Did you recently discover biking as a new hobby? Not to worry, you are not alone. Biking is a popular sport that the total number of bikes in the world exceeds one billion. The best gravel bikes under 1500 allow you to enjoy the ride without budget constraint. By implication, you don't need to overspend. Besides, buying does not have to be a pain after reading our review on the best bikes. The bikes are well built with impressive features for enjoyable rides.
Gravel bikes are trendy thanks to their versatile design and improved geometry. The combination of these two features encourages a speedy but well-balanced ride. But have you heard that finding the perfect bike match is daunting?
The design of each bike is such that it encourages fast racing with an emphasis on speed and control. You can also ride fast for an extended period without feeling uncomfortable. Since we have them all piled in one article, you can select the one you want with ease.
Read through our buyer's guide for insights on how to buy the bikes. We have also answered a few popular questions at the end of the article.
Royce Union Men's' Gravel Bike
Aluminum rigid hardtail frame
Schwinn Vantage Mens/Womens Hybrid Road Bike
Mongoose Men's Elroy Adventure Bike
Sleek alloy aluminum frame and steel fork
Tommaso Illimitate Shimano Tiagra Gravel Adventure Bike
Pure Cycles Adventure Gravel Disc Road Bike
Mongoose Selous Expert Gravel Road Bike
Double-butted aluminum frame
Diamondback Bicycles Century Road Bike
7005 aluminum alloy frame
Top 7 Best Gravel Bikes Under 1500 Review
Royce Union Men's' Gravel Bike
The Royce Union Men’s’ Gravel Bike is a lightweight aluminum bike that is fit for all terrains, and it tops our list of the best gravel bikes.
Conquers any and different terrains with ease
The gravel bike is an exceptional product for riders of different skill levels and ride style. Thanks to its unique and user-friendly design, the bike makes it easy to transverse across different trails and terrain.
Although each bike rides differently, the Union men’s gravel bike is easy to ride and flexible to use. The bike is easy to work with, as it does not have a suspension system. It also has an intimate feel that is easy to ride one-handed since the bike is well-balanced.
Easy assembly and adjustments
The bike is considerably easy to assemble since most of the parts come preassembled. However, the design is such that you can make changes and add to the overall bike look. For example, you can swap the tires for a bigger one so that it can soak bumps when you ride. You can also substitute the saddle for another one if you want. More than this, however, the bike promises reliable performance for daily use.
Schwinn Vantage Hybrid Road Bike
The Schwinn Vantage Mens/Womens Hybrid Road Bike is another exceptional bike that is an excellent compromise between highly-priced and considerably-priced bikes. Unlike many bikes, its hybrid design allows you to use it on local roads and dirt paths for either commuting or adventure.
Faster ride for an intermediate rider
The Vintage bike features a smooth ride technology frame and a soft tail suspension system that aids riding comfort across different terrains. As a result, it is an excellent entry-level bike for intermediate and advanced riders that don’t mind pushing the speed limit.
The bike also comes with an 18-speed drivetrain and is fitted with a different responsive gear range that makes it easy to shift and change gears regardless of where you ride. A sport fork and an endurance handlebar also allow you to steer the bike smoothly without taking too much weight.
Easy stops compliment the speed
Disc brakes on the bikes offer impressive forgiveness and balance the speeds. They are smoother than pads, and the gears let you descent steep hills. The tires also do not have traction threads, and as a result, roll with easier smoothness. The bike seat is comfortable, and the mounting rails are also long enough for flexible adjustment to fit different riders.
Mongoose Men's Elroy Adventure Bike
Get ahead of competitive adventure with the Mongoose Men’s Elroy Adventure Bike 700C Wheel Bicycle. Each bike pedal is sure to leave a crunching trail of dust behind you when you ride.
A touring bike and more
The adventure bike, like its name, is built for endless adventure. Hence, if you want a handy way to explore nature at your pace, this is the bike to buy. The Mongoose Elroy is convenient for commuting, touring, backpacking, and any other activities that involve adventure.
