Best Electric Gravel Bikes in 2020

6 of the best electric gravel bikes for 2020

Back in the day, if you wanted a road bike that could handle rougher terrain you would simply find an old steel rigid-framed mountain bike, fit a set of drop handlebars to it and maybe some mixed terrain tyres and hey presto… you’d have a gravel bike or ‘gravel grinder’. Bike manufacturers have recently been producing some very capable all-terrain drop handlebar bikes that have design cues from cyclo-cross and mountain bikes.

empty gravel track in the countryside

It was inevitable that the gravel bike would sooner or later be available in electric assist form, and most of the big names in cycling have been quick to release e-assist versions. In this article I will be looking at 6 of the best electric gravel bikes available in 2020 from big names like Orbea, Cannondale and Ribble.

What is the difference between a road bike and gravel bike?

The main differences between a regular road bike and gravel bike are subtle, yet very important. First of all you need to understand the origins of gravel bikes and how they came about.

It’s widely accepted that gravel bikes have their origins in the US. There was increasing demand for a bike that could handle the countless miles of unused tracks that crisscross the vast wilderness and forests. A regular road bike designed for use on tarmac wouldn’t cut the mustard, so riders looked to cyclo-cross bikes – but they were designed for short and often muddy courses. Mountain bikes are designed for handling rugged terrain, but they are often quite heavy, and the high-volume tyres don’t roll so well on compacted gravel surfaces.

What was needed was a bike that could cover ground fast, and yet be capable of handling more technical single track routes.. and so, the gravel bike was born!

ribble cgr al e electric gravel bike

With a true all-terrain bike, versatility is the key. And if there’s one type of bike that epitomises the word ‘versatile’ more than any other it’s the gravel bike. Equally at home on tarmac,  forest trails and canal towpaths (here in the UK), gravel bikes have seen a meteoric rise in popularity amongst recreational cyclists and commuters alike.

Frame Geometry

Gravel bikes are characterised by frame geometry that is more relaxed than that or a regular road bike. A taller head tube and slacker angle for more relaxed steering, making it less twitchy than a road bike. The wheelbase will also be longer than that of a regular road bike, thus increasing stability on the road and over rough surfaces (plus increasing comfort over longer distances). A sloping top tube reduces the stand-over height making it easier to get on and off the bike. There’s also increased clearance for much wider tyres than a regular road bike – very important if you’re going to be using the bike as intended!

Why Flared drop handlebars?

Another characteristic of the gravel bike is flared drop handlebars, but why are these types of bars used on gravel bikes? The reason is simple – they offer more control and stability, plus the additional width gives a more natural position.

flared handlebars on a ribble electric gravel bike

Gearing

When riding off-road, a simple set-up like the latest 1 x 11 gearing is much more desirable on a gravel bike. SRAM Apex and Shimano’s latest GRX groupset offer a 42t front chainring combined with an 11-42t rear cassette along with hydraulic brakes. Having the important 1:1 gear ration is important, especially when climbing steep, gravel tracks.

sram 1 x 11 gearing on a ribble electric gravel bike

There’s also gear set-ups that use double compact cranksets with 46 / 30 combined with an 11-34 cassette at the rear, Shimano offer this configuration with the GRX.

Brakes

Hydraulic disc brakes are now in widespread use, not just on gravel bikes but endurance road bikes and cyclo-cross bikes. The benefits of hydraulic disc brakes are well-known – better modulation, better stopping power and excellent braking when riding in wet weather.

hydraulic disc brakes fitted to an electric gravel bike

Wheels and Tyres

Most gravel bikes uses either the traditional 700c (28″ rim) size or the 650b (27.5″ rim) size, more commonly found on mountain bikes. What are the advantages of 650b over 700c? The most obvious one would be smaller wheel diameters equal tougher wheels.

wide tyres fitted to ribble electric gravel bike

Most gravel bikes will be fitted with gravel-specific tyres like Schwalbe’s G-One Allround or WTB ByWay. These tyres are much wider than traditional road tyres – usually between 35mm all the way up to 47mm – they’re especially designed for all-terrain riding, and although they will handle a multitude of terrains, they still roll okay on tarmac.

