Monstercross bikes are a do-it-all bike with dirt drops that has nice wide and supple tires. All these bikes listed down below make some really good bikes for a off the beaten path adventure. These bikes are built to house a min of 2.1″ tires and the 650b combination means you can get a wider tire then some 700c options. The 650B gravel tires are wider and also allows riders to use lower tire pressure, increasing the handling of the bike off road. While these bikes are capable on asphalt, the 650B gravel bikes really shine in serious off road situations like tight mountain bike trails and rough sections of gravel adventure rides or races.

What is a Monstercross bike?

Let’s first dive into what really categories a monstercross bike or monster gravel bike. Some describe them as a bike the perfect all rounder bike that fits somewhere between a cyclocross bike and 29er mountain bike. And you don’t have to go out and build your own. Today there is more and more bikes which are hitting the market as more riders from the rod or mountain bike end of the spectrums wish to dive into their counterparts riding disciplines. Roadies wanting to hit the trail and explore off the pavement and mountain bikers wanting the efficiency or speed similar to a road bike but still with the ability to ride the dirt. The monstercross bike is the perfect balance between these two worlds.

Also know as monster gravel bikes. Reason being majority of gravel bikes can be limited when it comes to tire clearance with the option to really only run up to 40 to 45mm tires. But these bikes all have decent tire clearance for riding the rougher stuff and tasking you further on your adventures.

These are my personal favourites, as the writer for Cycle travel Overload, I have a huge passion for adventure bikes and gravel bikes. If I had unlimited space in my apartment to store all these bikes I would own them all.

Download the FREE 650B Gravel Bike Comparison Guide. A Google Sheet Doc with tables comparing all the different specs of each bike in a more easy to see way. Hopefully this will help you better decide which bike might be best for your gravel grinding needs!

*If you want to buy any of these bikes, doing it via the affiliate links give Cycle Travel Overload a commission which goes into creating more great resources for the bike travel community.

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All-City Gorilla Monsoon

One of the things that stands out to me about the Gorilla Monsoon bikes is how bloody nice they look. The two tone is so good. I personally like the orange and yellow tone model. But this is an ultimate 650B Monstercross bike! It is their dirt do-it all solution. A sweet beast designed to handle on- or off-road shredding, bikecamping, short-duration dirt touring, and the pursuit of good times!

An all steel build with 612 Select CroMoly steel frame and 4130 CroMoly tapered forks. It features a stealth dropper post routing near the bottom bracket. Along with the SRAM Apex 1 groupset with a FSA Comet 1x, Direct Mount 36t Ring and Sunrace 11spd, 11-42t cassette. It is a strong and capable monster for hilly trails out in the middle of nowhere. Price is $2,099 at Tree For Bikes. If you want to read out review check it out here.

Ibis Hakka MX

The Ibis Hakka MX is a dreamy bike that I also love! Did I mention? These are my dream bikes! A all carbon build, meaning a lightweight 650B gravel bike compared to a heavier Gorilla Monsoon. The Hakka is Ibis answer to the “Swiss Army Knife”. A versatile bike that can do it! If you are after a more detailed review, we have one here. The frame is under 1000 grams meaning you could use this bike from the likes of the morning group sesh to bikepacking across the country!

You can run 700c wheels if you desire, the Hakka has a frame clear­ance for up to 700 x 40c or 27.5 x 2.1” tires. Available in coal, bone white/teal or fire ball read. The red is my kind of rig! The Rival 650B option comes in at $3,399 at Back Country. This build features the Praxis Zayante Alloy, 30mm spindle, 40t crank with SRAM PG 1130 11-42t cassette.

Kona Libre

If you are after a small saving on a very comparable bike to the Hakka MX you could look further into the Kona Libre. It features a all carbon build with the Shimano Rival 1×11 with the same number of teeth for crank and cassette (different brand for the crank). The Libre has a 40t X-Sync crank and the exact same cassette, the SRAM PG1130 11-42t 11spd.

But there is quite a difference in geometry out of the two. The Libre has a longer reach, chainstay length and overall wheelbase. Therefore you could come to the conclusion that the Hakka would be more snappier and responsive on the rough stuff. The Libre also feature much more versatility when it comes to mounting options. Top tube mounts and more on the forks. It does come with 700c wheels and tires, WTB Riddler TCS 700x45c. The price for this bike starts from $2999.00

Bearclaw Thunderhawk

I am new to being introduced to the Thunderhawk just found out about this bike a few days ago, if you are after a full titanium gravel bike. This is definitely a great option! Just look at this thing it is a weapon of a bike! It is available in two models; the high end Force 1 with Hydraulic Disc brakes and the Rival 1 with Mechanical Disc brakes. For the purpose of this article we are going to include the Rival for comparison sake. Which we included in the comparison document (available for FREE download) just to make it a more even playing field for the other bikes. The Rival option is priced at $3,890 with the Force 1 is $1,800 more at $5,690.

Put in Bearclaw’s words the “Thunderhawk lends itself as a performance-minded 650b road plus bike that’s equipped to handle all road adventure rides, mixed-terrain endurance races, gravel grinders, and long bikepacking trips.” You get all the rack, fender and other mounting options you could dream of and the bike fits up to a 700x50c (29×1.9″) or 650x60c (27.5×2.35″) tires.

Salsa Warbird 650B

I did say i was going to keep it a “even playing field” but I forgot about the Warbird aka The Gravel King! Salsa build this bike in a 650B option with a SRAM Force 1 groupset. Which puts this bike in the high-end component level carbon frame gravel bike category. If you want our take in a review on this bike, read this article.

