The 8 Best Gravel Bikes Under $1500 [2022]

The Best Gravel Bikes Under 1500: A gravel bike lean against a wooden fence

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These are the best gravel bikes for under $1500. I researched the gravel bikes available and evaluated reviews to save your time.

I also talked with friends and store owners and asked them for tips on choosing a gravel bike and what to expect at this price range.

There are multiple types of gravel/adventure bikes, so no gravel bike will suit all riders. But, these stand out from the rest:

Below, you learn more about these bikes, how to choose a gravel bike, what to expect in the below $1500 price range, and more.

Let’s dive in!


IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the shortage of bike components and high demand for bikes, many bikes are out of stock online. Unfortunately, it is necessary to wait even several months for some bikes.
As pinkbike.com predicts, the prices of bicycles will probably keep increasing in 2022 due to multiple factors like increased labor, shipping, and material costs.
Therefore, if you like a bike and its size is suitable for you, I recommend buying it.

What Are the Best Gravel Bikes Under $1500?

The best gravel bikes under $1500 have to fit your riding preference. This means that if you want to do bike touring, you should consider getting a touring/adventure gravel bike that is compatible with accessories like racks, panniers, fenders, etc., and has more relaxed, endurance geometry.

On the other hand, if you prefer speed and racing, look for gravel bikes with a more aggressive geometry.

If you are new to gravel bikes, read the buyer’s guide section first, where you learn everything you need to know before choosing a gravel bike.

The Best Gravel Bikes Under $1500

The following selection includes gravel bikes ideal for touring, racing, and light and rough terrain.

NOTE: All bikes below are compatible with 650b and 700c wheels.

State Bicycle 6061 Black Label ALL-ROAD (Best Gravel Bike for Rough Terrain)

‘Dark Woodland’ Color | Source: statebicycle.com
bike6
‘Dark Woodland’ Color | Source: statebicycle.com

Main Features

  • Ideal bike for rough terrain
  • Customizable wheels & accessories
  • Highly versatile
  • Unique – ‘Dark Woodland‘ and ‘Deep Pacific‘ colors
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • Internal cable routing

Technical Specifications

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Weight: n/a
  • Gearing: State Bicycle Co. All-Road 1x11spd (11-42 cassette)
  • Wheel size: 650b or 700c
  • Tires: Vittoria Terreno Dry Tires (Tubeless Compatible) – 47c [650b] or Vittoria Terreno Zero  Tires (Tubeless Compatible) – 38C [700c]

State Bicycle 6061 is the opposite of ADV 1.1. This bike was created for wild off-road riding. Before purchasing, you can choose whether to buy it with 650b or 700c wheels (or both).

Wide, knobby tires provide enough grip for bumpy roads, singletracks, forest roads, gravel, mud, and similar terrains.

However, with this bike, you don’t have to limit yourself to the terrain only. It can also handle paved roads (especially with 700c wheels and narrower tires).

1X shifting is very intuitive. Its small disadvantage is the limited number of gears. However, the 11-42 cassette provides a wide range for steep hills and flats.

Another advantage is that you can opt for accessories such as pedals, saddle type, water bottle cage, and lock, so you do not have to buy them separately.

I also like the unique ‘Dark Woodland’ and ‘Deep Pacific’ colors. Which one do you choose?


Marin Gestalt 2

Marin Gestalt 2 gravel bike with disc brakes
Source: bikesonline.com

Main Features

  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • Carbon fork
  • Unique ‘chameleon’ color
  • Compatible with racks and other accessories
  • Internal cable routing

Technical Specifications

If I had to pick a bike based on its design, Marin Gestalt 2 would be my favorite. But, of course, we all have slightly different tastes, so I will focus on its other features.

You will especially appreciate its riding characteristics on paved surfaces. It is equipped with 700c wheels with 32 mm tires. Therefore, Gestalt 2 is not far from a road bike.

