Gravel Bikes Under $1,500
Getting into gravel cycling doesn't have to mean breaking the bank. In this article we present a quick overview of what we consider to be some of the best gravel bikes offered within the USD $1000-1500 price point. Manufacturers are now offering more budget gravel bikes, opening up the possibility for cycling enthusiasts to try a different kind of riding, without a massive initial expenditure. This price point features many bikes with a basic yet reliable component spec, with some manufacturers offering add-on upgrades to allow consumers to pick and choose the features most important to them.
Marin touts the Gestalt X line of its gravel bikes as a “mountain biker’s road bike”, which is a descriptor of used in the world of gravel bikes. In this case, this label perfectly fits the Gestalt X10. The silhouette of the alloy frame bears a strong resemblance to hardtail mountain bikes, complete with a gusset at the toptube-seat tube junction. The Gestalst X10 offers dropper post compatibility, 1x gearing and some of the shortest chainstays to come on a gravel bike (415mm) which makes for a very nimble ride.
The 2021 Kona Rove is a steel-framed bike that comes with 650B wheels, which allows it to fit high volume tires up to 47C. While it doesn’t offer the same premium component list as the two other models in the Rove range (Rove DL & Rove LTD), the Shimano Sora drivetrain and WTB wheels are reliable performers at this price point
The Black Label All-Road offers a very versatile gravel racing and bikepacking-ready package with many add-on options, like their “Monster Fork” upgrade ($179) which shaves some weight compared to the standard alloy fork. Compatible with both 700C and 650B wheels, and State Bicycle even offers a two-wheelset upgrade ($399) for riders looking to get started with the superior versatility that multiple wheelsets offer.
Cannondale’s Topstone range of gravel bikes was released in 2019 to replace their innovative Slate model. The Topstone 4 comes with an alloy frame and carbon fiber fork, and offers a relaxed geometry, which Cannondale dubs OutFront Geometry, placing the front wheel further out from the rider to minimize toe overlap in smaller sizes. Drivetrain duties are handled by the Microshift Advent 1x10 drivetrain, and versatility is maximized with dropper post compatibility and a removable fender bridge.
Salsa is a company known for being at the forefront of the gravel and adventure bikes category. The Journeyman Sora offers an affordable and practical package for those wanting a multipurpose bike at an accessible price point. The Journeyman comes with an alloy frame and carbon fiber fork as well as plenty of rack, fender and bottle cage mounts. With tire clearance up to 51mm in 700C size (or 29x2.0in in mountain bike sizing), the Journeyman is suitable for all-day rides on roads and trails.