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Last updated: September 11, 2022
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The beauty of cycling is that it allows for diversity. Not everyone can be a professional cyclist. Sometimes it’s all about the fun! This is why it’s so exciting that there are bikes that allow you to enjoy the adventure of being on the road without breaking the bank.
Gravel bikes, so-called based on the terrain that they’re mostly used for, are rapidly increasing in popularity, and it’s not hard to see why. They’re affordable, don’t compromise on quality, and are less extreme compared to road bikes and ultimately more comfortable. As we were compiling this review for the best gravel bikes under 1500, we considered several important factors, including frame size, wheels & tires, weight, brakes, assembly, and other important factors that impact the quality of your ride. Check out our top 6 recommendations and a complete buying guide below!
More features: single chain ring, mechanical disc brakes, tubeless-compatible wheels and tires
We named the Decathlon RC120 as our number one option for affordable gravel bikes, as it features a simple and versatile design. The gravel bike has a comfort-focused design, with unique geometry that makes it convenient when cycling. It’s frame geometry features a comfortable design for upright cycling and posture support. The bike is also lightweight with triban aluminum gravel handlebars that provide a good, comfortable grip. In terms of brake control, the bicycle is fitted with a mechanical disc brakes, which can work adequately in damp conditions.
Cyclers looking for a versatile gravel bike will be impressed with the Decathlon RC120. The bicycle is ideal for the roughest terrains and allows you to attach a mudguard and pannier rack to the back and front of the bike. It also comes with versatile sizes to choose one based on your height, leg length, and arm span. Even those in-between sizes can use the larger sizes for more comfort and smaller sizes for an athletic bike.
What makes it stand out?
Comfort-oriented design and frame.
Triban aluminum gravel handlebars for good grip.
Mechanical disc brakes that work in all conditions.
Versatile construction for installing accessories.
More features: 700x 40c tires, disc brakes, lifetime limited warranty
This gravel bike has an impressive array of features that’s mostly available in high-end bikes. It is versatile, so you can ride it on almost all terrains, and it has been designed with optional stopping power & controls. The Tommaso Sentiero has a wide range of gearing options that makes it easy to handle in almost all conditions and can handle the extra weight. Previously, this bike had narrower tires, but it has since been upgraded to accommodate the needs of gravel riders. It, however, weighs 26lbs which is heavy compared to similar models.
The Tommaso Sentiero Gravel Bike has an ultra-light carbon frame that comes in handy during competitions or intensive workouts. Since it comes with a drilled frame, you can install a variety of fenders and racks, which is why this bike is also used for touring, trail riding, and commuting.
What do we love it for?
The Tommaso Sentiero gravel bike has a beautiful matte finish which is appealing. While this is what drew us to the bike in the first place, we were impressed by its excellent features and the high-quality materials that it was made from. We also loved how compact the aluminum frame was as well as the steel fork that enhanced the bike's durability. This gravel bike has a great fusion of durability and speed, making it perfect for riders that enjoy adventures.
What were we disappointed with?
we realized that this bike was very difficult to assemble and had to take it to a professional. We also noticed that when we turned the handlebar, the bike produced noise between the handlebar and the frame, which was pretty annoying. This model is also slightly heavier compared to other gravel bikes, but this is a small price to pay compared to the high-end features it comes with. Overall, the bike components were of high quality, and we appreciate its multi-terrain capabilities.
More features: 29-inch wheels, Shimano Tourney derailleurs, mechanical disc brakes
The Mongoose Men’s Elroy Adventure Bike has to be one of the best touring gravel bikes we have come across. This trailblazer has a large front rack that is perfect for carrying your camping gear if you’re on an outdoor mission or a work item if you enjoy commuting. The rack also has a built-in bottle opener which is pretty cool. The build of this gravel bike is more relaxed compared to other gravel bikes, which allows for a more comfortable riding position. It comes with an integrated frame bag that is perfect for your cyclist essentials, including your puncture repair kit and a mini-pump.
The Mongoose Men’s Elroy Adventure Bike is best suited for touring or generally long and comfortable rides. You don’t have to worry about running out of water during your rides because it has room for 3 bottle mounts. It’s made from an aluminum alloy frame that’s not too heavy and a drivetrain that allows for versatility.
What are its best features?
it's all in the name. We were impressed by the touring qualities of the Mongoose Men's Elroy Adventure Bike, which are hard to come by in similar models. Its design is geared towards enhancing comfort during an adventure, and the baggage capabilities allow you to carry all your essentials without much hassle. We also loved that it had enough room for sufficient water bottles and the integrated frame bag that comes in handy if you're commuting to work or need a place to store your repair kit.
