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Best Cheap Gravel Bikes of 2022 – Under $2,000

By Sam Millers   /  Last updated - September 16, 2022   /  Gravel Bikes, Reviews, Under $2,000

bicycle leaning on rock formation

The mighty gravel bike – one of the latest trending sub-categories in the cycling industry besides electric and fat-tire bikes.

Cycling in essence is quite convenient already as you can follow paths that are not accessible by a car, and comfortable enough for distances that might take too long to walk.

One bike to rule them all—mud, gravel, trails, bikepacking, and fast city commutes.

Riding a gravel road or light trail with a mountain bike is truly fun, don’t get us wrong, but if you’d like to travel long distances with better speed by not losing the momentum that the MTB suspension swallows, you might want to consider looking into gravel bikes!

The selection of gravel bikes in 2022 is quite diverse as most large bike brands have produced their own series of gravel bikes. Starting as low as $800, there is a quite good selection of bikes for all skill levels and riding preferences.

Gravel bike riding features light trails, long bikepacking trips, and fast sections on gravel roads.

Is $1,000 to $2,000 enough for a gravel bike?

Depending on your preferred field of use, a $1,000 price tag gets you a nice gravel bike with a steel frame & steel fork with mechanical disc brakes front and rear.

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Best suited for recreational commuters, these bikes have quite entry-level components in terms of gravel riding but stand the test of time for the purposed field of use.

Although, a $2,000 and $1,500 budget can get you a decent bang for the buck!


Table of Contents

Best of – Under $2,000

Best of – Under $1,500

Best of – Under $1,000

Gravel Bikes 101


Best Gravel Bikes Under $2,000

Salsa – Stormchaser

Cannondale– Synapse 105

NS Bikes – RAG+ 2

Marin – Gestalt 2

Masi – Brunello ADX

Salsa – Journeyer


Salsa – Stormchaser

Single-speed gravel bike

salsa stormchaser gravel bike

co-op cycles white adventure gravel bike

Price: $1,899

  • Race Face Ride 38T crankset
  • Teravail Rutland 700c x 42mm tubeless-ready
  • TRP Spyre-C mechanical Disc brakes
  • Aluminum frame & carbon fork

Salsa is well-known for its range of off-road-ready bikes designed to handle the demands of bicycle touring and bikepacking. The Stormchaser is a unique offering as it is a single-speed gravel bike. 

It comes with a 6066-T6 aluminum frame with vibration-reducing technology built in. This frame pairs with a stiff carbon fiber fork to enhance the overall ride quality. Of course, this frameset is loaded with mounts for all kinds of accessories and additional protection for rough-terrain rides. 

The Stormchaser has room for tires up to 42mm with tons of mud clearance left over. The stock tires are tubeless-ready Teravail Rutland 42mm which have a decent amount of tread. 

Finally, as this bike is a single-speed, you will be limited to riding on flat terrain or very slight gradients. 

Buy from REI


Cannondale – Synapse 105 2021

cannondale synapse 105

Price: $2,000

  • Aluminum frame & carbon fork
  • 2×11-speed – Shimano 105
  • 700c x 30mm
  • Mechanical disc brakes

Anyone coming from a road bike background will find the Cannondale Synapse 105 all-road/gravel bike appealing.

It has endurance road geometry which is slightly less stable than a standard gravel bike but is still suitable for light off-road terrain with its vibration-absorbing SAVE micro-suspension.

This is a great bike for those who are looking for a more capable and faster bicycle than you’d get from a standard gravel bike.

Designed for long-distance rides, the Cannondale Synapse is equipped with parts equal to mid-range component durability levels focused on blending comfort, speed, and performance, rather than pure comfort like many gravel bikes.

Notable components include a Shimano 105 drivetrain, TRP Spyre-C mechanical discs, Vittoria Zaffiro 30c tires, and Cannondale RD 2.0 Disc wheels. 