However, the frame offers tire clearance for 700 x 35c tires. These are ideal for the terrain because they will provide enough grip and comfort.

Marin Gestalt 2 offers 20 gears, so you won’t have a problem climbing a hill and descending quickly.

Of course, this bike is compatible with racks, fenders, and other bike accessories. Thanks to them, you can go on a long trip without worrying about food, water, spare clothes, etc.

So, if you want a nice-looking, well-equipped, and versatile bike, go for it. Or, you can check out the more affordable Gestalt 1 with lower-end components.

Also available at jensonusa.com


Co-op Cycles ADV 2.2 Bike

White Co-op Cycles ADV 2.2 gravel bike with disc brakes
Source: rei.com

Main Features

  • Ideal bike for light terrain
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • Carbon fork
  • Compatible with a rear rack

Technical Specifications

Co-op Cycles ADV 2.2 is an improved version of its predecessor ADV 2.1. Although it slightly exceeds the $1,500 mark, its price is fully justifiable. Let me explain why.

It comes with 700c wheels and 40mm tires that handle light gravel or dirt roads and are fast on the tarmac.

Thanks to Shimano GRX 2x10spd, you can use one of the 20 gears (this is more than the previous version). This makes the jumps between gears smaller, and you will always find the right gear.

You don’t have to worry about stopping when needed, even in the rain, because the mechanical disc brakes will provide enough stopping power.

The main downside of ADV 2.2 is that it has no additional slots for bike bottles except the standard two.

Overall, the Co-op Cycles ADV 2.2 is perfect for maintaining fitness, training, commuting, and recreation.


Improve your riding comfort with proper shoes. These shoes for gravel bikes will do the work, especially with gravel bike pedals.


Polygon Bend R5

Polygon Bend R5
Polygon Bend R5 | Source: bikesonline.com

Main Features

  • Hydraulic disc brakes (learn more)
  • Relaxed geometry
  • Carbon fork
  • Dropper seatpost
  • Front and rear racks compatible
  • Partial internal cable routing
  • Lifetime frame warranty

Technical Specifications

The Polygon Bend R5 is slightly over $1500, but the value it offers is worth your consideration.

Bend R5 can compete with gravel bikes for under $2000. It is unique thanks to its integrated dropper post. It’s handy on trails and other technical terrains.

The frame geometry is suitable for people who prefer an upright riding position or are less flexible.

Like most gravel and adventure bikes, R5 is compatible with front and rear racks, so you can easily extend your storage capacity.

Polygon Bend R5 comes with 650b wheels and wide tires, allowing you to tackle rougher terrains. Unfortunately, the wheels are not tubeless-compatible.

Another disadvantage of the Polygon Bend R5 is its high weight compared to other gravel bikes in this roundup.

On the other hand, which bikes come with a lifetime frame warranty?


Fuji Jari 2.1

Red Fuji Jari 2.1 gravel bike with disc brakes
Fuji Jari 2.1 | Source: wiggle.com

Main Features

  • Mechanical disc brakes (learn more)
  • Performance geometry
  • Carbon fork
  • Front and rear racks compatible
  • Partial internal cable routing

Technical Specifications

The Fuji Jari 2.1 comes with several cool features. Let’s talk about them one by one.

First, it is equipped with the Shimano Tiagra groupset with 20 gears (2x10spd). This gear range allows you to conquer hills but also ride quickly on flat sections. You will always find the right gear.

Second, you get a great stopping at all conditions power thanks to the mechanical disc brakes.

Third, as Fuji calls it, the “adventure” geometry allows you to enjoy a comfortable ride for hours. Furthermore, the carbon fork absorbs minor vibrations to improve your comfort further.

I also cannot forget its compatibility with racks that effectively extend your storage capacity for bike packing adventures.

You can equip Jari 2.1 with up to 3 bottle cages to have enough water supply. By the way, did you notice the “bump” under the top tube? That’s a shouldering pad that increases your comfort when walking with the bike on your shoulder through streams and other impassable sections.

