2024’s Best Gravel Bikes (2024)

Each year, Bicycling’s test editors choose the Best Bikes from the thousands available across dozens of categories. Our process starts with analyzing price, features, and how each bike solves a rider’s needs. We also monitor cycling trends, research emerging riding categories, and closely follow new technologies. Then we tighten our focus on the bikes with the most potential, get them, ride them extensively, and discuss them rigorously amongst the test team and with other cyclists.

Almost no one uses a bicycle only how it’s portrayed on bike brands’ websites. So we test bikes in ways our readers ride them. We go to group rides and events, dig through social media posts, and dive into the minutia to give us insight into obstacles riders face and how they use their bikes to solve them.

The Test Team rode and evaluated over one hundred bikes to establish the year’s Best Bikes. We divided 2024's winning bikes into four main categories: Road, Gravel, Mountain, and Commuter. Below are our picks for the year’s Best Gravel Bikes, links to longer bike reviews, and more info on our 2024 Award Winners.

Jump to:

  • BlackHeart AL Gravel
  • State 6061 All-Road Apex XPLR AXS
  • Lauf Seigla Core Wireless
  • Ritchey Outback Break-Away
  • Argonaut GR3 Custom
  • Colnago C68 Gravel SRAM Red XPLR AXS
  • Trek Boone 5
  • Canyon Grizl:ON CF 7

BlackHeart AL Gravel

BEST GRAVEL BIKE

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BlackHeart Bike Co. has a small and well-considered lineup of bikes and its newest addition—the Gravel AL—fits right in. As the name suggests, the Gravel AL is an aluminum gravel bike, with gravel-specific geometry and most importantly, clearance for 47mm tires.

When I first saw the Gravel AL, it reminded me of classic aluminum crit bikes. A simple design with an “everything you need and nothing you don’t” philosophy. A bike made for going fast.

The Gravel AL is fabricated using double-butted 7005 aluminum tubes and weighs 1,660 grams (claimed) for a size 54cm frame. The frame features modern touches such as integrated cable routing, an aero kammtail downtube, and a pair of dropped seat stays. All presumably to aid with the bike’s aerodynamics, although Blackheart does not make any specific aero claims for the Gravel AL.

Gravel-specific geometry is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but what it means in terms of numbers varies greatly from brand to brand (and sometimes even from model to model). For the Gravel AL, gravel geo means a head tube angle between 71 and 71.5 degrees, matched to a seat tube angle of 73.5 to 73.5º (both measurements depending on size). Chainstay length is consistent (427mm) across all sizes, with a trail figure between 66 and 64mm. And it’s incredibly impressive to see a relatively small company like BlackHeart offer eight sizes of the Gravel AL, from 46cm up to 62cm.

Best Gravel Bike

Blackheart AL

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One of the things that sets the Gravel AL apart from the many other gravel bikes on the market right now is the personalization BlackHeart offers at the time of purchase. Riders can pick from, no joke, 137 colors of Cerakote finish for their Gravel AL, with a single color frame paint and a 2nd logo color included in the price. For build kit options, most Shimano and SRAM groupsets are available. Although the Gravel AL isn’t compatible with mechanical 2x options (mechanical 1x and electronic 2x work just fine though).

Pricing for standard bikes starts at $3,200 (1x mechanical Shimano GRX) and tops out at $4,750 (2x Shimano GRX Di2). But it’s easy to build a much more expensive version of the Gravel AL through the numerous upgrades that BlackHeart offers. Riders can upgrade to various carbon wheels, CeramicSpeed bottom brackets, or power meters—even Enve’s new single-piece co*ckpit ($980) is an option. Most critically, riders can select their desired stem length and bar width when buying—a crucial option when purchasing a bike with an integrated front end.

Since BlackHearts gets so many details right, I expected the Gravel AL to ride well. It did not disappoint me in the slightest. The Gravel AL was the exact off-road dropbar bike I wanted as someone who enjoys fast road riding. On the pavement, I describe it as stable, but as soon as you get it onto the dirt, it comes alive. The bike‘s steering is precise and responsive, but never twitchy. On flowy gravel roads, it felt the way I would expect a road bike to feel. On tight singletrack, it brought enough verve to make me think I was on a cyclocross bike.