Buy from Mike's Bikes


NS Bikes – RAG+ 2

SRAM Apex 1×11-speed

ns bikes rag+ 2

Price: $1,799

  • Aluminum frame and carbon fork 
  • 700x40c WTB Nano
  • 1x11speed SRAM Apex
  • Sun Race CSMS7 11-42t
  • Tubeless-compatible Alex Draw 2.1P rims

When it comes to gravel gravel grinders, NS Bikes is definitely a name to consider. Their RAG+ 2 boasts an awesome set of components that are hard to see below the $2,000 line. It is also the only single front chainring and carbon fork bike on this list. The wide-range cassette and wide tire clearance are ideal for both gravel and adventure riding.

Although we can’t overlook the stylish design, paint finish, the most important feature of this bike is the super light build of just 22.5lbs. This weight will allow you to mount a 28mm road tire and easily keep up with any road ride.

Buy from Mike's Bikes


Marin – Gestalt 2

2x gravel bike perfect for light touring

marin gestalt 2

MSRP: $1,749

  • Shimano Tiagra 2×10-speed drivetrain
  • Schwalbe G-One 700x30mm
  • Aluminum frame & carbon fork

The Marin Gestalt 2 is an affordable gravel and endurance road bike with solid components including a Shimano Tiagra groupset and tubeless-ready wheelset.

Although its main function is as an endurance road bike, it’s a highly versatile bike with multiple uses, including gravel riding, touring, and bikepacking. The components that support this include a wide 2×10-speed drivetrain, 35mm tire clearance, the ability to go tubeless for fewer punctures, Shimano Tiagra hydraulic disc brakes, and a stiff yet comfortable carbon fork.

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 Finally, the Gestalt 2 is highly-customizable, with mounts for a rack and fender ready to transform it into a daily commuter or light touring and the ability to fit a dropper post for more extreme off-road riding. 

Buy from Jenson USA


Masi – Brunello ADX

A super-stable gravel bike

masi brunello adx gravel bike

Price: $1,700

  • Rever MCX2 mechanical disc brakes
  • Hutchinson Override, 700x38mm tires
  • MicroSHIFT Advent X 10-speed drivetrain
  • Smooth-welded aluminum frame & carbon fork

The Masi Brunello ADX is a 10-speed gravel bike designed specifically to handle extreme terrain. Its aluminum frame and carbon fork benefit from aggressive geometry which makes riding all day a breeze. 

The Brunello ADX is ideal for gravel and touring rides thanks to its Brev M. 700c Performance Gravel tubeless-ready rims and reliable mechanical disc brakes. With Hutchinson Override 700x38c tires, this is clearly a bike aimed at some serious off-road exploring.

Buy from Jenson USA


Salsa – Journeyer

Durability and character

salsa journeyer apex 1

Price: $1,849

  • Waxwing carbon fork
  • SRAM Apex 1 11-speed
  • Tektro MD-C550 mechanical discs
  • Teravail Washburn 700c x 38 mm

The Salsa Journeyer is a solid gravel bike, built for long-distance touring. We have always been amazed to see price tags on Salsa bikes, and this model is no different. 

On the Journeyer, you’ll see a 1×11-speed SRAM Apex 1 drivetrain, which is not high tech but lasts long and shifts reliably.

As comfort plays a huge role in riding a road bike on gravel roads, this is where Salsa truly shines. The carbon fiber fork reduces trail chatter and road vibrations and its relaxed geometry makes it comfortable to ride hour after hour. 

Mechanical disc brakes are chosen for this bike as they are easy to maintain on a long haul, and tubeless-ready Teravail Washburn 700c x 38mm tires are definitely something to rely on.

Add that sleek red-orange color and you’ve got a modern bike to tackle any bikepacking trip. Getting a bike made by Salsa is like stepping into a cult, a decision to prefer something out of the ordinary, and all that in a good way!

Buy from REI


Best Gravel Bikes Under $1,500

Co-op Cycles – ADV 2.1

Marin – Nicasio+

State Bicycle Co. – 6061 Black Label All-Road

Tommaso Bikes – Illimitate Disc 40C

Diamondback – Haanjo 3


Co-op Cycles – ADV 2.1

co-op cycles adv 2.1

MSRP: $1,299

  • Aluminum frame & carbon fork
  • 2x8speed Shimano Claris
  • Promax DSK-718R mechanical disc brakes
  • Kenda Flintridge 700c x 35mm tires
  • WTB ST i19 TCS 2.0 tubeless ready rims

Co-op Cycles’ ADV 2.1 is a cheap gravel bike with excellent components for the price. You have a standard aluminum frame paired with a carbon fork which helps keep weight down and improve front-end stiffness.

