Which is the best adventure gravel bike of 2024, and which is the best model for you and your riding style? We let the 19 hottest gravel bikes of the season compete head to head, not just finding clear winners and losers, but also gleaning some exciting insights in the process. Looking for a new gravel bike or want to find out what the market has to offer? Then this gravel bike group test is for you!

Move over, road bike: the gravel bike is here to stay. Fast drop bar bikes for venturing beyond the smooth asphalt are still on the rise, and they’re becoming increasingly complex and varied. Choice is great, but you’ll need to be on the ball when you’re shopping for a new ride: not all gravel bikes are made equal. The differences between bikes are now as big as those between smartphones. At first glance, both the latest iPhone 15 Pro Max and the amazingly affordable off-brand alternative you found on AliExpress are identical in their intended use and function. However, they differ significantly in terms of performance, usability and of course price.

Increasingly feature-rich bikes, and the corresponding marketing hype, are making the choice of the right gravel bike increasingly complex. In addition, some bikes perform better than advertised in completely different use cases – quite tricky! Whether commuting, racing, off-road adventuring or bikepacking, you’ll find specialists in every segment. For many, however, the all-rounders are more exciting, in the best cases doing most things really well – or even better, as this group test has shown!Finally, you’ve got the enormous price differences to add to the complexity. The most expensive bike on test costs € 10,999, with the most affordable model costing just one fifth of that. Does paying five times the price get you a five times better bike? What really matters? And should you even get a gravel bike anyway?

All-road, MTB, gravel race, or gravel all-rounder? What’s the difference, and what matters most?

Don’t let yourself be fooled: all-road bikes aren’t all created equal. Neither are gravel race bikes, nor are gravel all-rounders. There are big differences and fluid boundaries in each segment. That’s why we spare no effort with our big group tests, using specific test criteria and a sensible test field, which should give you all the information you need to know what to look for in each segment. Ultimately, you shouldn’t simply choose a bike category, but a specific bike. As you saw at the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships, a gravel all-rounder like the MERIDA SILEX can also win a world championship title – assuming you’re Matej Mohorič 😉 .

Before buying, it’s essential to know your personal preferences, intended uses, and needs. Do you already know which type of gravel rider you are?

No? Then check out our interactive gravel bike buyer’s guide! It will help you figure out more about yourself and what you really need from your ideal gravel bike. In the end, you will get personalised tips, tech and bike recommendations from our editorial team, as well as a selection of articles relevant to you.

All-road group test

If you want to ride primarily on asphalt and only occasionally on gravel, then an all-road bike can also be a good option. With a relaxed riding position and sufficient compliance, all-road bikes are comfortable, roll significantly faster on the road, and offer enough traction and puncture protection to cope with light gravel thanks to the ever increasing tire widths and clearances. You can find our group test of the hottest all-road bikes here.

Gravel race bike shootout

If you’ve got a need for speed on gravel, hard-pack and asphalt, a gravel race bike is the way to go. They’re lightweight, stiff, aerodynamic, and have an aggressive riding position, so you can go all-out, all of the time. For the die-hard racers who don’t know how to go slow, we pinned numbers to our jerseys and blasted through the desert with nine uncompromising race bikes, putting the deafening fighter jets of the nearby airbase to shame. Catering to the very specific requirements of a race bike, we dedicated a group test to these performance-oriented specialists.

Concept comparison: gravel vs MTB

If you want to go even further off the beaten track and are thinking of just getting an MTB, we can recommend this 2022 concept group test, providing lots of exciting insights. Although the test field is no longer entirely up to date, the findings and explanations are as relevant as ever!

Anyone looking for a bike for everything from freedom to travel, discovery, commuting, exciting off-road adventures, training, and occasional gravel races will find what they’re looking for in this all-rounder gravel bike group test. Few other types of bikes are as fast, fun, and comfortable on such a wide variety of terrain. Tech from the mountain bike sector, like suspension forks, dropper posts and wide-range cassettes can be increasingly found on gravel bikes, making them much more interesting for longer distances over more challenging terrain.

