11 Best Gravel Bikes Under $1500 in 2021 Review

Whether you are looking to stay fit or you are planning to use a non-motorized vehicle as your mode of transportation, gravel bikes make a great choice. Gravel bikes can get you on mixed terrains whether it’s paved or muddy roads. Think of it as a hybrid between road bikes and mountain bikes. In case you have a $1500 budget, we’ve come up with some of the best gravel bikes under $1500.

These options will help you make a good decision whether you are leaning towards a gravel bike that looks more like a mountain bike or you want something that looks more like a road bike.

Best Gravel Bikes Under $1500 Review

Schwinn Vantage Mens/Womens Sport Hybrid Bike

Schwinn Vantage Mens-Womens Sport Hybrid Bike

The best women’s gravel bike might look a bit different than gravel bikes designed for men simply because of the anatomic differences between males and females. Female bikes are designed to be smaller.

But what if you have a bike that caters to both? The Schwinn Vantage Sports Hybrid Bike is a bike that was advertised to be unisex. But is it really true?

This bike was designed only for tall individuals. You need to be at least 5’10” to enjoy this bike. If you’re a petite lady, then you might not like this bike after all.

If you are a tall individual who happened to be riding bikes for quite some time, then this might be the perfect option for you. It comes with the Schwinn Ride Technology Adventure Frame which is designed to keep vibration to a minimum. It made use of an elastomer material that provides optimal comfort even in bumpy rides. On top of that, you also get an SRAP Rival 22-speed drivetrain that goes with an FSA Gossamer crank. This can help you stay relaxed even when you are going uphill.

Next, it also comes with the continental sport contact II 35C tires designed for both roads and muddy adventures. Plus, it comes with a safety breaker flat protection to give users that extra confidence that they need in case they are going to ride for hours. Stopping power is also superb with its SRAM RIVAL hydraulic disc brakes.

And lastly, you have a comfortable handlebar that comes with the same antishock elastomer material that is found in its frame.

Pros:

  • Antishock features
  • 22-speed drivetrain makes it easy to ride difficult terrains
  • Tires designed for rough roads

Cons:

  • Designed for tall individuals

Tommaso Illimitate Shimano Tiagra Gravel Adventure Bike

Tommaso Illimitate Shimano Tiagra Gravel Adventure Bike

The Tommaso Illimitate Shimano Tiagra Gravel Adventure Bike feels more of a road bike than a mountain bike.

This bike is designed for smaller individuals which makes it perfect even for petite users. It comes with a compact frame made of aluminum plus a high modulus carbon fiber fork that can dampen vibrations that you get from bumps. Next, it also made use of a 2×10 Shimano Tiagra Groupset that allows users to enjoy a broad speed range plus closer transition from one gear to the next.

However, if you will look at the tires and its rims, you’d notice that it is more than your average road bike. TC-40D rims give you the chance to enjoy both rugged and smooth roads. Not to mention the 700x40c tires provide maximum grip on the road. This also comes with disc brakes that offer a decent stopping power on the bike when tested on both dry and wet roads. Some would even say that the brakes are terrible. But compared to the other bikes, it is still above average in this department.

The biggest downside is that it is a bit on the heavy side for a hybrid aluminum carbon adventure bike. You might have some trouble picking it up to load on your car or if you have to climb stairs to cross an overpass.

Pros:

  • Easy to ride on uphill roads
  • Broad speed range
  • Dampens vibration

Cons:

  • Heavy for an aluminum-carbon hybrid bike

Takara Shiro Adventure Bike 700c

Takara Shiro Adventure Bike 700c

The Takara Shiro Adventure Bike 700c was built for a wide array of users. It is fit for those who are 5’5” to 6’2”.

It has been overlooked by many experienced bikers because of its steel frame. The steel frame has been getting a lot of odd looks because it is known for being heavy.

However, the high tensile steel frame is popular for being durable giving you the needed confidence to traverse different roads. It also has a handlebar that allows you and maneuver the bike on difficult roads.

