Best gravel bikes? We’ve got you covered. You’re likely already to be more than competent on road and you’re done with fashionable mountain bikes. Gravel bikes are on a whole other level. The very best machines are specifically designed for the most challenging of conditions, for terrains and slopes high and low, as well as high speed on tarmac. Key is keeping the weight down, while providing for the control and stiffness you’ll want around the most challenging of corners.
Comfort is critical, because you’re going to need all your wits about you as you tackle tougher and tougher routes. High-end manufacturers source their components - gear sets, brakes, saddles, tyres - from specialist makers. Result is that there's a bewildering array of choices around, so we’ve scoured the market to find the seven best gravel bikes now. We’ll be right there too, in the comfort of the support SUV.
Best gravel bikes in 2024
Canyon Grail CFR Di2
You’re going to be in good company if you choose this impressive machine from our pick of the best gravel bikes. Top-of-the-line offering from German obsessives Canyon has multiple competitive wins under its belt, not least as ridden by gravel hero Caro Schiff at Unbound, the annual long distance event in Kansas. CFR stands for Canyon Factory Racing, a designation only attached to the company’s most capable offerings, and given this is Canyon we’re talking about, that’s saying a lot. Frame is in super lightweight carbon with integrated tube storage, robust forks are in carbon, too. Tyres are super-specialist Schwalbe G-One RS Evo, carbon-reinforced saddle is Fizik Terra Argo X1, the professionals’ choice. Kansas, here we come.
Giant Revolt Advanced Pro 0
The world’s largest bike manufacturer has pulled out all the stops to give the Revolt maximum ability whatever the surface you’re tackling, putting it near to the top of any list of best gravel bikes. Frame and forks in high-end advanced composites offer toughness and light weight. Adjustable wheelbase - longer for speed, shorter for rough stuff - adds to appeal. Mounting points carry bikepacking kit, electronic shifting is by Shimano. Giant say the Revolt is bike of choice for professionals, not least because it’s adjustable for conditions and riding styles. D-Fuse seatpost offers comfort without any sacrifice to the stiffness needed for sprints and cornering. Hydraulic brakes mean you’ll stop easily too.
Liv Devote Advanced Pro
Liv, owned by Giant, takes pride in being the only cycling brand in the world devoted solely to women’s cycling, a stance underlined not only by its company structure and designs but also by its widespread sponsorship of women’s cycling events. As the company puts it: “when it comes to product design, we start with women’s data”. The Devote is one of the company’s best gravel bikes, designed for both high-speed street riding and the most challenging of gravel conditions. Detailing is key: internal cable routing means there’s room for accessories of the rider’s choice for instance. Ultra-lightweight frame and forks are in advanced composites, frame geometry is designed for ultimate control, particularly in challenging conditions and at high speed.
Trek Checkpoint SL 6 eTap
Big name means big specification in this stripped back gravel bike from Trek, still all-American owned, with a billion dollar turnover aiming to produce here one of the best gravel bikes available. Key selling point is SRAM Rival eTap AXS wireless gearshifting, complete with a matching phone app that allows you to customise your individual setting for best attack of the rough stuff and fastest road pace, too. Frameset and forks are both in carbon, making the Checkpoint a lightweight contender to mix with the best. Meticulously designed geometry means that all conditions are well within this sleek Trek’s skillset, from rugged descent to that welcome stretch of tarmac on the way home. Brakes are SRAM Rival hydraulic disc, the best of the best wherever you’re headed.
Cannondale Topstone Carbon Rival AXS
You’d expect that renowned American brand Cannondale would have one of the world’s best gravel bikes in their extensive portfolio, and the Topstone Carbon Rival AXS aims to meet and exceed all of those high expectations. Twelve speed gearset is SRAM Rival AXS wireless-equipped and as the Topstone’s name suggests the bike's frameset is in lightweight super-tough carbon. Cannondale make much of the Topstone’s Kingpin suspension system, which is unique to Cannondale, allowing for maintenance free comfort whatever the conditions. Wheel rims are Swiss G540, lights are SmartSense equipped, brakes are hydraulic discs, which won’t get gummed up with dirt and mud. What Cannondale calls OutFront steering geometry is designed for precision on difficult terrain and ease of turning everywhere else.
Orbea Terra M22 Team 1X
If you’ve not heard of Orbea, you’re not alone. Spain’s biggest bicycle manufacturer might not have the traction in public consciousness of the more prominent worldwide brands, but the M22 Team lays a claim to have the traction in difficult conditions to make it one of the best gravel bikes. Designed from scratch to be a gravel bike, a point Orbea is keen to underline, the Terra M22 is no slimmed-down mountain bike. Carbon frame is exactly what you’d expect from one of the best gravel bikes, offering a mix of comfort and strength. Internal cable routing keeps look and feel sleek and simple. Shifters, cassette and brakes are by Campagnolo, front and rear tyres are by Pirelli.
Vitus Venon Evo-GR Rival AXS
French specialists Vitus have a distinguished record in all sorts of competition, pioneering the use of lightweight materials such as aluminium and carbon in bicycle manufacture, which should instantly put the company near the top of anyone's list of the best gravel bikes available now. The Venon Evo-GR provides for speed and efficiency, with frame in carbon and aerodynamic profile aimed at creating a feel that resembles a racing bike. Twelve speed electronic drivetrain and associated componentry is by market leaders SRAM, wheel rims are in carbon, gravel specific tyres are by Michelin, sleek saddle is Vitus’s own Race Performance model.