The Finest Gravel Bikes of 2023: Workers Picks

by jpc_touring-bicycle

Gravel biking, as soon as a distinct segment racing style, has most undoubtedly arrived. Past the asphalt confines of many American cities lie a whole lot of hundreds of miles of unpaved rural and forest backroads. And all of that’s the realm of the gravel bike. Riders of all stripes are going there, and bike manufacturers have taken notice. Typically, gravel bikes forgo suspension in favor of wider (and grippier) tires, and have drop bars for improved aerodynamics. These bikes are sporty sufficient to zip over pavement and stout sufficient to rumble over terra not-so-firma. Getting the using place excellent is difficult: Riders want to have the ability to lean in for pace, but additionally stand up for consolation and steadiness. Fortunately, loads of bikes are constructed for simply such a activity.

We requested our bike specialists to share their prime picks for the very best gravel bikes at REI Co-op, and these rides bridge the asphalt/outback divide in some revolutionary methods.


Workers Picks

For fast suggestions, take a look at our roundup beneath, or scroll down for extra in-depth critiques.


Body materials Aluminum

Wheel/tire dimension 700c x 38mm

Drivetrain Shimano Sora 2×9

Brakes Tektro mechanical disc

For newbie gravel riders who’re fascinated with exploring again roads and rail trails, it doesn’t get a lot better than the approachable Salsa Journeyer Sora 700. What makes it the very best gravel bike for newbies? For starters, the bike’s sloping prime tube permits for a really low standover peak, which suggests getting on and off is a breeze. Moreover, the reliable Shimano Sora 2×9 drivetrain provides a variety of gears that work equally properly for grinding up steep climbs because it does cruising down hills. We additionally love the bike’s quite a few mounting places, which implies that in a single day journeys are honest sport with the Journeyer.

Different noteworthy options of the Salsa embody a hardwearing aluminum body, fender mounts for wet-weather commuters, and the flexibility to experiment with 650b wheels and tires (not included) must you need to combine issues up sooner or later. Lastly, the tubeless-ready WTB rims and Teravail Washburn tires supply a pleasant mixture of fast-rolling pace on tarmac and management off-road. In the end, the Salsa Journeyer Sora 700 will meet you the place you’re at in your gravel journey and received’t maintain you again for no matter your biking future holds. Purchase right here.

Body materials Aluminum

Wheel/tire dimension 700c x 40mm

Drivetrain Shimano GRX 800 1×11

Brakes Shimano GRX 810 hydraulic disc

Wish to get into gravel using however unsure what kind of using you’ll most need to do? Then we expect the do-it-all Co-op Cycles ADV 2.3 is probably the most versatile bike for the job. The aluminum body is sturdy and might simply deal with the abuse that comes with loaded bikepacking journeys. In the meantime, the internally routed dropper put up is a good match for technical washboard gravel descents (shortly reducing the seat permits for extra management). The ADV 2.3 is considered one of few gravel bikes with a dropper seatpost, which instantly offered Cori Wright, a transport lead within the REI Conway, New Hampshire, retailer. “What! A gravel bike with a dropper put up. I want this bike. Using round here’s a smorgasbord of highway and path surfaces, and this bike can go in every single place I need to journey.”

Moreover, the high-end Shimano GRX 800 collection 1x drivetrain is straightforward to function and best for navigating metropolis streets or gravel roads. Outfitted with highly effective hydraulic disc brakes and grippy 700 x 40c WTB Nano tires that may be arrange tubeless, the ADV 2.3 doesn’t draw back from occasional singletrack trails. Becca Hawk, a senior copywriter at REI, takes hers on solo gravel jaunts and bikepacking journeys on a mixture of gravel, highway and singletrack, and her bike “dealt with it superbly.”

Brandon Thomason, a gross sales lead on the REI retailer in Boulder, Colorado, provides: “I’ve watched pals use this bike for every little thing from in a single day bikepacking adventures to gravel racing to day by day commuting. This bike has allowed them to develop of their biking information and uncover the thrill afforded by the less-traveled gravel roads and lightweight singletrack.” Purchase right here.