It comes with 700c x 40mm high volume tires giving you the traction that you need regardless of the surface. After testing the Takara Shiro Adventure Bike, it does a good job dealing with challenging trails especially steep roads thanks to its 21-speed option. It also comes with cable activated disc brakes. The disc brakes perform well but not exactly the best in the market.

With a steel frame and cable operated disc brakes, you can consider this as an entry-level gravel bike. Is it the best entry-level gravel bike? You can argue that it is the best in this category. It offers great maneuverability plus great traction on muddy roads, something that you don’t expect from cheaper entry-level gravel bikes.

Pros:

  • Durable frame
  • Great performance on elevated terrains
  • Responsive brakes
  • Designed for individuals from 5’5” to 6’2”

Cons:

  • Designed for beginners

Populo Quest 16-Speed Gravel Bike

Populo Quest 16-Speed Gravel Bike

The Populo Quest 16-Speed Gravel Bike fits the description of a budget gravel bike. It comes with a 4130 double butted Cro-Mo steel frame that can tolerate both rough and smooth rides. On the bright side, it feels a bit light for a gravel bike made of steel.

The Populo Quest Gravel Bike comes with a 16-speed drivetrain enough to give users the help necessary when it comes to dealing with inclined roads. We also noticed that transitioning from one gear to the next feels smooth and seamless with the Populo Quest Gravel Bike.

The Populo Quest Gravel Bike is designed with daily commute considerations. You can easily add a mount rack and fenders on this bike. Plus, it gets an A+ for comfort because of its drop handlebars paired with the Velo Venture Saddle allowing a more relaxed posture on its user. The bike is also available in different sizes that can accommodate users from 5’2” to 6’2”.

It comes half-assembled, though the assembly process is a complicated thing to do on your own especially if you are a first-time buyer. Might as well find a pro who can get everything done for you.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Fits different body types
  • Designed for paved roads and muddy roads
  • Comfortable to use

Cons:

  • Complicated assembly

Tommaso Sentiero Shimano Claris Gravel Adventure Bike

Tommaso Sentiero Shimano Claris Gravel Adventure Bike

Tommaso Sentiero Shimano Claris Gravel Adventure Bike comes in with both functionality and powerful performance making it one of the best bikes under 1500. This bike comes with a compact aluminum frame making it lighter than your average steel gravel bike.

If you will read the bike reviews online, many would even call it as the best adventure bicycle for first-time buyers. Some consider it as the best entry-level adventure bike because it comes with superb shifters not to mention a lightweight frame.

One of the main reasons why it is considered the ideal gravel bike by other users is because of its 3×8 Shimano Claris Groupset that allows users to experience comfort whenever they are climbing uphill. Plus, it gives you a broad range of gears to choose from.

Let’s not forget that it has the ability to conquer different terrains. It is perfect for rugged parts of your town to smooth roads that take you to your workplace. It comes with 700 x 40c tires that are known for their superb traction, combined with powerful BB5 disc brakes.

The biggest complaint however is when making sharp turns. Many complained about the cables by the shifters that get in the way.

Pros:

  • Superb groupset that allows you to conquer tough elevated roads
  • Lightweight frame
  • Powerful brakes
  • Good traction on different surfaces

Cons:

  • Doesn’t do well during sharp turns

Mongoose Maxim Girls Mountain Bike 24-Inch Wheels

Mongoose Maxim Girls Mountain Bike 24-Inch Wheels

The Mongoose Maxim Girls Mountain Bike is an option for women who plan on doing outdoor activities. This bike is made of an aluminum frame combined with an aluminum fork giving users the comfort that they need during bumpy rides. It also made use of a 21-speed Shimano rear derailleur in case you are dealing with challenging terrains that require a lot of leg power. It also offers a wide array of gear ranges that can give you the options you need.

The alloy linear-pull brakes also make a good addition to the overall functionality of the Mongoose Maxim Girls Mountain Bike.

Assembly is quite straight forward and is easy to figure out on your own. However, keep in mind that this is still a beginner’s gravel bike. Users noted that it is not as durable as they expected it to be. Though it is in no way the best cheap gravel bike in the market, it does have some perks that can attract individuals especially parents who want to introduce their children to gravel bikes.

