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What Bike Should I Buy: Big City Gravel Commuters

Every day, TPC’s expert Ride Guides help riders find their next (or first) bike. This time, they help Jimmy find a tough and affordable gravel bike that he can use for commuting and exploring New York City in comfort.

Written by: Bruce Lin

Published on:

Posted in:Gravel

This rider from New York is looking for a gravel bike to replace his stolen commuter bike. (Bike thieves suck.) It will spend most of its time on pavement but he’s looking at gravel bikes to get some extra durability and comfort. Let’s see what the Ride Guides at TPC can find for him!

“My old bike got stolen, so I’m in the market for a new one. I’m looking for a sporty jack-of-all-trades bike, mainly for fitness and commuting. I live in New York City, so I don’t do much actual off-road or gravel riding unless I specifically go seek it out. I’ll mostly use it for road riding in the city, but I want more comfort for hitting potholes and stuff like that. I’ve been looking at gravel bikes for that reason. I’d love to hear some suggestions for bikes around $2,500. I’m about 5’9 with pretty normal proportions and I’d prefer a more upright and comfortable riding position. The bike will be my daily driver and will probably take a lot of abuse.”


Location: New York City
Budget: $2,500
Size: Medium
Wants: A “jack-of-all-trades” gravel bike/commuter, comfortable, tough

Our Ride Guide team is based in the U.S. and staffed with former bike mechanics, bike shop managers, and other certified bike nerds. They provide expert advice on bikes and gear, sizing, comparing build options, or finding your next upgrade. If you want help finding your next bike, you can contact our Ride Guides via chat, phone, or email.

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Solid Spanish Alloy 

2022 Orbea Terra H30 1x

Orbea Terra 1x

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You can’t go wrong with an alloy Orbea Terra. We’ve had a lot of customers who love their Orbeas, and they’re quickly becoming one of the biggest players in cycling. The Terra is capable enough for any terrain. The alloy frame is both tough and good-looking. And it’s got a great Shimano GRX 1x build. Plus, with the current markdown, the whole thing comes in nearly $500 under budget.

-Adam Maloney

2022 Orbea Terra H30 2x

Orbea Terra 2x

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I’d go with a Terra too, but with a 2x drivetrain. This would mean stretching the budget a little bit. But anyone that wants something for road use will appreciate the front derailleur, as range is only half the puzzle. The second half is gear steps/spacing and I think the tighter spacing is better for more dedicated road use.

-Matt McCulley 

A Bombproof Singlespeed

2022 Bombtrack Outlaw

Bombtrack Outlaw

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I grew up riding NYC streets and this is the bike I wish I had at this price point. Why? Wide tires for getting over all the cracks, potholes, manhole covers, etc. in the streets. The flat handlebars give you an upright riding position so you can see above the cars. The rack up front is perfect for strapping down a box of pizza. Disc brakes for the rain and show. It’s ideal if you’re mostly staying in the city. The simple, singlespeed belt drive will require little to no maintenance. 

-JP Gage

The Approachable Adventurer

2022 Bombtrack Beyond 1

Bombtrack Beyond 1

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I think this Beyond is the perfect combo of do-it-all capability and durability. Of course, this setup is a bit more rugged out of the box, so it has almost mountain bike-like capabilities, but swap the tires for something more road-friendly (maybe eventually wheels too) and you will have a decently fast gravel bike. Nothing can really match steel for ride quality, price, and durability. It will be a super fun bike for getting around the city. It is comfy and more than capable of getting you out of the city for the weekend for some adventures throughout the Northeast or further.

-Duncan Benning

The Beauty Queen

2019 All-City Cosmic Stallion

All-City Cosmic Stallion

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This Cosmic Stallion is as smooth as it is tough, so it's a dream for everything from commuting to cruising to racing. The steel frame uses All-City’s lighter A.C.E. steel tubing, and it will last nearly forever, especially with the E.D. coating that protects against rust and that luscious wet paint. You can’t go wrong with a Shimano 105/Ultegra 11-speed group, and the TRP Spyre brakes are actually one of the best mechanical disc options on the market. They’re dual-sided, unlike most mechanical disc calipers, and they’ll be easy to maintain.

-Megan Schmidt

The Budget King

2022 Rocky Mountain Solo 50

Rocky Mountain Solo 50

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Since you’re riding in the big city, and your last bike got stolen, I’d probably go for this Rocky Mountain Solo simply because it’s $1,000 below budget. This is a bike I would feel less guilty about beating up and locking up outside. It’s an awesome deal too because for the price you still get a Shimano GRX 1x drivetrain and tubeless-ready wheels.

-Bruce Lin

We’ve picked out six bikes that we think will be perfect for Jimmy because they'll survive the rigors of city riding and make him more comfortable on rough, potholed roads. Let us know which bike you think he should pick. Or if you have other suggestions, be sure to let us know in the comments! If and when Jimmy does purchase a bike, we’ll update this post with what he chose.

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