Things should be considered before choosing a gravel bike


gravel bike

A gravel bike is a variety of bikes that many people consider as the ‘adventure road’. In short, it’s a lightweight bicycle with wide tires and a flat handlebar that allows you to ride on unpaved roads. It is suitable for those who love cycling but have no intention of being in a competitive form.

What is a gravel bike used for?

A bicycle parked on the side of a lake

Gravel bikes are suitable for anyone who loves cycling but has no intention to be in a competitive form. A gravel bike allows you to feel the wind when riding through unpaved roads that are not too tiresome or difficult like a mountain bike. And unlike a road bike, you can ride on all kinds of unpaved terrain while being extremely comfortable so you don’t need to worry about your back and butt pain.

A long-distance cycling marathon is what gravel bikes are best at. However, many people use it for touring even if they ride short distances or go to work through unpaved roads.

What should be considered before choosing a gravel bike?

A man riding a bike down a dirt road

1. Tire width:

Width is one of the most important features to look at when choosing a gravel bike. Basically, the greater width of tires means more comfort and stability on unpaved roads. The width of the tire affects not only its stability but also its riding speed on paved roads. Road racing bikes have narrow tires between 23mm to 32mm while most touring bikes are 28mm or wider.

2. Frame material:

Frame material must be considered carefully. The most widely used materials are aluminum, steel, titanium, and carbon fiber (CFRP). There are many pros and cons of the listed materials. Aluminum is used for its best strength-to-weight ratio but can easily be dented if you fall off your bike. Although it is strong enough, steel has slow acceleration because it’s heavy so it’s not used for race bikes.

3. Number of gears:

Gears, often referred to as speed or derailleur, play an important role when choosing a gravel bike. Most bikes have either 3 gears in the rear wheel or 8. 3-speed bikes are easier to use for beginners because they have fewer things that can go wrong and are also easier to assemble when broken. However, these bikes might not be suitable for long rides as you don’t get any lower gear for climbing hills.

4. Brakes:

When choosing a gravel bike brakes should be considered carefully as it is one of the most important components of a bike that lets you stop safely if needed. Rim brakes are the most common type of brake found on road bikes, touring bikes, and many mountain bikes. They work by using a brake pad mounted to the wheel rim to pinch the moving tire so lowering your speed.

5. Handlebars:

When choosing a gravel bike, handlebars should be considered because they allow you to control the maneuverability and comfort of your bike. Flat bar (also known as riser bars) is often found on mountain bikes, cross-country bikes, and many hybrid bikes. They have a wide grip surface for more stability when riding over rough terrain. The only drawback of these types of handlebars is that they can be a little uncomfortable when riding for a long time.

6. Saddles:

When choosing a gravel bike, saddles should be considered as they can affect your comfort and control of the bike. Most bikes have either a regular saddle (often referred to as “diamond frame”) which is suitable for the commuting type of bikes or a sprung saddle (often referred to as “banana seat”) which is often found on road racing bikes.

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