In this article, you’ll find about the best gravel bikes ranging from $500 to $2000. Regular bikes are pretty good for plain roads and leveled terrains but once they are faced upon by bumpy roads or muddy patches, they lose their effect. Not only they make you uncomfortable but will also get damaged which causes loss of your money too. Adventure or Gravel bikes emerge as a great balance between a hybrid bike and a mountain bike. It is sturdier than a road bike, and faster than a mountain bike with the integration of enhanced comfort.
Their flexibility to conquer all types of terrains, absorb vibrations for a smoother ride and go fast on leveled roads make it a popular choice among bike enthusiasts. Let us first discuss the top features of potential best gravel bikes for the money of 2019, as we did in a similar article of best hybrid bikes for the money and best road bikes under $500.
Hybrid Bikes vs Gravel Bikes
Gravel bikes are generally drop-handled and tend to move equally well on dirt roads as well as on flat roads whereas hybrid bikes are usually flat handled and are meant for dual purposes like cursing and fitness or commuting and adventures.
What Features Should Good Gravel Bike Possess?
1. Space for Bigger Tires
While normal endurance bikes have 32mm tires, gravel bikes have larger space for tires in the frame with some accommodating even sizes of 55mm. Larger tires account for a more comfortable ride, is less prone to do flat and can go over bumps and obstacles easily.
2. Availability Of Disc Brakes
Modern gravel bikes are largely converting their braking option to disc brakes because they are more powerful, much efficient and more reliable. It is better to have both front and rear disc brakes but some models provide a single rear disc brake with a front caliper brake or vice versa.
3. Allow Upright Sitting Posture
The gravel bikes are meant to move smoothly on plain roads as well so they have a geometry that allows for an upright sitting position. The design of the front fort and the saddle are such that it can be adjusted according to the heights of the riders to keep their spine straight.
4. Eyelets on the frame
Better models contain eyelets on the frame to hold your items like carrying bags and water bottles.
Best Budget Gravel Bikes Under $2000, 1500, 1000, 500 Dollars
Check out below, the detailed reviews on the top 10 best gravel bikes for the money.
1. Raleigh Tamland 1 [Best Gravel Bikes On A Budget]
This first bike of the list comes from Raleigh that is providing exemplary models to their customers for more than 100 years.
They seldom come up with bikes which are questioned for their reliability and quality. Tamland 1 is a great gravel bike that features a simple, stable frame design.
The frame is fashioned out of Reynolds 631 Chromoly steel with modern 12mm thru-axles. The fork is made of carbon with an alloy steerer. The Reynolds steel is very durable and is been used in bikes for a very long time.
The integration of carbon and aluminum alloy reduces the weight of the bike and grants it more strength in the fork area and flexibility in the steerer. Aluminum is also more convenient to clean.
It comes with 700cx40 tires but has clearance for up to 45mm. The tread of the tires allows good traction. As for the eyelets, it contains bosses for two water bottles, fenders, and a rear rack.
It contains Shimano 105 2×11 speed shifters which can be employed to go over hilltops and past bushy areas. The R7000 Shimano front and rear derailleurs give a superior gear ratio to be used for a wide range of speeds and in different situations.
The TRP spyre mechanical disc brakes allow for a strong stopping power that is not sudden to jerk you off your seat. The handlebar with drop handles can be adjusted and have a 12-degree flare with snug hand grips to avoid hand sore. They look visually appealing and give a strong grip.
The height of the saddle can also be adjusted according to the desired posture and the height of the rider and it also has a reflector behind it. It weighs 24 pounds and comes at a very affordable price.
Tamland 1 arrives with a fully understandable instruction manual and a warranty. The assembling may take 2 hours if you are a novice so it is recommended to get it assembled by a professional.
2. Diamondback Haanjo [Best Gravel Bikes Brand]
This is an elegantly designed bike with a unique color but loaded with usability too. It combines the versatility of gravel bike and the design elements of a racing bike.
The frame and the steerer are both manufactured with carbon and this is the highlight of this model. Carbon is a lightweight and strong material which is machined perfectly by Diamondback to be bent in stable and upright frame design.
The flat mount carbon disc fork has 12mm thru-axle which is very brawny and can easily sustain the bumps of off-road terrains.
The degree of flexibility in terms of eyelets is very high on this bike. There are slots for fenders and rear rack attachment along with bosses for a front rack and mountain bike cranks.