The test field – The hottest gravel bikes of 2024

With this group test, we were looking for the best gravel bike of 2024 – the best all-rounder, ready for any adventure: whether commuting or gravel racing, chasing maximum performance or taking things easy, tackling a desert expedition or navigating the urban jungle, doing targeted training in lycra or just going with the flow in a party shirt. If you recognise yourself in one or more of these scenarios, you’ve come to the right place! Below, you’ll find an overview of the 19 hot contenders for the title of the best all-round gravel bike of 2024:

Model Drivetrain (mullet) Tires (width) Gears Weight Price
Argon 18 Dark Matter SRAM Force eTap AXS 38 mm 2×12 8.78 kg € 6,950.00
BMC URS 01 ONE SRAM RED eTap AXS / XX1 40 mm 1×12 9,08 kg 10,999.00 €
Cannondale Topstone Carbon 1 Lefty SRAM Force eTap AXS XPLR 44 mm 1×12 9.40 kg € 8,999.00
Canyon Grizl CF SLX 8 Force AXS Trail SRAM Force eTap AXS 45 mm 1×12 9.82 kg € 5,299.00
Falkenjagd Aristos Trail Gravel Campagnolo Ekar 45 mm 1×13 9.36 kg € 9,440.00
Focus Atlas 8.8 Shimano GRX 8 45 mm 2×11 9.89 kg € 3,499.00
Ghost Asket Advanced Shimano GRX Mix 40 mm 1×11 10.98 kg € 2,199.00
Giant Revolt X Advanced Pro 1 SRAM Rival eTap AXS / GX 45 mm 1×12 10.06 kg € 5,999.00
Merida Silex 10K SRAM RED eTap AXS /XO1 45 mm 1×12 9.08 kg € 9,599.00
Mondraker Dusty XR SRAM Force eTap AXS / XO1 45 mm 1×12 14.2 kg € 9,999.00
Orbea Terra M2IETEAM IX SRAM Force eTap AXS XPLR 40 mm 1×12 8.76 kg € 5,499.00
Ridley Kanzo Adventure Shimano GRX Di2 / Classified 52 mm 2×11 9.88 kg € 7,925.00
Rose Backroad AL Plus Shimano GRX Mix 44 mm 1×11 14.02 kg € 3,499.00
Santa Cruz Stigmata SRAM Force eTap AXS XPLR 45 mm 1×12 9.20 kg € 8,299.00
Scott Solace Gravel eRide 10 SRAM Force eTap AXS XPLR 50 mm 1×12 12.86 kg € 9,999.00
Specialized Diverge STR Pro SRAM Force eTap AXS / XO1 42 mm 1×12 9.42 kg € 9,000.00
Trek Checkpoint SL 7 AXS SRAM Force eTap AXS 40 mm 2×12 9.18 kg € 6,899.00
Willer Adlar SRAM Rival eTap AXS XPLR 53 mm 1×12 9.40 kg € 4,800.00
YT Szepter Core 4 SRAM Force eTap AXS XPLR 42 mm 1×12 10.36 kg € 4,499.00

Yay or nay? What do you say to an e-gravel bike?

Slow, heavy, cumbersome, unsportsmanlike, uncool, and only for old people. Are you sure about that? Ebikes still face a lot of prejudices in the drop bar segment, but is there still any truth to these clichés? Not much! As the SCOTT Solace eRIDE 10 recently proved in our all-road bike group test, drop bar e-bikes don’t just deserve a place in the sport, but can be even more fun, confidence-inspiring, and versatile than their analogue siblings. They can even introduce new use cases: going all-out at the weekend, and commuting to work with e-assist during the week.

Sexy powerhouse. The SCOTT Solace gravel eRIDE doesn’t just look capable.

Thanks to new, lightweight drive units, the differences in handling are continuously reducing. These compact motors offer a lot of performance at a low weight. This is great for a gravel bike, allowing you to venture a lot further than you could on your own. E-gravel bikes play to their full advantage especially on routes with a demanding elevation profile. It doesn’t necessarily have to be less strenuous, you can just ride longer routes with more climbs and tougher terrain. But they can also make commuting during the week a lot more comfortable. The lower centre of gravity, due to the motor and battery, makes for composed and confidence-inspiring handling on the descents. On flat, fast routes, e-gravel bikes are limited by legal regulations. In Europe, ebikes may only assist up to 27.5 km/h (25 km/h + 10% tolerance 😉 ). Thanks to ever lighter motors and insignificant drag, ebikes now ride just as well without assistance. Depending on the type of rider and intended use, e-gravel bikes can be incredibly fun machines that enrich your gravel adventures! For others, it’s just the wrong bike. Ride and let ride. True to the gravel spirit: ride the way you want!

Our test criteria: What must a good gravel bike be capable of?

Before you think about which gravel bike to buy, you should be clear about where and how you want to ride, and the characteristics that will suit you best. You should also ask yourself what the future might hold – you, your riding style, and your preferences are continuously evolving.

Every gravel adventure is unique: different terrain, weather conditions, topographies, riding styles, distances, amounts of luggage, and unpredictable obstacles present you and your gravel bike with a wide variety of challenges. In the best case, your gravel bike should grow and evolve with you. Your personal preferences result in specific requirements that are unique to you, though you’ll find a few general gravel bike must-haves, nonetheless!

