Gravel Bike Vs Cyclo-Cross Bike | What Really Is The Difference?

The cyclocross bike is the original off road, drop bar bike. A versatile bike that can ride on road, and off. Back in the day, they had knobbly 25mm wide tyres, powerful cantilever brakes, which were so ineffective that a cross race was about 40% running. As you can see, they have evolved.

In association with Canyon.

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They have wider tyres than road bikes, for more grip and more comfort, they are a little taller to give greater pedal clearance for when riding off road, they have slightly more stable handling so that you can keep control when sliding around in slippery or lose conditions.

But now, there’s a new off road bike in town. The gravel bike. Wider, grippier tyres than a road bike, geometry that makes it easier, safer and more fun to ride in lose conditions, more comfort, either from the frame, or the components on them…

Hang on a minute, wider tyres, more stable geometry, longer wheelbase, comfortable… That’s what mine’s got. You could be forgiven for wondering then, just what on earth the difference between a cross bike and a gravel bike really is.

Canyon have kindly lent us an example of each, their Inflite cross bike and their Grail gravel bike, so we can really get to grips with this issue, one that’s really important to a lot of you out there looking at their next bike purchase. It’s going to be tough Si, riding these two brand new bikes on the finest dirt that the Dolomites has to offer isn’t it? Well it might be for you, given that off road is pretty new territory for you right? Yes, I would describe myself as thoroughly green. It will be particularly interesting to get our two different perspectives on it. Mine, fresh, yours, more experienced.

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Music: Wild in seattle – Victor Olson
Rolling in the retro jam 2 – Victor Olson
Animal – Suffer City
Calling it out – Sebastien Forslund
Funny views – Johan Hynynen

Photos: © Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images & © Bettiniphoto /

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Leave us a comment below!


Marcelo says:

4:25 voice crack. Lol

Kai 1 says:

Couldn’t you get an XC bike then add drop Handel bars

Global Cycling Network says:

Cross or gravel, what’s your choice?

VelocipedeVsWild says:

I think this is nearly the same bike and gravel is not really a revolution but a bike for cyclist who wants more confort and ride longer than a cyclo cross race.

daAnder71 says:

Good video, but please look for another bike sponsor. The way they look makes those Canyon bikes perfect for audio podcasts but not to be put in front of a camera.

Esteban LV says:

Drop-bars create the worst position known to men to ride a bicycle, you can’t even properly operate brakes and changes.
Also, why would anyone want such uncomfortable bikes, when there are trail mountain bikes that are incredibly more confortable? Granted, they’re slower, but if you want speed you get a road bike (and condemn yourself to riding exclusively on tarmac, but it’s not like gravel and xc are any better off road), not one of this spawns!

Sergio Rodriguez says:

So next season we will have slick tyre mountain bike with aero handlebars: Cross route?

anthony denby says:

The second lap is always going to quicker than the first as the rider gets to know the course!

Tim Funck says:

how is this not light xc?

Jamie Bowen says:

MTB Master race!

Lorenzo Benci says:

who are the 67 people that didn’t like this video?

alteragnostik says:

Canyon should call their yellow gravel bike model the “Quasimodo”

theo fl says:

How much do those bikes weigh?

Anonymøøse says:

How do you take the wheels off?

John Cherry says:

Ha ha loved it when Ollie hit hit the gravel “oh shit”

Trung Pham says:

what were the tire sizes you guys were using?

Runar Peters says:

P.s. did Olly stock his socks in his bib shorts?

James Brant says:

so a gravel bike is a touring bike.

Craig Sobering says:

Do you guys really get paid to do this? Really? I hate you! You wouldn’t happen to have an opening for an overweight, out of shape, above middle aged Canadian presenter by chance?

Edgars Nezinu says:

Can i have gravel bike on Christmas.?

Jonathan Matthews says:

It would have been really interesting to have a cross country mountain bike on their just for comparison

Casey Robert Giblin says:

Trick question, they’re both trash! Get a full squish and go watch GMBN instead.

Fai Mao says:

Uh, the cyclocross bikes I rode in the ’70’s and 80’s had 32mm wide tires.

Jonathan Matthews says:

I come from the dark side (GMBN), but I have to say, your edits are sick. GMBN could learn a few things from your edits

x o says:

15:00 made me laugh alot more than expected.

通りすがりのリゼロ好き says:

The Grail’s toptube and headtube conection part? makes me worried

hippoace says:

I reckon one reason why the second lap is faster as you guys probably are more familiar with the route and have in your minds, make a better line through it.

Pan Kulfon says:

Just buy a mountain bike?

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