Just how much gravel can a gravel bike handle?

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

Horse for the course - icelandic gravel on the gt grade

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. 

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

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.

Oli Woodman

Section Editor, UK
With more than 10 years of experience riding mountain bikes, Oli knows the good from the bad when it comes to gear. He's a total bike nerd and loves few things more than fettling with spangly riding bits. Also, he seems to have a talent for crashing hard but emerging unscathed.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Loamy singletrack
  • Current Bikes: Marin Pine Mountain, Pinnacle Dolomite
  • Dream Bike: Honda RN01
  • Beer of Choice: Corona
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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