Pros:

  • Designed for women and kids
  • Beginner-friendly bike
  • Allows users to climb uphill without any problem
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Questionable durability

Tommaso Siena Shimano Tourney Gravel Adventure Bike

Tommaso Siena Shimano Tourney Gravel Adventure Bike

There are many reasons why individuals looking for gravel bikes for sale tend to gravitate towards the Tommaso Siena Shimano Tourney Gravel Adventure Bike. This gravel bike can be considered a great option for both your daily commute to work or if you plan on going on an adventure with buddies on a weekend.

It made use of an aluminum frame making it easy to carry around especially when you have to climb stairs or when you have to place it in your car. The bike weighs a little over 26 pounds. But though it is lightweight, the frame can withstand the impact from rough roads.

Comfort is another important factor that should be discussed with the Tommaso Siena ShimanoTourney Gravel Adventure Bike. It has good amount of cushion found on its saddle not to mention you don’t also have to lean too much whenever you are riding this bike.

Performance-wise, it has been equipped with a 3×7 Shimano Tourney Groupset making it possible for you to enjoy the ride even if you are climbing difficult terrains. And also, even if you are dealing with wet roads, you will not have a problem at all because of the 700x40c tires integrated with this bike. And to add to its all-terrain character, the Tommaso Siena ShimanoTourney Gravel Adventure Bike is also equipped with responsive Avid BB5 disc brakes giving you peace of mind in case you need to make a full stop or slow down while riding.

Is it a perfect gravel bike? Not exactly, there are small issues here and there such as parts of the seat that tend to poke out after a few miles on the road. It can be a bit frustrating but it is overall not a big deal.

Pros:

  • Perfect even for wet terrain
  • Responsive brakes
  • Great for climbing uphill
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Some parts are made of cheap materials

Raleigh Bikes Willard 2 Gravel Adventure Road Bike

Raleigh Bikes Willard 2 Gravel Adventure Road Bike

The Raleigh Bikes Willard 2 Gravel Adventure Bike is a favorite by many outdoor bike enthusiasts. This is the gravel bike that is designed more like a road bike than a mountain bike. This comes with built-in mounts for a rack and fenders making it easier for you to bring your stuff for your daily routine.

But despite leaning towards a road bike design, the Willard 2 is still a top-notch option if you plan on doing muddy roads. It comes with a lightweight but durable aluminum frame allowing users to have the best comfort, especially when running on unpaved roads. Next, it also helps users to carry the bike whenever they need to climb stairs whenever they are commuting to work.

In terms of performance, the Raleigh Bikes Willard 2 Gravel Adventure Bike is equipped with Shimano Soar 9-speed shifters that allow users 18 gears to choose from. This makes it easier to reach the top of an uphill terrain without exerting too much work on your legs. Because of this, it is the perfect option for beginners and for experienced riders alike.

It also comes with 700x35c tires that do a great job when it comes to assisting riders in wet roads and muddy terrains.

The only thing that most users complain about is its assembly. Assembly is a bit complicated requiring the help of pros.

Pros:

  • Perfect for city riding
  • Reliable brakes and superb traction
  • 18 gears to choose from
  • Lightweight frame

Cons:

  • Assembly requires the help of pros

Diamondback Bicycles Haanjo 3 Gravel Adventure Road Bike

Diamondback Bicycles Haanjo 3 Gravel Adventure Road Bike

The Diamondback Bicycles Haanjo 3 Gravel Adventure Road Bike fits different individuals given its four different sizes available. You can select from small, medium, large, and extra-large catering to users from 5’4” to 6’4”. Though it looks more like a road bike, this gravel bike was still designed to tolerate both paved and unpaved roads.

It is one of the best adventure road bikes if you are looking for something that is light and easy to maneuver in difficult terrains. It features an aluminum frame plus an aluminum fork that helps reduce vibration on your ride. It comes with a Shimano Sora 2×9 speed drivetrain that makes it possible to give riders an easier time whenever they need to traverse steep roads that can be taxing to the legs. It also comes with 700x37c tires that offer a decent amount of traction when you decide to hit the muddy roads.

