications

Brakes: MicroSHIFT Advent levers w/ Tektro Spyre mechanical disc calipers
Gearing: 42t chainrings w/ 11–46t 9-speed cassette
Wheels: Marin Aluminium
Max tyre clearance: 700c x 40mm or 650b x 47mm
Sizes: 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60
Weight: TBC

Reasons to buy

+
1x drivetrain with clutch rear derailleur
+
 Dual pull brake calipers offer better performance over single pull
+
Good range of mounting options

Reasons to avoid

-
QR wheel axles make it harder to avoid brake rub
-
Large jumps between the gears

One of the few steel gravel bikes that you'll find on a budget of less than £1000/$1500, the Marin Nicasio+ is a great choice for budding bikepackers. There are loads of water bottle cage mounts, and you'll have plenty of options for storage alongside traditional rack and guard mounts too.

It comes with a single ring groupset, making for a simpler mechanical set-up, with plenty of gear range and a clutched derailleur, although with only 9 speeds, there are quite large jumps between ratios. The Nicasio+ is fitted with 47mm WTB Horizon tyres, so there's lots of rubber between you and the trail for extra comfort and grip.

Best budget gravel bikes under $2,000/£1,500

Sub $1,500/£1,000 | Sub $2,000/£1,500

new Cannondale Topstone 4

(Image credit: Cannondale)

Cannondale Topstone 4

Best for load lugging

Specifications

Brakes: MicroSHIFT Advent levers w/ Promax Render R mechanical disc calipers
Gearing: 40t chainring w/ 11–48t 10-speed cassette
Wheels: GXD 1.0 aluminium rims on Formula hubs
Max tyre clearance: 700c x 45mm or 650b x 47mm
Sizes: XS, SM, MD, LG, XL
Weight: TBC

Reasons to buy

+
Stable, modern geometry
+
Wide range single chainring groupset
+
Loads of mounting points, including on the fork legs

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't come with SmartSense

Cannondale has recently revamped the alloy Topstone, with a look with dropped seatstays that's a lot more like the Topstone Carbon. Its geometry has changed too, to increase trail stability and up tyre clearance to 45mm. Handily if you're contemplating bikepacking trips, its new all-carbon fork includes a set of bag mounts too, while you can still add mudguards, a rack and panniers if you want to use the Topstone for commuting and round-town duties.

The Topstone 4 spec comes with a Microshift Advent X derailleur and a single chainring configuration with plenty of range, mechanical disc brakes and WTB Riddler Comp 37mm tyres for an unflashy, rugged spec. What you don't get is Cannondale's integrated SmartSense radar and lights, powered by a single battery, although you can add it as an extra.

Specialized Diverge E5

(Image credit: Specialized)

Specialized Diverge E5

Best for versatility

Specifications

Brakes: Shimano Claris levers w/ Tektro Mira mechanical disc calipers
Gearing: 50/34t chainrings w/ 11–34t 8-speed cassette
Wheels: Axis Elite aluminium
Max tyre clearance: 700c x 47mm or 650b x 2.1"
Sizes: 44, 49. 52, 54, 56
Weight: TBC

Reasons to buy

+
Big tyre clearance in 700c or 650b
+
Plenty of mounting points
+
Carbon fork

Reasons to avoid

-
Road-going gearing, rather than gravel specific

The lowest spec of the Specialized Diverge E5 gets a decent 8-speed Shimano groupset, although it's more aimed at road than off-road use, without the lowest gears to haul yourself up steep climbs seated.

You get a full-carbon fork with the alloy frame, which provide a stable geometry for off-road antics, paired with a shorter stem length for steerability - a typical gravel set-up. There's loads of tyre clearance at the rear thanks to the solid chainstay section behind the bottom bracket. Like the Cannondale Topstone, there are loads of luggage mounts, including those on the fork legs, so the Diverge E5 is good to go for bikepacking adventures as well as playing around off road.

 

GT Grade Elite

(Image credit: GT)

GT Grade Elite

Best for all-round fun

Specifications

Brakes: Shimano Claris levers w/ Tektro mechanical disc brake
Gearing: 48/32t chainrings w/ 11–32t 8-speed cassette
Wheels: WTB ST i23 TCS 2.0 on Formula hubs
Max tyre clearance: 700c x 42mm
Sizes: 44, 48, 51, 55, 58, 61
Weight: TBC

Reasons to buy

+
Good gravel bike gear range
+
Carbon fork
+
Tubeless ready rims

Reasons to avoid

-
Wire bead tyres aren't tubeless ready

One of the original gravel bikes and now in its second edition, the GT Grade comes with signature extra-long, slender seatstays to add compliance, along with a carbon fork. This alloy Grade comes in below our budget bike price cutoff, but there's also a carbon version if your budget stretched to it.

