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Staff picks for gravel cycling


Flannel shirt? Check.

Flared bars and 45mm tyres? Check.

Three craft brews and an open sky? Check.

Great — you're ready for a gravel ride! There's just enough time for you to check out our hottest staff picks from Cycles Galleria's finest.

We've broken these down into five bite-sized categories that cover the main areas we focus on for gravel/adventure riding, be it the all-day grinder type, a multi-day adventure, or the slightly more technical drop-bar mountain biking that still falls under the casual rubric of 'gravel'. Jump in!


Safety First 

Safety is not exclusive to gravel riding. There is, however, a larger focus on potential for road rash on the loose stuff, as well as attrition through malnutrition and avoiding sand and grit finding a home in your eyeball (not just a group ride phenomenon.)


Kask Valegro Helmet

Kask Valegro

A favourite amongst staff, this helmet is common ground for people with different priorities, be it the need for low weight, breathability, or steeze. We truly love the Valegro at CG.

Bontrager Blaze WaveCel Helmet


Gravel is a spectrum, and if you're regularly negotiating the more technical side of things where the risk of impact is higher, get yourself a Blaze WaveCel for superior protection. It has Blendr integrated light technology for night-time riding, too.

100% Ridecamp Glove

A lightweight, hard-wearing MTB glove that translates perfectly to technical gravel. We've found the silicon palm to be really effective in the wet, and the tech-thread means you can text in a downpour. Our score: Comfy / 10.

Oakley Radar EV Path Matte Black w/ Prizm Trail Torch




Prizm lenses are engineered to improve visual contrast when you're on the bike. This makes it easier to find the right line on a rough trail, avoiding roots and potholes — and it really works!
CLIF Nut Butter Peanut Butter Bar

Hunger is a hazard on all-day rides! We've tried every flavour that CLIF has put out, whether out on long slogs or as a stand-in for lunch on a busy day in the workshop. (Spoiler: this one's the best)

Bontrager Ion Pro RT 1300 Front Light
 

A real fan favourite with CG customers. Why? Because it's all we sell to evening riders. With the versatility of Trek's Blendr integrated mount system, fit this powerful, reliable light to your bars or to your skid lid.

 

There's a real need with this style of riding to lock down what you're carrying with well-made, thoughtfully-designed luggage. The main reason here is the negative impact on handling, but a rattling or loose bag really detracts from the meditative state you're often aiming for and can straight-up ruin a ride. This is often why this equipment is often so expensive: it protects your frame, it protects your kit, and it's built to endure hardship.


SKINGROWSBACK Little Lunch Handlebar Bag

Stylish, lightweight, Australian-made. This one would belong under 'Look the part' if it weren't so hard-wearing and practical. You'll probably end up leaving it on for the commute (and the compliments.)
Bontrager Adventure Top Tube Bag





Ideal for up-front, aero storage when you're out on a lightweight, all-day gravel blat. Combined with a seatpack, it's the perfect amount of real estate. This one even mounts to the top tube bolts on the Trek Checkpoint!
Bontrager Adventure Boss Frame Bag


A brand-new addition to Bontrager's range of bikepacking bags. We love it, and with six different sizes to choose from, you can be sure it will sit snugly in your front triangle.
Blackburn Outpost Cargo Cage




A versatile cargo cage with wide jaws. It's a bit smaller than some of its competitors — perfect for downtube mounting or smaller frames.
Ortlieb Gravel Pack



A goldilocks-sized pannier for when you need to bring a bit more kit than the fancy frame bags will take but you're not ready for globetrotting. Plus, Ortlieb's QL2.1 mounting system is second to none.
Quad Lock Bike Mount Pro Handlebar/Stem Mount


Quad Lock blows the competition out of the water. Many of us have had the same one for years and they're still as good as new. Quad Lock make amazing cases, but you can keep yours if you get a Quad Lock M3 adapter.

The right tools are a must. Not only is the risk of damage to your bike greater than on a casual road ride, but so is the likelihood you'll have to grumpily march your bike back along an unpopulated route (after all, that's where we're planning to be, right?) Always make sure your tool kit is full and appropriate for the distance you're riding. (Replacement hanger? Enough CO2? One spare tube or two for a 3-day trip?)


