In previous articles, we have talked about the differences between road bikes vs mountain bikes. Then, we have also discussed the differences between hybrid bikes vs road bikes. Amongst the various types of bikes the market offers us nowadays, there is also a widely known type, as famous as the road bike, which is the gravel bike. Gravel bike has a big cult following on its own, highlighting the duality of this particular bike. Let’s talk about the differences compared to road bikes!


Gravel Bike Function

[On-Frame: Polygon Bend R5 Gravel Bike]

The number one guide when it comes to determining a type of bike, and whether you should get it or not, is the function of the bike itself. What are your goals when riding a bike? Can the bike function in fulfilling your goals? Here are the functions of gravel bikes and road bikes:

  • Gravel Bike: meant to be cycled for slight off-roading purposes, whether it is on gravel paths, dirt roads, fire trails, or even singletracks.
  • Road Bike: meant to be cycled for speed on smooth pavements, and tarmac roads.

Even so, there are mini categories within the gravel bike and road bike itself, making both types very versatile and can be cycled on tarmac or off-road. But, there are small details of each bike that make a big difference which you will soon notice one ride at a time.

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Gravel Bike and Road Bike Differences

Gravel Bike and Road Bike Differences

[On-Frame: Polygon Helios A7 Road Bike vs Marin Gestalt XR Gravel Bike]

Here are the differences (mainly in its build) between gravel bikes and road bikes.

1. Bike Geometry

Bike Geometry

[On-Frame: Marin Headlands 1 Gravel Bike]

Both gravel bikes and road bikes can appear very similar. But, once you take a closer look at it, you will notice these differences.

Gravel bikes have longer wheelbases, lower height, and more angled head tubes to reach your body closer. When it comes to a sitting position, your body will be more upright. This geometry will support better stability, control, as well as comfort when you are cycling over uneven surfaces.

Road bikes will have shorter wheelbases, higher heights, and more up-straight headtubes. The straighter head tube will come further from your Seatpost, making your body position flatter, hence increasing aerodynamics. This will enable you to chase your maximum speed.

2. Bike Tire/Clearance

Bike Tire/Clearance

[On-Frame: Marin Nicasio 2 Gravel Bike]

Tires play a huge part in how your bike performs. Basically, wider tires will have more grip and enable you to keep better balance and control. On the other hand, slimmer tires allow you to roll more smoothly. Since the contact area is smaller, the rolling resistance is also smaller, making your bike go faster.

With that said road bikes will have slimmer tires, with around 28mm to 32mm, and sports 700c wheels. Whereas gravel bikes will usually come with tires around 33mm to 35mm and 650b wheels. Going closer, you will also notice that gravel bike tires have deeper tread patterns and knobs to be able to grip onto any off-road surfaces, while road bike tires will be much smoother and plain looking.

3. Bike Frame Material

Bike Frame Material

[On-Frame: Marin Headlands 2 Gravel Bike]

When it comes to materials, there is no specific material for each type. Both gravel bikes and road bikes can be made from either steel, aluminum, or carbon fiber. Steel being the OG material is known for its lightweight characteristic and lower price point. But, nowadays, it is rarely used since steel is more prone to corrosion and rusting. Even with the technology and innovation, manufacturers usually opt for the latter two instead.

Aluminum or alloy is the more affordable version of carbon fiber. It is still lightweight and durable, enabling it to handle shocks and bumps without sacrificing speed. If you are a beginner and looking for an entry-level bike, you can look for ones made from this material.

Lastly, carbon fiber is probably the most common material used, due to its durability. Still lightweight, but also stiff and has great vibration absorption at the same time. The price point will be higher than ones made out of alloy. So, if you are willing to invest or looking for an upgrade from your current bike, you can choose ones made from carbon fiber.

4. Mounting

Mounting on Bicycle Frame

[On-Frame: Ultralightweight Polygon Helios Aero Road Bike Series]

Just as discussed earlier, gravel bikes have longer geometry compared to road bikes. This also affects the mounting points available. Usually on a road bike, you can only fit a pair of bottle racks/cages to make sure you stay hydrated along the ride. For gravel bikes, you will have more room to carry some basic tools in case you have a flat tire or a loose screw. You will be able to mount your essentials on the top tube, fork legs, and even down tube. Plus, your gravel bike frame geometry will offer more room for you to install mudguards/fenders, to keep your frame from dirt and mudsplashes.

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5. Bike Handlebar

Bike Drop Handlebar

[On-Frame: Drop Handlebar]

You will find shorter and narrower handlebars on a road bike. The drop part of the handlebar will go straight down, to keep your body shape as compact as possible. The goal is to have less contact area with the wind, to increase aerodynamics.

On the contrary, gravel bikes will have flare handlebars. This means the drop part of the handlebar will drop on an angle towards the outside of the bike. This will give your overall arm posture more room to move, so you can maneuver your bike more freely for better control and stability.

That wraps up our guide on gravel bikes vs. road bikes! If you are looking for high-quality bikes, visit Rodalink Malaysia now! You can look for Kedai Basikal near me and pick the store location closest to you. We have a free local delivery service, as well as a 0% installment, which you can pick from our various payment methods. We are also having a sale on bike accessories, so this is the best time for you to get your complete cycling gear! Make sure you are signed up as a Rodalink Member to get exclusive promos and events. Shop now!


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