The spread of the gravel bike: adventure and fun


The market has seen the spectacular emergence of gravel bikes in recent years. An increasing number of enthusiasts are opting for the purchase of this type, not to mention the increase in competitions or non-competitive events. Gravel road are dirt or non-asphalted paths, so the construction philosophy of these bikes starts from the assumption that they are suitable for such routes.

Everything was born, as very often in the world of bicycles in recent times, in the USA where the love for two wheels is combined with vast natural spaces with the presence of long dirt roads. And then the introduction of fascinating races in many American states characterized by paths in the boundless nature, without too many altitude difficulties and on rather compact eartyhy roads, which can easily overcome 100 miles up to the Ultra races such as the Trans Iowa that exceeds 500 km!
The stars and stripes manufacturers have therefore launched on the market a type of bike specialized for these routes, which however is also excellent for use on asphalt roads.
About 4-5 years ago the first gravels arrived in Europe and now it is a well-known product of many houses. Temporary fashion? Carefully planned commercial strategy? We believe not: the numbers prove it to us, but above all the constructive analysis of these bicycles.

The technical characteristics of gravel bikes

In general, the basic concept to start from are road racing bikes which are modified in some basic elements to obtain strength and solidity without sacrificing too much speed. An eclectic two-wheeler that combines road bike, cyclocross and touring characteristics. Obviously on the market we find a wide range of gravel bikes ranging from 500-600 Euros for entry models up to over ten times as much for top-of-the-range bikes.
The frame, depending on use and price, can be steel, aluminum or even carbon. However, what differentiates it from its road-racing cousins ​​is its geometry. A slightly more "comfortable" structure: slightly higher head tube, less steep down tube and longer rear stay (up to 20 mm), to ensure a posture that is not "lying down" as in road racing, but more raised on the saddle. This translates into comfort for tackling dirt roads and greater readiness on bumpy roads. The greater weight of the frame is needed for strength, but as mentioned, those who opt for gravel do not seek the exasperation of road racing bikes.

The wheels are 28 ”, the same size as the road, but what changes are the tires: larger section (30-35 mm) and you can opt for a more or less “clawed” tread pattern. The brakes are obviously disc brakes and the transmission is designed ad-hoc for rough routes with the presence of gravel, dust or mud (long rocker arm and high shifting fork). Furthermore, the ratios are more agile than the road cousins: the combination of 50/32 tooth chainrings is quite common, but the single chainring is becoming increasingly popular, with sprockets from 10-11 up to 34. In the case of the BMC URS 1 One, top of the range of the Swiss manufacturer, the largest sprocket is a frying pan-like 50-tooth!

The major manufacturers such as Trek, Giant, Scott, Cannondale, BMC, Triban all have more gravel models in their list. Let's see some proposals:

The Scott Speedster Gravel 40 has an aluminum frame, disc brakes and Shimano group with CS-HG500 # 10 11-32 cassette and double chainring at the front. An excellent mid-range vehicle at a price just over 1200 euros.

Moving up the category to the top of the range, we meet the Giant TCX Advanced Pro 1 model 2021. Carbon frame, sturdy Giant SLR-2 42 wheels fitted with 33mm all-terrain tubeless tires and the Shimano Ultegra group, 11x34 with single chainring. The price is 3799 Euros.

Fun, adventure and more

In conclusion, a bicycle that is easy to use and not exasperated, robust and solid. You can travel many kilometers on road and on unpaved paths, preferably with hard and compact surfaces: gravel, light mud, compact earth. Obviously they are not made for difficult off-road and/or with important altimetric differences: for these routes the various MTBs are still the most suitable. However, gravel bike has a versatile use: there are those who use it mainly on asphalt (with ad-hoc tires) to have more strength and maybe save money compared to a very special road racing model. There are those who use it for mixed routes, those for adventure or even short trips: some models can install luggage racks and luggage racks and even indicators and mudguards. Finally, those who opt for the purchase of these bikes for the numerous gravel events that are beginning to appear in Italy. These are the multi-day events halfway between cycle tourism, adventure and pure challenge: among the most popular we remember the Veneto Gravel (690 km and 3900 m in altitude), the BAM of Mantua and the Tuscany Trail Experience.

Cycling more in contact with nature, adventurous and with a touch of re-enactment of the past, when gravel or dirt roads were the norm, not the exception. A love for the heroic era of cycling, and perhaps more authentic, that the world of road professionalism does not disdain: just look not only at the success of the Strade Bianche and the classic-monumet Roubaix, but also at the fascination for the ancient of less known races such as the Paris-Tours which takes place among the dirt roads of the vineyards of the Loire, or the Tro-Bro Léon in Brittany which takes place on large stretches of ribinoù, characteristic paths with an earthy terrain.

