All about Gravel Biking
Gravel biking is above all a state of mind, cap under the helmet, satchels and going for adventure. The discipline was born on the North American continent. People passionate about road biking and MTB decided to mount tires with studs on their road bikes in order to be able to ride "Off Road" with their road bikes. The result? A very playful bike, able to ride on gravel or dirt trails and roads.
Everyone can practice Gravel, and it is this accessibility that makes it so successful. We can however isolate three typical profiles of riders:
- The road bike enthusiast who wants to venture off-road and break a certain routine.
- The mountain biker that wants to have more fun on flat trails and on climbs with a lighter bike.
- The traveler who enjoys discovering new regions/countries with his bike in bikepacking or touring mode.
Each of them will find a different way to enjoy Gravel Biking. The mountain biker will discover the pleasure of riding without having the impression of towing a trailer and the road bike enthusiast will discover the pleasure of riding in the trails, with the soft sound of the forest and the smell of nature.
Which Gravel Bike to choose?
The main characteristic of a Gravel Bike is its frame, which is similar to a cyclocross bike frame. There are carbon, aluminum and steel frames. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages.
A few examples to make it clearer:
- You wish to acquire a Gravel bike to discover the sport? Choose a Gravel bike with an aluminum or steel framemore affordable.
- You have been riding road bikes for a few years and you want to discover the pleasure of riding on trails? Opt for a carbon frame. The rigidity of carbon will give you the same sensations as a road bike when climbing.
On flat or slightly rough roads, the Gravel bike has a behavior worthy of the best XC bikes. Its wide handlebars will allow you to feel at ease in the turns and corners.
Gravel bikes are often mounted in tubeless on 700c wheels. The wide and often slightly studded tyres will give you grip on gravel and dirt roads.
Trails, dirt and gravel give your bike a particular strain when you are going downhill. That's why you'll find hydraulic or mechanical disc brakes on 90% of Gravel bikes.
The drivetrain is a choice that is made according to the usual rider's habits. It is good to know that a 1x12v drivetrain like SRAM Eagle is lighter and more ergonomic since it does not have a front derailleur.
The choice of a bike is made according to your desires, your needs and your budget. We advise you to choose a bike with a good development range so that you are not limited in your riding and also with enough clearance on the frame to be able to fit wide tires.