June 14, 2024

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How to choose the right gravel bicycle

How to Choose the Right Gravel Bike - Gravel Biking Guide

A bicycle is significantly inferior to a car in terms of complexity, but its purchase should be approached just as responsibly. When choosing a gravel bicycle, you should be guided by the purchase budget and the needs of the future owner. To understand which gravel bicycle to choose, first of all, determine the purpose of riding. On what terrain and under what conditions you plan to ride, depends on the type of two-wheeled vehicle suitable for you.

Key features of the frame

Modern gravel bicycle brands make frames from Hi-Ten steel, aluminum alloy or carbon. The first option is high weight and cheap, so it is usually found among city bikes of the budget class. Carbon fiber is not a cheap material, but it boasts minimal weight and high resistance to evenly distributed load.

Frames made of carbon are afraid of point-directed impacts, that’s why they are usually chosen by fans of racing disciplines. Because of the amazing lightness that provides excellent handling, carbon fiber is respected by fans of riding on the ground.

Design

The frame design matters if the future owner of the bike will be a girl who prefers to ride in a skirt or dress. The lowered top tube will make such walks as comfortable as possible, and the bright design will improve the mood. 

Hardtail, rigid, double-paddle

The presence/absence and location of the shock absorber determines the resistance of the best gravel bikes under 1000 to vibration and shock loads that occur during movement, as well as the ability to overcome various obstacles.

The features of this component determine the type of model: rigid, hardtail or double suspension. Rigid forks are most commonly found in a set of road, trick and city bikes.

The cushioning properties of these models are minimal, which is why rigid forks are called “hard”. “Soft” shock-absorbing forks are a mandatory component of mountain bikes and hybrid bikes.

Bikes equipped with only front shock absorbers are known as hardtails. Bikes equipped with front and rear suspension are popular among fans of extreme disciplines.

Brake system – the basis of cyclist safety

Modern bikes are equipped with two types of brakes: disc and rim brakes. Disc brakes are much superior to the rim (V-brake) in cost, which directly affects the overall price of the road bike. To make a bike with disc brakes cheaper, many manufacturers sacrifice the quality of other components. Depending on the buyer’s priorities, this approach can be a disadvantage or an advantage of a particular model.

Rim brakes have become widespread due to the successful combination of characteristics: low price, excellent efficiency, ease of installation and maintenance. They also boast the following advantages:

  • Reduced load on spokes and hub;
  • Low component weight, which is key in some sports disciplines;
  • elementary adjustment, which can be easily managed even by a novice without special tools;
  • No problems with overheating.

Disc systems are vastly superior to rim brakes in terms of responsiveness and braking efficiency, providing instant stopping even when a wheel is deformed. Disc brakes are not afraid of snow and sand due to their better arrangement, which prevents quick contamination of the system.

Bottom line

Buying a gravel bicycle is a difficult but not a difficult task. Choosing a gravel bike, you are sure to find several models that have the desired characteristics. The secret to a successful purchase is to buy a bike that, with equal key parameters, you like more than the alternatives.