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Last updated: July 19, 2022
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If you often ride over gravel roads, forest tracks or trails, you need the right bike that is designed for multi-terrain excursions. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you need to spend a fortune.
In this review, we’ve delved into the <a href=”https://www.bikethesites.com/best-gravel-bikes/”>gravel bikes</a> under $1,000 to find the best choices that offer a solid and reliable bike without breaking the bank. We’ve looked into the models with the frame made of durable yet affordable materials like aluminum or steel. We did our best to find the multi-speed bikes featuring from 14 to 24 speeds.
We’ve ranked the best gravel bikes under 1,000 dollars to help you to find the right one for your requirements, build and budget.
More features: 700c wheels, Shimano Tourney derailleurs, mechanical disc brakes
If you’re looking for the best adventure gravel bikes under 1000 dollars the Mongoose Men’s Elroy Adventure Bike is a great place to start. This is an excellent option for any beginner because it offers great value for money and it’s made from durable materials. This bike has a steel fork, alloy frame, a 2×7 drivetrain, Shimano Tourney derailleurs and super smooth gear shifts. The handlebar controls are accurate and it’s easy to maintain your speed under any operating conditions.
The Mongoose Men’s Elroy Adventure Bike is an excellent option if you’re considering touring because the storage options are impressive. A thin bag is attached to the length of the frame to store the essentials and you have a bag rack at the front and rear with a built-in bottle opener! If you’re planning a longer ride in a warmer area it’s crucial to stay hydrated throughout the journey. This adventure bike has sufficient storage space for up to five water bottles that are easy to access when you need to quench your thirst. This is a great bike for multi-day adventures or a picnic out in nature with another cyclist.
What makes it stand out?
One of the great things about this model is that this gravel bike is equipped with tires that are more suited to riding on roads and hard-packed dirt trails. The tire thread is pretty shallow, it can run fast.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
However, it isn’t the best option if you’re planning to traverse looser surfaces where grip is crucial. Another drawback is that this bike does have a heavier frame when compared to other bikes on the market. But, these are minor quibbles when you consider the quality of the components and relatively low price tag. If you want to get that professional gravel bike experience on a budget this is one of the best options and that’s why it’s our editor’s choice.
More features: steel fork, disc brakes, 700x40c tires
The Tommaso Siena Shimano Tourney Gravel Adventure Bike is a powerful, rugged and reliable bike. The compact frame is made from aluminum with SST steel forks that come with a lifetime warranty. The frame is pre-drilled to make it easy to customize your adventure bike with a wide variety of fenders, racks and other accessories. For many riders this feature alone makes the Siena the ultimate touring and commuter bike. This is a professional adventure bike and the manufacturer recommends a professional assembly. If you try to put this bike together yourself you will not be able to validate your warranties and this is something to bear in mind before you buy.
This adventure bike is a great option if you want to traverse a wide variety of terrains from flat commuter runs to hill climbing. There are many gears to select and matching the ride to the local conditions is effortless. A 3×7 Shimano Groupset is fitted with a Claris 30/39/50T crankset matched to a Tourney 12x28T cassette. The 700x40c tires are wider than you might expect and they add considerable stability when you’re riding across rougher terrain types. The tire rims are Tommaso TC-20D units that provide plenty of durability as you would expect from a well built 28 spoke rim.
What stands out?
When this adventure bike is professionally assembled the riding experience is optimized for performance and comfort. The compact handlebars have a premium feel and the Avid BB5 disc brakes have plenty of stopping power. In fact, every aspect of the Siena adventure bike is well designed to maximize the efficiency to ensure that you get the best experience out of every ride you make. The compact frame geometry feels close to perfect which is a real surprise in an adventure bike with this modest price tag.
What cons did we manage to find?
The only real downside is that there have been several consumer reviews that complain about weak wheel spokes. Considering this bike is designed to be rugged, one would expect this to extend to the spokes.
