The adventure cycling world is booming and sees more and more innovative updates of products. But is the idea of the flat bar gravel bike new? or something that has been around since the 90’s?

Bridging the gap between traditional road bikes and mountain bikes, flat bar gravel bikes offer a versatile solution for those keen on bikepacking, commuting, or looking for a beginner-friendly bike to get started in the world of adventuring by bike.

Why you should trust my perspective?

I mean you do not have to, I just want to provide as much value as I can

I have over 8 years of bike traveling experience:

  • I have ridden my bike across 6 countries so far and a lot of trips where I live here in Australia!
  • Watch my adventure here!
  • Lover of bikes and so passionate about researching, riding, and writing 🙂 about adventure-focused bicycles. That’s why I started this blog!
  • Have helped over 1 million people find, compare, and decide on their dream adventure bike! Nothing means more to me than getting more people out into the world on two wheels!

Flat bar gravel bikes a very diverse. They are intended for many different riding purposes. We will also provide you with the best flat bar gravel bikes for the following:

What Are The Best Flat Bar Gravel Bikes?

Flat bar gravel bikes come in a range of build purposes. Some are ideal for commuting, riding fast, shredding trails, and going on epic cross-country adventures.

When choosing the best bike, there are many things to consider, and each flat-bar gravel bike provides varied benefits

For example, your needs will be different if you want a bikepacking gravel bike for riding to those untouched corners of the globe.

Or if you only plan to use it as your daily commuter.

Having this in mind, it can come down to personal preference and what type of riding and use you plan on for your flat bar gravel bike.

Here are my picks for the best flat bar gravel bikes this year!

Rose Hobo

(Modern Hybrid Steel Gravel Bike)

The Rose Hobo is a fusion of retro charm and contemporary tech, marking Rose’s re-entry into steel-framed bikes. Here’s a look at what makes this gravel commuter stand out.

It strikes a balance between the past and the present. Dubbed a “hybrid”, the Rose Hobo has reinvented the term with improved tire clearance, with room for up to 650b x 2.1″ tires. And you can swap in larger 700c gravel tires if desired. Along with effective brakes, efficient 1x drivetrains, and a plethora of braze-on mounts.

Made with a durable 4130 chromoly steel frame, the Hobo comes with a full carbon fork and an ergonomic 14° back sweep flat handlebar, coupled with ESI Chunky silicone grips. Notably, it introduces a modular front rack that can be directly mounted to the side of the headtube.

An array of choices for its modular rack system includes a narrow traditional front rack, a broad porteur-style rack (the size of a pizza box), and a specialized front rack bag. This bag doubles as a backpack and even features a detachable insulated liner, perfect for post-ride refreshments or grocery shopping.

The Hobo offers a mix of nimble and stable riding dynamics. The geometry promotes an upright, relaxed ride, thanks to short chainstays combined with an extended Reach and a tall Stack.

Modern design elements like a 44mm headtube for tapered forks, internal cable routing, flat mount disc brakes, and 12mm thru-axles are incorporated.

Three affordable builds are available.

The basic Shimano Deore 10sp is priced at 1600€ and weighs 11.7kg. The GRX810 11sp variant is priced at 1800€, shaving off 100g in weight. A limited edition SRAM Rival eTap AXS XPLR wireless 1×12 is also available for 3000€.

A holistic Hobo experience involves its unique accessories. The dual-mode Hobo rack costs an extra 150€, the Hobo Rack Bag is 100€, custom Hobo fenders by SKS are priced at 40€, and the Knog Blinder MOB lights come in at 100€.

3T Exploro Racemax Boost

(Aero, Electric, Commuter, Adventure Flat Bar Gravel Bike)

The 3T Exploro RaceMax Boost Flatbar seeks to blend urban and gravel biking with its unique design, featuring a flat bar and the MAHLE Ebikemotion X35+ motor. Priced at €6,999 and weighing 12.02 kg for size 54, this Italian brand’s first e-bike has undergone extensive testing to determine its viability in both terrains.

This bike features one of the largest tire clearance gravel bikes you can buy, thanks to the 2.4″ tire clearance. The Exploro Race model was featured as one of the fastest aero gravel bikes on the market. And it was in the rankings as one of the lightest gravel bikes!

Poseidon Flatbar Redwood

(Bikepack on a budget and commute to work)

Featured as one of the best value gravel bikes, The Poseidon Redwood also comes in a flat bar urban adventurer option. One of the better gravel bikes to offer ample tire clearance with 2.6″ tire to clear this frame without issues.