Kit-wise there's an FSA Tempo 48/32 chainset paired with a Sunrace 11-32 tooth cassette and Shimano Claris 8-speed shifting. The WTB wheel rims are tubeless ready, although the 37mm WTB Riddler wire bead tyres would need an upgrade if you did want to run tubeless. 

Vitus Substance V-2

(Image credit: Wiggle)

Vitus Substance V-2

Best blend of frame and component quality

Specifications

Brakes: Shimano Sora R3000 levers w/ TRP Spyre mechanical disc calipers
Gearing: 46/30t chainrings w/ 11–34t 9-speed cassette
Wheels: WTB ST i23 TCS 2.0 in 700c
Max tyre clearance: 700c x 42mm or 650b x 47mm
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
Weight: TBC

Reasons to buy

+
Carbon fork
+
Wide internal rim width wheels
+
Variety of mounting options
+
Good range of gears

Reasons to avoid

-
Only one colour option

There's a lot more to the Vitus Substance V-2 than just a snazzy paint job to make it a great budget gravel bike. There are loads of mounting options for bags and TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes which will help control your speed on testing off-road descents.

Vitus has opted for a good gravel gearing set up, with a sub-compact double (46/30T) paired with an 11-34T cassette for plenty of low speed gearing to get you up steep ascents while spinning in the saddle, while still giving an adequate on-tarmac turn of speed.

The finishing kit is Vitus' own, including Vitus' flared Adventure bars with a very subtle three-degree flare.

Gravel bikes

(Image credit: Decathlon)

Triban GRVL 520 SRAM APEX 1

Best braking power

Specifications

Brakes: SRAM Apex 1 levers w/ TRP HY/RD calipers
Gearing: 40t chainring w/ 11–42t 11-speed cassette
Wheels: Triban Gravel 650x23c Tubeless Ready
Max tyre clearance: 700c x 42mm or 650b x 47mm
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
Weight: 10.9kg

Reasons to buy

+
1x11 drive train with a clutch rear derailleur
+
Carbon fork

Reasons to avoid

-
QR axles make it harder to avoid brake rub

With an impressive 11 speed spec at just over a grand, Decathlon's in-house brand Triban has a couple of budget gravel bikes, and this one isn't even the cheapest! 

This RC 520 is kitted out with tubeless-ready Hutchinson Touareg 47mm tyres on 650b wheels, as well as flared bars with gel bar tape. There are also mounting points for mudguards and pannier racks, making it a versatile all-rounder for touring and commuting too. If you'd prefer a double chainring configuration, there's the 2x11-speed GRVL Subcompact available for the same price.

Canyon Grail 6

(Image credit: Canyon)

Canyon Grail 6

Best for size range

Specifications

Brakes: Shimano GRX RX400 hydraulic
Gearing: 48/32t chainrings w/ 11–34t 10-speed cassette
Wheels: DT Swiss Gravel RN Tubeless Ready
Max tyre clearance: 700c x 42mm
Sizes: 2XS, XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL
Weight: 9.9kg

Reasons to buy

+
Full Shimano GRX 400 groupset
+
Quality wheels and tyres

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite narrow clearances

Coming in seven sizes, the Grail from German direct sales brand Canyon has a cracking spec. That includes a Shimano GRX 400 10-speed gravel groupset and DT Swiss wheels with Continental Terra Trail 40mm tyres. It's nice to get a full Shimano GRX groupset including its hydraulic disc brakes for assured stopping power. The two smallest sizes swap in 650b wheels for the 700c wheels on the larger bikes, for improved geometry and less toe overlap with the front wheel.

It's a bike designed for fast gravel riding and to take you back onto tarmac when you need to link up gravel sections; for more off-road riding, greater tyre clearance and extra load-lugging potential there's the Canyon Grizl 6 for the same price. 

