While the debate is still ongoing as to whether anyone actually needs a gravel bike, riding gravel roads is growing in popularity and there’s no shortage of gravel-specific products available today. Here are 15 pieces of gear worth considering for those off-road pursuits, either on your traditional mountain or road-style bike.
ENVE Mountain Fork
Do you need a few more places to strap gear to your adventure machine? Bikepackers who want their steeds as light and durable as possible can have it all with the 710g carbon fiber Enve Mountain Fork. For trails that don’t require more damping than a tire and two arms provide, this fork cuts weight and allows riders to add it back in the form of extra water bottles and snack holsters. The axle dropouts can be flipped between 44mm and 52mm rake positions to suit bikes designed around either offset. After smashing this fork through some inappropriately rough trails It’s clear that Enve has found the balance point between chatter-dampening flex and pointed precision.
Maxxis Rambler Gravel Tires
$60.00 | $54.00 sale
The Maxxis Ramblers are a well-rounded gravel tire and Maxxis’ first gravel-specific tire. They have an exceptional rolling speed, different widths, diameters, colors and casings. The SilkShield Ramblers have a heavier casing and will defend rim and ride time against flats with a small weight penalty. The Ramblers will likely be a go-to for anyone who trusts the Maxxis name and wants the same level of performance on their gravel bikes.
PNW Pine Dropper Post
Bikes with 27.2mm seat tubes and no internal dropper routing want to play too, and with the Pine Dropper from PNW they can. Before you drill a hole in your old cyclocross or XC frame, give this thing a look. The narrow dropper comes with 90 or 110mm of travel, and a short overall length of 355 and 400mm respectively. The external cable actuator is located at the top of the outer tube, and it maintains a fixed position where others slide up and down with the post and scratch the frame. At $199, the Pine Dropper is a sweet tool to give an old bike new life.
POC Ventral Air SPIN Helmet
POC’s Ventral Air SPIN is a lightweight and airy helmet made for gravel, cross-country, and endurance riding with safety covered in a few different ways. POC’s SPIN (Shearing Pad INside) is a silicone pad that wraps around the inside of the helmet to reduce rotational impact and forces on the rider’s head. The benefit of the integrated NFC technology is that riders can store their medical information in a chip in the helmet, making it even easier for first responders to treat someone in the event of a crash.
Diamondback Haanjo 1
For most of us, a gravel bike isn’t going to be our main ride, but it’s still a nice-to-have for the days when the trails are too wet, or we want to get out and stretch the legs a bit. Priced at $750, the Diamondback Haanjo 1 is one of the most affordable gravel options out there, and a decent starting point for the gravel-curious.
The 1×9 drivetrain and disc brakes promise to be low maintenance and the flat bars give it a familiar feel. For the full gravel experience and a wider gearing range, spend the extra $125 for a Haanjo 2 with proper drop bars.
Showers Pass Apex Merino Shirt
The Showers Pass Apex Merino shirt is a dead simple riding jersey made with Merino wool that fits loosely and mitigates stink. Any mountain biker who wants a subtle riding shirt that is durable and easy to get along with will dig the Apex Merino by Showers Pass. Both Men’s and Women’s styles available.
Pactimo Tellus Shorts
The Pactimo Tellus shorts are comfortable and extremely lightweight, making them a great option for all-day XC and gravel rides. These are pretty minimal with limited pocket space, so you’ll have to stash your snacks and doo-dads in your frame packs or bib. The Tellus bib liner is also minimal and lightweight but does have three roomy pockets. Both the Tellus shorts and bibs are offered in men’s and women’s styles.
Buy from Pactimo
Spank Flare 25 Vibrocore Handlebars
Lack of any suspension travel got your hands hurting? The Spank Flare 25 Vibrocore drop bars will take the edge off. Vibrocore is Spank’s vibration-easing technology that features a lightweight foam that’s injected into the handlebars to reduce the worst vibrations which could cause hand pump, sore knuckles, and fatigue. Vibrocore is biodegradable and the drop bars are reasonable in price.
Niner RLT Steel
When it comes to gravel biking, ride feel is important. This Niner RLT gravel bike uses classic Reynolds 853 steel tubing and mates it with a lightweight carbon fork that promises to gobble up the miles with ease. The frame can fit tires up to two inches wide for reasonable handling even on technical singletrack.
With 26 fixed mounting points for bottles, fenders, and bags the RLT can be used for everything from touring to bikepacking to endurance racing.
Industry Nine GRCX TRA Wheels
Industry Nine’s first gravel-specific wheelset is a home run. The wheels are a new design, with a wider internal width and direct pull spokes matched to their Torch road hub. The outcome is a wheel that feels made for dirt roads. They are as stiff as any carbon wheelset, for less money than many carbon wheelsets, with a unique feel that Industry Nine is known for.
Shimano RX8 Gravel Shoe
For gravel riders on the go-fast program, carbon fiber soles can better transfer power and prevent painful hot spots. The Shimano RX8 Gravel Shoes aim to do exactly that, with a claimed weight of 265g in size 42. Shimano says that the RX8 is far lighter than their top cross-country shoe thanks to its smaller lugs. The endurance race designed shoe is covered in holes to keep your feet cool and dry, while a handy BOA ratchet and velcro strap make the RX8 adjustable on the fly.
Hope RX4 Brakes
$126.50 | $113.85 sale
If you want mountain bike stopping power for your drop bar bike, look no further than the Hope RX4 hydraulic disc brakes. Hope offers versions that are compatible with SRAM, Shimano, or Campagnolo drop bar levers.
RX4 brakes might be overkill for your average gravel ride, but for those who are pushing higher up into the mountains this fall, or who are testing their mettle on more challenging singletrack, these could be just the ticket.
FiZik Bar Tape
$39.99 | $31.99 sale
Most gravel rides will be relatively smoother than those on technical trails and enduro tracks, but you’ll still want some cushion for your hands. This 3mm foam tape should be easy to apply to your drop bars and comfy for long rides. Available in white and earth tones of green and brown.
Elite Storage Bottle 750ml
Not everyone is on the “SWAT” team yet, so for those without storage space inside their bike frames, the Elite Storage Bottle could be an easy solution for getting gear off the back and onto the bike. The lightweight plastic bottle is large enough to fit snacks, a light jacket, or a compact flat repair kit, and there’s a small cup inside to keep items separate, or to share a toast mid-ride.
Honey Stinger Mini Waffles
These waffles are a yummy munch on-the-go snack. Skip the sugar-laden gas station fare and fuel your ride with these mini waffles made of organic ingredients. The new 5.3 oz packs comes with plenty of 2-bite sized waffles to last hours of riding.