These are the five most promising gravel bikes of 2016. Some we've ridden and some we can't wait to ride, but they're all ready to tackle the roads less traveled with comfort and efficiency.
The Cannondale Slate is guaranteed to garner plenty of interest whenever you leave the house thanks to its interesting fork, and our early rides have been very positive.
The GT Grade has been widely loved by our testing team for a while now, thanks to its blend of sportive geometry and fun MTB handling. Plus the crazy backswept handlebars. They look cool, and are comfy over longer distances.
The Salsa Warbird has some hardcore racing pedigree, having competed in some of the USA’s premier gravel events. It’s also nice to work on thanks to the externally-routed rear disc brakes, and the third bottle-cage mount means those all-day epic rides will be fully hydrated.
Ridley’s X-Trail is labelled an ‘all-road’ bike, but whatever, it’s really a gravel bike – and should definitely keep the adventurer in you happy. There are massive tyre clearances (up to 40mm), thru-axles, and some superbly specced components.
Our final offering, the Open U.P, comes from a boutique builder who’s thought of everything: clearances are so generous you can even spec MTB tyres, the rear axle is 142mm so you can spec 29er or 650b mountain bike wheels. The final compatibility masterstroke on this unashamedly premium gravel bike is the BB386 bottom bracket, which allows you to fit nearly any road or MTB crankset. Gnarly.
Which one looks most interesting to you? Let us know in the comments section below.