Body materials Aluminum

Wheel/tire dimension 700c x 37mm

Drivetrain Shimano GRX 2×10

Brakes Shimano GRX 400 hydraulic disc

Hitting that candy spot between low value and high quality elements is at all times difficult, however Cannondale delivers with the Topstone 2, making it probably the greatest worth gravel bikes at REI. For about $2,000 you get a high-quality aluminum body and carbon fork (one thing Cannondale is well-known for), a smooth-running Shimano GRX 400 drivetrain full with hydraulic disc brakes, and tubeless-ready wheels and tires from WTB. Moreover, the Topstone 2 has loads of mounting places for bottles, gear and fenders. Briefly, the Topstone 2 checks all of the containers for a contemporary gravel bike and is the right match for many riders, all with out breaking the financial institution.

JP Zamarron, a retail specialist on the REI retailer in New Hampshire, says all these options, mixed with a flexible design, “make the Topstone a improbable possibility for the rider seeking to discover roads with blended surfaces in addition to moving into bikepacking.” Purchase right here.

Body materials Carbon

Wheel/tire dimension 29 x 2.2 in.

Drivetrain Shimano GRX 600 1×11

Brakes Shimano GRX 400 hydraulic disc

Whether or not you’re eyeing a neighborhood overnighter leaving from the home or gearing up for a month-long journey, it’s arduous to beat the Salsa Cutthroat GRX 600 for lengthy days within the saddle. The formidable Cutthroat has been designed from the bottom as much as excel off the overwhelmed path and is constructed for two-wheeled adventures, making it our decide for bikepacking.

Particularly made for America’s longest off-road biking route, the Nice Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR), the Cutthroat has a bunch of thoughtfully appointed bikepacking options to see you thru your subsequent outing. Beginning with the light-weight carbon body, Salsa tuned the Cutthroat to scale back vibrations and take in small impacts from tough roads, all within the title of bettering consolation mile after mile. Subsequent, you’ll discover sufficient clearance to suit 29 x 2.4-inch tires with room for mud to move by, which may cease smaller clearance bikes of their tracks. “It is only a well-rounded bike, so versatile,” says REI content material producer Dustin Kingman, who goes on common 50-mile jaunts on it.

The Cutthroat additionally provides a full suite of mounting places for bikepacking baggage and kit. (Salsa sells body baggage particularly sized for the Cutthroat lineup, which benefit from coveted space for storing.) Lastly, the Shimano GRX 600 drivetrain is understood for its reliability and the hydraulic disc brakes present loads of stopping energy for lengthy mountain descents. Purchase right here.

Body materials Metal

Wheel/tire dimension 700c x 38mm

Drivetrain Shimano Deore 3×10

Brakes TRP HY/RD hydraulic disc

For probably the greatest gravel bikes for touring, look no additional than the thoughtfully designed Co-op Cycles ADV 1.1. Standout touring-specific options embody a smooth-riding metal body to take the sting off tough roads, and the upright using place to make sure you keep comfy hour after hour (or day after day). The ADV 1.1 can be neatly spec’d with a variety Shimano 3×10 drivetrain—which incorporates a very simple gear for ascending mountain passes when loaded down with baggage. When you’ve had your fill of breathtaking views and resolve it’s time to go down the opposite aspect, the highly effective Tektro hydraulic disc brakes do an incredible job of sustaining pace and management. “This bike is the suitable mixture of high quality within the elements and development that you would be able to confidently journey lengthy distances with out a lot concern,” says one customer-reviewer who carried 42 kilos of substances for 282 miles with no issues.

Additional touring-specific options are the included entrance and rear racks, in addition to spare spokes mounted to the chainstay (in case you have to make a roadside restore). Lastly, the low-tech bar finish shifters are identified for his or her simplicity and reliability, but are simple to service within the discipline ought to the necessity come up. Not solely does the ADV 1.1 make a beautiful touring bike, however all these options and traits make it an incredible bike to commute on as properly. Purchase right here.

