Gravel Bike vs Road Bike – What’s The Difference? GCN’s Epic Gravel Ride

What can a gravel bike do that a road bike can’t?
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Gravel bikes – they’ve got bigger tyres, disc brakes and a bit more stability built in. But how does that translate when it comes to tackling some off-road terrain? And can it’s skinny-tyred road bike brother keep up when the path gets rough? We went for an epic gravel ride, putting the new Ridley X-Trail up against Dan’s road bike to find out some answers!

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Leave us a comment below!


MiataBRG says:

Fun video, makes me want to give gravel a go!

Andy Smith says:

I have a CX bike for winter rides. Great as it has discs and plenty of room for good mudguards, but it is slower than my road bikes.
Have Road slicks on but haven’t tried it off Road yet. I wouldn’t fancy doing a 100 mile sportive on the CX bike though.

Mr. Teff says:

Not very helpful. It was more of a tire size comparison than a bike comparison. What I want to know is how does a gravel bike with road tires compare to a road bike with road tires (on the road, that is).

Andrea Ferraresi says:

Colle delle finestre means “hill of the windows”


jeff ojeda says:

GCN gods (Matt, Si and Dan, maybe Lasty – in no particular order) I’d love to know your thoughts on the Cannondale Slate for this very kind of riding.

Benjamin J Alvey says:

@gcn let’s start a campaign for a gravel stage in Le Tour de France!!!!

John Zhu says:

What does Matt say when Dan snubs him the cheers?

William Bagnard says:

You guys are great! You’ve renewed my interest in bicycling!

Amédée Bollée says:

back in my day if you wanted to go cyclocrossing you take your road bike put put a 28 tooth sprocket on the block at the back and for the vets it was a 30 and swap your 18 or 20 mm tires for a set of 32 or 38 knobblies and jobs a goodn… and one more thing ,, what is it with these sloping top tubes… what a load of bolloxs . how on earth do you carry the damn bike ? someday people will wake up to the fact that a triangle with one 90 degree joint in it is also inherently more stable, my 2 cents

Pollo Frito says:

4:48 – 5:20 AWESOME!

Ben Lubin says:

Any specifics on the location?

Keene R. says:

can you put a 28c tire on ridley x-trail?

marcducati says:

Get an XC mtb

wongralvju says:

I believe one should use a front suspension mountain bike on gravel road.

M Davis says:

Has the UCI allowed gravel bikes in the pro tour? Seeing if you ride a gravel bike, with a double ring in front. You can swap wheels at any point (UCI allows this). Meaning enter a section of dirt and gravel in say the Tour de France, swap to gravel spec wheels and swap back when you returned to smooth conditions. Before anyone misunderstood that, I don’t mean a 2/5/10 km area but a 40 or more. Much like disc brakes in rain, you would have an advantage. I know some local races do allow this and more riders are swapping wheels as I stated. If the frame geometry is the same, except for a wider chain and seat stay area…it could be faster and the future or road racing.

OnEvenKeel says:

At least Lloydy was smart enough to take disc brakes.

CycloFeed Ubox says:

where was this filmed? south Wales?

ut1004bp says:

You should have shown us who won the race to bar, what was the distance, and by how much…(Assuming the Roadie would have taken you both) to give us and idea how the large, 40# tires was dragging you down.

Bikingmainy says:

That was a great video.

Ben says:

Gravel bike and an enduro hardtail mtb is all I need! Might get a downhill later..

Acousticmarine says:

One of my favorite shows.  Beautiful country riding and some beers at the end of the rainbow.

FixarFarsan says:

Fantastic roads to bike on!

Peter B. says:

Rigid mtb with drop bars would be better and more duable than a gravel bike.

Shaun Green says:

Love the sprint at the end, you take the boys out of pro racing, but you can’t take racing out of the boys!

Marc Gaudette says:

I’m 58 and I am returning to cycling and phasing out ice hockey (at least for the summer months April-October). I was quite avid in my twenties and I still own, and occasionally ride my 1982 Peugeot CP 12, my first real bike. I love this channel, and the guys who are the presenters. It’s entertaining, informative, and makes you crave a ride every time I watch. I’m a fat old guy on his way to being a fit old-guy cyclist. Thanks for such great fun!

Dan Slade says:

Do a video on gravel bikes v cyclocross bikes

Sorin Vasile Bogdan says:

Not hating, but why not use an XC bike for a ride like this?

Petinka says:

Love you guys! Love your sense of humor!

Timo Coutura says:

What’s the band called?

howard LaLaLa says:

0:39 jumped out from light speed

ruirodtube says:

Not a single word about the single chain ring and no forward derailleur on a gravel bike vs the twin rings and derailleur on the road bike. What’s the impact of that on the ride, on handling, on weight and maintenance?

My question is does a road bike have more shift range than a gravel bike?

david woodward says:

Clinking without drinking – what the hell???

qazibasit says:

I have a road bike but now i think a cyclocross bike is of more use than road bike. My next bike would be a cyclocross which i can make my touring bike.

Shelby S says:

0:39 looks like a scene right after the ships have completed light speed warping.

Orkid. music says:

Dudes should have a television show.

eric moss says:

IMO there’s no need for a specialized machine for “gravel”, unless your current road bike is super-steep and/or unable to fit more than a 25mm tire. Sadly, the marketers suckered us into these skinny-only bikes that were good for one thing on one kind of surface — racing on perfect roads. Had the frames and forks provided just a *bit* more space, one bike could handle 90% of riding just by fitting biggish, supple, smooth tires. Really, I hope to see bikes get back to a bit of sanity, though I shouldn’t hold my breath.

Practical Excel says:

Thanks boys. Cheers!

hunter k24 says:

Absolutely love it

zed cabañas says:

My parents gave me a MERIDA gravel bike for my 13th birthday and now im using it for our long rides. And BTW im from Philippines

revolutionpm says:

Were the tires glue on’s or tubeless? If the road bike had tubeless, were sacrifices made to the on road performance of the tire in order to prevent side wall cutting, as some top brand tires are susceptible to cutting by gravel.?
7:05-1st beer on left: Ginuess Stout Draft?
Sub’r: 1.2M+1

Eugene Wong says:

I always wanted a gravel bike, but I got no money for new bike(ㄒoㄒ)

Rome S. says:

GCN should start doing sweepstakes! I watch all of your videos.

Kittyhawk7 says:

Excellent, well done guys.

yuan balancaday says:

Can you use a roadbike shoes ang cleats on a gravel or cx bike? They are advisable?

Mason Hamilton says:

Is a gravel bike basically a tour bike?

Doctor Prepper says:

I imagine it would be a great choice for a mountain biker starting on more road training…

Brian Roach says:

Gravel is opens up the options and leave the autos for their own misery

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