We tested 9 off-road machines to crown our gravel bike of the year

Giant, Canyon, Trek, BMC, Scott, Specialized and more go head-to-head on the trails

male rider in yellow jersey riding a Giant revolt gravel bike
(Image credit: Future/Phil Barker)

Having recently unveiled our selection for Race Bike of the Year, the time has now come to take this show off the road - and onto the trails! Welcome to Cycling Weekly’s 2023 Gravel Bike of the Year awards.

The first thing to note is that ‘gravel’ is in the process of ascending from being a ‘mere’ subcategory of drop-bar bikes - think ‘endurance’, ‘aero’, ‘lightweight’, etc. - to sit atop of a genus all of its own. Just as mountain bikes can be split into ‘cross-country’, ‘enduro’, ‘downhill’ etc. - each getting progressively burlier and more capable - the same is true for gravel bikes. 

At the lightest and fastest end of the gravel spectrum, we have ‘all-road’ bikes, which feather the transition between the best endurance road bikes and those solely focused on the off-road. These tend to have wider clearances than road bikes - and generally have more scope for attaching various elements of luggage, including the best bikepacking bags

Towards the middle of the spectrum we see a split. On the one hand, we have ‘adventure’ gravel bikes. These models are burlier than all-road bikes and come with a more relaxed geometry and (where possible) even more mounts. On the other hand, we have those models designed with the UCI Gravel World Champs in mind. These tend to be more similar to all-road bikes in their weights and their more ‘sporting’ geometry, but the tyre clearances of gravel race bikes are generally rather more generous for more technical courses

Finally, at the extreme end of gravel, we have the biggest and burliest of builds - although these themselves can be split into two distinct subspecies: long-distance, expedition bikepacking bikes and trail-shredding, monster-cross bikes - essentially drop-bar mountain bikes, by any other name.

We’ve chosen to focus on the middle section of the gravel spectrum for this grouptest, as these bikes are, on the whole, the most versatile rigs which keep your ‘gravel horizons’ at their broadest. Also, this swathe of the spectrum encompasses that nascent category of gravel race bikes, which is where a huge amount of industry development has been going over the last few years - as a result, these are responsible for many of the most interesting recent releases. 

Bikes have been getting more expensive across the board - although not as universally for gravel bikes as for road bikes, it seems. Only a handful of the models on test stray across the five figure mark and none even get close to the £15,000 milestone. That said, the barrier to entry is still quite steep for gravel bikes in general. The majority of those on test start at over £3,000. 

With that in mind, we’ve again listed the prices for the entry-level and top-end models, alongside the builds we had on test - to provide a greater context for the range as a whole.

We’ll be awarding our Best Gravel Bike award to the money-no-object best performer on test. We’ll also have our Best Value category, which simply factors price into that equation. In a nod to gravel’s broad spectrum, we’re also running two sub-category awards: Best for Expeditions and Best for Speed, to recognise those models which have a particular bent towards either end of gravel.

Finally, as a nod to Cycling Weekly magazine's 132-year heritage at the heart of British cycling, we’ve included a Best of British category. With gravel varying so greatly from country to country, what works on the wide open dirt roads of the Costa Brava or Arkansas generally isn’t so good on the bridleways of around Berkshire or Bolton. So we’ve called out the best models made by Brits, for Brits.


You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Canyon Grail CF SLX 8 Di2

Canyon Grail CF SLX 8 Di2 gravel bike

(Image credit: Future)

The Canyon Grail first launched back in 2018, and it’s hard to forget those crazy double decker handlebars - which are still resolutely part of the package. I’ll share my thoughts on the bars a little later on. First, I want to get stuck into all the other aspects of the Grail, as these can sometimes end up a little overshadowed by the bars.

Out on the trails, the Grail was an absolute bundle of laughs. The platform uses the same head angle and BB drop as its burlier big brother, the Grizl, but the Grail’s wheelbase is a good 16mm shorter - with the majority of that coming off the rear end.

The result is a composed front end with a reassuring degree of control, but with more than a dash of agile manoeuvrability at the rear. You particularly feel the difference when twisting through tight singletrack trails: with the rear axle tucked that bit further underneath you, it’s easier to push the bike around the corners with your hips.

On wide and open doubletrack, the Grail remains similarly stable, yet rapid - great for long distance epics with double digit hours in the saddle, as well as any tarmacked sections or transfers.

That said, the Grail’s tyre clearance does put a firm limit on the range of riding open to you. Whereas some models on test can fit in tyres as wide as 53mm (2.1 inches), the Canyon Grail is limited to just 42mm, giving the Grail a significant ‘all-road’ bent.