The Gravel AL’s sporty handling and spirited ride quality—paired with an excellent value proposition and BlackHeart’s customization options—make this a great bike. But don’t dismiss it as a budget alloy option, it’s as good of a performer as many pricier carbon bikes. In a sport like gravel racing, known for literally grinding delicate carbon chainstays into dust, there is certainly something to be said for an aluminum race bike. Just like I loved aluminum crit bikes in years past, I think I’m now in love with aluminum gravel race bikes. —Dan Chabanov

State 6061 All-Road Apex XPLR AXS

BEST BUDGET GRAVEL

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True to its name, State’s 6061 All-Road is for the rider looking to try a little bit of everything an off-road drop-bar bike can offer—bike packing, trail riding, gravel racing, and maybe even the occasional cyclocross race. And State keeps the bike’s price lower than many of its competitors.

At the heart of the All-Road is a low-fuss, 6061 aluminum (hence the name) frame with thru-axles front and rear. The fork is carbon and includes mounts for fenders. State offers several options and upgrades (color, wheels, saddles, etc) for the 6061 All-Road, including a killer price on SRAM’s Apex AXS XPLR group. This is one of the best deals for electronic shifting and hydraulic brakes on a gravel bike.

The 6061 All-Road can fit 650b or 700c wheels and State offers buyers a choice at purchase (or buy both for a $400 up-charge). Some argue that handling compromises must be made to accommodate both sizes but at this price, the versatility is well worth it. The option allows riders to personalize their All-Road or use their bike for distinctly different terrain or rides.

Best Budget Gravel

State Carbon All-Road

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However, don’t let the All-Road name fool you, the State is not meant for paved miles—pavement is where the All-Road is weakest. But as soon as I was on dirt, the All-Road lit up. The bike was pure fun when weaving through the trees, hopping logs, diving into bermed corners, and skidding around tight turns. The sluggishness I felt on the tarmac was replaced with responsiveness on the trail (without being overly twitchy). On the dirt, the bike’s light and nimble personality came through.

Compromises have to be made somewhere, and I was happy to accept the slower pavement miles for the All-Road’s downright thrilling performance in the woods, where the big tires ate up roots and rocks. The relaxed front end made it feel at ease descending on choppy singletrack or fireroads, and the All-Road allowed me to tackle with confidence. If your riding involves minimal pavement, and you want a gravel bike with electronic shifting, State’s 6061 All-Road is hard to beat. —D.C.

Lauf Seigla Core Wireless

BEST BUDGET GRAVEL SUSPENSION

Somewhere along the way, Lauf’s bikes became some of the best deals in cycling.

Take, for example, the Seigla gravel bike with the Core Wireless build. For a smidge less than $3,000, it offers a carbon frame with Lauf’s maintenance-free carbon suspension fork, a SRAM wireless electronic drivetrain, and a carbon handlebar.

But great deals are less great if you’re getting a bullsh*t product. The Seigla is not.

This is one of the smoothest gravel bikes on the planet. Between the 30mm of travel from the suspension fork, the compliance-enhancing rear end flex, and the massive tires it fits—up to 57mm—the Seigla is the answer to the world's roughest gravel roads. Mountain bike-like geometry creates a stable, confidence-inspiring bike that offers no surprises in challenging terrain or to tired riders at the end of an epic ride or race.

Best Budget Gravel Suspension

Lauf Seigla Core Wireless

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It’s also an easy bike to own. The Seigla doesn’t use weird standards or proprietary components—just easy-to-find parts and details like external brake hose routing, threaded bottom bracket, standard seat collar, and UDH hanger. This makes it easy and quick to service and repair. The only note I’ll make is the sizing and seat tube angle may make it tricky for some people to dial in their ideal fit.

If you’re looking for a true gravel bike—not an all-road bike—with a focus on comfort and love a deal, there’s a Lauf Seigla in your future. —M.P.

