These bikes will still be classed as affordable by manufacturers, but we know that they are not pocket change, so we are only going to show you the very best for your hard-earned.
Gravel bikes, if you are not aware, are road bikes that have been designed to be a little bit tougher and a little bit more comfortable, they are designed to help you ride off down any road or path you want.
You can stay away from roads congested by traffic, and with wider tires, you will be able to ride trails that are not surfaced.
Editor’s Note: The article was updated in
August February 2021. Some of the bikes on the list are no longer available or out of stock as the demand for bikes skyrocketed in recent months. We’ll keep looking for alternatives and updating this post
A great way to look at gravel bikes is as a quiver killer. If you only have room for one bike, then this is the bike to get. It is the one bike you can do the most on. You can load it up and go bikepacking around the world.
You can use it to go and buy a bottle of milk. You use it for an audax. You can use it on your local chain gang. You can even take it down some mountain bike trails. Once you have completed all these things, then you can use it to commute to work aboard.
Who would not want a bike that was so versatile?
We love the versatility of gravel bikes, so we have picked a few different models that all have a few different features that show the true versatility of gravel bikes.
Top 13 Gravel Bikes under $2000
All of these bikes are designed to be ridden hard. They do not all need to be raced through, use your new gravel bike to go and see the world.
Co-op Cycles ADV 2.2
The Co-op Cycles ADV 2.2 uses the same frame and fork as the ADV 2.1, which means that they have the same geometry.
However, the 2.2 is for riders that have a little more experience, or want a bike they can “grow into”. This is because it has a more advance gravel-specific drivetrain, better brakes, and wider tires.
This gravel bike is built around a double-butted 6061 aluminum frame fitted with a carbon fork with a tapered steerer. This combination makes a stiff bike that gives you a comfortable ride, responsive handling, and efficient power transfer.
Its components are what make the 2.2 the perfect gravel bike, starting with the Shimano gravel-specific GRX drivetrain. This drivetrain has a 46-30T crankset joined with an 11-36T cassette giving you a massive range for exploring hilly terrain.
The wheels are tubeless-ready WTB items, as are the 40mm wide tires. This width is the most popular choice for gravel riding, as it gives plenty of grip on loose surfaces.
Stopping power comes from Tektro’s mechanical disc brakes, which is a good solution for pretty much anyone.
If you love adventure and gravel riding, getting away from the crowds and traffic, the Co-op Cycles ADV 2.2 is an excellent choice.
Cannondale Topstone 1 Alloy
If you never know exactly where your rides are going to take you, and hate being held back by your equipment, then definitely take a look at the Cannondale Topstone 1 Alloy Bike.
This versatile gravel bike is willing to go where no road bikes have ventured before, and the carbon fork will make sure that no matter where you end up, you will get there in comfort.
Featuring hydraulic disc brakes, internal cable routing, and mounts for 3 water bottle holders, this bike can really be rigged up for any sort of adventure, from a road ride with friends, to exploring gravel forest roads, and even some bikepacking!
The Topstone comes with 28c tires out of the box but can fit tires even larger if you are looking to get off the beaten path or you prefer a more comfortable ride. The Shimano GRX drivetrain will provide you with rock solid performance while still letting you keep a little dough in your wallet for a coffee or beer after your ride.
An excellent choice for a wide variety of riders, the Cannondale Topstone 1 Alloy is definitely one of the best gravel bikes under $2,000 for 2021.
Devinci Hatchet Apex Gravel Bike
Not only is the Devinci Hatchet Apex Gravel Bike beautiful to look at with its subtle gold paint job and internal cabling, but it also comes with some excellent components for off-roading.
It is an Aluminum framed light and nimble gravel bike that offers durability and comfort no matter the terrain. The frame’s geometry favors stability with a more relaxed riding position than you would find on a road bike. It comes with 40mm tires that give you confidence on the gravel, but you still have the option to upgrade to 45mm tires if you need that extra peace of mind. Naturally, the V2 rims that come with the Devinci Hatchet are tubeless-ready and robust enough for any terrain.
You will find the SRAM Apex groupset more than up to the challenge of any terrain you challenge yourself on. The hydraulic brakes also give you the confidence that you will stop quickly no matter the conditions.
The addition of multiple mounts means you can fit fenders or pannier racks to create the ultimate workhorse that will help you conquer road or gravel.
