Gravel Bikes vs Mountain Bikes: What 5 Factors Make These Two Bikes Different from One Another?

Do you want to go biking again? If you’re preparing for a mountainside ride, then you may be preparing for the trek of a lifetime! Whatever your biking passion, it’s essential to have the right wheels when it comes to having fun.

Can you tell me which bike is faster, the gravel bike or choosing the mountain bike? The gravel bike is yet quicker than the mountain bike. Gravel bikes are great for riding both on and off-road.

To choose the right bicycle for your bicycling workout and adventure, think about the intensity of your cycling workout and experience. Discover which bike is right for you in gravel bikes vs mountain bikes based on how you like to trek and challenge yourself!

Gravel Bikes What Are They

Gravel Bikes: What Are They?

Gravel bikes are a combination of two different bicycle designs. Thanks to their combined style, gravel bikes can handle both tarmacs and mud. Gravel bikes can be ridden away as on a variety of surfaces without sacrificing any side of your comfort.

Gravel bikes are fully designed to be versatile for different riding conditions. Using the larger tires, these bikes offer more series of excellent stability and comfort for all riders and a secure long lasting grip. The term “adventure road” is also used to describe gravel bikes. It’s self-explanatory!

The gravel bike is not only designed to take on the challenge of experiencing different road textures, but it can also carry extra gear or accessories. Gravel bikes are often having an increased range of gear shifts.

Mountain Bikes: What are they?

Mountain bikes are designed to endure rough terrain and extreme conditions. A mountain bike is typically used to explore desert sands, rugged and rocky trails, and, of course, mountains.

Your mountain bike’s design is crucial when it comes to mountain biking. To give riders ease over large logs, rocks, and dips in trails, mountain bikes typically have an upright, stout frame with high clearance.

The mountain bike can withstand a lot of stress and shock. A rider will be comfortable maneuvering through and over obstacles likely to be encountered on an advanced riding trail.

The wide tires somehow provide with an excellent traction and grip, especially on sand, or dirt, and rocks. The tire pressure on mountain bikes is quite a lot lower than on those of the gravel bikes. A softer tire will have a better grip on rough terrain because it will mesh better with it.

Mountain Bikes

Gravel Bikes vs Mountain Bikes: Factors to Differentiate

Difference no 1: Drop handlebars

One of the most major differences between gravel bikes and mountain bikes is known to be the handlebar. Mountain bikes almost all have straight bars. Gravel bikes almost always have drop bars. On long rides with drop bars, hand positions are more varied. Hands and wrists are less tired. You can also ride more aerodynamically with dropped bars.

In addition to being wider, straight handlebars offer more excellent stability and control. When riding on technical terrain, wider handlebars will aid your maneuvering.

Difference no 2: There will be no suspension

There is at least one suspension fork on most mountain bikes. The fork on gravel bikes is usually rigid. There are some gravel bike-specific forks available now that have very little travel. Around 30-40 millimeters! This type of bike usually has a rigid fork.

There is no such suspension on any model of gravel bike. Mountain bikes are generally equipped with suspension on both the front and back wheels.

Difference no 3: Taller gearing

A gravel bike will have a taller gearing. The chainrings will be bigger, and the gears will be spread out more. The teeth on a mountain bike cassette may range from 10 to 50. For gravel bikes, it is more common to have teeth between 10-36.

The cranks on mountain bikes with the ratio of 1x drivelines have 31 and 36 teeth. Gravel bikes will be having chainrings with 40-42 teeth. A mountain bike may need to be equipped with low gear if you’re going up steep rocky form of technical climbs.

The type of climb you’d encounter on a dirt road is what gravel bikes are designed for. Pedaling a gravel bike at higher speeds is possible, whereas a mountain bike may spin out.

Difference no 4: Upright geometry

The upright geometry of gravel bikes is similar to that of mountain bikes. The upright position of gravel bikes is comparable to that of mountain bikes. Although the gravel bike has drop handlebars, it still allows for a more aerodynamic riding position when needed.

Drop handlebars

Difference no 5: Tires

Gravel bike tires can reach widths of 2 to 2.2 inches. The modern mountain bike tire is typically between 2.2 and 2.6 inches wide. These tires are more knobby than road tires. In comparison to pavement tires, gravel tires will appear more like a cross between knobby tires and slick tires.


It comes down to where and how you want to ride your gravel bike versus mountain bike. Gravel bikes are for those who like to ride on dirt roads and paths in an aero drop position. 
Gravel bikes could answer you if you enjoy road riding but are not interested in racing. These bikes are more comfortable because of their more relaxed geometry and additional tire cushion.

Mark Webster is bike enthusiast and researcher in bike industry from last 15 years. Mark had been working in different bike manufacturing companies for research and development of new models. Mark has mission to make bike design safest for bikers. The dream of Mark is to make bikes too mainstream that we can reduce global carbon emissions.

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