What could be improved?
even though the Mongoose Men's Elroy Adventure Bike is a great entry-level option for touring, it comes with stock seats which may not be suitable for some riders. We also noticed that the parts were a bit low-quality compared to other models and may require regular replacement dispensing on your usage. This bike requires constant maintenance, but to be fair, it's mostly used outdoors and is likely to experience a lot of wear and tear. Overall, it's a great buy for adventure enthusiasts.
More features: 28-inch wheels, 700 x 38c Multi-Terrain tires, alloy mechanical disc brakes
If you’re looking for a gravel bike that can handle various terrains, including pavements and dirt, then the Schwinn Sporterra Adventure Bike should be among your top picks. It’s more durable than your average bike and is suitable for people who live in small towns, suburbs, or rural areas where they encounter different types of road surfaces. While this gravel bike doesn’t match up to mountain bikes or true hybrid bikes, we loved how grippier it was. The Schwinn Sporterra Adventure Bike also has a wide tire profile that helps with most solid terrains, a rigid fork, and a mechanical disc brake system that gives you more control.
The Schwinn Sporterra Adventure Bike is best suited for cyclists that need an entry-level cross-country bike with solid features that are also affordable. This bike also has low maintenance requirements and has wide tires that have more grip compared to standard road bikes.
What do we love it for?
we loved the mechanical disk brake and felt that it was the highlight of this bike. Most of the time, this kind of system is found on high-end bikes, and finding it on one that's on the affordable end of the price spectrum was impressive. The grip on the tires was also incredible and made it easy for us to maneuver various terrains without much hassle, while the rigid fork added to the bike's stability. Overall, the Schwinn Sporterra Adventure Bike is a great entry-level bike.
What were we disappointed with?
even though the Schwinn Sporterra Adventure Bike comes at a great price for the viable components, it’s only variable in one size. This means you can't find one customized to your preferences or to enhance your comfort, which is a huge downside. We also noticed that this bike was heavier than other models in the same group. This makes it considerably difficult to mount it on your car or pull it up the stairs after your ride.
More features: 700x40c tires, disc brakes, 30/39/50T Claris crankset, and 12x25T Claris cassette
Tommaso gravel bikes are known for their durability & reliability, and the Sterrata Gravel Bike is no different. It’s one of the most affordable models but has components that you’d only find in high-end bikes. This gravel bike has a compact aluminum frame and a carbon fiber fork. Both qualities combined increase comfort and its vibration dampening capabilities. The Sterrata also has powerful performance & speed and has various gears that allow you to ride in all kinds of conditions. It’s versatile, allowing you to ride it on various terrains, and has a Shimano groupset that provides high pedalling efficiency.
One of the features that sets this bike apart from the rest is the disc brakes that allow you to achieve stopping efficiency as you ride in adverse weather conditions.
What makes it stand out?
it's difficult to come across affordable gravel bikes that strike the ideal balance between aesthetics and functionality, and the Tommaso Sterrata Gravel Bike has managed to achieve both. It has a sleek exterior and a wide array of paint job options. We also loved how compact & durable it was and the comfort we experienced even when riding on tough terrains. Perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of this bike is that it comes with a lifetime frame and fork warranty, which is hard to come by with bikes within this price range.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
the Tommaso Sterrata Gravel Bike is amazing by all accounts, but it requires professional assembly. This is highly inconvenient, especially if you enjoy going the DIY route as we do. The time you spend assembling your bike makes it easy for you to fix it should it break down during your rides. We also noticed that the bike was heavier compared to other similar models but not so much that you cant mount it on your vehicle by yourself.
The Royce Union Men’s Gravel Bike is as flexible and as versatile as they come. It has a ton of comfort features that enables it to excel in all kinds of terrains and a gearing selection that comes in handy when you’re riding uphill. This gravel bike comes with mechanical brakes that allow it to handle downhill adventures without much hassle and enhances your stopping power in all kinds of weather without compromising on your performance. The Royce Union Men’s Gravel Bike comes with a rigid steel fork and a 3-piece neck alloy crank that enhances its flexibility and improves the ride quality. The compact aluminum frame enhances your performance and requires less maintenance.
The Royce Union Men’s Gravel Bike comes with WTB wilderness tires that not only have great grip but also have minimum rolling resistance. This is why it’s best suited for touring and racing.
What stands out?
we love the fact that this bike is available in various frame sizes, making it easy for people of varying heights to find a bike that offers them the most comfort. The seats are very comfortable, enhancing your ride quality, while the low maintenance needs were a major plus. We also realized that this bike came with larger tires which were able to soak up the impact of the rough terrains, giving us more control over our riding experience.
