Gravel Bike Trends 2023
Gravel biking has gone mainstream— and that’s a good thing. The popularity of gravel bikes has skyrocketed yet the discipline stays true to its adventurous roots and rejection of hard-and-fast rules. As gravel lovers, the BBIKE team has picked up on the specific trends that are coming up this year. Keep reading to learn about our gravel bike predictions for 2023.
Looking back on 2022
Last year, we peered into the cycling industry’s crystal ball to anticipate new tech on gravel bikes. Now well into 2023, we can say that our educated guesses fared well. The prediction that tire width would continue to increase was correct, with the new standard hovering around 40mm or more.
Each of the gravel bikes in BBIKE’s all-new G23 lineup comes equipped with 40 mm tires for the perfect amount of traction and low rolling resistance. In 2023, some brands will keep pushing the limit— some already reaching 50mm— but we expect tire width to stay around current levels.
Is gravel suspension here to stay?
One of the hottest debates in gravel biking concerns front suspension forks. Original gravel bikes and most modern models use a rigid frame but some brands are opting for a short-travel fork— there are even gravel-specific forks available. We are thrilled to witness all this innovation, but it's unlikely the front suspension fork trend will catch on, at least for the moment.
Sub-categories continue to grow
Not that long ago, gravel bikes were a burgeoning discipline that was at risk of extinction before it even got started. The cyclist community was a bit hesitant about its drop-bar, off-road design that split the difference between road and mountain bikes. Quickly, however, the confusion waned and swarms of riders flocked towards gravel riding as a way to explore rougher trails on more versatile bikes.
More cyclists are riding gravel these days and bring with them their preferences and expectations of what makes a perfect gravel machine. This situation is fueling the increase in the variety of gravel bike designs and customized setups. Brands are producing aerodynamic models, rugged gravel bikes for bike-packing, all-rounders, and everything in between.
The development of sub-categories within gravel biking is exciting. But are some of these designs encroaching on previously-defined categories like endurance road bikes or XC mountain bikes? I guess advancements this year will yet again beg the original, age-old question of the limits of gravel bikes: where exactly is the limit before they merge into MTB or road bikes? But gravel riders have always been fine with ambiguity and being on the edge, so while we debate this topic from our comfy armchairs, they’re out busy riding.
We listed this as a trend back in 2022 and it’s worth including again. Numerous gravel-specific items will be launching this year and they’re not isolated to componentry— look out for gravel-specific shoes, apparel, tires, and more. The Shimano GRX gravel groupset has been a staple piece of kit and comes installed on the all-new G23 1.0 EXP CARB DISK from BBIKE. For the latest tech, riders can also check out the carbon fiber G23 1.0 PRO CARB DISK and aluminum G23 2.0 ADV AL DISK gravel bike models released earlier this year. We'll be presenting those ultimate gravel machines at Eurobike 2023 along with the rest of our impressive range of bikes new for 2023.
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