Skip to Content

10 Best Entry-Level Gravel Bikes Under $2,000

gravel bike cycling

This post may contain affiliate links. See more.

With today’s advancements in cycling technology, you don’t need to come up with $5K for a quality gravel bike.

Many ‘entry-level’ gravel bikes offer more than enough bike for a beginner. You might not have electronic shifting or a full carbon frame, but you can find a good-quality gravel bike for under $2K.

Having been in the bike industry for several years, including having raced ultra gravel races at the professional level, I’ve tested a lot of products in the process.

To help narrow your search for the best budget gravel bike, here are my picks for the best entry-level models that you can buy for around $2K or less.

What to Look for in a Gravel Bike?

gravel bike racing

When looking for an entry-level gravel bike, keep in mind the following factors:

  • Versatility: Look for a bike that can handle a range of duties, from bikepacking and racing to commuting. Most entry-level gravel bikes are designed to handle various terrains and activities.
  • Frame material: Most entry-level gravel bikes are made from aluminum. But in some cases, you may be able to find a deal for a steel or carbon gravel frame, which can offer advantages.
  • Gear range: For simplicity’s sake, I always recommend a 1x chainring up front (between 32T and 46T) (versus a 2x) while maximizing your range in your rear cassette (ideally between 10-34T and 10-44T or more).
  • Tire clearance: Opt for a gravel bike that can fit at least a 40mm tire, as this tire size will provide ample stability and tread options for varied terrain.
  • Mounting points: Look for a bike with lots of mounting points, which will allow you to easily attach accessories like racks, fenders, and water bottle cages.
  • Riding position: Consider a bike with an upright and relaxed riding position, as this will be more comfortable for long rides and off-road adventures.
  • Price range: Most entry-level gravel bikes are priced between $900-$1,500, with budget options priced below this range and better builds priced above this range.

Without further delay, here are my recommended beginner gravel bike picks under the $2,000 price point.

1. Kona Rove

Kona Rove Entry Level Gravel Bike Under $2000

The Kona Rove is widely reviewed as one of the best gravel bikes under $2,000 and for many reasons. The Rove lineup is available in both alloy and steel frame options, but the steel frame provides a smoother and more comfortable ride.

The aluminum Kona Rove AL model is built around a Shimano Sora drivetrain and starts at just over $1k. The steel Kona Rove DL is a significant upgrade in frame and drivetrain, built with a SRAM Rival drivetrain (which is what I raced with for several years).

The Rove is also available with both 700c and 650b wheel options, with the ability to fit up to 650x47c tires with a 650b gravel wheelset. This setup allows riders to tackle a variety of terrains, from rugged two-tracks to unpredictable jeep roads.

Suitable for all experience levels, the Rove’s geometry is designed to provide a comfortable and stable riding position, making it easier to handle and control the bike.

The Rove comes in multiple gravel bike builds between $1,000 and $2,000 and beyond.

See the Rove line-up at KonaWorld.com

2. Diamondback Haanjo 2

Diamondback Haanjo 2 Entry-Level Gravel Bike Under $2000

The Haanjo 2 from Diamondback is an iconic gravel bike that’s been around for many years. It has a durable 6061-T6 aluminum alloy frame that’s designed to withstand rough terrain while providing a stable ride with its “endurance geometry.”

The Haanjo 2 has clearance for 700×37 or 650×47 tires and numerous mounts for racks and fenders, making it a versatile bike for commuting or touring.

The Shimano Claris 2×8-speed drivetrain provides ample range for long, steep climbs. And the Tektro Lyra mechanical disc brakes deliver powerful stopping power.

You can find the Diamondback Haanjo 2 at REI for around $1,000 or under.

3. State Bicycle Co. Carbon All-Road

State All-Road Carbon Gravel Bike Under $2000

Aptly labeled the best value in carbon gravel bikes, the Carbon All-Road from State Bicycle Co. is a sleek and lightweight carbon gravel bike under $2,000.

Available in multiple frame sizes (five total) and several upgrade options (wheels, drivetrain, etc.), the Carbon All-Road frame is made from T800 carbon fiber, which is known for its strength and durability. The drivetrain is a 1×11-speed setup, which is simple and intuitive to shift.

While it looks fast, this gravel bike doesn’t compromise on adventure-ready capabilities. It has mounting points on the top tube, down tube, fork, and rear, which allow you to gear up for bikepacking or day trips. It also offers 700x45mm tire clearance for ample tread.

State Bicycle Co. is an American company based in Arizona. While the Carbon All-Road is a mid-level performance option, State also offers several other aluminum entry-level gravel bikes under $2,000 (including a couple under $1,000).

See the full fleet at StateBicycle.com

4. Salsa Journeyer

Salsa Journeyer Best Gravel Bike Under $2000

A well-known brand in the gravel bike scene, Salsa offers a budget-friendly option known as the Journeyer, which comes in a variety of builds.

