The rise in popularity of gravel biking has been so huge over the last 18-months or so, it’s now almost impossible to buy a gravel bike online without first accepting that you’ll have to wait a few months for it to arrive.
Some manufacturers have been so inundated with orders that there’s now a six-month waiting list. Other suppliers have simply posted updates to their websites stating that all bikes are currently out of stock for the foreseeable future.
So what’s all the fuss about. Why have gravel bikes become so popular, and are they now worth the wait?
Well, we definitely think they’re worth the wait, and here are five reasons why your next bike should be a gravel bike.
A Gravel Bike Offers the Best of Both Worlds
On the one side you have mountain bikes that are designed to tackle tough, off-road terrain; and on the other side you have road bikes that are built for speed. Somewhere in the middle is the gravel bike.
At first glance, you’ll notice that a gravel bike looks a lot like a road bike. It has drop bars, no suspension and thin tyres. But don’t be deceived. A gravel bike will have tyres capable of gripping rough terrain and a frame geometry designed to keep you in control over lumps and bumps.
Essentially, a gravel bike will allow you to travel much faster over a variety of terrains than a mountain bike will, but will also allow you to tackle off-road trails that a road bike never could.
With a gravel bike, you get the best of both worlds.
A Gravel Bike is An Explorers Bike
A gravel bike is perfect for those that love to simply jump on a bike and head out and wander.
You can cover great distances on a gravel bike, but you’re not just limited to the roads for exploring. Forest roads, canal towpaths and the many hundreds of miles of bridleways that we have here in the UK are all perfect for exploring on one of these bikes.
With a gravel bike and an OS map, you’ve suddenly got endless possibilities for adventures.
Gravel Bikes Are Made for Bikepacking
If you want to extend your bike rides and turn them into multi-day, epic expeditions, then a gravel bike is exactly what you need.
Gravel bikes and bikepacking go hand-in-hand. The bikes are made for loading up with bikepacking bags and you’ll be able to pack everything you need for a weekend of adventure.
Gravel Bikes Are Made For Long Journeys
Gravel bikes are designed with comfort in mind. Although they may look like a road bike at first glance, the bikes have actually got a slightly different frame shape. A gravel bike has a more ‘relaxed’ geometry and a slightly stretched out frame shape when compared to a road bike. These tweaks serve two purposes: to give you stability on rough gravel and to keep you comfortable for long days in the saddle.
A gravel bike can be used in many different ways; from your ‘go anywhere’ Sunday morning explorer to your Monday morning commuter, but no matter what you use yours for you can almost guarantee that you’ll feel comfortable and confident whilst riding it.
There’s a Growing Community Around Gravel Biking
Gravel biking is still a relatively new form of cycling and that makes it a perfect time to get involved if you’re looking for a community to be a part of.
It’s an exciting time to be a gravel biker. Routes are being discovered or made, bikes and equipment are being improved and developed, and more and more people are buying gravel bikes and building the community.
Likewise, bikepacking is growing in popularity each year and more and more people are turning to their bikes as a means to transport them to the wilderness for a weekend of wild camping and escapism.
Worth the wait? We think so.