Fabio Strufaldi

Similar Blogs

eBike world: the most popular electric models
The evolution of electric bikes has revolutionized the way we experience mobility and the pleasure of cycling. These modern engineering works combine the strength of human legs with the power of electricity, creating a perfect combination of technology and tradition. In this article, we’ll walk you through the hottest e-bikes of the moment, breaking them down by specialty. Whether you are an urban, off-road adventurer or a long-distance enthusiast, you will surely find the perfect model for you.   E-bike from City: Style and Sustainability Urban e-bikes are experiencing a golden age, with new models that combine style and sustainability in a surprising way. Designers and engineers are committed to creating sleek, fluid, contemporary electric bikes that blend seamlessly into urban life. These e-bikes not only meet the need for an ecological alternative to traditional transport, but represent a statement of intent towards a more conscious lifestyle. The adoption of eco-friendly materials and high-efficiency batteries underlines the commitment to an ecological alternative. In addition to the green look, city e-bikes offer an unparalleled driving experience, making daily journeys a pleasure. Whether you’re heading to work or exploring the city centre, these ebikes represent a step into the future. Some models stand out for their style and integrated sustainability. Renowned brands like Brompton with its Electric, VanMoof’s S3 & X3 series, are redefining the concept of urban mobility. Equipped with powerful batteries and quiet engines, these bikes offer an indispensable smooth riding experience in the city. Features such as intuitive displays, intelligent connectivity, integrated closures and GPS anti-theft alarm system make them reliable and safe companions. Attention to detail is evident in models such as the Cowboy 4 and the Stromer ST5, with minimalist details and high quality materials. While these e-bikes offer a premium experience, many brands are working to keep prices affordable, making this marriage of sustainability and style within reach of a wider audience. While luxury e-bikes like the Stromer ST5 can reach a higher price, there are also cheaper options such as the VanMoof S3 & X3 and the Cowboy 4 that offer exceptional performance and refined style at a lower price, making the e-bike city experience for everyone.   E-MTB: Off-Road Adventures Boosted If off-road is your passion, electric mountain bikes are the answer. To date E-MTB are redefining the concept of off-road adventure. They combine the power of electric assistance with the agility of a traditional MTB. Steep climbs and adventurous descents become more accessible thanks to powerful engines and long-lasting batteries. Models like the Specialized Turbo Levo and Trek Powerfly are taking the off-road experience to new heights. The Specialized Turbo Levo offers a perfect combination of power and control thanks to the Brose engine and integrated battery, which guarantee smooth acceleration even on challenging terrain. The Trek Powerfly, on the other hand, shines with its lightweight but durable aluminum frame, coupled with the powerful Bosch engine. Both models introduce features such as high-quality suspension and the integration of high-end components for a superior riding experience. High-end e-mtbs like the Turbo Levo can come at a higher price, but they are an ideal choice for mountain bikers looking for excellent performance. At the same time, there are more affordable options like the Powerfly Trek that still offer an amazing riding experience without breaking the budget. In both cases, these E-MTB are opening new doors to a new frontier of off-road.   Trekking e-bikes: Unlimited travel Trekking e-bikes have become the ideal companion for those who love off road on two wheels. Designed for long-range exploration, models like the Explorer Adventure Plus allow you to tackle epic journeys with ease. High capacity batteries give you a long life, while intelligent electric assistance allows the rider to adapt to any terrain. From urban roads to dirt tracks, with these bikes you can explore new terrain without limits. Intelligent electric assistance on trekking e-bikes is one of the most significant innovations in the world of electric bicycles. This advanced pedal assist system automatically adjusts the amount of power delivered by the electric motor based on pedaling intensity and path conditions. In practice, when cycling with more force or uphill, the system detects the rider’s commitment and provides more power to help overcome the obstacle. On the contrary, when cycling with less effort or downhill, the assistance is reduced or even interrupted, allowing the cyclist to work only with his own strength. This intelligent technology not only optimizes the efficiency of the electric assistance, but also helps to extend the battery life. Because the power output adapts dynamically to your needs, you can travel a greater distance with a single battery charge. To date the market a wide range of models to choose from, ranging between various price ranges and technical characteristics, but can all offer high standards of versatility and comfort. Not to limit your riding experience. The Bosch Trekking ebike stands out for its reliability thanks to the Bosch motorization system, which offers a smooth and adjustable assistance according to the needs of the cyclist. The Giant Explore E+, on the other hand, is appreciated for its comfortable geometry and the integrated EnergyPak battery that guarantees a longer battery life. Both of these Trekking e-bikes have various mounting options for accessories, making them ideal for long rides. As in any other industry, high-end models offer cutting-edge features and higher-quality materials, while driving up prices. However, there are also cheaper options like the Bosch Trekking ebike, which can still guarantee an exceptional driving experience and remarkable performance. Regardless of the model you choose, these Trekking e-bikes open new horizons to riders always ready for exploration that do not want to set limits.   