Handling and stability

We describe the handling of gravel bikes in terms of agility. We tested how sluggish or playful and responsive the bikes feel when cornering. The stability indicates how nervous or composed the bikes feel at different speeds. A good gravel bike should offer a balanced mix of agility and composure, responding to steering input with precision and predictability without wobbling and feeling nervous on fast descents or slow climbs. A well-balanced bike isn’t just more intuitive and fun to ride, but also safer, increasing confidence in your own riding abilities and the bike’s capabilities.


No two gravel adventures are the same. Since gravel riding places very different demands on the bike depending on the route, season, riding style, and duration, the gravel bike should be as versatile as possible, to perform well in a wide range of different scenarios. Your own preferences might change over time too, so a more versatile bike should allow you more scope to progress as your abilities and ambitions change. Whether poorly maintained asphalt, rough gravel, forest paths, or singletrack. A gravel bike should be ready for anything, and, better yet, it should be a lot of fun to ride on all terrain. This means sufficient grip, comfort, and intuitive handling when things get rough, yet the efficiency and gear range needed for fast straights and steep climbs. Mounting points for bags, water bottles, and mudguards are great to have, too, so you can be prepared for any adventure!

Comfort and ergonomics

Whether on long tours, leisurely gravel excursions, or fast group rides, comfort is key on a gravel bike. It allows you to enjoy the experience and ride with a smile on your face even after a long day in the saddle. That said, too much compliance comes at the cost of pedalling efficiency and direct handling. Therefore, the bike must offer just the right level of comfort, handling precision, efficiency, and a balanced riding position. How much comfort you want is a matter of personal preference and – to put it simply – results from the interaction of the tires, tire pressure, wheels, frame, damping or suspension elements, geometry, the materials used, and the ergonomics of the contact points. It’s a complex interplay of countless variables at many different points!
It’s not just important that the bike offers compliance, but also where the compliance comes from, and how well impacts are mitigated. A good gravel bike absorbs shocks and vibrations without bouncing back like an undamped spring. This behaviour can quickly get out of hand and result in confidence-robbing, vague handling.

Acceleration and speed

Standing up out of the saddle to put in a hard effort on a steep climb? Flying towards the horizon on long straights with maximum efficiency? Light-footed acceleration and high-speed efficiency are two of the biggest sources of fun on a gravel bike. Weight, weight distribution, tire tread pattern, riding position, gearing, and accessories all play a crucial role here. If you’re looking for a gravel bike for speed at all costs, look no further than a gravel race bike. If you want to take things a little more easily between efforts, a gravel bike all-rounder is the way to go.

Style and quality

There’s no doubt about it: looks matter! The look, shape and colour of the bike are decisive for many buyers, and in fact these characteristics are significantly involved in the feelings you experience while riding the bike, especially when rolling up in front of the cafe. In addition to bolstering your ego, the feel and workmanship also offer real benefits! They improve the bike’s feel and durability, and subconsciously encourage you to look after your bike after each ride. Beautiful bikes live longer.


True to the motto “the journey is the goal”, a good gravel bike should be lots of fun to ride in as many situations as possible, encouraging you to keep the cranks turning. It’s less about KOMs than about feeling free, able to explore without hesitation, and being able to rely on the bike’s reserves in unexpected situations. The level of fun depends on all previously mentioned test criteria: to put a smile on your face, the bike must strike the right balance in all respects. For those who find this definition too vague, we established a universal fun calculator years ago:

laugh lines
+ tears of joy
x dirt on your teeth²
÷ distance
= fun

What is a gravel bike? – The most important features

Do I need suspension on a gravel bike?

Whether rough descents or long distances on poorly maintained asphalt: bumps, impacts, and vibrations that are passed on to the rider will eventually lead to aching joints and less control on the descents. The unique challenges of suspension on a gravel bike include keeping the weight to a minimum, thereby reducing the negative effects on the handling and acceleration, and keeping the bike stiff where necessary to avoid pedalling efficiency losses.
In addition to lightweight suspension forks, many brands have created innovative solutions to meet these requirements. Looking for a deep dive? You’ll find everything you need to know in our suspension bible for gravel and road bikes!

Rigid frame vs full-suspension – how much damping do you need?

Which is the best gravel tire?

