Photo: John Watson | The Radavist
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 routes. This gear is what many of our riders use to tackle their hardest gravel rides.
1. Best gravel shoes: Mavic Allroad 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. 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 bike headlight and tail light: NiteRider Lumina Micro 900 and Sabre 110 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
The Czar is a classy storage bag for your adventurous side. Riding long days in remote places on rough 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 gravel helmet: POC Octal MIPS
Generally, we recommend a road helmet for most gravel riding — it'll be lighter and better-ventilated than an MTB lid. 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. Plus, MIPS technology protects your grey matter against rotational forces.
Photo: John Watson | The Radavist
5. Best bike computer: Hammerhead Karoo 2
When it comes to gravel adventures, having a reliable, easy-to-follow map 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 bike multitool: Lezyne RAP II 18
This compact multitool includes all the basic Allen and Torx wrenches you need for your bike plus a chain tool, in case things really go sideways. The RAP II 18 is Lezyne's answer to any mechanical mishaps that happen out on the road or trail. Put it in your bar bag (ahem, see above), and thank heavens when it helps you ride home after an unexpected mechanical.
7. Best satellite communication: Garmin inReach
When you’re out in the wild, you often 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 stay 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 dire 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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