Orbea Terra H30 1X Complete
As the name suggests, the Orbea Terra H30 1X Complete is a gravel bike that can do it all. Whether you are exploring the hills or commuting, this bike is comfortable, capable, and lots of fun to ride.
The stiff aluminum frame gives you excellent pedaling efficiency and responsiveness. Its high-quality carbon fork reduces weight and reduces the vibrations transferred into your hands.
To help the Orbea Terra H30 1X Complete live up to its name, the frame is designed with all-road geometry. This finely tuned element of the bike means it can easily cope when you are riding aggressively, just as easily as when you are riding at a more leisurely pace. The geometry also gives you a comfortable riding position, encouraging you to ride all day.
A bike that you can ride anywhere and all day needs quality components. Therefore, Orbea has fitted the Terra H30 1X Complete with the Shimano GRX 1X 11 drivetrain and RX400 hydraulic brakes. This combination provides effortless climbing ability and superb control when it comes to tackling steep descents.
For a quality bike that is the last word in versatility, the Orbea Terra H30 1X Complete should be at the top of your list.
Note: also consider Orbea Terra H30 if the H40 is not available.
Raleigh Bikes Tamland 1
Keeping our metal theme going we have the Raleigh Tamland 1. The Tamland 1 is constructed from Reynolds 631 steel. Reynolds is one of the big brand name steel tubing suppliers. You will find their tubes on many high-end gravel bikes.
To keep the weight down on the Tamland, Raleigh has also outfitted the bike with a carbon and aluminum fork, the forks blades are carbon, and the steerer tube is aluminum. The frame and fork here like the Trek both run thru axles and for your extra $100 you also get a Shimano 105 groupset.
Shimano 105 is generally seen as being the best meeting point between price and race ready quality. You can be sure that Shimano 105 will work well out on the roads for you.
The brakes on the Raleigh, however, are not Shimano. They are the excellent TRP Spyre road disc brakes, unlike the Trek they are post mount rather than flat mount. Post mount has been the mountain bike style of disc brake for years.
Breezer Radar Pro
The Breezer Radar Pro’s design makes it ideal for riding anywhere. The 4130 Chromoly steel frame has an excellent strength to weight ratio, making it 5 times stronger than the equivalent frame made from aluminum.
It may be a little heavier than aluminum, but its extra durability and ease of repair draw gravel riders to it.
As the Radar Pro is an adventure bike, it has all the provisions for mounting racks and fenders on both the frame and fork. The multitude of mounting options allows you to fully customize how you carry your stuff.
The 700c x 45mm all-condition tires have lots of grip on different surfaces and in different conditions. While the wide-range SRAM drivetrain with 46/30T crank is perfect for tackling big climbs and keeping your speed up on the flats.
A valuable feature fitted to the Breezer Radar Pro is its hydraulic disc brakes from SRAM. These are the SRM HRD-700 items that feature 160mm discs front and back for optimum stopping power. But they also give you lots of control over technical descents, as they are easy to modulate.
Trek Checkpoint ALR 4
Trek is renowned for good quality road and mountain bikes. They have spent years refining their frame design and components to bring us some of the most complete bikes on the market. For 2021 they have not disappointed with their Checkpoint ALR 4 Gravel bike.
A lot of thought has gone into making the ultimate introductory Gravel bike. The Checkpoint ALR 4 is an Aluminium framed bike with carbon forks. They have taken what they learned from their AL range of road bikes and changed some of the geometry and fit to make a stable bike over any surface.
It comes with a Shimano GRX RX400 drivetrain and hydraulic disk brakes. One of the few brands to use all the components from the same range. The wide gravel-specific tires give excellent traction on uneven surfaces, and the frame has a massive 45mm clearance if you want to upgrade to extra-wide tires.
The Checkpoint ALR 4 also comes with all the mounts you could want to turn this into an adventure bike. The geometry is more relaxed than their road bike range, meaning it is more comfortable on longer rides, and you feel more in control when the path starts getting uneven.
If you are looking for an all-round gravel bike that can be relied on no matter the terrain or challenge, then the Checkpoint ALR 4 is a serious contender.
The Bombtrack Beyond might look like a strange bike, but it harks to them when people made their own gravel bikes before manufacturers caught on.
People used to take old mountain bikes and outfit them with road drop bars and run slightly thinner tires. It is what we eventually called a monstercross bike.
The Beyond will then deal with more adventurous offroad and can literally be taken bikepacking everywhere. It will not be as fast as the carbon fiber gravel bikes, but it will be comfier.
