One of the most important factors when taking gravel cycling is choosing the perfect gravel bike. There are a handful of gravel bikes available and if you’re new to gravel biking it can be overwhelming about which gravel bike you should buy. I’ve created this short guide on things to consider before buying a gravel bike.
The first thing that comes into play when looking for a gravel bike is the type of frame. As obvious as it sounds, there are so many different types of road bikes it could get confusing knowing what each is designed for. The three main frames include aluminum alloy, carbon fiber,, titanium and steel.
Aluminium Alloy Gravel Bikes
Aluminum alloy gravel bikes are quite many considering that aluminum is cheaper than steel, aluminum alloy is stronger than aluminum (and quite a bit lighter too), aluminum is rustproof and aluminum alloys are easier to machine.
Aluminum gravel bikes come in many sizes, shapes, weights, and abilities. There are also plenty of companies that make aluminum gravel bikes nowadays.
Another thing about Aluminium gravel bikes is that most of the time these bikes come with disc brakes which helps when getting off-road because it allows you to do this without having problems with rims getting clogged up with mud.
Our choice of best Aluminium alloy gravel bikes under $1000 are.
Carbon Fibre Gravel Bikes
Carbon fibre gravel bike is a bicycle designed for dirt-track racing, adventure cycling or cyclocross. Carbon road bikes are typically used for longer races on road courses.
While carbon fibre can be found in almost every cycling discipline, it’s most prevalent in the world of endurance cycling. It’s not uncommon to find carbon fibre components of carbon forks, carbon seatposts, carbon spacers, and even carbon handlebars that improve both the strength and weight of your ride.
Carbon has become so common in the world of cycling because it offers several key properties that composites simply cannot match with metal constructions: lightness, high stiffness (strength), excellent fatigue life, and damage tolerance.
It allows manufacturers to build versatile bikes that are very strong, light that offers riders smooth riding experience.
One of the disadvantages of carbon fibre bikes is that they are expensive, but the carbon frames have a range of features that cannot be found in steel or aluminum bikes.
The carbon fibre material is light and stiff, which makes it an ideal material for gravel bike frames. The carbon frames are available in all ranges, including low-end carbon fibre hardtails to high-performance carbon full suspension downhill bikes. Carbon fibre forks are lighter than aluminum or steel counterparts, so they can also offer your bike more responsive ride quality.
Carbon bicycles give you a great riding experience because they are much lighter than other types of carbon components, so carbon bicycles will accelerate faster than their heavier counterparts with less effort required by riders to get their wheels rolling.
Getting a brand new carbon gravel bike under $1000 is impossible so we wont cover it in this blog
Titanium Gravel Bikes
Titanium has a high tensile strength, which makes it have high fatigue strength that provides long-term durability. titanium bicycles are therefore ideal for gravel rides because titanium can handle the extra stress that riding rough, bumpy trails causes.
The titanium frame absorbs impacts well and titanium is an excellent material to build bikes out of because titanium has a “dual personality”. titanium offers both alloy-like stiffnesses in certain directions along with steel’s better damping characteristics against vibration.
Its impossible to get a brand new Titanium gravel bike that is under $1000 so we wont be covering it in this blog post but we will cover the best overall Titanium gravel bikes in later posts.
Steel Gravel Bikes
Steel is an old-school material that has been used for generations to make bikes. Steel was a good material because of its strength and cost. The steel that is used to make steel gravel bikes have changed over the years. The steel that is now manufactured has a tighter grain and is stronger then ever before.
The greatest disadvantage of steel gravel bikes is that steel bikes are heavier and that steel is more prone to damage from rust if not cared for properly.
As long as you take care of your steel gravel and bring it inside during rainstorms or snowy winters you will have a very long-lasting bicycle.
Below is our choice of best steel gravel bikes under $1000
1. Aluminum Alloy Gravel Bikes
Let’s look at greater details regarding the bike we’ve just mentioned above. We start off with the Aluminium frame bikes.
The Tommaso Siena bike is a great purchase to make to get around town. You don’t have to spend thousands to purchase the bike to still have an appealing look to it. Not only are they appealing, but are also inexpensive for those who are looking to save money on their next bike purchase.
This is a great gravel bike to own that is versatile to be used in both on and off-road environments. It has all of the features to be used to traverse different types of terrain giving you the smoothest ride possible.
The versatility comes from its ability to use fat tires to help with riding over rocks and other obstacles on the trail. That allows for a smoother ride than it would have if it used smaller tires to go faster.
