Cyclinghacker is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Best Flat Bar Gravel Bikes in 2022 – Reviews & Buyers Guide

flat bar gravel bike at a grass field

Gravel bikes have hit the bike industry hard recently. We see so many riders go from owning three or more bikes to literally just a single steed. They have so much capability to offer the user. You can ride fast on the road on Flat Bar Gravel bikes, keeping up with your friends on those club runs. You can even get on the dusty trails and chase down your friends while they ride on their mountain bikes.

When gravel bikes first prominently hit the scene a few years ago, you were limited in what you could buy. Now, most bike manufacturers can offer a few different Gravel bikes, and as consumers, we have a lot of choices. Although this sounds great, it has made it challenging to find suitable gravel bikes to go for as the market has so much in it.

Flat Bar Gravel bikes come in many different styles, shapes, and sizes. You have off road focused gravel bikes, you have gravel bikes made for mainly road riding, and you have gravel bikes that do a bit of both. Although most gravel bikes come with drop bars, recently, we have seen many gravel bikes with flat bars.

I call these flat bar gravel bikes, and they have become trendy recently as they offer more comfort for the user with a more relaxed geometry. Typically they are cheaper than drop bar gravel bikes, and they also provide a tremendous amount of control through the straight bars at the front. In this article, I want to speak about what we look for in flat bar gravel bikes, recommend some for you, and tell you what to look for when shopping for a flat bar gravel bike.

We Think You’ll Like It: Best Steel Gravel Bikes in 2022

BEST OVERALL

VAAST U/1 Street 650B Bike

BEST BUDGET

Marin Kentfield 700c Bike

BEST VALUE

Breezer Doppler Cafe+

What We Look for in a Flat Bar Gravel Bike

cyclist riding a flat gravel bike
Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash

When looking for the right Flat Bar Gravel bike for you, you must break it down into parts instead of looking at the bike as a whole. We do this because then we can see what the bike is about and find the pros and cons of using the bike in question.

Frame and Forks

Getting a suitable Frame and Fork for the bike is essential. It holds all the parts together and governs the user’s comfort.

Gearing

Many cyclists often overlook them. If you can get the gearing right, your riding will be much easier up and downhills.

Wheelset

The Wheelset completely changes how a bike rides. Smaller wheels will help with acceleration, and larger wheels will help with higher speeds.

Brakes

When it comes to keeping a flat bar gravel bike under control and safe, you need great brakes.

Unique Features

Anything in particular that makes a bike stand out. Gravel bikes are known for having a lot of extras.

With all this information, we can tell so much about the bike. We have taken some of the best value for money flat bar gravel bikes that we wanted to speak to you all about in this list. We highly recommend all the bikes on this list, and we believe them to be the best flat bar gravel bikes.

We Think You’ll Like It: Best Carbon Fiber Gravel Bikes

1. Best Budget: Marin Kentfield 700c Bike

Marin Kentfield 700c Bike

Features of the Marin Kentfield 700c Bike

Frame Material: Aluminum Frame Hybrid Geometry
Groupset: Shimano Altus Rapid Fire 7 Speed
Wheelset: Marins Own Alloy 700c
Brakes: Power CX7 Mechanical
Unique Features: Tan wall tires

Marin makes an excellent bike. They are known for making some fantastic off road machines and seem to be producing more and more each year. I like the Marin Kentfield for so many reasons. Firstly the frame is Aluminum and has a hybrid super comfortable frame geometry for that upright position. The forks they have paired it up with are steel for a super smooth ride, nice touch. The gearing is the Altus 7 Speed 1x Rapidfire, and this is an introductory but robust groupset.

They have equipped the Marin Kentfield with their own branded alloy wheelset. It comes with Vee Tires GPVee 700x 40c for maximum comfort and style with those tan wall edges. The brakes are the Power CX7 Mechanical disc brakes, and they are good, but you’re going to get more from hydraulic, in my opinion. The best thing about this bike, though is the price. It’s insanely cheap, and I feel it should be double the price for what you get.

