Gravel riding is becoming increasingly popular. And rightfully so: you get to ride in beautiful places, far from the city traffic and its dangers, and you get an extra challenge thrown in by the rugged terrain.
And, for one reason or another, wide tyres and rough roads seem somewhat more appealing than fast tarmac in the winter months, meaning gravel bikes can be a great alternative to turbo trainers and sweaty rooms. While in the summer you can plan bike-packing adventures, camping beneath the stars.
So here's our starter pack into the world of gravel, based on some of the wonders that caught our eye at the world's best cycling show.
The Specialized Diverge is the American brand's off-road steed, albeit distinct from the more racey Crux. The new model echoes Spesh's retro style.Custom bike builder Gustav "Dangerholm" Gullholm has made a name in jaw-dropping custom builds, stripping back paint and finish to reimagine a frame. His first custom drop-bar bike, the Scott Addict Gravel, is suitably appealing with a 7.13kg weight and a fetching naked carbon finish. Read more about it here.
If you're an all-rounder, and fancy an adventure on both two wheels and a pair of skis, Passoni has the solution with the NOVA Gravel and the Blossom skis made for the Italian manufacturer.Another Italian brand who turned heads at Rouleur Live was 3T, who showed up with the Dreambox, a motorised cupboard where you can store your Exploro, and everything else that goes with it.Argon 18's Dark Matter gets its geometry from the roadies models of the brand, plus features a nice paint job (it looks like a super hero's bike) and 1x in the front, of course.BMC was displaying this URS 01 ONE, which is also a very aggressive gravel bike but with a long front end and wheel base for increased stability.OK, this is not a bike, but pimping your gravel bike with a pair of pink Panaracer Gravelking SK is a noble thing to do. Cinelli NEMO Gravel Alessandro Mendini is not only a bike, but a piece of art that comes in a limited edition of 30 specimens. And it's dedicated to the late architect and artist who died in 2019 and with whom Cinelli and Columbus have worked in the past. Read more about it here.Oh, hello Cervélo Áspero! You feature an awesome paint job, and you're supposed to be ridden flat-out. What's not to like?And some more details from the Áspero, because we're in love with the colours.
Fara is taking the gravel world by the storm, and the new F/GR features internal cable routing and an integrated bike-packing system.And an interesting seat stays' design.Another 3T Exploro, this one fitted with paniers and bags at the Transcontinental's stand at Rouleur Live.A neat seatube from 3T, and an Italian flag to honour its roots.Here's a slick Ribble Gravel SL Hero, a carbon and lightweight option for all the seasons. Too bad that orange would get dirty soon.
Another BMC, but it's the fork that caught our attention. RockShox's first gravel-specific suspension fork is the crown in Sram's new XPLR collection of gravel components, bringing together Sram, Zipp and RockShox to offer a 360° gravel setup.
We're beginning to wonder whether gravel ends and mtb begins. But, at the same time, we can't help liking it.
Check out the best Pro Bikes at Rouleur Live here.