Gravel bikes cost a reasonable sum. The technology used to manufacture these bikes are advanced, and the components are of top quality. This is why to invest in a good gravel bike, you should allot a chunk from your savings.
We know that gravel bikes can be expensive. However, some manufacturers still produce gravel bikes without spending a lot. Below are some of the gravel bikes available in the market under a $500.00 budget.
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1. Mongoose Define Adult Gravel Bike – Best Overall
From Mongoose is the Define Adult Gravel Bike. The company claims this particular unit to be a great integration of mountain and road bike properties. The model is created for adult male users because of its tire height which is 28 inches. Its frameset is created from lightweight aluminum material. This makes the bike very manageable and durable.
The Define Adult Gravel Bike model uses cabled disc brakes to ensure that you have great control over your stops. This also allows you to be more comfortable with your ascents and descents. Today, cabled disc brakes are considered one of the most powerful braking systems as their halts are real-time and consistent.
This model uses 700c multi-terrain tires, allowing it to perform on almost all types of roads. It has a pattern following the direction of the wheel’s rotation which will help in better traction on surfaces.
- It is a lightweight bike with its aluminum alloy frameset
- Makes use of rigid suspension, which makes it ideal even on paved roads
- Uses a 14-speed gear system for a more flexible acceleration
- Assembling the bike is straightforward and does not need technical knowledge to execute
- Components are adjustable to fit your preference
- Not the best for climbing steep terrains because of its limited chainring and speed cassette setup
- Tires are unbranded and may not last
2. Diamondback Bicycles Youth Haanjo Trail Complete Alternative Road Bike – Best Kid’s Gravel Bike
The Haanjo Trail 24 Alternative is a budget-friendly model. This gravel bike is designed for dirt roads and gravel tracks. This model was created for kids between nine to twelve years of age. It has an adult version with a longer frame length and wider wheel diameter.
Haanjo Trail 24 Alternative model has a frameset made from 6061 T6 aluminum alloy material. It also has a hydroformed top tube. Hydroforming is a modern process wherein fluid is injected into the frame tube of the bike to manipulate it into a more ideal form.
It uses Tektro mechanical disc brakes, a reliable system for its price. It also has a durable head tube, making its steering response impeccable and significantly dampening vibration.
- The bike is lightweight at 28 lbs. because of the aluminum material used in its frame
- Makes use of integrated shifters which allows you to shift gears without removing your hands from the drop bars
- Uses a 16-speed gear system to give you a more diverse riding style
- Has high-quality tires, Kenda K161 KrossCyclo, which is recommended by the cycling community
- Since it is designed for kids, it is not ideal for adult bikers
- Production of this model has been discontinued. However, some stores still have stocks
- It has only one size for kids and has an adult version
3. Mongoose Artery Comp Gravel Road Bike – Least Maintenance Needed
Another entry from Mongoose is their Artery Comp Gravel Road Bike model. It is designed to be an all-around gravel bike at a very affordable price. Some of the activities you can use in this model are exercising, commuting, and sports. In addition to this is that this model is designed for comfortable long rides.
The model is composed of a frame made with aluminum material. It also has a unicrown steel fork, a simpler and less expensive fork design. Furthermore, this helps ensure that the bike thrives in both rugged roads and paved road commutes.
The Artery Comp model uses classic alloy linear-pull brakes, the most reliable modern braking system. Aside from giving great braking power, it also has low maintenance, which is beneficial in the long run.
- Frameset made with lightweight aluminum material for a more manageable bike
- Has unicrown steel fork which is a more picked option for contemporary manufacturers
- Uses Shimano Acera/Tourney 24-speed drivetrain with premium Altus shifters for a smooth and reliable shifting
- Assembling the bike is easy. It does not require technical knowledge to execute
- Uses Shimano M171 28/38/48T crankset to ensure efficient pedaling and less maintenance
- Learning the 24-speed gearing system may take time for beginners
4. Mongoose Artery Expert Gravel Bike – Most Comfortable in Long Rides
The third entry from Mongoose is their Artery Expert Gravel Bike model. This gravel bike model is great for terrains as well as paved roads. The company claims that the bike is designed to provide optimal comfort and durable components.