What people love about this bike is that they can get to enjoy a smooth ride, but still feel like they are getting exercise at the same time when going downhill or up a steep hill.
The frame of the Tommaso Siena bike is made of aluminum to help to give it the lightest weight on the market. Aluminum is one of the more expensive metals to use to make a bike frame, but it also makes it extremely lightweight to be able to get on this bike and go anywhere you want.
The fork on this bicycle is made of carbon fiber to give it its sleek look while still being durable enough to handle just about any obstacle that might come in your way when riding down rocky trails.
The shifters are part of what makes this particular Tommaso Siena bicycle stand out over all others of its kind because they can easily switch gears to fit each ride you go on. You do not have to worry about taking time between rides to adjust anything on the shifter.
The bike has a 3×7 Shimano Tourney Groupset, that features a 30/39/50T Claris crankset and 12x28T Tourney cassette. This setup is perfect for going over varying terrains, from flat roads to hills, its wide range of gears able to cater to all levels of riders in all conditions. This bike also sports high-performance disc brakes that are perfect for stopping when you need to come to a full stop.
Tommaso Bicycles has worked hard to develop the Siena Bike for everyday riders in mind. Originally designed with modern-day road warriors in mind, this lightweight aluminum frame is capable of speeds up to 28mph while still staying comfortable over rougher terrain than other bikes in its class can handle. The engineered alloy fork provides just enough flex for when the road gets rough.
What I Like
- A great gravel bike that costs almost half the price of a Canyon entry-level Grail Trek or Cannondale
- The Shimano Touray group set with its tripple cage is as good, but probably a bit heavier than a 105 or even an Ultegra.
- Sleek looking design
Cons About The Bike
- Some have complained that the shifting is a little slow
- You will be required to adjust some preassembled components. For novices this might be a challenge. Do take it to a bike shop to be tuned.
- The bike tires are outside the recommended international specs
Ever since Schwinn began introducing bicycle design changes back in the ’60s, they’ve continued to improve their line of bicycles year after year. To top off Schwinn’s list of amazing features, Schwinn has introduced the Schwinn Vantage bike .
This brand new focus on style and comfort is reflected in every aspect of the bike, including its aluminum frame which looks fantastic with Schwinn’s silver finish. The pedals are even customized for this model; not only do they look great with metallic inserts, but they also have adjustable Velcro straps to keep your feet securely attached at all times.
This bike was designed for beginners and intermediate gravel bikers.
The tires on this bike are Schwinn’s very own which not only look great on this bike but also provide Schwinn Vantage bike riders with a smooth and steady ride every time.
The brakes of this bike are Schwinn’s Schwinn-Approved alloy side pulls, which provide riders with strong stopping power at all times.
Many Schwinn Vantage bike reviews have raved about this bike on account of how comfortable it is to ride around town or on long commutes. Additionally, Schwinn Vantage bikes are available in a wide range of colors that allow you to choose one that really suits your tastes.
This bike comes equipped with Schwinn’s Schwinn Cruiser handlebars, which provide riders with an upright riding position that ensures maximum comfort while cruising through town or campus on your way to class.
Another feature worth mentioning about this bike is its drivetrain which comprises of The Schwinn alloy crankset that comes with speeds ranging from 18 to 22 speeds, which allow you to choose the gear that best matches your riding style.
The Schwinn Vantage bikes come in a range of different sizes. Schwinn Vantage gravel bike costs about $1,000 to start, which some people might think is a lot until you consider that it’s made for gravel use and comes with features that make it extremely durable and long-lasting; this style of bike has become more popular recently (and will only become more so as cities limit where cars can drive).
Below are the different frame sizes available for this gravel bike
- 55cm: Small Frame for Riders height of between 5’3″-5’7″
- 56cm: Medium Frame for Riders height of between 5’7″-5’10”
- 58cm: Large Frame for Riders height of between 5’10”-6’1″
- 60cm: Extra Large Frame for Riders height of between 6’1″-6’4″
Pros Of This Bike
- For its price point of less than $1000, the bikes is fitted with Shimano GRX hydraulic brakes which people were saying the brakes are holding out well. The load bearing component are made of metal and not plastic, a good feature to have
- Its wide ranging gears enabled the rider to cover all elevations, on and off-road.
- The gears shift well
- Easy to mount on and get off.
- The bike transitions well between dirt, grass, pavement and gravel.
