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The Giant Revolt is our Bike of the Year winner for 2022

Merida, Cannondale, Boardman and Liv round out our 2022 awards

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Giant Revolt Advanced Pro 0 is the overall 2022 Road Bike of the Year winner.

This competition is now closed

By George Scott

Published: May 13, 2022 at 1:00 pm

Our annual Road Bike of the Year test launched in 2009 and technology has advanced at a dramatic rate in the 13 editions since. Past winners have included iconic names such as the Specialized Roubaix and Cannondale CAAD12, as well as cutting-edge machines like the Rondo HVRT, but in 2022 we have a first – our Bike of the Year is a gravel bike.

We’re proud to announce the Giant Revolt Advanced Pro 0 as our Bike of the Year for 2022, beating off competition from 22 other bikes across five road bike and gravel categories to take the overall crown.

Produced in conjunction with our sister titles, Cycling Plus and MBUK magazines, Bike of the Year is split into separate road and mountain bike tests. You can read elsewhere about our trail, enduro and electric MTB Bike of the Year category winners for 2022 , but here it’s all about the Revolt.

trek domane al 2 disc vs giant revolt 2

The Giant Revolt is an established name, having originally launched with an aluminium frame in 2013 – a time when ‘gravel bikes’ barely registered. The carbon model arrived in 2015 and was revamped for 2022 with a lighter, more aggressive frame and adjustable geometry with clearance for 53mm tyres.

“It’s a bike that captures the gravel zeitgeist by offering performance and versatility in equal measure,” says Warren Rossiter, senior technical editor for BikeRadar and Cycling Plus, who led the five-strong team of testers for 2022.

trek domane al 2 disc vs giant revolt 2

The Revolt Advanced Pro 0 is the flagship bike in the Revolt range at £4,999 / $5,200 / €5,509 and sports a Shimano GRX RX-815 Di2 groupset with Giant CXR 1 Carbon Disc wheels and 40mm-wide Maxxis Receptor tyres.

“It’s not without its flaws,” adds Warren. “The tyres are best-suited to dry conditions, rather than anything wet or loose, but otherwise this model ups the stakes with super-light carbon wheels and electronic shifting from Shimano’s GRX Di2.”

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The best of the rest.

As well as crowning the Giant Revolt Advanced Pro 0 as our overall Bike of the Year, we’ve also announced the winners in each of our road sub-categories. You can find the rest of our Bike of the Year contenders later in this article.

Performance Bike of the Year – Merida Scultura Team

trek domane al 2 disc vs giant revolt 2

The Merida Scultura Team is a lightweight all-rounder that offers racy handling, improved aerodynamics and a near-faultless spec, including a power meter, at an impressive price in today’s market.

  • Read our full review of the Merida Scultura Team

Endurance Bike of the Year – Cannondale Synapse Carbon LTD RLE

trek domane al 2 disc vs giant revolt 2

Cannondale overhauled the Synapse – a previous Bike of the Year winner – for 2022 and this model, with all-road spec and integrated lights, is a bold take on the modern endurance road bike , designed to take you further afield than ever before.

  • Read our full review of the Cannondale Synapse Carbon LTD RLE

Budget Bike of the Year – Boardman ADV 8.9

trek domane al 2 disc vs giant revolt 2

It’s two in two for the Boardman ADV 8.9, which once again takes our budget award. This is a proven class-leader that has shown once again why it’s such a strong all-rounder, both in terms of performance and value.

  • Read our full review of the Boardman ADV 8.9
  • Buy the Boardman ADV 8.9 from Halfords

Women’s Road Bike of the Year – Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+

trek domane al 2 disc vs giant revolt 2

Liv is one of the few women’s-specific bike brands out there and the Langma is an impressive do-it-all race whip that won’t break the bank.

  • Read our full review of the Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+

What we tested

trek domane al 2 disc vs giant revolt 2

Despite all that’s going on in the world politically and pandemically – and the knock-on impact that’s having on the bike industry – the standard of bikes being designed, created and mass-produced is incredibly high in terms of usability, performance and innovation.

We’ve focused the 2022 test on five categories, with a wide variety of performance, endurance, gravel, budget and women’s bikes put through their paces by our Bike of the Year team.

The bikes on test range from £650 to north of £10,000, so there is something for everyone, regardless of your riding style or budget.

