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Best 2020 Gravel Bikes Under £1000

Words by Cycles UK

on 11/12/2019 13:09:59

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Gravel bikes are THE in-thing in cycling and have been on the rise for the last couple of years. Initially developed for unpaved roads in the States gravel bikes have become popular in the UK due to their versatility. Gravel bikes will glide over the roughest UK country lanes, will be happy on old railway lines and canal towpaths and won’t mind the odd bridleway or farm track.

There are lots of bikes that fall under the gravel bike label. Some are road bikes which can handle the odd bit of rougher terrain while others have been developed explicitly for gravel. Most of the gravel bikes under £1000 will do double duty as commuting bikes and come with mudguard and pannier rack mounting points.

2020 CANNONDALE TOPSTONE AL SORA -£949.99

2020 CANNONDALE TOPSTONE AL SORA -£949.99

The Cannondale Topstone has been specifically designed for gravel riding. It takes its name from a favourite gravel riding route near the Cannondale Head Office in Connecticut. The Topstone uses a mix of Cannondale’s road and mountain bike technologies including their Out-Front Geometry which makes the bike more stable at speed on loose gravel tracks. The Topstone is designed to be ridden hard off-road and comes with Big tyre clearance – up to 42mm and is dropper post compatible. Cannondale has also set up it up for bike packing. It comes with mounts for three water bottles, plus mounts for top tube storage and room for big frame bags for bike packing.

The Topstone Sora has been super popular since its release. If you want one, you may need to pre-order it.

2020 TREK CHECKPOINT AL 3 - £1000

2020 TREK CHECKPOINT AL 3 - £1000

The Checkpoint bikes are Trek’s gravel-specific bike range, and the AL 3 is the entry-level model. The Checkpoints come with a slightly steeper head angle and marginally shorter headtube than the Cannondale Topstone. This gives the Checkpoint more of a traditional road bike riding position for a somewhat faster feeling ride on tarmac and hard-packed cycle paths.

The Checkpoint AL 3 also comes with 32c tubeless-ready tyres narrower than the Topstone. Much of the rest of the spec on the Checkpoint is the same as the Topstone. Both bikes come with 9 speed Shimano Sora gearing, both have aluminium frames and carbon forks, and both have mudguard and pannier rack mounts.

2020 SPECIALIZED DIVERGE - £899.00

2020 SPECIALIZED DIVERGE - £899.00

Since Specialized went beyond gender, the Diverge E5 is available in a wide range of sizes (48 to 61) with a more extensive range of paint jobs. Specialized describe it as an all-road bike having no problem shredding singletrack, singletrack with gravel, gravel roads and traditional roads with speed and authority. The Diverge comes with similar geometry to the Cannondale Topstone but is set up more for road riding with much narrower 35c tyres compared to the 42c on the Cannondale.

The Diverge comes with Shimano Claris gearing, one step down from the Shimano Sora gears fitted to the Checkpoint and Topstone and has 16 rather than 18 speeds. The Diverge makes a great commuter and all-round road orientated bike.

2020 CANNONDALE CAADX TIAGRA - £999.99
2020 CANNONDALE CAADX TIAGRA - £999.99

The CAADX Tiagra is a cyclocross bike but one that Cannondale expect to be used as a commuter or all-road adventurer. With its cyclocross pedigree, the CAADX can easily handle a bit of gravel. The CAADX is modelled on cyclocross race bikes so it will have a racier and faster handling feel than most of the other gravel bikes we have looked at and the riding position will have you more bent over the bars. Where most of the other gravel bikes are set up with long all-day or multi-day adventures in mind, the CAADX is better suited to fast evening rides or a quick couple of hours.

The CAADX comes with a 10 speed Shimano Tiagra groupset, one level up from the Sora equipment found on the Topstone and Checkpoint and two levels up from the Claris equipment on the Diverge.