Can gravel bikers and mountain bikers be friends?

Two very different bikes with one simple challenge

Gravel bikers and mountain bikers — can they be friends?

Produced in association with Canyon Bicycles

Yes it's true that there's a lot of crossover between the new breed of gravel bikes and cross-country mountain bikes. Both have chunky tyres designed to roll fast off-road, hydraulic disc brakes for wet weather stopping power, and suspension or frame compliance for traction and comfort.

But there's still a whole load of differences, not least the fact that one has drop bars and the other has significantly more suspension.

So, if you've got a gravel bike and your mate has a mountain bike, is it possible for you to ride together and enjoy yourselves on the same trails, or are they still different enough that you need to ride your own way?

To test the theory, BikeRadar pitched lightweight cross-country mountain bike the Canyon Lux against the innovative Canyon Grail gravel bike, complete with it's eye-catching hover handlebars.

Of course, it needs to be a fair test, so we found a route that would play to the strengths and challenge the weaknesses of both types of bike. The 46km route, which included 1,100m of climbing started at the scenic Llyn Brianne dam in beautiful Mid-Wales and headed out around the Cym Rheadr trail centre, blending gravel roads, hard climbs and techy trail centre descents.

So, can two riders separated by their preferred riding disciplines and respective bikes have a good time riding together, or would they always end up waiting for each other? You'll have to watch the video to find out.

Aoife Glass

Women's Cycling Editor
A mountain biker at heart, also drawn to the open road. Likes big long adventures in the mountains. Usually to be found in the Mendip Hills or the Somerset Levels in the UK. Passionate about women's cycling at all levels.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Rocky, rough and a long way from anywhere.
  • Current Bikes: Liv Avail Advanced Pro 2015, Juliana Furtado 2013, Canyon Roadlite AL
  • Dream Bike: Juliana Roubion, Liv Avail Advanced SL
  • Beer of Choice: Red wine for the win!
  • Location: Weston Super Mare, Somerset, UK

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