What is a Gravel Bike? Advantages and Disadvantages

What is a Gravel Bike? What are the Differences Between a Gravel Bike and a Road Bike, and Between a Gravel Bike and a Mountain Bike? Is Gravel a Type of Bike or a Practice? 

The Definition of Gravel

Gravel is the modern name given to the discipline that sits halfway between road biking and mountain biking.

Some consider a gravel bike to be a rigid mountain bike with drop handlebars. Others see it as a road bike with mountain bike wheels. This is a very simplified view, but it helps define the term for those who are not familiar with the practice and are interested in it.

The Gravel bike is made for both paved and unpaved roads. It’s a do-it-all bike, especially well-suited for adventure and bikepacking. 

What are the Differences Between a Gravel Bike and a Road Bike?

Advantages of a Gravel Bike Compared to a Road Bike

Tire Width

The first difference is the ability to accommodate wider tire sections on a gravel bike. A model like the Graxx can accept tires up to 45mm wide with 700c wheels, and up to 47mm wide with 650B wheels. The maximum tire width for road bikes is generally around 30mm.


A gravel bike is therefore more versatile. You can ride on both roads and trails. Gravel tires provide good grip on gravel thanks to their small knobs.


Wide tires offer a larger volume, which helps absorb shocks from small roots and stones. This increases comfort on trails and also on roads. The tire will filter road vibrations, giving you the impression of riding on perfectly smooth asphalt.


The geometry of a gravel bike is also designed for comfort and stability. Your riding position is higher than on a road bike, which reduces strain on the lower back and neck as the position is more upright. Gravel bikes are also longer, with longer chainstays and wheelbases, making them more stable, especially on descents and technical sections.

Mounting Points

Gravel bikes are equipped with inserts. These small eyelets allow you to attach racks, such as the Tubus Tara at the front and the Tubus Fly at the rear. This enables you to load the bike with panniers, making it an adventure bike. You can also travel with bikepacking bags that fit on all bikes. Finally, the eyelets allow you to attach fenders if you want to ride in all weather conditions.

Carbon Fiber Choice

The choice and positioning of carbon fibers (layup) are also adapted according to the usage. A gravel bike uses fibers designed to be very strong (Origine frames are guaranteed for life), while remaining comfortable. Origine uses Dynamic Response technology to create a bike that can slightly deform like a bow, to return the cyclist’s energy while filtering shocks and vibrations.


Finally, a gravel bike is sometimes considered a do-it-all bike. A gravel bike equipped with two sets of wheels, one for off-road with wide, knobby tires, and one for road with thin, performance-oriented tires, proves to be incredibly versatile.

velo gravel ou velo de route

Advantages of a Road Bike Compared to a Gravel Bike


A road bike is lighter than a gravel bike at a similar price range. Although the lightest gravel bikes weigh less than 8 kg and are as light as most road bikes, gravel bikes are generally heavier at an equivalent budget. Weight becomes a crucial factor when climbing. In mountainous areas, or generally whenever the road rises, it is easier to climb with a lighter bike. Every extra kilogram requires more power to reach the summit. Thus, road bikes have a significant advantage over gravel bikes for ascents.


A road bike offers higher efficiency than a gravel bike. This is due to the reduced friction from thinner tires. Gravel tires are wider, have small knobs for better grip on trails, and are inflated to relatively low pressures. This creates a higher rolling resistance compared to road bike tires. To ride at the same speed on a gravel bike as on a road bike, you need to exert a bit more effort.

Geometry and Design

The geometry, frame shape, and choice of carbon fibers and their layup are specifically designed for performance. Origine bikes are known for their balance between comfort and performance. Dynamic Response technology allows for dynamic road bikes whose performance does not compromise comfort. Therefore, on asphalt, a road bike is faster than a gravel bike.

gravel ou vtt

What are the Differences Between a Gravel Bike and a Mountain Bike?

Advantages of a Gravel Bike Compared to a Mountain Bike


A gravel bike is lighter than a mountain bike. The absence of suspension, dropper seat posts, and 2.25″ or 2.40″ tires helps maintain a lower weight. Therefore, a gravel bike is better suited for climbs and positive elevation, as long as the road or trail is not too rough. Its reduced weight allows for easier ascents.

