Just how much gravel can a gravel bike handle?

We rode a GT Grade 200km around the starkest landscapes of Iceland to find out

A gravel road bike is still a road bike. It’s a road bike that has been designed to work well on rougher surfaces… but it’s still a road bike. 

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The recipe pushed by many manufacturers for a gravel bike is now clear: frames with slacker geometry and a longer wheelbase, disc braking and big volume, comfortable tyres. 

The resulting machines are often somewhere between a cyclocross bike and a tourer. There’s little doubt doubt that they’re more versatile than a traditional road bike – but just how good are they off road?

Related: GT Grade Carbon 105 – video

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We sent Tom Marvin, technical editor of our sibling print publication What Mountain Bike magazine to Iceland, on a 200km ride around iceland to find out. His tool for the job? GT’s Grade – one one of the most popular bikes of this discipline.

Horse for the course – icelandic gravel on the gt grade