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The 5 Best Gravel Bikes of 2020

In the last few years, grave riding has gone from being a relatively niche discipline to being one of the hottest, and fastest growing types of cycling. Gravel riders used to have to tinker and try to fit bigger tires in old cyclocross or road bikes, now we’ve got a whole plethora of awesome gravel-specific options to choose from. This new crop of gravel bikes are the best we've seen yet.

We’ve created this list to help separate the wheat from the chaff. The five bikes we’re highlighting here are our top choices for the best gravel bikes of 2020. But five choices can still be a little overwhelming, so we’ve broken down the strengths and weaknesses of each bike, along with a helpful chart of features to help you figure out which bike will best suit your needs. We’ve also included the max tire size each frame is rated for, so that you can figure out how big of knobbies you can fit if you want to branch out into even more technical terrain.


Evil Chamois Hagar GRX

Best 2020 gravel bikes
 
 

Evil’s Chamois Hagar is really an outlier in the gravel bike world. Its geometry is much closer to a typical mountain bike than most gravel bikes. That means it excels in more challenging terrain, and is comfortable on smoother singletrack rides as well. None of that should be surprising, given Evil’s history with aggressive mountain bikes. Add that to the fact that it comes stock with a dropper seatpost, and it’s clear the Chamois Hagar was designed to push the limits of what’s possible on a drop bar bike.

That geometry does make the Chamois Hagar a bit of a specialist though, it’s not the most well-rounded bike on this list. Instead it excels at going fast in rough terrain. The stiff carbon frame is very efficient, but not very forgiving, if you’re looking to do long, mellow rides where comfort is a priority, this is not our top choice. Similarly, if you want to do multi-day bikepacking trips, the Chamois Hagar doesn’t have as much storage space in the front triangle as other options. The flipside of that is that it’s a burley, precise bike, with a nice low standover that makes it easier to move the bike around on technical terrain.

For mountain bikers looking to dip their toes in gravel riding, or gravel riders who want a drop bar bike to take mountain biking, the Chamois Hagar is our top choice. The aggressive geometry might not be for everyone, but we think it makes this one of the best gravel bikes of 2020.
Frame Material Max Tire Width Bottle Mounts  Original Price
 Carbon  50c 7  $4,799

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Giant Revolt Advanced 1

Best 2020 Gravel Bikes
 

Giant’s Revolt Advance 1 offers one of the best “bang for buck” ratios in the gravel world, meaning it’s one of the best gravel bikes for the money. Even better, the fact that it’s shockingly affordable for a carbon bike doesn’t mean Giant skimped with its design. Giant has gone to great lengths to tune the flex in their gravel bikes, making them stiff where they need to be (especially around the bottom bracket area) while also engineering some flex into the rear triangle to mute road feedback and make for a more comfortable ride.

“Comfortable” might just be the best word to describe the Revolt with. For a bike with no suspension, it’s shockingly supple on rough terrain. You might not notice it on a quick spin around the block, but on longer rides the Revolt does an incredible job of muting road noise which leads to less fatigue and more energy deep into the ride. That means the Revolt is well suited to a huge range of riders.

It’s affordable, so anyone looking to get into gravel riding will be well served by the Revolt, but it’s also got the build quality and features that more experienced riders will appreciate. Add that to the fact that it’s the most comfortable bike on this list, and you’ve got a strong contender. Its only weakness is the fact that it’s limited to 45 C tires, so riders looking for more traction for light trail riding may need to look elsewhere. But the frame is so compliant that it often feels like you’re riding bigger tires than you are.

 
Frame Material Max Tire Width Bottle Mounts  Original Price
 Carbon  45c 3  $2,600

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Juliana Quincy CC Rival

Best 2020 gravel bikes

The Quincy is Juliana’s first foray into a women’s drop bar bike, and as such, we’re impressed. The Quincy is designed as an all-day, all-rounder. No specialization here, it’s a jack of all trades. But that doesn’t mean it’s a master of none. Instead. Juliana has come up with a smart parts spec and features that mean a huge range of people will enjoy the Quincy.

In its stock setup, the Quincy comes with 700 c road wheels. For folks primarily riding paved and well-maintained gravel, this is the perfect setup for covering a bunch of ground fast. Looking to tour down the coast highway? The stock Quincy will make you very happy. But, the Quincy also has clearance for 27.5” wheels, with 2.1” tires. This lowers the bike a little, makes it corner better, and gives you the increased traction and suspension to open up new terrain. With the 2.1” tire setup, the Quincy is happy to attack mellow singletrack and fire roads, and has the geometry to handle more technical trails.

The Quincy is our top choice for the best women’s gravel bike, perfect for ladies who want the ultimate in versatility. Throw some low-profile tires on and it’s happy cranking out pavement centuries with your roady friends, but with a 27.5” wheelset, you have the freedom to explore new trails and create new routes, too.

Frame Material Max Tire Width Bottle Mounts  Original Price
 Carbon  45c or 27.5" x 2.1" 3  $3,599

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Marin Four Corners

Best 2020 gravel bikes

Want to give gravel riding a shot, but also don’t want to stretch your budget? The Marin Four Corners is your ticket to happiness. It’s by far the most affordable bike on this list, but it’s still very capable of getting you out there to enjoy gravel riding. We’d say it’s the best gravel bike under $1,500, and it almost sneaks into the under $1,000 realm, too.

The Four Corners has a steel frame, which isn’t as light or stiff as carbon fiber, but does offer more compliance and comfort when loaded, and is less susceptible to wear from rubbing. So if you’re looking for a bike that can take a beating and keep on ticking, without making you feel guilty for abusing your expensive baby, the Marin is a great choice.

It also has the widest gear range on this list with its 3x9 speed drivetrain. That helps it out on longer rides, or steep climbs, where finding the right gear ratio and cadence is vital. It doesn’t have as many blingy parts as the other bikes on this list, and it’s a little heavier, but for anyone looking to travel long miles on a durable, capable bike, the Marin Four Corners delivers a whole lot of performance for a very low price.

Frame Material Max Tire Width Bottle Mounts  Original Price
 Steel  2" 5  $1,099

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Santa Cruz Stigmata CC Rival

Best 2020 gravel bikes

The Stigmata is Santa Cruz’s answer to sister brand Juliana’s Quincy. Like the Quincy it’s a remarkably versatile bike, with the option to switch wheel sizes to tune in your ride. The Stigmata has been around for a long time, but over those years it’s changed a lot. It originated as a cyclocross bike (Cyclocross - ‘cross - “Stigmata” - wounds suffered on a cross.) This latest version is less cyclocross whip, and more all-round crusher though.

It doesn’t have as aggressive of geometry as something like the Chamois Hagar, instead it’s got middle-of-the-road numbers that allow you to dial in the bike for your prefered terrain. Throw a shorter stem, wider bars, and wider tires on it, and you’ve got something that’s almost as capable on singletrack as the Hagar. Or you can get some skinny tires and a longer stem and go set KOM’s on that road hill climb segment near your house.

So, while the Stigmata is far from the most affordable option on this list, its versatility allows you to effectively have two bikes for the cost of one, plus an additional wheelset. If you’re looking for one drop bar bike to do everything, the Stigmata is a great option.

Frame Material Max Tire Width Bottle Mounts  Original Price
 Carbon 45c or 27.5" x2.1" 3  $3,599

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