Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

Gravel bikes are the latest to hit the scene in Cycling. Hit the road or a fire track and enjoy the peace of cycling without the aggression of cars..

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

We pick out some of the best gravel bikes and cyclo-cross bikes on the market and give our thoughts.

What is a gravel bike for?

A gravel bike gives you the best of all worlds. It is a combination of a road bike for going out with your road riding friends, or a sportive bike, for those who want to enter and compete in any of the sportive competitions are now throughout the year. Then there is a cyclo-cross bike for those who want to ride on the fire tracks in the hills or the canal tracks along the river, or if you are feeling strong, enter a cyclo-cross competition famous in Belgium with their own UCI Competitions, and now available in the UK. It is a bike that can be fitted with quality and mile crunching 30mm tires, or a slightly wider and smoother on the rough terrain  42 mm smoother feeling tires for off-road and on road use.

Gravel riding is also a great way to get out into the fresh air and exercise to burn some fat. You can go flat out if you like or just ride through the hills, forests or on the road and get the benefits of being outside in the fresh air and losing weight at the same time.

Don’t forget about the all important heart rate monitor. I cannot do without this as it makes your riding so much more enjoyable when you can see the figures you are achieving and the miles ticking by.

Gravel Bike Vs Cyclocross

Cyclocross is a sport mainly seen in Belgium where a road bike style with bigger, wider tires and drop style road handlebars are used to compete in serious competitions as in road racing to win real cash prizes. The courses are normally short on gravel tracks and through forest paths as they are fast and furious courses where the rider is at 100% max from the moment the bell goes until they reach the finish line. Normally under 2 hours long but competitive.

The Best Gravel Bikes of 2019

SPECIALIZED S-WORKS DIVERGE 2019

Best Gravel Bikes - Sworks Di2 Diverge Gravel Bike 2018

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

If you can find a 2018 model specialized s-works diverge under $3000 you will be picking up a bargain, and they do come on the market now under $3000 or UK price under £3000. This was a massive upgrade from the 0lder model with the new suspension system instead of the zert inerts.

The only downside to this is the fact you have no warranty for such a high price. For such quality I think it is a chance you can take and use your home insurance to cover any thefts, and a special bike insurance for any other issues.

Just looking at the image above of the machine makes me want to buy one. I wish it was in my price range.

Probably “the” most sought-after gravel bike on the planet – the Specialized S-Works Diverge is the ultimate gravel/road bike combo. It is unaffordable to most of us as it is around the 10k price mark, which is beyond extreme. But that said they do not come any better than this.

The new 2018 Specialized diverge now has space for up to 42mm tires, which means you can fit a nice smaller tire like a 700c x 35 or a 700c x 37, for a quicker ride on the road, and that all important ride quality. Of course with a bigger tire you will be slightly slower, but the road vibrations will disappear.

A 1×11 speed Shimano Di2 gears with fitted disc brakes and a dropper seat post and the future suspension shock absorber. They compensate for the rear suspension through the frame.

This is a lot of changes on an already very good bike, but changes that make this bike something very special. It is now a sophisticated bike that can challenge any gravel course you throw at it, and with a decent tire change can produce stunning results in any sportive you wish to make, or join road bike friends for any day out on the road without having to think you will be outgunned.

Perhaps the only change I would consider is a frame set and a 2×12 SRAM electronic group set.  It is the best group set out there.

Pros: Incredibly capable on and off-road, smooth ride, wide tires, light build

Cons: Very expensive to build, Di2 not yet perfect for winter riding.

This is a big step up from the original Diverge that was launched back in 2014. This was the time when gravel had taken off in the USA and was still a baby in the rest of the world.

Specialized was one of the first mainstream brands to see the future of this sport and as usual, has thrown the full weight of what they offer in a bike capable of doing all sports on a bike with just one frame. Mountain biking is, as usual, another step up for any machine.