Pros and Cons for the Marin Kentfield 700c Bike

Pros 
  • Price
  • Aluminum Frame
  • Hybrid Geometry
  • Great looking
Cons
  • Only 7 Gears
  • Basic braking
Why We Like It

The Marin Kentfield may not be all singing and dancing, but you get so much for your money at the price it is. It’s an epic flat bar gravel bike.

2. Breezer Midtown 1.7

Breezer Midtown 1.7

Features of the Breezer Midtown 1.7

Frame Material: Aluminum Frame Reflective Decals
Groupset: Shimano Altus Revo Fire 8 Speed
Wheelset: WTB SX19 Rims 650b
Brakes: Tektro M280 Mechanical Disc brakes
Unique Features: 160mm Disc Rotors, massive tires

The Breezer Midtown 1.7 is a very cool flat bar bike, and you are going to have a lot of fun on this. Firstly the frame is a relaxed geometry, perfect for off road trails, the road, and also commuting. It is an aluminum frame, and it’s paired with an aluminum fork that makes it feel stiff and agile. The groupset is an 8 speed Shimano Altus Revo. It’s got an excellent range for only an 8 speed and hills will be easy work.

The Wheelset is a toughened WTB SX19 wheelset, and it’s paired up with some solid Kenda Kwick-Seven5 2.1” tires. These tires are going to take you on lots of rough terrains and even have reflective sides which look amazing. The Tektro M280 brakes are pretty good again, just mechanical, but they will do the job. They also come with 160mm rotors that give them a bit more power.

Pros and Cons for the Breezer Midtown 1.7

Pros 
  • Price
  • Aluminum Frame and Fork
  • Monster tires
  • Reflective frame and tires
Cons
  • Only 8 Gears
  • Basic braking
Why We like It

The Breezer is an epic bike. It’s an upgrade on the Marin all round and is ready for some off road gravel riding.

3. Diamondback Division 1 Bike

Diamondback Division 1 Bike

Features of the Diamondback Division 1 Bike

Frame Material: Aluminum Fork and Frame
Groupset: Shimano Acera Groupset 8 Speed
Wheelset: Aluminum DDM-5 650b
Brakes:Tektro Mechanical Disc Brakes
Unique Features: Lightweight Frame, Looks

The first thing I thought about when I saw the Diamondback was that it’s a very cool looking gravel bike. I think Grey is a beautiful color on a bike, and with the clean internal routing of the cables and those tan wall tires, it just screams class. The frame on this bike is lightweight Aluminum and has excellent geometry for off road riding. It is paired with an aluminum fork, and if you know Diamondback’s heritage in cycling, you know this is going to handle well. The groupset is a Shimano Acera 8 speed, it’s a basic 1x, but it will do a great job and will have a good range.

Like many other flat bar gravel bikes, the wheels on this bike are 650b, and the Diamondback is equipped with some serious 47c Vee Tires Zilents with a tan wall finish. The brakes are mechanical, but they will stop you. At the price point of this bike, you wouldn’t expect anything to be advanced. The bike is light. It’s great to look at, and it’s got everything it needs.

Pros and Cons for the Diamondback Division 1 Bike

Pros 
  • Price
  • Aluminum Frame and Fork
  • Monster tires
  • Looks
Cons
  • Only 8 Gears
  • Basic braking
Why We like It

I think the Diamondback is one of the best gravel bikes on this list and looks incredible. It’s an amazing bike that is going to be a lot of fun riding off road and on road.

4. Best Overall: VAAST U/1 Street 650B Bike

VAAST U/1 Street 650B Bike

Features of the VAAST U/1 Street 650B Bike

Frame Material: AE81 super at frame
Groupset: Microshift Advent 1×9
Wheelset: Alex 650b Alloy
Brakes:Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Unique Features: Lightweight Frame, Carbon Fork

The VAAST U/1 is a fantastic bike. It’s a super lightweight frame with comfortable geometry, and it’s paired up with a carbon fork. This bike is going to be fun and agile when you’re riding it, but it won’t give as smooth a ride as a bike with a steel frame and fork. The Microshift Groupset is a 9 speed, and it has a vast range on it, so the hills will be easy work.

I like that they have gone with a 650b wheelset on this bike. It will be smaller than a 700c wheelset, but it’s going to give it a responsive feel and superb acceleration. They have put some massive 47c tires on the bike, the WTB Ventures, which are great tires and give such a smooth, comfortable ride. This bike also has Hydraulic disc brakes with three finger levers, and these are going to provide you with outstanding braking power.

