Gravel e-bikes readily connote offroad, rugged riding yet they are still arguably less performance-based than most eMTBs. And this is definitely one of the main reasons why they are getting this much traction from plenty of e-bike riders. They are nothing short of versatile and can accommodate most beginners from the get-go.
You can ride them on practically any kind of road, too, being able to have features that allow them to smoothly transition from road to offroad and back again with relative ease. Not a lot of other types of e-bikes can top that capability.
This is why we can’t blame you if you think they’re the best e-bikes that can assure value for money. Most models do manage to showcase this flexibility but since we are talking about the best gravel e-bike here, we will settle for no less than the head-turners, particularly when meeting the fundamental criteria that affirm a gravel e-bike’s value.
Top criteria for choosing the best grave e-Bike
We’re going to say outright that a lot of the weight of your decision should still be based on your preferences. That said, rider needs and preferences do tend to overlap, hence, we have these criteria. Of course, you want to have a decent riding range and motor power. Besides this, it will be great if the gravel e-bike has features that boost stability, safety, convenience, and durability. It does not necessarily have to break the bank for it to deliver all these things.
What is your main reason for purchasing a gravel e-bike? Will you be using it for gravel racing? Or will you just be riding it on-road and offroad casually? These are two of the main reasons why people opt for gravel e-bikes, and yours probably do not depart too much from them. In case you vote for gravel racing, you should start going for those with more powerful (torque-wise) and professional motors.
More of a casual rider but want to get to experience riding through fire and dirt roads regularly? Then you probably do not really need any of the hardcore stuff included in more racing-oriented gravel e-bikes. You can benefit a lot from models that integrate fenders that keep dirt and other debris from getting to you while riding. You would rarely see racing models add fenders and mudguards.
List of the best gravel e-Bikes
|Model Name||Price||Riding Range||Weight|
|Specialized Turbo Creo SL Comp Carbon EVO||$6,500||35 – 75 miles (55 – 120 km)||31.6 pounds (14.3 kg)|
|BULLS GRINDER EVO||$4,999||30 – 85 miles (50 – 135 km)||52.5 pounds (23.8 kg)|
|Fantic Gravel-X||$4,290||45 – 90 miles (70 – 145 km)||48 pounds (21.8 kg)|
|Cairn E-Adventure 1.0||3,972||34 – 56 miles (55 – 90 km)||31.9 pounds (14.5 kg)|
|Yamaha Wabash||$3,499||38 – 75 miles (65 – 120 km)||42 pounds (19.0 kg)|
Why powerful motors are a safe bet for a gravel e-bike
We said that gravel e-bikes are not as performance-based as electric mountain bikes, and one gravel e-bike characteristic that confirms this is the usually smaller motors and batteries found in them. In e-biking, small means less output in range and torque. This is why models that can still impart great quantities for these two essential e-bike factors can easily stand out. All the more so if they still manage to be lightweight at the same time.
Gravel racing serves as one factor why it’s better to opt for models that can still provide adequate support regardless of the changes in your pedaling patterns. Gravel e-bike riders tend to want to pedal fast, and most gravel e-bike models are geared more towards providing support for speeding than climbing.
Read also: Can e-bikes climb steep hills? – in this article.
If you are a racer, you surely want to have a sturdy motor you can always rely on every time you switch gears. The best models can ensure stable support all the way, which is what makes them the creme de la creme in the first place.
However, if you are just going to be riding casually, then you probably won’t be needing the 28mph top speeds found in topnotch gravel e-bikes like the Specialized Turbo Creo SL Comp, Carbon EVO and the BULLS Grinder EVO. Although it still would not hurt to have a motor strong enough to give you smooth assist while you are riding on off-road terrain.
The same goes for riders who want to just use their gravel e-bikes for endurance training (which is also one of the popular reasons why people buy this type of e-bike). You do not really need a torquey motor for this purpose, and some models are designed just like that to help you get more range in the process.
Read also: Can I use an e-bike for strength and endurance training? – in this article.