More features: disc brakes, 700c x 35c hybrid tires
The Schwinn Vantage may be one of the best womens gravel bikes under 1000 dollars. This adventure bike can be ridden by men and women, but it’s a really great option for new female riders that want a beginner bike that can take them to the intermediate level. The suggested riding height for this bike is 5’3” up to around 5’7” which is perfect for women and shorter riders in general. This is a great hybrid bike for people that want a reliable commuter that they can take out at the weekends for adventures.
The frame features “Smooth Ride Technology” which delivers a softer tail suspension to optimize comfort when riding. Power is managed via a 21-speed drivetrain with a versatile range of gears and accurate shifting. This adventure bike sits on a pair of Schwinn 35c hybrid tires on Alex DC-26 rims for a comfortable, light and durable riding experience. There are plenty of rack and fender mounts that allow you to customize your bike in a wide variety of ways. This makes the bike versatile for both commuting and touring as required. On the handlebars you have Schwinn sport dual-density Ergo grips that are comfortable and easy to handle when riding.
What stands out?
This is a sleek Sport hybrid that can be used as a regular flat bar bike with great speed, durability and versatility. At the heart of this system is the Schwinn endurance frame with a 15mm isolation unit to handle the travel between the seat tube and stays. This gives you some additional give the dampens the vibrations and absorbs the bumps without adding extra weight. No lateral stiffness is lost and you can ride for longer and at increased intensity without compromising on your comfort. Top quality materials have been used throughout this bike, it’s comfortable and affordable.
What cons did we manage to find?
The only real downside is that it’s not easy to assemble if you are not familiar with bikes. So, you may need to consider the price of professional assembly into the overall costs. If you are on a strict budget, this may take the overall cost of this gravel bike over your anticipated spend.
More features: dual V Brakes, 650b classic drop barhandles
The Viribus Adult Gravel Bike is a 27.5” rugged gravel bike for new cyclists and those that want a bike that will grow with them. The frame is lightweight and strong, it’s made with high-carbon steel and it can support a rider up to 330 lbs in weight. There are front and rear V brakes that help you to stay in control even if you’re navigating a steep slope. This gravel bike is fitted with a set of classic drop bar handles that give you extra leverage uphill and an improved aerodynamic profile when riding into a headwind.
This gravel bike has a 21-speed derailleur with micro-grip gear shifters to keep the torque at your fingertips for optimal control. It’s easy to fly along any straightways and get access to more power when you’re ready to start climbing. Both the steel frame and the dual-lined aluminum spokes are corrosion resistant with great durability and shock resistance. The thick MTB saddle has elastic cushioning to maintain comfort when cross road riding and over longer distances. This is a very affordable gravel bike that offers outstanding value for money and it’s a great bike to use for commuting and weekend adventures.
What do we love it for?
Viribus has a solid reputation for the manufacturing of gravel bikes that are well-built, rugged and durable. This gravel bike looks great and it’s equally at home and the road and loose surface trails. This is a relatively new gravel bike and at the moment it’s only available in an understated gray color.
What were we disappointed with?
The only real downside is that there are not too many reviews available online at the moment. However, Viribus have demonstrated a great deal of faith in this gravel bike with a comprehensive 1-year warranty and 24/7 customer support.
The Royce Union Men’s’ Gravel Bike is a great gravel bike that’s equally at home on the road. This bike is packed with useful features to improve the comfort and efficiency of your riding to get the best experience. At the heart of this bike is the 21” lightweight aluminum frame that’s tough and durable enough to handle a wide variety of terrain types. The suspension is rigid and the only available color at this time is blue. The wheels are WTB alloy rims shod with WTB Nano 700c wilderness tires.
The gearing is an 18-speed Shimano Claris unit that delivers plenty of power when you need to power through an uphill climb and the gear selection feels precise. The drivetrain is a Shimano Sora 9-speed index paired with a 2×9 shifter to reach the 18 speeds. This unit is matched to a 11×34 cassette and Neco alloy 3-piece crank which performs well on hills and flat surfaces. The brakes are dual Shimano mechanical disc units that operate well under any weather conditions and they are perfect to control your descent for downhill riding.
Why did it make our list?
