Are Gravel Bikes Fast? [Here’s the Truth About Gravel Bikes]

The average speed of a traditional bicycle is around 15 mph to 18 mph. This varies depending on the gears of the bike and your endurance as a biker. If you are skilled in maneuvering and controlling your bike, you can increase your speed from 20 mph to 23 mph. Pros can go from 25 mph and more. 

Gravel bikes are built to be versatile while being fast. A gravel bike’s frameset is usually made from carbon fiber, aluminum, and titanium. These are light materials that are known for being durable too. Moreover, gravel bikes have more options for speed gears, making them amenable for speed change. 

You can go faster with higher speed gear and a higher number of the chainring. Lastly, gravel bikes are designed to be more aerodynamic. Being aerodynamic, gravel bikes can pace better as they receive less dragging force by the surrounding air pressure. 

How Fast Is a Gravel Bike?

Credits to: @vaccinium

Gravel bikes can go up to 15 mph to 16 mph using a single chainring. If you used double chainring, this could get as fast as 26 mph to 30 mph. Gravel bikes are faster than other bike types when riding on tricky terrain. This is because they are built to better endure rougher road types. 

The speed of a gravel bike on a paved road is different than when riding uphill or downhill. Depending on the chainring and speed gear installed on paved tracks, gravel bikes can go from 20 mph to 30 mph. Uphill, gravel bikes are slower than their average road speed. 

This is mainly because of the downward pull of gravity against you and the bike. If you are new to handling gravel bikes, your average speed uphill might range from 7 mph to 9.5 mph. This depends on how you control the grip of your bike. 

Speed: Gravel Bikes vs. Road Bikes vs. Mountain Bikes

There are a lot of bikes in the market that is built to be specialized. This allows manufacturers to create a bike fit for a specific set of tasks and road types. For example, cruiser bikes are built for leisure and light trails. 

They are specialized to provide you comfort while doing low-impact rides. There are a lot more of these specialized bikes. Below, we will discuss the most used bike types today by beginners and pros. These are gravel bikes, road bikes, and mountain bikes.

Gravel Bikes

Gravel bikes are specialized hybrid bikes that are built for adventure seekers. It is designed to endure multiple types of terrains, especially rough ones. They are characterized by wide low-pressure tires, drop bars, and multiple mounts. 

It is also considered an all-in-one bike because of its versatility. In fact, some bike experts believe that a gravel bike is a perfect bike for a devoted mountain biker and the best off-road bike for a hardcore roadie.

Aside from being an adventurer’s bike, the main selling point of gravel bikes is their ability to fit larger tires on their frame. This adaptability of gravel bikes allows them to acquire improved road grip, especially on bumpy tracks. This is also why they have better uphill speeds than road and mountain bikes. 

Talking about speed, gravel bikes are considered as efficient as road bikes but have added versatility. Gravel bikes can match the speed of road bikes on the standard trails coursed by road bikes. But gravel bikes can outperform road bikes on other more complicated trails.

Road Bikes

Road bikes are lightweight bikes specialized for a faster ride on paved surfaces. They promote all-day comfort and an upright riding position. Although they are mainly built for flat roads, they can also be used off-trail but with some adjustments. They are characterized by having smooth, slim tires and drop handlebars.

Road bikes have the best speed on smooth tracks compared to gravel bikes and mountain bikes. One disadvantage is that unpaved roads can heavily damage them when not modified. It should be used on the compacted ground to maintain a road bike’s health. If not, some of its components should be changed first, such as the tires and tire pressure. 

Mountain Bikes

Mountain bikes are specialized bikes mainly used for rough roads, desert sands, and mountains. This bike is recognizable for its flat handlebars and wide tires. They are built to handle extreme amounts of stress and impact from bumpy surfaces while ensuring your safety as a biker.

Mountain bikes are typically made from steel to ensure that their frameset is durable enough for rough terrains. This is one of the factors contributing to its slower pacing on flat roads compared to road bikes and gravel bikes. 

