Gravel biking is road biking in nature, on unpaved gravel roads or forest paths. Just like 100 years ago, when paved roads were an exception. The tires are grippier and wider and the frame adapted to off-road use. Gravel biking is a rediscovered trend for road cyclists who no longer want to share their route with cars and trucks and prefer to ride in the countryside. Of course, specific equipment is offered for gravel bikers. Gravel clothing and gravel bike accessories stand out with a few special features.
Road bike clothing versus gravel bike clothing
Gravel bike clothing does not differ at first glance from normal road bike gear.
- Gravel clothing is cut just as close to the body as road bike clothing.
- However, the fabrics are more robust, because during off-road rides, you're bound to get hit by small branches or splashing rocks. And an occasional fall must also be taken into account. So you'll find abrasion-resistant applications on the side panels of gravel pants, which should prevent abrasions and tearing of the lycra.
- Gravel cycling jerseys and cycling shorts are equipped with more pockets than road cycling clothing. There is room for small tools, snacks, warmers or windbreakers, which are more likely to be needed on off-road routes than on country roads.
- Gravel cycling jackets and Gravel cycling vests offer a lot of functionality with a small pack size, so that on long tours can react flexibly to changing weather.
- The padding of the Gravel shorts and tights is a strongly shock-absorbing long-distance padding, which is suitable for both road and off-road routes.
- In terms of appearance, Gravel bike clothing stands out due to rather more restrained prints in muted natural tones. One adapts to the surroundings, so to speak.
In summary, gravel clothing is a compromise between mountain bike and road bike clothing: more robust, more practical, more comfortable but still light and with low air resistance.
Gravel bike accessories - what is important?
Gravel bike accessories tend more towards mountain bike accessories:
- A Gravel shoe is a variant of the MTB shoe recommended with or without SPD cleats, which provide both good power transfer and good grip on the terrain.
- Good Gravel helmets are lightweight, well ventilated, but also cover the back of the head well.
- Gravel glasses should also be more compact frame glasses due to the higher risk of falling, the tint of the lenses adapt well to the changing light/shadow conditions.
For your Gravel bike accessories you should also consider weather protection clothing (wind vests, wind jackets, rain jackets, etc.) and warmers (arm warmers, leg warmers, knee warmers, headgear), because in the great outdoors it can sometimes be chilly.