Best Steel Gravel Bike 2020: Lightest Frame [Top 5 Picks]

Best Steel Gravel Bike

When an adventurous gravel biker thinks about durability, cycling quality and a bit heavier than aluminium or titanium bike; then steel made gravel bike is the only option to choose. As we all know, steel is one of the most resilient construction material for the gravel road bikes.

So, Why Ride Steel Gravel Bike? Because of its toughness or durability, weight and cycling quality.

However, do you want to own or replace your steel gravel bike with the best option in the market? Sadly, it is tedious, and you cannot be sure of the best among the spectrum of options available, right?

Therefore, we have come up with a smaller list of the 5 best steel gravel bikes in the market today. Read on for the exhilarating features that the bikes have to offer.

As if that is not enough, we have also compiled a simplified guide on how to make the best choice from the top 5.

Best Steel Gravel Bike

Here are the 5 best steel gravel bikes that we have chosen for you, each uniquely best in its own way as we will see;

1. Giordano Trieste  – Chromoly Steel Frame with Chromoly Steel Fork (Best Steel Frame Gravel Bike)

When looking for a gravel bike that you can occasionally use for commuting and feel totally on a normal road bike, then the Giordano Trieste is an ideal option. Its lightweight yet sturdy frame and crank make it ideal for just about any road you would like to venture in. Let’s get the waters under way on its exquisite features;

Just like all gravel bikes, this bike has impressively wide tires. Their dimensions are 700c by 30mm, wide enough for even the road that is rarely walked on. Coupled with a double wall alloy rim that features a maximum of 32 holes, the bike tires garner more strength for the gravel roads.

The bike has a chromoly steel frame, which is sturdy and strong enough to handle rough roads, adverse weather and season conditions and even rocky terrains. With the fork also a construction of chromoly steel, the bike could never have had better gravel bike features.

What about the gear system? Actually, the bike uses Shimano Claris STI shifters, which give it an aggressive performance on the rough trails. In addition, the bike uses Shimano 8 speed 11-32T cassette.

The shifters and speed varieties are also a major reason the bike braces a tarmac road as though it was a normal road bike.

Finally, the bike ensures that your safety is optimized by featuring mechanical disc brakes. They are not just strong, but they will prevent debris and dust from damaging the brakes.

Pros

  • The bike is a real gravel bike, but turns into a road bike on a normal road.
  • Strong and sturdy for the tough road environment.
  • Shimano shifters and speeds.
  • Disc brakes to enhance safety.

Cons

  • The package does not come with a tool box.

2. Tommaso Sentiero – Aluminum Compact Frame Combined with an SST Steel Fork

We all know how confident you can be when using Shimano biking products. For brand quality in a gravel bike, then this Tommaso equipment will do. Let’s dive into the exciting features that it has to offer;

The bike comes in a compact frame construction, which blends well with the SST steel fork. Hence, the quality of the bike is not compromised, and to back that up, the bike has a lifetime warranty.

Gravel road capability? The bike features Tommaso TC-20-D rims, which are capable of withstanding any terrain in any weather condition. Whether you want to climb on rocks or enjoy the feel of a steep downhill, this bike is a great fit.

Then there are the updated 2019 700 by 40c tires, which are no only wider than normal, but also tough enough to handle the uneven road obstacles.

Moreover, the bike uses Avid BB5 disc system of brakes, which are absolutely powerful. Hence, whether winding down a terrace, you will still feel safe.

For optimal speed, the bike features a 3 by 8 Shimano Claris Group set, which includes a 30/39/50TClaris crankset and a 12 by 25T Claris cassette. This is the best set to handle rugged roads, with several gear ranges to suit all rider levels.

To facilitate comfort over long rides, the bike has a compact frame geometry, with premium handlebars. The two features will further facilitate the power of the bike, despite looking sleek.

Pros

  • Features quality Shimano parts.
  • Guarantees durability.
  • Comfortable design for long ride capability.
  • Strong parts that handle gravel roads with ease.
  • More gear options.

Cons

  • You have to take the bike to a professional for assembly.