So what are the 6 best electric gravel bikes in 2020?

I have tried to represent a wide range of budgets in my selection, none of them are particularly cheap. But they all have their redeeming features. One of the reasons gravel e-bikes have become so popular is their incredibly versatility. They are popular with commuters and adventurers alike.


Ribble CGR AL e Gravel eBike

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  • $3,116.68 - November 26, 2020
  • $2,894.45 - November 8, 2020
  • $2,928.87 - October 31, 2020
  • $2,904.80 - October 8, 2020
  • $2,905.70 - September 26, 2020
  • $3,014.56 - September 3, 2020
  • $2,945.06 - August 26, 2020
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Since: June 1, 2020
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  • Lowest Price: $2,065.97 - June 1, 2020

The Ribble CGR AL e is a great ebike on many levels. First of all it is the cheapest of this bunch, with the Tiagra-equipped model coming in at under £2000, but there are plenty of other options to choose from, like a 650b wheelset, SRAM’s Apex or Rival 1 x groupset or Shimano’s higher level 105 or Ultegra. You can have the CGR wearing more road-friendly tyres, or go for the full-on gravel bike experience with WTB 650 x 47c gravel tyres.

All of the options, apart from the Tiagra spec have hydraulic disc brakes, and they all use the same excellent frame. You can even specify a custom colour option (at additional cost).

Features:

  • X35 ebikemotion hub motor with integrated battery
  • Choice of groupsets from Taigra to Ultegra Di2
  • Lightweight alloy frame with carbon fork

PROS:
  • Very lightweight
  • Cheapest bike on this list
  • The buyer can customise the specification
  • Smooth pedal assist, when you really need it

CONS:
  • Lower battery range (if assist is used constantly)

Verdict
Ribble’s CGR AL e is simply one of the best electric gravel bikes available. Ribble also offer the best options of any of the bikes here – you can have Shimano Tiagra, 105, Ultegra and SRAM groupsets… Your choice! The CGR is the ultimate stealth e-bike, and unless you look closely, you wouldn’t even realise this was an e-bike. The battery is integrated into the standard-sized downtube, and the only giveaway is the small rear hub motor. Pedal assist from the X35 ebikemotion system is very smooth, quiet and subtle. You don’t even realise you’re riding a bike with electric assist until you realise you are in double digits on a single digit climb!
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Shimano 34-50T x 11-32T gearing. Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes. Mavic Aksium Elite EBM wheelset. Level 1 Alloy cockpit. Prologo Kappa RS ...
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BATTERY CAPACITY 200+Wh
BATTERY POSITION Internal
BATTERY RANGE 25-50 Miles
BRAKE TYPE Hydraulic Disc Brake
BRAND Ribble
FRAME MATERIAL Aluminium
FRAME STYLE Regular
GEAR TYPE Derailleur
GENDER Male
MODEL YEAR 2020
MOTOR BRAND Ebikemotion
MOTOR TYPE Rear Hub Motor
NUMBER OF GEARS 22
PEDAL SENSOR Other
SUSPENSION No Suspension
APPROXIMATE WEIGHT 13kg
WHEEL SIZE 700c

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Orbea Gain D31 Electric Gravel Bike

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  • £2,599.00 - September 25, 2020
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  • Lowest Price: £65.29 - September 25, 2020

Orbea were the first of the major manufacturers to use the ebikemotion rear hub system with integrated battery. The Orbea Gain D31 electric gravel bike sits mid-way in their line-up and offers up a decent spec for the money.

The D31 has a lightweight alloy frame with carbon forks, and Shimano GRX 1 x 11 drivetrain, featuring a 40t single chainring with an SLX 11-42 rear cassette,  which makes spinning up steep climbs a walk in the park!