The Beyond with its 4130 steel frame is the perfect gravel bike for sedate riding and enjoying the views as you ride off the beaten path.
With WTB tires and wheel rims the Bombtrack Beyond would be the perfect bike to go tubeless using. Tubeless means you ride with no tube.
You put some sealant in your tires, and you’ll never be plagued with small punctures ever again. It allows you then to drop your tire pressures, giving you more grip and more comfort.
The Beyond might show more towards its mountain bike heritage than its’s road bike heritage, but that does not stop the bike from performing.
Even its groupset is a nod to its mixed heritage combining parts from SRAM’s mountain bike X5 groupset and SRAM’s road bike Apex groupset as it works who are we to complain?
Cinelli Zydeco LaLa Sora Adventure Road Bike (2021)
If you are looking for a gravel bike that does anything but blend into the background, then the Cinelli Zydeco LaLa bike is one for you.
It is designed for offroad adventures and road cycling. The lightweight aluminum frame and carbon forks create a perfect blend of agility and strength.
The Zydeco geometry is more attuned to racing, with a more aggressive riding position than you find on most gravel bikes. It has a lowered bottom-bracket and nimble steering.
It comes with flared drops and hydraulic brakes, as you would expect from a gravel bike at this price. However, the Shimano Sora 2×9 speed drivetrain and derailleurs let down the bike’s overall high-quality finish.
It would have been good to see SRAMs Apex or Shimano GRX as standard, but it looks like Cinelli has focused more on the frame and fork quality over the gearing.
The Zydeco comes with Kenda Flintridge 700x35c, perfect for offroading. The 32 spoke Shining A250 wheels that come with the bike are tubeless-ready and robust enough for bike touring. The frame also has all the mounts you would need to fit front and rear racks.
Be mindful that you are paying for the Cinelli brand and flashy color scheme and will want to make a few upgrades to this bike.
Diamondback Haanjo EXP Carbon or Haanjo Comp Carbon Alternative Road Bike (unavailable)
You might be wondering why two Haanjos appear in this list. The reason is simply that they are two different beasts. The Haanjo Comp Carbon would suit you if you wanted to jump into any of the new gravel bike races. The Haanjo EXP though is for the serious bikepacker.
The Haanjo EXP comes with bar end shifters. You know the shifters you see on your Grandad’s bike. On a $2000 bike, this might seem like a downgrade, but this is precisely what you want to see on a bikepacking bike.
Imagine you’re in Mongolia, 100s of miles from anywhere, you drop your bike and hit your shifters. The chances are they just broke, shifters are pretty fragile. You now have 100s of miles with no gears.
The next bike shop might not even have shifters in stock. You will also be looking at a $300+ repair. Barend shifters don’t have this problem as they are sheltered from any drops.
That is why most tourers and your Grandad runs bar end shifters. You can even use them as friction shifters rather than indexed shifters, so if the click goes in your shifter, you can still change gear.
The Haanjo is also equipped with a 3×9 drivetrain to make sure you don’t run out of gears on those climbs in Outer Mongolia.
The Diamondbacks show how versatile gravel bikes can be with one that will help you break Strava records and one that will help you cross countries comfortably.
Vitus Substance SRS-1 Adventure Road Bike 2021
The Vitus Substance SRS-1 Adventure Road Bike has been created for adventurers looking for a reliable and stable bike to take them across the world.
There is nothing flashy about this bike, but all the understated components and materials that go into the Vitus Substance SRS make it a bargain for less than $2,000.
The frame is made of Reynolds 725 Heat-Treated Chrome-Moly double-butted steel. Remember, not all steel is made the same and this British made steel tubing is lighter and stronger than cheaper steel-framed bikes. This, paired with the carbon forks, makes for a very comfortable and responsive ride.
It comes with SRAMs Apex 1 hydraulic groupset. Giving you a wide gear range without the need for a second chainring at the front.
It also comes with a clutch on the rear mech, meaning that the chain is kept taught no matter how bumpy the terrain. The SRAM Apex hydraulic brakes are some of the most responsive on the market.
As you would expect from an all-round adventure bike, it comes with all the mounts for multiple bottle cages and front and rear racks.
Salsa Journeyman Apex 1 700 Bike (unavailable)
Salsa is another recognized brand of bicycles, which stands out for adventure bikes and which has in its catalog a high-quality bike such as the Salsa Journeyman Apex 1 700 Bike. As you can see in the image, it is a bike designed for bikepacking.
