Road bikes are great, but they do come with a rather obvious caveat: they don’t like to stray from the tarmac. That’s fine if you don’t mind your rides being dictated by surface type, but what happens when adventure calls, or when you just fancy escaping the traffic for a while?
Enter: the gravel bike. These off-road, drop-bar machines represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the cycling marketplace. And for good reason.
Not only are gravel bikes great for exploring the path less ridden, but they also make excellent all-rounders for those who don’t want to commit to either a road bike or a mountain bike.
Their secret? A winning combination of drop handlebars, MTB-esque gearing, generous tyre clearance and road-bike handling.
These combined characteristics enable gravel bikes to zip over paved surfaces much more readily than cumbersome mountain bikes, while being fully at home in places road bikes and their narrow tyres would fear to tread.
Maybe you’re looking for an affordable bike that can cover all bases, or perhaps you’re looking to add a gravel bike to your pre-existing stable without casting yourself into financial ruin. Either way, there are plenty options around that will meet your needs.
To help you find the right one, we checked out some of the best gravel bikes for under £1,000, assessing them for value, quality and performance. Our conclusion: a solid entry-level gravel bike needn’t cost the earth. These are the best ones we found.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.