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What is a gravel bike? - RA Cycles

What is a gravel bike?

Troy Morgan |

Gravel biking has emerged as a beloved cycling experience, and its popularity continues to grow. What makes gravel biking so special? In this post, we'll delve into the versatility and fun that come with gravel riding, a bike for everyone.

In the ever-evolving world of cycling, the introduction of gravel bikes caused quite a stir. Initially skeptical, I couldn't quite grasp the hype surrounding these versatile machines. However, as a proud gravel bike dealer, the opportunity to test a small demo fleet of gravel bikes presented itself, and I decided to take the plunge.

Equipped with 40mm Schwalbe G-One Allround tires, the gravel bike I selected offered a surprising revelation from the get-go. The smooth, almost effortless ride on the road to the trails was nothing short of impressive. Even with slightly knobby tires, the transition from pavement to trailhead was remarkably seamless – a testament to the bike's adaptability. I found myself gliding along, the experience rivaling the efficiency of my trusty road bike.

Arriving at the trailhead marked the beginning of an exhilarating off-road adventure. It felt almost surreal to be tearing down fire roads with the nimbleness of a road bike. Climbing was a breeze! The uncertainty I harbored about how the bike would handle rough terrains quickly dissipated as it effortlessly conquered everything in its path. From big bumps to rocky stretches and winding single-track trails, the bike proved itself resilient and capable.

In just one ride, my reservations about gravel bikes were replaced with an overwhelming sense of enthusiasm. The gravel bike seamlessly blended the best of both worlds – the speed and efficiency of a road bike and the rugged adaptability needed for off-road escapades. I found myself completely captivated and "ALL IN" on the gravel biking phenomenon. The experience was not just a ride; it was a transformative journey that opened my eyes to a new dimension of cycling joy.

What is a gravel bike?

Surprisingly, there are still individuals I come across who haven't yet discovered the wonders of gravel bikes. To simplify, a gravel bike essentially shares its DNA with a road bike, albeit with subtle frame differences that enable it to accommodate wider tires. What fascinates me is the diverse ways people customize their setups to align with their unique riding scenarios. Personally, I'm a road enthusiast with occasional forays onto the trails. To optimize my experience, I've equipped my bike with the Schwalbe G-One Speedtire — a 35mm width choice for its nearly smooth surface. While cruising on the road, the minimal tread is imperceptible, delivering a seamless ride. Yet, it cleverly retains enough texture to ensure reliable traction when I venture off-road. Conversely, I've observed fellow riders who favor more aggressive off-road pursuits. Opting for wider (40+mm) and knobbier tires, they prioritize grip and durability, revealing the true versatility of these remarkable machines.

It’s really up to you! There are no rules. You can set up a gravel bike to accommodate the type of riding YOU do!

Versatility Beyond Limits:

One of the standout features of gravel bikes is their unparalleled versatility. These bikes are designed to handle a variety of terrains, from smooth gravel roads to rugged off-road trails. The versatility of gravel bikes opens up a world of possibilities for riders, allowing them to explore diverse landscapes and enjoy a cycling experience like never before.

A Bike for Everyone?

Gravel bikes are not exclusive to a particular type of rider. Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or a beginner looking to get into biking, a gravel bike is an excellent choice. The comfortable geometry and adaptable nature of these bikes make them accessible to riders of all skill levels. It's a bike that welcomes everyone to the world of adventurous cycling.

Transformative Road Riding:

One remarkable aspect of gravel bikes is their adaptability. Toss on a pair of road tires, and your gravel bike transforms into an exceptional road bike and often just as light. This dual-purpose capability allows riders to switch seamlessly between road and gravel riding, offering the best of both worlds without the need for multiple bikes. It's a cost-effective and practical solution for cycling enthusiasts who want a good road machine as well as having a capable off road option.

The Joy of Gravel Riding:

What makes gravel biking so much fun? It's the sheer joy of exploration and the thrill of conquering diverse terrains. Gravel riding takes you off the beaten path, immersing you in the beauty of nature and providing a sense of adventure that's hard to find on traditional roads. The unpredictability of gravel paths adds an element of excitement, turning every ride into a memorable experience.

Escape the Crowds:

Tired of congested roads and crowded bike paths? Gravel biking offers an escape. Venturing into less-traveled gravel routes allows you to enjoy the serenity of nature without the hustle and bustle of urban life, avoiding some of those angry motorists. It's your chance to find solace on two wheels.

What size gravel bike do I need?

Selecting the right gravel bike size mirrors the considerations for their road bike counterparts, emphasizing a seamless match in both fit and dimensions. You can always reach out to one of our professionals for advice.

Where do I start in picking the perfect gravel bike?

In the contemporary cycling landscape, nearly every leading brand, both in terms of overall bikes and individual components, offers a gravel bike option. Whether you're a devoted fan of SRAM or a loyal Shimano enthusiast, the array of groupset choices available ensures that there's an ideal configuration for almost every riding scenario. At our store, we proudly feature over 15 reputable brands of gravel bikes, ensuring that we can cater to a diverse range of preferences and accommodate various budget considerations.


Gravel biking isn't just a sport; it's a lifestyle that caters to riders of all levels and preferences. The versatility of gravel bikes, combined with the sheer joy of riding on diverse terrains, makes it an excellent choice for anyone looking to elevate their cycling experience. So, whether you're a seasoned cyclist or a beginner, consider getting into gravel riding — it's an adventure waiting to unfold!

the perfect gravel bike
the perfect gravel bike
the perfect gravel bike
the perfect gravel bike
the perfect gravel bike

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