The rigors of daily commuting can be a thrill in and of themselves – navigating unkempt bike lanes, dodging speeding cars, and the never-ending quest to avoid deep-rutted potholes, to name a few. While most commuter bikes are up for the challenge, cyclists might find that a gravel bike is better suited to tackle all that unpredictability.

Gravel bikes are well-rounded machines - they're an excellent choice for road warriors, gravel grinders, and daily commuters alike. These bikes include more commuter-friendly features than ever, including more comfortable frame designs, bigger tire clearance, integrated light and bag mounts, and easier gearing for lugging all your gear around the city. More and more cyclists across the spectrum are choosing gravel bikes as their do-it-all option, and here are some reasons why:

Shimano Gravel bikes with Lazer helmets

More Comfortable Foundation

Road riders often feel all the little bumps and cracks along their ride because road bikes are usually built for speed and ultimate power transfer. Gravel bikes, on the other hand, offer a little more give in the frame design and geometry that still allows for some good speed but with a bit more comfort along the way. For cyclists sticking to less than ten miles per ride, avoiding bumps may not be a huge priority, but endurance riders will most certainly appreciate the extra support as the hours in the saddle add up. The same goes for commuters, those who have a smooth, easy ride into town may not have to worry about comfort. But for longer rides or those on mixed surfaces and cracked asphalt, a little extra comfort will go a long way.

Shimano Gravel

Bigger Tires for Better Grip

Many cyclists sticking to pavement automatically think a road bike will be their best option because asphalt equals road. But in many cities, the pavement is far from smooth. These days, most gravel bikes come from the factory with wider, grippier tires that can handle basic potholes and the grit that routinely gets spun up in urban bike lanes (not to mention the other foreign objects that can turn up on a bike lane). Gravel bikes can handle the unpredictability of commuting along with the transition from a greenway to the city streets and back again.

Shimano Gravel

Another thing to think about when it comes to grip is the weather. Thin road tires offer less grip in wet conditions, and that's a potential hazard when flying down hills in traffic or needing to brake unexpectedly at a stoplight. While it's not complete peace of mind, gravel wheels and tires can offer a bit more hold on the road through rain or humidity.

Versatility For All Riding Conditions

Modern gravel bikes are built to handle a wider range of component and accessory upgrades or changes, especially wider tires and wheels. This means more opportunities to keep riding in rougher weather months (think swapping out summer tires and wheels for winter options).

Gravel bikes often also come with bag and accessory mounts so you can carry all the gear you'll need for the day without using a backpack, which can get hot and sweaty on summer rides. Some gravel frames even have pannier mounts so you can carry larger, heavier gear, which helps make the overall investment more appealing as a do-it-all bike.

Better Gearing for Every Ride

Gravel groupsets like Shimano GRX components offer a broad range of gearing options to suit whatever type of terrain you ride, whether you're commuting or out for a fun ride. GRX groups have smaller (easier) gears that were designed for rough gravel roads, but that work great for commutes with a bike loaded with your gear for the day. It's also nice to have these spinny gears for commuting so you can cruise easily to work or into town without breaking a sweat.

Gravel bags

Overall, gravel bikes are a great way for newer cyclists to have an all-around capable machine while offering commuters more capability for any weather or terrain.