The wheelset is comprised of grippy Kenda Flintridge 35mm tires on a WTB ST i19 tubeless-ready wheelset which greatly reduces punctures and improves comfort through the ability to run a lower tire pressure. 

At just 23.5lbs, you will be comfortable taking this bike on long rides across varied terrain. The ADV 2.1 also includes mounts for a rear rack and handlebar bags to open up the world of bicycle touring. Finally, Co-op included a set of reliable mechanical disc brakes to ensure all-weather stopping power. 

Buy from REI


Marin – Nicasio+ 2022

nicasio+ marin

Price: $1,179

At under $1,200, the all-new Marin Nicasio+ gravel bike is worth exploring.

Equipped with an interesting choice of 1×9 microSHIFT advent shifters & derailleur, steel frame & fork, Tektro mechanical road brakes, this bike doesn’t lack anything at its price category. The SunRace cassette has a great range of 11-46T which makes it an ideal all-around commuter bike.

The 650b x 47mm tires are fitted on double-wall aluminum rims, steel is obviously proved among bikepackers, tourers, and gravel riders alike.

Buy from Jenson USA


State Bicycle Co. – 6061 Black Label All-Road

6061 black label all-road state bicycle co

Price: $1,399

  • State Bicycle Co. All-Road 1 1×11 drivetrain
  • 6061 alloy frame & carbon fork
  • 700x38c Vittoria Terreno Zero or 650bx47c Vittoria Terreno Dry tires 

Plenty of quality at a low price tag – the 6061 Black Label is as good as it looks, inside out. Although you can use this for light performance rides, trail riding, and as an everyday commuter, the 6061 Black Label is a dual road/gravel bike due to its carbon fork in the front and versatile tire clearance.

Mechanical disc brakes are more than enough for uneven paths as you don’t need as strong stopping power as you’d need on gravel bikes and the  1×11 drivetrain is lightweight and easy to maintain.  State Bicycle Co. has produced a large number of bikes, and the Black Label series is definitely to consider. 

Buy from  StateBicycle.com


Tommaso Bikes – Illimitate Disc 40C

Best Gravel Bike Under $1,500

Tommaso Illimitate Disc - 40c black gravel bike

Price: $1,175

  • Shimano Tiagra Derailleurs
  • 700x40c CST Tirent All-terrain
  • Avid BB5 Mechanical Disc Brakes
  • Aluminum frame & carbon fork

If you want a quality budget gravel bike with a carbon fork and decent gears, you’ll struggle to beat the Tommaso Illimitate. It offers excellent value for money, considering it hosts a full Shimano Tiagra 20-speed drivetrain along with Avid BB5 disc brakes.

Admittedly, the 6061 aluminum frame is fairly stock standard and Tommaso uses their own brand for the wheelset as well as many other small parts. However, it rolls very nicely on the fat CST Tirent 700x40c tires, and at only 25 lbs (11.3kg) is comparatively lightweight for a bike in its price range.

Buy from Tommaso Cycling


Diamondback – Haanjo 3

diamondback haanjo 3 gravel bike

Price: $1,175

  • 2×9 speed Shimano Sora
  • WTB Riddler Comp 700c x 37mm
  • Alloy frame & fork
  • Tektro Lyra mechanical disc brakes

This aluminum Diamondback gravel bike will appeal to traditionalists looking for a strong, dedicated touring or bikepacking bike.

It features relaxed endurance geometry for long-distance comfort and a 6061 aluminum frame with lots of mounting points and a responsive ride quality. 

The 18-speed Shimano Sora drivetrain will ensure you never struggle up steep ascents, even with a loaded bike. When descending, you can rely on Tektro Lyra mechanical disc brakes to provide solid stopping power. 

