Gravel bikes have a bit of an undeserved reputation for being far too expensive for most people.
Sure, it makes sense that gravel bikes are not cheap. After all, you’re not just going to ride them on paved roads. They’re built to withstand all sorts of punishment. This includes dirt and technical roads, single tracks, winter, and more.
But while gravel bikes have to be built tough, they don’t necessarily have to be that expensive.
In fact, we’ve rounded up the 6 best gravel bikes under $1,000 to prove that to you.
|Schwinn Vantage Rx 2 700C Gravel Adventure Bike with Disc Brakes, 51cm/Large Frame, Charcoal, Vantage Gravel Bike||Prime||Buy Now|
|Diamondback Haanjo 2 Gravel Road Bike||Prime||Buy Now|
|Royce Union Men's Gravel Bike Aluminum, 18 Speed, 700c Tires, Matte Denim Blue, RGF (76989)||Prime||Buy Now|
|Raleigh Bikes Willard 1 Gravel Adventure Road Bike, 62cm/XX-Large||Prime||Buy Now|
1. Schwinn Vantage RX2
The Schwinn Vantage RX2 barely qualifies for our list in terms of price. However, it is exactly this kind of pricing that allows the RX2 to offer far more value than its competition and arguably be the best gravel bike under $1000 available today.
An easy bike to ride, the RX2 is perfect for beginners and seasoned veterans alike.
The RX2’s most significant feature is Schwinn’s very own Smooth Ride Technology, otherwise known as SRT.
SRT is what allows the bike to become extremely lightweight without sacrificing durability nor ride comfort.
Other important features include the 18-speed drivetrain (Shimano Sora), 35C tires (Continental Sport Contact II), endurance-oriented handlebar (Schwinn Ergo), and the carbon sport fork with mechanical disc brakes (TRP Spyre C).
All in all, you’ll have a hard time finding a gravel bike under $1000 with equal features and components, let alone better.
- Comes with its own rack and fender mounts
- Upgrade-friendly platform
- Excellent stopping power
- Available in four frame sizes
- Drivetrain could be quieter
2. Diamondback Haanjo 2
In terms of price, the Diamondback Haanjo 2 is nestled in between the entry-level Haanjo 1 and the more premium Haanjo 3. However, you could argue that, of the three, it brings the most value to the proverbial table.
In terms of components, the Haanjo 2 has an aluminum alloy frame with a 9-speed drivetrain (Shimano) and mechanical disc brakes. It also comes with pedals right out of the box and is backed by a limited lifetime warranty, but keep in mind that the warranty only applies to that of the original owner.
Thanks to its design, the Haanjo 2 can be used as a road bike and can handle its fair share of rough roads.
The Haanjo is also a bit of a looker. It has a matte black finish.
In terms of efficiency, the Haanjo is perfect for road commuting. The absence of a front derailleur means that shifting is easy, regardless of whether you’re out on paved roads or on much rougher terrain.
Speaking of road commuting, the 9-speed drivetrain and upright riding position combine to create a comfortable and smooth ride. Plus, because of its relaxed geometry as well as mechanical disc brakes, your ride will be safe and efficient.
Lastly, the Haanjo 2 comes 95% pre-assembled out of the box.
- Efficient and smooth ride
- Comes 95% pre-assembled
- Comfortable for long road rides
- Not suited for highly technical and off-road terrains
3. Royce Union Men’s Gravel Bike
The Royce Union Men’s Gravel Bike is a great all-around gravel bike.
While the aluminum bike frame is normal at this price point, what is not normal is its combination of features. This includes the 16-speed Shimano Claris, and the 3-piece neck alloy crank and rigid steel fork, which combines to create a less maintenance-extensive bike with excellent performance.
Speaking of performance, the gravel bikes comes with mechanical disc brakes that allow riders to stop on a dime, or so to speak.
This is especially useful for downhill rides, which this gravel bike was built for.
Lastly, thanks to its WTB wilderness tires, you have the perfect set of tires for endurance rides, racing, and touring. However, if you want something for mountain rides and off-road use, we suggest getting tires better suited for rough-road use.
- Flexible and durable build
- Effective mechanical disc brakes
- Minimal rolling resistance
- Not beginner-friendly
4. Pure Cycles Adventure Gravel Disc Road Bike
The Pure Cycles Adventure Gravel Disc Road Bike is a lightweight adventure bike with a Chromoly steel frameset and Hutchinson Override tires that allow it to ride on and over pretty much anything and everything. However, if you want better cushion, the bike is also compatible with 650b wheels and tires.
The 18-speed drivetrain (Shimano Sora STI) gives it elite gearing performance, with Promax disc brakes on the front and rear giving it plenty of stopping power.
This gravel bike also has a 3-piece 48/32t crankset (FSA Vero Pro Adventure) and 32-hole tubeless-ready rims (WTB STP i23) with stainless steel spokes and alloy hubs.
You can also customize the drop bar for added comfort. It supports a number of hand positions. It also has a gel-padded tape.