When you’re riding on or off road it’s important to feel comfortable on short or longer rides. Royce Union has fitted this bike with a comfy WTB Volt saddle and wilderness tyres that provide minimal rolling resistance and good shock absorption. The rigid steel fork and 3-piece alloy neck crank give this bike a great deal of flexibility for superior riding performance. In fact, this Royce Union bike has been featured as one of the best rated gravel bikes for this year. The minimum suggested height for rides is 72” and the inseam is 32” which makes this a hybrid gravel bike for adults only.
What is not ideal about it?
However, considering it is at the higher end of this price bracket, there are some quality control issues that you may not experience with some of the other bikes on this list. For example, there are complaints about parts breaking during adjustment and a lack of water bottle mounting points.
More features: 700c x 42mm tires, mechanical disc brakes, STI shifters
The Giordano Trieste Gravel Bike is built with a chromoly lightweight steel frame and fork for superior toughness and durability. This bike is fitted with 30mm wide tires that provide a smooth ride on the road and off it, if you want to explore. Many riders like the idea of mountain biking but they don’t want to invest a lot of money upfront. This bike is the best of both worlds if you want to try some light off roading without breaking the bank. This is a well built, high quality gravel bike at an affordable price and it’s capable of more than you might imagine.
This bike is fitted with Shimano Claris 16-speed STI shifters paired to an 8-speed 11-32t dual cassette. This multi-use bike has mechanical disc brakes that allow you to slow and stop efficiently on rougher roads and trails with any weather conditions. The handle type is a drop bar with comfortable nylon grips that are ideal for riding on any surface. The extra handlebar grip comes in handy when climbing and making gear changes feels precise on any incline. The wheels are double-wall 700c aluminum units with 14g steel spokes and alloy hubs.
Why are we impressed?
This is one of the best mens gravel bikes under 1000 dollars but it’s suitable for women too. This is the medium sized, gray model with 29” wheels but there are other sizes available too. The smallest bike covers riders from 5’4” up to 5’8”, this medium bike is suitable for 5’7” up to 5’11” and the larger variant is for riders from 5’11” up to 6’4”. The package is rounded out with an alloy seat post and sturdy steel cage pedals.
What negatives must you be aware of?
Many buyers seem to agree that this gravel bike is worth the money but it doesn’t meet the standards or more expensive models. This should come as no surprise, after all you get what you pay for, but if you want to experience hybrid biking on a budget this is a solid investment.
More features: disc brakes, threadless fork, 700x40c High-performance tires
The Hiland Road/Hybrid Bike has an aluminum frame with easy mounting points for a kickstand, racks, lights, panniers and other accessories to customise your riding experience. This versatility allows you to switch from a road bike to a mountain bike and all points in-between with relative ease. Hiland bikes are made in Taiwan and the company has been in business since 1979 so they know how to make a great bike.
This hybrid gravel bike has the highest number of gears on our list with 24-gears to select. The drivetrain feels smooth and you can change gears precisely on any terrain. The overall built quality and inclusion of Shimano components ensure that your riding will be comfortable and efficient on flat roads and hills alike. The wheel rims are made from sturdy aluminum for easy acceleration and braking with no sacrifice in performance.
What do we love it for?
This road/hybrid bike has a Shiman 12-32T cassette and high performance tyres. The bike arrives in an 85% assembled state, the installation tools are included and any person with some DIY experience should be capable of setting the bike up. With the pedals fitted the entire bike only weighs 28 lbs and the frame has a generous 5-year warranty.
What were we disappointed with?
Some purchasers have experienced a little brake rubbing when the bike is first used but this tends to disappear after a short time. Overall this is a great bike at a modest price and the Shimano 24-gear change system makes this a dream to ride on the road.
More features: disc brakes, 700c x 40 tires, Shimano shifters and rear derailleur
The Kent 700c Nazz Mens Gravel Road Bike is a great bike if you want to ride over different terrain types. This bike has a durable steel frame with front and rear suspension and disc brakes. The actuated disc brakes are activated with a front or rear cable and they provide a lot of stopping power which gives you confidence in poor weather conditions. The 2x drivetrain has a Shimano rear derailleur and shifters to ensure that you can make 14 precise gear changes over a wide variety of terrain.