The Artery Expert model has an aluminum frameset and unicrown steel fork. This is to make sure that your rides are manageable and that the bike will not struggle on different road types. The bike also features Shimano Alivio/Acera 27-speed drivetrain. It is one of the best brands producing quality bike components. The bike’s drivetrain allows you to have a more personalized riding experience and more control over your maneuvers.
Like the Artery Comp Gravel Road Bike model, this bike uses a classic alloy linear-pull braking system. This brake type gives you excellent stopping power, beneficial for descending trails.
- Makes use of rigid suspension system which makes it great even on paved roads
- Has unicrown steel fork which helps the bike in performing on different road surfaces
- Uses Shimano Alivio/Acera 27-speed drivetrain with premium Acera shifters for a smooth and reliable shifting
- Amenable for great acceleration because of the speed gear used in this bike
- Comes with the classic alloy linear-pull brake which is reliable and more affordable
- Learning the 27-speed gearing system of the bike may take time for beginners
- Hard to assemble because of its more advanced components
5. Retrospec AMOK v3 8-Speed Urban Gravel Bike – Most Agile Grave Bike
Retrospec is one of the few bike brands that offer good quality bikes at low-cost. They manufacture bikes ideal for casual and leisure riders, commuters, and even some fitness riders. One of the budget-friendly bikes they have is the AMOK v3 8-Speed Urban Gravel Bike.
The AMOK v3 model is designed to have excellent road agility and technical sophistication. With its 8-speed gear system, you can smoothly transition from rugged trails to smoother surfaces and vice versa. It also has an aluminum alloy frameset which makes it lightweight and robust.
The AMOK v3 model features In nova Dual Purpose tread tires when it comes to tires. They are durable tires that can handle different terrains comfortably. They give you straight rides on paved surfaces and an excellent grip on challenging trails.
- Frameset made with 6061 aluminum alloy material which contributes to it being lightweight
- Uses Tetra mechanical disc brakes which is very responsive and reliable on different road situations
- Makes use of In nova Dual Purpose tread tires which is one of the best tires in the market
- Uses dual suspension which helps in having a smooth ride on rugged terrains
- Some of its components are cheap and may require replacement/upgrade for better performance
- Some may find the bike to have ergonomic deficiencies
6. Huffy Carom Men’s 14-Speed Aluminum Gravel Bike – Best Manufacturing Technology Used
Huffy is a bike brand recommended by the cycling community for affordable and comfortable bikes. One of its affordable quality bikes is the Carom Men’s Gravel Bike. This gravel bike model is recommended mainly for adults because it uses 27.5 inches wheels.
The Carom Men’s Gravel Bike has a frameset made from lightweight, durable, and hydroformed aluminum material. Furthermore, its frame is a hardtail. This means that the bike’s frame has two sections, and each section can move independently.
One unique aspect of this bike model is its dual disc brake system. This ensures that you have great stopping power regardless of the surface. This also allows you to have a backup brake system if one of the brakes becomes less functional.
- Uses hard tailed frame, which allows the sections of the bike to move independently
- Makes use of a dual disc brake system, which gives you more stopping power and has better response time
- Features Shimano Tourney derailleur 14-speed micro-twist shifts
- Uses oversized gravel tread tires which provides increased momentum with less effort in pedaling
- Not suitable for younger people due to the frame height and wheel size
- Use of derailleur which can make the bike heavier compared to others
- Uses oversized gravel tread tires which can be hard to manage due to its weight
7. Kent Bicycles 700c Eagle Ridge Adventure Gravel Men’s Large Bike
Kent Bicycles is one of the older bike brands still in the market today. A bike model from this long-running company is the Eagle Ridge Adventure Gravel Men’s Large Bike. It is a gravel bike model recommended for adults as it has a longer frame length than other gravel bikes.