They have taken the geometry of the Poseidon X (featured below) and amped it up so you can eat up gravel with enough tire to absorb the vibrations of a rutted-rocky trail.

A very optimized gravel bike for bikepacking adventures on a budget.

Featuring the widest tire clearance out of all the bikes in this list. When it comes to price, groupset quality, and climbing gear, it offers the best value for money, it is a little on the heavier side.

Specialized Diverge Expert E5 EVO

(MTB Inspired, Well Geared Gravel Grinder)

The Specialized flat bar gravel bike has to be a personal favorite at the moment. You could say this bike is redefining the notion of gravel grinding. When it comes to the bike’s geometry, it is more progressive than the new drop bar Diverge. Making it better suited to the flat bar configuration.

With an increase in the reach, slackened the head tube and lowered the bottom bracket, resulting in a planted feeling.

The bike is MTB inspired, with a 1 x 12 high-end level XT, Praxis groupset, hydraulic disc brakes, and a dropper post.

Built around an alloy frame and carbon fork. Rolling on 700x42mm tires, you get a max clearance of 47mm with a 700c wheel and 2.1” with a 650b wheel. You also get a Praxis Zayante Carbon 1X, 40T crank, and Shimano XT, 12-speed, 10-45t cassette.

Surly Preamble

(Cost-effective, adaptable, and reliable gravel – commuter / touring bike)

Introducing the Surly Preamble, Surly’s latest addition to its pavement line, envisioned as a more refined Straggler. This versatile utility bike is perfect for commuting, road touring, and everyday jaunts. Some key features to note:

Boasting Surly’s Chromoly Natch steel frame and fork, known for durability and resilience. With vertical rear dropouts, similar to the Bridge Club, the Preamble’s frame is designed to accommodate both flat and drop bars. Plus, fender and rack mounts enhance its utility.

It’s available in five sizes, XS-XL, catering to riders between 5’0” and 6’7”. The XS and S frames sport slightly sloping top tubes, granting more standover room. Depending on the size, it can fit 650b x 41mm (XS–S) or 700c x 41mm (M–XL) tires, with or without mudguards.

A complete Preamble starts at an accessible $899 USD. A great choice for newcomers to the world of gravel bikes. This version is equipped with a microSHIFT Acolyte 1×8 drivetrain, Kalloy handlebar, and Kenda tires tailored to the frame size. Available for $899 USD, there’s also an option to buy just the frameset for $549 USD.

Commencal FCB

(Commute In Style!)

FCB or Fast City Bike! A stylish commuter flat bar gravel bike ready for whatever riding you have in mind! Now you can cruise the streets with speed and style. Whether on tarmac or gravel, the Commencal FCB is one of my personal favorite picks!

Available in the Origin or Essential bike builds and frameset. Both bikes have the same geometry and aluminum frameset. The main difference is the cheaper Origin has a 1×11 Apex 1, Sram groupset and the Essential with a more capable 1×12 GX Eagle, Rival 1 setup.

Check out this beautiful custom-built option!

Santa Cruz Skitch eBike 

(E-Gravel Bike for off-road urban speed)

Santa Cruz Bicycles has just unveiled the Skitch, its fourth eBike, signaling a bold step forward in their venture into e-gravel bikes. This eBike draws its roots from the recently released, reimagined Stigmata gravel bike.

Weighing in at 30lbs, promises agility. Fueled by the Fazua Ride 60 Motor, riders can expect speeds up to 28 mph (or 32 kph) and an impressive range of over 60 miles. Its 60Nm torque ensures optimal power for challenging climbs and swift traffic light getaways.

Concealed within its carbon frame is a 430Wh battery, boasting a full charge in just 3.5 hours. To ensure riders are always in control, the Skitch offers three power modes—Breeze, River, and Rocket—all easily toggled using the handlebar ring controller.

The Skitch offers four primary versions, each equipped with SRAM Drivetrains. The pricing spectrum starts at $5,999 for the Apex Flat Bar setup and peaks at $7,299 for the premium GX AXS kits, available in both drop bar and flat bar configurations.

Kona Dew

(Budget Friendly Gravel Commuter)

Technically categorized as a commuter bike the Kona Dew still takes a spot in the flat bar gravel bike list. The Kona Dew Plus is a two-wheeler for the urban commute. Work, grocery store, a Sunday afternoon. Whatever your town has in store for you, this bike will take you there. And it’s priced with value for money for a quality brand like Kona. 