Folding e-bikes: Compact, But Uncompromising Folding e-bikes represent a brilliant evolution in the landscape of urban mobility, the essence of versatility. Their practicality is undeniable: the ability to bend them in a few moments makes them extremely versatile, adapting to any situation. This makes it the perfect choice for dealing with the daily challenges of big cities such as using public transport, storage in confined spaces or even car transport. The growing popularity of folding e-bikes is due to several reasons. First of all, they respond to the needs of a constantly changing life, in which mobility becomes increasingly dynamic. They are ideal for those who want to avoid traffic, save time and at the same time contribute to the environment with a zero-impact vehicle. Compared to other e-bike models for the city, the folding bikes are distinguished by their practicality in parking and transport. While classic e-bikes require adequate parking spaces and are sometimes more difficult to store, folding bikes can be stored easily in the office, at home or even in public places, without taking up too much space. Designed to meet the challenges of big cities, offering user assistance with electric motors. Leading brands such as Brompton and Xiaomi are proposing models that combine practicality and style. Models such as the Brompton Electric and the Xiaomi Himo Z20 boast integrated engines and batteries, ensuring smooth service even on the toughest climbs. These e-bikes introduce an intelligent approach to mobility, with smart connectivity and dedicated apps that allow you to monitor battery status and adjust assistance. While the Brompton Electric ranks among premium models, offering a personalized driving experience and iconic design, the Xiaomi Himo Z20 stands out for its affordable price without sacrificing cutting-edge performance. Whether you seek the elegance of Brompton or the convenience of Xiaomi, folding e-bikes are the trendy choice for uncompromising urban travel.     Electric bikes are the new frontier of sustainable and adventurous mobility. Whether you want to navigate the city’s streets, challenge off-road trails or embark on epic Trekking adventures, there is an e-bike model for every enthusiast. With a combination of eye-catching design, state-of-the-art technology and enhanced performance, these bikes give you the opportunity to explore the world with a touch of electricity. Choose your ideal e-bike and start discovering new horizons without limits.  
02-08-2023 Read Read
Guide to buying a used bike: tips and tricks to make the right deal
Buying a used bicycle can be an advantageous choice to save money without sacrificing quality. However, it is important to proceed carefully to avoid nasty surprises and make sure you make the right deal. In this guide we will give you useful tips and tricks to keep in mind when buying your next used bike. Because without worries you ride much better.   Set your budget and needs Before you try your hand at finding a used bicycle, it is essential to understand what your needs are and determine your budget accordingly. Keep in mind the specialty you want to practice: road, MTB, cycling, or other. Each discipline has its own specific characteristics; based on your preferences you can focus on specific models by limiting your search options.   Search online and visit markets Online research is a great starting point to understand what the market can offer and at what price. Explore ad sites, specialized cycling platforms, and local social media sales groups. Don’t forget to visit the flea markets: you can often find real bargains. Warning: Be especially careful about tempting offers. In the choice of the seller favors those with positive reviews.   Check the status of the bicycle When you find a bike that interests you, it is important to carefully check the general status. In particular, check the wear of tyres, brakes, and chain. Inspect the frame for any dents, cracks, and particularly marked signs of wear. Make sure that the main components are in good condition, or at least if compared to the sales cost, and that there are no missing parts.   Try the bicycle If possible, it is always best to try the bike before buying it. Feel free to ask the seller to take a short ride to evaluate the comfort and handling of the bike. Pay attention to any abnormal noise and especially to the efficiency of the gearboxes. A practical test will help you understand if it is the right bicycle for your needs.   Request the maintenance history Ask the seller about past maintenance. A well-maintained bike will have undergone regular maintenance. To further confirm, you could always request invoices or documents that attest the work done, so as to have a complete picture of the status of the bike.   Beware of scams In the world of online shopping it is always important to pay attention to fraud. Rely only on secure platforms and vendors rated as reliable. If the deal looks too good to be true, it might hide some nasty surprises. Avoid making advance payments, use secure intermediaries like Paypal, and always prefer to meet in person to complete the purchase.     Summing up, buying a used bicycle is often a great way to save money, as well as encouraging the growth of a circular economy, but requires a long and meticulous research. Even just to evaluate the many models on the market takes time. Thanks to this short buying guide you will have nothing to worry about: with the help of our simple tips, conveniently schematized in six simple points, you will be able to take home the perfect deal for you. You just have to try. Leave a comment telling us about your experience!
31-07-2023 Read Read

Filter Blogs

go to top
Coming Soon