Then there’s the handlebars. The idea was to provide greater vibration dampening when your hands are resting on the tops. This strikes as a little odd, given that generally when you’re on rougher sections of trail, you’ll be holding the hoods or the drops for greater stability - definitely not the tops. 

Besides not having much of an upside, there are many, many downsides. The ‘Hover Bars’ aren’t compatible with standard aero bars (for ultra distance gravel) and you can’t swap in a different handlebar shape/flare. But the biggest downside is that the supporting strut gets in the way of your thumbs when transitioning to the drops, making it a faff every time. (That said, once you are in the drops, the feeling is very secure). 

So, despite the excellent handling, the very comfortable suspension seatpost and the accessibility of its pricing (at £2,400 for the entry-level build, it’s the cheapest of all on test), it’s hard to recommend the Grail outright because of those handlebars. I can say, though, that it’s definitely worth a test ride.

  • Price range: $1.599 - $6,999 / £2,399 - £6,199
  • Model tested: $5,499 / £5,099
  • Weight: 7.92kg
  • Groupset: Shimano GRX Di2 2x11-speed
  • Wheels: DT Swiss GRC1400 Spline db | 24mm
  • Tyres: Schwalbe G-One R 700x40c
  • Handlebars (in frame size 54cm): Canyon CP07 Gravelcockpit CF 42cm

Specialized Crux Pro

Specialized Crux Pro gravel bike

(Image credit: Future)

Previously, the Crux was Specialized’s dedicated cyclocross race bike, but the platform received an overhaul in 2021 that saw the frame recalibrated to better suit fast gravel, over muddy Northern-European fields.

As a side note - the Crux is still raced at CX World Cups - but a deep dive into whether CX geometry needs a rethink is for another time.

The headline changes were a lower BB, a longer front end (with a shorter stem to compensate) and shaving even more weight off the frame - the S-Works Crux is claimed at a feathery 725 grams, whilst the Pro and Comp versions still pip many a road frame at 825 grams (claimed).

The result is a gravel bike which is stable at high speeds and lightening quick when accelerating. Standing starts and steep banks proved particular fortes. Our test model was specced with 38mm Pathfinder Pro tyres and, without any additional damping or integrated suspension, the ride was a little more chattery on rougher sections of trail than the Canyon Grail or the Trek Checkpoint..

But on the flipside, the Crux is one of the few models on test which can take 2.1 inch (53mm) 650b tyres, which gives scope for a much more cushioned ride and significant gains in grip. There are plenty of other, user-friendly points too. Such as the round 27.2mm seatpost - which opens the door to swapping in a model with suspension - and a standard bar/stem setup, which makes components swaps and the addition of aerobars for any ultra-distance epics similarly fuss free.

Great though the Crux is, the more feature-rich Giant Revolt edges it out for our Gravel Bike of the Year award. The BMC Kaius, with its faster handling and more aggressive riding position, also edges the Crux out as our Best for Speed category winner. 

The Crux is still an excellent bike and, for some people, will be exactly the balance between gravel performance and outright speed that they’re looking for. But that elision of categories means it’s not the outright best in either.

  • Price range: $4,200 - $12,250 / £4,600 - £11,500
  • Model tested: $8,200 / £7,250
  • Weight: 7.41kg
  • Groupset: SRAM Force AXS 1x12-speed
  • Wheels: Roval Terra CL Wheel | 25mm
  • Tyres: Pathfinder Pro 700x38c
  • Handlebars (in frame size 54cm): Roval Terra, carbon 42cmt

Trek Checkpoint SL 7

Trek Checkpoint SL 7 gravel bike

(Image credit: Future)

The Checkpoint is a particularly exciting platform. The previous iteration was already quite unique and really stood out from the crowd. But Trek has since given the Checkpoint another revamp - a shame for the previous model’s diehard fans, although it opens the gates for new ones.

What hits the hardest is the loss of the ‘Stranglehold’ dropouts, which enabled you to adjust the chainstay length by up to 15mm (to a minimum of 425mm). This put the previous Checkpoint in line with most quick-handling gravel race bikes, but the biggest loss is to the singlespeed community. Those Stranglehold dropouts were particularly helpful for tensioning the chain.

As it is, Trek has now fixed the chainstays at 435mm and reoriented the Checkpoint to be a bit more of a mile-muncher. The carrying capacity has been greatly increased by the addition of triple mounts on the fork legs and additional storage inside the downtube. You can even fit a rear rack should you wish; the typical bikepacking mounts under the downtube and on the top tube are all present, too.