Saracen Levarg

(Adventure-ready, budget-friendly flat bar gravel bike)

Saracen, a British brand with a longstanding presence in the mountain biking domain, has just introduced the latest addition to their gravel bike series, the Saracen Levarg.

The 1990s Saracen Kili Flyer was the inspiration for this brand-new reimagined gravel bike.

The Levarg is designed with standard 142/100 x 12mm thru-axles. Although it’s primarily tailored for 650b x 47mm tires, there isn’t any explicit mention of the maximum tire clearance. However, a visual inspection suggests a maximum tire size of around 52mm.

The frame comes with internal cable routing suitable for a 30.9mm dropper post, internal paths for the derailleurs and rear brake, with a unique design choice of an exposed cable routing towards the rear derailleur.

The recent iteration of Levarg boasts a plethora of mounts. Inside the triangle, you’ll find three sets, with additional pairs beneath the downtube and for a direct mount top tube bag. While the rear dropout includes eyelets, there’s a noticeable absence of upper rack mounts on the seat stays. Bikepackers will appreciate the fork’s upgrade. It now houses three-pack mounts on each leg, supplemented with fender mounts and a threaded light mount at the crown.

Moreover, with a price tag of £999, the Levarg FB presents itself as a cost-effective option for those looking to delve into the world of gravel biking without compromising on quality.

Norco Search XR Flat Bar

(Single track bikepacker gravel bike)

The Norco Search Flat bar features an X6 butted aluminum frame and carbon fork that offer lightweight, agile stability, efficient pedaling, and comfortable vertical compliance. The Flat Bar setup allows you to explore singletrack trails, tackle a gravel loop, or head out for an extended bike-packing excursion.

Marin Muirwoods

(Budget touring gravel bike)

Make traveling fun again. The Muirwoods by Marin is made for urban jungle and countryside adventures. A sub $1,000 flat bar gravel bike option with the ability to run up to 27.5 x 2.2″ tires. Also making it a perfect budget tourer or gravel commuter.

Salsa Journeyer

(All-Road Adventure)

The all-new Salsa Journeyer takes on a new look from its sibling the Journeyman which has been featured as one of the best gravel bikes you can buy under $1,000. Depicted by Salsa as their workhorse all-road adventure machine. A do-everything all-road bike, for gravel and road adventures. Available in a plethora of options the cheapest starting at $999 for the base flat bar option. The model we recommend is the Salsa Journeyer Flat Bar Deore 650b. You know it’s going to be the perfect adventure gravel bike just by its name, Journeyer is “A traveler going on a trip, a wayfarer.”

Marin DSX

($999 Flat Bar Gravel Bike)

Marin has also jumped on the flat bar gravel bike bandwagon and has launched their take on these cruisy types of bikes. This rig has been built around their Gestalt X drop bar platform. Expanding Marin’s beyond-road line of bikes, with a more comfortable and upright position.

Looking for a flat bar gravel bike around the $1,000 mark?

The Marin DSX 1 is designed for versatile cycling experiences, from long-distance commuting on mixed surfaces to adventurous gravel and off-road escapades.

This model is an upgrade from its base version, featuring a sturdier Series 3 aluminum frame with bolt-thru axles. Its full carbon fiber fork not only reduces the bike’s weight but also offers added mounting options for bikepacking enthusiasts.

Other notable enhancements include an 11-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, and WTB Riddler tires, all of which contribute to its reliability and performance on various terrains.

They offer the DSX 2 which is lighter at around 11 kg and a little more expensive.

State Bicycle 4130 All-Road Flat Bar Gravel Bike

(Budget friendly – gravel, work, commuter, ‘almost’ do it all bike)

Categorized as the “gravel, work, commuter, do it all bike” with unique frame styling that really stands this bike apart from the rest aesthetically.

A full fledged chromoly steel gravel bike for a very tasty price tag! This could be one of the best gravel bikes in this list. Allowing for both 700c and 650b tires.

So you can run slicks or knobby tires. Depending on where you want to ride. With a versatile front fork that has many cargo cage braze ons for all the hauling you could ever need.

Featuring State Bicycle Co own 1 x 11 drivetrain. Which gives you a 42 t front crank and 11-42 at the rear.