Features:

  • X35 ebikemotion hub motor with integrated battery
  • Shimano GRX groupset
  • Lightweight alloy frame with carbon fork

PROS:
  • Very lightweight
  • The ultimate stealth electric gravel bike
  • Excellent range of gears for climbing
  • Subtle but good e-assist, when you really need it

CONS:
  • Lower battery range (when assist is used constantly)

Verdict
The Orbea Gain D31 is the original and still one of the best electric gravel bikes available. The big winner here is not only the very competitive price, but the relatively light overall weight of 13.5kg. Factor in an 11-42 cassette, paired with a 40t chainring and you will climb those steep sections without putting too much strain on the knees. Ride the Orbea beyond the assisted top speed of 15.5mph (on the flat) and you wouldn’t even realise you were riding an e-bike.
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Description
Season : 2020
Code : K343Black
The Orbea Gain D31 Electric Gravel Bike 2020 is a versatile electric bike that aims to ...
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BATTERY CAPACITY 200+Wh
BATTERY POSITION Internal
BATTERY RANGE 25-50 Miles
BRAKE TYPE Hydraulic Disc Brake
BRAND Orbea
FRAME MATERIAL Aluminium
FRAME STYLE Regular
GEAR TYPE Derailleur
GENDER Male
MODEL YEAR 2020
MOTOR BRAND Ebikemotion
MOTOR TYPE Rear Hub Motor
NUMBER OF GEARS 11
PEDAL SENSOR Other
SUSPENSION No Suspension
APPROXIMATE WEIGHT 13kg
WHEEL SIZE 700c

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Whyte Gosford Electric Gravel Bike

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When British company Whyte first released their new e-bike range last year it was nice to see a couple of road bikes in the line-up. Both the Gosford and Winchelsea are more gravel and adventure orientated, and both bikes use the excellent Fazua Evation modular ebike system.

I don’t know what it is with Whyte bikes, but I have always been strangely drawn to them! The finish is always excellent and their choice of subtle colours always works for me.

The Whyte Gosford electric gravel bike is an excellent gravel bike in every sense – it’s stable handling combined with SRAM Rival 1 x 11 drivetrain and 650b wheels with wide WTB  tyres make this an excellent choice whether you are commuting or going off for weekend adventures.

Features:

  • Fazua Evation motor and battery
  • SRAM Apex 1 x 11 groupset – 42t + 11-42 rear cassette
  • Lightweight alloy frame with carbon fork

PROS:
  • Fazua Evation removable drive system
  • SRAM’s Apex 1 groupset is excellent
  • Looks great!

CONS:
  • Lower assisted battery range

Verdict
Whyte have always made classy bikes, and the Gosford Electric gravel bike is no exception – it looks like it means business! For the price this is probably the best Fazua-powered gravel bike on this list. The build quality is excellent, the ride and handling is predictable and compliant and the 650b wheels with WTB finish off the package nicely.
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Whyte Gosford Electric Road / Gravel Bike Summary With MTB inspired geometry, Whyte's Gosford is a revolutionary adventure eBike perfect for ...
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BATTERY CAPACITY 200+Wh
BATTERY POSITION Down Tube
BATTERY RANGE 25-50 Miles
BRAKE TYPE Hydraulic Disc Brake
BRAND Whyte
FRAME MATERIAL Aluminium
FRAME STYLE Regular
GEAR TYPE Derailleur
GENDER Male
MODEL YEAR 2020
MOTOR BRAND Fazua
MOTOR TYPE Mid-Drive
NUMBER OF GEARS 11
PEDAL SENSOR Torque Sensor
SUSPENSION No Suspension
APPROXIMATE WEIGHT 16kg
WHEEL SIZE 700c

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Cannondale Synapse NEO SE 650b Electric Gravel Bike

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  • Highest Price: £3,499.99 - November 15, 2020
  • Lowest Price: £3,299.99 - June 30, 2020

What sets the Cannondale Synapse NEO SE apart from all the other electric gravel bikes featured on this list, is it is the only one fitted with Bosch’s excellent Active Line Plus mid-drive motor. This is a different beast altogether from the Fazua and ebikemotion drive systems found on the other gravel e-bikes.