3. Mongoose Bicycle – Sleek Alloy Frame and Steel Fork for the Ultimate Ride

If you love gravel bike, then you must know that a 7-speed bike is the best for an expert professional biker. If you are looking for the best 7-speed bike option, then going with the Mongoose bike will be a great choice. This way, you will not only challenge your biking skills, but also get the motivation to improve them more.

Let’s dive into the bike’s features;

First off, the bike’s design enhances optimal body posture comfort, especially when on the hard-packed trails. This is through the frame geometry, plus the handlebar position. They are all maximized to ensure that you don’t experience pain on your lower back and shoulders.

With a front suspension, the bike curbs vibration and any shock that comes with bumps and rocky terrains. Coupled with Shimano gear for higher speed and increased riding distance, the bike could be just what you are looking for.

Facilitating comfort and tailbone pain prevention is the narrow cut saddle. Besides, it has a dense compression comfort foam to enhance the comfort, during and after the cycling sessions.

To blend convenience in the bike features, the bike comes with a rear rack, on which you can put panniers and personal accessories at will.

Bringing in more confidence in the bike on gravel are 1.75 inches tires. You will be amazed at the smooth and fast roll that their rugged tread is capable of.

Pros

  • 7-speed gearing.
  • Comfortable body posture guaranteed.
  • Fast and smooth tire tread.

Cons

  • The brakes will need some adjustment before you embark on the road.

4. SIRDAR S-900 – Aluminum Alloy Body with High Carbon Steel Parts

When looking for a gravel bike that will give you a perfect breeze and allow you a serene view outside, then the SIDAR bike should be your best choice. Want to know why? Let’s skip to the specifics;

Essentially, the bike is an aluminum construction, with parts that are high carbon steel. The strong material keeps the bike free from damage. On rainy and wet days, the bike can also withstand the tough environmental conditions.

With 3 gears at the front derailleur and 9 gears at the rear, the bike features a total of 27 speed options. Hence, whenever you want to change the gears and have a relaxing moment on your bike without affecting your overall performance, you can always count on the bike. The smooth and convenient shifting is through a finger-type shifter, so you will not strain or reduce your speed to change gears.

Also, the bike has both a front and a rear disc braking system, which is really powerful and highly effective. Other than that, the discs prevent dust accumulation in the brake system, thus always keeping you in safety.

The tires are 27.5 by 1.95 in inches, which is sufficiently wide. Combined with the aluminum suspension fork, you will get a smooth ride regardless of riding over gravel.

Surprisingly, the bike comes with several saddles for your convenience. These include two general saddles, 1 mountain cross country saddle, and even 1 wide saddle to suit you. therefore, you can interchange the seats whenever you feel you need another as you wish, without additional costs. To boom it all, the saddles provide efficient shock absorbing mechanism to keep you comfortable.

Besides, the bike has an adjustable fork at the front, which you lock when you are on smoother roads. On the other hand, you can always open it to increase shock absorption on the rougher parts of the road.

Enhancing your visibility and safety on the road are two lighting mechanisms, both at the rear and the front.

Want a job almost done? The bike comes almost fully assembled, so that you only have to do the obvious 5 percent. This includes the front wheels, handlebars, seat and pedals, which is easy to install yourself. With all the necessary tools for assembly included in the package, the job is even simpler.

Pros

  • High number of speed options available.
  • Great for both adventure and biking challenge.
  • Visibility enhanced by lights.
  • Easy to assemble the small part that comes separate.
  • Best for any type of road.

Cons

  • You will need to adjust the brakes and the derailer. With the tools available though, this is a walk in the park task.

5. Diamondback Haanjo – Gravel Disc Steel Fork Features

If you prefer an upright sitting position, then your gravel bike should feature flat handlebars. For the best gravel bike with this condition, the Diamondback Haanjo 1 Gravel Bike should suit your ultimate needs. What more does the bike offer?

Fundamentally, the bike is 6061-T6 aluminum alloy frame construction. It is in a design that presents endurance geometry, which facilitates comfort on the bike in addition to a long lifespan for the bike.

Then, it features a sturdy gravel disc steel fork, which adds to the bike’s resilience on gravel roads.

With fenders and rack mounts on the bike frame, you can stay dry and comfortable on the ride for a whole day. Your bike will also keep its stability throughout muddy grounds, without filling up with mud.

