Top Bikes for Touring and Trail Adventures

Last updated on April 3rd, 2023 at 05:49 pm

Gravel bikes are your go-to option when you need to go quickly and don’t care if there isn’t any pavement available. 

Gravel bikes combine the greatest features of mountain and road cycles. 

They remain as light and agile as a sportier ride while effortlessly gliding over roots and sharp rocks, often without suspension. 

These rides are adaptable, comfortable, and prepared for the outdoors, making them ideal for bikepacking, commuting, and gentle off-roading.

Choosing the ideal gravel bike is selecting a flexible beast that is suitable for different riding styles. 

These are the finest dirt bikes available for commuting, touring, road riding, and bikepacking.

Best Overall – Cannondale Topstone Carbon 4 Gravel Bike

Image courtesy of cannondalebikes


  • Lightweight
  • Supple rear suspension
  • Many mounts

The Cannondale Topstone Carbon 4 is a versatile gravel bike that can tackle a challenging path just as readily as a smooth paved journey.

The bike’s carbon frame makes it lightweight and maneuverable, and its unique Kingpin thru-axel suspension system enables the rear to bend and cushion the impact of cobblestones, dirt, and uneven roads.

This bicycle includes several bottle and rack attachments, as well as six millimeters of fenders clearance. 

It supports tire sizes up to 45mm in width thanks to its dropped chain-stay design, which provides additional chain slack between the pedals and rear wheel. 

It is a good price for its bundle and has the power to climb difficult slopes.

Read: Top E-Bikes to Look Out for in 2023

Most Affordable – Surly Preamble Gravel Bike

City Commuter Bike | Flat Bar Gravel Bike | Drop Bar Pavement Bicycle | Surly Bikes
Image courtesy of surlybikes


  • Several sizes are available.
  • Excellent control


  • Not recommended for long rides or tours

The Preamble is Surly’s newest lightweight steel budget dirt bike, with with just the essentials that really important. 

With pricing beginning at $899, the Preamble’s minimalist design style helps lighten an otherwise bulky document while reducing expenditures.

The bike comes in sizes XS to XL and can accommodate riders from 5 feet tall to 6 feet 7 inches tall. 

It provides plenty of space for mudguards and a maximum tire clearance of 650b (the typical tire size for smaller bikes) x 41 mm tires for the lower sizes and 700c x 41 mm tires for the bigger ones. 

To suit your needs, the bike is also offered with flat or drop bar configurations. Due to its lack of components, this bike could function better as a commuter than a touring bike. 

While the Preamble has rack mounts in the front and back, some reviews claim that it is better suited for short excursions and light backpacking trips where you won’t need to overstuff the vehicle.

Best For Newcomers – Gravel bike Specialized Diverge E5

Swiss Cycles
Image courtesy of swisscycles


  • Simple upkeep and maintenance
  • Very adaptable
  • Large tire clearance


  • A little heavy

If you’re new to gravel riding, the Specialized Diverge E5 with an aluminum frame is a great bike. 

For smaller frames, the bike has a big tire clearance that can accommodate tires up to 700x47mm or 650b x 53mm. 

There are several mounting locations for luggage, accessories, racks, and fenders. 

It also lacks any integrated components, allowing you to do maintenance on it at home without the need for expensive equipment.

One of the most adaptable bikes on the market, according to bicycle tester Dan Chabanov, it can take on a sportier or more rugged feel with a simple change of the tires. 

With seven different sizes available, it can also accommodate a variety of body types.

Because to its adaptability, riding quality, and affordability, the Diverge E5 is a beginner-friendly introduction to cycling even if it isn’t as fully equipped as the more expensive alternatives on our list.

Read: Hybrid Bikes under $500; A complete guide for 2023

Best E-Bike – Roadster v2 Dirt Bike from Ride1Up

Ride1Up Roadster V2 Gravel Edition test: The best low-cost gravel e-bike
Image courtesy of electrek


  • Battery integration for a streamlined appearance
  • Pedal assistance aids ascent
  • Simple to ride on both pavement and gravel


  • For commuters, its range is ideal.
  • Heavy

Consider the Roadster v2 to power through their commutes if you live in a city or ride light trails. 

This Roadster v2 electric bicycle has an aluminum frame, a silent engine, and a hidden battery. Its peak speed is 24 miles per hour and it features a 350 watt geared hub motor. 

One San Francisco user said that it had the strength to push them up the majority of the city’s hills with no problems. It also offers pedal assistance to help ascend.

For casual riders looking for an e-bike that doesn’t seem like one, this top-rated device is perfect. 

Expect to go about 20 to 30 miles on a single charge, so this is more suitable for commuters than for long-distance travelers. 

Also, it is hefty, which can be a hassle for those who regularly use stairs in their homes or offices.


Best Value – ADV 2.2 Gravel Bike from REI Co-op Bikes

Co Op Adv 2.2 Discount, GET 55% OFF,
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  • Local REI offers free adjustments for a year.
  • A smooth, steady ride for new drivers
  • Excellent for incline


  • Front fork lacks rack mounts.
  • For others, mechanical disc brakes may be a turnoff.

The ADV 2.2 is a low-risk investment with a ton of great reviews and kind customer service if you’re new to the gravel world and want peace of mind with that big price tag.

This bike, produced under REI’s in-house bike brand, Co-op Cycles, comes with a one-year adjustment period to guarantee you appreciate what you’re riding. Members of the REI Co-op also have access to free emergency tire repairs.

The ADV 2.2 is an easy-to-use, comfortable, and beginner-friendly mountain bike with 20 gears for uphill traction and extremely smooth trail running. 

Consumers endorse it because of REI’s dependability, flexible return policy, and maintenance services. 

The mechanical disc brakes on the bike are less powerful than hydraulic ones but are less expensive to maintain.

Read: [Cycling Expert Recommend] Best Road Bikes Under 200

Most Lightweight – Crux Gravel Bike from Specialized S-Works

Specialized S-Works Crux is the lightest gravel bike on Earth
Image courtesy of newatlas


  • Extremely excellent terrain handling
  • Amazingly light
  • Gorgeous design and menacing geometry
  • Easily absorbs shock


  • For the majority of riders, it is excessive

The S-Works Crux is one of the most impressive—and expensive—carbon bikes on the market, receiving praise from reviewers for its outstanding performance and aesthetic appeal.

With a frame weight of only 1.6 pounds, or about the weight of the water bottle you’d carry on it, Specialized says this is the “lightest dirt bike in the world.” 

It weighs around 16 pounds when fully assembled with all of its components, making it the lightest bike on our list.

The Specialized S-Works Crux is the “greatest drop-bar bike I’ve ever ridden, period,” according to our colleague Dan Chabanov from Bicycling. 

Chabanov notes that the S-Works Crux rides remarkably well across challenging terrain, feeling quick and precise while retaining speed. 

He also claims that the Crux seems more controlled in its movement the quicker he travels over large rocks and roots.

Its high price may be its sole drawback. This bike, which costs little over $12,000, is intended for serious competition riding.



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