Gravel biking has exploded over the last few years, and for several good reasons: less car traffic, more scenic routes, and better adventures. But because gravel roads and double or singletrack often take you off the beaten path, it’s important to be prepared for a rough ride. Here are the accessories that we love when it comes to gravel riding.
How we decided
We picked accessories that make life easier when you have to haul more water, nutrition, and gear for unexpected conditions. One of the best parts about gravel biking is that you get to take more adventurous routes. But that also means you’ll likely be off the grid and without as many snack stops as you’d have on paved roads. This gear is what many of our riders use to tackle their hardest gravel rides.
1. Best shoes: Mavic Allroad road/gravel bike shoes
You don't need an ultra-stiff Tour de France-level racing shoe for every ride. Sometimes you want something that balances performance, comfort and style — and won't look out of place when you stop for a coffee. The Allroad Elite gives you a stable connection to your bike and is compatible with SPD pedals. It's a great choice for adventurous rides in urban environments or rugged backroads. The lace closure makes it easy to fine-tune the fit and with a rubber tread on the bottom, you can walk on dirt or slick floors and surfaces. But just because they're comfortable, doesn't mean they're not efficient.
2. Best headlight and tail light: Light & Motion VIS 500 and Vya Smart Light Commuter combo
Even though this combo is billed as commuter-friendly, it’s also great for those early morning or post-sunset miles on gravel roads and trails. Both recharge easily and last for hours. The headlight has two levels of brightness, and both fully illuminate your area of vision. So, instead of one small spotlight in front of you, this light allows you to really see it all.
3. Best handlebar bag: Arundel Czar Handlebar Bag
Handlebar Czar is a classy looking storage bag for your adventurous side. Riding long days in remote places on a variety of terrain requires more preparation and more gear – additional layers, food, tools, phone, gloves, and let’s not forget the occasional flask. The Czar steps up to the plate with water-resistant, welded seam construction, streamlined form, and unmatched function for long days in the saddle.
4. Best helmet: POC Octal MIPS
Helmet choice has to do with the kind of riding you’re doing. Generally, we recommend a road helmet for most gravel riding. The POC Octal offers optimal ventilation and comfort with large vents. Safety is heightened with extended coverage over the temples and around the back of the head. The EPS liner is strategically thicker in the most exposed areas to further enhance protection, and the fully wrapped unibody shell functions as a monocoque, enhancing structural integrity while maintaining low weight.
5. Best bike computer: Hammerhead Karoo 2
When it comes to gravel adventures, mapping and route creation is key. We love finding roads with little to no traffic and seeing if you can connect the loop. The Hammerhead Karoo 2 makes mapping and route creation easy. The responsive touchscreen and large, glove-friendly buttons work seamlessly for easy operation and clear visualization of navigation and training data. Connect to your devices and services like Strava via Bluetooth, ANT+, WiFi, GPS, and even cellular data by adding a SIM card. When your adventures take you far from civilization, the Karoo 2 has your back with 14 hours of battery life, IP67 waterproofing and 32GB of storage to download maps for anywhere in the world.
6. Best tool kit: Pedro’s Starter Tool Kit 1.1
This kit includes 19 tools and a tool wrap. Great for the aspiring mechanic looking to get started with the right tools and room to grow, or the weekend warrior who wants to learn more about their bike. The kit is filled with the essential tools needed to keep just about any bike spinning.
7. Best satellite communication: Garmin inReach
When you’re out in the wild, many times you don’t have a cell signal, which can be a relief — truly unplugging — just you and nature. But it can also be scary, especially if you’re on a solo mission. The Garmin inReach allows you to be in touch from absolutely anywhere, regardless of cell signal. You can have someone track your route, or send messages to let someone know your progress. And if you get into a severe situation, there’s an SOS button that will alert 911 / Search and Rescue to respond. More than anything, it gives great peace of mind whenever you’re off the grid. In addition to having an inReach, if you’re going out alone, always let someone know where you’re starting and ending, and about how long you think you’ll be gone.
Gravel riding combines elements of road cycling and mountain biking — the best of both worlds. You get to explore places not accessible on skinny tires. To have the best time possible, these key accessories will not only make you safer but allow you to have the most fun. As always, let us know if you have any questions about our accessories or gravel biking in general.
What did we miss? What do you think are the best accessories for gravel riding? Let us know in the comments!
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