But although the new Checkpoint’s handling is a little more measured than most of the other models on test, its racing genes do still show through. On wide, open double-track, where straightline speed is the order of the day, the Checkpoint was up there with the fastest models on test - it’s just the tighter and twistier corners where it gets a little hung up.

The chunky tubing, clearance for 2.1 inch 650b tyres and Isospeed decoupler seatpost make the Checkpoint particularly well-suited for rougher UK surfaces. Whilst the second two points make the bike more comfortable for you, the first makes you more comfortable with the bike - unlike the skinnier frames on test, I didn’t find myself wincing out of concern for the bike when riding hard over the rougher stuff.

The Checkpoint is the most expensive model we have on test, topping out at £12,000 - which is over double that of the top-end Giant Revolt. The entry-level has better comparative value but still starts at £1,000 over the cheapest model on test.

  • Price range:  $3,399 - $12,249 / £3,700 - £12,000
  • Model tested: $6,699 / £6,400
  • Weight: 8.9kg
  • Groupset: SRAM Red AXS 2x12-speed
  • Wheels: Bontrager Aeolus RSL 37V | 25mm
  • Tyres: Bontrager GR1 Team Issue 700x40c
  • Handlebars (in frame size 54cm): Bontrager Pro IsoCore VR-SF, 42cm

Cannondale Topstone 3

Cannondale Topstone 3 gravel bike

(Image credit: Future)

Cannondale is a brand with a reputation for doing things differently and, on the whole, that bears out in the Topstone.

But let’s start with the frame specs and geometry. Like the Trek Checkpoint, the Topstone has clearance for 700x45c tyres or 650b x 2.1in, but this is combined with chainstays which are amongst the shortest at 420mm and the shallowest bottom bracket drop on test at just 67mm. Those second two points are typically the hallmarks of an aggressive, quick handling gravel bike - the first is typical of a more rugged adventure oriented model.

Still, despite the unusual combination, the Topstone pulls it off - a clear reminder, if it were needed, not to judge a book by its cover (or a bike by its spec sheet). The ride had a strong bent towards the fast and the snappy, responding immediately to line adjustments and in the cornering - but it all still felt quite controlled, it wasn’t a razor-edged balancing act.

Naturally, Cannondale’s new Smart-Sense system gets a look in here, with the option to choose a model with integrated front and rear lights (as well as a rear-facing radar) which all run off the same single battery. There are models without those extras ready-specced, too.

But perhaps most notable is the KingPin rear suspension. Whereas most gravel bikes focus on suspending and isolating the rider from the bumps, on the Topstone it’s the rear axle which moves. This greatly improves the traction on loose and technical climbs, but the rigid front triangle means that any impacts from the front wheel still get transmitted up the seat post. The result is that the comfort isn’t on a par with the Trek or Canyon systems.

Incredibly, the entry-level Topstone is £1.00 off being the joint-cheapest on test. Alongside the Ribble Gravel SL, the Topstone is one of the most accessible models on the market. That said, we would recommend opting for a model with a Lefty fork, to better absorb the initial impacts and really get the most out of the rear suspension

  • Price range: $2,825 - $8,500 / £2,700 - £8,000
  • Model tested: $3,325 / £3,200
  • Weight: 9.22kg
  • Groupset: Shimano GRX 2x11 speed
  • Wheels: WTB ST i23 TCS | 23mm
  • Tyres: Vittoria Terrano Dry 700x38c
  • Handlebars (in frame size 54cm): Cannondale 3, butted 6061 Alloy 42cm

BMC Kaius 01 Three

BMC Kaius 01 gravel bike

(Image credit: Future)

The BMC Kaius is a new platform for the Swiss brand. It was designed with the UCI Gravel World Champs in mind and even went on to take the top step of the inaugural podium, piloted to victory by none other than Pauline Ferrand-Prévot.

It is a phenomenally fast bike. Although the Kaius isn’t quite as lightweight as the Crux (the claimed frame weight is 910 grams compared to 725 grams) it has a lower front end - the lowest on test - enabling you to get a more aggressive and aerodynamic riding position.

This is backed up by two other superlatives: the shortest wheelbase and the (joint) lowest bottom bracket on test. It’s an interesting combination, generally bikes with a shorter wheelbase have faster handling, whilst a lower BB tends to give a more controlled feeling by lowering the centre of gravity.