Thanks to its pannier-friendly rack, you have enough space to carry items and gears necessary for an adventure. Not just a front rack, there is a rear rack where you can stack any item that will not go in the front.
Impressive features for an enjoyable ride
The bike comes with three water bottle cage mounts that allow you to stay hydrated during your trip. This feature is especially convenient in case you plan to ride for an extended period or out in the sun. Thanks to its mechanical breaks, you won’t have a problem stopping the bike when you want to. Large tires and rims also help you navigate terrains with ease, and a durable steel fork and sleek frame prioritize speed and control.
Tommaso Adventure Bike
All bikes by the Tomasso brand is known for their impressive quality and high performance. Not surprisingly, the Tommaso Illimitate Shimano Tiagra Gravel Adventure Bike is not an exception.
A bike that inspires pride and confidence
Innovative design, backed by the passion of a brand that has been around for about 40 years, makes the adventure bike one of the best in the market. The product is characterized by a high modulus carbon fiber fork and durable aluminum compact frame for quality performance. The fork design reduces vibrations by cushioning bumps for a comfortable ride.
The frame is drilled; hence, you can install fenders, racks, and whatever brings out the adventurer in you. It also features Tiagra cassette with different speed settings that allow you different navigation speeds. This way, you can effectively control your pace.
Rugged capabilities but optimized for comfort
The bike comes with a durable tire and a rough TC-40D rim that qualifies it for different ride areas. The spokes are also durable and will keep rolling regardless of the place of use. Plus, the tires are complete, an improvement since it offers stability and versatility. Not just this, the tires also provide needed control and grip for off-road riding.
Pure Cycles Adventure Gravel Disc Road Bike
The Pure Cycles Gravel Disc Road Bike is another handy bike that you can take anywhere. It has a versatile design that guarantees strict performance on any surface.
The bike has improved gravel-ready geometry that allows you to control that bike, especially on loose surfaces effectively. It also comes with mounting points that will enable you to customize the bike and add extra accessories. Plus, the bikes are compatible with 650B tires.
Hence, you can always swap and change the tires for newer ones. If you expect, you can always substitute the 16-speed bike for its closest 18-speed sibling. The bike’s design includes a Shimano drivetrain for excellent gearing for commuting and gravel rides.
Versatile and comfortable riding
The bike has a balanced and rugged design that is aided by its lightweight and comfortable frames. Chromoly steel frames and fork provide clearance across different surfaces. The tires also have a knobby thread for endless road adventure, and you can always swap the wheels to accommodate a wider tire that will improve the grip and cushion your ride. In all, the bike is a lovely bike with guaranteed reliable performance.
Mongoose Selous Expert Gravel Road Bike
Whether you want to unwind or grind the gravel, the Mongoose Selous Expert Gravel Road Bike with 700cm Wheel is an excellent companion for substantial outdoor travel and adventure.
Off-road gravel grinding
The bike has an impressive design that qualifies it for off-road use. Unlike your average bike, it is lightweight and has a remarkable speed design. The bike is also handy for more than road adventure as you can switch it into an adventure bike to match your demands. Thanks to its componentry, you can use it for your speedy morning commutes.
If you expect, you can utilize it as a fitness bike since it has enough speed to leave you thrill and exhausted after every ride. For all good reasons, the bike allows a smooth ride. Due to its dropped handlebar design, you can control the bike with enhanced precision and ease.
Quality components guarantee extended use
The bike is fitted with a double-butted aluminum frame for a light and responsive performance. Unlike pure steel, aluminum is light, sturdy, and not costly. Not just this, the carbon fork and 12mm rear-thru axle give more clearance on the tires. The cassette and derailleur also aid versatile performance, whether on the open road or trail. Plus, the brakes are equally responsive and work in all conditions.