Reviews of the Specialized S-Works Diverge 2019

Road CC

Cyclist UK

BikeMonk

NORCO SEARCH XR CARBON FORCE 1

Norco Carbon Force 1 Gravel Bike 2018

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

The Norco Search XR is non-conformist yet familiar, pushing the limits of what you’d expect from a drop bar bike. With ample tire clearance, rack, fender and bottle mounts, and a lightweight carbon frame, the Search XR takes you off the beaten path and allows you to ride every road and trail your heart desires.

Explore singletrack, tackle a gravel grinder or load up for a bike-packing trip. The Search XR is for all the adventures you can imagine, and for those you have yet to dream up.

The Search XR is truly pushing the limits of what you would expect from a drop bar bike. Generous tire clearance, adventure geometry, and various rack, fender and bottle mounts turn the bike into an all-new breed of an adventurer that takes you off the beaten path and allows you to ride every road and trail your heart desires.

Review of the Norco Search XR Carbon Force 1

Gravel Cyclist

BikePacking

Felt VR2 Gravel Bike 2019

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

Felt is a name known in the peloton of the Tour de France from years gone by, so they know how to build a quality bike. The Felt VR looks like a superb piece of engineering that should be exceptional on the gravel tracks in any country.[/caption]

It is light and made with endurance in mind, so will perform well for those who want to take gravel riding and sportive in their stride.

The Felt VR comes from the factory with gearing that is closer to the ‘adventure bike’ side of the equation. This frequently means slightly smaller chain rings (48/32 instead of 50/34) and a nice wide ratio rear cassette (11-32+) in the back.

Unless someone wants to road race, this gearing is frequently appreciated by most gravel capable bike buyers. Considering we are frequently changing gearing on many bikes to be more like what comes on the Felt from the factory, we applaud their approach.

Reviews of the Felt VR2 Gravel Bike

Bikeradar

Bicycling

Cannondale Topstone Gravel Bike

Cannondale Topstone Gravel Bike

The Cannondale Topstone is Cannondale’s all-new, recently announced a line of affordable and adaptable alloy gravel bikes. This is probably one of the best gravel bikes on the market right now that is affordable to almost everyone. With generous clearances, rack and mudguard mounts and a comfort-focussed geometry, on paper at least, the Topstone looks like an ideal bike for touring, gravel racing and year-round road riding.

But what makes this affordable yet fairly unadventurous gravel bike one of the most important of 2018? This bike is a gravel grinding, road riding sportive bike thrown into one.

An aluminum frame with a full carbon fork and massive tire clearance makes this a superb choice for those who want the best of both worlds in road biking and gravel grinding threw into one bike for a considerable amount of cash.

Add a dropper seat post for those tricky descents, and you are looking at a really well-equipped gravel bike that can take you almost anywhere.

The SRAM Apex1 drivetrain makes gear selection simple. Add to that a 40-tooth chain ring and an 11-42 11-speed cassette, to give you an excellent choice at either end of the spectrum. This group set also gives you a well balanced and reliable shifting selection without paying a premium price normally associated with top-flight components.

Hydraulic disc brakes are standard as you would hope for on a gravel bike, and they provide powerfully, precise braking under all conditions.

To complete the package, we have WTB i23 rims, fitted with excellent quality and gravel smooth 40mm WTB Nano TCS tires to take away the rough surfaces of the gravel or dirt tracks.

Reviews of the Cannondale Topstone Carbon

Bikeradar

Bicycling

CX Magazine

Trek Checkpoint SL 6 Gravel Bike

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

This is Trek’s first truly dedicated gravel bike named Checkpoint. It is a lightweight OCLV Carbon frame with ISO speed coupler and a full Shimano group set. Trek has come late to the scene of gravel riding, which for an American brand is most unusual as Specialized recognized the sport as early as 2016 with their Diverge range of bikes.

This is the top-of-the-range £3,400 SL6 model and reviews are not all in favor as it seems to be viewed as not quite a gravel bike as the gearing is too tall, and the tires are not wide enough (35mm) shipped with the bike (which is what I run on my gravel bike and find superb), and the front end too stiff.

I am not sure that all reviews will view these as bad points as Road CC has done. See their review below.