With the 650b x 2.1″ tires, resulting in a climbing gear of 27.19″ which is rather limited for a gravel bike. But for a bargain price of $799.99 if you plan to ride long and straight gravel roads this might be the smart choice.

It’s good to see this years models offering a large selection of colour choices. Reminiscent of All City Gorilla Monsoon vibes.

I struggled to find accurate information of this bikes geometry. But some owners recommend this for a bikepacking bike.

Thanks to the long rear end which helps it track straight and not feel twitchy.

The 42 tooth crank at the front is too large in my opinion. And I would change it out for a smaller one say 36t to get better climbing results.

Other then that a great pick up for such a cheap price. 

Flat Bar Gravel Bike vs Hardtail MTB

To the untrained eye, the flat bar gravel bike might bring back memories of the 90’s mountain bikes. Both possess flat handlebars, wider tires, and a somewhat similar color palate. However, it’s important that we underlay the difference in purpose that these bikes serve.

90’s mountain bikes, the icons of their time, were designed to tackle rugged mountain trails, offering ample shock absorption and stability. They were often hefty, with robust frames built to withstand the rocky challenges of off-road terrain. Their gearing was more adapted to steep climbs and rapid descents, and they usually came with larger knobby tires for maximum traction.

On the other hand, the flat bar gravel bikes of today borrow the comfort and the familiar handling characteristics of the 90’s MTBs but are designed with a modern twist.

They’re lighter, faster, and optimized for a mix of terrains, from tarmac to trails.

Their geometry is a blend of endurance and agility, ensuring the rider can cover long distances with ease while also being nimble enough to navigate tricky paths.

Furthermore, the componentry is often more advanced, offering better braking systems, wider gear ranges, and tires that strike a balance between speed and grip.

However, it’s worth noting that some flat bar gravel bikes are no match to those 90’s mountain bikes and are not the most ideal choice if you are looking for a bikepacking bike.

Can flat-bar gravel bikes be compared to XC bikes?

In this article, I ranked the Best 14 Flat Bar Gravel Bikes, so you can choose which bike is best for you.

For bikepackers, the appeal is evident. Flat bar gravel bikes provide a platform that can be loaded with bags, without significantly compromising its performance. The frame design often incorporates multiple mounting points, allowing riders to customize their luggage setup, be it for an overnight trip or a multi-day journey.

Watch while you read: Looking for more fast adventure bike options that have been tested and proven as reliable rigs for the Tour Divide endurance bikepacking race!

While flat bar gravel bikes might evoke the charm of old-school mountain bikes, they’ve carved out a niche of their own. They are a testament to the evolving needs of modern adventurers and commuters alike – combining the best of both worlds and introducing innovative features.

Flat Bar vs Drop Bar Gravel Bikes (What are the pros and cons?)

So what are the pros and cons of flat bar gravel bikes?

Some would say that flat handlebars offer better bike control, especially when we are riding off-road. They provide better steering leverage which is ideal when you also have the added weight of a bikepacking handlebar bag or front panniers.

Flat bars a generally great for people who are just getting into cycling. If you are someone who is a beginner when it comes to gravel bikes, then a flat bar bike might be a great choice.

You are not in the most aerodynamic position with flat bars, though, compared to drop bar gravel bikes. This is still okay because you could change the flat bars to some alternative handlebars options that are out there.

These bikes ultimately make great gravel commuters!

But here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of flat bars on gravel bikes


  • Geometry: True flat bar gravel bikes are designed longer and slacker, allowing for more aggressive riding on rough terrains without easily getting thrown off balance.
  • Better Control on Technical Terrain: Flat bars provide better leverage, which can be advantageous on steep and technical terrains.
  • Upright Position: Flat bars can offer a more upright riding position which can be perceived as more comfortable for some, especially for those converting for this reason.
  • Compatibility with Mountain Bike Parts: If you have leftover mountain bike parts, they might be more compatible with a flat bar setup.
  • Variety of Bars Available: There are flat bars like the surly moloko and Jones swoop h which offer multiple hand positions, and are especially popular among loaded touring and bikepacking communities.


