Much like the best electric mountain bikes, electric gravel bikes make a lot of sense for climbing off-road, particularly if your gravel riding regularly takes you onto steep, sketchy surfaces.
Having a motor to help on the climbs makes them a lot easier to handle, while, on the way back down, there’s little downside to the extra weight of the motor and battery.
As with any electric bike, a gravel ebike’s motor assistance will be limited to speeds below 15mph / 25kph in the UK, EU and Australia, and 20mph in the US.
For more advice on what to look for in an electric gravel bike, including the different types of motors available, our full buyer’s guide is at the bottom of this article.
But if you’d rather stick to paved surfaces, peruse our guide to the best electric road bikes.
Otherwise, here are the best electric gravel bikes, as reviewed by BikeRadar’s expert testers.
The best electric gravel bikes in 2022, as rated by our expert testers
GT Grade Power AMP
- £2,900 / €3,200 as tested
- Alloy frame carries over non-powered Grade’s responsive handling
- Quite a firm ride over rougher ground
- Weight: 14.8kg
- Motor: Mahle ebikemotion rear-hub motor
An aluminium frame powered by the Mahle ebikemotion rear-hub motor system forms the basis for the GT Grade Power.
The geometry is carried over from the non-powered GT Grade Carbon, so the Grade Power feels responsive despite its 14.8kg weight, even if ridden with the motor off.
We really like the shape of the Grade’s slightly flared bars, but they’re stiff, which in combination with a firm fork and the alloy frame, makes for a sapping ride over bumpy terrain.
The 42mm WTB Resolute gravel tyres help, though; they roll fast on the road, handle confidently on dry ground and cope okay in mud, making them a good all-rounder.
3T Exploro RaceMax Boost
- £7,200 / $6,999 / €6,999 as tested
- Neatly integrated motor and battery
- Top-end chassis and build make for an expensive bike
- Weight: 12.5kg
- Motor: Mahle ebikemotion
Like the GT Grade Power AMP, the 3T Exploro RaceMax Boost features the Mahle ebikemotion rear-hub motor.
3T has even found room to fit the battery into the Exploro’s frame without any mods from the pedal-powered bike, which means not only does it look smart, but the geometry is carried over, too.
The motor, in combination with the generously low gears (thanks to the 40t chainring and 11-42t cassette) and 12.5kg weight, makes even 20 per cent off-road gradients rideable.
The RaceMax Boost is kitted out with wide, aero 3T carbon wheels, with differential front and rear depths, and Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M 35mm tyres that roll fast on-road, but hang on well off-road, too.
This is an expensive option, though, and the forward-facing charging port on the bottom bracket is prone to collecting dirt.
Cairn BRAVe 1.0
- £2,789 / $3,632 / €3,334 as tested
- Huge off-road capability
- Heavy going on the road
- Weight: 18.9kg
- Motor: Shimano Steps E7000
The Cairn BRAVe is an electric gravel bike that borders on eMTB territory, thanks to its powerful Shimano Steps E7000 mid-mounted motor and massive 2.35in tyres.
Whereas Cairn’s E-Adventure uses the subtler Fazua motor, the Shimano motor here jacks things up, with up to 70Nm of torque.
It’s a genre-defying bike – and while the weight and chunky tyres may hold you back on the road, if you want a drop-bar bike for seriously rugged off-road riding, the Cairn BRAVe fits the mould.
Cairn E-Adventure 1.0
- £2,989 / $4,149 / €3,800 as tested
- Updated geometry gives great stability in the rough
- Quality build with 650b option available
- Weight: 16kg
- Motor: Fazua
This latest iteration of the Cairn E-Adventure, updated from the original 2018 bike, gets shortened seatstays and a sloping top tube to make it easier to manoeuvre on tight or technical trails.
The E-Adventure is powered by a Fazua motor, with a top-tube controller instead of a bar-mounted unit.
With Cairn coming from the same stable as Hunt wheels, there’s naturally a good set of hoops for the job. We’d have preferred grippier tyres, though, with the Vittoria Terreno Dry tyres less optimum when things aren’t, well, dry.
There’s a 650b/dropper version of the Cairn if you’re after more off-road grunt.
Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon 1 Lefty
- £8,000 / $9,500 / €8,999 as tested
- Hugely competent off-road
- We’d expect better bars and possibly a dropper for the price
- Weight: 17.8kg
- Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX
With 30mm of suspension front and rear, thanks to its single-leg Lefty Oliver fork and Kingpin rear linkage, the Topstone Neo offers bags of comfort when you hit the rough stuff.
There’s serious grunt too, with an 85Nm Bosch motor paired to a 500Wh battery, which should get you up anything you might encounter.
There’s top-drawer kit on the bike as well, with a SRAM eTap AXS electronic groupset in a mullet configuration, pairing SRAM Force road components and SRAM Eagle mountain bike parts.
That gives a massive range of gearing, thanks to the 42-tooth road chainring and 10-50t MTB cassette.
It’s an expensive proposition though, and given the Topstone’s full-suspension intentions, it wouldn’t be a stretch to expect a dropper post and better bars at this price.
Vitus E-Substance Carbon
- £4,000 / $5,000 / €4,700 as tested
- 650b wheels with wide tyres give plenty of grip
- Large gear range and sporty handling make for good progress off-road
- Weight: 14.7kg
- Motor: Fazua
The E-Substance is built to ride fast whatever the terrain, with the same snappy handling as its pedal-powered sibling and 47mm tyres on 650b wheels.
Since it uses the mid-mounted Fazua motor system, you can swap out easily to run a standard 700c gravel wheelset as well. There’s a big range of gears to tackle a wide variety of terrain.
Other finishing kit is well specced and the e-Substance handles a good mix of off-road conditions well, without being overpowered by the assistance, although as you’d expect, the wide tyres and 650b wheels do roll a bit more slowly than 700c wheels and tyres on road.
The following bikes scored fewer than four out of five in our testing, but are still worth considering.
Bianchi Impulso E-Allroad TRK
- Electric commuting bike with light-adventure potential
- Weight: 15.5kg
- Motor: Mahle ebikemotion
Okay, strictly speaking this isn’t a gravel bike, but we’re going to include it here because the Bianchi Impulso E-Allroad TRK has plenty of multi-terrain potential.
The bike has a slightly more upright riding position than the drop-bar gravel version, thanks to a tweaked cockpit design, while spec choices include SKS full-length mudguards, a rear rack and rear Lezyne lights powered by the Mahle X35 hub-based motor.
Should you wish to venture onto light off-road terrain, such as the towpath pictured above, there are Kenda Flintridge Sport 35c tyres.
- £3,550 as tested
- Good riding position, if a little firm
- Some tyre squirm from narrow rims
- Weight: 16.8kg
- Motor: Fazua
We rated the Kinesis Range’s handling and comfortable ride position, although the rear is a little firm on rough terrain.
It’s well equipped, but we would have preferred wider wheel rims and more compliant tyres with less squirm when we dropped the pressure.
The Range is another e-gravel bike powered along by the popular Fazua Evation motor. It’s a bit on the heavy side at 16.8kg though, so we had to run the motor on its highest output, which ate through the battery and limited range.
Buyer’s guide to electric gravel bikes: what to look out for
Electric gravel bike motors
All ebikes are powered by either a rear-hub motor design or a ‘mid-drive’ motor.
The rear-hub motor systems tend to be the lighter option in terms of both the weight and the assistance they offer, making them a great option for road-based sports bikes.
The mid-drive system positions the motor unit in the bottom-bracket area, and it’s connected directly to the cranks.
Having the weight of the motor lower and more centrally located in the bike delivers better handling, and provides greater torque and smoother traction.
With that in mind, gravel bike motors tend to come in one of two flavours.
On the one hand, like electric road bikes, you’ll find smaller, low-profile units from brands such as Mahle ebikemotion (rear-hub) and Fazua (mid-mounted).
Although they put out 250 watts, they have quite low torque figures of 40Nm to 60Nm respectively. That results in a subtler, more progressive level of assistance, though they may lack a little grunt for tougher off-road endeavours.
Other electric gravel bikes go for a higher torque figure – up to 90Nm – and use units from the likes of Bosch, which you’ll also often see on electric mountain bikes.
