Gravel bikes have made such a big impact on cycling. In the past decade, they have been the bikes to have. They can go on and off-road, have a comfortable, relaxed geometry, and are perfect for bikepacking adventures.
Gravel bikes come in all shapes, sizes, and even materials. One of the best materials you can get when it comes to gravel bikes is carbon fiber. We are often asked what the top carbon fiber gravel bikes are.
In this article, we will tell you about some of the best carbon fiber gravel bikes from some of the top brands on the market and why carbon fiber is such an excellent material for a gravel bike.
The Benefits Of Carbon Fiber Gravel Bikes
There are a huge amount of benefits to using a carbon fiber bike. Here’s what you need to know:
Carbon Fiber is incredibly lightweight, and if you are looking for a performance bike, there’s nothing that even gets close. You can see frames come in less than a kilo, and in a professional race, you won’t see any other material.
Carbon fiber frames are incredibly stiff. You don’t get the flexibility of a steel or titanium frame, which is not always a bad thing. With the frames being so stiff, the power transfer is much better, and there’s very little wasted energy.
If you want to make a bike with the best aerodynamics, then carbon fiber is your best bet. With it being so light and fairly simple for companies to mold, you can make incredibly aerodynamic designs much larger in size.
Then we have strength. Many people think that carbon fiber is fairly weak when you couldn’t be more wrong. It is incredibly strong and can withstand huge amounts of force.
Where you have to be careful is that it is only designed to be strong in certain places, typically where the majority of the stress is from riding.
When it comes to Steel and Titanium, you do have the bikes looking quite plain at times. With round tubing and your standard connections, there’s little to be desired.
With carbon fiber, you can really make something that looks incredibly sporty and special.
Understanding Carbon Fiber Technology
Carbon fiber is an incredible material, and it is made by layering sheets of carbon fiber in a mold, mixing them with a resin, and then setting it to bond together. Carbon fiber has come a long way in the past decade.
Years ago, it had a shelf life, wasn’t as strong as it is in modern times, and even had a shade of brown to it.
Modern-day carbon fiber uses a much more advanced process, and the resins are much better than they have ever been, offering a longer life span and making them much stronger.
We also have companies putting extra carbon fiber in stress points and lesser in non-stress points keeping the overall weight the same but giving the bike a much better performance.
Top Brands And Their Carbon Gravel Bikes
Let’s get into some of the best carbon gravel bikes and the brands that have brought them to us. The list is in no particular order, and we have a limited list that we believe to be some of the best carbon fiber bikes from top brands.
Trek Checkpoint SLR
Trek is one of the biggest cycling brands in the world, and they continue to bring us incredible bikes year after year. When it comes to gravel bikes, one of the best they produce is the Checkpoint.
If you want a performance carbon gravel bike that can do it all, you will want to check out the Checkpoint. Coming in many different models with an OCLV carbon frame, you have a lot of choices, and it’s the perfect rig for racing, bikepacking, or even Sunday club runs.
You can’t get far on a trail without coming across a Specialized bike. The Diverge is their performance gravel bike, and they really threw the rulebook out when they designed it.
It’s the choice of many professional gravel racers.
With suspension on the rear and the front, it can get across rough ground easily while keeping you incredibly comfortable. It weighs roughly the same as a road bike, and they have a wide range of component options to choose from, the best being over $15000.
3T makes some excellent off-road bikes, and the Exploro is an amazing example of what they can do. When you make a carbon fiber gravel bike that can take 61mm tires, you know it will have incredible off-road ability.
The Exploro has been designed to be taken on any trail with its unique small rear triangle and large downtube. It’s made for control, and the dropped chainstay is a lovely touch.
Giant Revolt Advanced
Giant is one of the biggest bike companies, and they even use their factories to make bikes for other brands. Obviously, they save some of the best bikes for themselves.
The Revolt Advanced is a carbon fiber version of the Revolt gravel bike, and it had to be on this list.
It is a great looking gravel bike. With a small rear triangle and a sloping top tube keeping the weight low down, this is a bike that is going to be fun to ride and easy to keep upright.
It’s got shock-absorbing handlebars and seatpost and even adjustable geometry.
When you watch professional racing, seeing a Canyon on the podium sitting next to a winner is not rare.
The Grail is their gravel bike, and it’s incredibly special and unique. It is very lightweight, offers excellent performance, and is very functional.
One of the best parts of this bike is the handlebars. These are unlike any bike handlebars you will see on a bike and have two levels to them.
They are made to absorb the roughness of the road and provide excellent control.
If you are planning on winning races, then you are going to want a Pinarello. They are very fast bikes and are always seen in top-level racing.
The Grevil is their version of a gravel bike, and it’s got the style of the legendary Dogma with the ability to hit a trail.
They use T700 carbon fiber to the best of their ability to make not just a functional gravel bike but one with incredible aerodynamics and the ability to soak up bumps. Everything is internally routed, and the only visible cable is on the rear derailleur.
Then we got our bike from Orbea. In recent years Orbea has heavily increased its bike range, bringing us the Terra.
It is a fantastic-looking bike and has some excellent features that make it a rig for not just going fast but far too.
It comes with a fork that situates the front wheel further forward, a dropped chainstay ready for some off-road fun, and even handy storage space in the downtube. The sharp lines truly show the capability of carbon fiber on this bike.
The Swiss bike brand BMC has bikes that are on many many people’s dream bike list, and the URS is for sure one for me. It looks stunning, and this gravel bike has some excellent features.
With a micro rear suspension block and a suspension stem, you can expect a smooth ride no matter what. It’s a bike ideal for racing or general riding with its semi-relaxed geometry.
The top of the line model comes with wireless shifting and carbon wheels as standard.
Niner RLT RDO
Niner knows off-road riding, and very few bikes can match up to the standard they produce and the range they have. When they made the RLT, they knew exactly what they were doing, and the result was very special.
It’s a clean carbon frame with a geometry good to race or for long days out in the saddle. It’s full of mounts for bikepacking and long-distance riding, and the internal cable routing looks great.
As far as a do it all bike goes, it’s fast, fun, and functional.
Cervélo is a bike name in professional cycling, and although they are not the cheapest bikes, you get a lot of value for money. The Áspero is an incredible gravel bike of theirs, and it is a great mix of performance and speed.
It comes in many different versions, but at each level, you’re getting a great bike. The frame looks great and is a great mix of control and aerodynamics.
The small rear triangle and slack top tube make this bike inspire confidence no matter how rough the road is ahead.
A Final Note
If you’re thinking about a gravel bike and want to invest a healthy budget into one, then considering a carbon fiber gravel bike is a great way to go. We highly recommend them, and nothing quite rides like them.
Thanks for taking the time to read our article.
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Robbie Ferri has spent years working in a bike shop, has worked with industry leading brands on product creation, has been a semi pro athlete, and is a fully qualified strength and conditioning coach. He has broken World Records, bikepacked all over the World and raced ultra distance at a top-level.