Finally, WTB Riddler Comp 37mm tires on stock Diamondback rims allow you to venture onto almost any terrain you encounter without worry.

Buy from REI


Best Gravel Bikes Under $1,000

Marin – Nicasio 700c

State Bicycle Co. – 4130 All-Road

Tommaso – Sterrata Disc

Diamondback – Haanjo 2

 


Marin – Nicasio 700c

Best Budget Gravel Bike

marin nicasio 700cPrice: $989

  • 2×8 speed Shimano Claris
  • 700x30c tires
  • Steel frame & steel fork

It’s hard to believe that you can get such a good-value gravel bike at this kind of price level. Believe it or not but it is true, and it is up for grabs!

Best for beginners, the new Marin Nicasio will definitely be a bike for many recreational cyclists who are looking for a bicycle to be used as a fast everyday commuter or get into mild gravel riding. Mechanical disc brakes and 30mm tires are a great choice to be used as an all-rounder bike, and the Shimano Claris drivetrain will definitely satisfy the needs of a recreational cyclist for sure.

Steel gravel bikes are preferred due to their vibration-reducing qualities and also the affordable price is something that can’t be overlooked!

Buy from JensonUSA


State Bicycle Co. – 4130 All-Road

Best first gravel bike under $1,000!

state bicycle co. 4130 all-road

Price: $899

  • 4130 Steel frame and fork
  • State Bicycle Co. All-Road 1 11-speed drivetrain
  • Tektro Mechanical Disc Brakes
  • 700x38c Vittoria Terreno Zero or 650bx2.1″ Vittoria Barzo tires 

Best for leisurely rides and gravel commutes, this State Bicycle Co. bike deal is hard to pass by.

Equipped with a Shimano Claris drivetrain, steel frame & fork, and mechanical disc brakes – there’s plenty to explore all sorts of trails. Nine hundred dollars for a gravel-specific commuter bike is something we’d like to see more in the future.

Ideal first gravel bike for anyone who hasn’t had the change to try one out before.

It doesn’t matter whether you come from a mountain- or road background, this bike can get you from A to B with style and speed. Follow those alternative roads you always wanted to explore! The bike is lightweight and versatile, great for backcountry roads and bumpy city streets due to the vibration-reducing handlebar tape. 650b x 2.1″ combination is perfect for technical off-roading while the 700x38c is best for road riding.

Buy from StateBicycle.com


Tommaso – Sterrata Disc

Best Cheap Gravel Bike

Tommaso Sterrata Disc

Tommaso Sterrata Disc 40c gravel bike

Price: $999

  • 3×8 speed Shimano Claris
  • Alloy frame & Carbon fork
  • Cable-actuated mechanical disc brakes

Another Tommaso on the more affordable price range – this time under $1,000 for the Sterrata Disc (Sterrata=Gravel in Italian).

This model is built on an alloy frame, runs 700x40c CST Tirent All-Terrain tires, it’s got the Shimano Claris 3x8speed drivetrain. The overall weight of the bike is just 25.4 lb! You’ll also find the Avis BB5 mechanical disc brakes and a carbon fork on the frame.

The saddle is the one most riders can’t go wrong with – the WTB Volt. At this date and time, it’s unlikely to get such a good deal for this amount of money.

Buy from Tommaso Cycling


Diamondback – Haanjo 2

diamondback haanjo 2

MSRP: $925

  • Aluminum frame and fork
  • Tektro Lyra mechanical disc brakes 
  • Shimano Claris 2×8-speed
  • Diamondback Interval 700c x 38mm

The Diamondback Haanjo 2 gravel bike is an entry-level choice for any riders who want to try their hand at gravel riding.

To perform rough terrain, this bike uses wide and grippy Diamondback Interval 38mm tires, Tektro Lyra mechanical disc brakes, and stable endurance geometry. 

The bicycle is also highly compatible with the various components that would facilitate bikepacking or bicycle touring. These include mounts for extra water bottles, accessories, fenders, bike bags, or racks.