Manage the range of your gravel e-bike
While you do not really have much say about the batteries manufacturers choose to incorporate, you can always choose to anticipate or even calculate whether the model you buy will manage to give you lots of it. You can take better control of the battery aspects of your e-bike in this regard.
Consider your riding habits. Do you tend to stick to a regular riding schedule and average riding distances? If yes, then you will certainly benefit a lot from checking the riding range of the model so you will end up with the one that will give just enough for your rides every time.
Read also: How far can e-bikes go? What is e-bike range? – in this article.
Otherwise, if you are more of an unpredictable rider who likes to try out new dirt roads, fire roads, and other gravel roads frequently, then a longer lasting battery probably fits you more.
It can be argued that most gravel e-bikes will benefit a lot from having higher riding ranges due to their highly versatile nature. Nonetheless, if you are well aware of your purposes for riding your gravel electric bike, then it will probably be easier for you to buy the model that you are sure has just the right amount of range you need.
Make the most out of your gravel e-bike features
You do not have to scrutinize every single component to know their contributions to the e-bike. But be sure you will be able to make the most out of them. It is a given that brands will design the e-bike to give it more stability and durability. This is obvious in the way the gravel e-bikes use larger tires and more heavy-duty frames. Ultimately, you will have to test it out yourself to see whether these features and how the manufacturer rendered them work for you.
The best features you will probably love to have, include excellently designed flared drop bars, puncture-resistant tires, and those that give the best weight distributions. The e-bike does not necessarily have to go all the way in terms of making itself lightweight. Better weight distribution that assures a stable and smooth ride through bombs and rough trails are preferred for a reason.
In general, there is no need to look for advanced features in gravel e-bikes. Otherwise, you will probably be better off with a pure eMTB or city e-bike. However, decent lighting is always welcome, especially if you will also be riding on roads regularly. As long as you are sure that the included features are great and you will be benefiting from them a lot of time, then that is a good option for you.
Read also: How to select the best city e-bike? – in this article.
Always make prices relative to your needs
The price arguably remains one of the most important criteria you should not overlook. Why? Because, for one, most e-bikes are costly enough as they are at present. The second reason hinges on the relative “newness” of gravel e-bikes, which means they often fetch a higher price tag. You can see this in models that have removable batteries, for instance. Innovations often result in these price increases.
Read also: How much does a gravel e-bike cost? – our detailed guide with examples in this article.
This is why you should really consider whether the model will be worth paying extra money for. Will you be using all the extra features? Does the bike fulfill all your purposes for buying it? You may not need to reflect too much on this if you will be settling for the more premium brands like Specialized, as they really know how to meet the demands of their riders based on the specific e-bike type that they manufacture.
But if you are not going for what many deem as the best, then you should really have a solid answer to the questions presented above. Who knows? You might end up with a model better than what Specialized readily offers. Better (and, in turn, best) in the sense that you get to save thousands of dollars and get to ride on a gravel e-bike that gives you everything you need – no more, no less.
Finally, the warranty is another sure-fire way of gauging a gravel e-bike’s value. After all, will you be willing to trust a company that can’t even offer reasonable coverage for their models? For e-bikes designed to undergo more of a beating on the road in the long run, gravel e-bike makers that can confidently give you comprehensive warranties lasting up to two years merit a closer look and are recommended if it’s also not much of struggle to find replacement parts for it.
A few words in conclusion
What’s great about gravel e-bikes is that they entered the e-bike industry late and have since been gaining traction. This resulted in a number of fortuitous things, not least of which is the fact that most manufacturers have since acquired the needed experience to know how and what to deliver to riders. You can easily see this in the abundant praise being rained on most gravel e-bike models and, of course, their growing popularity.
It will not be much of a long shot to say that your chances of ending up with a less-than-satisfactory gravel e-bike are pretty slim. That said, whether you will be able to use your chosen gravel e-bike to the fullest still lies entirely on your hands.
Take a look at this quick review of the Yamaha Wabash gravel electric bike: