This year we’ve seen loads of new gravel bikes launched, from the generalist to the specialist; several of the specialist bikes are designed so you can go fast over gravel, giving gravel racers the edge in the increasingly high profile events like Unbound Gravel.
On the other hand, there’s been just as many gravel bikes released with features like suspension, dropper posts and big tire clearance, all designed to make them more capable on territory that used to be just for mountain bikes.
So here’s our pick of the crop of the new gravel bikes for the year ahead…
Specialized Diverge STR
The Diverge has been around for a while, but this year Specialized added the Diverge STR with rear Future Shock suspension to add to the front Future Shock. The front Future Shock gives you 20mm of travel and the rear adds another 30mm of tunable saddle deflection. Specialized says that the result is over 20% less vibration at the saddle.
Specialized’s new system is light too, with a complete S-Works bike weighing 8.5kg. That’s less than 400 grams more than the ordinary S-Works Diverge.
You can fit 47mm wide 700c tires or 2.1 inch 650bs, load up with gear and hide your tools in the SWAT compartment in the down tube. You can even add a dropper post, making the Diverge STR super versatile.
Unfortunately for prospective buyers, it’s also super expensive. If you want the top spec S-Works Diverge, it will cost you £13,000 or $14,000.
The Cannondale Topstone is another gravel bike with front and rear suspension and, like the Diverge, it got a refresh this past year.
At the rear, its Kingpin suspension system received a makeover, making it100 grams lighter and more streamlined.
You’ve still got the option of the Lefty Oliver single leg suspension fork at the front, with its 30mm of travel, but the head tube angle has been decreased to 70.5 degrees. And Cannondale now gives you the option to spec its Smartsense integrated lights and radar on the new Topstone as well.
The Topstone’s tire clearance has been upped by 8mm from 37mm to 45mm for 700c tires and by 7mm from 47mm to 54mm for 650bs. Cannondale has also opted for a more user friendly threaded bottom bracket instead of the pressfit on the outgoing models. In another nod to practicality, the new bike will take a standard rear wheel instead of a symmetrically dished one, so you’ve got more wheel choice.
The Topstone Carbon range starts at…