Some are the latest versions of familiar names, with the likes of the Trek Domane, BMC Roadmachine and Cannondale Synapse all present and correct, while others are brand-new bikes for 2022.

Let’s take a closer look at the contenders.

Performance Bike of the Year

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the convergence of aerodynamics and low weight in top-tier race bikes. With that in mind, this year we’ve focused our efforts on a single ‘performance’ category.

  • Merida Scultura Team (category winner)
  • Cervélo R5 Disc Force
  • Bianchi Specialissima Dura-Ace Di2
  • Scott Addict RC10
  • Lapierre Xelius SL 9.0

Endurance Bike of the Year

The advent of road disc brakes has allowed endurance bikes to flourish as truly versatile machines that bridge the gap between road and gravel, and that’s reflected in this year’s Bike of the Year contenders.

  • Cannondale Synapse Carbon LTD RLE (category winner)
  • Trek Domane SL 6 eTap
  • BMC Roadmachine X
  • Cervélo Caledonia Ultegra Di2
  • Bombtrack Audax

Gravel Bike of the Year

trek domane al 2 disc vs giant revolt 2

‘Gravel’ covers a huge variety of riding, from heavily-laden bikepacking escapades to multi-day stage races, and that’s reflected in the wide spectrum of gravel bikes within this burgeoning category.

  • Giant Revolt Advanced Pro 0 (category and overall winner)
  • Cinelli Nemo Gravel Disc Ekar Mendini
  • Cube NuRoad C:62 Pro
  • Cervélo Aspero Rival AXS

Budget Bike of the Year

You don’t need us to tell you that bike prices have gone through the roof in the past couple of years, but there are still plenty of affordable options out there. We’ve focused our budget test on bikes between £650 and £1,150.

The contenders

  • Boardman ADV 8.9 (category winner)
  • Forme Monyash 2
  • Triban RC 500
  • Trek Domane AL 2
  • Giant Contend 1

Women’s Road Bike of the Year

trek domane al 2 disc vs giant revolt 2

Despite the huge growth in women’s cycling over recent years, the number of women’s-specific road bikes on offer has actually decreased.

Instead, major bike brands including Specialized and Trek – which formerly offered women’s-specific bikes – have opted to offer an improved range of unisex bikes, acknowledging that there needs to be a greater range of sizes and fits for all genders.

Liv is a notable outlier and has continued to offer truly women’s-specific bikes. These are built based on women’s fit data from the frame up.

Somewhere in the middle, a number of brands offer a number of women’s-specific builds, using a unisex frame built up with women’s saddles and proportionally sized handlebars, including Cube and, under the Contessa label, Scott.

We stuck with women’s-specific bikes for the purposes of this test, but it’s worth reiterating that female riders are, of course, not limited to just these models.

  • Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+ (category winner)
  • Contessa Addict RC 15
  • Cube Axial WS Race

What we haven’t tested

Bike of the Year is our biggest test of the year, covering 23 road and gravel bikes, and 24 mountain bikes. With thousands of miles in the saddle, and tens of thousands of words in our reviews, our team puts in the hard yards through winter and early spring.

But we can’t review everything.

Bike and component shortages have been well publicised and affect the industry from top to bottom, from brands waiting on a single small part to launch a new bike through to the test bikes available to media and, of course, the scramble to buy chains, brake pads and just about every other consumable part.

We put out more than 100 bike requests for this year’s road and gravel test, before whittling down our final selection of 23 bikes.

If there’s a bike you think we should have included, chances are we tried. Some newly launched bikes may also have arrived outside of the testing window to be included or allow for comparative testing. And, of course, there’s a limit as to the number of bikes we can test.

The result, however, is the most comprehensive bike test out there, and one that spans almost every type of drop-bar bike on the market, with prices ranging from £650 to north of five figures. There really is something for everyone.

Meet the testers

Warren rossiter.

With more than a decade of Bike of the Year experience behind him, BikeRadar’s senior technical editor, Warren Rossiter , headed up the endurance category.

Simon von Bromley

As our nerd-in-chief, BikeRadar’s senior technical writer, Simon von Bromley , was tasked with heading up the performance category.

Katherine Moore

Katherine Moore took charge of the women’s category, pitting these leading bikes head-to-head to find the best of the bunch.