- The handlebar grips are impressive and the shifting levers can be accessed with ease.
- The bike has a racing feel to it and you’ll notice that it handles corners at a higher speed quite well
Cons of This Bike
- A thru-axle to the quick-release on the rear wheel would have been a better option.
- Not easy to assemble for beginners
The Schwinn Vantage bike is without a doubt one of Schwinn’s most stylish and comfortable bikes to date, as well as one of their best-designed bicycles yet. If you’re looking for a top-quality cruiser-style bicycle that has the power to take you wherever you need to go, then the Schwinn Vantage bike is undoubtedly the right choice for you.
Another great gravel bike that sells for less than $1000. This bike is ideal for bikepacking, touring, camping, and other outdoor activities. Gravel bikes are an excellent way to explore nature on your own time. and the Mongoose Elroy is a good bike to consider. This tough adventure bike is loaded with features so you can bring everything you need on your next (or first!) bikepacking expedition.
For the ultimate ride, this versatile adventure touring bike includes strong adventure bike geometry, a sleek aluminum frame, and steel fork. The ride is smooth thanks to a 2×7 transmission with Shimano Tourney derailleurs, an integrated Micro shift shifter/brake lever combo, and mechanical disc brakes.
The integrated frame bag has a gorgeous embroidered patch and plenty of capacity for all your riding necessities. The large front rack (with a built-in bottle opener!) can easily carry two panniers, while the rear rack mount provides even more carrying capacity.
Three distinct water bottle cage mounts (and two more on the fork) are provided by the internal cable routing, ensuring that you stay hydrated while riding.
This Elroy gravel bike, with its sleek alloy frame, robust steel fork, dependable Tourney derailleurs, and 14-speed shifters/brake lever combo, will glide over hills on your morning commute or hurry you to happy hour after office.
Snappy mechanical disc brakes, broad 700c alloy rims, and huge 40c tires. Fender attachments, internal cable routing, and two additional fork-integrated water bottle cage mounts are features worth mentioning regarding this bike.
- Top tube length on the Elroy? Horizontal = 54cm; Actual = 52cm
- Wheelbase on the Elroy? 104cm
- Standover height on the Elroy? Approx. 81cm
- Headtube angle on the Elroy? 71 degrees
Pros Of This Gravel Bike
- Shifts very well and has enough room to pack in essentials.
- The paintwork is well done and the frame is comfortable and light for the price. The bag attached on the frame plus the front rack are added bonuses which will come in handy when they need to be used.
- Heavy people have said the bike rode smoothly without any issues.
- The frame is quite big and tall people will find it a joy to ride
Cons Of This Bike
- People have complained that the breaks are its weakest link. The front brake is great but the rear break will needed adjustment.
- Original saddle can get quite uncomfortable. You might probably need to change to a more suitable one
- Folks have complained about the tires seem to be cheap quality.
2. Steel Gravel Bikes
Great steel gravel bike for those looking for something classy and different that is under $1000. This is one great bike to own, comfortable and steely strong. Its geometry offers its riders a mixture of endurance with enhanced stability for off pavement use.
The Nicasio is designed to transport you beyond the tarmac, following in the footsteps of the Gestalt series. These endurance versions allow you to run on any surface, including concrete and gravel roads. This bike yearns for long excursions, and it’s built to take you and your gear on them.
It’s ideal for loaded multi-day treks and comfortable all-day expeditions because it has rack and mudguard mounts, as well as a wide range of climbing gearing and a solid design.
The Nicasio is designed for riders that want something unique and futuristic while still maintaining classic steel structure. With the geometry and 700C x 30mm-40mm or 650B x 47mm tyres, this bike has the character of a classic bike.
Why should you ride a steel bike? Steel’s tenacity is its most significant advantage. Dings, bends, and scratches are common on steel bikes, but they can still be ridden safely for many years.
As a result, it’s ideal for demanding trips. Steel frames are also super comfy, as they have a higher degree of inherent flex than other materials, giving the bike a gentle springiness.
Superb steel manages to provide you knowledge about the pavement surface while smoothing it out. Through your handlebars, you can ‘feel’ the road—how granular the asphalt is, how chunky the gravel stones are.
