If you have spent much time looking into, and enjoying bikes, you likely have heard of an adventure bike, but on the other hand, you walk up to a different bike that looks exactly the same and they are calling it a gravel bike. Is there a difference, should you pay more for one or the other, and why would you want one of these? That is what we are going to talk about in this article.
Gravel Bike vs Adventure Bike
While they sound like two different things, gravel bikes and adventure bikes are actually the exact same thing! These bikes are designed to have the capability and versatility mountain bikes, yet have the on-road characteristics such as speed and the usage of drop handlebars.
If you wanted to really get down to it, the main difference between gravel bikes and adventure bikes is in how they are marketed. Adventure bike companies will use phrases like ‘road-ready’ or ‘lightweight’ while companies wanting to cater to a different crowd will refer to them as gravel bikes that can go quickly down dirt roads.
In fact, some people refer to these bikes as “Adventure Gravel Bikes”, combining the two words into one phrase. Because of this, don’t be too worried when shopping for a bike and they refer to one or the other, as they are the same thing.
So then what is a Cyclocross Bicycle?
A cyclocross bicycle is different from adventure gravel bikes that it is built for more endurance racing than for longer leisurely rides. While they use similar tires, similar construction, etc, they do have a bit different geometry, in that the bottom bracket is a bit higher and they have a more aggressive stance on the bike to allow for bursts of power that a gravel bike doesn’t get.
For most people an adventure gravel bike is going to be a better bet for every day usage!
Are adventure gravel bikes good for long distances?
These bikes are one of the best options out there for long distance rides, especially for bike-packing! The combination of thicker tires that give some cushion to the ride, as well as the ridged body to allow for all of your power to go into the pedal means these bikes make for great long distance rides. They also put you into a strong, yet comfortable stance while riding.
How many gears do these bikes have?
There is a rather wide range of gears on gravel adventure bikes, however they do generally have both a front and rear derailleur allowing anywhere from 7 to 22 gears to choose from.
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New to gravel bicycling? Which gravel bike should you get?
If you are new to cycling, I do highly recommend a gravel bike due to its versatility. As for a bike you should be getting to start off, there are two different directions you can go.
If you are looking to get a quality starter bike that will last you a long period of time, you can’t go wrong with Trek bikes, and more specifically their entry level Domane Al 2. This bike is their least expensive gravel bike, yet it still comes equipped with everything you need.
Alternatively, if you are on a stricter budget, Walmart also has some great options to get you started on this new hobby! You can generally find this Kent Nazz Gravel Road Bike in stock on their site, or even in stores regularly, and for the price it will get you going for at least the first year or two.
Don’t be scared by the marketing, gravel bikes and adventure bikes are the exact same thing, and you can buy one or the other without any worry! If you ‘re looking for a bike that’s going to work well for gravel and dirt roads, but also wants the versatility of being able to take it on some more difficult trails (and even on some paved routes!), then you should go with an adventure gravel bike.