Both the frame and the fork are made of aluminum, and it is prepared with multiple holes to carry the saddlebags for your adventure on the bike. This is one of the reasons why it is designed for touring and bikepacking.
It equips an Apex 1 drivetrain, where the crankset is an SRAM Apex 1 X-Sync 40T and the cassette is an SRAM PG 1130 11/42T. As we have already mentioned, single chainring has advantages and disadvantages, although it is recommended for gravel bikes.
To complete this review, we found in this bike a mechanical disc brake system and the rims are WTB ST i19 TCS 2.0 700c complemented by WTB Riddler 700x37c Comp tires, 37mm wide. Ideal for flying over gravel terrain.
As rei.com’s website says: “The Salsa Journeyman Apex 1 700 bike is an all-road bike with the chops to fulfill a wide variety of missions, whether you’re wandering the backroads, bikepacking or racing gravel”. A definition that perfectly adapts to what this bike is. You can find more information in the link below.
Kona Jake the Snake Cyclocross Bike (2021)
Advertised as a Cyclocross bike, Konas Jake the Snake (awesome name) is a tremendous gravel and adventure bike that comes with everything you need for a daily commute or off-road adventure.
This bike has an aluminum frame and carbon forks. That gives you good performance on the road and excellent handling off the beaten track. It comes with SRAMs 11-speed Apex drivetrain, which is simple with only one chainring up front, but still provides plenty of gears for any incline you may face.
The TRP hydraulic brakes are responsive and lightweight. Combined with the Maxxis All Terrane EXO TR DUAL 700x33c, you get responsive handling and consistent traction, no matter what surface you are exploring.
This is an adventure bike that prioritizes speed over functionality alone. So if you are looking for a gravel bike that you can load up with racks and camping gear, this is not the best option at this price point.
However, if you want a nimble and responsive ride, then Konas Jake the Snake bike should feature high up your list.
The best gravel bikes under $2,000 are those that have been built to last and come with high enough spec components so that you do not have to worry about upgrades any time soon.
Frame and Geometry
Gravel bikes are an all-rounder bike that can be used over multiple terrains. They should not restrict you to one surface; however, each has a slightly different setup and a geometry suitable for different riders and purposes.
For under $2,000, you will not be able to get a full carbon gravel bike. At this price point, you are looking at high-quality aluminum and steel frames.
Do some research on the material used, as although a bike may be steel, there is a considerable difference between cheaper, heavier steel and the type that you can get on a $2,000 gravel bike.
The best gravel bikes under $2,000 will come with full carbon forks. They help dampen the vibrations from the road or trail and provide responsive and nimble steerings.
At this price, you do not want to have to worry about upgrading any of the components until the time comes that they are worn and in need of replacing. SRAM Apex or Shimano GRX groupsets/drivetrains are the best for gravel bikes.
The best will also include a clutch in the rear derailleur, initially developed for mountain bikes. A bicycle clutch keeps the rear derailleur in position, reducing the risk of the chain jumping and slapping against the frame over uneven surfaces.
The bike clutch will also help to ensure smooth gear changes no matter the terrain, which is essential, especially if you are looking for a gravel bike that you can compete on.
Wheels and Tires
Gravel bike tires need to give you the traction you need while on the trails, without being too big to slow you down on the road. The perfect width for gravel bike tires is between 38mm to 42mm, also pay attention to tread.
Look for a deep tread so that you know it will cut through the mud and give you the traction you need on more technical off-road routes.
The wheels and rims that come with gravel bikes under $2,000 will be tubeless-ready, giving you the option to change out the tires if you wish. For an adventure bike that you are looking to take on a tour while carrying a lot of gear, look for wheels with at least 30 spokes.
This makes them stronger and more reliable to carry heavy loads. The mores spokes a wheel does increase weight, so if you are not too concerned about taking a lot of weight, a lower spoke count would be best for you.
The sub $2000 gravel bike market is a great place to be shopping. You can find everything from a lightweight carbon race bike to steel tourers. Regardless of which bike you pick all these bikes are great at what they do, you just have to choose the one that suits you and your riding most.
Think about your riding and don’t be put off by the looks of some of these bikes as in the world of gravel grinding function comes before fashion.
I’ve spent way more time in the bike trade than anyone should reasonably want to. In that time I’ve wanted to make cycling jargon and marketing easier to cut through to help people get the bike of their dreams.
When I’m not writing about bikes, I can be seen out bikepacking on single speed bikes or teaching kids how to ride.