Robin Wilmott and Simon Withers

Two of the most experienced bike reviewers in the business, Robin Wilmott and Simon Withers , shared testing duties for our budget category.

Previous Bike of the Year winners

With more than a decade of Bike of the Year tests under our belts, here’s how the honours board looks.

  • 2021: Boardman SLR 9.4
  • 2020: Cannondale SuperSix EVO
  • 2019:  Rondo HVRT CF0
  • 2018:  Giant TCR Advanced 2
  • 2017:  Specialized Roubaix
  • 2016: Cannondale CAAD12 105
  • 2015: BMC GF01 Disc 105
  • 2014:  Cannondale Synapse 5 105
  • 2013:  Giant Defy Advanced 2
  • 2012:   Focus Izalco Pro 3.0
  • 2011: Storck Scenero
  • 2010:   Cannondale Six Carbon 105
  • 2009: Giant TCR

With thanks to…

Thanks to our sponsors HUUB , Lazer , 100% and Garmin for their support in making Bike of the Year happen.

George Scott

George Scott


George Scott is BikeRadar's editor-in-chief. He has been writing about bikes for more than a decade and riding them for much longer. He's a road cyclist at heart and is happiest in the mountains, even if he can't climb them particularly quickly. George has ridden the Etape du Tour, Maratona dles Dolomites and Haute Route sportives, but has also caught the gravel riding bug. George also contributes to the BikeRadar Podcast and YouTube channel, and, as well as being the former editor of, has also written about cycling for Rouleur, and T3.

  • Bike of the Year 2022
  • Road Cycling
  • Women's Cycling

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Best budget gravel bikes 2023: get off the beaten track without spending the earth

Looking for the best budget gravel bikes? Here's our pick of lower priced options

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Male cyclist riding a budget gravel bike.

Buyer's guide to budget gravel bikes

The best budget gravel bikes open up the opportunity for more of us to go on a different kind of riding adventure, without a massive outlay. 

Trying out a new discipline can be daunting, and buying a bike can be quite a gamble if it's something you haven't tried before. Thankfully, there are a number of great bikes on the market that offer cracking value, making the perfect starting point for rides with a little more spice!

Spanning the gap between road and mountain bikes , gravel and adventure bikes have surged in popularity over the last few years. Arguably the most versatile of bike categories, these steeds not only excel on bridleways, byways, dirt roads and singletrack, but can also make great commuter or winter road bikes too. 

Bike prices in general have gone up significantly over the last few years and it's now quite hard to find performance models which come in below $1,500 – other than if you're looking for a hybrid . 

So we've selected a variety of bikes at differing price points and divided this guide up into budget gravel bikes that cost below $1,500 and those costing between that and $2,000 to help you find a gravel bike to suit the amount you're willing to spend.

Of course, if your budget exceeds this, then check out our complete gravel and adventure bikes guide. Spend a bit more and if you get the gravel bug, you'll not find yourself needing so many upgrades or hankering after a higher-end model after a few months riding!

Don't forget the extras you'll need either - we've run through these and other things to look out for at the bottom of this page.

Best budget gravel bikes under $1,500

Below is our pick of the best budget adventure road bikes and gravel bikes we've tested. Read on for more tips on what to look for when shopping for a budget gravel bike to help you venture off the beaten track. If you're considering your first gravel bike we've also created a dedicated guide on what to look out for.

Triban's 120 uses a 1x drivechain for simple shifting

1. Triban 120 Gravel Bike

Our expert review:


Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

Designed for mechanical simplicity, if you're just looking to dip a toe into gravel riding without spending too much cash, the Triban 120 gravel bike might hit the mark. The ride position is upright and there's a fork with carbon legs and an alloy steerer. 

Despite the low price, you still get a 10-speed single chainring groupset with plenty of range and a clutched derailleur. The bike also comes specced with tubeless ready wheels with Hutchinson 38mm tubeless ready tires. The 38mm max clearance is quite narrow and we found that the Triban is better suited to both moderate trails and moderate distances rather than more demanding terrain. However, at this price, the Triban RC 120 is hard to beat.

Read more: Triban 120 Gravel Bike full review

2. Cannondale Topstone 4

Cannondale's gravel bikes have a well-deserved reputation for quality features and the alloy Topstone 4 delivers frame-wise, along with savvy component choices to keep the price down. It's built for comfort rather than speed and provides a relaxed riding position. Plentiful mounts make it a good option for the bikepacker too.