Pros: Versatile, space for wide tyres, IsoSpeed

Cons: Tall gearing, stiff front end

First things first. Despite similarities too many 650b/700c swappable bikes like the Open U.P. or 3T Exploro, namely the dropped drive side chain stay, the Checkpoint was designed for 700c wheels alone. But Trek didn’t let that impede the tire volume.

While many, like our Checkpoint SL6 test bike, will ship 35mm Schwalbe G-One All around tires, the bike can straddle 28mm to 45mm knobby tires with ease, while running traditional road gears.

Reviews of the Trek SL 6 Gravel Bike

Bicycling

Bikeradar

Road CC

Store Finder

Mason Definition 2 Rival 1X Gravel Bike

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

One of the best looking bikes on here and priced accordingly

Mason Bikes are a UK brand that came onto the bike scene around 4 or 5 years ago with the original Mason definition.

This is the Mason Definition 2 Rival 1X that has been brought bang up-to-date with thru-axles front and rear in place of the quick releases. As you can see from the photo above the bike is a beautiful piece of modern alloy design that is really well made.

This bike is perfect for using to travel on your daily commutes to work, or for those gravel trips through the forest on the fire tracks, or to go out with your mates on a long road ride. They design it for all day riding.

The Mason Definition 2, SRAM Rival, 1X build underlines the ‘Progressive’ nature of the brand name. Durable, smooth shifting coupled with the superb SE4SON performance of modern hydraulic disc-brakes and the uprated Definition frame set.

This would be a nice bike fitted with a sram red eTap group set.

1X setups don’t drop chains in rougher situations like double/triple ones. I can confirm this as I have a SRAM 10-speed chain set fitted to my gravel bike. It is superb and never misses a beat.

The gear cable has to be perfectly aligned though or you may have problems in 1st gear when the cable is at its tightest and it slips down a gear when you are climbing hills of over 71%.

Reviews of the Mason Definition Gravel Bike

Cycling Weekly

Road CC

Gran Fondo – GREAT REVIEW

Canyon Grail CF SLX 8.0 DI2

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

One of the best gravel bikes you can buy at a decent price. If you can find one of these now in 2021 that has been well looked after it could be a bargain.

Stable on the rough, agile on the smooth, the Grail CF SLX 8.0 Di2 features our most advanced gravel frame set plus a full Shimano Ultegra Di2 group set with RX clutch technology.

Some bikes have the potential to truly open your mind from the first ride, the Grail CF SLX 8.0 Di2 falls firmly into that category. Lighter than most road setups, yet with a geometry and components that make it truly capable over rough terrain, it’s like a swiss army knife on wheels. Mountain biker or roadie, all riders can unite behind the Grail CF SLX.

Pivot Vault Gravel Bike 2018

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

Around $4300 – Weight 20lbs or 9 kilos – Carbon – 700×48 Tire Clearance

This is my favorite looking gravel bike and one of the best gravel bikes out there today. What a stunner this is. They design this bike with everyone in mind. Sportive challenges, road racing with your mates, any gravel path or track you want to throw at it, and cyclo-cross events with extra large tires needed.

It fits the bill for all of them and looks stunning. It also comes in at around 9 kilos, which is a very light and capable bike considering they fit it with gravel specific tires.

Fitted with Shimano ultegra gears, which for me are not ideal in winter conditions when I will use my own gravel bike a lot, and feel they should deck it out in SRAM eTap as an option. This is one of the best looking bikes available for 2018 and would be at the top of my list of wanted if it was available with a SRAM option.

Reviews of the Pivot Vault 2018 Gravel Bike

Bicycling – Great Review

RedKitePrayer

CX Magazine

Pivot Vault Dealer

Scott Addict CX RC Gravel Bike 2018

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

$3,800 – 18 lbs – 8 kilos – Carbon frame – 40mm Tires

The Addict CX RC is Scott’s only true, cyclo-cross race bike, and it’s built for hardcore crossers and new racers alike. The SRAM Force 1 drivetrain offers precision shifting on a budget, and the simplicity of the 1x drivetrain is ideal for cyclo-cross.