This particular model is the Sora 650b (built with the Shimano Sora drivetrain and 650b wheels) and is priced at $1,299. The bike is still capable of fitting 700c wheels, but this setup is preferred for many types of gravel riding, especially rough, rocky, and sandy terrain.

The Journeyer has massive tire clearance of up to 51c or 2.2″ with the 650b setup, which allows riders to tackle a variety of terrain. The 2×9 drivetrain provides substantial gearing for a wide range of riding.

The Salsa Journeyer Sora 650b bike is impressively reviewed and available at REI. Or, see the full line-up of Salsa Journeyer models.

5. HEAD Terrain

HEAD Terrain Entry-Level Gravel Bike Under $2000

Made by the reputable wheel manufacturer HEAD, the HEAD Terrain is a versatile and affordable entry-level gravel bike that is designed to handle a range of surfaces from gravel roads, dirt paths, and pothole-laden city streets.

The HEAD Terrain is a beautiful frame that offers a stable geometry for excellent off-road control. It comes equipped with CST Tirent gravel tires that are 700x40c (and offer a maximum clearance of 45c width).

The lightweight aluminum frame is designed to be comfortable and adaptable to any terrain and disc brakes provide reliable stopping power in all conditions.

Overall, the HEAD Terrain is a great entry-level gravel bike that offers a combination of affordability, versatility, and performance.

You can find the HEAD Terrain on Amazon for under $1,000.

6. Tommaso Siena

Entry Level Tommaso Siena Gravel Bike under $1000

The Siena gravel bike from Tommaso is a great budget option for those looking for a capable and reliable bike for touring, community, and off-road adventure riding.

In addition to offering multiple attachment points for racks and bags, what makes the Tommaso Siena stand out is its steel fork design (and aluminum frame). This provides added durability and vibration dampening for rough terrain riding.

Siena’s driven by the dependable Shimano Tourney drivetrain and the wheels are wrapped in an in-house 700x40c tire. The specs check out and reviews are promising. This Italy-born gravel bike is worth a look with an average 4.2 stars out of 5-star rating.

Find the Tommaso Siena for $899 on Amazon

7. Cannondale Topstone 2

Cannondale Topstone Gravel Bike Under $2000

If you’re familiar with the Cannondale Topstone gravel bike, then you might be surprised to learn that it does come in entry-level options. There are several versions of this bike available in different builds, and the Topstone 2, 3, and 4 are all under $2,000.

The Cannondale Topstone is a beautiful gravel bike that offers a tire clearance of up to 45mm for 700c wheels. As the weapon of choice for many top professionals, the Topstone is a fast bike with a more aggressive geometry optimized for aerodynamics.

The Topstone 2 is built with a gravel-specific Shimano GRX 10-speed drivetrain and comes wrapped in WTB Riddler TCS Light 700cx37mm tires. It has plenty of mounting points for bags, mudguards, and a rack, making it a great option for bikepacking or touring.

You can find the Cannondale Topstone 2 at REI for under $2,000, or check out the entire fleet of Cannondale Topstone gravel bikes.

8. SAVADECK Carbon Gravel Bike

SAVADECK Carbon Gravel Bike Entry Level Build with Shimano Sora

SAVADECK is an emerging brand that provides high-performance technology at budget prices. An aggressively-designed carbon fiber frame is paired with the go-to Shimano Sora 2×9 drivetrain. It’s a stiff and lightweight bike that’s gravel race-ready.

Stacked with SAVADECK brand DR30 wheels and grippy 700x40c tires, it’s a fast and well-equipped gravel bike that’s ready for Unbound Gravel, Crusher in the Tushar, or SBT GRVL.

You can find the SAVADECK carbon gravel bike priced at just under $1,800 on Amazon. With an average of 4.9-star reviews, it’s certainly worth a look.

Check out the SAVADECK Carbon Gravel Bike on Amazon

9. Tommaso Sentiero

Tommaso Sentiero Budget Gravel Bike

Another worthwhile mention from the Italian brand Tommaso, the Sentiero is a fantastic gravel bike for under $1,000. With a 4.3 out of 5 average star rating at the time this article was published, the Sentiero proves itself worthy as a budget gravel bike that delivers on all fronts.

The Sentiero comes with a 3×8 Shimano Claris drivetrain, so riders will have more than ample gearing for a range of riding. It also comes stock with 700x40c tires for substantial rolling confidence.

The Sentiero is also built with a steel fork for added durability and vibration-dampening over rough terrain.

If you’re on a budget, the Tommaso Sentiero is available at Amazon for under $1,000.