  • Less Aerodynamic: Drop bars provide a more aerodynamic profile which can result in faster speeds on open roads.
  • Limited Hand Positions: Traditional flat bars offer fewer hand positions than drop bars, which can lead to discomfort on longer rides.
  • Potential for Bad Geometry when Converting: If converting an existing drop bar bike to flat bars, it might require a very long stem to achieve the right fit, which could result in poor handling.
  • Loss of Multiple Riding Positions: Drop bars allow for various riding positions suitable for different terrains and riding intensities.
  • Converting Cost & Time: Transitioning from a drop to a flat bar may require a significant investment in time or money.
  • Not Ideal for Pure Gravel Grinding: If the primary purpose is to ride on maintained gravel roads without aggressive off-road sections, drop bars might be more appropriate.

Neutral/Subjective Points

  • Riding Style Matters: The choice between flat and drop bars can be very personal. Some find comfort and efficiency in one style while others might have the opposite experience.
  • Expertise Needed for Hybrid Setup: For those looking for the best of both worlds (a slack flat bar frame with drop bars), it’s essential to have a good understanding of bike geometry to pick the right frame and size.
  • Actual Need vs. Preference: While flat bars might provide more control on technical terrain, skilled riders can navigate most terrains efficiently with drop bars.

It’s worth noting that everyone’s experience can vary, and what works for one might not work for another. The key is to understand your riding style, the terrains you frequent, and your personal comfort and preferences.

Flat Bar Gravel Bike Vs Hybrid

Flat bar gravel bikes are engineered for adventure and versatility, excelling in handling diverse terrains ranging from smooth roads to challenging gravel paths.

They feature a robust frame with a geometry tailored for stability and comfort on uneven surfaces, which is essential for long-distance rides and bikepacking adventures. The wider tires with pronounced treads offer superior grip and stability on loose or rugged terrains.

Moreover, gravel bikes come equipped with a wide range of gears, making them suitable for steep climbs and efficient on flat stretches. Their design focuses on long-distance comfort and the capability to carry heavy loads, making them ideal for adventurous riders and bikepackers.

Hybrid bikes, in contrast, are a blend of road and mountain bike features, designed primarily for general-purpose riding over various surfaces.

They are ideal for commuting, leisure rides, and light off-road trails. With a lighter frame than mountain bikes but sturdier than road bikes, hybrids offer a comfortable, upright riding position suited for urban or semi-urban environments.

Their tires are wider than those on road bikes but narrower and less rugged than those on gravel bikes, offering a balance of performance on paved and unpaved surfaces.

The gearing on hybrid bikes is optimized for urban riding, providing efficiency on moderate hills and flat roads. While they can handle short bikepacking trips, hybrids may not offer the same level of comfort or efficiency as gravel bikes on more demanding, longer routes.

Can I Put Flat Bars On A Gravel Bike

Yes, you can put flat bars on a gravel bike, but there are several factors to consider. Changing from drop bars to flat bars isn’t just a simple swap; it involves altering the bike’s geometry and handling characteristics.

Flat bars will give you a more upright riding position, which can increase comfort and control, especially on technical terrain.

However, you’ll need to adjust other components as well, such as the brake levers, shifters, and possibly the stem to maintain a comfortable and ergonomic setup. Also, keep in mind that flat bars can limit your hand positions compared to drop bars, which might affect comfort on longer rides.

If you’re comfortable with these changes and willing to make the necessary adjustments, converting your gravel bike to a flat bar setup can be a great way to tailor your bike to your riding style and preferences.

Flat Bar Gravel Bike Under 1000

For those seeking a quality flat bar gravel bike under $1000, there are several great options highlighted in this article.

The Poseidon Flatbar Redwood, renowned for its value and ample tire clearance, stands out as an excellent choice for budget bikepacking and commuting. It’s a versatile bike that can handle both urban adventures and gravel trails.

Another notable mention is the Surly Preamble, which is not only cost-effective but also adaptable and reliable for both commuting and touring. Its Chromoly steel frame and compatibility with both flat and drop bars make it a versatile option.

The Kona Dew also deserves attention as a budget-friendly gravel commuter. It’s perfect for everyday urban journeys and is priced with value in mind.

The Saracen Levarg offers an adventure-ready experience at a budget-friendly price, making it suitable for those new to gravel biking.

Lastly, the Salsa Journeyer and Marin DSX, both available around $999, are excellent choices for all-road adventures and versatile cycling experiences, respectively. Each of these bikes provides a unique blend of features tailored to different riding preferences and needs, all within an accessible price range.

About The Author



Codey Orgill, a seasoned bicycle adventurer, has been exploring the world on two wheels for over 10 years. Since embarking on his initial cycling journey, Codey Orgill has traversed numerous countries, experiencing a series of epic adventures.