Best Gravel Bikes Under $1500 – Reviews and Comparisons

Last Updated on November 30, 2021 by Top & Best Reviews

If you’ve been looking for the best gravel bikes under $1500, then you’re in the right place. With the soaring popularity of gravel bikes today, biking companies are also stepping up their game by producing high-quality, affordable gravel bikes.

Before we start lets be clear what is gravel bike? if incase you don’t know. If you know just jump to the review section.

A gravel bike is a type of bicycle designed for riding on dirt roads and coarse gravel. They are often similar to road bikes, but with wider tires and lower gearing.

Gravel bikes are designed to be able to ride on any type of ground, so they tend to be more versatile than other types of bicycles. They will provide the rider with the best experience for off-road riding. The first use of the term “gravel bike” was coined by Bill Shook in his book “Bicycling Science” in 1989. In his book, Shook referred to these bicycles as “road-racing bicycles with heavy frames”.

In the early 1990s, American cyclists Joel Holmes and Randy Ball set out to create a bicycle that would have features similar to both a mountain bike and a road racing bicycle. The result was the “Gravel Bike” which they dubbed the G-bike.

For those who love adventure and biking, this comprehensive article review combines these two factors to make your off-the-road expeditions more exciting and thrilling. By the time you’re done reading the article, you should know the exact best choice the suits your preference. Here’s all the best gravel bikes under $1500 on the market.

4 Best Gravel Bikes Under $1500

Royce Union Men’s Gravel Bike

Key Features:

  • 21″ sturdy and lightweight aluminum frame
  • Includes Shimano 2×9 shifter with 18 speeds, 11×34 cassette and Neco alloy 3-piece crank.
  • WTB nano 700c tires with WTB alloy rims
  • Double Shimano disc brakes.
  • Comfortable WTB Volt saddle
Royce Union Men’s Gravel Bike

The Design

Its ergonomic design is a clear indicator of its capability of handling any terrain condition. The Royce Union is coupled with a rigid steel fork and a 3-piece neck alloy crank which provides excellent riding performance and unraveled flexibility.

One notable feature that features this bike among the top best gravel bike under $1500 is its aluminum frame which requires less maintenance but delivers a top-notch performance.

Performance

Due to its Shimano Claris speeding gear selection and aluminum frame, it can easily and conveniently tackle uphill effortlessly. Note, the bike’s mechanical brake can increase stopping power without giving up performance in any weather condition and also works well for a downhill ride.

The WTB makes the riding experience amazing since it offers minimal rolling resistance. In addition, the tires give the rider a choice for enduring touring or racing. Notably, this bike is 72 inches high as the minimum height.

The lightweight aluminum frame and full Shimano drivetrain provide the bike with 18 speeds comfortable gearing for the gravel road and pavement riding. Additionally, the double Shimano brakes are capable of stopping precisely and are extremely reliable for stopping.

Pros

  • It has a stiff frame which gives more control
  • Comfortable seat
  • A larger tire that soaks up the bumps
  • Its 3-piece crank offers rigidity and flexibility.

Cons

  • Other bikers may have troubles with the bike’s speed

Tommaso Sterrat Shimano Claris R2000

Key Features:

  • Aluminum Compact Frame
  • Shimano Claris R2000 Groupset, featuring a 30/39/50T Claris crankset and 12x25T Claris cassette
  • 28 spoke rim
  • 700 X 40c tires
  • Mechanical disc brake style
  • WTB Volt saddle type
Tommaso Sterrat Shimano Claris R2000 Gravel Bike

The Design

The Sterrat model has managed to catch the attention of many since it’s one of the Tommaso models with positive reviews on Amazon. Its physical appearance indicates that it is a great adventure bike suitable especially for cycling enthusiasts.

A combination of its 6061-aluminum frame and high-modulus carbon fork makes the bike highly efficient and durable. For more comfort, there’s enough room for your knees and legs provided by the premium-shaped tubes of the frame.

The Shimano Claris Groupset components it comes with offers durability, great ridding speed, and performance. Additionally, the model offers 24 great speed options to aid you in riding on a wider range of terrains. You can also turn the bike into a commuter due to the presence of frame drills on which you can mount fenders and mountain tracks.