Pros and Cons for the VAAST U/1 Street 650B Bike

Pros 
  • Lightweight Frame and Fork
  • 650b Wheelset WTB Tires
  • Hydraulic Braking system
Cons
  • Stiff Frame
Why We Like It

The VAAST U/1 is an excellent flat bar gravel bike. It’s fun, it’s fast, and it will be a quick commute.

5. Marin DSX 2 Bike

Marin DSX 2 Bike

Features of the Marin DSX 2 Bike

Frame Material: 6061 Aluminium Frame
Groupset:Shimano Deore 1x
Wheelset:Alex 650b Alloy
Brakes: Hydraulic Disc Brakes Shimano MT201
Unique Features: Lightweight Frame, Carbon Fork

The Marin DSX 2 is one of my favorite flat bar gravel bikes. It’s got a beautiful brown frame that not only looks the part it can act it too. It’s a super lightweight aluminum frame with an oversized carbon aero fork. The geometry is a little more aggressive than some of the others but still will offer the rider many comfortable miles. The Groupset is a Shimano Deore 1x MTB groupset, and it’s an absolute beast that can take on some serious climbs.

The Wheelset is a 650b alloy, and it’s Marins own. They have paired it with WTB Riddler 45c tires giving the bike excellent off road ability. The brakes are also ready for some off road action, and are the Shimano MT201 hydraulic disc brakes are going to stop you on a pin.

Pros and Cons for the Marin DSX 2 Bike

Pros 
  • Lightweight Frame and Fork
  • 650b Wheelset WTB and Tires
  • Hydraulic Braking system
  • Shimano Deore Groupset
  • Amazing Off Road Ability
Cons
  • Stiff Frame
  • Will be slower on the road

The Marin DSX 2 is a flat bar gravel bike that will be amazing off road and will be able to take on any trail and be good at it. It’s not a Mountain bike but it has a serious ability in its bike control.

6. The All-City Super Professional Single Speed

Features of the All-City Super Professional Single Speed

Frame Material: 612 Select Chromoly Steel with Steel Fork
Groupset:Single Speed Groupset
Wheelset: WTB ST i23 TCS 2.0 650b
Brakes: Hydraulic Disc Brakes Tektro
Unique Features: Chromoly Frame, Steel Fork

You knew this best flat bar gravel bike list wouldn’t be possible without an All-City on it. I absolutely love the Super Professional Single Speed because it screams simplicity, and sometimes that is what makes a bike great. Firstly the Groupset it’s, not a wonder material. It’s just good old fashioned steel Chromoly, and they have paired it up with a steel fork. This is going to be a very comfortable ride, and it’s going to absorb so much vibration from the road. The Groupset also follows suit in being a single gear system that is limiting but will be very easy to maintain and use.

The Wheelset is the Tubeless ready WTB ST i23. It’s also been well paired with WTB Horizon 47c tires, which at this size is going to make the ride of this bike even more comfortable and smoother. They have equipped the All-City with Tektro Hydraulic disc brakes for extra stopping power and safety.

Pros and Cons for the All-City Super Professional Single Speed

Pros 
  • Steel Frame and Fork
  • 650b Wheelset WTB and Tires
  • Hydraulic Braking system
  • Super comfortable
Cons
  • Only one Gear
  • Heavier than an Aluminum Frame

The All-City Super Professional single Speed is a fantastic bike, but it is limited because it only has one Gear. I highly recommend it if you live in a flat region, but it would be nice to have a few more gears. As a fast city bike, it’s ideal.

7. Best Value for Money: Breezer Doppler Cafe+

Features of the Breezer Doppler Cafe+

Frame Material: Chromoly Steel with Steel Fork
Groupset: Shimano Deore MTB Groupset
Wheelset: WTB ST i23 650b
Brakes: Hydraulic Disc Brakes Shimano MT200
Unique Features: Fender Mounts, Lights, Unique Bars

The Breezer Doppler Cafe+ is a fabulous bike, and they have kitted this out to be something exceptional and enjoyable to ride. The frame is an excellent combination of Chromoly Steel frame and fork that will provide a silky smooth ride. It has the same Groupset as the Marin DSX 2 we mentioned earlier, the legendary Shimano Deore Mountain Bike Groupset.