The result is that the Kaius backs up its straight line speed (on both trails and road) with both snappy and precise handling when threading it through the corners. One area that the Kaius does fall a little short on, though, is the comfort. Although the D-shaped seatpost is supposed to have engineered compliance, this doesn’t come through noticeably on the trails. 

By eschewing a traditional round seatpost design, there isn’t scope for swapping in a model with suspension. That said, with tyre clearance rated for tyres up to 44mm wide, there is some scope for smoothing out the bumps with wider rubber.

The Kaius does have the ignominious title of offering the most expensive entry-level build on test. Quite incredibly, at £5,699, the basic Kaius is more expensive than the top-end Giant Revolt. One redeeming point is that at least the Kaius starts with SRAM Rival AXS, so although the entry-level of models such as the Specialized Crux are cheaper, a Crux with a similar build is significantly more expensive than the Kaius - at £6,300 for a model with SRAM Rival AXS.

  • Price range: $5,599 - $11,999 / £5,699 - £11,350
  • Model tested: $5,999 / £5,699
  • Weight: 8.89kg
  • Groupset: SRAM Rival AXS 2x12-speed
  • Wheels: CRD-400 Carbon | 23mm internal
  • Tyres: Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H 700x40c
  • Handlebars (in frame size 54cm): BMC RAB 02 42cm

Ribble Gravel SL Pro

Ribble Gravel SL gravel bike

(Image credit: Future)

Despite the breadth of Ribble’s drop-bar off-road range (it has nine framesets made from four different materials, covering three separate geometries) the Gravel SL still finds itself, like the Trek Checkpoint, balancing a couple of different purposes and riding styles.

On the one hand, it is a lightweight carbon gravel bike built for speed. The Gravel SL can boast aero flourishes, from kammtail tube shapes to its dropped seat stays and one-piece cockpit. It’s lightweight, responsive to accelerations and has the third lowest stack height on test.

Then again, the Gravel SL Pro also comes bedecked with bosses and mounting points for pretty much attachment you could think of. There are top tube and underside-of-the-downtube bosses (which complement the sets inside the main triangle) and triple bosses on the fork legs. There are even mounts for a pannier rack and mudguards. 

Essentially, the Gravel SL is a beast of burden and a race horse all rolled into one. That has it’s perks - I greatly appreciated the versatility on a bikepacking loop through Morocco’s High Atlas mountains. Even when loaded up, the bike didn’t feel overly heavy, and it was great fun on sighting loops around Marrakech’s doubletrack gravel, before later hitting out into the mountains proper. 

Then again, on tighter corners and the singletrack trails back at home, the handling of the Gravel SL simply isn’t as fast as the more dedicated gravel race bikes on test.

Despite its many mounting points, the Gravel SL still doesn’t win our Best Expedition Bike category. In comparison with the Trek Checkpoint, Ribble’s offering lacks the integrated downtube storage, comparable vibration dampening and the frame isn’t rated for 2.1 inch 650b tyres.

You can find even more detail in our full Ribble Gravel SL Pro review.

  • Price range: £2,699 - £4,399
  • Model tested: £4,399
  • Weight: 8.93kg
  • Groupset: Shimano GRX Di2 1x11-speed
  • Wheels: LEVEL Gravel DB Sport Carbon 650b | 23.5mm
  • Tyres: WTB Sendero 650b x 47mm
  • Handlebars (in frame size 54cm): LEVEL 5 Carbon Integrated Flared Gravel Handlebar 42cm

Pearson On and On

Pearson On and On gravel bike

(Image credit: Future)

There aren’t many bike brands which can boast a heritage longer than Cycling Weekly’s own. Both Bianchi and Brooks have the accolade of predating our first publication in 1891, but even they are both whippersnappers in comparison to Pearson.

The family-run bike shop (now on its fifth generation of Pearsons) was established in 1860 and has been officially recognised as the world’s oldest bicycle business still trading today. It's seen plenty of trends come and go: from wooden rims and 35mm tyres in the first Tour de France, all the way to 19mm tubulars at the turn of the 21st century.

More recently, Pearson has moved away from selling big brand bikes and is instead selling its own. The On and On is an open mould frame (due to costs) but Pearson’s design input has shaped every aspect of it. It has a truncated seat tube, aero seat pin, dropped seat stays and internal cabling - as well as mounts on the fork, top tube, down tube and main triangle.

In all, the On and On has a very similar purpose and optimisations compared to the Ribble Gravel SL. It too is designed to be lightweight (for a gravel bike) and fast in a straight line, as well as offering the potential for heavily laden bikepacking. The geometry of both is geared towards being stable under load.