Ritchey Outback Break-Away

BEST TRAVEL GRAVEL BIKE

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With so many great gravel events and riding locations across the country (and the world!), many cyclists want to bring their bikes along for a trip versus renting a poorly fitting and unfamiliar bike at their destination. But for a machine meant to take us places, traveling with a bicycle can be a major pain in the ass.

Fortunately, Ritchey’s time-tested Break-Away system simplifies travel with a bike. The bike quickly and easily disassembles and packs into its included 8.5”x26.5”x31” travel case. Since the Outback has external cable routing, packing the bike doesn’t require wrestling with integrated bars or cables routed through forks or headsets. And because Ritchey’s case is approximately sized, it helps you avoid the extra fees incurred by some bike travel bags.

Best Travel Gravel Bike

Ritchey Outback Break-Away

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Many riders might wrongly assume that Ritchey trades ride quality for pack-ability with the Break-Away system. But the Outback rides exceptionally. It feels well-damped over rough road and washboard sections (aided by the frame’s steel tubing and high-volume rubber—the frame clears up to 700x48mm or 27.5x2.1” tires) and the bike’s fit and geometry are dialed. When riding, you completely forget that the Outback Break-Away is designed for travel and breaks down in minutes with a few Allen wrenches. On one tarmac descent, as the speed on my computer neared 50 mph, I giggled because the bike felt so confident and composed. There was no hint of speed wobble or shimmy, and only the tidy fitting on the downtube reminds you of the bike’s ability to separate into two pieces.

The bike’s handling leans more toward the road end of the gravel spectrum than some gravel-specific chassis. But that’s a good thing, and it adds to the bike’s overall usability. Use the Outback Break-Away with some narrow tires for a road-oriented trip or outfit it with knobbies for travels to locales with gravel roads. And since the bike fits racks and fenders, you can install all sorts of gear and bags and take the Outback on bikepacking vacations.

My only wish for the Outback Break-Away is that I would have owned one years ago. I previously traveled 20+ weeks per year for work and bringing a bike along was often tedious. I spent too many hours packing bikes into travel cases and wasted tons of money on excess bag fees because I was too stubborn to buy a bike purpose-built for the task. A Ritchey Break-Away is the bike I needed. —Tara Seplavy

Argonaut GR3 Custom

BEST USA-MADE GRAVEL

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In an impressively short timeframe, Argonaut has established itself as one of the world’s finest builders of dropbar bicycles. Its RM3 is a masterpiece and a bike that sings on the road like few others.

Argonaut hopes to capture some of the RM3’s exquisite essence in the GR3 gravel bike. Like the RM3, it is made in Bend, Oregon, and employs a modular carbon monocoque design that allows Argonaut to customize fit and ride characteristics to suit an individual rider’s needs. While the GR3 is custom, the platform is intended to be very high-performance and agile. It is designed for fast gravel riding and racing, not off-road touring or bike packing.

That’s one reason why, although it is a custom bike, handling geometry is largely fixed. The GR3’s geometry is quite road-like and features very short 415mm stays (very impressive considering the 50mm tire clearance). The only thing that gives it away as a gravel bike is its 68.5-degree head angle.

It’s also a stripped-back frame for 1x drivetrains only, with no rack or fender mounts, although it does have a location for a bolt-on top tube bag and a third bottle mount under the down tube. A 27.2mm round seat post allows riders to run a suspension post or RockShox Reverb wireless dropper as desired.

While I did not find the GR3 to be as revelatory as the RM3—although few bikes could be—it is a magnificent bike for riders who want their gravel bike to be as fast and agile as their road racing bike. This bike is so snappy that the GR3 is largely devoid of the typical gravel bike dragginess on smooth tarmac. It’s almost as fast and responsive on pavement as on dirt. This comes at the expense of some stability when under-biking rowdier singletrack. But this is a compromise I’m happy to live with because it makes the GR3’s performance sharper on the terrain I traverse for 90-plus percent of my gravel riding.

One great way the GR3 is like the RM3 is in compliance and rider comfort. This is a well-damped frame with plenty of vertical give. And it’s necessary when you’re on a bike this fast. —M.P.