The Warbird is able to fit up to 700c x 45mm or 650b x 2.1 inch wheels and tires. it is one of the best gravel bikes for cargo capacity. You also get a more slacker gravel racing geometry, mixed with ergonomically designed brake levers and the frame is 100 grams lighter from the previous Warbird. All for a price of $3,499 at Tree Fort Bikes

Norco Search XR

Norco now has some 2020 models for your liking; the Search XR S1 650b and the Search XR S2 650b which are amazing bikes. But I have a thing for the 1x groupsets and you can pick up the green 2019 model for 20% off.

I am such a sucker for this bike, I have seen one in the flesh and it screams adventure! So this bike above is the Steel option. Which features a carbon fork and 650B wheels with the SRAM Rival 1 groupset. Price for this bike is $2,239.00 at Norco

Then for the Carbon option they have some nice 2020 models that are both in the 1×11 groupsets but you can choose between the Norco Search XR C2 or Norco Search XR C1. Whats the difference? Well first price the C1 is $1,200 more. But the C1 is a ‘full’ carbon bike. By that I mean you get carbon wheels, a carbon crank, and carbon handlebars. But this sees no change in the groupset as they both have the Shimano GRX 800.

In my opinion the Norco Search XR C2 would be my choice, as I don’t see the value in that much more for carbon parts. And personally I love steel bikes the most anyway. The C2 is priced at $3,799.00

Salsa Fargo

The Salsa Fargo is a classic bike that is built for mixed-surface riders and bikepackers who plan to take any route necessary and carry everything they need when they’re out for days on end. Comes with Teravail Sparwood 29 x 2.2 in tires! A steel frame bike with the Firestarter 110 Carbon Deluxe fork. Offering predictable handling with or without a load. Priced at $2,199.00 at

Bombtrack Hook EXT-C

The hook is another bike that I know a few people ride for bikepacking and undoubtably a cracking rig! A full carbon build with 650B wheels. With the Hunt Adventure Sport wheels and easy rolling WTB Ranger tyres. You have the ability to carry as much as you need for those bike adventures. With triple mounts on the forks and three seperate bottle cage fixings. With a hydraulic Sram Rival 1×11 groupset and brakes with wide range 11 – 42t cassette.

Crust Bombora

This has to be one of the most hipster looking monstercross bikes out there. it is only available as a frameset from Crust Bikes. So many options to build it out into a ultimate supple 650B gravel machine, like the one pictured above!

Curve GXR “Kevin”

Again this bike is available as a frameset. You can also order a complete bike, but only based on availability. You may need to contact Curve if you are interest in this rig. To make the Kevin, Curve had to take the fun of a cyclocross bike, fused in some adventure feels and rolled it into one neat do-it-all package that can take you anywhere. You get the option for 700c or 650B. With 700c wheels with 28–45mm tyres for Road/Gravel/Cyclocross or go full HellCat with 650b (27.5”) wheels running 1.8–2.2” tyres. Frameset starts at $3,999 Aud

Genesis Fugio

A steel frame and carbon fork build with aesthetically pleasing two tone look! Available in 650B wheels, the bike weighs in at 24.2 lbs / 11.0 kg. Comes with the WTB Byway 47c tires and the SHRAM Rival 1×11 groupset. Price is £2,699.

Salsa Journeyman Sora 650B

If you are after a 650B gravel bike around that budget friendly $1000 mark this might be the one! Definitely a great option if you are looking for a bike to just get started in this world of gravel grinding. Tires are 2.1 inches with 18 total gears. The geometry is built around aluminum tubing frame and Fantail carbon fork with a tapered steerer. You get a lot of mounting options for those bikepacking and touring rides. Price is $1,099 at

Surly Midnight Special

The Midnight Special is Surly’s take on the road plus bike. It has clearance for 650b x 60mm or 700c x 42mm tires without fenders (650b x 50mm or 700c x 38mm with fenders). The wider tires make for a better fine-tuning of tire pressure on varying surfaces and create a wider contact patch for increased traction for those gravel rides. Featuring modern road standards like flat-mount disc brakes, 12mm front and rear thru-axles, and a 44mm head tube. The bike comes in a all steel build, that Surly is so known for. And SRAM Rival 1 setup. Price is $2,000 at Tree Fort Bikes.

Masi Giramondo 27.5

This has to be one of my favourite monstercross bikes especially when considering the bank account. Budget friendly and it offers a 3×10 Shimano Deore setup. Yes, not the most high tech but functionality, yes! A all steel bike to with 650B wheels. And all for under $1,200 you cannot go wrong. Along with bar-end shifters you get that old school touring bike feel. But also so many options to mount gear, look at the forks.

Diamondback Haanjo 5C EXP

A gravel bike designed to get you off the beaten track! The Haanjo 5C EXP is designed around a light, tough carbon fiber frame and fork with thru axles front and rear. With Mechanical Disc brakes, and a Shimano Deore 2×10. Priced at $2,000

Also don’t forget to download the FREE 650B Gravel Bike Comparison Guide. A Google Sheet Doc with tables comparing all the different specs of each bike in a more easy to see way. Hopefully this will help you better decide which bike might be best for your gravel grinding needs!

Surly Ghost Grappler

The ultimate do it all drop bar trail bike. A bike with a designed focused around the handlebars. With MTB geometry and comfortable drop bars. Allowing you to run up to 27.5 x 2.8” without fenders front and back with some extra clearance in the rear with the frames clearance. Resulting in a ‘monstrous’ bike!

The Ghost Grappler is really re-defining what categories of bikes mean. There is often times no clear line as some bikes have the DNA of say a monstercross bike but offer just a little more! Similarly the Ghost Grappler transcends titles and could also be considered a nice fit in the drop bar mountain bike club!

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.