Body materials Carbon

Wheel/tire dimension 700c x 45mm

Drivetrain 2 x 10 Shimano GRX 400

Brakes Shimano GRX 400 hydraulic disc

Trying to drop some weight out of your bike and enhance journey high quality within the course of? Then we expect the not too long ago up to date Cannondale Topstone Carbon 4 is a best choice. The Cannondale units itself other than the competitors in two methods. First, the Kingpin rear suspension system supplies as much as 30mm of journey on the saddle and an distinctive degree of versatility. The suspension successfully takes the sting off jarring potholes, guaranteeing an exceptionally comfy using expertise with out including plenty of weight. Whether or not you’re lining up for a gravel race or just cruising round city, it’s simple to reap the advantages of the Topstone’s rear suspension.

When it comes to versatility, it’s additionally arduous to match the good construct package and strong set of body options discovered on the Topstone Carbon 4. The wide-range Shimano GRX 400 drivetrain works equally properly for steep climbs and quick group rides. Moreover, the plethora of mounting factors on the body and fork can carry days’ price of substances and meals must you need to strive your hand at bikepacking. And dropping weight doesn’t sacrifice hardiness on this case. The entrance and rear fender mounts are nice for wet-weather commuters, and the high-volume 45c tires present a great deal of traction and float over the roughest of gravel roads. Purchase right here.

Body materials Carbon

Wheel/tire dimension 700c x 42mm

Drivetrain 2 x 11 Shimano GRX 810

Brakes Shimano GRX 810 hydraulic disc

With roots courting again to about 2013, the Salsa Warbird could maintain the title as the unique gravel race bike. Quick ahead 10 years, and the fourth-generation Warbird GRX 810 nonetheless has “all the specs that professionals and efficiency lovers are in search of,” says Brandon Thomason, our gross sales lead in Boulder. Should you’re going to spend all day within the saddle, consolation must be excessive in your must-have record. That’s the place one of many predominant speaking factors of the Warbird is available in: Its Class 5™ Vibration Discount System (VRS) helps scale back rider fatigue brought on by micro-impacts from tough roads.

Alan Bundy, a motorbike store service lead within the REI Wichita, Kansas, retailer, says his Warbird has carried out very properly in a number of totally different circumstances, even on highway. He says it is best for “anybody who needs a motorbike that may allow you to go as fast as you’ll be able to over any kind of gravel floor.” One other staffer who has logged hundreds of miles in gravel occasions through the years describes it as “merely one of many quickest, smoothest bikes on the market.”

Different event-ready highlights embody a smooth-shifting 2x Shimano RX810 drivetrain and highly effective hydraulic disc brakes, a number of mounting places for feed baggage and water bottles, and the flexibility to run a suspension fork (offered individually) for exceptionally tough routes. Lastly, the Warbird GRX 810 2x is on the market in a whopping seven sizes that vary from 49 cm to 61 cm, becoming riders from about 4’9” to six’3” and up, guaranteeing a correct match. Purchase right here.


Store All Gravel Bikes 

Shopping for Recommendation for Gravel Bikes

Due to their versatility, gravel bikes typically enchantment to riders who don’t need highway floor to restrict their route alternative, in addition to to commuters and bikepackers. Gravel occasions are very a lot a factor, too. Many are additionally endurance epics, which implies that a gravel racing bike is absolutely only a automobile for going tougher, longer.

For a extra in-depth information with shopping for suggestions, be taught extra in our article Select Gravel Bikes.

Think about the next components when selecting a gravel bike:

Body Supplies

Carbon, aluminum and metal are your predominant decisions for body supplies.

Carbon bikes just like the Cannondale Topstone Carbon 4 and the Salsa Warbird are sometimes lighter weight and take in vibration although at a extra premium value than aluminum bikes.

Most aluminum frames just like the Co-op Cycles ADV 2.3, the Cannondale Topstone 2 and the Salsa Journeyer Sora 700c Bike present a really {smooth} journey. They’re typically cheaper than carbon fiber. Most aluminum-frame highway bikes include a composite (carbon fiber) entrance fork to soak up some highway vibration and provides an improved journey high quality. 

metal bike body just like the Co-op Cycles ADV 1.1 tends to be heavier than both carbon or aluminum, however provides the smoothest and most vibration-absorbing journey. In addition they are usually extra sturdy and cheaper than the opposite body supplies.  