- Front Derailleur: Shimano Claris
- Back Derailleur: Shimano Claris 8-Speed
- Brakes: Shimano w/ Integrated Shifters
- Fork: CrMo, Fender and Rack Eyelets, IS Disc Mount
- CRANKSET: FSA Tempo Compact, 50/34T
- Rims: Marin Aluminum Double Wall, 19mm Inner, Disc Specific
- Cassette: SunRace 8-Speed, 11-32T
Pros of This Bike
– Impressive looking color
– Great geometry
– Awesome gear range
– Capable tires that can handle low pressure well
– The bike’s 11-32 cassette helps counter the Nicasio’s weight & performed well on hilly terrain. Its Shimano 2×8 gearing gets a thumbs up.
Cons of this bike
– The bike lacks top-tube mount points, plus the bottom mount is affected due to steeper geometry.
– Brakes are good but not necessarily the strongest.
– A bit heavy
Overall, the Nicasio is a flexible bike that comes in four different types to suit commuters, bikepackers, weekend warriors, and endurance riders. Minor criticisms are made. Although the componentry in entry-level versions is not high-end, it is praised for its dependability.
The many variants provide alternatives for a wide range of budgets. The Nicasio is an inexpensive introduction into off-road drop-bar riding if you can endure a little heavier ride in favor for steel comfort.
The gravel bike is available in two frame colors ( Tan/Gray) and four sizes to fit riders ranging in height from 5’1″ to 6’5″. The manufacturers incorporated some of the attributes of its predecessors (the Warhawk SSCX and Pulsar 29er), such as 4130 Chromoly Steel, which is both tough and durable while also being quite forgiving on the dirt.
The front fork and rear end also have a plethora of mounting points, offering the rider a plethora of rack, fender, bottle-cage, and baggage carrying options. The shape of the bike is designed to make long days in the saddle on and off the road more pleasant.
The frame has a thru-axle with 100/142 spacing, which is almost unusual in the sub-$1000 segment.
The wheels on this gravel bike are either 700c with 38c tires or 650b with 1.9″ tires. Tubeless tires and rims are available (tape and sealant are required).
For both size options, the manufacturer chose the gold-standard in gravel/all-road tires, the Panaracer Gravel King, taking into account specific road conditions and usage.
The 38c Panaracer Gravel King is featured on the 700c wheelset, which is ideally suited for riders who wish to venture off the beaten path and into off-road / gravel riding. Alternatively, you may have to contend with less-than-ideal road conditions.
If you plan on riding this bike on the road as well as smooth gravel roads and light single-track, we recommend this option.
The 650b wheelset comes with a bigger 1.9″ Panaracer Gravel King SK tire, which is ideal for tough roads and off-road riding. This is a tire that may be used in any terrain.
- BB – Threaded 68mm bottom bracket
- Brakes – State Bicycle Co. All-Road 1 Flat-Mount Disc. w/ 160mm Rotors (6-Bolt)
- Cassette – SBC 11-42T 11-Speed Crankset – w/ SBC All-Road 1 Shifters
- Chain – YBN 11-Speed
- Crankset – SBC All-Road 1 Forged 7075 Al | XS/S: 165mm M:170mm L:175mm
- Fork: 4130 Chromoly Steel, 1¹/8” threadless steerer
- Frame: 4130 Chromoly Steel
- Handlebars: (Drop Bar) SBC All-Road Bars, Aluminum| 18° Flare, W500/420mm, 31.8mm
- Handlebars: (Riser Bar) SBC 6061BL Riser Bars, Aluminum 18° Flare, W500/420mm, 31.8mm Shifter: SBC All-Road 1 – 11spd Trigger
- Headset- FSA ZS-4D 1¹/8” Threadless
- Tires – 700c: Vittoria Terreno Zero 38c (Tubeless) 650b: Vittoria Barzo 2.1”
- Wheels – 700c or 650b Aluminum
- Rim Depth: 24mm | Width: 19mm int., 25mm ext
Pros About This Bike
Overall, this bike is fantastic and especially given the price, the possibilities are limitless. You can take it on a commute, a walk around the neighborhood, a long day ride, or a multi-day ride, all the while riding on virtually any landscape depending on your wheels.
Sure, its components are cheap, but they can be easily replaced and enhanced. The frame of this bike is awesome, and the components, while appearing to be on the cheap side, are still good enough to handle whatever you hurl at them. Order this bike and explore the infinite opportunities and roads that await you.
Cons About This Bike
- I’d suggest changing the brakes.
- The shifting mechanism also performs well, but you must press down the brake lever in a specific way or you will shift and brake at the same time. It’s not ideal to jam the gearing when you just want to stop.
Aside from these two major flaws, it’s a fun bike to ride!