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As we search for the most reliable off-road bikes, there’s a debate that won’t escape us: what’s the difference between a gravel bike and mountain bike?
Although they may look slightly similar, the differences between one and the other are visible once you get your hands on them.
In this article, we’ll be analyzing both of these bikes to learn how they’re different, why they’d be a good pick, and what riders benefit the most out of each one.
To do that, we’ve gathered a selection of three bikes under each category to discover their pros and cons.
Without wasting more time, let’s get started!
Gravel Bike vs Mountain Bike – Comparison in 2021
Last update on 2021-03-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
First, let’s find out more about gravel bikes and what they have for us.
Due to the variety of materials used for gravel bikes, which include aluminum, carbon, titanium, and more, customers get a significant catalog of options.
Also, these bikes are compatible with the most popular brands, providing customization options.
Gravel bikes may be more suitable for those tricky terrains, but they’ll do just fine over the pavement, roads, highways, and more casual riding surfaces.
A gravel bike is an ideal choice for all-season applications. Whether it’s over dry, wet, or even over snow, the highly resistant components included will get you between locations efficiently.
Recommended Gravel Bikes to Buy
After learning a bit more about gravel bikes, now we’ll give you three picks that successfully represent what these bikes can do.
Tommaso Siena Shimano Tourney Gravel Adventure Bike
This bike comes with an aluminum frame strong enough to guarantee durability and resistance. Plus, the frame feels lightweight, providing another level of comfort.
Combined with the SST steel fork, the aluminum frame puts up an outstanding performance.
Additionally, its drilled design makes it compatible with many racks and fenders.
For the groupset, the bike has 3×7 Shimano Tourney, which features a 30/39/50T Claris crankset and the 12x28T Tourney cassette.
Due to the quality of each one of those components, the bike is capable of tackling flat or angled surfaces smoothly.
The tires included are 700x40c, which works well over a variety of terrains and conditions.
These tires offer a ton of versatility, as they’d give you the traction needed for proper handling.
With the TC-20D rims included, you won’t have a hard time maneuvering the bike.
Since the bike features the Avid BB5 disc brakes, which are among the best braking systems out there, riders get to experience new adventures safely.
The stopping power provided by these brakes is satisfying, allowing us to enjoy all of the bike’s speed power.
Other than keeping you safe, the brakes ensure a good grip over wet surfaces, turning corners, and more.
Besides all of the high-quality components included, the bike’s design is yet another plus.
As you sit on the saddle, you’d remain in a comfortable position with your arms stretched while also having good access to the pedals.
An issue you’ll encounter while riding this bike is the shifting, which can be slow at times. It doesn’t happen very often, but you’ll notice it if you pay enough attention.
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Tommaso Sterrata Shimano Claris R2000 Gravel Adventure Bike
If you want to enjoy each ride, a reliable bike is essential. This bike offers the resistance to achieve that, as it features a compact aluminum frame and carbon fiber fork that work perfectly.
Both the frame and fork keep vibrations low, guaranteeing a comfortable ride.
The groupset included in the purchase is the 3×8 Shimano Claris. This set comes with a 30/39/50T Claris crankset and 12x25T Claris cassette.
With these components, riding over irregular terrains is a breeze. Such a wide range of speed capacity offered will suit the user’s demands.
As seen in many Tommaso bikes, this one comes with the TC-30D rims. While riding the bike, these wheels feel resistant and flexible, giving you the option to enjoy your rides over a variety of terrains.
Also, the 700x40c tires have the perfect width to ensure traction despite the ground’s irregularities.
Another similarity between this bike and its predecessors is the geometry of the frame.
Combined with the handlebar’s design, the compact geometry of the frame allows you to sit comfortably.
No longer will you have to take breaks due to stress, as the position in which you pedal feels pleasant even during long rides.
However, the bike does have flaws. The most noticeable issue is the disc brake calipers, which can be tricky to adjust sometimes. This problem can be frustrating for some people. Luckily, it isn’t hard to fix.
It may take some time and patience but getting the brake calipers right is worth it. Once you hit the roads, this bike will make the investment, time, and effort more than worth it.
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Schwinn Sporterra Adventure Adult Gravel Bike
By offering 14 speeds thanks to the high-quality Shimano gear, which includes the Shimano shifter, this bike doesn’t lack power.
Plus, the brake lever combo with the Shimano rear derailleur improves gear changes by making it quicker, allowing users to react faster if the situation demands it.
Naturally, a powerful bike won’t be any good without proper brakes. In this case, the alloy mechanical disc brakes are lifesavers, as they will deliver enough force to keep you safe during each ride.
The tires are yet another benefit of this bike. They’re 700x38c models, which also happen to be multi-terrain due to the incredible traction offered.
So, you’d be able to have casual rides on the pavement while also having the option to go slightly off-road.
Now that we’re speaking of efficient parts, the Schwinn aluminum gravel frame included is worth mentioning.
Alongside a rigid fork, both parts are reliable due to their capability to guarantee a comfortable ride.
While the aluminum frame already fits riders of different height and weight, the 700c wheels are suitable for 5’4″ to 6’2″ users.
For those and more reasons, this bike goes against the belief that Schwinn bikes aren’t worth the money.
The Sporterra Adventure meets most expectations easily, making it a pick that could surprise more than one.
Yes, the assembly can be frustrating because the instructions included aren’t what we’d expect, but you’d be able to find sources of information online.
Ultimately, customers could opt to get professional assistance. It may require some extra money, but the bike is worth it.
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Here are some of the features that a mountain bike offers you should know.
Since mountain bikes are lightweight, they make it easier to perform tasks that require climbing and acceleration.
Plus, the bikes are laterally stiff, giving users a submissive ride while absorbing vibrations.
Mountain bikes have a ridiculous number of accessories and other products available, meaning you get to customize them as much as needed.
if you want a good-looking bike, then chances are you’ll end up looking at many mountain bike models.
The variety in color, designs, models, and accessories available makes the mountain bikes stylish picks.
Recommended Mountain Bikes to Buy
Now, let’s take a look at the top mountain bikes available.
Schwinn High Timber Youth and Adult Mountain Bike
This Schwinn bike is a stylish choice to rock on the streets. Its impeccable finish, featuring resistant paint capable of keeping up with time and rain, looks incredible.
Considering there are many colors available, potential customers get to pick from a variety of choices.
Other than looking good, the bike is also capable of doing many tasks. It does well over pavement and trails, guaranteeing versatility for many outdoor activities.
Over tough surfaces, in particular, the suspension fork makes the ride more comfortable by dampening vibrations.
Featuring Shimano 7-Speed Twist Shifters and Shimano rear derailleur, you can expect a solid performance.
All of the Shimano parts work efficiently, putting up a smooth ride. Additionally, these Shimano components guarantee precise gear changes.
The addition of alloy linear-pull brakes is another advantage while riding the bike.
Even at high speeds, the brakes are both accurate and precise, giving users a quick response to keep them safe.
As for the wheels, the alloy rims prove to be durable, strong, and resistant. The handling feels great, improving maneuverability and the overall experience for riders. Additionally, the Schwinn alloy crank guarantees steady gearing.
Besides being efficient, the alloy crank reduces the amount of maintenance required periodically.
Other benefits you’d enjoy about this bike are the easy assembly, the comfortable handlebar, the saddle, and the pedals.
However, if you’re looking for a lightweight bike, this one may not be a good pick. Once assembled, it feels heavy.
You won’t have a hard time lifting it, but the bike does feel significantly heavier than the competition.
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Mongoose Dolomite Mens Fat Tire Mountain Bike
Here we have an ideal pick for people looking to buy an affordable bike. The Mongoose Dolomite offers the perfect balance between affordability and quality components, making it a fat bike that puts up a comfortable performance without drying your bank account.
Let’s start by talking about the frame. The steel frame included is a pleasant surprise, as it offers a comfortable geometry, resistance, and durability.
This frame is also lightweight, providing many more benefits than just one.
The bike also comes with a cushioned saddle, which proves to be comfortable beyond expectations. It isn’t odd to find most saddles feel awkward, but not in this case.
Although this bike feels better on-road, it’s still capable of doing well over irregular terrains.
For instance, snowy or muddy surfaces won’t be a problem, as the tires pull through in most scenarios.
To keep you safe, the bike features mechanical disc brakes. The brakes deliver satisfying results, as they’ll respond quickly to your commands without much effort.
Despite the bike being a suitable pick for many users, there are still many limitations that keep it from being the best.
If anything, you could use this Mongoose bike as a project-based model. The number of upgradeable components opens up a lot of possibilities.
In fact, most users would agree this bike serves more as an entry-level choice.
Eventually, the quality of components becomes outdated for riders that want to achieve higher goals. When that happens, you’d have to replace or buy another one inevitably.
Huffy Hardtail Mountain Trail Bike
As a brand, Huffy continues to produce trustworthy equipment for cyclists. This bike is a good example of that.
It features an aluminum frame that is lightweight and yet sturdy enough to withstand most weather conditions. The structure also puts up with slightly heavy users.
The drivetrain included is all Shimano equipment. Thanks to the quality of said drivetrain, riders get to experience the power of 21-speeds gear.
Under quick finger movements, the precise shifting will adapt to the roads below.
For improved performance, the front suspension fork will tackle ground irregularities.
The fork does a good job of lowering vibrations to a minimum, enhancing the handling of the bike for better maneuvering. Not only is it good for on-road surfaces, but also off-road.
Furthermore, the tires adapt well to either of those surfaces. The traction received is incredible, as it leads to a better grip over different environmental conditions. That means you would be able to use the bike on wet or dry terrains.
To control the speed and keep you safe, there’s a good combination of alloy linear-pull brakes and machined alloy wheel rims.
The balance between the tires, the wheels, and the brakes brings power, balance, and safety altogether.
Unfortunately, the bike isn’t the easiest to put together. The instructions included aren’t clear, and you also have to tune the brakes and the tires before the setup.
If you don’t have experience with bikes, you may have to consider getting assistance from a professional.
Gravel Bike or Mountain Bike?
Now that we’re more familiarized with them, we can see why gravel and mountain bikes are the go-to choices for many riders.
Their quality of performance is undeniable, making them worth the money.
With that in mind, there’s a simple but effective method to know which bike to purchase.
Differences Between Gravel and Mountain Bikes
The geometry design is certainly the biggest difference between these two types of bikes.
Mountain bikes feature slacker head angles, as well as longer reach values with larger wheelbases.
All of these particular design choices make the mountain bikes suitable for technical terrain.
So, if your purpose is to ride a bike off-road over steep gradients with technical qualities, then the mountain bike is for you.
On the other hand, for riders that spend a high amount of time training miles over light gravel, tarmac, fire roads, or other off-road trails, then the gravel bike is the one for you.
Over those types of terrains, the low aerodynamic properties, heavy weight, and rolling resistance of a mountain bike won’t do well.
In those aspects, the gravel bikes deliver far better results, making them the ideal choice due to their capacity to tackle the toughest terrains.
When we’re deciding between a gravel bike and mountain bike, the type of terrain has a significant impact on our final choice.
As we learned during the reviews, although both types of bikes are durable and reliable, one may do better than the other depending on the cyclist’s habits.
Once you clear that out, you’ll finally be ready to pick one of the two options discussed during our reviews.