Diamondback Bicycles Century Road Bike
We put an end our list of the best gravel bikes with the Diamondback Bicycles Century Road Bike. Like all the ones we have reviewed before, the bike features durable compartments that ensures rugged performance and comfort for the rider.
More speed with less sound
The bike has an excellent geometry that lets you take it for long rides without feeling tired. The thru-axle design also increases the precision and ease of handling for flexible use. Plus, a continuous fiber technology with a tapered head tube and carbon fiber fork increase steering precision and dampens vibrations.
This way, the bike won’t make much noise, even when you ride fast. Disc brakes also allow you to accelerate and stop when you want to. As a result, it complements the overall speed and offers a fascinating value for the performance.
Ridiculously nice and functional bike
The bike has an attractive blue color that gives it a sleek appearance. Not just this, it is sure to stand out in the crowd. The color is also handy for night riding, as it reflects quick detection in the dark. The bike weighs about 22 pounds; hence, it will not be a hassle carrying up the stairs. In all, an impressive road bike for endless adventure.
What is a Gravel Bike?
Unlike what the '"gravel" name connotes, a gravel bike is not used for riding on gravel alone. The bike has one of the most versatile designs that allow you to ride it on dirt trails and the road. Hence, it is a form of a road bike, adventure bike, and a commute bike. The bike features wide and knobby tires and drops handlebars that let you ride for an extended period without getting tired or feeling pain. The tires are handy as it ensures quick navigation of terrains and rough parts.
Gravel bikes are excellent companions thanks to their adaptive complex that is fit for different terrains. The bike is faster and comes with enough components and functions to make your ride more enjoyable. If you plan to utilize it for commuting, some models feature racks for carrying items. Either way, they are flexible and easy to use.
How to Select Gravel Bikes under 1500
Gravel bikes are fast. However, more than the design, the rider's aerodynamics and the bike can affect the speed. For example, if you prefer upright riding, you might promote less aerodynamics since the position, unlike the dropped handlebar riding style, does not favor aerodynamics. Large tires can also affect the speed of the bike and should be substituted for lighter ones.
Gravel bikes, unlike road bikes, balance performance and speed. In contrast, road bikes are created for speed-a features that can be dangerous in the rain or mud. Hence, buying a gravel bike in the real sense is like buying a road bike, except that it features a winning combination of speed and performance.
Another essential feature to consider is the bike's geometry. Also referred to as the overall structure, the way the elements on your bike are positioned sometimes affects your ride's quality.
Regardless of how many features you have on the bikes, they should be placed in areas that allow better control and keep you comfortable. Features like lower bottom brackets and taller head tubes increase a bike's ergonomics since it promotes a smoother and relaxed riding position.
If you want to maximize a gravel bike's speed features, you must examine the brake system before purchase. Mechanical, along with hydraulic disc brakes, are the two most standard gravel bike brake types. Mechanical brakes support simple operations and are considerably powerful without needing to break the bank.
However, it does add to the number of components on the frame. On the other hand, hydraulic disc brakes require less force to apply since they are more responsive. They are also lightweight but cost more than mechanical brakes.
A standard gravel bike tire is broad and wide for conquering terrain easily. When it comes to select tires for your bike, it is essential to consider the thread, build, and size. Generally, wide tires offer a comfortable ride on bumpy and rugged trails since they absorb more impacts. They also provide a more stable ride and grip the ground with equal effectiveness.
If you intend to use the bike as a road bike, you might want to swap the tires for threaded ones. However, it will help if the bike's design is such that you can swap the tires and fit in new ones that match your riding style.
The frame is usually made from either steel, titanium, carbon, or aluminum.
You should pay attention to the gearing on the bike as it affects your ride. If you favor rough trails, then you should invest in 1X drivetrain bikes. However, the 2X drivetrain is handy for descent and climbing hills. For comparison, the 1X gearing is much more effective, as they likely won't fail.