The wheels on this bike are the WTB i23 which is tubeless compatible and comes in a 650b size. These are equipped with the well sort after WTB Horizon tires that are going to take the bike on any trail comfortably. It also has some upgraded brakes, and they have decided to use the Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes to give the bike stopping power and reliability. One thing I love about this bike is the fact they have added all the fender mounts for panniers because this would make a great tourer and also lighting too on the front and the rear. What a lovely touch. The bike also comes with the Breezer bars. They are like regular flat bars just raised for user comfort. It also comes with Mudguards.

Pros and Cons for the Breezer Doppler Cafe+

Pros 
  • Steel Chromoly Frame and Fork
  • 650b Wheelset WTB and Tires
  • Hydraulic Braking system
  • Super comfortable
  • Breezer Bars
  • Lights format and Rear
  • Mudguards
Cons
  • Heavier Bike
Why We Like It

The Breezer Doppler Cafe+ is an amazing bike. Not only are the fundamentals there it also has so much clout when it comes to accessories. This is a great adventure road bike ready for all the bike paths.

8. All-City Super Professional Apex 700c

All-City Super Professional Apex 700c

Features of the All-City Super Professional Apex 700c

Frame Material: 612 Steel with Steel Fork
Groupset: SRAM Apex 1x Flat Bar
Wheelset: WTB ST i23 700c
Brakes: Hydraulic Disc Brakes Tektro
Unique Features: Tubeless Ready Rims

We love the All-City single speed for so many reasons, and it is very similar in looks to this bike, don’t be fooled though. This is an entirely different beast, and it’s incredible. Firstly, we again have that super comfortable steel frame paired with a comfortable steel fork. The Groupset is the SRAM Apex 1x with flat bars, not drop bars. It’s a 1x system and has so much to offer the user with range, so you don’t need to worry about those pesky climbs.

Unlike the All-City Single Speed, this bike doesn’t have 650b wheels. It has the larger 700c wheels. These will be better at holding speed at a higher pace and are much better at riding on the road than the 650b Wheelset. It’s got smaller tires on which come in at 37c. They will still hold their own off road but will be better suited to on road riding compared to some of the bigger tires on this list. The Wheelset is also tubeless ready, and it’s running WTB Branded tires. It has Hydraulic Disk brakes, which Tektro makes, and I highly rate them as some of the best on the market.

Pros and Cons for the All-City Super Professional Apex 700c

Pros 
  • Steel Chromoly Frame and Fork
  • 700c Wheelset WTB and Tires
  • Hydraulic Braking system
  • Tubeless Ready
Cons
  • More focused on road than off road
Why We Like It

I’m such a big fan of the All-City bikes, and the All-City Super Professional Apex 700c is an excellent example of a great all round flat bar gravel bike.

9. Orbea VIBE H30

Orbea VIBE H30

Features of the Orbea VIBE H30

Frame Material: Aluminum Lightweight Frame, Carbon Forks
Groupset: Shimano Deore MTB Groupset
Wheelset: Ready GR 700c Wheelset
Brakes: Hydraulic Disc Brakes Magura MT30
Unique Features:Lights, Electric Battery, Design

The Orbea VIBE H30 had to be on this list. We at Cycling Hacker are true believers in E-Bikes, and this as a flat bar gravel bike needs to be spoken about. Firstly the frame is of a beautiful design, and if you know Orbea, it has the quality to match. It’s a lightweight hydroformed aluminum frame with internally routed cables and an internal battery. The bike is also equipped with full carbon fiber forks to keep it agile and nimble. The Groupset is the legendary Shimano Deore MTB Groupset. As mentioned in this article, it’s incredible quality and has a massive range of gears on a 1x system.

The Wheelset is the Ready GR 700c, and it’s paired up with big 45c tires. This bike has huge clearance and a lot of capability on and off road because of this. The brakes are the best on this list. In my opinion, they are MaguraMT30’ss which give incredible stopping power for very little pressure from the user. When you come to electric bikes, you need this to stop the bike fast. This is an E-Bike. It has a large battery, giving the user enough power to take them up to 20mph. It is also equipped with internal lighting for safety and mounts for panniers and mudguards.

