All Collections
Buying guides
Road vs Gravel Bikes: Unveiling the Adventure
Road vs Gravel Bikes: Unveiling the Adventure

Discover the differences between road bikes and gravel bikes, and find the perfect ride for your cycling adventures beyond the beaten path.

Updated over a week ago


Cycling offers a diverse range of options, with road bikes and gravel bikes standing out as popular choices. These bikes are designed to excel under different conditions, with road bikes optimised for smooth, paved surfaces and gravel bikes, like our Granite range, offering versatility on both paved and off-road terrains, including dirt trails and gravel roads. Understanding the distinctions between these two bike types is crucial in finding the perfect match for your cycling ambitions.

Geometry and Frame Design

The geometry and frame design significantly impact a bike's handling and comfort. Road bikes typically feature a shorter wheelbase and steeper angles, providing an agile ride and efficient pedaling on well-maintained roads. Their longer reach allows for a lower, aerodynamic riding position, perfect for speed.

Conversely, gravel bikes prioritize a relaxed geometry with a longer wheelbase and slacker head angle. This design enhances stability and control on uneven terrains, providing a comfortable ride over long distances on diverse surfaces. The more upright riding position reduces strain on the rider's hamstrings and lower back, making it advantageous for challenging off-road courses. Additionally, gravel bikes often include multiple mounting points, enabling the attachment of luggage and racks, a feature road bikes lack.

Tyre Clearance

One pivotal difference between road and gravel bikes lies in their tyre clearance. Road bikes are designed for narrow, high-pressure tyres (usually up to 28mm) to minimize rolling resistance and maximize speed. In contrast, gravel bikes offer more generous tyre clearance, allowing for larger, low-pressure tyres (typically 35mm or wider). These tyres enhance traction and comfort on rough surfaces and in muddy conditions.

Drivetrain and Gearing

Road bikes typically feature a compact or triple crankset paired with a wide-range cassette, providing an extensive gear range for tackling steep climbs and maintaining high speeds on descents.

Gravel bikes may share a similar drivetrain setup but are geared towards lower speeds. The inclusion of "granny gears" facilitates navigation on loose surfaces or challenging climbs. A rising trend among gravel bikes is the adoption of a 1x (single chainring) drivetrain with a wide-range rear cassette. This setup is lighter, simpler, and provides better obstacle clearance, improved chain retention on rough terrains, and reduced risk of damage, although it may not offer as wide a gear range as the 2x or 3x alternatives.


Gravel bikes, designed for all-terrain adventures, feature robust brakes that deliver improved performance even in gritty conditions. Most gravel bikes come equipped with disc brakes, providing consistent stopping power across diverse weather and terrain conditions.

Overall Strength

Gravel bikes are generally heavier than road bikes due to their robust build. Their construction incorporates stronger tubing, welds, and drivetrain components to ensure durability. Even the brake discs are larger to handle the challenges of off-road riding.


Gravel bikes have gained popularity due to their blend of speed, comfort, handling, and durability. These versatile machines can tackle a wide array of terrains, making them an excellent addition to any cyclist's collection, especially for those who enjoy exploring off the beaten path. Whether you prefer the agility and speed of road bikes or the adventure and adaptability of gravel bikes, understanding their distinctions will help you choose the perfect bike for your cycling endeavors.

Did this answer your question?