Best gravel bikes under 500

Gravel bikes are more durable than road bikes and faster than mountain bikes, which makes them the most popular bike to get for multiple purposes. You’d think that gravel bikes would be highly expensive but we have gathered the top 5 gravel bikes if you’re working with a humble budget of $500.

In this guide, we get into the best gravel bikes under $500, featured in a quick and easy list with individual reviews for each bike. We have broken everything down, each bike’s features, specs, pros, and cons. Do yourself a favor and follow through!

Quick List for the Best Gravel Bikes Under $500

  1. Best Overall: Schwinn Sporterra
  2. Best Value: Huffy Stone Mountain
  3. Best Premium: Mongoose Elroy Adventure Bike
  4. Runner Up 1: Raleigh Willard 1
  5. Best For Beginners: Royce Union RMG Bike

Our Top 5 picks start with …

Best Overall: Schwinn Sporterra

Key Features and Specs:

  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Wheel & Tire Size: 28 in, 700c x 38c
  • Weight: 30 lbs
  • Gears: 14 speeds
  • Brake: Mechanical disc brakes

The Schwinn Sporterra is a tremendous bike that comes with a highly affordable price tag, considering the quality and the price, it’s a total steal. It has a slightly wider tire profile, a rigid fork, and a mechanical disc brake system, this bike works well on most solid terrain types and all conditions. 

The Shimano 14-speed drivetrain makes it easy to climb hills and speed along the flats, but one of the most significant points of the bike is the brakes. The brakes are mechanical disc brakes that deliver excellent stopping power, and come in handy during rain or afterward. 

The Sporterra comes with a set of go-anywhere tires that provide a lot more grip than your standard road bike tire, but without the treat lugs and thicker profile of a mountain tire. A nice hybrid that hits the sweet spot! The combination gives you a little more traction in your tire without significantly increasing roll resistance or slowing your acceleration. 


  • Optimal for cross-country and off-roading
  • Thicker grippier tires for all-terrain maneuvering
  • Great price tag
  • Rigid fork for stability


  • Tad bit heavy

Best Value: Huffy Stone Mountain

Key Features and Specs:

  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Wheel & Tire Size: 20-24-26 in
  • Weight: 35.2 lbs
  • Gears: 6, 21 speeds
  • Brake: Linear pull

The Huffy Stone mountain bike is a tremendous value option! This mountain bike comes in 3 different wheel sizes in order to accommodate children, teenagers, and even adults. It comes in 6 and 21-speed gears so you have options to choose from and it’s even easier to pedal uphill. 

The easily adjustable seats with a quick-release seat binder and an indexed rear derailleur with the micro shift twist allow you to adjust it to perfection. The great thing about this mountain bike is that you can get it as a gift for someone, especially from the younger crowd. The frame is durable and can take the abuse that comes with mountain biking and last you a long time.


  • Variety of choices
  • Bang for your buck
  • Long-lasting 
  • Suitable for everyone


  • Takes a while to assemble

Best Premium: Mongoose Elroy Adventure Bike

Key Features and Specs:

  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Wheel & Tire Size: 29 in, 700c x 40c
  • Weight: 30 lbs
  • Gears: 14 speeds
  • Brake: Mechanical disc brakes

The Mongoose Elroy gravel adventure bike is for people who enjoy riding their bicycle to work and on off-road excursions. The bike has enough capacity to carry both a load on a backpacking trip and other day-to-day items. It not only has a frame bag, but also three cage mountings for water bottles, which is great news if you’re on a long trek!

The 29-inch wheels with 40c tires provide for pleasant gravel riding. The bike isn’t as fast as it appears, but the ride is smooth, so you can go for long distances without becoming fatigued.

A gravel bike with a combination brake lever and micro shift shifters, as well as mechanical disc brakes. If you notice something while riding that appears to be an emergency, you’ll be able to stop quickly and smoothly. There’s a bottle opener in the front, so cheers to that!


  • Included frame bag
  • Multiple mounts for water bottles
  • Ideal for long journeys
  • Can handle heavy loads


  • Can be a bit too big for some

Runner Up 1: Raleigh Willard 1

Key Features and Specs:

  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Wheel & Tire Size: 700c x 35c
  • Weight: 24.4 lbs
  • Gears: 16 speeds
  • Brake: Mechanical disc brakes

The Raleigh Willard 1 is a lightweight entry-level gravel bike that’s built with a sturdy frame and features a fork design for easy riding on unpaved roads, and fast on asphalt.

It has a 16-speed shifter that allows you to quickly and efficiently switch when you go from an incline to flat terrain. The mechanical disc brakes allow you to take full control and access stopping power which is a great touch.

The 700c x 35c tires help you easily tackle the challenges that come with riding on a gravel road but also cruising comfortably on flat surfaces.


  • Great overall performance
  • Lightweight & Durable
  • Optimal warranty policy


  • It’ll take you a while to put it together

Best For Beginners: Royce Union RMG Bike

Key Features and Specs:

  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Wheel & Tire Size: 27.5 in, 650b 
  • Weight: 20 lbs
  • Gears: 16 speeds
  • Brake: Dual disc brakes

The Royce Union’s RMG gravel bike is where the trail meets the paved road. It’s a bit funny how it transforms commuting bikes into trail companions. It has larger wheels that cover ground more gracefully when you need to get somewhere fast, granted it sits a bit lower than previous entries

The bike is loaded with comfort features and will work equally well on smooth, flat roads as well as bumpy tracks. The frame of this bicycle is ergonomic and it keeps you in an upright riding position. An important feature to keep in mind for long journeys is the seat. The Royce Union has a padded seat to reduce fatigue. The rigid hardtail diamond frame allows you to keep your form while on challenging tracks. Fun fact, hardtail frames also require less maintenance than full mountain bike suspension models.