Overall, the Fuji Jari 2.1 offers an excellent price-value ratio.


Trek Domane AL 3 Disc (Best Gravel Bike for Light Terrain)

Green Trek Domane AL 3 Disc gravel bike with disc brakes and Shimano Sora groupset
Source: trekbikes.com

Main Features

  • Ideal bike for light terrain
  • High built quality
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • Carbon fork
  • 3 bottle cage-ready spots
  • Inbuilt speed sensor
  • Internal cable routing

Technical Specifications

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 23.24 lb (10.54 kg)
  • Gearing: Shimano Sora R3000 2x9spd (11-32 cassette)
  • Wheel size: 700c
  • Tires: Bontrager R1 Hard-Case Lite, wire bead, 60 TPI, 700x32c

The Domane line is a line of road endurance bikes from Trek. However, thanks to the wider tire clearance and 32mm tires, this road bike became a fast gravel bike ideal for riding many miles while maintaining your fitness level.

Take advantage of its sporty geometry as well as decades of experience with the Trek design team.

Compared to other bikes in this selection, the Trek Domane AL 3 Disc is a relatively light bike, even though it is equipped with more affordable components and its frame is aluminum. So, be aware of its weight limit of 275 lb (125 kg).

Its carbon fork makes the ride more comfortable because it absorbs many vibrations.

You can also track your speed, distance, etc., with the inbuilt DuoTrap S sensor compatible with smartphones and head units (it uses Bluetooth connectivity).

Trek Domane AL 3 Disc is compatible with rear racks, 3 bottle cages, and other useful accessories for gravel bikes.

This means that you can equip your bike with the cargo necessary for your long-distance trips.

These features make Domane AL 3 Disc an ultimate road/gravel bike.


Do you use platform pedals? You may also be interested in the best non cycling shoes for cycling.


Vitus Substance V-2

White/gray Vitus Substance V-2 gravel bike with disc brakes
Vitus Substance V-2 | Source: wiggle.com

Main Features

  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • 3 bottle cage ready spots
  • Compatible with racks and other accessories
  • Internal cable routing

Technical Specifications

  • Frame material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 23.68 lb (10.74 kg)
  • Gearing: Shimano Sora R3000 2x9spd (11-34 cassette)
  • Wheel size: 650b
  • Tires: WTB Byway TCS Road Plus, 650b x 47

Vitus Substance V-2 is a relatively light gravel bike that you can easily equip with other accessories, including rear and front racks, up to 3 water bottle cages, panniers, bags, etc.

Thanks to these features, it is perfect for long (even several-day) bike trips, during which you can take full advantage of additional cargo space.

This bike has 650b wheels and 47mm wide tires, so riding through rough terrain will be fun.

Vitus bikes are known for their great price-value ratio, so you also get the Shimano Sora groupset except for the modern look and well-built quality.

I am sure you will also appreciate the availability of 18 gears with an 11-34T cassette. This range is enough for climbs, flats, and even downhills.

And last but not least, the mechanical disc brakes will provide you with enough stopping power even in rainy weather.

Marin Nicasio Plus

Silver Marin Nicasio gravel bike with disc brakes
Marin Nicasio Plus | Source: marinbikes.com

Main Features

  • 650b wheels
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • 3 bottle cage-ready spots
  • Platform pedals included
  • Compatible with fenders, front and rear racks

Technical Specifications

Fans of steel bikes, be aware! The Marin Nicasio Plus is a stylish gravel bike suitable for adrenaline junkies.

It comes with MicroSHIFT Advent 1×9spd shifting (11-46T cassette) and 650bx47 tires. This combination is ideal for rough terrain. However, you can also equip it with 700c wheels (up to 35mm wide tires) if you want to transform it.

Nicasio Plus is ideal for people who appreciate style, functionality, and durability.

The steel frame is also easily repairable, making this bike perfect for those who love to seek adventure far away from home.