The 10-speed single ring drivetrain comes from Microshift, while the mechanical disc brakes are from Promax. We found that both work well, even if they're not brands that are front of mind when it comes to components. There's the flexibility to add a dropper seatpost with internal cables if you want to tackle more rugged terrain, too. 

Off road, the OutFront geometry works well, but we did find the Topstone 4 sluggish on tarmac.

Read more: Cannondale Topstone 4 gravel bike full review

The Grade Elite has GT's signature triple triangle design

3. GT Grade Elite

GT uses its triple triangle design in the Grade Elite, where the seat stays are lengthened for extra compliance. It leads to a comfortable, stable ride.

The gearing works well, although with a clunk when shifting due to the wide gaps in ratios in the eight-speed cassette. We weren't impressed by the brakes though, as these lacked bite and power, particularly for trickier descents.

Wheels and tires from WTB were good for drier rides and can be set up tubeless, giving plenty off grip and complementing the bike's quality handling. 

Read more: GT Grade Elite gravel bike full review

Boardman's ADV 8.6 aims to bring a quality ride at an affordable price

4. Boardman ADV 8.6

The Boardman ADV 8.6 offers all you need to get started gravel riding. It has lower gearing to keep you moving off-road and tubeless-ready wheels and tyres, so you can avoid being too troubled by punctures. Although the frame is a little firm, setting up tubeless will take the harshness out of the ride.

There's plenty of grip in a variety of conditions and Boardman's saddle and bars are comfortable too. You can add a rack and mudguards for commuting or bikepacking. The only hiccup was the exposed gear cables, which we found were prone to collect dirt, leading to degraded shift performance.

Read more: Boardman ADV 8.6 full review

Kona's Rove AL is a reliable workhorse for gravel adventures and commuting 

5. Kona Rove AL 650

Based in Bellingham, Washington, Kona is no stranger to beefy touring bikes and now gravel bikes. It's got a reputation for no-nonsense, robust bikes with budget spec options that are durable and hassle-free.

This entry-level Rove is one of their aluminium alloy offerings, and available in either 700c or 650b builds at the same price. With chunky 47mm WTB Venture tyres fitted and mounts on the fork legs in addition to standard mudguard and rack eyelets, the Rove is a great choice for anyone wanting to dip their toe into the world of bikepacking.

Trek's Domane is technical a road bike with clearance for wider tires it can handle some rough stuff 

6. Trek Domane AL 2 Disc

If you feel like you are more of an adventure touring or all-road rider the Trek Domane AL line of frames is a good fit. The endurance bike geometry works well both on and off road  and there's clearance for tires up to 35mm. In today's world 35mm isn't big but it's more than enough to tackle well-groomed gravel roads.

For a lot of people this makes perfect sense as a first, or only, bike. Everything that makes it capable of heading off-road also makes it versatile. There are mounts for racks and fenders if you want to do some bike packing, or commuting, and weekend use just means changing tires.

If your budget stretches a bit further, there are three alloy Domane models with higher spec finishing kit in the range.

Marin's Nicasio proves that when it comes to gravel steel can also be real

7. Marin Nicasio+

One of the few steel gravel bikes that you'll find on a budget of less than $1,500, the Marin Nicasio+ is a great choice for budding bikepackers. There are loads of water bottle cage mounts, and you'll have plenty of options for storage alongside traditional rack and guard mounts too.

It comes with a single ring groupset, making for a simpler mechanical set-up, with plenty of gear range and a clutched derailleur, although with only 9 speeds, there are quite large jumps between ratios. The Nicasio+ is fitted with 47mm WTB Horizon tires, so there's lots of rubber between you and the trail for extra comfort and grip.

Best budget gravel bikes under $2,000

8. triban grvl 520.

Another entry from Decathlon's Triban brand, the GRVL 520 has an alloy frameset paired to a carbon bladed fork with mounts for additional bottle cages. Cables run externally, but with full outers.

There are two specs, one with an 11-speed 48/32t subcompact groupset and 700c wheels, the one tested with SRAM Apex 1x 11-speed and 650b wheels.

We found the wheels and 47mm tires a little sluggish on the road and the ride a little harsh. It fared better on more technical off-road terrain, although we didn't feel it was quite the match for some of the competition.

