A less known type of bicycle, even among active cyclists, a gravel bike, like its name suggests, is a bicycle used for riding on gravel terrain and is most similar to a road bike except for some minor changes here and there.
If you’re unfamiliar with a road bike, their distinct features are drop-down handlebars and slick, skinny tyres. Gravel bikes have the same drop-down handlebars, but they have better disc brakes, and their tyres are wider, with knobby tread to suit gravel terrain.
The drop-down handlebars on gravel bikes help the cyclist get a better posture to improve aerodynamics, while wide knobby tyres to provide traction needed for pavement, gravel or dirt.
The brakes on a gravel bike are also better than those on a road bike and comparable to those on a mountain bike, which utilises disc brakes to provide better stopping force for gravel terrain.
Gravel bikes also come with no or only front suspension, which tries to minimise the power loss when pedalling on road surfaces while still retaining some suspension to handle rougher terrain.
Why choose a Gravel Bike?
If you’re the type of person who cycles on the road and sometimes goes off the beaten path, the gravel bike is the bike for you. As a middle ground between a road bike and a mountain bike, though it isn’t suitable for extreme off-roading, it can surely handle a good variety of light terrain.