You will appreciate the extra bottle cage mount during longer trips so you won’t run out of water quickly and mounts of fenders and racks.

The fenders will keep you dry in wet conditions, and the racks extend your storage capacity for trip essentials.

There are not many reasons not to love this bike. Maybe the weight of around 28lbs (13kg) could be lower.


Did you not choose any bike from this selection? Check the Best Gravel Bikes Under $1000.


My Verdict

Gravel bikes are popular thanks to their versatility. You can use them to commute to and from work, explore your countryside, bike packing, for adrenaline rides in the terrain, or any other ride.

Make sure you choose your next gravel bike depending on your riding style and the terrain you want to ride in (read the How to Choose a Gravel Bike section to learn more).

I selected the best gravel bike from 3 main categories (for bike touring, rough terrain, and light terrain):

State Bicycle 6061 Black Label ALL-ROAD is the best gravel bike for rough terrain. You can opt-in for 650b wheels (tubeless compatible) with wide 47c tires to provide you with enough grip and comfort in rough terrain.

Marin Gestalt 2 (also available on jensonusa.com) is the best gravel bike for light terrain. It was designed as a road bike – just with wider tire clearance. It’s a synonym for speed, aerodynamics, and pure joy.

Co-op Cycles ADV 2.2 is the best gravel bike for bike touring, thanks to its compatibility with accessories like panniers, making it a great option for long journeys.


How to Choose a Gravel Bike?

Gravel bikes (also called adventure bikes) come with different frames, components, wheels, etc.

To help you choose the best gravel bike under $1500, I will explain to you in the following part what you can expect in this price range and what to be aware of when choosing your new gravel bike.

You can also read the fully dedicated guide on How to Choose a Gravel Bike.

Frame Material

The frame is the spine of every bicycle. Gravel bike frames are mostly made from aluminum, steel, or carbon.

  1. Aluminum gravel bikes are the most affordable because aluminum is relatively cheap and easier to manufacture than steel or carbon frames. Aluminum frames are not as stiff as steel or carbon frames, but they are lighter compared to steel frames. Aluminum gravel bikes are ideal for beginners or people with a tight budget. The biggest downside of the aluminum frames is that they fatigue and corrode over time.
  2. Steel gravel bikes are the heaviest. Steel frames are stiff and durable. This means they provide good power transfer, won’t crack after a first crash, and last longer than aluminum frames. I also like their ‘retro’ look and their uniqueness. Steel frames can be repaired relatively easily.
  3. Carbon gravel bikes are very stiff and light. Their stiff-to-weight ratio is the highest. They are suitable for performance-oriented people. On the other hand, they are expensive, and they need to be inspected for cracks after a heavy crash to prevent failure under stress.

Sources: CyclingWeekly, SheldonBrown, ScienceDirect

Learn more about gravel bike frame materials in this comparison article.

Frame MaterialWeight of the Gravel Bike
Carbon7.5–10 kg
16.5–22 lb
Aluminum9.5–12 kg
21–26.5 lb
Steel11–13.5 kg
24–30 lb
The estimated gravel bike weight is based on the market research I did and the comparison of weights of gravel bikes. The weight also depends on the components used on the bike. For example, carbon gravel bikes usually come with better and lighter components, so the overall weight is also lower.

Gravel bikes for under $1500 mostly come with aluminum or steel frames. Don’t expect carbon frame gravel bikes in this price range. Carbon gravel bikes start at around $2000.

Groupset

Generally speaking, bicycles use 1X, 2X, or 3X shifting, and gravel bikes are no exception. However, 3X shifting is not very common for gravel bikes.

1X shifting (1 chainring) offers fewer gears. This means it is simpler and ideal for beginners. On the other hand, the jumps between the individual gears are larger than 2X shifting.

The overall weight of 1X shifting is lower than 2X shifting, thanks to fewer parts. So, if you care about the bike’s overall weight, you should consider going for 1X shifting (among other things like the frame, wheels, etc.).

