If you frequently ride around the city but still appreciate whizzing along hiking trails and bombing down the occasional dirt road, then allow us to introduce you to adventure bikes – also known as gravel bikes or all-roaders.
Go ahead, grab your favorite beverage and read on as we delve into a world of forest trails, aluminum frames, adventure, and off-road cycling.
What are adventure bikes?
An adventure bike is essentially the marriage of a road bike and a mountain bike with impressive results. A racy, steady, and comfortable bicycle, the adventure bike holds its own on different tracks and weather conditions without sacrificing speed or rider comfort.
You see, gravel (adventure) bikes borrow the distinct upright frame design and speed of a road bike, mashing it up with substantial tire clearances and large, 35mm tires similar to those found on a mountain bike.
Reliable and versatile, the adventure bike quickly adapts to any situation. Whether it’s a leisurely trip to the beach, a work commute on paved city roads, or even a camping trip along rough forest roads, it’s a cakewalk for the adventure bike.
If you dish it, the bike can take it.
Adventure bikes feature drop-down handlebars, solid frames, and an extensive gear system. They are sometimes referred to as gravel bikes because they eat gravel roads for breakfast. Crunch crunch!
What are adventure bikes used for?
While adventure bikes make for an easy ride in general, they are intentionally optimized for off-road terrain – maintaining their composure through slick mud, crunchy gravel, and deep sand.
Start the trip from home on a well-paved asphalt road. Spice things up, and burst out onto a rough twisted path in the woods without much fuss. Those aggressive 35mm tires bite into the dirt, making use of every extra little bit of grip it can get.
If you want a flexible bike that offers comfortable, confident movement irrespective of terrain, distance, or how much weight you’re schlepping around, the gravel bike is your go-to guy!
Thanks to a strong frame coupled with full-bodied wheels, adventure bikes can easily carry heavy luggage over not-so-good roads, in even worse weather, without compromising their superb handling abilities.
Features of adventure bikes
Adventure bikes share certain build similarities with road bikes and mountain bikes, bringing them together to make features that ultimately give the rider more freedom and, more importantly, better control.
Made from different materials, you may come across steel or titanium frames. But the most common (and affordable) frame options are aluminum and carbon.
With a long head tube and shorter reach, the result is a more upright riding position removing riding pressure from the arms, back, and neck while giving you a much more comfortable, relaxed ride even on rough roads.
Their front wheels tend to extend out more in front of the rider for a lengthier wheelbase, helping the bike maintain stability and handle off-road tracks relatively easily. This stability is advantageous when riding on uneasy paths or lugging large cargo.
Their handlebars are noticeably lowered and flared, offering the rider a much-appreciated increase in leverage.
Manufacturers incorporate flared drop handlebars to give the rider stability and control when moving on rocky or rough descents by broadening the handlebars’ turning circle.
Rack eyelets and mudguards
With a high probability that you will be packing supplies when going on your off-road adventures, the presence of a luggage rack is almost inevitable on these kinds of bikes.
If not included by default, you should see some mounts or eyelets to attach your luggage carrier/s.
Expect plenty of eyelets to secure multiple water bottles, hook up your accessories and your racks. Expect mounts on the handlebars to attach a dynamo-powered light, compass, speedometer, and any other odds and ends you deem essential to your ride.
Eyelets also provide space for full-coverage mudguards so you can remain warm and dry regardless of the weather.
Tires and wheels
Built to give riders a unified experience from asphalt to gravel and rough terrain – adventure bikes come equipped with wider, tubeless tires.
The width of these wide tires typically starts from 28mm, with some reaching a thicc thickness of 40mm.
The extra volume allows you to ride at low tire pressures giving better traction and bump absorption when traveling on uneven surfaces.
Tires with more thread need spacious accommodation. As such, these bikes come factory-built with extra spaces for the tires.
Manufacturers design their chain-stays and frames with wider tires in mind, and since there’s the probability that you would use these bikes more off-road, the clearance means the wheels won’t get caught up in cruddy gunk.
These are sureties with adventure bikes. They give the rider defined braking ability for precise stops in any condition.
The greater stopping power is appreciated, especially when carrying extra luggage or riding on slick surfaces with less grip.
Special material seats
As these bikes are likely to see their fair share of off-road adventures, the seats are designed from unique materials like carbon fiber and fitted with vibration damping features.
These saddles soak up the vibrations and save your keister from saddle burn, blisters, and general discomfort.
Prices of Adventure Bikes
You will be happy to know that most of the adventure bikes on this list are aluminum/steel frame bikes, so you can expect spare parts and maintenance to be pretty affordable.
With prices starting at the lower end of $1000 and maxing out at the $7000 region, there is something for everyone.
Don’t be afraid to approach the store manager/supervisor about financing. Enquire what options are available to you. You’ll be surprised at what a genuine smile and firm handshake can accomplish.
Types of Adventure Bikes
While the name ‘adventure bikes’ covers bikes designed to function steadily both off and on the road, some adventure bikes are tweaked to perform a touch better on one type of track than the other.
These versatile bikes go fast on off-road trails, gravel paths, or steep terrain; gravel bikes have racks, mudguards, and greater tire clearance.
Touring bikes are perfect for daily commutes along rough city roads – sporting tires that are a little wider but have less clearance than a gravel bike. Touring bikes also have better load-carrying capacities so that you can ride with your groceries and luggage in tow.
These bikes evolved from cross bikes, so their geometry is much relaxed than road racing bikes. Cyclo-cross bikes are relatively lighter and are built more for speed and racing. However, while they can easily maneuver tight courses, they lack the comfort of gravel and touring bikes.
Adventure bikes have witnessed an increase in popularity lately, and it’s easy to see why.
These are go-anywhere kind of bikes that will accompany you from Monday to Friday at the office and Saturday/Sunday when you hit the trails.
This flexibility is a significant selling point and a colossal money-saver at the end of the day. I mean, why buy two different bikes when you can get one that does it all?!
I am Daryl Monson.
This is my personal blog, I’ll mostly talk about Cycling. I have an in-depth experience in writing about Cycling.
I would also provide some information about bike and bike accessories.
In short, you’ll find a lot of valuable information regarding bike and other bike related stuff.