Endurance Vs Gravel Bike
In this bike test we compare the Endurance and Gravel bikes and introduce you to both models. Which one is right for you?
Which is your dream bike?
Endurance samurai or gravel hero, what are the differences between the two notorious bike types and which one suits you best?
1. what is an endurance bike anyway? And what is a gravel?
An endurance bike is essentially a road bike designed for longer rides due to its more relaxed geometry. A Gravel bike is also a drop-bar bike, but allows you to ride on a variety of surfaces, with a focus on off-road terrain.
2. tire clearance
One of the most important and noticeable differences between the two bikes is tire clearance. Since an endurance bike is built for comfort on longer rides, you can use wider tires than on aero and speed-oriented road bikes. Most enduro bikes have a tire clearance of 32/35 mm, but some bikes like the Trek Domane even 38 mm. That's already wide enough to fit gravel tires and handle light/well-maintained gravel.
Gravel bikes have greater tire clearance. Most gravel bikes are able to accommodate 40-45mm wide tires in 700c and some, like the Canyon Grizl, even 50mm wide tires in 700c. Then there is usually the option to mount smaller 650B wheels and use slightly wider tires. With these wide tires, you can comfortably handle extreme terrain and even light mountain bike terrain.
3. mounting options
Another difference between an enduro and a gravel bike are the mounting options. These can vary from brand to brand. However, a gravel bike usually has more mounting options than an endurance bike. Most endurance bikes only have the standard two bottle mounts, though some brands add versatility by adding top tube mounts as well as rack and fender mounts. A gravel bike, on the other hand, usually has all of the previously mentioned mounts, plus a third bottle mount on the down tube and fork mounts. This makes the gravel bike more suitable for bike packing and longer tours. However, there are also race- and speed-oriented gravel bikes such as the Cervélo aspirethat do not have fork, rack and mudguard mounts.
Although the two types are quite similar in terms of geometry, there are a few differences that make for a different riding experience and can thus be an important decision criterion. All in all, both endurance and gravel bikes put you in a more upright position compared to pure aero road bikes. This makes for more comfort on longer rides, but also more stability. The gravel bike, however, has a longer wheelbase, longer chainstays and a flatter head tube angle. This provides even more comfort, control and stability when riding over rough terrain and also minimizes toe overlap. The shorter wheelbase, shorter chainstays and narrower head tube angle of the Endurance bike, on the other hand, make for a more agile, aggressive and faster feel.
Gravel bikes usually have 1x Gravel specific groups like Shimano GRX with a low gear ratio similar to that of a mountain bike to easily tackle technical trails and climbs. So for example, a 42 chainring mixed with a wide range 11-42 cassette. Most prefer 1x gears for their simplicity and ability to hold the chain better on rough terrain. However, there are also gravel bikes with 2x drivetrains and slightly higher gearing for more versatility.
An Endurance, on the other hand, has a typical 2x drivetrain with a higher road gear ratio. So, for example, a mid-compact 52/36 chainring with a narrow 11-34 cassette. With this gear ratio, you'll reach higher top speeds than with the gravel bike gear ratio, and you'll be able to tackle steep climbs, but you'll struggle in slow technical situations. Finally, as for the handlebars, those of the gravel bike are usually more flared. This increases stability, comfort and control when riding off-road. Endurance bikes have less pronounced handlebars to put you in a more aerodynamic position.
6. so which bike is better for you?
Well, the simple answer would be if you only ride on asphalt, go with the endurance bike and if you only ride off-road, go with the gravel bike. But it's best to do some soul-searching, think: what surface do you want to ride on more, what will you have to ride on more in your area, how much are you riding your bike at all? If you want to spend more time on pavement, occasionally ride light gravel, and have a more maneuverable/faster bike, you should get the Endurance. If you want a very versatile bike, you know you'll be spending a lot of time off-road, and you want to do longer bike rides or bikepacking, go with the Gravel bike.
If you already have a better feeling with your bike decision, or even want to make it now, then browse through our website! If you have any questions, we at buycycle are always there for you and wish you for now: Happy browsing, happy cycling!