So you’ve just started thinking about getting into cycling, and you’ve decided to invest in a gravel bike for yourself. A great choice! Grabel bikes are fantastic for the adventurer that wants a thrilling yet safe riding experience, and for people that want an adaptable option that can work on a lot of different kinds of terrain.
The only thing is that you’re on a bit of a budget - you want something that’s under $1500. Thankfully, it is not realistic to expect to be able to find a fantastic gravel bike for under $1500, you just need to know where to look!
We’re here to help to make your search that much easier. Read on to find out about the best gravel bikes under 1500.
You can also read out handy buyer’s guide below to help you to understand what kind of thing you should be looking for when you are looking for a new gravel bike.
Top 5 Best Gravel Bikes Under 1500
OUR TOP PICK
For a truly terrific gravel bike, you will absolutely love the Royce Union RMG Gravel Bike. This bike consists of a sturdy aluminum frame that will give the rider a stable and light ride, without any performance worries getting in the way.
This bike is a solid performer across the board, and better yet it’s also affordable. This is a fantastic entry level option, but it’s also great for cycling pros that want something a bit more affordable. The bike features an eye catching, attractive design that’s sure to turn some heads as you’re on the trail. It also has an aluminum hardtail frame that is designed to be able to last on pretty much any terrain with minimal maintenance required. It also has a fantastic riding experience due to the 3 piece alloy crank and rigid steel fork.
The bike also comes with 16 different speed variations. The drivetrain components are reliable and you can be sure that you will get good speed during your ride. Of course, when speed is so prominent in a bike it’s only natural that you will need a good brake system, and the Royce Union RMG Gravel Bike puts safety first with sublime mechanical disc brakes. The one minor issue with this bike is that the pedals are quite small so it may not be ideal for taller riders, but this is a minor issue when you compare it to all of the many things that this bike does well.
- Great brake system
- Can be used in most off road terrains
- Operates smoothly
- Pedals are somewhat small
Schwinn are quite well known for creating high quality bikes and biking gear, so you can already be sure from their reputation alone that you will be getting a fantastic quality bike. If you aren’t sold on that though, this budget option is ideal for a range of different riders, no matter what your height or experience level.
Much like the Royce Union bike above, this bike features an aluminum frame that makes it very robust. It’s also a very comfortable ride as a result of Schwinn’s Smooth Ride Technology. The bike has an elastomer softail suspension which helps to minimize vibrations, and this also helps to reduce the amount of force that’s on your wrist as you ride.
The bike has 18 different speeds in total and this means that you can enjoy a leisurely bike ride and feel the wind through your hair, and you can also compete in races too. In case you’re concerned about safety, not only does the bike have a hydraulic brake system, but it also has a safety breaker flat protein feature on the wheel’s alloy rims for even more protection. Sure, the bike could have come with clearer instructions as it can be a little tricky to assemble for newbie riders, but otherwise it’s a solid option for under $1500.
- Comes with durable tires on alloy rims
- Schwinn alloy caliper brakes
- The instructions are somewhat lacking
If you are looking for an affordable option that is still a pretty solid option, then you will be happy with the Mongoose Artery Gravel Road Bike. This bike has a bunch of a fantastic features, and it’s a key example of what a bike at this budget should be like.
The bike isn’t excessively flashy looking but it still looks quite sleek nonetheless. It consists of a solid construction which means it will last for a long time. It comes with a 21 speed drivetrain so it is an effective racer. You don’t need to worry about compromising on ride performance because of the low price - this is certainly not an issue with this bike.
The bike features a rugged aluminum frame and it’s pretty easy to pedal, which is ideal for a gravel bike. As a whole it’s pretty well made for the price that it’s listed for and it’s rugged enough to handle even rough terrain. Definitely a worthwhile investment for any bargain hunting biking enthusiast.
- Rugged construction
- Long lasting
- High performance
- The assembly can be a little frustrating
This affordable gravel bike is a great choice and is designed with a rugged construction. It is a hybrid bike, so it has a few advantages over your standard gravel bike in that you are able to ride it well on both roads and hills.
The bike is easy to assemble which already saves a lot of frustration. It has an aluminum frame and mechanical disc brakes too. It also has a lifetime warranty attached to it, so you can be confident that your money is in good hands. You don’t even need to spend extra on buying extra pedals because they come along with the price of the bike.
In addition to this, the bike is quite attractive looking as a whole. It is a great bike for a lot of users, and can fit any height. It’s also very lightweight and comfortable to ride due to the bike’s ergonomics. Whether you’re racing or you’re going for a leisurely ride, you can be sure this is the ideal bike for either situation.
- 21 different speeds
- The seat is large
- Doesn’t require a lot of adjusting
- It can be a bit tricky to install the seat
Thommaso is yet another brand with a reputation that precedes it - you can already be sure that this is a product that you can trust. The bike is both compact and a powerful performer, so it’s a very popular option among gravel bike riders.
There really is a lot to love about this bike. To start with, it features a black aluminum frame that’s very attractive and also durable, so you can expect some longevity from the bike. The ride is comfortable overall, and it’s also pretty fast moving too. The bike provides a very stable ride for when you are off road.
The bike features a sleek handlebar which doesn’t have overly deep drops, so it’s very comfortable to use. It’s affordable too, so you get all of this at a price that doesn’t break the bank. It could do with having a more durable set of tires, but that’s all we can really say about this bike as far as negatives go.