The 45mm Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M tyres that the On and On came specced with were a good match for the late spring slop of Surrey bridleways - though they did prove a bit sluggish on the roads. The stretched out position wasn’t far off a road bike, so if you normally ride with a couple of spacers under the stem, you might still be able to replicate your position on the On & On for greater speed on non-technical terrain.

The On and On is among the cheaper models on test, though Giant still manages to undercut Pearson with its Revolt gravel bikes (when dressed in comparable specs). Still, the price of the On and On stacks up well against the rest of the competition - and there’s the heritage and customer aftercare to consider, too.

Scott Addict Gravel

Scott Addict Gravel bike

(Image credit: Future)

Scott deserves credit for just how attentive it’s been to the changing contours of the ‘gravel scene’. The first Addict Gravel was unveiled right back in 2017, making Scott one of the first big bike brands to commit to the category. The next step was to refine the racing pedigree of the platform. As such, this second iteration of the Addict Gravel was one of the first models to be designed specifically for the UCI Gravel World Champs.

Like the Specialized Crux and BMC Kaius, Scott’s Addict Gravel prioritises speed over bikepacking functionality: it too eschews a triple-bossed fork in favour of a lighter and more minimalist design. The concessions to luggage are confined to down tube bosses for an extra cage and mounting points for a bolt-on top tube bag.

But where the Crux and Kaius occupy the extreme chin-to-the-bars end of the gravel racing spectrum, the Addict Gravel takes a more middle-of-the-road approach, incorporating a higher stack and a longer wheelbase. The Addict Gravel does still come in lower and shorter than both the Trek Checkpoint and the Giant Revolt - it’s pretty much as close to a midpoint on this spectrum as is possible to get.

The result is a very well-balanced ride, one which is likely to suit the greatest number of people and riding styles. I was able to thread the Addict Gravel through technical trails, wind it up on fast sections of doubletrack and hammer down challenging descents. 

But I was also just as happy riding all day at party pace. I took the Addict Gravel on a three-day bikepacking trip through the Cambrian Mountains in the heart of Wales and it handled all that equally comfortably and confidently.

Of course, there will be those who are after the greater specificity at particular ends of the spectrum. If you know that you need a lower front end and the fastest handling on offer - or if fork mounts and compatibility with 2.1in 650b tyres are deal breakers - then the all-rounder Addict Gravel wouldn’t be right for you. But if you don’t want to commit to either extreme, though, it is an excellent option.

Despite all this, the Addict Gravel does still miss out on the top spot of our Gravel Bike of the Year. However, that is less a criticism of the Addict Gravel but a reflection of how well executed the Giant Revolt is. 

The first concession the Addict Gravel makes regards the seatpost. Whereas Scott has opted for a propriety D-shaped post, Giant’s Revolt both has its cake and eats it. The Revolt also comes stock with a proprietary post (similarly infused with claims of compliance), but Giant gives the option to swap in a traditional round post, leaving your choices open for droppers and suspension seatposts

Second, is the rear axle flip chip. Set in the short mode, the Revolt is more aggressive than the Addict Gravel. In the long mode, though, the Revolt becomes more relaxed. Whereas the Addict Gravel splits the difference, the Giant Revolt provides greater versatility. This bears out in the fork choice, too. The Addict Gravel offers no mounting options, whereas the Giant Revolt has a pair of bosses on each leg.

Just to be clear, none of those points detract from the Addict Gravel in and of itself, but they do cinch the top spot for the Revolt. Still, the Addict Gravel does manage to top the Giant Revolt in a couple of respects. 

First are the paintjobs, which are simply stunning and easily the best on test. Second is the price. I’ll go into more detail in our Best Value category award but, in short, a Revolt with SRAM Rival AXS costs £4,899, whereas an Addict Gravel with the same groupset comes in at £3,199 - I think that speaks for itself.

  • Price range: $2,999 - $9,999 / £3,199 - £8,799
  • Model tested: $6,699 / £5,799
  • Weight: 8.68kg
  • Groupset: SRAM Force AXS 2x12-speed
  • Wheels: DT Swiss GRC1400 Disc | 24mm
  • Tyres: Schwalbe G-One Bite 700x45c
  • Handlebars (in frame size 54cm): Syncros Creston 1.0 42cm

Overall Winner - Giant Revolt Advanced Pro

Giant revolt gravel bike on a blue studio backgroaund shot in three quarter view

(Image credit: Future)

Whereas so many gravel bikes cater for one niche or another, the Giant Revolt manages to straddle a much wider section of the spectrum than most. Still, it’s not a jack of all trades and master of none; it goes toe-to-toe with the best on either end - even offering some unique features which really make it stand out from the crowd.