This bike has well balanced geometry and 700Cx40 gravel tires for a comfortable and reliable ride. A 14-28 Tooth Freewheel and 38/48 Tooth crank are fitted and some basic assembly is required upon delivery. The dimensions of the Nazz Gravel Road Bike are: 51” long x 8” wide x 30” high, which means that this is a bike suited to adults only. The total weight is only 45 lbs which is lighter than you might imagine when you consider the fully steel frame construction.
What are its best features?
The drop handlebars are comfortable to grip and steering is easy even on slopes. At the moment the only available color is black and the price is fair for the feature set.
What could be improved?
That being said, this isn’t the best value for money on our list and we recommend the Viribus Adult Gravel Bike as our value pick. The smaller number of gears is also a problem, 14-gears seems a little low for a bike that can be used for road riding. As a basic commuter bike and occasional weekend light off roader this bike is more than capable. But, given the sheer number of high quality bikes on our list it’s hard to recommend the Kent 700c Nazz Mens Gravel Road Bike as a top pick.
Things to Consider
Choosing a new gravel bike can be a daunting process, as there are so many models on the market. So, here we’ve compiled a buying guide with some answers to frequently asked questions to help you make your final purchase decision.
What is a Gravel Bike?
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, but you need to ensure that your chosen bike is suited to your biking style. A gravel bike is designed for road speed and rough terrain riding. Many riders use them for commuting or riding on roads and then they take them into the hills on the weekend. A gravel bike usually has a lightweight and stiff frame that’s comfortable for extended riding and yet tough enough to meet compliance as required. Choosing this type of bike is often a good choice for people that want a practical road bike but they are interested in mountain biking. It’s a viable option to try off road biking without purchasing a second dedicated bike and spending too much money.
What to Expect from a Gravel Bike Under $1000
Gravel bikes under $1000 are made with lower price materials like aluminum or steel
Gravel bikes can run into thousands of dollars
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, so you need to be realistic about your expectations when considering the best gravel bikes under 1,000. However, it is possible to get reliable and rugged models at this price point.
Bikes under $1,000 tend to be made with lower price materials, so you will be unable to find titanium or other premium materials. Additionally, you may find that bikes at this price lack some of the more fancy features. However, you can get a solid bike that can introduce you to the world of off-road biking.
How to Pick the Best Gravel Bike under $1000
With so many gravel bikes on the market, you need to know how to pick the best one for your needs. So, here we’ll explore some of the features to consider.
Selecting the correct bike size is extremely important and it’s a vital aspect of bike fitting. There are many opinions on this topic and it can be hard to get consistent information. But, the topic is less complex than many people imagine and we will outline the process here. If you don’t get the bike size right there are three main consequences, they are: knee pain, back pain and low performance.
There are two easy ways to calculate the correct bike size to meet your needs. If you’re not clear about this process visit a bike shop and ask them to fit you for a bike. You’re under no obligation to make a purchase and you can keep these measurements to make a choice later. Let’s take a look at each method in more detail:
Stand with your legs together or slightly apart and measure your leg length on the inner side. You may need some help to get an accuracy measurement and you can use the result to make an accurate calculation.
There are three separate formulas for city, road and mountain bikes:
City Bikes: The frame size is the measurement x 0.685 in centimeters.
Road Bikes: The frame size is the measurement x 0.70 in centimeters.
Mountain Bikes: The frame size is the measurement x 0.685 in centimeters.
Frame and Fork Material
Frames and forks of the bikes listed in our article are made of aliminum, high-carbon steel and Chromoly steel
There are many types of frame and fork materials and some have distinct advantages when it comes to a gravel or hybrid bike. There are four main materials used in modern bike construction: aluminum, steel, chromoly steel and carbon fiber. Let’s take a look at these materials in more detail.
Aluminum: This is a popular frame material choice for sports bikes but most modern frames are aluminum alloys. Mongoose Men’s Elroy Adventure Bike, Tommaso Siena Shimano Tourney Gravel Adventure Bike and three other bikes on our list feature this kind frames. There are six aluminum alloys used in bike construction and they all have certain characteristics in common. Aluminum alloy bike frames are well regarded because they are lightweight, strong, durable, corrosion resistant and they have good vibration absorption qualities.