What cons did we manage to find?
the Royce Union Men's Gravel Bike is a great buy for such a low price tag. We, however, realized that the tires hit your toes when your feet are centered during pedaling or when you turn. While this is a normal occurrence on most bikes and shouldn't be a major issue, we found the toe overlap as excessive. We also experienced some troubles with the speed of the bike and the adjustments needed, but overall, the ride quality was impressive.
Diamondback has built a reputation for manufacturing the most affordable, high-quality & durable bikes in the market, and the Diamondback Haanjo 3 Gravel Bike is no different. It comes with a steering wheel bracket that’s adjustable and a comfortable saddle that enables you to maintain a straight silhouette as you ride. This bike has impressive cushioning, and the aluminum frame makes it durable but light. This makes it easy for you to mount it on your car or drag it up the stairs after your ride. You can also ride it on both smooth and rough terrains.
This bike is especially suitable for mid-level riders. One of the features that sets the Diamondback Haanjo 3 Gravel Bike apart from the rest is the full fenders. If you regularly ride on muddy roads, then you definitely understand how annoying it can get. The full fenders eliminate this problem. Users have also praised this bike for its classic yet stylish look, impressive drive assembly, and quality equipment.
What makes it special?
we were drawn by the stylish design of the Diamondback Haanjo 3 Gravel Bike, but it's the ride quality that had us hooked. The saddles were comfortable, and the aluminum frame made it lightweight and easily portable. We also tested it on various terrains, and it was great in the city and on uneven asphalt. It was shaky on rough terrains, but the grip was still great, which is highly impressive. We also loved how the components fit together and the ease of assembly.
What cons did we find?
even though the Diamondback Haanjo 3 Gravel Bike has a great build, we realized that the handlebars were a bit wide. This is a major downside for short riders, but the bike is also stable and makes it easy to maintain the handling, so the handlebars are a worthy compromise. We also noticed that the bike was very shaky on rough terrains. If this bike had a carbon fork, it would go a long way towards enhancing performance and stability on such terrains.
Things to Consider
According to the BBC
Trusted SourceCycling to work can cut cancer and heart disease, says studyWant to live longer? Reduce your risk of cancer? And heart disease? Then cycle to work, say scientists. The biggest study into the issue linked using two wheels with a halving of the risk of cancer and heart disease.
, regular cycling can reduce your risk of heart diseases. If you’re looking for a great gravel bike, then you’re on the right track to cardiovascular health! As you choose the best gravel bikes under $1500, there are several factors that you need to consider. Don’t just walk into a shop and choose the first gravel bike you see but instead conduct a careful assessment of each model to ensure you get the best fit for you. If you’re new at this and don’t know what to look for, here’s a comprehensive buying guide just for you!
What to expect from a gravel bike under $1500
Gravel bikes within this price range are generally low-end and are designed to give you value for your money. Most of their features are geared towards multi-use and can take on multiple terrains with ease. There are some that are specifically designed for bike packing and touring, while others are mostly suitable for moderate trail riding. However, all of them can be ridden under all kinds of conditions.
Gravel bikes within this price range also focus on functionality more than aesthetics.
How to pick the best gravel bike under $1500
Gravel bikes allow for the perfect transition from tarmac roads to off-road conditions without much hassle. They are versatile, flexible, and don’t compromise on speed. Before choosing the best gravel bike, you should consider its intended primary use. This will help you decide the features that you should prioritize and those that you can easily let go of without compromising your performance and ride quality. Here are the essential components you should consider in gravel bikes under $1500.
Make sure the frame size fits you well
Technically, the size of the frame doesn’t matter much; what you should look out for is how well the frame fits you. Keep in mind that even though the other components of the bike allow for some adjustments, it’s only within the set range, and this may not be enough to enhance comfort. The best way to get a gravel bike that’s a good fit is by checking the bike frame. This is not only essential to your comfort but also efficiency during the ride. The Tommaso Sterrata Gravel Bike, for example, is highly preferred because it’s available in various frame sizes from XS to XL.
Frame and fork material
There are various frame materials available, including steel, aluminum, carbon, and titanium; gravel bikes are usually heavy because manufacturers often prioritize strength and comfort but here are lightweight gravel bikes available in aluminum and carbon frames. You should choose the frame and fork material based on your style of riding and weight.
Wheels and tires
Most gravel bikes have tires that are wide and range between 35 and 42 mm. If you plan on primarily riding on pavements and tarmac roads, you should go for gravel bikes with smooth tires. This will reduce the rolling resistance, ultimately improving your ride quality. On the other hand, if you enjoy cycling on gritty roads, you should go for gravel bikes with gripper tires such as the Schwinn Sporterra Adventure Bike, as this provides extra traction.
The suspension of your bike highly impacts your ride quality. Gravel bikes with high suspension enhance traction and control, ultimately allowing for a more comfortable ride on rough terrains. They also give you better control as you brake or during cornering, allowing for a faster ride. Bikes with a rigid suspension are more practical and reliable for long rides and bike packing.
