Gravel bikes are getting popular day by day! Because of its versatility, durability, and performance, it creates hype in the cyclist community. Although it belongs to the road bike family, it is replacing road bikes for having some distinct features; if you don’t know why! This post is for you.
Today I will discuss how gravel bikes differ from road bikes or you can say gravel bikes vs road bikes. You are also going to know why a gravel bike is better than a road bike. I will answer some popular FAQs about the gravel bike in the last.
By the way, Schwinn Volare 1400 review was our previous post. Feel free to dig into it.
What is a gravel bike?
You can classify bikes on which terrain, profile, and distance it suits. For example, road bikes are suitable for roads. It is perfect for short or long-distance races and commuting. Like this, gravel bikes are for gravel roads. It is also ideal for riding on-road and wherever you want. It has more gear options and a durable frame. That offers you to ride a long-distance ride. Those are the things that make it more versatile than any bike.
Let’s introduce some unique features of a gravel bike that differs from a road bike.
Road bikes aim to provide an aggressive fit, whereas gravel bikes offer a comfortable geometry. Let’s talk about it. Road bikes focus on the speedy ride while gravel bikes ensure a comfortable and stable geometry for a long ride. Having the most similarities with an Endurance road bike, it has a longer wheelbase, longer head tube, and shorter top tube. The aluminum and carbon frames in road bike’s are for a lightweight experience. Another side, gravel bikes have heavy aluminum or steel to make them survivable in any condition. At this point, it is more like a touring bike than a road bike. But, the difference is it is not too heavy as a touring bike.
A gravel bike has wider tires than most road bikes have. It has 30 to 40 mm wide tires, often up to 42 mm. It is not as fat as MTB’s 55-60mm tire but enough to ride on any surface. Moreover, it gives extra comfort to the rider and allows you to ride on a rough surface with ease. Road bikes have thinner tires (23-25mm) with less grip, ensuring a smooth and speedy ride on-road. But the narrower tire is not safe on a rough road.
Gravel bikes provide more gearing options so that you can get excellent handling in different situations. 16-20 speed drivetrain is very common in gravel bikes. It helps you to go uphill without any tension. Moreover, it ensures excellent control and a comfortable ride for beginners. It is how this versatile bike differs from a road bike.
Gravel bikes have wider tires, as I said before. Another exciting feature of it is the disc brake. We all know disc brakes are more efficient and versatile than rim brakes. Moreover, it ensures greater tire clearance that offers you to eliminate unexpected sounds from rims and brakes. Yet, disc brakes are safer than rim brakes. It has more stopping power and works well in all conditions like rain or dirt.
Road bikes are for faster rides, whereas gravel bikes are for riding long. That’s why manufacturers try to make road bikes as lightweight as possible. On the other hand, gravel bikes are made robust and heavy. As a result, its survival rate increased. Moreover, heavy bikes are suitable for long-tour or adventure. It doesn’t mean you can use it as a touring bike. I wanted to say that it is heavier than a road bike but lighter than a touring bike. You can go for a short or medium-distance tour with it.
Most popular FAQs about gravel bikes
1. Is a gravel bike a road bike?
Though it has some apparent differences from road bikes, it belongs to the road bike family. Asking why?
Gravel bike has a drop handlebar as road bikes have. Though it has some features like a mountain bike, It doesn’t have suspension and fat-tire like MTBs. Besides, it is more suitable for road riding than hill climbing.
So, it has different characteristics from a road bike and an MTB as well. But, it reflects more of a road bike than an MTB.
2. What are the differences between a gravel bike and a cyclocross?
A gravel bike has many similarities with a cyclocross. As a cyclocross has versatility and durability, you can remark it as identical to gravel bikes. But both are not the same. Cyclocross has more aggressive geometry and a shorter wheelbase. You can bang a racing track or explore local roads with a cyclocross. Moreover, you will get greater ground clearance for a higher bottom bracket. That means no obstacle or tree root can stop a cyclocross. The tire width of cyclocross is limited to 33mm, due to crossroad race regulations.
3. Are gravel bikes and adventure bikes the same?
A popular myth about gravel bikes!
Though gravel bikes are often called adventure bikes, they have some subtle differences. Adventure bikes are also known as WTB (Wilderness Trail Bikes). A steel frame is typical in WTB. It is heavier and more durable than gravel bikes. What makes it suitable for longer touring and journeys.
4. For what gravel bikes are suitable?
This bike is perfect for comfort and long-distance rides. You can use it as an endurance bike too. Anyone can use it for commuting, light to medium touring,bike-packing, and almost everything they want. This all-around bike fits in any stuff you can do with a cycle. But, I suggest not to go for a heavy hill-climbing as it has no suspension.
5. Is it worth getting a gravel bike?
From the above post, you understood about gravel bike vs road bike. Also, you learned why it is better than a road bike. With road bikes’ unique features, it gives a versatile performance in every situation. Moreover, disc brakes and durable frames are impressive things you are getting in those bikes. In conclusion, it is an excellent option for beginners and amateur riders who want to experience all terrains with comfort and speed.
However, if you like our posts feel free to check out Freaky Cyclist every Saturday at 7 PM. If you are a hardcore cyclist check out our latest advice. Till then goodbye.