As the only points of contact with the ground, the tires bear full responsibility for grip and rolling resistance. Since most gravel bikes are rigid, and the stiff frames offer little compliance, the tires are often the only source of damping too. Therefore, choosing the right tire is crucial to remain rubber side down, transfer your power to the ground, roll efficiently, and not get shaken to bits. To this end, tire manufacturers are constantly developing new tread patterns, rubber compounds, casings, and tire sizes for gravel bikes. Since you’ve got the option to upgrade every time you need to replace your tires, and you get massive performance for relatively little money, it’s worth doing some research when choosing your tires. Of course, as a bike magazine, we took upon ourselves to do the work for you: our big gravel tire group test includes the 20 best tires for all types of riders!

A trend that’s here to stay? 29” tires on a gravel bike make a big difference.

E-gravel bikes – The motor systems

We can’t imagine going back to a time without ebike motors. However, this trend has been less pronounced in the drop bar segment compared to the rest of the bike industry due to their weight and legal speed limits. However, the latest generation of compact drive units further reduces the weight disadvantage. Hub motors like the MAHLE X20 are barely visible and very light overall. Due to the increased rotating mass on the rear wheel, however, they take more time to get used to than compact mid-drives like the TQ HPR50. The low centre of gravity of mid-drive systems results in composed handling, though they require a wider, beefier frame than their analogue counterparts. The small drive units still depend on the use of your legs on climbs. They merely provide a little assistance so that you can ride even further, faster, and steeper. They lower the physical barriers to entry, and they make bikes more versatile. Whether it’s comfortable commuting, gravel action in the mountains, or smart training. Thanks to integrated power meters and comprehensive connectivity, smart ebike motors like the MAHLE X20 can also be used for recovery days and maintaining basic fitness.

Bikepacking with a gravel bike? – Mounts, bags, luggage racks

For real adventures, you’ll usually need to carry a little more than just an energy bar and a multi-tool in your jersey pocket. Mounting points for bags, racks, and mudguards greatly expand the gravel bike’s versatility, and allow you to adapt your bike to different conditions. We typically think of the ultimate gravel adventures taking place in perfect conditions with clear skies and a constant 22 degrees Celsius. In reality, however, mudguards often mean the difference between having fun in the mud and prematurely calling it quits. Most bikepacking bags still attach to the frame with straps. However, dedicated bosses make it easier to attach the bags while keeping them securely in place and preventing them from scuffing the frame. Our bikepacking bag encyclopaedia has everything you need to know about bags on gravel bikes.

Pack mule or featherweight? You’ll be surprised at how much you can pack on a gravel bike!

Which is the best gravel bike groupset?

It hasn’t been long since 1x drivetrains became established on gravel bikes, and we’ve already got the next innovation – mullet drivetrains. Named after a daring haircut, this latest drivetrain trend means just as much business at the front and party at the back, combining a gravel crankset with a wide-range mountain bike cassette and derailleur. The resulting Frankenstein drivetrain provides an enormous gear range that makes easy work of even the steepest slogs with a fully loaded bike. The disadvantage, of course, is the increased weight of such a big cassette. If you don’t ride in mountainous terrain, you can save yourself this extra weight. Another gravel bike novelty is the Classified hub, as featured on the test winner, which replaces the front derailleur with its two internal gears, thus combining the advantages of a 1x drivetrain with the gear range of 2x drivetrain – genius!

Business in the front, party at the back. The wide-range mullet drivetrain.

Which gravel type are you?

Self-reflection when buying a bike? Absolutely! Before deciding which bike to buy, it’s crucial to know what you actually need. The advice given to you by your riding buddies is well-intentioned, but is often biassed by their own preferences. Besides that, the gravel bike market keeps growing and the various interpretations of an off-road drop bar bike can vary widely from one brand to the next. This has resulted in a colourful variety of different gravel bikes, all with their own idiosyncrasies.

To avoid getting lost in the jungle of different models, constant product innovations, and technical features requires a holistic view. First of all, you should ask yourself where and how you want to ride your future gravel bike. What type of gravel rider are you? Where do you see yourself and your gravel bike in the future? And what can you definitely do without?

Different gravel rider types have different demands of their gravel bike. By comparing them and asking which you can identify with best and what isn’t your thing at all, you will get a clearer picture of what your ideal gravel bike must be capable of and what would merely be expensive ballast.

Everyday hero – Everyday and commuting adventures

Whether it’s to save fuel, to remain active if you’ve got an office job, or a fun alternative to traffic jams: gravel bikes offer an ideal mix of speed and comfort. The riding position shouldn’t be too aggressive, so that you can reach your destination comfortably even if you’re wearing a backpack. The handling should be intuitive and composed, and remain stable with the added weight of your luggage. The puncture resistance of the tires and reliability of the drivetrain also play a vital role and, in this case, are more important than achieving maximum performance. Mudguards are mandatory in everyday life, so you can stay clean even on rainy days. The option of mounting a luggage rack can also be very convenient if you’re planning to haul your briefcase or do your shopping. A gravel bike for an everyday hero should be an all-rounder that shines more because of its functionality, reliability, and composure than its speed and off-road performance.