That really helps you crest steep, technical inclines, particularly if you’re loaded up for bikepacking, but the motor will be larger, heavier and more intrusive, and it will be a lot more obvious that you’re riding an electric bike.
Which type of setup works for you will depend on where you’re riding, what you’re carrying and how much help you want.
Electric gravel bike batteries
Lower speeds, and more ups and downs, are likely to drain your battery more quickly on an electric gravel bike, compared to an electric road bike, so plenty of battery capacity is a must.
Whereas road ebikes favour lower weight over all-out range, the opposite is likely to be true for a gravel ebike.
As a result, on electric gravel bikes with more powerful motors you’re likely to see beefier batteries with capacities nearer to 500Wh, rather than the 250Wh or so of a road ebike.
Of course, for many riders that might be overkill. So, as with their motors, other gravel ebikes will come with a smaller in-built battery and may have the option to add an external range-extender battery. This sits on the frame, often in a bottle cage, and may almost double the available range.
For most electric gravel bikes it’s an optional accessory though. Also, it won’t be a cheap upgrade and it will block up one of your bottle cages, so load-carrying capacity is reduced.
Electric bike motors offer a range of modes, with power output to match – from ‘eco’ for maximum mileage to ‘turbo’ for ultimate power and torque.
Most ebikes have controls on the handlebar or top tube, and some have LCD screens, which make it easier to switch between modes, monitor battery life and see your speed and mileage.
Some systems also now offer Bluetooth connectivity and phone apps to track your heart rate and other data, so think about getting a quality bike phone mount to make the most of the data.
Wheels and tyres
Having a strongly built set of wheels and grippy tyres with plenty of volume is vital on an electric gravel bike, given the rough terrain a bike like this is designed for, along with the torque produced by the motor.
With the extra weight of the motor and battery, you’re likely to be adding several kilos to the bike’s weight, so you need the tyre grip for handling and the wheel strength to deal with the extra torque coming from the motor.
As with any gravel bike, the frame clearance for wide tyres (with additional mud clearance) will be important.
Be prepared to swap out tyres for something more aggressive if the going is particularly bad, or for a lighter tread if you’re doing more road riding and taking on lighter trails.
While most gravel bikes have 700c wheels, smaller-diameter 650b wheels are an option if you want to increase your tyre volume.
That can help add grip and smooth out the terrain, which can be particularly useful with the extra weight and power of an ebike.
As with all gravel bikes, tubeless tyres have huge benefits too, helping to stave off punctures and allowing you to run lower tyre pressures for improved off-road grip and comfort.
Electric gravel bike drivetrains
If you’re riding off-road, you need the all-terrain features that have made gravel bikes so popular. That starts with low enough gearing to deal with steeper climbs.
A 1x drivetrain is also a popular option, keeping things simple by using a single chainring (with no front derailleur) and, once again, a wide-ranging cassette to provide a big spread of gears suitable for a variety of terrain.
Even if you’ve got a motor to help, you’ll want plenty of low-gear options. Most motors work better if you’re climbing seated than if you’re riding out of the saddle too, because your power delivery is smoother and it’s easier for the electronics to match. You may find the power delivery from the motor is jerky if you’re standing to climb.
Single-ring drivetrains are very popular on gravel bikes, for their simplicity and lower weight, paired with ample range. It’s something you’re likely to find on many electric gravel bikes too.
On higher-spec bikes, you may get electronic shifting, either from SRAM’s 12-speed eTap AXS or from Shimano GRX 815 Di2. Their slick gear changes work well with a motorised system and you’re less likely to experience a mis-shift than with cable-operated derailleurs.
A mullet build with a SRAM eTap AXS Eagle rear derailleur borrowed from its MTB range will come with a really wide-range cassette, while the SRAM Force eTap AXS Wide option is designed to give space for wider tyre clearance up front.
Bolts and bosses
As with any gravel bike, the versatility to take on a range of adventures will be important.
Expect to see features such as rack and mudguard mounting points, and bolts to fit a top-tube bag.
Mounts for a third bottle cage under the down tube are also the norm. They’ll be particularly important if you decide you need a range-extender battery, because you’ll lose one of the two in-frame mounts.