Performance

For smooth and consistent shifting as you’re riding, consider using shifter and derailleurs as they work together to render great performance. Amazingly, the bike has great stopping power no matter how extreme conditions can be. It is because the rugged wheel combined with its disc brakes provide you with the ultimate control.

The Sterrat is a ready-to-ride bike even though disk brake caliper adjustment might be a challenging task. Note, after purchase; you need to install additional components such as the seat, pedals, and handlebars. You can seek help from a bike mechanic to avoid damaging other parts if you don’t know how to install the components.

Pros

  • It’s made of strong and durable materials
  • It has an amazing stopping power
  • It is versatile with a lifetime warranty
  • It has a smooth shifting

Cons

  • Adjustment of the disc calipers may not be easy

KOOTU Carbon Road Bike, 700C Gravel Bike

Key Features:

  • TORAY T800 Carbon Fiber frame and rims.
  • Shimano 105 SL-R7000 Shift lever.
  • PRO A8000 Hydraulic disc brake system.
  • Fully integrated inner cable design.
  • Shimano Altegra Groupset.
  • 700C wheels 22 speed.
  • CST C1870N 700*40C Tires.
KOOTU Carbon Road Bike, 700C Gravel Bike

The Design

Notably, the bike’s entire frame is made of T800 carbon fiber alongside its rims which make it rigid, stronger, and lighter compared to ordinary bikes. Also, this model has a full internal cable design and smooth tapered handlebars responsible for strengthening the torsion’s smoothness.

The CST C1870N 700*40C tires of this bike are wider compared to that of an ordinary bike. The tires can give a firm grip when stuck on the muddy ground. Additionally, the tires are also efficient on sandy ground.

Since it weighs 20.94 pounds, it is extremely light due to the carbon fiber it is made of, making it easily carriable.

Performance

The Shimano R8020 hydraulic disk lever is more sensitive compared to the oil brakes. It’s because the brake discs instantly lock after braking. That is why it is considered safer and more stable than the traditional V brake. Also, instant braking is efficient in rainy weather and muddy conditions. Additionally, the disc wears lesser to the wheels.

The bike also has a double thru-axle, i.e., M12*100 + M12*142, which can improve the bike’s stability and lateral rigidity of the wheelset. Also, that can reduce the problem of discs rubbing on each other, to give you enjoyable off-road happiness.

In addition, the powerful disc brakes provide an excellent braking force leading to a shortened brake distance. That gives you the utmost confidence of facing any situation since the bike as a whole is safe.

Pros

  • It is lightweight since it weighs 20.94 pounds
  • It uses a hydraulic brake system
  • Has wide tires for handling a variety of terrain

Cons

  • May be inefficient for some terrains.

Tommaso Sentiero Shimano Claris

Key Features:

  • 6061 Aluminum Compact Frame, drilled for all varieties of racks and fenders.
  • TC-20D rims offer the rugged durability of a 28 spoke rim.
  • 700x 40c wider tires.
  • Mechanical disk brake system.
  • 3×8 Shimano Claris Groupset, featuring a 30/39/50T Claris crankset and 12x25T Claris cassette.
  • Weight of 24.5 pounds
Tommaso Sentiero Shimano Claris Gravel Bike

The Design

Compared to other models, this one is a bit heavier. In addition, the SST steel fork and aluminum frame are what make it durable. The bike has a matte black finish which makes it look slick and appealing alongside its general design. Note that it is a Shimano Claris-equipped bike that adds to its durability and performance.

Notably, the 24-speed option feature renders this model a multi-terrain bike. Also, you can turn this model into a commuter bike since it comes with pre-drilled holes on the frames where you can mount fenders and racks. Note that to avoid damaging other parts of the bike, you should seek professional help during assembly as it is a complex process.

Performance

With the Groupset, you get 24-speed options from the drivetrain it offers. Additionally, it will give you the highest pedaling efficiency. With a vast array of speed options, the bike can handle any terrain from rocky heights to a flat surface. It is because of its TC-20D rims, which are specially crafted to handle any form of physical stress.

The bike’s BB5 disc brake works well, giving the bike great stopping power. With that, the bike can stop instantly in any condition. The Sentiero, like all the other Tommaso models WTB Volt saddle which is extremely comfortable for long rides. Additionally, the compact handlebars are also comfortable.