The fork design also provides an exceptional riding experience since they help to dampen vibrations and feedback. Hence, it will help if you look for a bike with a carbon fork design. Alternatively, you can opt for steel forks.
Easy to use features makes your ride more pleasurable. For example, features like mount racks and water bottle mounts allow you to carry items along with you and keep water close by for a drink. They're also designed in a way that does not affect the overall balance of the bike.
You can also look for padded seats and mudguards to make your ride more comfortable without getting dirt on yourself. There is no rule with this; hence, you can look for as many extra features as you want.
Why Do You Choose Gravel Bikes?
Gravel bikes don't make fancy claims; however, the bike's design and structure do all the talking. For example, some models are fitted with a drivetrain and braking system that provides a subtle yet adequate balance between control and speed.
Thanks to their minimal design, the bikes are not cramped so much that you need to fiddle with everything on the bike to achieve an objective. They also have a robust stature that provides outstanding balance on different surfaces without adding on excess weight.
More than all of these, gravel bikes have:
The bike doubles as a hiking, commute, and adventure bike. Hence, it is more like buying one bike that can do the work of three bikes effectively.
Gravel bikes have some of the most versatile and flexible features in the bike world. Each bike is designed to give a comfortable ride that will leave you relishing every ride. The bikes also feature:
It is safe to say that gravel bikes are designed to let you maximize your entertainment and ride the best way you know how to.
Why Are They Called "Gravel Bikes"?
Gravel bikes got their name from their versatile design that can navigate different terrains with ease. The bike combines the features of a road bike and a cyclocross bike into a single entity. Road bikes are happy on the tarmac bikes, and cyclocross bikes are happy in the mud.
Most countryside, especially in the US, features miles of unused tracks that blend tarmac and dirt tracks. However, the tracks are technical for most road bikes and fast for a cyclocross bike. Instead, a gravel bike is a balance between the two that lets you ride on tracks like this.
Benefits of This Bike
Gravel bikes have a relaxed geometry that is better than most race bikes. The head tube, for example, is slicker, hence, turns with more efficiency. Taller head tubes allow you to ride in a comfortable upright position. However, a sloping tube gives a stand-over height for effective get-off.
The bottom bracket is also lower than in most bikes that are not gravel bikes and are less twitchy. Longer wheelbases on the bike also guarantee stable performance on the road and unpredictable gravel-like surfaces. Not just this, the bikes are comfortable to ride and are stable over long-distances.
Riding on a road with mixed conditions can be as close to having a death wish as you can get. Since you are moving fast, the bike must have a brake system that is responsive enough to let you stop when you want to stop.
Gravel bike brakes are useful in different road and weather conditions and inspire confidence for off-road riding. They are also handy for riding in the mud, or the rain rest assured that you wouldn't slip or have trouble engaging them. Plus, most bikes come with hydraulic disc brakes, a powerful and much more useful type.
Gravel bikes come with bigger tires for finding your way through unequal terrains. The tires are broad because it allows them to grip the ground better for a stable ride. It also cushions impact and makes navigating corners easy.
However, it is not the wide tires that make gravel bikes one of the best bikes. Some of the models' design allows you to remove the rim brake caliper and design and fork and frame to accommodate even bigger tires. This way, you can customize your bike to give extra comfort and bumpy and rough roads.
Most manufacturers include eyelets on their bikes that are handy for attaching additional features on the bike. For example, some eyelets can be used to fit racks, mudguards, and bottle holders. As a result, you can easily transform your bike into a commute bike for getting groceries from the stores.
You can also utilize the rack for light touring, and the water mount is handy for getting a drink even while you ride. Some models have a bottle opener incorporated into the front rack for unprecedented use. You can also attach a fender onto the bike and make your way across dirt roads without getting water on your legs.
The mounts on some of the bikes make room for cable routing without exposure. By internally routing the cables and covering them, you can use the saved space for more activities. The bikes are also easy to assemble since most of the components are preassembled.