Choose the drivetrain based on whether you plan on using your gravel bike as a mountain bike or a road bike. If you’ll be primarily riding on the road, you should go for a bike with a 2x drivetrain. It has the ideal gear range and will allow for fast accelerations both uphill and downhill. If you’ll be riding on tough terrains, you should go for a 1x drivetrain because they allow for frequent and large speed changes.
The gear ratio affects your maximum riding speed
The gear ratio refers to the number of times the back wheel rotates every time the pedals rotate. This affects the maximum speed at which you can ride, and generally, a higher gear ratio allows for fast acceleration while a lower gear ratio allows you to ride at top speed. Most of the time, gravel bikes tend to be over-geared. They often come with an 11-32 cassette and a 50/34 chainset which is perfect for riding on the road but limited if you’re mostly riding in hilly areas.
Gravel bikes often come with disc brakes because they enable effective braking even in terrible weather conditions. With other types of brakes such as caliper and V-brakes, before you can effectively brake your bike, the wheel needs to rotate fully so as to eliminate the mud or water. Disc brakes, on the other hand, allow for immediate stopping power triggered by the pads touching the brakes.
Disc brakes also accommodate bigger tires without necessarily widening the frame. This is because this braking mechanism is placed lower, allowing the fork to be lighter and narrower, a feature that’s most common in traditional road bikes. You should, however, note that this braking mechanism is costly, but if you’ll be mostly riding under fair weather conditions, you can go for V-brakes.
Tubeless compatible wheels
Tubeless wheels are a popular option for gravel bikes because they allow you to ride under low pressures without getting flats. This is a huge advantage, especially when you’re riding under offroad conditions or rough terrains.
The weight of your gravel bike highly impacts its portability. For instance, if you plan on riding on trails that are only accessible using your car, you have to mount the bike. Weight also matters when you have to pull your bike up the stairs. This is significantly difficult to do if your bike is heavy.
Most importantly, the bike’s weight affects your ability to accelerate. Light bikes are generally more fun to ride and allow you to climb better. Watch out for extra pounds in critical areas such as the wheels, especially if you plan on using your gravel bike for longer rides.
If you enjoy going the DIY route, then you should go for gravel bikes that you can easily assemble on your own. Some models, such as the Tommaso Sterrata Gravel Bike, require professional assembly, which can be inconvenient.
Gravel bikes are designed to allow you to ride on various terrains with ease. They mostly have a drop handlebar and a design that’s also similar to road bikes. This allows you to ride comfortably on normal surfaces, but with stable handling, wider tires, and lower gearing, you can easily handle rough terrains.
Gravel bikes are engineered to provide extra comfort and enhanced stability, especially when riding over long distances. Their bottom bracket is elevated, which gives it more clearance over uneven road surfaces. These bikes also have a larger wheelbase that allows you to sit in a more relaxed and upright position for your commutes. You should, however, know that there are several limitations to substituting a road bike for a gravel bike. For starters, even if you’ll have enough gears for your rides, they won’t be sufficient when you’re riding at high speeds.
Most of the time, they are, but this is dependent on a number of factors. For instance, the aerodynamics of your gravel bike plays a huge part in the speed. Wider tires typically catch more wind, but if you make a tiny increase in the frontal area, you’ll notice a significant increase. Gravel bikes are also faster on smooth surfaces but not nearly as fast as racing bikes.
According to CNN
Trusted SourceBiking minutes a day may ward off weight gain - CNN.comBiking for as little as five minutes a day can help women minimize weight gain as they enter middle age, especially if they’re overweight to begin with, a new study suggests.
, you can bike your way into better health by incorporating cycling into your workout routine, even if it’s just for 5 minutes every day. Our top pick for gravel bikes under 1500 dollars is the Decathlon RC120, which has high-end features for your roughest terrains. Well designed for gravel riding, it has a simple and versatile design with mechanical disc brakes for all conditions, comfortable handlebars with good grip, and allows for installing accessories like a mudguard. The Tommaso Sentiero Gravel Bike, which provides you the best value for your money; and the Mongoose Men’s Elroy Adventure Bike, which is an incredible trailblazer. All 3 bikes have a compact & durable aluminum frame and a rigid suspension, but they also have defining features. Before making a purchasing decision, make sure that the gravel bike you choose is a great fit for you and guarantees comfort, stability, and versatility.
Cycling to work can cut cancer and heart disease, says study
Want to live longer? Reduce your risk of cancer? And heart disease? Then cycle to work, say scientists. The biggest study into the issue linked using two wheels with a halving of the risk of cancer and heart disease.