Gravel © @billy_lebelge

What is Gravel?

Road pleasure and off-the-beaten-track exploration combined

The Gravel is first and foremost a new way to cross the Alps by bike, on the new Route des Grandes Alpes® Gravel, route we've just cleared!

The Gravel bike is a type of bike designed for riding on paved and unpaved roads, dirt roads, tracks and other gravel surfaces. It resembles a road bike, but has wider tires, more stable geometry and design features that make it more suited to rough terrain.

The Gravel bike is increasingly popular with cyclists looking to explore new terrain and venture off the beaten track. Gravel races are also becoming increasingly popular, with events such as the Eroica and the Tuscany Trail in Tuscany (Italy), or the Unbound Gravel (USA), the Grinduro (multi-country).

Gravel racing is also becoming increasingly popular.

There are many types of Gravel bikes on the market, but in general Gravel bikes are designed to offer a stable, comfortable ride over rough terrain.

  • The frame is usually made of aluminum, steel or carbon. It's designed to be sturdier than a traditional road bike frame. It also has a geometry that allows for a more upright riding position, for greater stability on difficult terrain.
  • Gravel tires are wider than those on traditional road bikes, ranging from 35 to 45 mm wide. They often have studs for better grip on gravel and dirt surfaces.
  • Disc brakes are common on Gravel bikes, as they offer better braking power and greater reliability on rough terrain.
  • Gravel bikes often have wide-range gearing to adapt to the different slopes and terrain encountered.
  • Gravel bikes can be fitted with luggage racks and mudguards, to enable riders to carry equipment and ride in adverse weather conditions.