Bontrager Air Rush Elite




If you haven't already moved over to a CO2 tool for punctures, now's the time. The Bontrager Air Rush Elite tucks away neatly into any corner of your luggage, whilst remaining convenient, ultra-reliable, easy to use and hard to break.

Muc-Off Lube Dry 120ml







A favourite out on the trails and well as on the grit. This lube is dry, meaning it sets nicely into the chain and runs clean when riding off-road. No gravel stuck in your chain = goodbye, noisy drivetrain.

Blackburn Pro Plugger Tubeless Tyre Repair Kit



Gravel and tubeless (TLR) tyres are like horse and carriage. Whilst it's 100% reasonable to rely on a spare tube for a tubeless puncture, why not try out a tyre plug first? We recommend this svelte option from Blackburn.

Bontrager BITS Integrated Steerer Tube Tool





This astounding product hides away in your (non-carbon!) steerer tube. As a sleek star nut replacement, this tool is rattle-free and convenient. Check compatibility and order for Click & Collect — we'll fit it for free with any service.

Garmin Edge 1030 Plus



A powerful device that features a large touch screen for easy navigation on planned routes, which are downloadable via mobile. Long battery life and strong GPS allay fears of losing your way on distant backroads. Oh, and there are heaps of data fields for maximal post-hoc enjoyment of your epic ride!

 

 



Controversy warning: Looking good is probably the least important category here. However, comfort is critical when you're in the saddle for days, or even on a half-dayer that has no reprieve from the buzz of backroads. If you're planning to sit at your desk on Monday, this is really worth a second thought! A quality chamois, good shoes and a pair of gloves that actually fit you are key here. As with your luggage against your frame, chafing = bad.


MAAP Women's Alt_Road Cargo Bib



Cargo bibs are a great way to store extra items when your jerseys are overflowing. They can also be used with a t-shirt on top without sacrificing the storage! Comfortable, practical... what's not to love?
MAAP Men's Alt_Road Cargo Bib



Ditto, but the Men's version! Get it in Olive instead of Black for optimum steeze.



Bontrager Evoke Shorts



The beauty of a short like the Evoke is the ability to remove the chamois (butt pad) in an instant to wear the shorts on a casual coffee run with mates. This means one short for short and long days alike — really comfortable, too!
Bontrager Foray Mountain Bike Shoe



Durable, grippy, practical, stealthy. Like the 100% Ridecamp gloves, this is a MTB product that really excels in the world of gravel. The BOA® dial is a big deal here when comfort and adjustability is the name of the game.



No one wants to lose traction! I have personally slipped off double-sided SPD pedals in trainers, wiped out on worn, square-shouldered tyres in loose corners, and said goodbye to grip and hello to a bloody knee whilst using rain-sodden, chewed-up tape. With this in mind, I recommend tyres that are suited to the terrain and set to an appropriate pressure, some tape you can really cling to, and if you haven't tried cleated pedals yet, make the leap with a 50/50 pedal like the EH500 — I promise you won't go back. Ultimately though, do what you feel's best — ride your fixie down a mountain on slicks if you really want. I'm not your dad.


Pirelli Cinturato Gravel TLR Folding Tyre Black


We love these tyres, especially with a grabber up front and a slightly narrower hard pack on the back! An ace setup for gliding nimbly across hard-pack and still being able to kick it up a slippery grass verge. Pirelli rubber — it rocks.
Bontrager Double Gel Cork Tape


Tape is a hugely personal decision, especially fitted to bars you're going to spend a whole dusty day clutching with raw palms. This Bontrager double gel cork makes that decision easier with its plushy comfort and great finish.



Shimano PD-EH500 SPD Pedals Explorer Flat Side / SPD Side


POV: You've been grinding grit all day whilst clipped in. You set up camp, slip on your sandals and ride—securely—to the water and back. These legendary pedals also make for fantastic commuter pedals. Win-win-win.
 

If you've made it this far, nice one!

Many of our customers got into this style of riding throughout long periods of lockdown for the physical and mental health benefits more than anything. Now that Melbourne's out of lockdown, we're planning bigger adventures by bike — maybe you are, too! 

With this in mind, if you'd like some personalised help kitting your bike out, have questions about this riding style and how to get into it, or would simply like to share your post-lockdown routes or some inspirational snaps with us, go ahead and reply to this email. We'll get back to you soon. 

Cheers for now,

Zach Hayes
Cycles Galleria