Are you looking to sample the delights of gravel riding but don’t want to spend a lot of money? Or perhaps you need a versatile all-weather bike that can take mudguards and a pannier or two.
A cheap gravel bike might be just the thing. Gravel bikes have largely replaced cyclocross machines as the go-to for year-round practicality. They also open up a new realm of riding, with bigger tyres and disc brakes giving them the capability to ride on unpaved surfaces, whether that’s smooth singletrack, fire roads or just your local towpath.
While shops are now filled with 2020 bikes (and maybe even the odd 2021 model), there are still bargains to be had on 2019 machines and outgoing models, as well as select models that are ridiculously good value at their regular price.
We’ve rounded up five stonking deals to whet your appetite for a bit of rough road fun.
Cheap gravel bikes: five bargains for the backroads
Merida Silex 200: £675
On One GKTV Bootzipper: £799
Focus Paralane 5.9 GC: £1,024.99
Triban RC 520 Gravel: £849.99
Specialized Diverge Comp: £2,400
Merida Silex 200 2019 –
It may not be beautiful, but it is cheap. Merida via Tredz
We’ll be the first to admit that the Silex is not exactly a looker, but there’s no arguing with this deal.
At almost a third off RRP, the Silex 200 is a lot of bike for the money. It’s a proper gravel machine and it comes kitted out with 9-speed Shimano Sora components and Promax mechanical disc brakes.
35mm tyres are fitted as standard but it’ll take 42s if you want them, and you could even swap to 650b wheels if you prefer.
On-One GKTV Bootzipper – £799
On-One has always offered big value with its builds. Planet X
If you fancy something a little less mainstream, this steel frankenbike from On-One (Planet X) may appeal.
Specced by friend of BikeRadar (and long-term contributor) Guy Kesteven, the Bootzipper is pitched as the ultimate pub bike.
It’s essentially a drop-bar mountain bike, one more in the mould of the ‘monstercross’ bikes of a few years ago than the more road-oriented gravel machines we typically see.
The frame is 4130 chromoly steel with a funky raw finish and this build gets you SRAM Apex 1×11 shifting and Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes.
If you’d prefer chilled-out swept bars, the 29er MTB version of this bike is actually £100 cheaper and gets 12-speed SRAM SX Eagle components and SRAM Level hydraulic brakes.
Focus Paralane 5.9 GC 2019 –
Rutland is offering healthy discounts on select Focus models. Focus via Rutland Cycling
The Paralane is perhaps more of an all-road bike than a true gravelista, but with comfy endurance geometry and room for 35mm tyres (28s are fitted as standard) it’s a versatile machine.
We liked the alloy Paralane when we first rode it back in 2017 and it’s now more appealing with the latest Shimano 105 hydraulic groupset – you get everything except the matching cranks here.
The Paralane even ships with mudguards, which is a bonus, although we’re not sure if they’ve sorted out the rattles since that review!
Only 54cm bikes remain at this price, so don’t hang around if you’re tempted.
Triban RC 520 Gravel — £849.99
Even at full price, the Triban is great value. Decathlon
Decathlon’s Triban range has always offered remarkable value for money and the RC 520 Gravel is no exception.
Even at full price it puts other brands to shame with its spec, offering 105 shifting (with the latest R7000 components) and TRP Hy/Rd cable-actuated hydraulic disc brakes, the next best thing to full hydraulics.
The RC 520 Gravel is essentially a fatter-tyred version of the standard RC 520 with different paint – a bike that scored a healthy 4.5 out of 5 stars when we reviewed it last year. If you’re not bothered about the bigger rubber, the standard bike is £120 cheaper.
Specialized Diverge Comp 2019 —
The Diverge accepts tyres up to 42mm and features Specialized’s clever Future Shock suspension headset. Specialized
£2,400 probably doesn’t fit your definition of cheap, but we can all agree that £1,000 is a healthy discount. This one is for smaller riders because only size 52cm bikes remain.
Specialized’s Diverge is a do-everything drop bar bike. It’s got a premium carbon frame and is equipped with the same clever Future Shock suspension headset as the Roubaix endurance bike, which gives you 20mm of travel up front.
At the back, squish comes courtesy of the funky CG-R seatpost, while 38mm tubeless-ready tyres offer plenty of scope for tweaking ride quality.
The Diverge is practical for a fancy carbon bike thanks to mudguard and rack mounts and it’ll accept tyres up to 42mm wide, or 47mm if you switch to 650b wheels.
In Comp spec it gets a full Shimano Ultegra R8000 groupset aside from the cranks, which are Praxis Zayantes.
At £1,000 off RRP, it would be rude not to, eh?