In some products, about 90% are preassembled, so you only need to make slight adjustments. There is always an instructions guide to help you make light work of installation in the best case.
Keep it clean
General bike cleanliness is one of the things that can prolong your bike's life. Since you don't need a cleaning kit, you should be okay with a bucket of soapy water, an old toothbrush, a sponge, and a degreaser. You can utilize sponge and water to clean easy-to-remove dirt, but you will need a proper degreaser to remove grit and oil on the gear sprocket and chain.
Keep the tires inflated
It is indispensable to keep your tires inflated if you don't wish to be left stranded. You should check the status of the tire every day before using it. Not just this, you should buy or borrow a standard pump with a pressure gauge to measure the air. You can buy a small pump to always take along with you on trips if you ever get a flat. However, don't put in the air beyond the recommended PSI.
Check the brakes
When your brakes screech, it is either a sign of dirt in the brakes or rim. You should clean both and adjust them to take care of squeaky noise. You should also be quick to fit in new brakes when they are worn out. Plus, tighten saggy brakes to keep them useful.
Lubricate the bike frequently
Bike-specific lubricants are handy for keeping the wheels and chain turning. But before lubricating, properly clean the parts to let you get the best out of the exercise. You should also invest in latex gloves to prevent getting oils under your nail.
If you do, scrub with sugar, washing liquid, and water. Apply a little quantity of lubricants often and avoid getting too much of it on any parts of your bike. This is because they cause a clog. Lubricate every part of the bike that turns and moves.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How often should I lubricate my gravel bike?
Factors like the condition of use, storage environment, and the frequency of use determine how often you should lubricate your bike. For example, a bike that you occasionally ride on dry days and is kept in a sealed dry garage does not need heavy lubrication.
In contrast, a bike ridden daily in wet conditions and is stored outside when not in use requires frequent lubrication. However, if you expect your bike to last, you should use it and store it in a manner that won't require frequent lubrication.
2. Is it okay to cycle with a gravel bike every day?
Daily exercise routines, like cycling, is an excellent way to improve your cardiovascular health, boost your fitness, and increase your mood. Pedaling requires a great deal of strength and muscle work, and pushing yourself to the limit every day will take its toll on the body. Instead, you can ride for a few hours three days a week.
3. How can I determine the size of my bike?
Height varies from one brand to another. However, as a system of thumb, you can determine the size by standing over the bike. You should stand clear of the bike's top bar by up to an inch and a half with your shoes on. Since manufacturers have different measurements, you can check your reach from the bars to the seat to make sure you can keep your hands and back in a comfortable position throughout the ride.
4. What is the rule for choosing a used gravel bike helmet?
New helmets are often a better choice than old ones. However, if you want to purchase a used helmet, inspect for dents and cracks. You should also check the foam for signs of crumbling and degrading. A strong helmet should last for about three years. Check the buckles to make sure they fit and place it on your head to make sure it covers your forehead and is not tilted.
5. Can I ride a gravel bike as a beginner?
Some gravel bikes are great entry-level bikes. However, not all bikes are ideal for beginners. You can search for entry-level bikes in our review or take a class on how to ride until you gain mastery.
There you have it on our review of the best gravel bikes under 1500. We have reviewed several top-rated products, so we guess you shouldn't have a problem selecting since one or two must have stood out as your favorite. Gravel bikes are different from other bike types since you can use them across different terrains with little effort.
Biking is fun, and with the right bike, you will enjoy every moment you spend outdoors with your bike. However, nothing beats buying the perfect bike at an affordable price. Although not cheap, all the products we have listed above do not cost too much to make you shy away from buying. They all offer high-end functionalities that you won't find on cheap bikes and are great for riders across different skill levels.
In case you require a nudge in the right direction, let us recommend our top pick from the bunch. We recommend the Royce Union Men's' Gravel Bike as the best product from a list made of only the best. Not to be biased, you can choose any of the products above, provided it matches your style of ride and demand. Stay safe riding.