Pros and Cons for the Orbea VIBE H30

Pros 
  • Aluminum Lightweight Frame and Carbon Fork
  • 700c Wheelset with 45c tires
  • Excellent Hydraulic Braking system
  • Electric Motor
  • Lighting front and rear
Cons
  • More focused on road than off road
Why We Like It

This Orbea is just amazing. It’s great for on road and off and even gives the user a serious power boost if they are worried about keeping up.

Flat Bar Gravel Bikes Buyers Guide

flat bar gravel bike at the forest
Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

When you’re looking at bikes, you will see many different types. Mountain Bikes, Road Bikes, recumbent bikes, and many more. These will also be split down into many different versions. For example, with Road Bikes, you will have hill climb, TT, aero, and many more.

When it comes to Gravel bikes, the majority will have drop bars. The Flat Bar gravel bikes are not as common, so they can be very tough to find. Another misconception is people mistake them for hybrid bikes. In this guide, we want to tell you exactly what to look for when looking for a Flat Bar Gravel bike. The best way to do this is to break it down into parts.

Frame and Forks

When it comes to flat bars gravel bikes, Frames, and forks, it’s vital to understand that with Flat Bar Gravel bikes, you will generally be looking at bikes built for comfort and control, not speed. So what unique properties make a bike more comfortable?

Firstly the material, on Flat bar gravel bikes, you will find yourself often looking at either Steel or Aluminum. These are commonly used because they are cheap to produce, they are very strong, and they have specific characteristics which make the bike. Steel bikes will be mainly for comfort, and Aluminum will be for speed.

Next, we look at the geometry. You’re not going to be looking at racing geometry when it comes to flat bar gravel bikes. They are not built for this purpose. You will have higher handlebars that keep your back straighter for comfort and to give you extra control. These bikes are designed for lots of comfortable miles, not racing.

Groupset

When you look at Gravel bikes with flat handlebars, you need to remember it’s about simplicity for the user. The most common groupset you will see on Flat Bar Gravel bikes is a 1x system, and there are many reasons for this.

Firstly cost, a 1x groupset only has a single derailleur and a single shifter. They are much more cost-effective because there’s so much less to them than 2x groupsets. They also don’t often come with brakes. These come separately, so companies are able to use different brands. Secondly, to keep it simple. The best thing about a 1x Groupset is that it is just one single shifter, and it’s straightforward just using one shifter to move around the rear cassette effectively.

You won’t often see other groupsets on these bikes. Rarely will you see a 2x system, but the bike will be custom built by a company. The best groupset for a Flat Bar Gravel bike, in my opinion, is a 1x Shimano MTB Groupset.

Wheelset

The two wheelsets you will see on a flat bar gravel bike are a 650b and a 700c wheelset. They have many differences to them, and this comes in the fact they are different sizes, which gives them different characteristics.

A 700c wheelset is bigger and equivalent to a 29”. Having a bigger diameter means that the bike will hold speed much more efficiently when going at a higher pace. It also has the ability to roll over objects better. It does take longer to bring it up to speed, and you typically need to use smaller tires.

A 650b is a smaller wheel and is 27.5”. Having a smaller diameter means that it accelerates quickly, and it is much more nimble and agile. This is excellent if you off road, and it can also fit larger tires as the wheels sit smaller in the frame.

The general rule, in my opinion, is if you are planning on doing a lot of off road, then use a gravel bike with a 650b wheelset. If you are going to be on the road a lot and very light off road trails, you will be better off on a 700c wheelset.

Brakes

It matters so much that your brakes are good when it comes to stopping. It can be the difference between stopping before an obstacle or going into it. There are two types on the market, mechanical and hydraulic, and in my opinion, one is much better than the other.

Mechanical brakes are much cheaper and work with the user pulling a cable to close the calipers on the brake disc. These are not as effective as hydraulic, require more maintenance, but are very easy to work on. Hydraulic brakes work using fluid in cables that push the calipers onto the brake disc. Hydraulic brake systems are much more powerful and require less maintenance but are harder to work on.

