I wanted to make a list of carbon bikes for gravel and, in addition, they had a not excessive price. Although, the latter can be somewhat controversial because normally these types of options exceed two thousand euros.
Therefore, this selection is somewhat subjective considering that the models to be presented are priced above other options in aluminum or steel.
Specifically, I have defined ten bicycles that do not exceed 2,500 euros. I understand that for many of you it will be outrageous, but it is difficult to find options below this price level. As always, I encourage you to provide your suggestions in this regard.
1. Ribble CGR SL / 1,699 €
It is a bicycle that stands out for presenting a great very modern carbon frame. This frame is made with Toray T1000 and T800 fibers. The result is a light option (I know there are lighter ones) with a weight of 1,150 grams. Along with the fork, which gives us an acceptable 450 grams, we are talking about a set of 1,600 grams. It is not bad at all for a gravel bike whose total weight is around 10 kilos.
This version of the Ribble CGR SL mounts the Shimano Tiagra 10-speed road group. As for the transmission, it offers us a very road-based solution based on a compact 50/34 tooth chainring combined with a discreet 11 / 32t cassette.
If I must emphasize something, it is that it comes equipped with Mavic Aksium wheels intended for both road models and versatile bicycles. These are somewhat heavy, but very durable wheels that are usually mounted on intermediate range models.
As for the tires, they are the well-known Schwalbe G-One Allround for 700c wheels and with a width of 40 mm. These covers are suitable for off road or gravel. These have small knobs that ensure us to roll optimally on any type of terrain, especially in curves.
2. Vitoria Patagonia Explorer / 2,229 €
Very recently I made a review on this model of the Spanish brand Vitoria. I would highlight that for its price it is a well-equipped model. Like the options that I will present, it has a spectacular carbon frame with a very current design.
It has everything you could ask for from a gravel bike: wide tire clearance, the possibility of installing a third bottle cage and racks, relaxed geometry and, add to all this a spectacular lightness. Its frame weighs only 1,100 grams.
In addition, Vitoria is well equipped with the specific group Shimano GRX 600. It has been chosen, and this is a success of the brand, for a very off-road development based on a single chainring and a large cassette. Also, it is appreciated that they opt for reliable wheels like the Mavic Allroad. The tires are Vittoria Terreno Dry and are specific for adventure cycling.
Price: The best thing is its price to be a model of this level: € 2,229. Although you have it from € 2,125 with other developments.
3. My Merak Full Carbon One / 1,600 €
For only 1,600 euros you have this model manufactured by the unique national company My Merak Bicycles. The Full Carbon One, is an option that comes mounted with the specific group Sram Apex 1, Mavic XM 319 Disc wheels and Schwalbe Rapic Rob tires.
As for the frame, it is entirely assembled with Toray 3k carbon and is designed in Italy. This material is widely used for the construction of bicycle frames of a certain quality and stands out for its lightness and good resistance.
If we talk about the design, it is a bicycle with a very modern appearance with different shapes of its tubes, internal wiring and a practically straight fork. It also does not have a steep sloping, although it is perceived as a quite manageable bicycle.
Price: Frame price: € 500. Price of the complete bike presented: € 1,600.
4. GT Grade Carbon 2020 / 1,999 €
For a price that does not reach 2,000 euros, you have this interesting model. What I highlight about the GT Grade Carbon 2020, is that its aesthetics is different from what we usually see in other models based on carbon frames. The difference lies in the seatstays that are presented to the “air” and that also, compared to the other tubes of the frame, these are very thin but highly resistant.
Beyond this first impression of its design, it should be noted that the new GT Grade acquires more versatility with this latest version. In other words, the frame has been redesigned to hold more load in case we use it as a model for long journeys. In addition, it allows us to install a third bottle cage in the lower tube, or to place bike packing accessories on the fork thanks to the fact that it has additional eyelets.
As for the maximum tire mounting, there is room up to 42mm for 700c wheels or up to 48mm for 650b wheels.
The selected model mounts the Shimano Tiagra 10-speed. Features a 46/30 tooth sub-compact chainring paired with a discrete 11-34t cassette.
To finish, the tires are the WTB Riddler TCS Light for a size of 700c and with a thickness of 37mm.
Price: Its price at Wiggle is € 1,999.
5. Vitus Substance CRS-2 Adventure / 1,979.99 €.
The Vitus Substance CRS-2 is a gravel with an excellent price compared to other carbon models from other brands. In addition, the components that they assemble and that are provided by the own brand, are acceptable. Stand out, like most brands for this 2020 in its new gravel models, it has opted to install a Shimano GRX drivetrain.
It should be added that it features a very modern carbon frame, with added eyelets for luggage racks and you can add up to three bottle cages. Therefore, this model is prepared for cycling or multi-day bicycle trips. You can also use it, thanks to its lightness and characteristics, for a “sportier” gravel.
Thanks to its tires, the WTB SpeedTerra TCS 2.0 650b, with a smooth tread, can be used on asphalt without any problem.
