A gravel bike and a hybrid bike are different in that they’re both a combination of a road bike and a mountain bike, but the end result is different.Hybrid bikes take the upright position of mountain bike geometry and pair it with 700c wheels to offer speed on paved roads. These bikes come in all different sizes and shapes to fulfill the needs of everyday riders.
Gravel bikes retain the drop handlebar and also have a geometry more aligned with a road bike. The wheels are hugely representing mountain biking as they’re wider, lower profile, and offer better traction in snow and dirt.
Gravel bicycles often come with wider, unlike traditional 700c bikes, giving riders a more aerodynamic rider position for speed over long durations. These bikes can be used on any terrain or road and can handle rougher surfaces.
The best gravel bikes are designed for off-road exploration and can perform exceedingly well when pushed to their limits.
The sport of gravel has two roots. The first is the advent of events that take the sportive/fondo structure off the beaten path, featuring long miles on dirt roads with a race at the front and mass participation everywhere else. The second is in a more general sense: everyday riders started to explore further, beyond tarmac and pavement, in order to get away from fast-moving traffic.
In the past, riders would use either road bikes with wider, tougher tires, cyclocross bikes, or hardtail mountain bikes to ride gravel. However, as interest grew in this type of riding, specialized bikes for it were created. These bikes have distinctive features that benefit them for this type of riding.
There are a variety of different gravel bikes for all types of riders. Some are made for light gravel, and others are made for riding singletrack trails.
When purchasing a bike, buyers should consider if they will be riding mostly on the street or off-road. Gravel riders should consider affordability and geometry, while mountain bikers should be concerned with weight.
Gravel bikes will have components that can withstand the high forces of off-road riding. Components, such as tires and wheels, will be wider. These are to create stability and grip off-road, with tough casings to protect against punctures.
Gravel bike brakes use disk brakes, which are more efficient and safer than rim brakes because they stop the bike better when riding off-road. The gearing is lower because gravel bikes require fewer gears. 1x drivetrains are often used by gravel riders.
Some bicycle frames are becoming even more specialized. For instance, adventure-oriented bikes will have plenty of mounting points for bike packing bags and accessories.
In addition, the desire to ride more singletrack has also created the demand for gravel-specific dropper seat posts and suspension forks.
Generally, gravel bikes are used for exploring off-road routes. Hybrid bikes are meant to be used on everyday, paved rides. These models will have less quality when it comes to rough terrain but they can be used as a commuter bike because they are less expensive than specialized models and can be ridden on a variety of surfaces and in rainier weather that would damage the equipment.
In terms of the design, top hybrid bikes usually have flat bars and may feature a step-through frame. Some even have provisions for fitting mudguards and pannier racks. They are used for more than just urban riding, but also can be ridden on trails.
Hybrid bikes don’t take many cues from racing or performance bikes and are more commuter-friendly. Though they’re slower than other types of bikes, hybrid bikes are meant to be used in towns or for commuting to the office. They will use practical and inexpensive components, with a geometry that is conservative and comfortable rather than fast.
Hybrid bike tires are narrower than gravel bike tires to help save energy and reduce rolling resistance, but they still provide the necessary padding to ride on any type of terrain.