Colnago C68 Gravel SRAM Red XPLR AXS

BEST ITALIAN GRAVEL BIKE

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While Tadaj Pogacar and his UAE team are among the very best road racers, they do not race on Colnago’s premier bike. The team races the Taiwan-made V4Rs; Colnago’s most-premium bike is the Italian-made C-series.

The C-series is not made to be—as required for a top-flight UCI race bike—the lightest and most aerodynamic bike possible. The C-Series is instead a bike that emphasizes craftsmanship, quality, and heritage. The C-Series is also, says Colnago, “Stylish.”

The latest generation of C-Series, the C68, sees a complete revamp of the platform. It moves away from the tube-and-lug construction of previous generations to a modular monocoque system that’s lighter, more tunable, and more modern looking but still permits custom geometry. But, although custom geometry is, technically, possible, Colnago has so many orders for stock-sized C-Series bikes that it states they are, for now, not opening the custom order book.

Although hinted at when the C68 platform debuted in 2022, it took a few more years for the C68 Gravel to arrive. And other than geometry, tire clearance, and a few minor details, there’s nothing significant that distinguishes the C68 Gravel’s frame from the C68s Road and All Road: Materials, construction, and overall positioning of the platform are the same. The Gravel version even shares its seatpost and integrated brake hose routing with the other C68 models.

Best Italian Gravel Bike

Colnago C68 Gravel

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Fit for the five available sizes is gravel specific: shorter and taller than a road bike, but still “aggressive” says Colnago. Handling geometry borrows from the mountain bike school of longer reach with a shorter stem. And it helps increase the front center and wheelbase of the bike for greater stability.

Tire clearance is on the spare side, 42mm maximum, and it’s free of typical gravel bike features like a third water bottle mount, rack mounts, fender mounts, or cargo mounts. All you get is a spot for a bolt-on top-tube snack bag. Surprisingly, there’s no UDH derailleur hanger, though I strongly suspect Colnago will make a running change in the near future.

While Colango does not call the C68 Gravel a race bike, it rides like one. It is stiff, efficient, and precise and its handling is about as close to perfect for fast gravel riding as any bike can get.

It does not have the pillowy compliance of other gravel bikes. This is a firm-riding bike that’s more suited to riding swiftly on dirt roads than it is for underbiking on singletrack. Unlike many gravel bikes, however, the C68 is suspension-corrected and ready-to-accept forks (like the Fox 32 TC and RockShox Rudy) without effect on its fit or handling. So, riders who need more comfort have that option.

Ultimately, the C68 Gravel is everything you’d expect from an Italian-made bike from one of the most legendary brands in the drop bar space: It is beautiful, exclusive, and very fast. —Matt Phillips

Trek Boone 5

BEST CYCLOCROSS

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Purpose-built, cyclocross-specific bikes are a dying breed. And that’s unfortunate because ‘cross bikes are some of the most versatile dropbar bikes you can get. While cyclocross bikes are slightly heavier and use more stable geometry than road race or endurance road bikes, ‘cross bikes often handle quicker and are lighter (lacking suspension forks or extra gear mounts) than many gravel bikes. It makes ‘cross bikes ideal for riders splitting time between dirt roads, light-duty gravel, or with wider slick tires on paved roads.

While other brands market bikes for “cyclocross,” the offerings often feature wide tires, slack and low geometry, low gearing, or flared bars, making them better suited for gravel riding and racing than cyclocross tracks. Trek is among the few brands selling a race-ready ‘cross bike.

Best Cyclocross

Trek Boone 5

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Trek built the Boone 5 around an OCLV carbon frame, the same as raced by the Baloise Trek Lions professional squad to several World Cup wins. Our testing of the $2,800 Boone (1,870-gram, size 58cm) frameset found the frame‘s IsoSpeed rear damper helps take the edge off across frozen ruts and rough roots when racing cross while also giving the bike added capability (with slick tires) as an all-day bike for riding rough pavement or dirt roads.

The complete bike Boone 5 model is equipped with SRAM’s wide-range Apex XPLR 11-speed drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and tubeless-ready wheels. At $4,000, this Trek is a great starting point for aspiring cyclocross racers or riders looking for a solid all-arounder. —T.S.