2X shifting (2 chainrings) offers a wider gear range. You can use a gear that suits you the best based on your preferred cadence and the terrain.

Cross-chaining vs. good shifting - illustration of the wrong and right chain positions
Avoid cross-chaining to reduce chain friction and drivetrain damage. Follow good shifting best practices to improve efficiency.

The downside of the 2X shifting is that it is more prone to failure and damage due to many parts and things that can go wrong.

3X shifting (3 chainrings) is not popular among gravel bike riders. This shifting is complex, prone to failure and damage, and heavier than 1X or 2X shifting.

An illustration of a 1x chainring
1x chainring
An illustration of a 2x chainring
2x chainring
An illustration of a 3x chainring
3x chainring

The groupsets are usually supplied by companies like Shimano or SRAM, but you may also find other, less known manufacturers like MicroShift, or custom groupsets by the bike manufacturers themselves.

In the below $1500 price range, expect groupsets like Shimano Sora, Shimano Claris, Shimano Tiagra, SRAM Apex, MicroShift Advent X, etc.

Wheel Size

Gravel bikes use 650b or 700c wheels.

650b wheels are smaller but use wider tires. They are perfect for rougher terrain like bumpy roads, mud, forest roads, single tracks, etc. Thanks to knobby tires, they will provide you with enough grip needed for these terrains.

This wheel size is also more comfortable thanks to wider tires. They better absorb bumps and other vibrations that make the ride uncomfortable.

700c wheels are bigger and use narrower tires compared to 650b wheels. This makes them better for light terrain and paved surfaces like the tarmac because they allow you to ride faster without spending as much energy.

According to La Velocita, 700c wheels combine the best weight, grip, and rolling resistance ratio.

An illustration of a 700c vs. 650b wheel size
700c vs. 650b wheel size

When buying a new gravel bike, think about the terrain you want to ride in. Do you prefer paved surfaces and light terrain? Good, go for 700c wheels.

Do you want to experience more adrenalin and fun in terrain? Then, 650b wheels are the way to go.

Brakes

During my market research, I could not find a gravel bike with rim brakes. Gravel bikes use almost exclusively one of the 2 types of disc brakes:

  1. Mechanical disc brakes work similarly to rim brakes – a steel cable moves the pistons, creating friction that slows the bike. The advantage is that they are compatible with standard rim shifters and are easier to maintain at home. Their disadvantage is that the steel cable can wear out more easily and break when you don’t expect it.
  2. Hydraulic disc brakes use fluid filled in the system. As CyclingAbout explains, when you pull the brake lever, the fluid rushes down to the caliper, closing the brake pads. This type of disc brake provides braking consistency in any riding conditions. On the other hand, they are more difficult to maintain at home due to their complexity.

Gravel bikes under $1500 are usually equipped with mechanical disc brakes (except for a few exceptions). The hydraulic disc brakes are used on more expensive gravel bikes.

Accessories Compatibility

Another thing you should consider when before buying a gravel bike is its compatibility with accessories.

If you plan to ride long distances, you will need to attach additional accessories to your bike to store clothes, food, tools, bike lock, or whatever you need to take.

Gravel bikes usually allow you to attach more than 2 bottle cages, bike racks, handlebar bags, frame bags, saddle bags, etc.

I recommend watching the following video to learn what to pack for your next bikepacking trip.

Bike Size

Choosing the correct bike can be tricky when you can’t try it. Online retailers publish bike size charts and bike geometry info to pick the bike size based on your height, inseam length, and other body dimensions.

You can also read my other article explaining how to Choose a Bike Size. It contains a bike size calculator that will calculate the correct gravel bike size within seconds.

TIP: To compare geometries of not only gravel bikes, use the Bikeinsights tool.


Gravel Bikes FAQ


This post is regularly updated to provide you with the most up-to-date product tips. If you find a product that is not up to date, please, contact me.

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