When picking a bike, you might think that you can only choose between a road bike and a mountain bike, but that wouldn’t be right. You could also select one of the best gravel bikes under $500 for your biking adventures.
When selecting the models for our list, we first looked into framing material, and frame size since this will determine how comfortable it is and how durable the bike will be. Next, we considered the tire size range, as this will determine the type of terrain you can ride on. Finally, we looked at the mechanics of the bikes, including the brakes, gears, and suspension. These mechanics will help you to find the right bike for your style of riding. When it comes to most people, we think that our Editor’s Choice, the Hiland 26'' Aluminum Mountain Bike, is a great option to look at.
This bike is made with an aluminum frame that comes in a variety of sizes and has 26-inch wheels. It features a front suspension and has 24 different speeds to choose from. This model also has mechanical disc brakes and weighs in at 31 pounds.
If you are someone that has experience riding on a multi-speed bike that is looking to explore rougher trails, this is a good option for you. Its brakes make it easy to stop, and the front suspension works well on tough terrain. It has lots of speeds to choose from, which might make it a bit hard to handle for a beginning rider.
More features: large front rack, ergonomic internal cable routing, integrated frame bag, fender mounts
This offering from Mongoose only comes in a 54 cm aluminum frame. It features 29-inch wheels and has a rigid suspension. The bike weighs around 30 pounds and has 14 different speeds to utilize. This model has mechanical disk brakes.
This bike is perfect for anyone with a smaller stature. It is also good for riding on smooth surfaces and moderately tough terrain, thanks to its rigid suspension. It comes with lots of storage space, which would work well for longer rides.
This Schwinn bike comes in a variety of frame sizes and can weigh upwards of 39.7 pounds. It features a front suspension and 21 speeds. The brakes are linear-pull, and the wheels are 27.5 inches high.
This is a great bike for anyone that is looking for an extremely durable option. Its thick frame adds a lot of weight but, in conjunction with its front suspension, makes this a perfect option for extremely rough terrain. The linear-pull brakes are easy to maintain and replace, making this a good value as well.
More features: lightweight, versatile, RMG is also equipped with a full Shimano drivetrain, quick release seat
This model has an aluminum frame and comes in a variety of sizes. The wheels are 27.5 inches, and it has a rigid suspension. The brakes are hydraulic discs, and the bike features 16 speeds. Overall, the bike weighs in at 30 pounds.
This bike is a great entry-level adventure bike. It has a limited number of speeds to learn, making it good for beginners or experts. The dual hydraulic disc brakes are well made and durable, all while providing exceptional stopping power. The rigid suspension makes this a good option for moderately tough terrain.
More features: made in Taiwan, 85% pre-assembled, 5 years warranty, hybrid
This bike has an aluminum frame that comes in a variety of sizes. You can also choose from several different wheel sizes as well. The suspension on this 24-speed bike is rigid. This bike also has disc brakes. It has an overall weight of 28 pounds.
As the name suggests, this is a great option for anyone that wants an urban commuter bike that could also handle the occasional rough trail. The rigid suspension is best for smooth paths, though the high level of speed works well on steep inclines and declines.
In this section, we will go through everything that you need to know to find the best gravel bike under $500 for your needs. We have also answered several frequently asked questions as well, so be sure to read through those too if you need any further information.
We all know that bike riding is beneficial Trusted Source 15 benefits of cycling: why cycling is great for fitness, legs and mind | Cycling Weekly There are so many ways that exercise can boost your mood: there’s the basic release of adrenalin and endorphins, and the improved confidence that comes from achieving new things (such as completing a sportive or getting closer to that goal). www.cyclingweekly.com to our health. This is also true for a gravel, or adventure, bike. Using this type of bike also offers other benefits as well, such as:
These bikes also provide you with the versatility to choose from a wide variety of hand grips as well. Since most gravel bikes feature a flared bars that allow for a multitude of grips, you can easily find the one that works best for you. Of course, you can change the handlebars as well if you prefer a flat setup instead.
Finally, with a few modifications, it is very easy to alter the seat to suit your needs on a gravel bike. These bikes usually have you sitting higher up than a road bike but a bit lower than a mountain bike. Thankfully, with a few slight modifications, you can get the seating arrangement that you desire from a gravel bike.
As you can imagine, there are lots of different features and factors that you need to consider in order to find the right gravel bike for your needs. In this section, we have laid everything out for you in complete detail so that you can make the right decision.
