Should I buy a gravel bike? The pros and cons

Why buy a gravel bike
(Image credit: Specialized)

Gravel, and new gravel bikes, have been the hottest thing in cycling for a good few years now, and things have evolved significantly since the inception of the genre. When once you’d garner looks of bemusement from cyclo-cross racers, saying “that’s just a cyclo-cross bike with bigger tyres”, there is now such a variety of gravel bikes out there that you’d be hard pushed to claim most of them would work on a ‘cross course.

We’ll dig into what a gravel bike actually is in the modern age, and what they can bring to your particular table depending on which sub-genre you’re interested in, as well as addressing the key question of whether you really need one. If you have decided a gravel bike is what you need in your life then be sure to check out our list of the best gravel bikes so you can be sure you’re spending your hard earned cash in the right place.

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Will Jones
Tech Writer

Will joined the Cyclingnews team as a reviews writer in 2022, having previously written for Cyclist, BikeRadar and Advntr. There are very few types of cycling he's not dabbled in, and he has a particular affection for older bikes and long lasting components. Road riding was his first love, before graduating to racing CX in Yorkshire. He's been touring on a vintage tandem all the way through to fixed gear gravel riding and MTB too. When he's not out riding one of his many bikes he can usually be found in the garage tinkering with another of them, or getting obsessive about tyres. Also, as he doesn't use Zwift, he's our go-to guy for bad weather testing... bless him.

Rides: Custom Zetland Audax, Bowman Palace:R, Peugeot Grand Tourisme Tandem, Falcon Explorer Tracklocross, Fairlight Secan & Strael