Whether you want to travel on countryside gravel road or on the city streets, the bike will still be a wonderful choice. The mechanical disc brakes will offer the absolute safety and speed limits whenever need be.

Furthermore, the bike features very wide tires, with dimensions of 700 by 38c. Their tread is sufficiently great for both rough pavements and the perfectly-made roads.

Lastly, the bike uses a Shimano Acera drivetrain, which is helpful in optimal shifting success.

Pros

  • Best design for upright riding posture.
  • Strong construction for gravel road riding.
  • Wide tires for stability on any road terrace.

Cons

  • It does not have a front derailer.

Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Steel Gravel Bike

Strength of the Construction

If you want to get a gravel bike for professional training, then get the options we have for aluminum alloy frame. If for adventure, then the steel frames will do. Nevertheless, all the above bikes present steel forks, so you will still have a taste of your favorite stainless steel on your bike.

Also, check that the rims can with stand the harsh road conditions that a road bike should.

The general design of the bike should present comfort, especially the frame geometry and the seat.

Cost

Gravel bikes are generally expensive, especially compared to common road bikes. Nevertheless, with enough savings, you may get a road bike that will suit your pocket.

The good part about gravel bikes, though, is that they require less maintenance, regardless of going through rough and muddy roads. Hence, the gravel bikes are worth the cost you incur to buy them. In any case, you can use a gravel bike in place of a road bike, hence more versatile usage opportunities.

Durability of the Parts

Ensure that the gravel bike you purchase has a guarantee on quality and durability. Even though you have to replace some parts with time, they should have served you optimally. This way, you will even feel good doing the replacement, regardless of the cost you have to incur.

Additional Accessories

If a bike features other features and is of good quality, then this will save you additional costs and hustle of more orders. For instance, a bike that has fenders already installed, or extra seats for your convenience are great options.

Ensure that you look out for these, which make your expensive purchase all the more worth the cost.

Speeds Available

Depending on the purpose of the bike, you can determine the number of speeds you want from a gravel bike. Do you want a real gravel biking challenge? 7-speed sets will be great options. Want a bike that will optimize your road trip adventure, look for 21 speed gears or more.

This way, you will reap the best out of your gravel bike.

Level of Cycling

Are you starting out on gravel biking, or are you a professional biker? The answer to this question will tell you of your most suitable gravel bike. While every biker targets the expert level, having a beginner’s bike is always best to help you on to the next level.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are gravel bikes as fast as road bikes?

No, the road bikes are comparatively faster than gravel bikes, since they are lighter, and the tires narrower. So, for general speed, the road bike is faster.

Are gravel bikes faster than mountain bikes?

Yes, they are. They are narrower than the mountain bikes, and even lighter. Also, the gravel bikes have more gears, hence the ability to tread faster even on rough terrains where the mountain bikes reign.

Why are gravel bikes so expensive?

The gravel bikes have more speeds and gear options, with the tires and rims built to withstand the rough terrains. Moreover, the stealth of the frame comes at a cost.

How good are gravel bikes?

Gravel bikes are technically the best if you use just about any road terrain. Whether smooth, rocky, muddy or even steep, the gravel bike is the best for handling all these.

Do I really need a gravel bike?

Yes, you do, but only if you are to use a mix of rough and soft terrains. For mountain biking, then a mountain bike is great and for commuting in cities, a road bike will do. However, if any road trip is for you, the gravel bike should come in handy.

Are steel frames any good?

Yes, they are. But they are mostly great for adventure and commuting, not for professional purpose. Some gravel bikes will use aluminum frame, then use steel for other parts such as the fork.

Is steel or aluminum bike frame better?

Steel is soft and great for a casual rider, the commuter and even an adventurous rider. On the other hand, aluminum frames are best for professional bikes. Hence, the answer will depend on how you want to use the bike.

Final Verdict

If you were wondering how assured you will be that the bikes you see are gravel bikes, now you have your answer. On top of that, we narrowed down the list to leave only the best 5.

With five best steel gravel bike options, you have most likely found the perfect match for you. if you are still confused, the buying guide should clear your mind. Let your best preference rule, all other conditions constant.

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