Unique Features

Gravel bikes are known for having unique features, unlike many other bikes. They are definitely worth looking out for. You will see mudguards to keep you clean, lighting to keep you safe and seen, motors to power the bikes, and even some small suspension forms. Unique features shouldn’t be the difference between buying and not buying a bike, but they are a plus to your investment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Flat Bars Gravel bikes suitable for beginners?

They are the perfect bike for beginners as you can use them for everything. They typically have a great range of gearing and are not as expensive as bikes such as road bikes or a drop bar gravel bike.

Are Flat Bar Modern Gravel bikes good for commuting?

They are perfect commuters. Gravel bikes generally have mounts for mudguards and panniers, making them ideal for carrying and keeping you clean when riding to work.

Can I convert the Flat bar Gravel Bike to a Drop Bar Gravel Bike?

You can, but it’s a difficult job, it’s costly and not worth it. If you wish to change, it’s better to sell the bike and put the money towards a drop bar bike. There are too many parts that need to be swapped. Same with converting from a Gravel bike to a Mountain bike, it’s not worth doing with Mountain Bikes.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to take in when looking at Flat Bars Gravel bikes. Typically when buying a Gravel bike with flat handlebars like this, you get what you pay for. If it’s very cheap, you will look at basic braking and gearing. If you are spending more, you will get better quality parts. Whatever you buy it will do the same job, by spending more you will get more enjoyment and most parts will last longer and do a better job.

Expert Tip

For any gravel bike you get, the best advice I can give is to get a bike fit. Getting a professional to set you up properly will provide you with more enjoyment when riding, and it will help injury prevention and help with power transfer.

Did you know?

Gravel biking has become one of the biggest trends in cycling and is now recognized as a professional UCI Discipline.

Amazon Recommends

Bestseller No. 1
Schwinn Vantage F3 Mens/Womens Sport Hybrid Bike, 21-Speed Drivetrain, 55cm/Small Aluminum Frame, Flat Bar, Disc Brakes, Smooth Ride Technology, Black
  • Designed for beginner to intermediate riders who want to start pushing themselves further and faster than they ever have before; suggested rider height range for the Vantage F3 is 5 feet 3 inches - 5 feet 7 inches
  • Smooth Ride Technology frame features an elastomer soft tail suspension that provides optimal comfort wherever your adventure takes you
  • 21-speed drivetrain with trigger shifters provides precise shifting and a wide, versatile gear range
  • Light and strong Alex DC-26 rims with Schwinn 35c hybrid tires provide a dependable and comfortable ride
  • Rack and fender mounts let you customize your ride to meet all your commuting and touring needs; Schwinn sport Ergo dual-density grips add comfort
Bestseller No. 2
Ritchey WCS 2X Carbon Flat Mountain Handlebar - Flat Handlebar, Carbon, for Mountain, Adventure, and Gravel Bikes, 31.8mm Bar Clamp Diameter, 710mm
  • The Ritchey WCS 2X Flat Bar can be mounted with positive or negative 5mm rise to achieve your ideal riding position
  • Constructed out of HMF UD Carbon, the 2X Flat Bar is the perfect lightweight handlebar for any XC riding experience
  • Features Ritchey's carbon monocoque construction for extreme stability and weight savings
SaleBestseller No. 3
Raleigh Bikes Cadent 24 Kids Flat Bar Road Bike for Boys Youth 8-12 Years Old, Blue
  • Low stand over aluminum frame for easy on and off; fits ages 8 to 12 years old or 53 to 61 inches tall
  • 24 inch wheels keep the bike sized just right for bigger kids
  • Shimano Reva shifters roll through 7 gears with an easy twist of the wrist
  • Alloy V brakes for speed control and easy stopping
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print
Robbie Ferri

Robbie Ferri

Robbie Ferri is a cyclist living in Norfolk in the UK. From breaking World Records to competing in some of the hardest Bikepacking races in the world he is not shy of riding the miles. He has been lucky enough to work at some amazing shops and with some big cycling brands. Alongside this he even had input in designing bikes and has also been a tester for unreleased products. He absolutely loves cycling and believes everyone should have a bike.