Read our full Triban GRVL 520 SRAM Apex review .

The Diverge E5 offers versatility and plenty of tire clearance

9. Specialized Diverge E5

The lowest spec of the Specialized Diverge E5 gets a decent 8-speed Shimano groupset, although it's leans a little more towards road than off-road use, with a large chainring that probably won't see you spending much time in the top gear.

You get a full-carbon fork with the alloy frame, which provide a stable geometry for off-road antics, paired with a shorter stem length for steerability - a typical gravel set-up. There's plenty of tire clearance at the rear thanks to the solid chainstay section behind the bottom bracket. 

Like the Cannondale Topstone, there are loads of luggage mounts, including those on the fork legs, so the Diverge E5 is good to go for bikepacking adventures as well as playing around off road.

The Diverge E5 is also offered in a Comp build. It's $500 over our budget here but if you can find the extra cash you'll get Futureshock front suspension and a SRAM Apex 1x groupset with hydraulic brakes. We found that both additions really improved the ride quality, with the Futureshock reducing the discomfort in our wrists after longer rides on harsher terrain, while the Apex braking was excellent regardless of the conditions.

Read more: Specialized Diverge Comp E5 full review

The Vitus Substance comes equipped with Shimano's reliable Sora groupset

10. Vitus Substance V-2

There's a lot more to the Vitus Substance V-2 than just a snazzy paint job to make it a great budget gravel bike. There are loads of mounting options for bags and TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes which will help control your speed on testing off-road descents.

Vitus has opted for a good gravel gearing set up, with a sub-compact double (46/30T) paired with an 11-34T cassette for plenty of low speed gearing to get you up steep ascents while spinning in the saddle, while still giving an adequate on-tarmac turn of speed.

The finishing kit is Vitus' own, including Vitus' flared Adventure bars with a very subtle three-degree flare.

The Grail 6 delivers an impressive range of components including a Shimano GRX groupset

11. Canyon Grail 6

Coming in seven sizes, the Grail from German direct sales brand Canyon has a cracking spec. That includes a Shimano GRX 400 10-speed gravel groupset and DT Swiss wheels with Continental Terra Trail 40mm tires. It's nice to get a full Shimano GRX groupset including its hydraulic disc brakes for assured stopping power. The two smallest sizes swap in 650b wheels for the 700c wheels on the larger bikes, for improved geometry and less toe overlap with the front wheel.

It's a bike designed for fast gravel riding and to take you back onto tarmac when you need to link up gravel sections; for more off-road riding, greater tire clearance and extra load-lugging potential there's the Canyon Grizl 6 for the same price. 

Giant's Revolt 2 allows you to adjust the chainstay length to match the demands of your ride

12. Giant Revolt 2

The new Giant Revolt comes with a flip chip in its rear triangle that lets you keep the chainstay length short for a more lively ride on tyres up to 42mm or lengthen them for massive 53mm tire clearance.

Giant uses its compact frame geometry and fits its D-Fuse D-shaped seatpost to help increase saddle comfort, while a carbon fork adds damping to the front end. If you have a bit more in your budget, the Giant Revolt 1 offers ten-speed Shimano GRX gearing and hydraulic braking while still coming in just below our upper price limit.

Liv's Devote is a women specific gravel offering 

13. Liv Devote 1

The women's equivalent of the Revolt is the Devote, from Giant's women's-specific Liv brand. As well as the Devote 1, featured here, there's a Devote 2 with a similar spec to the Revolt 2. 

The Devote 1 comes with smaller frame size options than the Revolt, but you don't get the flip chip variable geometry. There's still clearance for 45mm tires and the bike is delivered with Giant's tubeless set-up. The higher spec of the Devote 1 gets you a 10-speed Shimano GRX RX400 gravel bike groupset, complete with hydraulic disc brakes.

What frame material should I expect in a budget gravel bike?

Inexpensive frames are sometimes steel but almost always expect aluminium. Metal frames are robust, durable, and inexpensive to manufacture. Alloy frames tend to be a little lighter than budget steel frames but steel is easy to repair if you find yourself in a remote region of the world. 

Even at this price point you will often find a carbon fork, which along with the wide tyres will help take some of the road buzz out of your ride.