Let’s take a run through all those spec details which make the Revolt quite so distinctive. After that, I’ll share how it all played together in the ride.

As I mentioned previously, the Giant Revolt manages to both have its cake and eat it regarding the seatpost setup. The stock D-Fuse seatpost is said to provide 12mm of flex (and you really can feel that compliance) but rather than simply being stuck with a proprietary post, the Revolt is also compatible with 30.9mm round seatposts.

This opens up compatibility with a greater range of dropper seatposts than a traditional ‘roadie’ 27.2mm tube, but skinnier seatposts can still be fitted with the use of a shim - which similarly keeps your options open for the majority of suspension seatposts currently on the market. None of the other bikes on test offer such versatility.

The next neat feature is the adjustable rear dropouts - previously also a feature on the Trek Checkpoint, but dropped from the latest iteration. Disappointingly for the singlespeed community, Giant’s design is binary, with only two fixed positions and therefore not much use for tensioning a chain.

For everyone else, though, the functionality is excellent. Set in the ‘short’ position, the Giant Revolt is up there with the most aggressive of racing gravel bikes - not quite in the echelons of the Specialized Crux and BMC Kaius, but slotting in ahead of the Scott Addict Gravel. 

But when set in the ‘long’ position, the wheelbase extends further than the Ribble Gravel SL and Pearson On&On. Only the Trek Checkpoint has a more stable chassis. A secondary benefit of the FlipChip dropouts is that it opens up the tyre clearance to a whopping 53mm (2.1 inches) on a 700c rim - larger than any other model on test.

The Revolt is also well equipped in terms of mounts, with bosses on the down tube and top tube, as well as a pair on each fork leg. That’s not the triple mounts we normally see up front on the forks, so some cargo cages will be incompatible, but it does still open up the carrying capacity to some extent.

Coming onto the ride, the first thing to mention is the compliance, which was utterly exceptional. On the test loop, there were a couple of sections with significant ‘breaking bumps’ leading into the corners. On models such as the Crux, being without any form of suspension (and on 38mm tyres, rather than maxing out the clearances at 2.1in) riding these sections was very chattery and noticeably sapped my speed.

On the Revolt, though, despite the tyres being approximately the same width (40mm this time), the frame did an astonishing job of soaking up the impacts. Sure, there were a few more vibrations transferred up the seatpost than on the Canyon Grail - but then the Grail has a leaf-sprung suspension post with separate parts that move, rather than relying on the post simply flexing as with the Giant. 

But the Canyon’s seatpost doesn’t provide any help at the bars - which contrasted with the front end of the Revolt. At the bars, I felt a similar vertical compliance to the seatpost, but still with a high level of lateral stiffness - I didn’t feel any flexing away from my line when loading it up in the corners.

For our overall Gravel Bike of the Year award, we make our decision based on performance alone, determining which bike is best with money being no object. Still, it is worth giving a mention to the price of the Revolt, because it does actually stack up pretty well there, too. 

The top-end spec is the second cheapest of all on test, with Shimano’s GRX Di2 2x11 groupset and Giant’s excellent CXR 1 Carbon Disc wheels coming in at £5,499 and the wider range starting at under £3,000. 

One criticism I would make, though, is the height of the head tube. With a stack of 586mm, it’s far and away the highest model on test. For pure gravel riding, that’s not much of an issue for me, I’d typically stick a few spacers under anything that’s more slammed. But for anyone who prefers a lower cockpit on gravel, that does present an issue. It would be better if Giant shrunk the head tube down and gave people more choice to set their own stack height.

Still, the Revolt is an excellent bike in so many other aspects - and the way it not only straddles, but excels, in two separate sections of the gravel spectrum is highly unusual and greatly appreciated. 

  • Price range: $2,400 - $6,400 / £2,999 - £5,499
  • Model tested: $5,550 / £5,499
  • Weight: 8.27kg
  • Groupset: Shimano GRX Di2 2x11-speed
  • Wheels: Giant CXR 1 Carbon Disc | 25mm internal
  • Tyres: Maxxis Receptor, 700x40c
  • Handlebars (in frame size 54cm): Giant Contact SLR XR D-Fuse 44cm

Best Expedition Bike - Trek Checkpoint