- The brakes work well on a range of terrains
- Easy to install racks and fenders
- The tires can slip on some surfaces
Best Gravel Bikes Under $1500: A Buyer’s Guide
Now that you know about the best gravel bikes on the market for under $1500, there are a few different things that you need to keep in mind while making your decision. You don’t want to just choose any bike at random, so here are some of the parameters that you should consider when looking for a gravel bike.
It’s pretty important to consider the geometry of your gravel bike. What do we mean by this? Well, the geometry simply means the structure and positioning of various elements as a whole. You usually don’t ride gravel bikes on flat terrains, so it’s important that your bike is able to keep you comfortable and you should be in good control of the bike.
A couple of things to consider here are how tall the head tubes and lower bottom brackets are. The first of these elements is going to translate to a relaxed and upright position, while the second element is what accounts for smoother accessibility. Things like extremely tall head tubes or very low bottom brackets can sometimes cause a lot of discomfort.
Hydraulic vs Mechanical Disc Breaks
There are some pretty big differences between these two considerations! Firstly, mechanical disc brakes are quite powerful but they also don’t cost a lot of money. Most budget gravel bikes will come with mechanical disk brakes because of this reason. In addition, they are also pretty simply to operate. They are a little bit heavier on the bike’s overall frame, though. This is the ideal option if you’re on more of a budget but you still want a powerful braking system
Usually, hydraulic disc brakes are much more responsive and they don’t tend to require as much applied force. They are generally pretty lightweight but because of this they also tend to cost a little more money than mechanical disc brakes too. If you aren’t too concerned about budget an option with hydraulic brakes could be a good idea.
The most preferred measurement of gravel bike tyres tends to be around 700 x 40c. This kind of width, along with the groovings, will give more friction and stability which can help to stop them from slipping. Thankfully though a lot of models are designed to be quite versatile, so the wheelbase is made to be able to use with a bunch of different kinds of tired. Generally a range like 35mm to 42mm is going to be able to work for pretty much any riding purpose.
Carbon Fork Design
Carbon fork designs are fantastic because they can help to reduce the operational vibration, in addition to giving you a truly seamless steering experience. Regardless of what material the frame is made out of, we suggest opting for this choice. Steel fork designs aren’t necessarily bad though, so if you don’t want to opt for carbon forks then steel is a decent alternative for you in that case.
Gearing is a pretty important things to consider when you’re purchasing a gravel bike. If you are planning on spending a lot of time on smoother gravel paths but you would also like to be able to climb up and down the slopes, then you should opt for a 2x drivetrain. On the other hand though, 1x drivetrain models are a little better suited to combatting tougher trails.
There are a lot of unique challenges that come with riding gravel, but one of the biggest annoyances of gravel riding is that you often get plastered in mud and dirt. This problem is a little bit less prominent when you have a decent set of mudguards on board, as the chances of you getting mud and dirt all over you are quite reduced.
Bike seats aren’t always the most comfortable things in the world. That’s why opting for a padded seat is always a good idea. Padded seats will make your overall riding experience much more comfortable, especially if you frequent bumpy terrains. If you want an add on, you can also opt for a seatpost design that will let you change the seat or adjust the position in a way that suits your riding style.
Certain models of gravel bikes come with water bottle mounts and rear mount racks, but this is not the case with all gravel bikes. In these cases, the bikes tend to create a little bit of extra room for internal cable routing, so you will be able to fit in extra mounts and cages that will allow you to carry things when you’re on the go. With that being said though, you should ensure that the additional weight will not interfere with the balance and the overall operation.
Installation and Setup
You’re not likely to find a gravel bike that doesn’t require a form of setup or installation before you can use it. Most experienced riders will know what they’re doing with the setup, but we do suggest getting professional help if this is your first time buying a gravel bike. If you do this, you can make sure that you have the right assembly to ensure that your performance is the best it can be.
There are primarily four main types of frame. These are aluminum frames, carbon, steel and titanium.
Generally, aluminum frames are pretty inexpensive and are usually stiff in their design. They can work very well with carbon forks, creating a heavyweight frame that is able to minimize vibrations and increase the comfort of the rider for particularly long rides.
Then you have carbon fiber frames. These kinds of frames will give a similar level of fitness to aluminum frames, but these kinds of frames will give you a little more customization. As a result of this, the manufacturers can design every single part of the frame according to the flexibility that is required. There is one minor problem with this however, in that they are more likely to get damaged more easily.
Steel frames are quite strong, but their effectiveness as a whole can largely depend on the kind of tube and alloy being used. Usually high tensile and Chromoly steel alloys are the best kinds of steel to opt for in this regard.
Titanium frames, on the other hand, are very light, resist corrosion, and they are just as durable as any of the other materials that we have covered here, but they do need to be customized more.
Generally your choice of pedals is largely going to depend on your personal preference and your riding style. For example, if you ride mostly on roads or on well maintained paths, then you should opt for road shoes and cleats.
If on the other hand you are on more challenging roads, you may need to dismount and walk with the bike sometimes, so mountain bike pedals and shoes could be a good choice.
Best Gravel Bikes Under 1500 FAQ's
How much should you expect to pay for a gravel bike?
Of course, you’re here because you want a good gravel bike for under $1500. There are plenty of fantastic options out there, but it’s only natural that what you get it going to depend on how much you’re willing to pay.
If you want a purpose built gravel bike or an all road bike, you are likely going to be looking in the range of around $800 - $1200 for an alloy frame that has entry level components.
If you want a mid range build from one of the key brands out there, you are likely looking at upwards of £2000 - $2800, but these will also tend to come with a carbon frame and hydraulic disc brakes.