When you consider that a good gravel bike captures some of the speed of a road bike, some of the comfort of a touring bike, and some of the ‘go-anywhere capabilities of a mountain bike, it’s no surprise that the bikes can come with a bit of a hefty price tag.
You can easily pick up a decent entry-level hardtail mountain bike for under £500, and you can be pedalling away on a basic road bike for a similar sum. Unfortunately, gravel bikes are a different story and you will need to spend four figures to pick up a bike that is going to take you on the adventures that you want to go on.
A quick Google search of ‘budget gravel bikes’ will bring you back results ranging from £800 right up to a few thousand pounds. Trying to find the right bike for your budget can become something of a minefield, which is why we’ve put together this list of five of the best gravel bikes under £1500.
Sonder Camino (£949 – £1449)
The Sonder Camino range from Alpkit are true adventure bikes.
Sonder says that this bike is ‘built for those moments when the road turns into trail and the bridleway drops off into singletrack’. And that’s exactly what a gravel bike should be.
The bike is built to be loaded up with gear and will still feel lively and responsive even when fully loaded. Comfortable enough to head out on multi-day expeditions, but agile enough to be a lot of fun just tearing around your local trails, this is truly a versatile bike.
At the bottom end of the price range is the Camino AL Apex Mechanical at £949, but if you’ve got a bit more money to spend you can upgrade to the Camino AL GRX2 at £1449, featuring class-leading components for round-the-world travel.
Perfect for… Bikepacking trips and multi-day expeditions
Find out more… Sonder Camino
Genesis CDA 10 (£799.99)
The CDA 10 has been a huge success story for Genesis and at £799.99 it’s also the cheapest bike on this list.
If the Sonder Camino is the gravel bike for off-roaders who want to occasionally head onto the road, then the CDA 10 is the opposite, designed for road riders that want to take the occasional turn down a gravel track.
It’s a great example of a budget-friendly all-rounder. It’s ideal for those that want to use the same bike for their weekday commute as well as their weekend adventure. As you’d expect at this price point, there are better bikes out there for those looking to get right off the beaten track, but for those just looking for the occasional dabble into gravel riding, you’d be hard pushed to find a better bike for the money.
Perfect for… People on a tight budget looking for an intro to gravel riding
Find out more… Genesis Bikes
Riverside RT 920 Adventure Touring Bike (£1399.99)
Decathlon’s Riverside 920 Adventure Touring Bike has been built with huge adventures in mind. If you want a budget-friendly bike that is capable of taking you around the world, this might just be the one.
The bike has been developed and tested for long, gruelling journeys in rough terrain. In fact, Decathlon claim to have tested this bike for over half a million kilometres in some of the toughest conditions in the world.
There are 33 mounts built into the bike, so you’ll have no problems attaching all of the kit you need for your epic adventures.
Perfect for… Big adventures across a variety of terrains
Find out more… Decathlon
Fuji Jari 1.3 (£1479.99)
Fuji calls this bike a bit of a chameleon. It’s ready for gravel racing, bikepacking and even a bit of touring and can seamlessly change for whatever you want to use it for.
With an alloy frame, carbon fork and an SRAM Apex 1 groupset, you are getting a lot of value for money with this bike.
There is always a balance to be found between road ability and off-road capability when it comes to gravel bikes. The Fuji Jari 1.3 seems to have found a sweet spot and the bike performs equally well on tarmac and gravel trails.
Perfect for… Riders looking for something that is equally capable on and off the road
Find out more… Fuji Jari Gravel Bike
Boardman ADV 8.9 (£1100)
Boardman has been releasing new gravel bikes for the last few years, each one slightly improved from the previous models as the market for gravel bikes changes and adapts.
The 2021 version has a more relaxed frame geometry so that the rider can feel comfortable even after several hours in the saddle. The bottom bracket has been lowered to bring the centre of gravity down, meaning that the rider will feel more confident when hitting the off-road trails at speed. And the drivetrain has been altered to give the rider a better range of gears when climbing steep, challenging terrain or hitting fast descents.
Perfect for… All round use between gravel, road and commuting
Find out more… Boardman Bikes at Halfords