It can fulfill your desire of loading up the bike with bags of supplies when going for an adventure ride or a picnic uphill with your friends.
The tires are 27.5 inches in diameter and 2.1 inches in thickness to allow smooth access over bumps but the reach is just 37cm which creates a problem for long riders or riders with very short heights. The longer ones get a slouched posture while the shorter ones find difficulty to reach with comfort.
The cables of the shifters and brakes are connected internally in the frame for a cleaner look.
As for the build, it features a Shimano Deore M591 triple crank with 11-34 cassette allowing for greater flexibility and ease of transition.
The front and rear derailleur are great in performance as well along with the bar-end shifters. They are specifically designed for lon0distance and remote adventure riding.
The mechanical disc brakes and the fully padded drop handles make tough rides smooth too. There are raised and widely spaced treads on the tires that disallow any loose gravel to be stuck in between the gaps and it can go over slimy mud and hilly roads with obstacles quite easily.
The pedals are wide enough and all of this makes a great gravel bike for adventure riding. It is more on the expensive side but is surely a long-lasting investment that poses no running problems.
3. Tommaso Illimitate Gravel bike [Specialized Gravel Bike]
This is a highly durable, effectively geared and significantly stable bike which is just the right combination one looks for in a gravel bike. Priced reasonably and supported by warranty, this model is a potential top pick for many customers.
The matte black frame is fashioned out of aluminum with a carbon fork for enhanced vibration isolation. The cables are neatly tucked with clippers and are equipped for connection offenders, rear racks and bottle holders.
The design is simple and compact that permits uninterrupted power transmission so that the bike can cover every terrain, be it craggy hilltops or roughly constructed gravel road.
It has a full Shimano Tiagra drivetrain with a 34/50T crankset and 12-28T cassette. All of the components are Tiagra which makes it one of the finest bike drivetrains of this list.
They can allow a large range of speeds and impeccable shifting so that you have absolutely no problem when ascending mountainous tracks that require successive changing of gears.
The front derailleur is placed conveniently on the front of the handlebar where it can be reached easily. It works together with the drivetrain to offer superior performance.
The 700x40c tires feature TC-40D rims with 32 strong spokes that work equally good in the rain, sunlight, dirt, and mud. Neither do they get bent when going over obstacles nor get loose.
The handlebar is dropped at just the right angle with a flat section in the middle of the bar so that no strain transfers on the hands and wrists. WTB Volt Saddle is cushioned and designed to be ridden for hours without body fatigue and is supported on a TRS Performance seat post.
The Avid BB5 disc brakes compensate for elevated levels of stopping power. Combine it with good customer service, and you cannot seem to stay away from this incredible ride.
4. Mongoose Selous [Top Gravel Bike Under 1000]
Mongoose has a long history of bike manufacture and many experts have rated Selous as one of the best of their models. So what makes it so likable?
It has a double-butted aluminum frame with a carbon fork just like the previous model and a tapered head tube. This gives a smooth turning capability, especially on sharp turns. The frame design has a good balance between rigidity and flexibility.
The wheels are Alex 700c with thru-axle hubs that perform great in all conditions. The rims are a bit lean to our liking but strong and the tread is pretty standard with nothing special in their design. The drivetrain is a good mix of Shimano and FSA.
It features FSA Gossamer cranks with 34/50 tooth rinds and Shimano 11/32 cluster which gives a considerable god gear ratio. The shifters are STRS hydraulic and they work in combination with the derailleur to deliver an uninterrupted shifting of 2×8 speeds.
Hydraulic Shimano disc brakes work just fine although there were complaints of them being in a non-working condition that was due to improper connection. The saddle could have been improved because it is a bit lean from the back side and hard to sit on.
The carbon frame with its shock-absorbing quality, the upright frame with its stable configuration and the drivetrain with effectual performance makes it a good value bike for the money.
It weighs 24 pounds and can be effectively used for long commutes over highways, as fitness bike to shed weight and as an off-road bike with smooth riding experience.
5. Raleigh Willard 2 [best steel Gravel Bike For Adventure]
This is dug deep in a dark green color with light green portions enhancing the beauty. It has a durable built, can be taken off-road with effect and has the backing of an established company’s name.
It has a steel frame with a carbon fork to absorb the vibrations. Carbon has a layered structure with space to take in the impact force without being fractured.
It includes front and rear thru-axles for increased responsiveness and greater strength. Both these components work together to sustain the weight of the rider and the impact forces resulting from bumps on the roads or unleveled terrain.
