Gravel Bikes Under $2,500
In this article we present a quick overview of what we consider to be some of the best gravel bikes offered in 2021 within the USD $2000-2500 price point. When considering a new gravel bike purchase, it is important to consider not only the quality and performance of the component list, but also the geometry and intended purpose of the frame. Some are designed to be speedy gravel racers, some to offer a balance of road and dirt performance, while others are squarely aimed at bikepackers and adventure riders.
First introduced in 2018, the Giant Revolt Advanced 2 is a balanced blend of gravel racer nimbleness as well as all-round comfort and versatility. The geometry leans more towards the racing end of the spectrum, yet offers many features, like mounts for mudguards and racks, that makes it easy to set up as an adventure rig for those looking to experiment with this type of riding. It features a solid Shimano 105 drivetrain and clearance for tires up to 45C, which is more than enough volume for gravel racing and light bikepacking.
Specialized Diverge Comp E5 $2300
The Specialized Diverge Comp E5 is an alloy-framed gravel bike with a geometry reminiscent of an endurance road bike (relatively short wheelbase and a 72.5 head angle) with the essential features of a fast and comfortable gravel racer, all in a package that makes it appealing to riders spending equal time on asphalt and gravel. Specialized’s Future Shock damping system works well with 20mm of travel that softens the edge of off-road chatter. However, it can’t be locked out, which is something to keep in mind if you lean more towards the road riding end of the spectrum.
Trek’s Checkpoint line of bikes ups the ante of the versatility in this genre by offering a feature many of its peers lack: sliding dropouts for riders looking to run a singlespeed drivetrain. The 2021 Checkpoint ALR 5 also comes with Shimano GRX gravel-specific drivetrain as well as hydraulic disc brakes as standard, offering a very attractive component package.
The 2021 Jamis Renegade S2 is one of two steel-framed bikes in this list (the other being the All-city Gorilla Monsoon Apex). With Reynolds 631 double-butted chromoly main tubes, the Renegade S2 offers modern and future-proof features such as electronic groupset compatibility, T47 threaded bottom bracket and a modular thru-axle system. Drivetrain duties are handled by Shimano GRX components, and the frame is also dropper post ready for those who have more rowdy riding intentions. The bike offers multiple rack, fender and accessory mounts for superior bikepacking versatility, and is compatible with both 700C and 650B tyres (700x50mm and 650x2.00”)
The Gorilla Monsoon Apex has unmistakable monstercross DNA, which are bikes that blur the lines between mountain bikes and cyclocross/gravel bikes. It is aimed more at bikepackers than gravel racers. The frame is a 612 chromoly steel with generous tire clearance (700Cx42C and 650Bx2.4in) and several rack and fender mounts. The Gorilla Monsoon Apex also comes with a 73mm bottom bracket shell, which makes it possible to run mountain bike cranks.