The only area that needs improvement in this bike would have to be the seat. It is not the most comfortable considering other bikes that we’ve mentioned. Because of this, it isn’t surprising why it is considered by many as one of the best gravel bikes for the money.

Pros:

  • Tires are perfect for paved and muddy roads
  • Smooth transition from one gear to the next
  • Lightweight
  • Different sizes available

Cons:

  • The seat needs a bit of work

Retrospec Bicycles AMOK V2 CycloCross Convertible Single-Speed

Retrospec Bicycles AMOK V2 CycloCross Convertible Single-Speed

If you are after the best steel adventure bikes in the market, we suggest that you check the Retrospec Bicycles AMOK V2 CycloCross Convertible Bike. This comes with a hand-built 4130 Chromoly steel frame that allows users to withstand tough terrains. It has a forged rear drop plus a derailleur hanger that brings a smooth ride on both paved and unpaved roads. It is also equipped with 700c double-wall rims that make it easy to roll over rocks and twigs when you decide to take this bike outdoors.

But unlike most of the gravel bikes, it has a flat handlebar making it difficult to maneuver muddy terrains.

It also comes with Kenda small block 8 tires that are both lightweight and known for superb traction thanks to its big bumps and grooves. These are puncture-resistant tires that are dependable on muddy roads.

The brake system is stand out for off-road cycling. It has cantilever brakes that offer great precision whenever you need to slow down or make a complete stop. Though it is a single speed bike, it still holds some advantages. It requires minimal maintenance. Plus, you don’t need to worry about your chain jumping all over the place.

Pros:

  • Puncture-resistant tires
  • Simple to use and maintenance-free
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Difficult to ride when climbing uphill

Tommaso Avventura Shimano Sora Gravel Adventure Bike

Tommaso Avventura Shimano Sora Gravel Adventure Bike

The Tommaso Avventura Shimano Sora Gravel Adventure Bike is probably on the top of any one’s best gravel bikes under 1000 list. It has wide tires, aluminum frame, not to mention a carbon fiber fork to make the ride comfortable and tolerable especially when you are doing rough terrains.

The frame is also compact allowing you to have a more upright posture. This allows riders to see what’s in front plus maneuver the bike easily when needed. It also comes with 2×9 Shimano Sora Groupset making it easy to conquer elevated lands. Plus, you get rugged TC30D rims that make it easy to run over rocks and twigs that get in the way.

And lastly, you have the Avid BB5 disc brakes that give you the necessary stopping power regardless if you are dealing with wet or dry surfaces.

The only thing that can turn you off from this bike is the fact that you need to get the help of the pros to have it assembled. Other than that, it is arguably the best gravel bike under 1000

Pros:

  • Superb stopping power
  • Lightweight design
  • Vibration dampening capability

Cons:

  • Hard to assemble on your own

How to Buy Good Gravel Bikes Under 1500?

Finding a good gravel bike under 1500 can sometimes get complicated given the number of options that you have in the market today. To simplify the process, here are a few simple steps that can help you.

Step 1- What terrain are you most likely going to encounter?

First, you have to assess where you are going to take the gravel bike. What most people don’t know is that sub $1500 gravel bikes can also be considered as road bikes under 1500. On the other hand, you also have versions that look more like mountain bikes.

By knowing where you are most likely taking the bike, it becomes easier to select the right gravel bike. Are you using the gravel bike more as a bike for your daily commute to work? Then perhaps, you are on the roadie spectrum.

Or maybe, you are the type looking for budget gravel bikes so you can have fun during the weekend traversing challenging rough roads? If this is the case, then you might want to go for the gravel bikes that look more like a mountain bike.

Step 2- Find the right geometry for the terrain.

Getting the right geometry for your preferred terrain is important because this can dictate the comfort and functionality of your bike. Gravel bikes that look like trail bikes use a combination of fork offset along with head angle. It means that you are going to get a large trail figure which means that it feels more like a mountain bike. The longer the bike’s figure, the more stable it is especially when you are already hitting decent high speed. However, maneuverability is a drawback for this type of gravel bike.

