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Best budget gravel bikes under £1,000 in 2023 | Budget off-road bikes from £650

The best budget gravel bikes under £1,000 tested by BikeRadar

Male cyclist riding a Marin Nicasio in the wilderness on a bikepacking trip

The best budget gravel bikes under £1,000 are a great place to start if you’re new to cycling or dipping your toe into gravel riding.

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While the bikes here are considerably more affordable than some gravel bikes, it doesn’t mean they’re not worthy of a place among the best gravel bikes.

Sporting features such as disc brakes, modern 1x drivetrains and wheels that can be set up tubeless, these bikes pack in a lot of tech for their price tags.

Gravel bikes are also built to be versatile. Often, you can fit them with mudguards and racks for panniers, making them suitable for riding in the winter or cycling to work.

Check out our list of the best gravel bikes under £2,000, if your budget can stretch a bit higher.

Best budget gravel bikes under £1,000 in 2023

Marin Nicasio +

4.5 out of 5 star rating
At £845, the Marin Nicasio + is hard to fault.
Marin Bikes
  • £845 / $899 / AU$1,499 / €899 as tested
  • Brilliant ride and fun
  • Hard to fault at this price

The Marin Nicasio + might not be the most impressive budget gravel bike on paper, with a modest steel frame and fork, own-brand wheels, cable disc brakes and a Microshift drivetrain, but don’t let that fool you.

This is possibly the most bang-for-buck bike we’ve tested in recent times. The ride is cushion-comfortable, the handling is stable over rocky terrain, and the position is set ideally between sporty and relaxed.

The Microshift Advent drivetrain might be unfamiliar to some, but its shifting is as crisp as Shimano and as rapid as SRAM. The clutch rear derailleur stops the chains from bouncing and the FSA Tempo chainset is equipped with a 1x-specific chainring that holds the chain well.

At 12.9kg for a 58cm frame, the Nicasio + is heavy, but this doesn’t stop it from being a lot of fun to ride.

Voodoo Nakisi

4.5 out of 5 star rating
The Voodoo Nakisi is a great-value budget gravel bike.
Wayne Reid / Our Media
  • £650 as tested
  • Good spec for the price with 9-speed shifting
  • Comfortable contact points

The Nakisi’s alloy frame is gusseted at the head tube for strength and paired with an alloy fork. There are comfortable components such as the oval section flared bars.

Kit is good for the Voodoo’s price, with 9-speed Shimano Sora shifting and a Prowheel sub-compact 48/32t chainset, Tektro mechanical disc brakes, WTB Riddler 37mm tyres and a WTB Volt saddle. You could fit even wider tyres, a rack and mudguards if you wanted.

It’s a good ride on drier gravel, although the tyres struggled a little in muddy conditions. On the road, the bike rolls nicely, although its weight holds you back a little on hills. There’s a sub-1:1 lowest gear that helps though.

Boardman ADV 8.6

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Boardman ADV 8.6 offers great comfort and versatility.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £750 as tested
  • Comfortable and versatile
  • Brakes are so-so

The Boardman ADV 8.6 is the less expensive version of the Boardman ADV 8.9, which won our budget Bike of the Year category in 2021 and 2022.

Boardman has specced the neat-looking aluminium frame with Shimano Sora, tubeless-ready wheels and a wide range of gears.

There are wide handlebars and decent 38mm tyres, which both provide comfort and control when you swap the tarmac for the trail.

Our only real criticism is the cable-actuated brakes. These have a single-piston design and are really a case of making do. But overall, the Boardman is great fun to ride and would make a good do-it-all bike, from commuting to gravel riding.


Also consider…

The following gravel bikes scored fewer than four stars in testing, so we haven’t included them in our main list. However, many still perform very well while offering value for money.

Genesis CDA 30

3.5 out of 5 star rating
Genesis has created the Croix de Fer’s younger sibling.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media
  • £999 as tested
  • Practical and versatile
  • Could do with better brakes

This aluminium gravel-cum-adventure bike from Genesis is a spin-off from the brand’s well-respected Croix de Fer and has an array of fittings, meaning you’ll be able to easily load it up with all you need.

The bike has a long wheelbase and a shallow head angle for stability. Out on the road, it is a pleasure to ride, but it’s best for cruising along rather than riding fast.

Genesis has specced the CDA 30 with a 10-speed Shimano groupset. We found the gearing to not go as low as we needed, but you’ll rarely run out of gears at the top end.

Unfortunately, we found the braking to be disappointing and you really do need to grab the lever for maximum stopping power.

Having said that, it’s still a very enjoyable – and practical – bike to ride.

Genesis Croix de Fer 10 Flat Bar

3.5 out of 5 star rating
The Croix de Fer 10 Flat Bar would make a great commuter, not just a gravel grinder.
Russel Burton
  • £1,000 as tested
  • Great ride quality
  • A little heavy at 12.2kg

The Croix de Fer’s steel frame gets the flat-bar treatment, making this a good bike for commuters as well as off-road riders who don’t want drop bars.

Like the drop-bar bike, it’s got loads of mounts, including for a front rack and a third bottle. The 2×9-speed Shimano Sora gearing gives plenty of range and excellent shifting and the in-spec WTB Nano tyres should provide a fast ride and plenty of grip. There’s room for 40mm tyres at the back and 50mm at the front.

We loved the on-road handling and the ride quality of the robust steel frame, but it does add a bit of weight over an alloy number at 12.2kg.

Marin Gestalt

3.0 out of 5 star rating
The Marin Gestalt is great off-road.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • £795 / $889 / AU$1,399 / €899 as tested
  • Handles like a dream
  • Questionable components

The Gestalt stops shy of being a mountain bike interpretation of gravel and is framed by Marin as a touring bike.

As you might have guessed, this means the Gestalt is specced with 38mmm tyres to make covering distance easy, and it has plenty of mounting options for racks and fenders. However, it still feels capable of taking on technical gravel terrain.

Fit the Marin with wider tyres and upgrade the brakes and you’ll have a bike for some seriously fun riding. But keep it as it is, and you’ve still got a bike that is comfortable, capable and will help you clock up a lot of miles.

Triban RC 120 Gravel

The Triban 120 Gravel is, unsurprisingly, a gravel version of the RC 120 Disc road bike.
Decathlon
  • £599.99
  • The cheapest gravel bike around
  • Mechanical disc brakes and tubeless-ready wheels

This is the gravel sister bike of Triban’s superb RC 120 Disc road bike, which scored four and a half stars in our test.

Priced at a fraction of the cost of many gravel bike framesets, it’s impressive that Decathlon is able to equip this bike with a carbon fork, mechanical disc brakes and tubeless-ready wheels.

The single-ring transmission from Microshift is also bang up to date with its clutch derailleur and 11-42t cassette. Even the 38mm Hutchinson tyres have trendy tan walls.

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Other cheap bikes

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, we have plenty of other best lists for bikes costing under or around £1,000.

Our list of the best road bikes for around £1,000 has plenty of options that will likely prove faster on tarmac than the gravel bikes at this price point, even if they are less versatile. 

If these gravel bikes aren’t quite off-road enough for you, why not take a look at our lists of the best mountain bikes for around £1,000 and the best mountain bikes under £750.