A major consideration when you are looking for a new gravel bike has got to be the size of the frame. After all, bikes are not a one-size-fits-all sort of product. If you get a bike that is too large for you, you won’t be able to balance it correctly and ride comfortably. If you find a model that is too small for your body, you will quickly cramp up and have difficulty riding for extended periods of time.
Most models, like the Hiland 26” Aluminum Mountain Bike, come in a variety of sizes so that you can get the perfect one for your needs. To find the right size bike, you need to first measure yourself. Obviously, the taller you are, the larger the frame you will need, and vice versa. In that case, the Mongoose Men’s Elroy Adventure Bike and its standard 54 cm frame might make the most sense.
The most common frame material, and the one used on all of the bikes for our list, is aluminum. Aluminum is extremely durable yet lightweight when compared to other metals, such as steel. Simply put, an aluminum frame can take a lot of punishment without breaking down on you, even on the roughest trails. Of course, since these frames are on the thicker size, they are going to be much heavier than you would find on a road bike, so bear that in mind before you make your final purchase.
They also have the added benefit of being completely rustproof as well, which is a huge plus if you intend to ride on trails that might be a bit wet.
The size of the wheel that you decide upon should be based on the type of terrain that you are going to be riding on. If you are going to be on flat surfaces, you can get by with a smaller wheelbase, as these tires will allow you to go faster over smooth surfaces than a larger tire. If you plan on making your bike live up to its name, however, you might want to aim for larger wheels.
Larger tires have an easier time going over rough terrain, so bear this in mind before you make your final purchase.
Much like the wheel size, the type of suspension that you select should be based on the roads or trails you tend to travel. If you are looking to ride on smoother roads, then a rigid suspension is a fine choice as it will provide you with a stable and smooth ride. A front suspension fork is made to be used for rougher trails, however, and will allow you to navigate bumpy terrain with ease.
The number of speeds that you will need is going to depend on your comfort level with changing gears and the variety of terrain you intend to ride on. If you are going to be using your bike on flat surfaces, then you could probably get by with a lower number of speeds on your bike. In this case, the Mongoose Men’s Elroy Adventure Bike is a good option, as it only has 14 speeds.
If you intend to ride your bike on more rigorous terrain, you might want to get a bike with more gears.
There are several different types of brakes that you can employ on your bike. Disk brakes, specifically hydraulic ones like those on the Royce Union Gravel Bike, will last the longest but are also the most expensive. These brakes are completely sealed up, unlike mechanical disk brakes, which help to keep them clean and to operate correctly. Linear pull breaks, like those on the Schwinn Mesa Adult Mountain Bike, are also a good option since they are easy to replace and maintain.
Since the frames of these bikes are designed to be rugged and durable, it should not come as a surprise that they are on the heavier side when compared to other types of bikes. This will become especially apparent if you are used to road bikes, which are designed to be as lightweight as possible so that they can be as fast as possible.
If you are looking for a lighter gravel bike, then the Hiland Road Hybrid Bike Urban City Commuter Bicycle is a good option. This model only weighs around 28 pounds, which makes it a versatile option for use on the road and on trails. If you want a highly durable option, however, then the Schwinn Mesa Adult Mountain Bike is a good choice. This bike almost weighs 40 pounds, making it perfect for the roughest trails you can find.
You should keep a close eye on how your tires appear. If the tread is wearing thin or any bulges appear in the tires, it is definitely time to swap them out. You also might notice that they take longer to break or are harder to control as well. This is another clue that you should start thinking about new tires.
The best gravel bike for your needs is going to be the one that is tailor-made for the kind of riding you want to participate in. You need to make sure to find the right size bike with the right suspension and wheel size to handle whatever you have in mind.
Out of all the bikes on our list, the Hiland 26” Aluminum Mountain Bike is by far our favorite. This bike comes in a variety of sizes and features a sturdy frame and great brakes. If you are in the market for an exceptional gravel bike, we highly recommend you check this one out!
The Mongoose Men’s Elroy Adventure Bike is an awesome option for anyone on the smaller side that wants to hit the trail. It features a lot of storage space as well, making it a great option for long-distance rides.
If you are looking for the most durable option possible among all of the best gravel bikes under $500, then the Schwinn Mesa Adult Mountain Bike is a great choice. It is built for rough conditions, and it’s also easy to maintain or disassemble in case you need that.