Giant Revolt 2

(Image credit: Giant)

Giant Revolt 2

Best for tuneable geometry

Specifications

Brakes: Shimano Sora shifters w/ Tektro MD-C550 mechanical disc brakes
Gearing: 48/32t chainrings w/ 11–34t 9-speed cassette
Wheels: Giant S-X2 Disc Tubeless
Max tyre clearance: 700c x 53mm
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Weight: 9.9kg

Reasons to buy

+
Ready set up tubeless
+
Flippable geometry
+
Very wide tyre clearance option

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite narrow clearance in the shorter chainstay configuration

The new Giant Revolt comes with a flip chip in its rear triangle that lets you keep the chainstay length short for a more lively ride on tyres up to 42mm or lengthen them for massive 53mm tyre clearance.

Giant uses its compact frame geometry and fits its D-Fuse D-shaped seatpost to help increase saddle comfort, while a carbon fork adds damping to the front end. If you have a bit more in your budget, the Giant Revolt 1 offers ten-speed Shimano GRX gearing and hydraulic braking while still coming in just below our upper price limit.

Liv Devote 1

(Image credit: Liv)

Liv Devote 1

Best for women's specific sizing

Specifications

Brakes: Shimano GRX shifters w/ Shimano GRX400 hydraulic disc brakes
Gearing: 48/32t chainrings w/ 11–34t 10-speed cassette
Wheels: Giant S-X2 Disc Tubeless
Max tyre clearance: 700c x 45mm
Sizes: XS, S, M, L
Weight: Not specified

Reasons to buy

+
Tubeless wheels and tyres
+
Shimano GRX hydraulic disc braking
+
All-carbon fork

Reasons to avoid

-
No flip chip, unlike the Revolt

The women's equivalent of the Revolt is the Devote, from Giant's women's-specific Liv brand. As well as the Devote 1, featured here, there's a Devote 2 with a similar spec to the Revolt 2. 

The Devote 1 comes with smaller frame size options than the Revolt, but you don't get the flip chip variable geometry. There's still clearance for 45mm tyres and the bike is delivered with Giant's tubeless set-up. The higher spec of the Devote 1 gets you a 10-speed Shimano GRX RX400 gravel bike groupset, complete with hydraulic disc brakes.

Buyer's guide to budget gravel bikes

What frame material should I expect in a budget gravel bike?

Inexpensive frames are sometimes steel but almost always expect aluminium. Metal frames are robust, durable, and inexpensive to manufacture. Alloy frames tend to be a little lighter than budget steel frames but steel is easy to repair if you find yourself in a remote region of the world. 

Even at this price point you will often find a carbon fork, which along with the wide tyres will help take some of the road buzz out of your ride.

Whatever material you end up with be sure to protect it for use with bags. Use a strong, clear, adhesive (opens in new tab) material anywhere that a bag will come in contact with the frame. Even the best bags will wear through the paint.

What groupset and shifting should I expect on a budget gravel bike?

At this price point, there are a few different options on the market, from SRAM's Apex 1X groupset to double chainrings or even triples. Budget Shimano Sora or Claris options help to keep cost down, and simplify shifting with 9 or 8 speed set ups. These are road groupsets, rather than specifically gravel ones, so they don't have a clutch to help keep the chain in place on bumpy terrain.

A gravel-specific groupset like Shimano GRX or SRAM Apex 1 will give you a better set-up for gravel riding than a road groupset, but is not often specced on lower priced gravel bikes, as it's more expensive than 8 or 9-speed options.

Often gravel bikes will come with a single chainring set-up with a wide range cassette to give you the range you need. It's a good option, but better with an 11- or 12-speed set-up; with the cheaper groupsets with a smaller number of ratios, you may find the jumps between gears a bit wide.

The other option to give you lower gear ratios is a subcompact two chainring groupset. Subcompact usually means either a 48/32t or 46/30t chainset, rather than the 50/34t that's typical on road bikes. The advantage of a two chainring groupset is that you get more gear ratios, and so smaller jumps as you move up the cassette.

SRAM Apex 1 groupset

The SRAM Apex 1 groupset is an excellent option at any price range.
(Image credit: Nils Nilsen)

What brakes should I expect on a budget gravel bike?

Mechanical disc brake set ups are almost always specced at the sub-£1000/$1500 mark. These are less costly than hydraulic disc brakes but still yield benefits over rim braking systems, particularly for gravel bikes. Disc brakes make it possible to fit big tyres and wide wheels without any decrease in braking power. 

Even cable actuated disc brakes offer greater power and modulation than cantilever brakes. Disc brakes will also save your wheelsets from wearing out in mucky conditions, unlike rim brakes. 

