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All Bikes Hand Checked & Assembled Before Shipping Free tracked delivery 90 day Returns 30-Day Test Ride Option Customer Care: 0330 555 0080 0% Finance

Free, tracked UK delivery on orders over £10

We offer free, tracked UK delivery on orders over £10, with delivery starting from £1.99 for orders below this value. We also have a selection of premium shipping options available including timed slots, Saturday delivery and DPD Pick-up

All of our bicycles are fully built by our experienced and certified mechanics prior to delivery; all you will need to do is turn the handlebars and fit some pedals.

Bicycles are shipped from a different warehouse to other items and so may arrive in advance of any other items you have ordered.

View all Delivery Options

90-Day UK Returns for all items

We want you to be 100% satisfied with your shopping experience at Rutland Cycling, so we offer a 90-day exchange or refund on any unused item (within the UK).

We've chosen to offer products at the very lowest prices, rather than provide a free returns service. If you do need to return an item, we provide printable postage labels and collection services at a small cost for all items - including bicycles.

See our full Returns policy.

30 Day Test Ride

All the convenience of buying online, without the risk
When you buy a new bike at full RRP from rutlandcycling.com, you can now benefit from the added reassurance of our Rutland 30-day test ride. Once your new bike arrives, you can ride it as your own for 30 days, and we're confident you'll love it! However, if it's not right for you, we'll exchange it for another model. (There's a nominal charge of £10 for us to collect your bike - just make sure you keep the box your bike arrived in.)

On which bikes is the 30-day test ride available?
The Rutland 30-day test ride is available on all full price, non-discounted bikes available for home delivery on rutlandcycling.com. It is not available on discounted or special offer bikes, click and collect bikes, bikes bought on finance, bikes bought through Cyclescheme, or bikes bought in store. This offer is only available on bikes delivered to mainland UK addresses.

How many times can I use the 30-day test ride?
We will allow up to two exchanges within this scheme.

Full T's & C's

Finance your purchase

Get a confidential decision online in seconds.

At Rutland Cycling, we offer Finance on orders over £250, with 0% finance up to 36 months available on selected bikes, including some sale bikes. Visit the product page to see which finance products are available.

You can apply for Finance online or in store. To apply online, add your selected items to your basket, then checkout as normal. Select Finance as your payment method, fill in the application form, then complete your order.

See our Finance page for more information.

  • Back to Blog  

    Where to Start With Gravel Riding - A Beginner's Guide

       Words by David Hicks

       on 28/06/2019 10:28:31

    Words by Grace Lambert-Smith

    Most of us have been on a road ride that ended up with a bit of questionable road trickery because of a mapping mishap but after returning home with both bike and rider in one piece, we secretly enjoyed it. Is it any wonder then that the ​gravel bike​ genre has taken off in a big way? With the rise of dedicated gravel events as well as a lust for exploring near and far off the beaten track, gravel riding has become a discipline of its own. From bridleways to rugged farm tracks, a gravel bike can be your go-to machine for whatever the road ahead throws at you.

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    What’s so special about a gravel bike?

    It wasn’t so long ago that those of an off-road persuasion would automatically reach for a hardtail MTB and venture off into the distance, but modern day gravel bikes boast something a bit different. Most gravel bikes will look like road bikes with increased clearance for wider tyres and mudguards, easier gearing for rougher terrain and relaxed geometry for endurance riding. Many models will also have capacity for 650b wheels further increasing the range of rubber you can fit between your fork.

    Gravel bikes have increased agility due to their lightweight frames and drop handlebars meaning hike-a-bike is a little easier when the rough gets rougher and cruising down compact gravel descents is that little bit quicker.

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    Why do I need a gravel bike?

    If you ride road bikes and wonder where that mysterious bridleway would bring you out then you need a gravel bike. They’re a tool for exploration and they open up previously undiscovered terrain that would make you wince with every pedal stroke on a road bike. They take you along traffic-free trails where you can enjoy riding without the risks that come with negotiating busy roads.

    If, on the other hand, you ride mountain bikes but wish you had something a bit quicker on the roads to stitch together the network of trails you know and love, then get yourself a gravel bike. Riding a MTB along a road can be a bit of a slog but with the ease of slightly skinnier tyres and a lighter weight frame, you’ll be dashing on and off the asphalt in no time.


    Do I need to learn how to ride a bike all over again?

    A lot of the time, you’ll find yourself on roads well travelled in order to reach the trails further afield but when you get there, you’ll need to hone your gravel skills. Keep your arms relaxed and be prepared to be out the saddle a lot more as you flow along the trail. The main selling point of gravel riding is having fun, so make sure you do it all with a smile on your face.

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    What to look out for when buying a gravel bike

    Gears

    Some gravel bikes run a similar setup to a road bike with slightly smaller chainrings. Having two chainrings offers versatility across tarmac and gravel: harder gears for the road and easier on the gravel. Other bikes will a single chainring with a greater spread of gears on the cassette. The rise of 1x chainsets has been driven by the fact they’re lower maintenance and simpler to use. Look for gearing that is easier than a road bike with at least a 1:1 ratio ready for the rough stuff.


    Tyres

    Thanks to the rise in popularity of gravel riding, most tyre manufacturers offer a whole range of rubber to fit your needs. UK trails have a habit of being more damp than their continental counterparts so you’ll need something like the ​Bontrager GR1​ that has a good amount of grip that won’t slow you down on the tarmac. You may also want to consider a ​tubeless kit​ to eliminate pinch flats.

    As for tyre pressures, you’ll need to experiment across different terrain. If you’re from a road cycling background, it might feel daunting to stop pumping at 40psi but trust that lower pressures offer increased comfort and grip across the bumps. Take a good ​pump​ with you when you go out to find out what feels best across your trails.


    Brakes

    Most gravel bikes come with disc brakes as standard nowadays, though if you look around you might see some cantilever brakes among the crowd. Disc brakes bring increased stopping power in all weather conditions and you won’t find yourself picking out the mud between your fork and brake callipers.

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    Pedals

    You’ll want to stay away from road cycling pedals when you spec your gravel bike. Sometimes, a trail will be rutted or too rocky to cross in which case you’ll be on foot. ​MTB pedals​ with recessed cleats are far better for hike-a-bike sections and if conditions are muddy, you’ll be grateful for their clearance and functionality.


    Accessories

    It’s not necessary to have an entirely different wardrobe just because you’re now riding gravel bikes but there are a few bits that will make life easier. Take hydration for example: you’re likely to go over a rooted sections of woods as well as a few rocks here and there so your water bottles might rattle their way out of the cage. Hydration packs​ are popular in MTB world and they’ve got a place in gravel riding too because of their large capacity and easy access to water.

    Lighting is important on gravel rides and while the romanticised image of gravel riding in front of a wake of dust on a hot day gives us hope for the UK climate, the reality can be entirely different. To be on the safe side, make sure you’ve got a ​powerful front light​ in case of low visibility and poor weather conditions.


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