All in all, the Union is a lightweight gravel bike with decent gear speeds and is a great all-arounder.


  • Great all-arounder
  • Ergonomic & comfortable
  • Requires very little maintenance 


  • You may experience feet overlap with the wheels

What to consider when buying a gravel bike under $500?

It’s only natural to get a bit more familiar with the differences between the gravel bikes. This way you can have a better understanding. Ultimately it will help you choose the best bike and the most useful for your particular needs.

Ergonomics & Geometry

Gravel bikes were initially intended to be road bikes, but with a little ingenuity and some simple tweaks, they came up with a new bike that is a mix between mountain bikes and road bikes.

Gravel bicycles have less stringent ergonomics and geometry than other kinds. As a result, you are in the ideal posture and won’t have to strain to shift gears or fight to get your arms to the bars.As many gravel bikes feature frame attachments for adding or removing racks, fenders, and baskets, they are also modular.

All of this results in greater bike control on trails and in other off-road situations. It’s the best option for extended journeys if you have a lot of cargo on your luggage, as when you’re going camping.

Frame Material

When it comes to frame materials for gravel bikes under $500, steel is the common denominator. This frame material is relatively inexpensive and highly durable, admittedly it’s heavier for the same volume as other types of frame materials.

Since it’s been used for decades, the cost of manufacturing has decreased. A rarer sight for gravel bikes under this budget is made from aluminum. Aluminum is lighter, doesn’t rust, and thanks to alloys it has become robust. It’s to be expected that aluminum gravel bikes come with a higher price because of these properties.

Wheels & Tires

Gravel bikes use 700C or 650B wheels. Just as a 700C wheel is the same diameter as a 29-inch wheel, 650B shares the exact same rim diameter as 27.5 inches. 

Since gravel bikes can handle bumpy terrains better then road bikes and are faster than mountain bikes, the wheel dimensions are nuanced. The diameter for gravel bike wheels doesn’t go below 26 inches, which is the standard size for mountain bikes, but while you will experience a fair bit of cushioning effect, the smaller thickness allows these bikes to have less rolling resistance. It’s thick enough to go over bumpy terrain fast, but in the road that increases roll resistance which in turn lowers your speed. 

Gravel bikes may lean a little bit more on one side of the spectrum, and you can choose more specifically. 


When it comes to gearing on a gravel bike, there are a few things to consider. First, what kind of terrain will you be riding on? If you’ll be mostly on paved roads, you’ll want a bike with gears that allow you to pedal comfortably at higher speeds. However, if you plan on tackling more challenging off-road terrain, you’ll need a bike with lower gears to help you power up hills.

Another thing to consider is the range of gears that your bike has. A bike with a wide range of gears will be more versatile, allowing you to tackle both steep hills and fast flats with ease. However, if you only plan on riding on relatively flat terrain, a bike with fewer gears may be all you need.

Although some gravel bicycles feature precise and simple electronic shifting systems, this isn’t the case with low-cost gravel bikes. The cheaper models have the more traditional mechanical shifting systems that can require a bit more effort to operate.


Gravel bikes come in rigid suspension, hardtail or full suspension. 

  • Rigid suspension means that the frame is single cast without any coil or suspension. 
  • Hardtail suspension refers to an air/ coil suspension on the front fork which tremendously helps with damping and vibration that comes with bumpy terrains. 
  • Full suspension bikes not only have front fork suspension but also a suspension coil on the middle or rear of the bike, it’s best for off-roading and steep riding angles.


Most gravel bikes use disc brakes, specifically mechanical disc brakes. These will offer you great stopping power while being reasonably priced. They are not high-end hydraulic disc brakes that use fluid instead of a steel cable but they will certainly offer a total bang for your buck performance. Admittedly there are gravel bikes under $500 that use rim brakes, which use clamps in the shape of a V or U that apply friction to the rim to slow you down. This type of brake system is old, cheap, and fairly easy to maintain but offers nowhere near the same performance that you would get out of mechanical disc brakes. 

Frequently Asked Questions on Gravel Bikes Under $500

Q: How often do you need to change tires on a gravel bike?

A: Your gravel bike tires will last around 1-2 years if you bike more than once per week before they need to be replaced. They can endure up to 4 years before needing replacement, though, if you ride less frequently than once per week. The bike’s use and upkeep are the key factors influencing this.

Q: What are the benefits of using a gravel bike vs other bikes?

A: With a larger head tube and shorter reach than a road bike, a gravel bike will often provide you a more upright riding position. This should make prolonged rides more comfortable and enable you to adjust your weight to overcome obstacles and navigate off-road hills.

Q: Can you jump a gravel bike?

A: In theory, you could leap any bike. But with gravel bikes, you will experience difficulty landing. Basically, since most gravel bikes don’t have front suspensions, then every jump you take ever so slightly degrades your bike. If you want to use your gravel bike for a long time, then jumps are not recommended.

The Finish line

We would highly recommend the Schwinn Sporterra as the best overall because it has the most optimal blend of features, specs, and price. While highly affordable, the Huffy Stone Mountain is our best value option if you are working with a budget and want to get the most. But if you want to step it up, then look no further than the Mongoose Elroy Adventure Bike as it offers you premium features. Fret not because we have included other options that might be more to your speed!

Gravel bikes are the most versatile bikes you can buy, and at a humble budget of $500, you will get the most value out of them. You can enjoy riding a gravel bike on almost everything but technical mountain bike trails, and you can ride them in your most natural riding position. You can’t go wrong with them!

After all, we want you to spend less time researching and more time having fun biking and living to the fullest. 

Do be part of the pack and check out some more articles if you liked this one and found it helpful!