Gravel bikes, riding, racing and events: Everything you need to know about the sport in 2024

How to choose the best gravel bike, races, events and the latest tech. Here's everything you need to know about gravel riding in 2024

Clock19:12, Thursday 7th December 2023


Explore gravel guides, inspiration and news

Head back 10 years ago and the word ‘gravel’ meant little to most of the cycling world. Sure, there were already pockets of gravel culture emerging, but it hadn’t yet enjoyed a boom.

In recent years, though, that boom has been rapid and now gravel riding can reasonably claim to be one of the most popular disciplines in the sport, luring an ever-increasing number of participants who are drawn to the adventure-spirited culture.

The increase in popularity has also been joined by growth, and the term ‘gravel’ is now applied to a wide-range of off-road terrains, each placing different demands on a rider. Alongside this, the tech, bikes and events have evolved and proliferated, and the gravel world is now a minefield to navigate.

To help, we’ve pulled together all of our gravel content into one place so you can easily find all of the advice and inspiration you need. Explore all of our articles below.

Gravel for beginners: how easy is it to get into gravel cycling?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve almost certainly heard of ‘gravel’ - the term has become unavoidable, and for good reason. Essentially road bikes that have received off-road makeovers, gravel bikes open up a whole expanse of new terrain to explore, which is why the discipline has become so popular.

Taking the plunge and embarking on your first gravel adventure can be daunting, so we’ve pulled together some handy guides to help you get started.

How to choose the best gravel bike

To meet the ever-increasing demands of gravel riding, bikes have had to evolve and many brands now offer more than one gravel bike to cater to these diverging needs, like Canyon with its Grizl and Grail. Having started out as one-bike-fits-all machines, modern gravel bikes are more specifically tailored for certain niches within the discipline, and the best gravel bike for bikepacking won’t be the same as it is for gravel racing.

Here are some guides that will help you find the best gravel bike for your needs.

What's the difference between a road bike, a gravel bike, and a mountain bike?

Falling somewhere between road and mountain biking, it’s no surprise that gravel bikes borrow plenty of tech from the other disciplines. This often leads to comparisons between the different bikes, but how do you pick the right one for your needs?

Gravel bike set-up tips and tech advice

Choosing a bike isn’t the only important choice you’ll have to make as you’ll also need to think carefully about which components you’ll need. Do you want a 1x or 2x groupset, a suspension fork and how wide do your tyres need to be?

Our advice guides will help you find the right set-up.

Gravel inspiration: Route planning, bikepacking and training

Heading off-road unlocks a whole expanse of new terrain to explore. The key to maximising these new opportunities is route planning. Here at GCN, we’re lucky enough to take on plenty of challenges and we’ve learnt a thing or two along the way. Check out some of those adventures below for some inspiration.

Gravel racing and mass-participation gravel events

There are now hundreds of gravel races and events available. Many of the largest and best gravel races like Unbound and SBT GRVL are located in the US, where the sport is still largely centred, but events are now available all over the world, including as a part of the UCI Gravel World Series.

Getting in on the gravel action, the UCI introduced the series of races in 2022, starting out with 10 spread across the globe. It has expanded every year and that number will lie at 25 in 2024. Sitting alongside it, there’s also now an official UCI Gravel World Championships that will enter its third year in 2024.

Latest gravel racing news worldwide

Keep up to date with the latest gravel racing news below. We cover everything from dedicated gravel races to the Tour de France, which will feature a potentially decisive gravel stage in 2024.

Pro gravel bikes from the UCI Gravel World Championships, Big Sugar Gravel and more

Gravel started out with low-key events but the major races now attract pro riders from across the world. Some of these pros are full-time gravel racers, either through a team or as a privateer, while others divert from the WorldTour peloton to take on a new challenge, like current gravel world champion Matej Mohorič and all-round superstar Wout van Aert.

With so many different influences and disciplines diverging in one place, pro gravel bikes vary greatly. You can explore these differences and take inspiration from the pros through our selection of pro bike articles below.

Tech news from the best gravel bike brands: Canyon, Orbea, Specialized, Cervélo and more

As the world of gravel has grown, so has the amount of gravel tech available. Brands are constantly improving and adapting their bikes and tech to meet the changing demands of the discipline. GCN brings you all the latest tech news and trends from top brands, including Canyon and Orbea.

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