Local recreation – Relaxed day tours and mini-adventures

Pack your swimming trunks! Riding your gravel bike to the lake, a family outing into the woods, or a post-work group ride with your work colleagues. Similar to everyday heroes, gravel bikes for local recreation should offer a comfortable riding position and sufficient mounting points for luggage and mudguards. Easy gear ratios offer reserves for steep climbs aboard a heavily loaded bike, and stable handling lets you unwind and enjoy the outdoors.

Globetrotter – bikepacking and touring with a gravel bike

Active travel, experiencing nature, and going long distances relying solely on the power of your legs. With bikepacking and touring, it’s all about the journey, not the destination. It’s one of the most beautiful, intense and eco-friendly ways to discover the world. When covering long distances via cycle paths, gravel roads, and woodland trails, often with bags strapped to the bike, efficient power transmission is key. The riding position should be upright and comfortable so as not to spoil the fun after several long days in the saddle. The ergonomics of the contact points are particularly important for long distances too. Besides having as many fastening points for bags, luggage racks, mudguards, and water bottles as possible, the frame should also be extremely robust, capable of withstanding heavy loads on long journeys. Versatility and reserves are must-haves for bikepacking and touring, no matter whether tire clearance, gear range, or mounting points.

Trail surfer – off-road adventures on a gravel bike

Braaap! Off-road gravel bikes are on the rise. Capable enough for light mountain bike trails without big drops or jumps, these drop bar mountain bikes combine off-road performance with the efficiency and light weight of gravel bikes. Punchy climbs? Extensive trail networks or unplanned off-road excursions thanks to automated route planning? This can be lots of fun with the right gravel bike! Off-road-oriented gravel bikes often rely on mountain bike tech to let thrill-seekers have fun on the trails without fearing for their lives. Examples of this include a slack head angle, long wheelbase, dropper post, wide and aggressive tires, and a suspension fork. For additional confidence on the descents, larger brake rotors are also recommended, with 180 mm at the front and 160 mm at the rear providing plenty of power.

Thoroughbred gravel racer – Uncompromisingly fast

3, 2, 1 – bang! Racing against the clock and fighting for a podium finish along wide gravel tracks or on winding trails? Sure, but only with the right bike! Fenders? Mounting points for luggage? Far too heavy! A gravel race bike must be light, stiff, and aerodynamic – everything else is secondary. To minimise wind resistance, the riding position must be aggressive and aerodynamic too, and the handling needs to be agile and direct. The tires must be light and have the least rolling resistance possible. Of course, there are different racing formats, and long-distance races require a certain degree of comfort, mounting points, and durability, but compared to gravel all-rounders, they certainly have different priorities. We compared the hottest gravel race bikes in our gravel race bike group test.

The test adventure

Looking for Atlantis or the best gravel bike? We didn’t actually plan an underwater test, but we got one anyway. To push even the most versatile all-rounders to their limits, we decided to test the full range of use cases at several locations. This includes the gravel paradise around our hometown of Stuttgart. With endless forest tracks, punchy climbs, poorly maintained bike paths, root-covered flow trails, and exposed gravel roads, it allowed us to test the gravel bikes’ capabilities on a wide range of terrain, in many scenarios. From daily commuting, to a quick post-work group ride, or a leisurely cruise into the countryside, we got a pretty good idea of what these bikes are like to live with. For more gravel action, we headed to the foothills of the Alps in Bavaria. Long, steep climbs and descents on boulder-strewn gravel, wet trails, and endless gravel roads along the Isar river demanded everything from the contenders for the best gravel all-rounder of 2024. We also had to overcome some “unexpected” challenges. Who would have thought that you would get wet feet riding through a swamp after two weeks of heavy rain?

True all-rounders can also perform under water!

To make the test crew as multifaceted as the track, we gathered a bunch of gravel pioneers with a wide variety of backgrounds – from downhillers, to gravel beginners, and even some triathletes. Collectively, we’ve followed the development of the gravel segment from day one, and have already ridden hundreds of gravel bikes around the globe, boasting all sorts of features and components. Each with their own skills, preferences, and requirements. The diversity of test conditions and perspectives demanded that the bikes excel in more than just one niche.

Bonk! Without an energy bar in your cargo bibs, you’re bound to hit the wall.