This bike model has a traditional diamond steel frame, which is very durable. It comes in two colors: silver and red. This model is praised for its comfortable components, such as the padded handlebar tapes and quality Vitesse seat. It also has a great frame ratio that allows a relaxed riding position.
- Uses 21-speed gear Shimano drivetrain with Revo twist shifters for better road control
- Makes use of cable-activated disc brakes on front and rear to give you more stopping power
- Uses high profile alloy wheels which produces the highest speed for riding on the rods as they break the wind pressure effortlessly
- Includes a free kickstand when you purchase it
- Heavier compared to other gravel bikes due to the steel material used for its frameset
- Some received their bikes on a damaged box, some have damaged bike parts as well
8. Populo Quest 16-Speed Gravel Bike – Most Reliable Shifting System
The core purpose of Populo as a bike brand is to build bikes that make cycling for work or play accessible to everyone. And indeed, they delivered. One of their affordable models is the Quest Gravel Bike.
The Quest Gravel Bike model is designed to perform best on urban streets and gravel roads. It has a Chromoly steel frame and fork, which is a quality material that most manufacturers use for their bikes today. Chromoly is chrome-alloy steel material with a percentage of carbon content in it.
This bike model features the Shimano Claris set for its front/rear derailleurs and shifters. Shimano Claris has the lowest tier on the Shimano series. But it provides reliable shifting and is best used for higher speed gears.
- Frameset and fork made from 4130 double-butted Chromoly steel, which is solid and comfortable
- Equipped with mechanical disc brakes that can withstand different external elements such as mud, rain, and dirt
- Uses Shimano Claris STI-2400 set which is proven to give reliable shifting and braking
- Makes use of CST C1466 700c tires which is a premium quality tire brand at an affordable price
- New users may find the assembling of this bike harder than expected
- Some users found the size chart of this bike confusing and inaccurate
9. Kent Bicycles 700c Nazz Men’s Gravel Road Bike – Best Entry-Level Gravel Bike
Another entry from Kent Bicycles is the Nazz Men’s Gravel Road Bike. Due to its frame geometry, this bike is ideal for adult male use. This model is built to have an adventure bike’s geometry which positively impacts your riding experience and speed.
The manufacturers used sturdy steel material for the bike frame to make it strong enough for different road surfaces. It also features Shimano shifters and a Shimano rear derailleur. These components help you have the gears you need to comfortably ride through any terrain. Additionally, this model uses 700c 40mm gravel tires. This is thick enough to ensure that you have an excellent surface grip on your rides.
- Uses 14-speed gear system for a more flexible acceleration
- Makes use of Front and Rear Mechanical Disc Brake system for more stopping power
- It has 2x drivetrain which helps in better acceleration on the road
- Features Shimano shifters and a Shimano rear derailleur for better gearing power
- Does not have the best chains, some users claim that the chains of the bike fall off after cycling for miles
- Learning the 14-speed gearing system of the bike may take time for beginners
- Immediate upgrade/replacements may be needed due to the cheap materials used on some components
10. 700c Men’s Takara Shiro Adventure Bike – Best in Absorbing Stress
Takara Tomy is a Japanese bike brand started in 1918. One of their affordable bike models is the Shiro Adventure Bike. This model was designed to be comfortable when commuting, road trips, and fitness purposes. Furthermore, it is made to be beginner-friendly.
The Shiro Adventure Bike unit has a solid Hi-Ten Steel frame that complements its 29 inches 700c tires. The frame design of the bike makes it capable of absorbing tremendous amounts of impact without severely harming the bike. In addition to this is the set of tires used for the bike, which is high in volume and helps in carefully absorbing small road elements. This then prevents the tires from wearing and getting popped.
- Uses the powerful Shiro disc brake system to give you excellent braking power
- With the Shimano gear system it has, you can experience excellent road speed with less effort
- Uses 21-speed gear system for a more flexible acceleration
- Designed to be very durable and long-lasting with its Hi-Ten Steel frame material
- Has high volume tires, which allow absorption of potholes, smooth gravel, and cobblestones
- Learning the 21-speed gearing system of the bike may take time for beginners