The full-carbon fork has plenty of mud clearance and a tapered steerer, so it’s ready to tackle the sloppiest courses you can find and will chew up frozen ruts typical of winter racing. Replaceable dropouts are a welcome addition, and the thru-axle system makes changing wheels quick and easy—with no tools.

Syncros RP 2.0 Disc aluminum clinchers are great for training or as entry-level race wheels, and at just over 18 pounds, this bike is light, stiff, and ready for action./p>

The Addict Family

While the Addict CX RC may be Scott’s only true cyclo-cross race bike, the Addict family crosses over into the world of gravel.

The Addict Gravel 20 ($3,700) has the same carbon frame as the CX RC, but with an Ultegra 8000 2x drivetrain and a changed, full-carbon fork (with less mud clearance than the CX RC fork).

The Addict Gravel 30 ($3,100) has the same frame and fork as the Gravel 20 and features Shimano 105 11-speed components.

Reviews of the Scott Addict Gravel Bike

Bicycling

GT Grade Gravel Bike

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

£2,700 – Weight 8.8 kilos –

The GT Grade Gravel Bike is the flagship model of the GT range but is now a little dated compared to some gravel bikes we have listed here. So much so I cannot find enough reviews to add to the review section here. This bike has been around since 2016 and not really updated, but still a well sought after bike in the UK market.

Reviews of the GT Grade Gravel Bike

Road CC

GIANT REVOLT ADVANCED O 2019

Giant Revolt Advanced 2019 Gravel Bike

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

The Giant Revolt Advanced 0 has just hit the dirt and appeared on the scene with a Shimano Ultegra build and Giant carbon rims. The company claims clearance for tires up to 45mm wide, and both the frame and fork have rack and fender mounts.

The Revolt Advanced takes the slack geo approach to gravel, with a head tube angle of 70.5 degrees and a wheelbase of 103.6cm on a Medium frame with a 55cm top tube. The downward-sloping top tube and low seat stays create small triangles that Josh Berry said help with the long-distance comfort during his 2nd place at Dirty Kanza 200 in June 2018.

Reviews of the Giant Revolt Advanced O Gravel Bike

CX Magazine

Road CC

Kona Rove 2019 Gravel Bike

Kona Rove AL LTD

Top 25 Best Gravel Bikes 2019

Kona Rove LTD – $3599 – Weight 27 lbs – Reynolds 853 Steel Frame

The Kona Rove AL LTD is kitted out with some decent parts for those who like to feel the steel between their legs. The top of the range Kona Rove LTD features a Reynolds 853 steel frame with a carbon fork. Add to that the SRAM Force 1 drivetrain and you have a beautiful steel frame capable of taking you anywhere.

Frame Material: Reynolds 853 Cromoly

Fork: Kona Full Carbon Flat mount CX Race Disc

Wheels: WTB Asym i23 TCS 650b

Crankset: SRAM Force 1

Drivetrain: SRAM Force 1 11spd

Brakes: SRAM Force 1 160mm front / 160mm rear rotor

Seat Post: Kona Thumb w/Offset

Cockpit: Kona Road Bar/Kona Road Stem

Front Tire: WTB Horizon Road Plus TCS 650x47c

Rear tire: WTB Horizon Road Plus TCS 650x47c

Saddle: WTB Volt Comp

The Rove Family

All Kona Roves share the same geometry capable of fitting both 700c and 650b wheels and rear rack mounts. The model for which is the top-end Rove LTD features a Reynolds 853 steel frame, carbon fork, 650b wheels, and SRAM Force 1 drivetrain for $3,599 (also available as a $1,499 frame set).

Also notable is the $1,099 Rove DL, which upgrades the base frame with fenders, TPR Spyra dual-piston disc brakes, and a Sora 9-speed drivetrain. The urban-oriented bike would make an excellent all-conditions commuter.

Reviews of The Kona Rove Gravel Bike

Bicycling

Bike Packing

Road CC – Kona Rove DL

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