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by James Huang
March 10, 2020
Photography by James Huang and Dave Rome
You know what’s even better than testing one bike at a time? Testing a dozen of them all at once.
CyclingTips recently brought 12 of the latest-and-greatest gravel bikes, four test riders, a giant box of control tires to eliminate one key variable, and a support mechanic to the red-dirt paradise of Sedona, Arizona. We divided those bikes into three categories — racing-focused bikes, MTB-inspired bikes, and budget bikes — and rode the wheels off of them on a wide range of terrain until we had decided on winners, losers, what we liked, and what we didn’t like among all of them.
Included in this group test are the following models:
– BMC URS Three
– Canyon Grail AL 7.0
– Cervelo Aspero
– Evil Chamois Hagar GRX
– Giant Revolt 2
– Marin Gestalt X10
– Niner MCR 9 RDO
– Salsa Warbird Carbon GRX 810
– Santa Cruz Stigmata Carbon CC GRX
– Specialized Creo Evo SL Expert EVO
– Trek Checkpoint AL 4
– Viathon G.1 GRX 600
In the coming weeks we’ll have video and written reviews of all the bikes listed above, as well as roundtable discussions on some broader topics.
When it comes to choosing a gravel bike, what’s more important: geometry or spec? Is it better to have handling that’s more like a road bike or more like a mountain bike? What features can you do without, and what’s a must-have?
After an intensive eight days of testing — and lots of note-taking and debate — we answered all of those questions and more.
Be sure to check back over the days and weeks ahead, when all will be revealed. And for more info on the CyclingTips Gravel Bike Field Test, be sure to check out the video at the top of this post.
Several gravel bikes on the market clearly draw some inspiration from the mountain bike world.
Some gravel bikes are just meant to go fast.
On a budget? One of these aluminum gravel bikes might fit the bill.