The Bosch motor really packs a punch, and combine that with a powerful 500Wh battery, you have an electric gravel bike with a potential range of up to 100 miles – although 60-70 is probably more realistic.

Of course, there is a big trade-off having a Bosch motor combined with a powerful battery – the Synapse NEO SE weighs in at a heft 18.5kg, and you definitely can’t remove the motor.

Features:

  • Bosch Active Plus motor with 500Wh battery
  • SRAM Apex 1 x 11 groupset
  • 650b tyres

PROS:
  • Bosch Active Plus motor is silky smooth
  • Incredibly efficient
  • Excellent battery range
  • Very solid build-quality
  • 650b tyres

CONS:
  • Heavier than the competition
  • Looks more like an e-bike

Verdict
The Cannondale Synapse NEO SE is one of the most complete packages here – 650b tyres, Bosch mid-drive and to cap it all off, a 500Wh battery that will give a potential range of 100 miles from the highly efficient Active Line Plus motor. It’s a very well thought-out electric gravel bike, and it is definitely aimed at the rider who may rely on the assist more often. The Bosch motor produces more in the way of assist, when compared with the Fazua and ebikemotion systems, but it does weigh considerably more – up to 5 kilos more in the case of the Orbea Gain and Ribble CGR AL e. Weight aside, the Cannondale has more torque and more battery range all wapped up in a very capable gravel biking package.
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Cannondale Synapse Neo SE 27.5" 2020 - Electric Road Bike The Synapse Neo SE is a gravel e-road bike, with the power, range and comfort to ...
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BATTERY CAPACITY 500+Wh
BATTERY POSITION Down Tube
BATTERY RANGE 40-80 Miles
BRAKE TYPE Hydraulic Disc Brake
BRAND Cannondale
FRAME MATERIAL Aluminium
FRAME STYLE Regular
GEAR TYPE Derailleur
GENDER Male
MODEL YEAR 2020
MOTOR BRAND Bosch
MOTOR TYPE Mid-Drive
NUMBER OF GEARS 11
PEDAL SENSOR Torque Sensor
SUSPENSION No Suspension
APPROXIMATE WEIGHT 18kg
WHEEL SIZE 650b

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Boardman ADV 8.9e Electric Adventure / Gravel Bike

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Billed as an ‘electric adventure bike’ the Boadman ADV 8.9e is designed to be equally at home on tarmac or single track. Using the Fazua drive system and SRAM’s Apex 1 x 11 groupset, the ADV 8.9e is a versatile gravel bike, that can handle a wide varieties of terrain.

The lightweight alloy frame, combined with carbon fork and Fazua motor, make for a lightweight package, with the whole bike weighing in at just shy of 16kg. Of course, if you choose to remove the motor you can reduce the weight to 12.3kg (which is lighter than my old Dawes Galaxy!)

Features:

  • Fazua Evation motor and battery
  • SRAM Apex 1 x 11 groupset
  • Lightweight alloy frame with carbon fork

PROS:
  • Fazua Evation removable drive system
  • SRAM’s excellent Apex 1 groupset
  • Cheapest Fazua-powered ebike on this list