The drivetrain includes FSA Omega Cranks and Shimano derailleur which enables a good gear ratio and needs very little maintenance. The 9×2 Shimano speed shifters allow a wide range of speeds to be employed for every on-road and off-road condition and gives you the freedom to ride according to your mood.
Sometimes, you would feel riding extremely fast to ward-off the frustration of work while the other time, you would want to cruise along on a low constant speed and enjoy the dusk’s calm wind; this bike will give you all.
The tires are Clement 700x40c with a good tread to provide strong gripping power and the TRP mechanical disc brakes enable stopping in even wet weathers. It features Prologo Kappa Evo saddle and while sitting on it, you might feel a bit long but in a good way, it gives good climbing traction and greater speed stability.
The handlebar can be altered in terms of angle and the drop handles are just the right reach but they are much curved which makes gripping them a bit of a hassle.
There are mounts for fenders, two bottles, and rear rack as well. The package arrives 90% assembled which is a huge plus because hours can be spent on the assembling process.
Overall, this is a god-budget bike when we talk about $2000 range because it is about halfway there and can be trusted to provide a long run of a comfortable ride on multiple terrains.
6. Schwinn Vantage RX2 [Lightest Gravel Bike]
Characterized as an exquisite adventure and gravel bike, Schwinn doesn’t lag behind in the supply of any sort of bikes. The RX2 is an utter combination of utility, adventure ride features, and beauty.
The bike appears in a classic blue and black aluminum frame with a carbon fork. The frame looks standard till we reach the rear side where it transforms into curvy bars and that’s where its distinctive feature lies.
Schwinn smooth ride technology features an elastomer suspension between the seat stays and the seat tube. This allows a 15mm flexibility and aids in the augmented absorption of vibration and shocks.
While you go over grassy highlands, gravel-lined paths or rocked roads, you wouldn’t feel the bumps because of this excessively effective suspension system. It provides optimal comfort on all sorts of landscapes.
The Shimano 18-speed drivetrain gives you the freedom to conquer the distance and heights on variable speeds while remaining stable and comfy over the whole ride.
It gives a decent gear range which you can employ going uphill or descending downhill. The comfort bars are further raised by Continental sport II 35C tires that are supported by Alloy DP21 alloy rims. These provide strength to the wheel and the wide tires give stability to the rider.
More contact area with the surface reduces the amount of applied pressure on the tires and their chance of going flat reduces.
If we talk about the handlebar, it is Ergo endurance and gripped with rubber to avoid hand fatigue and wrist pain. The TRP Spyre C mechanical disc brakes are an improved quality in terms of responsiveness and power.
They keep you safe in all conditions. Their best feature is the equal effectiveness in wet conditions. The RX2 has been tested by experts and adventure riders and have been raving.
They come in all sizes but should have a thru-axle for complete strength package which comes across us as a shock because, for a company like Schwinn, this consideration wouldn’t have gone unnoticed.
7. Mongoose Elroy [Cheapest Gravel Bike 2019]
If you want an extremely inexpensive adventure bike with ample storage space, this is the bike for you. It is available in under $500 and equipped with a front rack and a carry bag.
It has a stylish alloy frame that is geometrically stable and strong. The fork can absorb the vibrations but not to the amount that a carbon fork can.
It contains a frame bag that is integrated on the upper arm of the frame. You can store tools, snacks, or other carrying items here. It even features a front rack with storage spaces on both sides of the central beam.
It is fashioned out of steel, bolted rigidly to the frame and can hold plenty of your off-road commute items.
The internal cable routing further leaves the space for attachment of water bottle holders on each leg of the frame. Such opportunities of storage options on a cheap bike is a big ask and Mongoose does this ever so perfectly.
It comes with 2×7 Shimano Tourney derailleurs and Microshift speed shifters to allow for multiple speed ranges on roads and when ascending hilltops.
The 700c tires have durable rims and mechanical disc brakes to account for instant stop. The saddle is a bit lean and could have been more comfortable but you can ride it for hours before feeling body fatigue.
The drop handles are padded to prevent hand fatigue and can be adjusted to about 30 degrees. This is an ultimate off-road bike which is also suited for riding on roads.
8. Populo Quest 16 Speed Gravel bike [Best Gravel Bikes For Daily Use]
Manufacturing of comprehensive urban and gravel bikes is the specialty of Populo and this 16-speed bike is a perfect example of it. Highly inexpensive and well equipped with features, this will provide you with relaxed riding experience.
