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    How to choose a gravel bike?

    Robert Ferri
    Robert Ferri
    Apr 26, 2024 9 min
    How to choose a gravel bike?

    Suppose you are considering purchasing a gravel bike. However, you are facing a vast market and often do not know where to begin. Do not panic, our gravel bike expert, Robbie, is here to assist you with his gravel bike buying guide.

    Firstly, you must ask yourself the right questions about your expectations and how you will use the bike. Then, consider which gravel bikes appeal to you. Do you have favorite brands, designs, or colors? Next, it is time to filter more pragmatically with questions about price, size, availability, and quality. Let's look at this together.
    How to choose a gravel bike?
    How to choose a gravel bike? Read our guide!

    First thing first: define your needs

    A gravel bike isn’t like any other type of bike. It’s incredibly versatile, great for lots of different kinds of riding, and generally good for replacing multiple bikes. But ask yourself this question: why do you think you want to buy a gravel bike?

    Searching for the one-do-it-all bike?

    In times when cycling is seeing a lot of new technology, which often comes at a high price, many cyclists would rather put their money into one bike they can use all year round. On gravel bikes, you also have the ability to swap parts such as wheels to adapt them for the ride you're doing. 

    You want to explore unpaved roads?

    It’s not about having a new type of bike for a new discipline. It’s about having a bike that can do some of everything and bring you many new, exciting routes and challenges. You can also be part of an amazing, hugely growing gravel community online.

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    How to choose a gravel bike
    Can you feel the call of the roads away from the cars?
    Find out on our blog the best places where to buy a bike but also when to buy a bike to get the best prices of the market.

    Most important: what do you expect from your new gravel bike?

    When it comes to choosing a new gravel bike, there are many options available, and it can be quite overwhelming. There’s a lot you are going to want to look out for, and by doing your research, you can give yourself the best experience possible. Here are the questions you need to ask yourself.

    Do you check these boxes?

    • You want something exciting, fast, and fun to ride.
    • You need to improve handling and confidence when riding off-road.
    • You search for something comfortable with larger tires and relaxed geometry?
    • You want to open yourself to a whole new set of routes and trails.
    • You think about adventure riding, bikepacking or bike touring.

    If your answer is yes, then rest assured, a gravel bike is the bike for you.

    What will you use the gravel bike for?

    The question to ask yourself is what you will use the gravel bike. Depending on the make and model, gravel bikes have a very mixed range of abilities. Some are designed as off-road monsters, and others for light trails. 

    If you plan on riding mostly roads and the odd light trail, a road gravel bike will be more suited to you. If you are mainly going to be on trails, a more off-road gravel bike will be the better option. There is also the option of an all-rounder. 

    If you want to start bikepacking, we have made a selection of the best gravel bikes for bikepacking and a guide on how to choose a bike for bikepacking.

    Are you a commuter too?

    If you are seeking a gravel bike versatile enough for both athletic adventures and daily urban commutes, several models cater to precisely this need. These bikes strike an ideal balance between performance and adaptability, typically featuring dynamo lights and mudguards to ensure a clean arrival at your destination. Moreover, many include a convenient integrated luggage rack, perfect for carrying your work or shopping essentials.

    gravel bike in the city
    Having lights, a mudguard and a luggage rack can be useful in everyday life

    What components do you need?

    Now, depending on which gravel bike to buy, it will come with different component options. Here’s a good explanation of what components you will want depending on the type of gravel bike you use. This can be further explained gravel bike buying guide if you want to know more.

    Different components for different types of gravel bikes


    Road Gravel

    All Rounder Gravel Bike

    Off-road Gravel Bike


    Road Bike Shape

    Road Bike Shape

    Mountain Bike Shape



    700c / 650b



    35c to 42c

    38c to 45c

    42c to 52c






    Standard Road

    Light Flare

    Heavily Flared




    Frame And Forks



    2X / 1X


    Disc Brakes




    As you can see above, you now know what to look for on a gravel bike, depending on your riding style. Another great gravel bike buying guide tip is to go for components from well-known brands, which many other riders choose. Shimano and SRAM are excellent when it comes to gearing. 