The test crew

As a retired triathlete and long-distance adventurer, efficiency, long-distance comfort, and durability are particularly important to Martin. His ideal gravel bike must be reliable, while letting him ride fast both with and without luggage! His arms provide damping, and his legs propulsion. You won’t find an ebike or suspension fork in his basement.
Robin swaps his mountain bike out for a gravel bike only to spice up his home trails or to explore the outdoors off the beaten track. For fast trail action, he needs an agile gravel bike that doesn’t feel nervous when he chucks it through the corners, offers tons of grip, and is capable of taking a beating.
Whether off-road adventures or day tours, Erik’s gravel bike must have a sufficiently wide gear range to get him anywhere. On the descents, he wants damping, composure, and intuitive handling. As a car enthusiast, he’s got a soft spot for the latest motors, so why not on a gravel bike?!
Max loves playful and precise bikes that make easy work of navigating tight corners. For an overnighter, mounting points for bikepacking equipment are mandatory. As a long-time observer of the gravel trend, Max is keen on having the latest tech, features and components.
For Ines, gravel riding means exploration! And since she enjoys fast descents, her ideal gravel bike should offer adequate levels of grip and stopping power. Composure and stability at high speeds are mandatory too.
For trail riding, Antonia prefers her eMTB. To her, a gravel bike serves as fast means to get to work and back. For commuting and spontaneous rides through the hilly region of Stuttgart, her gravel bike must have a sufficiently wide gear range and feel nimble on the climbs.
Always in the fast lane. Whether it’s a car, road bike, or gravel bike. Ferdi has a need for speed, responsive handling, and fast corners. Of course, looks matter too. Boring bikes are a no-go for him.
Commuting? For that, Jannik would rather drive his Porsche 356.
He rides a gravel bike to unwind and go on day trips to the countryside. Intuitive handling, a relaxed riding position, and a good level of comfort are particularly important to him.

Tops & Flops


More than just freedom of movement – the dropper post on the GIANT Revolt X features integrated suspension.
Tire clearance for days! More clearance means more possibilities. Be it to accommodate mudguards, clear mud, or fit extra meaty tires for added comfort and grip.
A flying carpet ride – full damping systems like that on the Specialized Diverge STR suspend the rider, absorbing vibrations and impacts at both the front and rear.
Convenient! The integrated storage compartment in the down tube of the Santa Cruz Stigmata allows you to store your essentials inside the bike – it’s easy to reach, and extremely well executed.
Ego boost! The grippy 29 x 2.1″ Vittoria Mezcal tire on the front of the Ridley Kanzo Adventure keeps your confidence high through fast corners.
A real gem! The Syncros Creston iC SL X cockpit on the SCOTT Solace Gravel eRIDE 10 impresses with its excellent ergonomics, feel, and sporty look.
One less thing to worry about. Thanks to the hub dynamo on the Ridley Kanzo Adventure, remembering to charge your light is a thing of the past.
The 3D-printed saddle on the Ridley Kanzo Adventure adapts to your anatomy, offering a balanced level of comfort and support.


Not enough for steep climbs with a fully loaded bike! The gear range of the Wilier Adlar is too narrow with its 40 t chainring, 10–44 t cassette, and large 29″ tires.
Form over function: the “mudguard” of the YT Szepter CORE 4 does little more than keep the seat tube clean.
The BBB seat post on the FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 is said to offer added compliance and thereby comfort with its eye-catching design – we’d be lying if we said we felt any difference.
Pretty stiff! The frame of the ROSE BACKROAD AL+ hardly offers any compliance.

The best adventure gravel bike in the test

The Ridley Kanzo Adventure is a true all-rounder, putting a big smile on your face in all situations. It feels capable of tackling any obstacle and offers plenty of reserves for every adventure, making the Kanzo Adventure the ultimate adventure buddy.
The concept of 29″ tires on a gravel bike works well, providing loads of grip, sufficient comfort, and lots of confidence through the corners. Despite this, it sets the bar for many bikes in terms of handling – superbly playful and agile without feeling nervous. Coupled with astonishingly quick acceleration and precise steering, the result is an unprecedented mix of grip, agility, comfort, and fun. It’s rounded off with a host of sensibly specced technical features. A well deserved overall victory – congratulations!

The Best Buy

You’d be forgiven for glancing over the understated looking GIANT Revolt X, but it packs a punch. It accelerates quickly despite having suspension, the handling is precise, and it offers a balanced level of compliance on rough terrain. It’s guaranteed to be fun in everyday life, on fast rides, long bikepacking trips, or snappy trail adventures.