Although not as powerful as hydraulic disc brakes, cable-operated brakes can be easier to maintain. Future upgrades are also always possible.

What wheels and tyres should I expect on a budget gravel bike?

Even at this cheaper end of the gravel bike market, you can now choose between standard 700c wheels or smaller 650b wheels. A lot of these bikes will be compatible with both sizes too, so you can change as you like or even have a pair of each with different tyres fitted.

For easier terrain or longer rides where efficiency is key 700c wheels are a good choice. Choose 650b wheels to run wider, chunkier tyres for more technical terrain. The larger volume tyres add extra comfort over rooty and rocky trails.

Tyres make a huge difference to the quality of your ride, and are also an easy element to switch out when you buy a bike. Having said that, it's great to see so many great tyres fitted as standard, even at a budget level.

For mud and loose gravel look for more aggressive tread on the centre line and shoulders. Slick, or file tread, tyres will be faster for road, dry conditions and less technical terrain.

It's worth bearing in mind that entry-level wheels can come at the cost of greater weight. Heavier wheels take more energy to get moving and can feel sluggish. When you're convinced that gravel riding is for you, wheels are a good first upgrade.

WTB Resolute gravel tires on a gravel bike being chased by a dog

What finishing kit should I expect on a budget gravel bike?

Many budget gravel bikes come from brands that offer their own in-house finishing kit, for example Triban's seatpost, stem, handlebars, bar tape and saddle. This helps to keep costs low, and although not the flashiest, these parts tend to be well made and robust. Finishing kit is easy to swap out if you fancy an update at any point in the future too.

Handlebars are the one piece of the finishing kit you might want to really pay attention to. Flared bars of around 12 degrees can give a more stable position in the drops for rough descents. They also accommodate bikepacking bags more easily.

Best budget gravel bikes

What are the best upgrades for my budget gravel bike?

Once you're happy that your new gravel bike is the best steed you've ever owned, you might want to consider a few upgrades to make the ride even more enjoyable. If you've got a little over $1,500/£1,000 to spend initially, you might consider these features for your first bike too.

SRAM Rival Hydraulic Disc Lever

Although it sounds strange, better braking can actually help you go faster. With more powerful braking from hydraulic disc brakes, you can stop faster. With great braking performance at the end of your fingertips you'll have more confidence to let rip on the descents.

If you don't already have flared handlebars on your bike, consider this upgrade for confident descending and more room for bikepacking bags up front.

Your wheels can make a huge difference to the quality of the ride, and unfortunately, at lower price points the quality of these can suffer. Upgrading your original wheelset to a lighter and higher quality build can make the world of difference.

Don't feel stuck with the tyres that come on your bike. Your preferred terrain and conditions might need something different. Experiment with different volumes and tread types until you find some that work for you. You may need a different set of tyres for summer and winter riding to get the most out of your budget gravel bike, swapping between them to compensate for the changes in trail conditions.

Setting up your wheels tubeless can be one of the biggest (although not always the easiest) upgrades to your bike out of the box. With no tube to worry about you can run lower pressure for better traction and a more comfortable ride. Tubeless sealant can also seal small punctures before you even know something happened.

What extras do I need for gravel riding?

If you're looking to keep your spending on your new gravel bike under control, don't forget to budget for the extras you'll need.

Although you can ride on a set of the best flat pedals, it's easiest to ride off-road on clipless pedals, but you need an MTB-style two-bolt system rather than a road-going three bolt one. The best pedals for off-road riding are two sided for easier engagement, clear mud well and are robust.

You'll need a matching pair of two bolt shoes for gravel riding, as the recessed cleats and grippy soles are essential for when you need to walk your bike.

Don't forget to factor in a helmet, summer gloves in case you take a tumble and winter gloves to keep your hands from freezing. If you don't want to ride in road gear, there's also a good selection of gravel bike clothing for more versatility or a more relaxed look. Finally don't forget sunglasses to help keep dirt and bugs out of your eyes.

If you're planning to use your gravel bike for bikepacking or even for commuting, there's a whole range of bikepacking bags to make packing and carrying easier. We've got a comprehensive list of everything you need to go bikepacking - there's quite a lot of it.

You'll also run through consumables quicker off-road than on, so you'll need spare inner tubes and a puncture repair kit or, if you've swapped to tubeless, tubeless sealant and tubeless repair tools. You'll also need to clean your bike and drivetrain more often and you'll need plenty of chain lube.