When on complex surfaces, mountain bikes perform better than road bikes. On uphill routes, mountain bikes are faster than road bikes, but gravel bikes are the fastest. When going downhill, mountain bikes are faster compared to the other two. This is because of its excellent suspension system that does not hinder the roll of the tires but gives you a lot of control. 

What Is a Good Average Speed on a Gravel Bike?

When using a gravel bike for non-competitive pacing, you can get an average speed of 13 mph to 14 mph. This may depend on your pedaling power, the number of gears, and the number of chainrings. Suppose you have more experience in handling gravel bikes. In that case, you can average from 15 mph to 20 mph, even on a non-competitive setup. Of course, this still differs if you use the gravel bike on smooth roads or on complex terrains.

Gravel bikes can give better average speed on bumpy roads and obstacles than most. This is because they are built to handle complex surfaces. If you are new to gravel bikes, your comfortable speed going uphill may range from 3 mph to 4 mph. For an expert, averaging from 12 mph to 15 mph uphill is a piece of cake. 

What Makes a Gravel Bike Faster Than Other Bikes?

Credits to: @eddiefrezzie

The items below contribute to why gravel bikes are faster than other bikes.

1. Frame Materials

Most gravel bikes are made from lightweight aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber materials. This allows the bike to have a more manageable weight and easier maneuver. Since the bike’s frameset is lighter, you can gain speed better as a biker. 

2. Wheels and Tires

Gravel bike wheels and tires are known for being wide. Additionally, gravel bike tires have less pressure, allowing them to move better on unpaved surfaces. Low tire pressure improves traction, which is the pulling force of the bike over a surface. This improved traction allows the bike to effortlessly carry itself and you over all types of road.

3. Geometric Design

The geometric design of gravel bikes gives a better upright position to whoever rides on it. A better riding position allows you to be more comfortable handling the bike. This then results in better performance. If you are comfortable and the bike does not exhaust you while handling it, you can pace faster. 

4. Drop bars

Gravel bikes are known to have flared drop bars. This handlebar innovation allows a gravel bike to give you better posture and gives you a better position to be more aerodynamic. Additionally, this adds to the stability of the ride, which in the longer run, will give you better road speed.

5. Speed Gears

Higher speed gears allow better maneuverability of the bike. Gravel bike users usually choose to integrate 7-speed gear and up to their bikes simply because it offers better pacing. With the capacity to integrate higher-speed gears, gravel bikes are better powered for a faster ride. 

6. Chainring Set

Gravel bikes have two chainring options, single chainring, and double chainring. The single chainring set is lighter and provides a more comfortable experience, especially if you have been using road bikes for a long time. Double chainring sets amplify your speed and make you more efficient on the road. It gives you more wheel coverage for lesser pedaling power.

How Fast Can a Gravel Bike Go for an Urban Riding?

Urban cycling has become more common today now that more and more people are investing in bicycles. It has become a mode of commuting for some and exercise for others. Also, cities with wider roads and exclusive bike lanes promote more urban riding activities. 

Depending on the components of a gravel bike, its speed on urban roads can range from 15 mph to 30 mph. This is equivalent to the average speed of a quality road bike. This speed contributes to using a double chainring set and a higher speed gear for better riding motion. 

Best *and Fastest* Gravel Bikes Today

Gravel bikes have become famous for the past few years, and more people are investing in them. It is reasonable considering that they deliver in speed and versatility. Below are some gravel bike models that topped the chart for incredible speed and excellent overall performance.

1. BMC URS ONE Apex

This BMC gravel bike model is claimed to have a tremendous geometric build suited for technical trail riding. Moreover, it delivers in terms of speed. It can also endure long-distance rides without harming the bike’s components.

2. Specialized S-Works Crux

This gravel bike model has an exceptionally lightweight build and is claimed to have the best racing speed for a gravel bike. It also has an excellent tire clearance at 47mm. Overall, the model is exceptionally designed to be agile and stable for fast pacing experience.

3. Cervélo Aspero-5 Force eTap AXS 1

The gravel bike model is praised for its all-carbon frameset, contributing to its lightweight and fast speed. It is also designed to absorb vibration from rough terrains, giving you a smoother riding experience.

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