Price: It has an excellent price at Wiggle for € 1,979.99.
6. Marin Headlands 1 / 2,450 €
The Headlands 1 is mounted on a carbon frame with a design closer to an MTB than a road bike. It reminds me of other models that we have already tried, such as the Merida Silex or the Giant Revolt Advanced. In other words, all these options have a pronounced sloping and a very compact appearance.
The fork is also carbon and under a tapered steerer. Its shape is completely straight, giving it a plus of modernity and higher elevation at the front.
If you look closely at the frame, the seatstays and stem are short. This circumstance, which we have already seen in other analyzed gravel models, seems to be a very current trend. The result is a very comfortable bike to ride thanks to its small frame and also more manageable than other models with a more traditional or similar design to a road bike.
It has a drivetrain for gravel based on a single 40t chainring: Sram Apex 1. Its cassette is 10 / 42t.
To finish, it has Schwalbe G-One Performance wheels with a size of 700c x 40mm. They are specific rims for adventure cycling since they have small knobs that will give you a good grip. In addition, it is also possible to mount 650b tires up to 50c.
Price: 2,450 €.
7. On-One Free Ranger Shimano GRX / 1,799.99 €
The English brand Planet X has this interesting gravel model assembled with the new Shimano GRX drivetrain. Specifically, and for the super-contained price that the bicycle has, install the top level of the RX800 range (comparable to a Shimano Ultegra).
It has a compact frame and designed for gravel. That is, it is possible to install a third bottle cage, rear rack, or the possibility of locating tires up to 47mm for wheel sizes of 700c or 650b.
As for the wheels, it has the well-known Fulcrum Racing. They are specific gravel aluminum wheels.
Finally, it comes standard with 38c Panaracer Comet tires, which have good tread and are ideal for dry terrain.
Price: 1,799.99 €
8. MMR X-TOUR / 2,399 €
The MMR X-TOUR is an option that falls between a cyclocross and gravel model. If you buy this bike you have two choices of disciplines with a single investment.
As for the geometry, its design does not present a pronounced sloping or rather it practically lacks it. This makes sense: more comfortable and relaxed driving is prioritized than some aggressiveness. Therefore, the X-Tour does not seem a priori a racing bicycle and the objective will be to ride with it more calmly. The end result is a much more upright rider position compared to a model that has a higher upper tube drop. This has been achieved with a shorter reach (frame length) and a higher stack (frame height).
One of the things that I miss is that, both the frame and the fork, do not have added eyelets to locate a third bottle cage or bikepacking bags.
The X-Tour is fitted as standard with the Sram Rival 1 single chainring 40t and a cassette of 11/42t. This group is exclusively designed for gravel cycling, cyclocross or for those users who want to simplify their road bike.
The components of this model are made of aluminum and of good quality. Handlebars, stem and seatpost are Ritchey, a very well-known brand.
As for the wheels it rides, they are the Mavic Aksium Allroad with disc brakes and intended for adventure cycling or cyclocross. The measurement is 700c and also allows us to mount 650b wheels. The tires are the Hutchinson Override 38c.
Price: 2,399 €.
9. Giant Revolt Advanced 2 / 2,199.00 €
The Giant Revolt Advanced 2 is one of my favorite bikes. It is an agile and fast model that has nothing to envy to pure road bikes.
Its aggressive sloping geometry and dropped seatstays give it a truly racing and compact look. In addition, it has certain winks for the gravel such as support for fenders. Although, it is a model that would leave it as is for having an outstanding frame.
It has a really very good weight of only 9.60kg according to what appears on the manufacturer’s website.
As for the groupset, and it is something that does not convince me, it has the Shimano 105 with a 48/32t subcompact chainrings and combined with a discrete 34/11t cassette. I would have opted for the new Shimano GRX 600 which is similar, but specific for off-road cycling. Even so, Shimano 105 is a versatile solution, although it would locate it to go a bit fast on not too technical trails.
Price: 2.199,00 €.
10. Canyon Grail CF SL 7.0 / 2,199 €
Well, to finish I present the Canyon Grail CF SL 7.0 as a unique model for the practice of gravel. The first thing that I would highlight about the bike is that it has a very well-worked carbon frame aesthetically. The frame in medium sizes gives us an interesting weight of only 1,040 grams.
It also highlights its Hover Bar handlebar, which has two bars in order to absorb vibrations and be more compact.
For this 2020, it comes equipped with the specific group for gravel Shimano GRX. Specifically, an amalgamation of the 11-speed RX600 / 800 levels. It has an 11-34t cassette.
To finish, I would highlight the wheels that it includes: the DT Swiss C 1850 Spline db. Tires are specific for gravel: the Schwalbe G-One Bite with a width of 40c.
Price: 2,199 €
Surely, I have left many more models to include in this list of ten carbon models for gravel. It is complicated, since there is a great variety on the market. That is why, I encourage you to send me some options that could be in this selection.