The frame is cast out of a combination of Chromium and Molybdenum metals which are intermixed in professionally advised ratios to prepare a mixture of highly durable alloy. This can withstand high weights and minor scratches. Moreover, it can be used effectively in rains because it will catch rust neither will it become weak.
The double-butted frame contains well-welded connections and the company has done a decent painting job on it with a contrast of pink and white overlying the black base for a clean, gentle look.
The drivetrain is all Shimano and permits a range of 16 speeds which can make urban commutes swift and ascending mountainous trails effortlessly. The gear ratios are good and well tested. A cool feature is the presence of front wheel quick release which enables you to is engage the front wheel for easy and fast storage.
This becomes very helpful when you have to store bikes of all your friends in a single camp on higher altitudes. It can be disconnected with a simple pull and be connected back.
What good is a bike if it cannot be stopped quickly in case of traffic or an unexpected obstruction.? The 160mm Tekro disc brakes grants goo stopping power to the bike and account for high performance and wholesome commuting experience.
There are front and rear rack mounts along with fender bosses for attachment of extra features but that will increase the weight of the all-ready heavy bike. It weighs 35 pounds which makes it hard to carry.
The Velo Venture saddle is comfortable and well-cushioned and the drop handlebar allows for a good riding posture. Of course, it can be adjusted by loosening the screw according to the height of the rider. This bike is best for riders having heights of 5’6’’- 6’2’’ and is available in different sizes.
9. GMC Denali Pro Road [Best Gravel Bikes For Tall Riders]
This is another visually appealing and precisely equipped gravel bike with a bright yellow color flashing over the glossy black paint that will thrill you and your friends but is it all looks?
The 22-inch aluminum frame is strong and built with a comfort-considered geometry. You can push this bike over unfriendly terrains with trust. Customers rated the durability of this bike high as some incurred the first issue with the frame after 6-7 months.
The arms are welded together perfectly and the fork is rigidly connected as well. It has a stylish bottle holder to keep you energized and hydrated over long commutes.
Now we come towards the drivetrain. It features a 16-speed micro shift drivetrain with speed shifters that are in close range of normal hand grip. You don’t have to worry about attaining a special sitting posture for changing the speeds rather it comes to you naturally.
Even some expensive gravel bikes focus so much on the quality of the derailleur that they seem to forget that speed shifters must be in the correct place. GMC Denali looks upon this consideration closely and you can focus on the road and track without worrying that your hands will get away from the shifters. They give you good gear ratios and a wide range of speeds.
It doesn’t have disc brakes which is the major drawback of this model. The company seems to have covered this by integrating high-power dual pivot brakes that have the power to stop the bike if it is going over the top speed with minimal stopping distance but the effect that is not sudden.
The stainless steel spokes of the 700x25c tires prevents the risk of rust. The tires are smaller than usual gravel bikes but this does no harm to the stability and the grip of the bike. It can be assembled with ease and have been credited with very good reviews on Amazon with 70% people rating it above 4 stars.
10. Tommaso Aventura [Best Gravel Bikes For Road]
The second model of Tommaso and an equally good one! Well priced and well equipped. It offers a lifetime fork and frame warranty which gives you an idea of the quality we are talking here.
The all-black aluminum frame is incorporated with a carbon fork for shock absorption capability and better damping. It offers a smooth and stable ride and has mounts for bottles, rear rack, and fenders.
The value is further increased by the well-assembled drivetrain. It features 18 speed Shimano Sora groupset with the 50/34T crankset and 11x30T cassette.
Now this combination places the rider on high standards of all-terrain travel coupled with versatility in speed and gear options. Shimano parts make sure that the transition from one speed to another is uninterrupted and the crankset seldom encounters any problem.
The tires are 700x40c which are big enough to access any terrain. They contain a tread which promotes healthy grip, stronghold, and smooth traction.
The combination of 28 spokes and TC-30D rims increases the tire’s durability and prevents it from going flat and the frame wheel from being bent due to bumps and obstructions. It is integrated with Avid BB5 disc brakes for all-weather superior stopping power.
Overall, the high durability of the frame, the versatile speed and gear ratio and the better tire design makes this model a great value gravel bike for the money. You can rely on this model in all situations. It is however 35 pounds which is a bit heavy.
Although the parts are of good quality but when you would be needing replacement of them, it wouldn’t come cheap so it’s good if you take good care of them.
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Last update on 2019-08-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API