Argon 18 Dark Matter
The Argon 18 Dark Matter is a versatile gravel bike that appeals to those with a need for speed. It offers a solid basis for a bikepacking build and individual upgrades. For extremely demanding off-road adventures, however, it lacks the necessary damping and manoeuvrability.
The BMC URS 01 ONE is an unconventional and fun bike that stands out from the crowd, not just because of its unusual colour scheme, but also thanks to its unique components and integrated damping. It performs well on a variety of terrain, making it suitable for a mix of different adventures.
Cannondale Topstone Carbon 1 Lefty
The Cannondale Topstone Carbon 1 Lefty is a well-designed bike, full of innovation and everyday practicality. The KingPin suspension, Lefty Oliver fork and SmartSense system are sophisticated features that provide added comfort and rider safety. A reliable everyday companion for those who appreciate tech.
Canyon Grizl CF SLX 8 Force AXS Trail
Simple and well thought out, the Canyon Grizl CF SLX 8 Force AXS Trail offers a coherent concept. It doesn’t outshine the competition in any specific discipline, but that’s its strength, performing well everywhere. There’s no type of gravel adventure it won’t take in its stride.
Falkenjagd Aristos Trail Gravel
The Falkenjagd Aristos Trail Gravel is a good-natured and sturdy adventure buddy made of titanium. It scores for its premium components and leisurely riding experience, inviting you to cruise along on gravel roads or tackling a multi-day bikepacking trip at your own pace.
Focus Atlas 8.8
The FOCUS ATLAS 8.8 is a versatile adventure bike with good carrying capacity, though it’s less suitable for demanding terrain due to its lack of compliance. As such, it’s better suited for all-road rather than all-terrain.
Ghost Asket Advanced
No bells and whistles, but plenty of mounting points and a relatively affordable price. The GHOST ASKET Advanced is a lot of fun to ride and it’s versatile, from commuting to bikepacking adventures.
Giant Revolt X Advanced Pro 1
Apart from the plain colour scheme and the somewhat awkward dropper post remote, we’re impressed with the GIANT Revolt X. It’s very comfortable, loads of fun, and doesn’t just perform well on single-track. An excellent all-rounder offering consistent value for money.
Merida Silex 10K
The Merida SILEX 10K is a versatile bike for those who want to go on a wide range of adventures. It offers numerous functions for different situations and requirements. The racy look is a real eye-catcher and underlines the bike’s incredibly fun character.
Mondraker Dusty XR
With its integrated motor, dropper post, and suspension fork, the Mondraker Dusty XR will help keep your thirst for adventure alive – at least when it comes to rough terrain. The off-road specialist is too much bike for light gravel tours and mixed bikepacking excursions.
OrbeaTerra M2IETEAM IX
The Orbea Terra M21e Team Custom M is a balanced and universal gravel bike that feels most comfortable on hard-pack and light gravel. The coherent spec and features like the integrated storage compartment round off the package.
Ridley Kanzo Adventure
The Ridley Kanzo Adventure delivered with its versatility, thus winning the test victory. What sets it apart is its unique build spec and outstanding handling. From a ’round-the-world trip to a quick post-work adventure, it does it all with flying colours.
Rose Backroad AL Plus
The ROSE BACKROAD AL+ offers an affordable and solid entry into the world of gravel ebikes. It’s an excellent choice for commuters too. However, it lacks the necessary comfort for gravel adventures in the rough.
Santa Cruz Stigmata
Santa Cruz advertise the Stigmata as a versatile gravel bike for everything from racing to off-road adventures. Although it offers versatility at its core, the build on test specialises in off-road adventures. It excels on the trails and in wild terrain, but not so much elsewhere.
ScottSolace Gravel eRide 10
The SCOTT Solace gravel eRIDE 10 is a versatile and capable gravel ebike that impresses in terms of both looks and functionality. However, it offers no mounting points for long-distance adventures. Nonetheless, it’s an excellent choice for active gravel riders who appreciate a little added thrust.
Specialized Diverge STR Pro
With the first iteration of the Diverge STR, Specialized present a sophisticated and versatile bike. The integrated Future Shock technology offers increased comfort, control, and an organic riding experience. The bike is best suited for fast adventures on all kinds of surfaces.
Trek Checkpoint SL 7 AXS
The Trek Checkpoint SL 7 AXS is a well thought-out bike boasting a wealth of features, including IsoSpeed damping, an integrated storage compartment, and numerous mounting points for adventure rides. The fun, intuitive handling, and high-quality design result in one of the most versatile gravel bikes on test.
Wilier Adlar
The Wilier Adlar is well-specced, though some aspects haven’t been fully thought through. It’s built up around a sturdy frame with a wealth of mounting points and generous tire clearance, providing a high-quality basis for the ultimate bikepacking buddy.
YT Szepter Core 4
The YT Industries Szepter CORE 4 prioritises off-road capability. The mountain bike inspired geometry, suspension fork, and dropper post allow it to excel on the trails. However, this detracts from the bike’s performance on long bikepacking tours and fast rides.