Finally, the Haanjo 2 all-road gravel bike has a wide gear range from the 16-speed Shimano Sora drivetrain, allowing riders to tackle tough gradients.

Size Recommendations

XS – 5’1″ – 5’4″
S – 5’4″ – 5’8″
M – 5’7″ – 5’10”
L – 5’10” – 6’1″
XL – 6’1″ – 6’4″

Buy from REI


Gravel Bikes 101


Main Features and Characteristics of Gravel Bikes

Road bike geometry with wide clearance – Position on a gravel bike resembles riding a road bike, there’s a lot of torque output from the right body position. Add a rigid fork and you’ve got the fastest off-road bicycle on the market.

Wide Clearance – This is where the geometry moves from the road towards the trails. Wider clearances allow running 650b and 700c wheels with wide and knobby tires.

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Single or double front chainring – Again, this is where the latest of the mountain and traditional road bike drivetrain preferences meet. If you are looking for a performance gravel bike to start competing, a single front chainring is well represented among high-end bikes

Drop bar handlebar – Thanks to the wide tires, the drop bar is super comfortable for a wide variety of uses. Three main positions to choose for each occasion – for fast and flat sections, technical trails, or light gravel cruising – switch to the right position to give your hands a rest.

650b vs. 700c wheels on a gravel grinder?

Wheel size preference is a main concern when choosing a gravel bike.

650b rim diameter = 584mm (27.5″)
700c rim diameter = 622mm (29″)
*650b tires are often more volumic, which means they can often be larger than 700c wheels & tires

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650b gravel wheels
Allows fitting larger volume tires which are more suitable for technical riding.
Tire width goes up to 40mm (650bx40mm (650b x 2.1″)

700c gravel wheels
Narrower contact path which rolls faster on hardpack. Keeps the momentum better than the 650b. For those who prefer speed over technical riding.
Average tire width = 35 to 42mm (Marked as 700x35c / 700x42c)


Gravel Bike Groupset Hierarchy

shimano sram sunrace campagnolo microshift

A bicycle drivetrain is one of the most important factors when it comes to price & durability ratio. Gravel-specific drivetrains are a mixture of road and mountain and since they have to provide a wide variety of gears and stand the test of time offroading, they do cost slightly more than your average road or mountain bike drivetrains.

The mountain biking industry is dominated by SRAM, while Shimano dominates the gravel bike groupset market

SHIMANO Gravel – GRX
SHIMANO Road
SRAM
Pro – RX800 (Ultegra equivalent) Entry/Mid – Claris, Sora, Tiagra Mid – Rival, Force, Force eTap AXS
Mid – RX600 (105 equivalent) Mid – Ultegra, 105 Pro – RED, RED eTap, RED eTap AXS
Entry – RX400 (Tiagra equivalent) Pro – Dura-Ace Entry – Apex

Brakes – Hydraulic vs. Mechanical Disc

gravel bike riding

The hydraulic disc brakes have better performance compared to mechanical (cable-actuated) disc brakes. The good news is that some cyclocross and gravel riders prefer mechanical disc brakes as you don’t need to entirely ‘block the wheel’ on uneven paths, and bikepackers prefer the mechanical brakes as they are easier to maintain on the road.


Frame – Steel vs. Alloy

Steel is believed to be real, especially among gravel bikes’ closely related cousin community – touring bikes. Steel is affordable, great strength-to-weight ratio, and with rather good bump-absorption qualities.

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Aluminum on the other hand is known to be quite light, and also durable. Those two main frame materials have quite similar prices although the feel to the ride is completely different.

Gravel Bike Forks – At this price range, most gravel bikes rock steel or carbon fork. Carbon is more advanced, but the lacks the availability to add pannier bags on it.

2 thoughts on “Best Cheap Gravel Bikes of 2022 – Under $2,000

  1. Tim says:

    Missing from this list is the Poseidon Redwood. Is there a reason you did not include it?

    1. Sam Millers says:

      Hey Tim, no special reason not to include Poseidon Redwood. There are simply so many good gravel bikes out there right now that it’s hard not to leave some out. It’s a decent bike, it might make the list in the future.

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