More importantly, the saddle (Selle Royal Rampage) is performance-designed which makes it well-suited for long and extended rides.
Last, but definitely not the least, the bike frame is backed by a lifetime warranty.
- Oversized wheels
- 700c/650b swappable frame design
- 18-speed drivetrain
- Not for hardcore gravel rides
5. Tommaso Sterrata
A practical, fun, and all-around ride shouldn’t exist at an affordable price point, right?
Well, as our list of the best gravel bikes under $1000 has proven to you, that notion is wrong.
Another proof of this is the Tommaso Sterrata.
Believe it or not, this is a top-of-the-line offering, and it shows.
Unlike other bikes at its price range that only has an all-aluminum build or an all-steel build, the Sterrata comes with a compact aluminum frame with a carbon fork. This gives it the ideal combination of weight and comfort for road commuting, as well as any kind of terrain outside of the very rugged ones.
The 24-speed Shimano Claris groupset also allows the Sterrata to perform quite well, regardless of the road and weather conditions.
Lastly, the rugged and all-terrain wheels and disc brakes give you ideal performance on and off the road.
Perhaps the only big issue we see with this gravel bike is that it needs professional assembly. In fact, according to the manufacturer, professional assembly is advised, especially if you want to take advantage of the warranty.
- Lightweight and flexible
- Precise gearing
- All-weather disc brakes
- 32mm tires provide excellent control and traction
- Assembly requires professional help
- Requires additional parts installation
6. Raleigh Bikes Willard 1
Not all the top gravel bikes below the 1,000 dollar mark have to come close to the price point.
Case in point, the Raleigh Bikes Willard 1.
Costing significantly less than our price limit, the Willard 1 gives you enough of a cost allowance to upgrade certain components. But, even as it is, the full-aluminum build of this gravel bike is good to go out of the box.
Sure, the 16-speed (2×8) Shimano Claris group set is modest, at best, but it’s not half-bad.
The rest of the components are excellent for the price point.
- Easy to assemble
- All-weather TRP disc brakes
- Includes pedals
- Basic and entry-level group set
What is a Gravel Bike? How Is It Different From Other Bikes?
To the uneducated and uninformed, all bikes look the same.
Gravel bikes, road bikes, and mountain bikes are no different from each other. Or, at least, to those that don’t know how to separate them from each other.
But, how exactly do you do that? How do you know the difference between a gravel bike and a mountain bike, or a road bike, or even a cyclocross?
Gravel Bike vs Cyclocross
Stiff and durable forks, as well as 29-inch wheels, are all similarities commonly found among gravel bikes and cyclocross.
The main difference is that, while cyclocross or CX bikes are designed to navigate muddy or rougher trails with speed and ease, gravel bikes are geared towards comfort more. At the same time, the riding position on gravel bikes is much lower and more relaxed, while CX bikes tend to have them higher for better control during competitions.
Last, but definitely not the least, CX bikes are significantly lighter compared to gravel bikes.
Gravel Bike vs Mountain Bike
Where CX bikes are built for speed, mountain bikes are built for more durability.
Mountain bikes have a tendency to be longer and lower, with straight bars and steeply sloped horizontal tubes, and significantly heavier weight.
Basically, a mountain bike is built for the beaten path, and thus, carry much more weight.
Gravel bikes, on the other hand, are more multipurpose.
Gravel Bike vs Road Bike
Again, the main difference in gravel bikes and road bikes is purpose.
Road bikes are built for the open road. Thus, they’re better suited for cruising at high speeds, especially in races and competitions.
Meanwhile, gravel bikes are better suited for casual rides, especially as road conditions aren’t always ideal.
Because speed is their goal, road bikes are significantly lighter in weight with pedals specifically designed to help keep your feet on.
Do I Need a Gravel Bike?
Remember, each bike is designed for a different purpose. Technically, you can use one bike for another purpose. Case in point, no one’s stopping you from using your mountain bike on the road, or your road bike on slight gravel.
However, the ride comfort will not be that good, as they are not designed for a particular purpose.
There’s also the risk of breaking your bike if you’re not using it right.
For example, mountain bikes are built for durability, and if you decide to use other bikes on routes that require a mountain bike, you’ll find yourself either with a broken body part or a broken bike, or both, soon enough.
With that said, we do recommend gravel bikes for people who are in need of a bike.
While road bikes are better equipped for open roads, ever-changing road conditions mean that you need a bike that can adjust to rougher terrain without being uncomfortable to ride on paved roads.
Gravel bikes, therefore, are an excellent choice for a daily driven ride that can handle its fair share of off-road punishment.
When it comes to bikes, the $1,000 to $2,000 price point is considered a sweet spot.
This applies to road bikes, gravel bikes, CX bikes, mountain bikes, and more. But, this is especially true for gravel bikes, as they tend to be more popular because of their more versatile and utilitarian design.
With that said, if you’re a beginner, there’s no need to spend a fortune on a reliable gravel bike.
The 6 we recommended above represent the best in terms of value and performance at a $1,000 price point and should make for perfect choices for a daily driver and for newbies.