CONS:
  • Lower assisted range

Verdict
Boardman have always made excellent bikes at great prices and the ADV 8.9e doesn’t disappoint – with a spec like this at under £2500, it’s one of the best value electric gravel bikes on this list. I’ve ridden the Boardman and I was impressed with its ability to cope with the rigours of Bodmin moor in Cornwall, where there are lots of empty gravel tracks that go on for miles and miles! It really is a great bike for the price.
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OVERVIEW OF THE BOARDMAN ADV 8.9E Whether you want to ride further or faster or just want a little bit of help on the hills, an electric bike is a ...
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BATTERY CAPACITY 200+Wh
BATTERY POSITION Down Tube
BRAKE TYPE Hydraulic Disc Brake
BRAND Boardman
COLOUR
FRAME MATERIAL Aluminium
FRAME STYLE Regular
GEAR TYPE Derailleur
GENDER Male
MOTOR BRAND Fazua
MODEL YEAR 2019
MOTOR TYPE Mid-Drive
NUMBER OF GEARS 11
PEDAL SENSOR Torque Sensor
WHEEL SIZE 700c
BATTERY RANGE 25-50 Miles
APPROXIMATE WEIGHT 16kg
SUSPENSION No Suspension

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Bergamont E-Grandurance Elite Electric Gravel Bike

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The last bike in our line-up is the excellent Bergamont E-Grandurance Elite. This electric gravel bike uses the popular Fazua Evation system, which has the benefit of being relatively lightweight (at 4.6kg) and removable.  The drive system and battery neatly integrate into the frame of the bike, with the only external clue this is an e-bike being the oversized downtube.

This bike has everything you would expect on a gravel bike, from the Syncross Creston handlebars with 10 degree flare, through to the Shimano GRX 1 x 11 drivetrain and the Schwalbe G-One Allround gravel tyres.

Features:

  • Fazua Evation motor and battery
  • Shimano GRX groupset
  • Lightweight alloy frame with carbon fork

PROS:
  • Fazua Evation removable drive system
  • Shimano’s GRX Groupset
  • The Bergamont is a great looking e-bike

CONS:
  • Lower assisted range
  • Pricier than some of the competition

Verdict
The Bergamont E-Grandurance Elite is not only gorgeous, but it’s a very capable gravel bike. Bergamont have been producing quality electric bikes for a few years now, and the Elite is one of two e-road bikes in their line-up.  The general feel of the bike and the high quality finish are what you would expect at this price point. The Fazua motor never disappoints, and if you did decide to remove the motor for regular riding, the weight is reduced to 11.6kg.
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Bergamont E-Grandurance Elite 2020 - Electric Road Bike Summary Multifunctional all-road machine with Fazua drive unit. 60 Nm torque and 252 Wh ...
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BATTERY CAPACITY 200+Wh
BATTERY POSITION Down Tube
BRAKE TYPE Hydraulic Disc Brake
FRAME MATERIAL Aluminium
FRAME STYLE Regular
GEAR TYPE Derailleur
GENDER Male
MODEL YEAR 2020
MOTOR BRAND Fazua
MOTOR TYPE Mid-Drive
NUMBER OF GEARS 11
PEDAL SENSOR Torque Sensor
WHEEL SIZE 700c
BRAND Bergamont
BATTERY RANGE 30-50 Miles
SUSPENSION No Suspension
APPROXIMATE WEIGHT 15kg

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The Verdict – What is the best Electric Gravel Bike in 2020?

Gravel bikes are going to be massive in 2020, electric or otherwise. The selection in this article only represent the tip of the iceberg – they are all excellent e-bikes in their own right, but is there one that really stands out from the rest?

I think for sheer value for money and choice, Ribble’s CGR AL e is unbeatable, with their Tiagra-equipped version coming in at under £2000. The option of customisation is also going to tempt many would-be buyers.

The Cannondale Synapse NEO SE has it all – great motor, long battery range and it’s a very capable bike. The only real caveat being the weight penalty of the Bosch motor and high capacity battery.

If you prefer the versatility of having a removable drive system, the best value Fazua Evation-powered e-bike in this selection is the Boardman ADV 8.9e, coming in at around £500 cheaper than the nearest competitor.

All the other electric gravel bikes in this selection are excellent. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal choice and budget.

If you need any help or advice choosing the right electric gravel bike, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you within 24hrs. Thanks for reading!

Check out this article on ebikechoices.com – X35 ebikemotion vs Fazua Evation

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