Steel: Steel bike frames are strong but they are heavier and they are usually found on less expensive bikes like Kent 700c Nazz Mens Gravel Road Bike. Steel was a more common material choice in the past when aluminum and other materials were more expensive and harder to source. In recent years significant advances in frame technology have relegated steel to forks.
Chromoly Steel: This material is a combination of steel chrome molybdenum that is well regarded for its lightweight and it’s easy to weld. The most common variant used in modern bike construction is 4130 and some aluminum alloy frames have chromoly steel forks fitted. This is because chromoly steel offers more flexibility when riding on rougher surfaces and it’s very durable. As you might imagine, this is an ideal material for gravel and mountain bikes that may be ridden on rocky surfaces and rough trails. Giordano Trieste Gravel Bike has a frame made of Chromoly steel.
Carbon Fiber: In the recent past this material was very expensive, prone to cracking and only found on very high-end racing bikes. Manufacturers have improved the processes to produce more affordable and reliable carbon fiber frames with improved durability. This material is renowned for its light weight but it also has impressive shock absorption too. Some of the best bikes in the world are made from carbon fiber but even now they can be an expensive material. There are no carbon fiber frame bikes on our list because we couldn’t find any in the sub $1,000 price range.
Wheels and Tires
A 650B tyre is the best option for a rough gravel road, and a 700C tire is ideal only for occasional gravel surface riding
The size of your wheels and the width of the tyres will determine the types of terrain and roads that you can ride on. A rough surface will require a wider tire that can deform slightly to improve the grip while maintaining the speed and comfort. A narrow 700C wheel will roll quickly across a hard surface but the wheels will have lighter contact with the ground. Many experts agree that a 650B tyre is a good option for a rough gravel road and a switch to 700C is ideal if you only intend on occasional gravel surface riding.
There are different suspension options available, including: lower, mid and higher level that you can attune to meet your current needs. As we’ve seen, a gravel bike is built for versatility and comfort across different types of terrain. So, the level of suspension that you choose should support that choice and this will be reflected in the gravel bike that you finally choose. As a rule of thumb, higher suspension levels make the ride feel less bumpy because the vibrations from the surface are minimized. This will give you a more comfortable riding experience and this is especially true if you’re riding for a longer period of time.
When you’re looking at gravel bikes consider the length of ride that you would typically take and the amount of money that you have to invest. This is because higher levels of suspension add to the cost of the bike and they will need regular maintenance too. The suspension system will need regular adjustments and cleaning to work as intended by the manufacturer.
Another consideration is your current joint health because pedaling a heavy bike over your chosen terrain can be rough on your joints.
Most modern gravel or hybrid bikes like Schwinn Vantage bike have a front and rear shifting 2x or a rear shifting 1x only. Most riders prefer the 2x drivetrain when riding on gravel and trails because the jump that occurs during a gear ratio shift is minimized. It’s also possible to achieve a wider range of riding speeds when you’re moving with a 2x drivetrain. That being said, the 1x drivetrain setup is probably a better option for absolute beginners and younger riders. This system is more intuitive to learn, it makes the gravel bike lighter, it’s easier to control and there are fewer components to fail when you’re riding.
A versatile gravel bike needs to have lower gear ratios and under 25-inches is ideal for most rough terrain types. Calculating the specific gear ratio for any given terrain is a complex topic and beyond the scope of this guide. But, if you want to get serious about riding off-road it’s possible to tailor the gear ratio to very specific settings for optimal performance.
There are two types of the disc brakes: mechanical and hydraulic
Almost all modern gravel bikes are fitted with disc brakes and there are two types in regular use, they are:
Mechanical: These work in a similar way to a traditional rim brake. When the brake lever is pulled a steel cable flexes and the piston is moved to create friction on the wheel to slow the bike down. The main advantage with a mechanical disc brake is that it’s easy to maintain and it will be compatible with a rim shifter. The downside is that the steel cable can be prone to wear and tear and an eventual break.