Whatever material you end up with be sure to protect it for use with bags. Use a strong, clear, adhesive material anywhere that a bag will come in contact with the frame. Even the best bags will wear through the paint.

What groupset and shifting should I expect on a budget gravel bike?

At this price point, there are a few different options on the market, from SRAM's Apex 1X groupset to double chainrings or even triples. Budget Shimano Sora or Claris options help to keep cost down, and simplify shifting with 9 or 8 speed set ups. These are road groupsets, rather than specifically gravel ones, so they don't have a clutch to help keep the chain in place on bumpy terrain.

A gravel-specific groupset like Shimano GRX or SRAM Apex 1 will give you a better set-up for gravel riding than a road groupset, but is not often specced on lower priced gravel bikes, as it's more expensive than 8 or 9-speed options.

Often gravel bikes will come with a single chainring set-up with a wide range cassette to give you the range you need. It's a good option, but better with an 11- or 12-speed set-up; with the cheaper groupsets with a smaller number of ratios, you may find the jumps between gears a bit wide.

The other option to give you lower gear ratios is a subcompact two chainring groupset. Subcompact usually means either a 48/32t or 46/30t chainset, rather than the 50/34t that's typical on road bikes. The advantage of a two chainring groupset is that you get more gear ratios, and so smaller jumps as you move up the cassette.

What brakes should I expect on a budget gravel bike?

Mechanical disc brake set ups are almost always specced at the sub-£1000/$1500 mark. These are less costly than hydraulic disc brakes but still yield benefits over rim braking systems, particularly for gravel bikes. Disc brakes make it possible to fit big tyres and wide wheels without any decrease in braking power. 

Even cable actuated disc brakes offer greater power and modulation than cantilever brakes. Disc brakes will also save your wheelsets from wearing out in mucky conditions, unlike rim brakes. 

Although not as powerful as hydraulic disc brakes, cable-operated brakes can be easier to maintain. Future upgrades are also always possible.

What wheels and tires should I expect on a budget gravel bike?

Even at this cheaper end of the gravel bike market, you can now choose between standard 700c wheels or smaller 650b wheels . A lot of these bikes will be compatible with both sizes too, so you can change as you like or even have a pair of each with different tires fitted.

For easier terrain or longer rides where efficiency is key 700c wheels are a good choice. Choose 650b wheels to run wider, chunkier tires for more technical terrain. The larger volume tires add extra comfort over rooty and rocky trails.

Tires make a huge difference to the quality of your ride, and are also an easy element to switch out when you buy a bike. Having said that, it's great to see so many great tires fitted as standard, even at a budget level.

For mud and loose gravel look for more aggressive tread on the centre line and shoulders. Slick, or file tread, tires will be faster for road, dry conditions and less technical terrain.

It's worth bearing in mind that entry-level wheels can come at the cost of greater weight. Heavier wheels take more energy to get moving and can feel sluggish. When you're convinced that gravel riding is for you, wheels are a good first upgrade.

What finishing kit should I expect on a budget gravel bike?

Many budget gravel bikes come from brands that offer their own in-house finishing kit, for example Triban's seatpost, stem, handlebars , bar tape and saddle . This helps to keep costs low, and although not the flashiest, these parts tend to be well made and robust. Finishing kit is easy to swap out if you fancy an update at any point in the future too.

Handlebars are the one piece of the finishing kit you might want to really pay attention to. Flared bars of around 12 degrees can give a more stable position in the drops for rough descents. They also accommodate bikepacking bags more easily.

What are the best upgrades for my budget gravel bike?

Once you're happy that your new gravel bike is the best steed you've ever owned, you might want to consider a few upgrades to make the ride even more enjoyable. If you've got a little over $1,500/£1,000 to spend initially, you might consider these features for your first bike too.

Although it sounds strange, better braking can actually help you go faster. With more powerful braking from hydraulic disc brakes, you can stop faster. With great braking performance at the end of your fingertips you'll have more confidence to let rip on the descents.

If you don't already have flared handlebars on your bike, consider this upgrade for confident descending and more room for bikepacking bags up front.

Your wheels can make a huge difference to the quality of the ride, and unfortunately, at lower price points the quality of these can suffer. Upgrading your original wheelset to a lighter and higher quality build can make the world of difference.