Canyon Grizl:ON CF 7

BEST ELECTRIC GRAVEL

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The biggest benefit of e-bikes is their ability to take more people to more places. And Canyon’s Grizl:ON turns that to the maximum.

The Grizl:ON starts with the basic underpinnings of a solid gravel bike—slack geometry, flared handlebar, and slightly knobby tires—but Canyon fortifies it with Bosch’s latest motor, RockShox Rudy suspension fork, and integrated Lupine lighting. This transforms the Grizl:ON into an adventure-ready dropbar machine suitable for gravel, light trail riding, bikepacking, or commuting.

Canyon packs its product line with models for almost every possible cycling niche, and sometimes use cases for those bikes bleed into one another. The brand has two main gravel bike platforms, one biased towards fast-paced gravel riding and racing (Grail) and the other platform (Grizl) leans into adventure and rugged terrain. Both have e-bike variants.

Best Electric Gravel Bike

Canyon Grizl:On

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The differences between the electric versions of the Grail and Grizl are muddier. Despite having a suspension fork, the new Grizl:ON is the lighter weight of the two bikes (by over 2 pounds). This is due to Canyon’s use of the lighter Bosch Performance Line SX Sprint motor and 400 Wh battery for the Grizl:ON. While the Grail:ON’s has 30 Nm additional torque and a 100 Wh larger battery, it only has slightly more claimed range.

After spending a bit of time riding and racing the non-electric Griz, I was excited to check out the ON version. Canyon always puts together great-value bikes, and the Grizl:ON is no exception—the bike is solidly equipped throughout. While the Grizl:ON doesn’t use the latest 12-speed Shimano GRX, the 11-speed GRX RX812/RX600 components reliably handle shifting and braking duties. And the new Bosch motor is a good match for the bike (not feeling like a full-power e-MTB set-up). The only knock against the Grizl:ON is the standard 60mm stem. Make sure you account for this when selecting your size as Canyon doesn’t yet offer longer lengths. —T.S.

More of the Best Bikes of the Year:

Road | Mountain | Commuter

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Tara Seplavy

Deputy Editor

As Deputy Editor, Tara Seplavy leads Bicycling’s product test team; after having previously led product development and sourcing for multiple bike brands, run World Championship winning mountain bike teams, wrenched at renowned bicycle shops in Brooklyn, raced everything from criteriums to downhill, and ridden bikes on six different continents (landing herself in hospital emergency rooms in four countries and counting). Based in Easton, Pennsylvania, Tara spends tons of time on the road and trail testing products. A familiar face at cyclocross races, crits, and bike parks in the Mid Atlantic and New England, on weekends she can often be found racing for the New York City-based CRCA/KruisCX team. When not riding a bike, or talking about them, Tara listens to a lot of ska, punk, and emo music, and consumes too much social media.

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Matt Phillips

Senior Test Editor, Bicycling

A gear editor for his entire career, Matt’s journey to becoming a leading cycling tech journalist started in 1995, and he’s been at it ever since; likely riding more cycling equipment than anyone on the planet along the way. Previous to his time with Bicycling, Matt worked in bike shops as a service manager, mechanic, and sales person. Based in Durango, Colorado, he enjoys riding and testing any and all kinds of bikes, so you’re just as likely to see him on a road bike dressed in Lycra at a Tuesday night worlds ride as you are to find him dressed in a full face helmet and pads riding a bike park on an enduro bike. He doesn’t race often, but he’s game for anything; having entered road races, criteriums, trials competitions, dual slalom, downhill races, enduros, stage races, short track, time trials, and gran fondos. Next up on his to-do list: a multi day bikepacking trip, and an e-bike race.

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Dan Chabanov

Test Editor

Test Editor Dan Chabanov got his start in cycling as a New York City bike messenger but quickly found his way into road and cyclocross racing, competing in professional cyclocross races from 2009 to 2019 and winning a Master’s National Championship title in 2018. Prior to joining Bicycling in 2021, Dan worked as part of the race organization for the Red Hook Crit, as a coach with EnduranceWERX, as well as a freelance writer and photographer.

2024’s Best Gravel Bikes (2024)
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