Gravel bikes which can be nearer to highway bikes in geometry will sometimes have faster and extra nimble dealing with and be extra aware of steering enter at increased speeds. These frames normally accommodate tires as much as 40 mm large and take 700c (highway bike diameter) wheels. Bikes on this finish of the spectrum have head tube angles which can be about 71 levels or increased, and are well-suited for longer organized occasions or on a regular basis off-road using, together with quicker group using.

Gravel bikes nearer to mountain bikes in geometry can be extra steady at excessive speeds. They’re meant to be succesful on rougher or tougher terrain, together with simple singletrack trails, and to journey properly whereas loaded with gear. They’ll typically take both 650b (27.5-inch diameter) wheels or the standard 700c (29-inch).


Wheel dimension: Greater 700c (29-inch) wheels make it simpler to keep up pace; smaller 650b (27.5-inch) wheels supply extra maneuverability and might settle for wider tires. The entire bikes in our lineup have 700c wheels, although some are additionally accessible in smaller wheels.

Tires are a key determinant for the terrain a motorbike can deal with. The broader the tire, the extra succesful a motorbike. Wider tires supply extra cushion and grip; narrower tires may have extra rolling momentum. Gravel bike tires can vary from 32 mm to 50 mm (1.25 inches to 2 inches) large for 700c wheels, or as much as 54 mm (2.1 inches) large on 650b wheels. They arrive in a wide range of treads for varied circumstances.

Different Concerns

Gearing: A choice you’ll make when shopping for a gravel bike is whether or not you need a 1x (“one-by”) or a 2x (“two-by” or “double”) crankset. That is the componentry that the pedals flip to rotate the rear wheel by way of the chain. 1x (11-speed) drivetrains are simpler to shift and require much less upkeep as a result of they’re much less advanced; 2x (22-speed) setups enable you preserve vitality over lengthy distances and lengthy hill climbs.

Brakes: All dependable modern-day gravel bikes include disc brakes, which function brake pads that grip onto a brake rotor mounted to the wheel hub. They’re most popular for off-road using as a result of they’re far superior to rim brakes when it comes to energy and all-conditions efficiency. You’ll be introduced with the choice of hydraulic or cable-actuated brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes supply somewhat extra stopping energy and management; mechanical disc brakes prevent a couple of {dollars} off the acquisition value.

Body Mounts

Gravel rides typically happen alongside dust and gravel roads in distant areas, so these bikes sometimes embody further body mounts, that are locations to connect bike baggage, water bottles and fenders. They’re useful in case you’re planning to commute, journey in gravel occasions, or go bikepacking the place you may should be self-supported for hours and even days. Nonetheless, not all bikes embody further mounts. Pay attention to these options and think about what sort of using you’ll be doing earlier than making a shopping for resolution. 

Discover the Right Bike Body Measurement

Gravel bike fashions can be found in a number of totally different body sizes. It is very important get the suitable body dimension on your physique so you will really feel extra comfy and higher deal with the bike.

Like highway bikes, gravel bike body sizes could also be expressed both in centimeters—which measures the size of the seat tube—or the extra generic XS by XL dimension vary.

Most bike manufacturers present a sizing chart itemizing body dimension primarily based on rider peak. If a chart lacks peak ranges, then measure your “biking inseam,” which is the space from the ground to your crotch whenever you’re carrying biking footwear. Then look within the dimension chart for a standover peak that’s about 2” greater than your biking inseam—that’s your bike dimension. To be taught extra, learn Bike Becoming Fundamentals.

See all Gravel Bikes on

You may also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

The Finest Gravel Bikes of 2023: Workers Picks  
Villiers de l’Isle-Adam *  Lipstick Queen Rouge à Lèvres Frog Prince *  Delson ZU1N Bongo Naturel *  *-* Erreur : SQLSTATE[HY000] [1045] Access denied for user 'jpc_theglobe'@'localhost' (using password: YES)The Finest Gravel Bikes of 2023: Workers Picks *The Finest Gravel Bikes of 2023: Workers Picks