Next, if you are most likely going to use the bike for paved roads, then might as well go for the bikes that have shorter geometry.

As a rule of thumb, if you are going to use the gravel bike more on the road, stick to a trail figure around 55-61mm range. On the other hand, you want something around 80-100mm range if you are going to stick to something that looks more like a mountain bike.

Head angle is also an important consideration. You want to have a head tube angle of under 71 degrees if you wish to use a gravel bike that looks more like a mountain bike. While if you are going to use the bike on a paved road, go for something with a higher head tube angle.

Step 3- Compare the components and specs.

Now, let’s take a closer look at all the specs that can affect your buying decision. We’ll break everything down to make it easier to understand for you.

·       Frame Material

If you will ask pros if they can describe the best value gravel bike under the $1500 price tag, they’d most likely tell you that it’s a gravel bike that has a carbon frame. Carbon is known as the best material when it comes to any bike. It is known not only for being lightweight but also for its ability to dampen vibration making it comfortable for the users.

However, finding the best carbon bikes under 1500 can be a bit difficult. Carbon is known for being expensive. This is the reason why you will most likely have an aluminum gravel bike with that price range. Aluminum is the next best thing to carbon because it is lighter than steel but not as light as carbon material.

·       Drivetrain

The drivetrain is another important consideration whenever you are going to look for gravel bikes. If you are spending more time on paved roads, a 2x drive train is the better choice. It offers a good gear range that will help you conquer steep but smooth graveled roads. This will also keep the gaps between each gear to be somewhat small.

Now, if you are going to buy a gravel bike for the rough outdoors, it is better to have a 1x drivetrain. You also might want to consider having a clutch rear derailleur. A clutched rear derailleur will help keep the chain on. Though the 2x drivetrains may also have this, it is not as important since the bike is only going to be used on smooth roads.

This kind of drivetrain system typically offers the same range but the gears are not as close to each other. And because of the simplicity of a 1xdrivetrain combined with the fact that you are dealing with complex roads, fewer things can go wrong with this drivetrain system.

·       Tires

You will also have to consider the tires. It is important to choose thick, wide, and fitted tires. However, it still depends on how you are going to use your bike. You can either go for something that has a slicker profile if you are simply going to have it on paved roads. It is common for manufacturers to provide enough clearance for different types of tires.

·       Suspension

The suspension is an important part of any bike especially if you have plans on using them on rough terrains. However, most gravel bike designs in the market typically have a rigid design. Some don’t even have a fork.

Perhaps, it is the manufacturer’s strategy to produce cheap gravel bikes. However, the reason is deeper than that. Though it can make the bike cheaper, it can also make the bike lighter and more aerodynamic. However, there are some brands that made use of gravel forks. However, a lot of riders simply don’t demand them from manufacturers. It is rather a niche feature, but it all boils down to your preference.

·       Handlebar

Another often overlooked part of any bike is the handlebar. Flared handlebars are usually popular among gravel bikes. This design was initially popularized in the 80s. It was designed to retrofit the off-road bikes.

With its bent and wider design, it offers better control and overall stability. There is an additional width that allows the user to have a more natural position adding stability to your ride.

Step 4- Test it if possible. If not, read the reviews.

Lastly, once you’ve picked a bike, the next step is to either test it out or to at least read the reviews. Reviews will give you an idea of the best and the worst things to expect from the gravel bike. Keep in mind that even the best gravel bikes will have their design flaws one way or the other.

Is it comfortable to use? Does it require some maintenance? These are things that you also have to check before you even make your decision to invest in a gravel bike.

Conclusion

A lot of people buy gravel bikes to have a bike that they can use regardless of the terrain. The good news is that you can find several options if you have a budget under $1500. You can enjoy gravel bikes from carbon fiber to those that made use of steel. Whatever is your choice, be sure that you know the advantages and the disadvantages of each bike. Be sure to compare at least four bikes before you make up your mind.