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Kit is key: 7 essentials for beginner gravel riders

Ready to hop on the hot gravel cycling trend? We explain the differences between road and gravel kit and list our favorite pieces of gravel gear for new gravel riders.

Written by: Jonah Baca

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Beginner gravel kit
The only thing you really need for gravel cycling is a desire for adventure, but a solid kit will make exploring the dirt a lot more comfortable. In this guide, we explain the differences between gravel and road kit and give you our picks for the best gear for your next gravel ride.


Jersey and jacket

POC Avip jacket
Gravel rides can cover a huge mix of terrain and conditions. Many riders size their jerseys to be looser and more comfortable, since aerodynamics usually doesn’t matter on a gravel ride. The POC Essential jersey is a quality jersey with great ventilation. Don’t forget to pack an extra layer if there’s a chance of rain: The POC Pure-Lite splash jacket is a light option, while the POC AVIP rain jacket is fully waterproofed in case of a proper downpour.

POC Women’s Essential Jersey Black - $99.99
POC Men’s Essential Jersey Navy - $119.99

POC Pure-Lite Splash Jacket - $119.99
POC AVIP Rain Jacket - $179.99

Bib shorts

Giordana bibs
The quality of your chamois is critical, especially on rough gravel rides. It’s worth splurging on premium, Italian Giordana FR-C Pro bib shorts. The four-piece Cirro-S chamois is infused with aloe vera for increased comfort.

Giordana Women’s FR-C Pro Bib Shorts - $224.99
Giordana Men’s FR-C Pro Bib Shorts - $249.99

Shoes and pedals

Mavic shoes
Most people ride gravel with clipless mountain bike shoes and pedals. Gravel rides can include some spicy trails, so you might end up walking the gnarliest sections as you learn. That’s why we suggest Mavic mountain bike shoes with recessed cleats. They’re more comfortable to walk in than road shoes.

Mavic Crossmax Elite MTB Shoe Total Eclipse - $131.99

Road pedals and mountain bike pedals have different cleat standards, so make sure your gravel bike pedals are compatible with the bolt holes in your shoes. These affordable Look pedals use the Shimano SPD cleat standard and have adjustable tension.

Look X-Track MTB Pedals - $54.99

If you’re planning to stick to smoother roads for now, road shoes and pedals will work fine. You can save a little money and avoid a whole new shoe/pedal setup.



While there’s some debate over wearing gloves while riding, they’re definitely good to have. The gel padding on these Giordana Strada gloves absorbs fatigue-inducing vibration from the road. Gloves will also protect your palms in case you slide out around a dusty corner. 

Giordana Strada Gel Gloves Women’s - $29.99
Giordana Strada Gel Gloves Men’s - $29.99


Fox socks
Just like any athletic pursuit, good socks can make or break a ride. The Fox Racing Ranger socks wick sweat and keep your feet cool.   

Fox Racing 6” Ranger Socks Black - $12.95

Gravel riding is all about exploring. Having the right equipment helps, but a good attitude and a lust for adventure are most important. You’ll have a great time finding new routes and shortcuts in your area. As you become more experienced, you’ll refine your gear and set-up. Check out our beginner’s guide to gravel riding for more tips and tricks to get you started. Shop all accessories