10. Schwinn Sporterra

Best Budget Gravel Bike Schwinn Sporterra in Black

As one of Schwinn’s entry-level aluminum gravel bikes, the Sporterra is superiorly designed for cross-country adventure rides, paved rips, and multi-terrain jaunts. It’s rigid enough for race-ready competition but affordable enough to spring for a new set of SPD pedals.

The Schwinn Sporterra is built around a 14-speed Shimano drivetrain, mechanical disc brakes, and Schwinn’s 700x38c gravel-friendly tires. All-in-all, it’s a solid build for the buck and it also comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Bear in mind that the Schwinn Sporterra gravel bike is a single-size frame designed for riders 5’4” to 6’2” in height. So while you might compromise on dialing in the perfect fit, it comes at a great price for under $700.

Find the Schwinn Sporterra on Amazon.

gravel bike races usa

Higher-End Recommendations

If you’re looking to upgrade from an entry-level option to a more capable and high-performance, here are a few recommendations. A couple of options we suggest in terms of quality are Niner RLT 9 Aluminum and the Salsa Warbird

We’re also really big fans of what Bearclaw Bicycle Co. is doing with its titanium gravel bikes. 

titanium gravel bike

We’re privy to the THUNDERHAWK titanium gravel bike which is an all-road gravel race bike that comes equipped with a titanium frame and carbon gravel fork. THUNDERHAWK is a true race bike that handles performance cycling, adventure bikepacking, and anything in between.  

Another interesting off-shoot in the gravel bike market is ebikes. While certainly designed more for accessibility and commuting versus racing, gravel e-bikes have gained interest in the unpaved world. 

Among the most progressive options in this category is the Specialized Turbo Creo SL, which delivers a 120-mile range and no compromise on performance. 

Or if you’re looking for additional gravel bikes in the beginner category, check out this article that researches several of the best gravel bikes for your money.

Beginner FAQs About Gravel Bikes

Because gravel cycling is new territory for some people, it comes with a lot of questions. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about gravel bikes.

are budget gravel bikes worth it

How is Gravel Bike Fit Different Than Road Bike Fit?

When it comes to comparing bike fit and geometry, a gravel bike fit is going to have a steeper headtube angle, a taller head tube, and a lower bottom bracket versus a traditional road bike fit, making a gravel bike more stable in a seated position. 

Cyclists will often find that gravel bikes are more comfortable than road bikes. However, gravel bikes can be positioned to be just as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than road bikes. This is particularly the case with the addition of aerobars and more race-specific geometry.

Are Gravel Bikes Worth It? Or Just a Fad?

While gravel cycling is particularly trendy in the cycling community, gravel bikes are more than just a fad and are most certainly here to stay. For cyclists who wish to enjoy a multitude of terrain, including paved, gravel, two-track, and single-track, investing in the right gravel bike is most certainly worth it.

gravel bike race

Gravel bikes allow road cyclists and triathletes to diversify their training without compromising too much speed compared to mountain bikes which have larger, high-tread tires.

But added clearance is a welcomed feature. In addition to allowing wider tires compared to road bikes, gravel bikes also have a longer wheelbase which can provide better handling, control, and stability.

And as mentioned above, gravel biking allows cyclists to ride more remote, less-busy routes where road bikes can’t always go. Not only is this a safety benefit, but it also makes for a more interesting and exciting cycling experience.

Why is Gravel Biking So Popular?

Gravel bikes have become tremendously popular in recent years. Combining off-road tire clearance with road bike geometry, gravel bikes are the perfect option for those who want greater versatility and exploration capability.

Gravel biking is preferred for its mixed terrain versatility, adventure-ready potential, and go-fast capabilities. Often designed with drop bars commonly seen on road bikes, gravel bikes accommodate wider tires and thereby a plethora of unpaved riding surfaces. 

Alternative racing styles, like ultra-distance gravel races and bikepacking adventure races, are gaining interest from all types of endurance athletes, including professional tour cyclists, like Team EF at Dirty Kanza 2019

Compared to conventional road cycling, a major draw to gravel biking is the ability to access lesser popular, unpaved roads with low traffic. In addition to safety, gravel cycling, in the general sense, helps keep the journey fun, novel, and adventurous.

Big thanks to gravel bike builder Bearclaw Bicycle Co. and Rob Meendering for several of the photos in this post.

You Might Also Like

Banner photo credit: “Trans-Hokkaido Bikepacking Route (beta) | Cycling te gravel Route 1030 between Tomamu and Minami-Furano” by Robert Thomson is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Head of Content at Better Triathlete | Website

Endurance athlete, professional off-road cyclist, and avid blogger, Tyler Tafelsky participates in long-course multisport and cycling events. Today, Tyler competes in ultra-distance cycling races at the professional level. Since starting Better Triathlete in 2014, he has been the head of content for the site's editorial team. Learn more about Tyler