Gravel bikes – the hot new thing?

If you've been into a bike shop or browsed cycling websites in the last year you'd have seen and read all about gravel bikes. Gravel bikes are the new hot thing in cycling, but what's the big deal?

Basically, gravel bikes are great for doing a lot of things. They make a good bike for exploring gravel roads and dirt tracks obviously, but they also make great commuters, light touring bikes and, at a pinch, do a decent impersonation of a road bike.

While they look superficially like a traditional road bike from a distance – drop handlebars, 700c wheels and a slightly sloping top tube – up close they are quite different. 

On a gravel bike you’ll find:

  • wider tyres, typically 32-45mm wide
  • lower gearing making them better for riding up steep hills
  • a longer wheelbase compared to a road bike making them more stable
  • the frames often have the capacity to mount racks, mudguards and extra drink bottles.
Focus Atlas 6.7 gravel bike
Focus Atlas 6.7

Changing the tyres on a gravel bike can really change its personality. Equip some 42mm knobby tyres and you can tackle some fire roads and smooth easy mountain bike trails if that’s your thing, tough 35mm tyres and they make a good commuter, or light, supple 32mm slick tyres and they won’t feel too out of place on the road. Some gravel bikes will even have tyre clearance for 27.5×2.1″ mountain bike tyres to let you really go off-road.

Norco Search XR A Flat Bar gravel bike
Norco Search XR A Flat Bar

Even if you have no intention of riding off-road a Gravel bike could be a great commuter bike. They’re faster than a traditional hybrid but more comfortable and stable than a road bike.

There’s a good reason they’re often called “quiver killers” because they can replace multiple bikes; a commuter, road bike and touring bike all in one.

Want to see what all the fuss is for yourself? Drop into our Goldsbrough Lane store to take a look at our gravel bike range.

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