E-Gravel Bikes vs. E-Road Bikes
Going out on a gravel ride means being ready for anything. It means leaning into adventure and being open to off-road exploration.
have advanced and evolved,
have moved forward as well. On the surface, e-gravel bikes look fairly similar to their e-road relatives, but they are different in several important ways.
Of the many e-bikes designed to be ridden on roads, e-gravel bikes are the workhorses. They’re more robust than e-road bikes and can go where their skinny-tyre siblings can’t. On the other hand, the sleek and aerodynamic designs of e-road bikes are optimised for riding on asphalt. Despite their versatility and aptitude for riding on mixed surfaces, e-gravel bikes are no replacement for the extreme speed and agile handling of an e-road bike on tarmac.
In this comparison, we’ll take a closer look at the specific differences between e-gravel bikes and e-road bikes.
- Differences Between E-Gravel Bikes and E-Road Bikes
- Tyre Width and Pressure
Differences Between E-Gravel Bikes and E-Road Bikes
E-road bikes are set apart by their relatively low weights and aerodynamic optimisation. They’re developed to deliver their best performances on smooth asphalt, but if your route leads from the street to beat up old doubletrack, the relatively small tyres used by most e-road bikes will be pushed to their limits and become difficult to handle.
This is where the e-gravel bike comes into play. Specifically designed to excel where e-road bikes won’t go, e-gravel bikes are perfectly capable riding on paved streets, but really come to life when the terrain turns to gravel or dirt. They are designed to be versatile, robust and to handle rough surfaces while maintaining high levels of comfort.
That all-around performance comes with a price. E-gravel bikes don’t deliver the same smooth and sensitive handling as an e-road bike riding on asphalt. Thanks to their smaller tyres, lower weights, faster acceleration and aero-optimised frame profiles, e-road bikes are more responsive, more agile and straight-up faster than e-gravel bikes.
Our e-gravel bike, the Grail:ON , excels when riding on rough roads thanks to its emphasis on comfort. With its revolutionary, vibration-dampening cockpit, our tried-and-true VCLS 2.0 seatpost and wide high-volume tyres, it was specially designed to float over tough terrain. These features ensure you’ll feel comfortable for longer and waste less energy throughout the ride.
In cooperation with Topeak we designed a lightweight and durable bikepacking setup specifically for the Grail:ON. The custom bags open the door for multi-day micro-adventures where you get to do some serious exploring. Another distinct feature is the ability to equip the Grail:ON with fenders so you stay (relatively) clean and dry when your path gets muddy.
Our e-road bike, the Endurace:ON , will make your long rides even longer and see you pedalling farther and higher than ever before. The high-quality aluminium frame draws from the same award-winning design of our Endurace platform. Paired with the new Fazua Evation drive system and its Black Pepper performance update, the motor will help power you up any ascent without compromising the bike’s handling on the way back down.
E-bikes reduce the fitness and experience differences between different riders and supply everyone with the power they need to enjoy riding through rolling and challenging terrain. The Grail:ON and Endurace:ON both come equipped with different motors that excel at their respective uses. This way every rider gets just the right amount of battery range and motor power that they’re looking for.
The powerful Bosch CX Performance Line motor provides a staggering 85 Nm of torque to the Grail:ON for quick engagement, a natural-feeling pedal assist and a whole lot of power. Thanks to the downtube-integrated 500 Wh battery you’ll be well-equipped to ride more kilometres and discover new and exciting routes.
In the road category, the Endurace:ON is powered by the new Fazua Evation system. One of the lightest and most compact systems on the market, it just got even better thanks to the Black Pepper performance update. The motor uses less torque to give a smaller and more natural assist that makes it feel like you’re riding a normal road bike with a solid tail wind.
This makes the system well-suited to all sorts of riders. The Endurace:ON is a great choice for new riders that are trying to keep up with their faster friends, those that simply want a little bit of assistance when pedalling up steep and challenging roads, or cyclists that just want to get out on the roads and ride fast without the same spikes in intensity of non-motorised road riding.
Tyre Width and Pressure
It shouldn’t surprise you that e-gravel and e-road bikes come equipped with different tyre sizes that function best at different tyre pressures. Road tyres are designed for minimal rolling resistance and while all road bikes used to come with 23-mm-wide tyres, most are now kitted with slightly wider 25- or 28-mm-wide rubber.
To offer better grip on loose and rocky surfaces, e-gravel bikes need tyres with a larger contact patch and a more aggressive tread profile. 40-mm tyres are a great starting point. Wide tyres provide more traction on technical terrain, while thinner versions are more efficient on asphalt.
Another benefit of wider tyres is that their greater volume allows you to run lower tyre pressures. In turn, this means that the tyres do a better job absorbing any bumps or cracks in the road as well as improving puncture resistance. In the past, 23-mm tyres were always run at 8 bar of pressure, but now 28-mm tyres are often only pumped up to 6 bar depending on preference and weight. 40-mm-wide e-gravel tyres are typically run at 3 bar to offer the best mix of rolling-resistance, traction and ground contact.
The Grail:ON comes equipped with a lightweight e-bike-specific carbon wheelset from DT Swiss. The gravel wheels are the perfect platform for grippy Schwalbe G-One Bite Evo 50-mm-wide, tubeless-ready tyres. These tyres deliver the ideal ratio of minimal rolling resistance on the road as well as excellent traction and comfort off-road.
To properly meet the needs of an e-road bike, the Endurace:ON comes fitted with 32-mm Schwalbe E-One Evolution tyres. The thicker profile provides extra grip and puncture protection while improving both wear resistance and shock absorption. The 32-mm width gives the tyre more volume for enhanced comfort while riding. The bike can fit up to a 35-mm tyre.
The additional weight and increased power of e-bikes requires stronger brakes. While disc brakes have long been a staple of mountain bikes, they have only recently become a common component of road bikes.
E-gravel bikes come exclusively with disc brakes in order to make room for their wider tyres, but they are also necessary for optimal stopping power and precise modulation. Even when it’s wet, muddy or dusty, disc brakes are designed to deliver the same excellent braking power.
Both the Grail:ON and Endurace:ON come outfitted with hydraulic disc brakes and large 160 mm rotors for added braking power. Most of the best quality disc brake systems come from Shimano and SRAM. These brakes offer safety and control on even the steepest and most challenging descents. They even use ergonomic levers that allow you to precisely apply just the right amount of braking power.
The ideal geometry is made up of a fine mix of different factors. If you compare the geometry numbers of the Grail:ON and Endurace:ON the differences will seem marginal. For example, the stack-to-reach ratio of the Grail:ON is 1.53 while the Endurace:ON’s is only .01 less at 1.52. This is because both bikes put the rider in a comfortable riding position.
The main reason that both geometries are so similar is that riders interested in purchasing an e-road or e-gravel bike are often looking for a bike with a more relaxed geometry that puts less pressure on the back and shoulders for superior comfort on long days. For a more aggressive riding style, the non-motorised Endurace and Grail both have lower stack-to-reach ratios.
Can I use an e-gravel bike as an e-road bike?
Do I really need an e-gravel bike?
Do I really need an e-road bike?