    Is carbon frame relevant for a gravel bike?

    Carbon frames can be suitable for gravel bikes due to their lightweight, compliance, and stiffness advantages. They offer enhanced performance and comfort, especially for endurance rides or racing. However, they tend to be more expensive and may lack the durability of metal frames. Ultimately, the choice depends on personal preference, budget, and riding style.

    Do you have a budget?

    Next, it’s important to establish a budget when it comes to how to choose a gravel bike. When searching for a new gravel bike, it’s good to have a price in mind. If you go in unsure of what you want to spend, you often end up spending too much or too little. 

    The second-hand gravel bike market is amazing. On buycycle, you have the advantage of buying second-hand but without the worry of getting something that isn’t quite right. You will save a lot of money going down this route.

    So, think about a budget, stick to it, and look for the right bike for you. You might choose between $1000 and $1500 or go up to $3000 to $4000. Whatever is realistic for you is going to be the right amount. 

    gravel bike
    On buycycle, you can find a gravel bike for affordable prices

    It is time to filter your choice!

    Do you already have a favourite brand?

    So once you know what you want and have the budget you know you will spend, it’s time to start looking. It would be ridiculous for us to advise you to look only at the practical and technical aspects. Of course, the look of the bike is just as important as the rest. So start by looking at the brands you like and see if their bikes match your technical criteria.

    Make sure to choose the right size

    Gravel bikes have sizing and this is vital when it comes to how to choose a gravel bike. It would help if you were on the correct size bike, or you will not have a very good experience riding. The information you need is on the manufacturer's website. 

    Do you want any particular design?

    If you are eyeing a green gravel bike, especially since green happens to be your favorite color, and you have already got all the cyclist gear to match, here is a helpful filter for your bike search: Don't forget to ensure your green dream also ticks all the technical boxes.

    We have detailed reviews on the Rose Backroad and the Rose Backroad FF.
    You can enter all these attributes into the filter on buycycle, and it will list the gravel bikes that are the right size for you, the correct brand, and within your budget.

    Women gravel bike?

    While it's true that few brands offer women's models, they do exist! These bikes are tailored to women cyclists with adjusted geometry, saddles, and available sizes. Choosing a women's model ensures greater comfort and supports brands dedicated to providing options beyond the male-centric cycling perspective.

    Amongst most popular Women's gravel bikes, we have the Canyon Series Grail and Grizl, Decathlon's Triban Grvl or the Cube's Nuroad.

    women gravel bike
    The canyon grail for women is one of the most popular bikes in its segment

    What to avoid when buying a gravel bike

    When it comes to getting the right gravel bike for you, there are some things we highly recommend that you avoid. 

    • A gravel bike without disc brakes
    • A bike too focused on sport when you only wanted to ride for leisure
    • The other way round: a bike not sporty enough for your skill level
    • A bike which is the wrong size for you
    • Something that could be a replica 

    How about some tips from our expert Robbie?

    When first buying a gravel bike, I highly recommend getting something basic. It will give you time to see if the bike works for you and then if you find you have really taken to gravel biking it’s a good idea to sell you bike through buycycle and then purchase something better later. 

    There’s nothing wrong with buying an all singing all dancing bike straight up if you don’t want to go down this route. We often get asked which is the better road or a gravel bike. Surprisingly many distance road riders choose gravel bikes for the extra comfort.

    So, which one will be your new gravel bike?

    Now you know how to choose a gravel bike. Gravel bikes are an amazing tool to have when it comes to cycling - it is very versatile and can be use as a touring bike as well as road bike. They are a lot of fun to ride and open you up to so many different routes. Make sure to check out our amazing bikes, which we have available on our marketplace, and check out our great blog for more articles like this.

    gravel bike couple
    Enjoy your new gravel bike and gravel friends!