Don't feel stuck with the tires that come on your bike. Your preferred terrain and conditions might need something different. Experiment with different volumes and tread types until you find some that work for you. You may need a different set of tires for summer and winter riding to get the most out of your budget gravel bike, swapping between them to compensate for the changes in trail conditions.

Setting up your wheels tubeless can be one of the biggest (although not always the easiest) upgrades to your bike out of the box. With no tube to worry about you can run lower pressure for better traction and a more comfortable ride. Tubeless sealant can also seal small punctures before you even know something happened.

What extras do I need for gravel riding?

If you're looking to keep your spending on your new gravel bike under control, don't forget to budget for the extras you'll need.

Although you can ride on a set of the best flat pedals , it's easiest to ride off-road on clipless pedals, but you need an MTB-style two-bolt system rather than a road-going three bolt one. The best pedals for off-road riding are two sided for easier engagement, clear mud well and are robust.

You'll need a matching pair of two bolt shoes for gravel riding , as the recessed cleats and grippy soles are essential for when you need to walk your bike.

Don't forget to factor in a helmet , summer gloves in case you take a tumble and winter gloves to keep your hands from freezing. If you don't want to ride in road gear, there's also a good selection of gravel bike clothing for more versatility or a more relaxed look. Finally don't forget sunglasses to help keep dirt and bugs out of your eyes.

If you're planning to use your gravel bike for bikepacking or even for commuting, there's a whole range of bikepacking bags to make packing and carrying easier. We've got a comprehensive list of everything you need to go bikepacking - there's quite a lot of it.

You'll also run through consumables quicker off-road than on, so you'll need spare inner tubes and a puncture repair kit or, if you've swapped to tubeless, tubeless sealant and tubeless repair tools . You'll also need to clean your bike and drivetrain more often and you'll need plenty of chain lube .

How we test

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Where we've been able to link to a review, it means that we've put the bike through its paces. This means we've ridden it across a variety of terrain to assess it's suitability for gravel riding, considering a range of factors such as its ride quality, comfort over longer distances and its suitability for alternative uses such as winter road riding and commuting. This being a 'budget' guide, value for money was a key consideration too.

Our testers are all experienced gravel riders and include our Tech Features Editor Stefan Abram, who's undertaken several multi-day bikepacking adventures both in the UK and abroad.

Where we haven't yet had the chance to review an item, we're still confident in recommending it as one of the best, because we either know the brand really well, and have probably tested another product or the previous version and can still happily recommend it as one of the best. 

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trek domane al 2 disc vs giant revolt 2

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Kearney Cycles

Giant Revolt 2

Giant Revolt 2

Gravel, dirt and scenic backroads offer some of the best opportunities for freedom and adventure. The Giant Revolt is a lightweight aluminium all-rounder is the perfect way to get away from it all and explore the places you’ve always thought about but never ridden. It features a lightweight ALUXX aluminium frame and composite fork, each engineered to balance stiffness and compliance. It comes with integrated components including the D-Fuse seatpost and Contact XR D-Fuse handlebar to further absorb road shocks and vibrations. The frame is integrated for disc brakes and it has clearance for larger tyres up to 45mm.

  • Sizes S, M, ML, L, XL
  • Colours Sapphire
  • Frame ALUXX Grade Aluminium, disc. Compatible with fenders
  • Fork full composite, OverDrive steerer, disc
  • Handlebar Giant Contact XR D-Fuse, 31.85° back sweep, flared drop
  • Stem Giant Contact, 8-degree
  • Seatpost Giant D-Fuse, alloy
  • Saddle Giant Approach
  • Shimano Sora, 2x9
  • Front Derailleur Shimano Sora
  • Rear Derailleur Shimano Sora, long cage
  • Brakes Tektro MD-C550 mechanical, Giant MPH rotors [F]160mm, [R]160mm
  • Brake Levers Shimano Sora
  • Cassette Shimano HG-400, 11x34
  • Chain KMC X9 with Missing Link
  • Crankset FSA Vera Pro, 32/48
  • Bottom Bracket FSA BSA cartridge
  • Rims Giant S-X2 Disc wheelset
  • Hubs Giant S-X2 Disc wheelset
  • Spokes Giant S-X2 Disc wheelset
  • Tyres Giant CrossCut AT 2 Tubeless, 700x38C (max tyre width possible: 45mm)
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Trek Domane AL 2 Disc

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