Where is the gravel adventure headed for 2024? Trends & insights from our mega gravel bike group test

Which hot gravel trends does our test field reveal for the 2023/2024 season? Will gravel bikes finally become drop bar MTBs? Here’s a summary of the insights we’ve gleaned from the 19 most exciting gravel bikes of the year.

1. Gravel bikes are far from being fully matured

The gravel category is vast and leaves bike brands with plenty of room for their own interpretations. We’ve seen a colourful mix of specialists and all-rounders emerge over the years, continuously growing and reinventing the genre. From hard-hitting gravel racers, to all-rounders, and off-road monster trucks. The gravel segment keeps evolving and becoming more extreme. Off-road performance is increasingly prioritised. We see gravel bikes adopting various proven technologies from the mountain bike and road bike segments.

Currently, the hottest tech features include dropper posts for more freedom of movement, MTB cassettes for extremely wide gear ranges, air suspension forks, compliant carbon components, and elastomer-based suspension for comfort and control. In combination with the increasing prevalence of 29″ tires, gravel bikes have become much more capable than 90s mountain bikes, and have been straying into mountain bike territory for some time now.

2. E-Gravel-Bikes are coming

With the introduction of compact drive units, the latest e-gravel bikes are lighter, more powerful, and have more natural handling. We see a ton of potential here, especially for off-road-oriented gravel bikes. E-gravel bikes can play to their full advantages on routes with demanding elevation profiles, steep inclines on loose ground, and long climbs. Coupled with wide, grippy tires and suspension, they also feel like mountain bikes on the descents. Their low centre of gravity also results in planted, composed handling.

Smart bikes open up new possibilities. Connecting the drive unit, AI, and electronic shifting with rider and environmental data like heart rate, power, gradient, and temperature, is making great strides.

3. The tire issue is yet to be resolved

No matter whether it’s the tread pattern, width, or rubber compound. The question of what is the best gravel bike tire remains controversial. No wonder! The perfect tire must suit the intended use. Unfortunately, there will never be one perfect tire for all use cases. The tire market includes specialists that are unrivalled in certain terrain and scenarios, but cannot be used as all-rounders in daily use. And then you’ve got the all-rounders that aim to perform everywhere with certain compromises. Since the tires will be replaced sooner or later anyway, offering the greatest potential performance upgrade for the money, it’s worth asking yourself which tire suits your riding style and intended use best, instead of just going out and buying the second cheapest tires your local bike shop happens to have in stock. To help you choose, we compared the most popular gravel tires, putting them through the wringer on a test bench and the real world. Check out our big gravel tire group test for the ultimate tire guide. The test field has an average tire width of 44.2 mm. For use as an all-rounder, the sweet spot is between 40 and 45 mm, right? It seems not, since one of the outliers in terms of tire width performed so convincingly that it took the overall victory.

The Ridley Kanzo Adventure rolls on a 29″ Vittoria Mezcal mountain bike tire up front, matched with a 29″ Vittoria Tereno Dry at the rear, known for its lively character. The result is a gravel bike with ample grip up front, transitioning very smoothly into the corners thanks to the balloon tires. We hardly noticed any disadvantages in terms of efficiency and acceleration. Are 29″ tires on a gravel bike the next big thing? We’re convinced we’ll see many more gravel-oriented 29″ tires cropping up in the future.

4. Ride as you are

Gravel nirvana is not about imitating the rides of others, but about forging your own path, having new experiences, and experimenting. Gravel is becoming increasingly serious in some cases. Racing, prize money, sponsors, and competitive pressure are turning the Wild West of cycling into a groomed competitive sport. It’s an exciting development that deserves a place in the scene, but gravel riding is also freedom, a spirit of discovery, and la dolce vita. In the essay “Swap aero socks for freedom”, we get to the bottom of this trend, and question the wisdom of robbing ourselves of the original freedom of cycling through style etiquette and self-optimisation. Ride as you are, and wear what you want! For those who don’t have the physique of a pro, check out our oversized road bike fashion guide. Only those who are free from the pressure to perform, optimise everything and satisfy the fashion police are truly free to enjoy themselves. If you’re lucky, you might just discover paradise 😉

Some bikes and accessories are true designer pieces and too beautiful to be left in the cellar. That’s why you should take a look at the article on bikes in the home in our sister magazine DOWNTOWN. We show you how you can beautifully display your favorite bike/accessory in your home.

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Words: Jan Richter Photos: Jan Richter, Mike Hunger