Tire Efficiency

Gravel bikes have thinner tires, which provide better efficiency on rolling sections, whether on dirt paths or asphalt. The gearing on a gravel bike is also more substantial than on a mountain bike, allowing for larger gear ratios and higher speeds during the transitions between off-road sections.


Advantages of a Mountain Bike Compared to a Gravel Bike


A mountain bike is designed for more demanding riding. It is built to be stronger to withstand shocks and jumps. Mountain bikes are more comfortable on descents. It is often during descents, where impacts are more intense, that the limitations of a gravel bike become apparent. The suspension fork of a mountain bike absorbs shocks and makes descents more enjoyable. The rear shock or dropper seat post on a mountain bike adds extra comfort by absorbing bumps and obstacles. However, these components add extra weight, which is noticeable during climbs. This is why it’s often said that a gravel bike is fast uphill, while a mountain bike is fast downhill.  

What is the Weight of a Gravel Bike?

Bikes now have relatively low weights. A mid-range gravel bike made of aluminum weighs about 9.5 kg. High-end carbon gravel bikes weigh between 8 and 8.5 kg. Therefore, they are almost as light as road bikes in the same category. The weight difference compared to mountain bikes is more pronounced, with differences of 1 to 2 kg depending on the range.

What is the Budget for a Gravel Bike?

Gravel bikes come in a wide range of prices, from €1,000 to €10,000 or more. However, for a reliable gravel bike suitable for occasional to regular use, you should budget around €2,000. In this price range, we recommend checking out the Trail by Origine.

For a carbon gravel bike intended for regular to daily use, and if you are looking for a high-performance bike, we recommend a budget between €3,000 and €5,000. In this price range, we suggest the Graxx by Origine.

Which Gravel Bike to Choose? What is the Best Model?

The best gravel bike, awarded the gold medal at the Top Vélo Awards in France and the silver medal internationally, is likely the Graxx by Origine. Used by thousands of cyclists, this model stands out for its exceptional comfort and dynamism. The engineers at the French brand have successfully balanced performance and comfort. This is reflected in hundreds of customer reviews, which you can freely access by clicking on this link.

What is a Gravel Bike?
A gravel bike is a type of bike designed to ride on a variety of surfaces, including paved roads, dirt paths, and gravel tracks.
What Differentiates a Gravel Bike from a Road Bike?

Gravel bikes have wider tires, more stable geometry, and higher ground clearance compared to traditional road bikes, making them better suited for unpaved surfaces. They also often have mounting points for racks and fenders.

What is the Average Tire Size for a Gravel Bike?

Tire sizes vary, but most gravel bikes have tires between 35 mm and 45 mm wide.

Can Gravel Bikes Be Used for Bikepacking or Bicycle Touring?

Yes, gravel bikes are often used for bikepacking due to their ability to ride on various surfaces and their compatibility with racks and fenders. Their capacity to carry luggage makes them suitable for lightweight bicycle touring.

Are Gravel Bikes Suitable for Beginners?

Yes, gravel bikes are often recommended for beginners due to their versatility and stability. However, it is important to choose a bike that suits your level and body type.

Are Gravel Bikes Suitable for City Riding or Commuting?

Yes, gravel bikes can be used in the city due to their ability to ride on various surfaces and their comfort. They can be equipped with fenders or racks for commuting and all urban trips.

Are Gravel Bikes Heavier Than Road Bikes?

Gravel bikes can be slightly heavier than traditional road bikes due to their specialized equipment and sturdier frame. However, there are high-end, very lightweight models that weigh less than 8 kg.

Are Gravel Bikes Comfortable for Long Distances?

Yes, gravel bikes are often used for long distances due to their comfortable geometry and ability to absorb shocks on unpaved surfaces.

Partagez cet article

Nous n'avons pas pu confirmer votre inscription.
Votre inscription est confirmée.

Abonnez-vous à la newsletter