Hydraulic: This uses a fluid filled system that forces the fluid along the brake caliper when you press the brake lever. This provides an impressive amount of braking consistency across many different riding situations and conditions. But, these types of brakes are complex to work on and it can be hard to maintain them yourself without experience and special tools.
As you might expect, mechanical disc brakes are more common on less expensive gravel bikes. Hydraulic braking systems are far more complex and this adds a significant cost to the bike. There are no hydraulic disc brake equipped gravel bikes on our list because we couldn’t find one for less than $1,000.
Tubeless Compatible Wheels
Bike manufacturers have invested significantly in tubeless tire technology and it is starting to filter down to less expensive gravel bikes. The tires are effectively “self-healing” when they are punctured because sealant automatically plugs the hole immediately. These tires are also lighter and they have a lower rolling resistance for a smoother and more comfortable ride. If you have the budget to invest in tubeless tires, they are worth the investment for a better ride and peace of mind if you get a puncture.
The main source of the weight in any bike is the frame and the forks. The material choices made here can have a dramatic effect on how the bike feels and performs when riding. As we saw earlier, aluminum is a popular choice for a lower cost gravel bike because it’s light, strong, durable and affordable.
Carbon fiber forks can shave 1-2 kg off the weight than a full aluminum model and this rises to 12-13kg for a gravel bike made from steel.
Steel has plenty of lateral compliance which some people like but the heavier weight is a real drawback for some riders. If you have the budget, choose a bike that has full carbon fiber forks because they are even lighter than a carbon fork that has an aluminum steerer tube inside.
Some gravel bikes arrive in almost a fully assembled state and you only need to install the pedals or other minor tasks. The tools are usually supplied for lighter installation tasks but if your DIY skills are limited it’s a good idea to avoid bikes that require more work. Setting up more expensive gravel bikes may even require some specialist help from a local expert.
Gravel bikes are available in many sizes and configurations but they are all designed for road and limited off road riding. This is a compromise, a gravel bike will not match a road bike on the road or a mountain bike off road. But, the versatility is the main draw and you can try out both types of riding with a reasonable amount of success.
A mountain bike is designed to handle rough trails and the wheels are wider with plenty of tire clearance to traverse rocks. The frames tend to be larger and the handlebars are straight to help the rider deal with more severe obstacles. Riding a mountain bike requires an upright body position to deal with the steep ascents and descents. Mountain bikes are designed for lighter travel and they don’t tend to have many attachments for luggage or accessories.
Gravel bikes are capable of off-road riding but they simply can’t negotiate the same larger rocks and jumps are not possible. But, when the rider drops onto a dirt or gravel road they are faster than a mountain bike. Most gravel bikes have drop bar handlebars which make the riding position aerodynamic for more power on flatter surfaces. A gravel bike relies on a forward leaning riding position for faster riding. If you’re interested in touring a gravel bike is a great option because you can carry water bottles and carriers.
A road bike tends to have narrow tires when compared to a gravel bike. Wider tires are more comfortable for longer rides and they provide more grip for dirt trails. But, the wider the tire is, the slower the ride when you’re riding on a road. The other key differences are the components, gears and geometry that can affect the entire riding experience.
Yes, but only if you continue to use the same wide tires on the road. If you change them for a narrow fast rolling tire, you can almost make your gravel bike run as fast as some road bikes.
Hopefully, we’ve been able to demonstrate that there are a number of choices for the best gravel bikes under 1,000. From the Schwinn Vantage, which is an excellent choice for smaller riders or women, to the versatility of the Tommaso Siena Shimano Tourney that can tackle a variety of terrains.
However, the stand out choice as the best gravel bike under 1,000 has to be our editor’s choice, the Mongoose Men’s Elroy. This impressive bike is made from durable materials, yet offers great value for money. It has storage options and tires that can run quite fast, particularly on roads.
15 benefits of cycling: why cycling is great for fitness, legs and mind | Cycling Weekly
Thinking of joining the cycling family? We look at the benefits of cycling and explain why the best way to get fit is by bike.