Pros

  • Can run through many terrains
  • Ergonomic design and stylish look
  • It is made of durable materials
  • It has smooth shifting capabilities
  • Great stopping power

Cons

  • It doesn’t have a kickstand
  • Needs professional assembly

Factors to Consider Before Buying Gravel Bikes Under $1500

When choosing the best Gravel Bike, there are many factors that you have to consider first. These factors include key components, the price range, the size of the bike, and other factors. Below is a highlight of some of these factors to ensure you’re getting the most out of your bike.

Size of the Frame

Finding a gravel bike with the right frame size shouldn’t be a hard task, even if you’re a road bike rider who isn’t used to frame configuration. In addition, a detailed gravel bike sizing chart will point you in the right direction. A few basic measurements should be enough for you to find the best fitting frame size.

Size Of the Wheel

You should know that gravel bikes have a large room for accommodating bigger tires. As a general rule of thumb, endurance road bikes rise to approximately 32mm. But with a gravel bike, the clearance increases up to 55mm. With that, you have a vast array of tire choices to make, including road slicks, cyclocross, and rough touring tires.

On the other hand, you can also use the wheels of a 29er mountain bike. Remember, the terrain of your local riding place and your preferred riding style all depend on your tire option. Also, if you want to get on the road quickly, you can install 28mm or 25mm light tires. Advisably, consider opting for a slicker profile or more lugs to cope with mixed terrains since gravel bikes are normally fitted with wide semi-slick tires.

Frame Material

Since Bike’s frame is vital for protection and reliability, you should check for damages such as cracks and other structural issues. Typically, size, riding style, and personal preference all depend on the choice of frame material. Mostly, people prefer carbon-based frame materials due to their durability, flexibility, and lightweight. Other frame materials you can consider are; aluminum and steel.


Gravel Bike Setup Tips

Setting up a gravel bike is not similar to an ordinary one. Note that you must employ the utmost precision for such a process. Below are some tips you can use to set up your bike.

Choose The Right Tire

The tire options you prefer to go for depends on the place you’re going to ride in, i.e., choice tires meant for chunky and sharp gravel ground. On the other hand, you can opt for the low-profile, skinner, and faster 28mm thick wheels for smooth gravel. If the gravel you’ll be riding on will require more cornering grip, then you should opt for 40mm knobby tires.

Lower The Tire Pressure

Lowering tire pressure has two main advantages, i.e., providing additional traction and rendering a more comfortable ride. That will be adventurous for descending and climbing. Notably, a tubeless tire combination will give you a run at a much lower pressure than you’d expect. Also, bear in mind that the terrain and rider’s weight are dependent on the tire pressure.

Ensure You Have the Right Comfortable Bars

Remember, comfort and stability are key ingredients for gravel riding. So, road bike bars are excellent for aerodynamic but not suitable for gravel riding. Drops bars are the best option for a gravel adventure. An additional advantage of using drops is the ease of control of the brakes.


Care and Maintenance for Gravel Bikes

Buying a gravel bike is one thing and maintaining it is also something else. Note that, compared to a regular bike, a gravel bike will need more care and maintenance. To ensure your bike lasts longer and performs as expected, consider applying the following tips;

  • Before riding, ensure you have your patch kit and pump. In addition, make sure you’ve properly inflated the tires. You can also check the sidewalls for tire pressure.
  • Ensure the gears are always clean and the chains are lubricated. You can use a clean rag to clean the gears, and bike chain lubes for lubrication. Also, use the rag to wipe away excess lube carefully.
  • Make an effort to service your bike at least twice a year.
  • Make sure all the bolts and nuts are tight since loose parts can cause wear and tear and, eventually, low performance. Also, don’t overtighten as it can lead to damaging some components.

Final Verdict

Gravel bikes are a clear indication of technological improvements, such as hydraulic brake systems. For an uninconvenienced adventure, a gravel bike is your best option due to its astounding capabilities than the conventional ones.

Hopefully, the above best gravel bikes for under $1,500 review can steer you towards an affordable yet spectacular option. Ideally, the Tommaso Sentiero Shimano Claris has all the major features you can look for in a gravel bike. So for around $1,000, you can be on your merry way to an amazing biking adventure.

Also if you have any interest on an electric bike you may want to check 18 Best Electric Bike Under $1000.