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Gravel Bike or Hardtail Mountain bike?
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Gravel Bike or Hardtail Mountain bike?

Today, bikes come in various styles, designs, and purposes to meet the different needs of different people. The immense variety makes it difficult for you to select from the wide range of cross-country bikes available today. Worry not. We’d help you make the right choice for buying adventure bikes.

What is a Gravel Bike?

Gravel bikes are essentially road bikes designed to perform on various terrains, carry additional gear, and are practically suitable for off-roading. They are built with quality materials to maximize durability and strength compared to a standard road bike.

Usually, they have an increased gear range and space for far wider tires. In a nutshell, they are meant to be quickly taken anywhere and everywhere. Their versatility makes them suitable for offices, hills, dirt roads, and more. Some of the best gravel bikes offered by Cycle Centre are Romet Aspire 2, Roam Disc 4, Devote Advanced Pro, etc.

What is a Hardtail Mountain bike?

As the name suggests, mountain bikes are meant to be used for riding many uphill and downhill slopes on rough terrain. “Hardtail” is the name for mountain bikes featuring front suspension but no rear suspension. Often, this design is lighter, simpler, less expensive, more durable, and more reliable than a mountain bike with rear suspension. They are intended to be durable and long-lasting, capable of withstanding a lot of wear and tear while being small enough to zip through the tightest mountain trails effortlessly. Some of the best hardtail mountain bikes offered by Cycle Centre are Fathom 29, CUBE AIM SLCUBE AMS ONE11, etc.

Differences Between Mountain Bikes and Gravel Bikes


Gravel bikes mostly use drop bars (with a few exceptions), whereas the best mountain bikes use flat bars. This significantly affects the handling of each cycle and the rider’s position and comfort during long days in the saddle. 

MTB bikes use flat bars instead of drop bars, which are handlebars that extend from left to right, almost in a straight line. Depending on the bar style, there is only a slight curve between the hand grips and the center of the bars, which helps improve the grip and handling of the bike.

The relatively curved style of gravel bikes pushes the weight forward and is better for roads. It is much more similar to the actual road bikes.


In general, most gravel and mountain bikes can operate on a wide range of tires with different diameters and thicknesses. This freedom to choose tires allows riders to adapt their bike according to their needs. Most of the time, MTB bikes come with tires of moderate thickness that give a decent grip on all terrains.

The wheels of a hardtail mountain bike are substantially broader and often use more deep treads for mud traction. Usually, mountain bike tires have a much larger diameter, allowing them to overcome more enormous obstacles easily. These tires are often much more comprehensive and can include punctured-protected sidewalls.


Gravel bikes are designed much like road bikes, with a central or slightly forward riding position. Gravel bikes are generally shorter than MTB bikes, with slacker head angles and longer wheelbases that provide better balance in city riding and offroading. Compared to adventure bikes, gravel bikes usually possess a relaxed geometry that helps improve overall rider comfort and stability.

Hardtail mountain bikes are built for technical terrain, such as steep descents and sharp turns. The longer reach values present in mountain bikes make them more stable at high speeds, especially on rough terrain. The slacker head angle helps keep the rider’s center of gravity balanced down steep descents, while the short stems and wide handlebars improve leverage and handling. The flat handlebars on mountain bikes also improve grip and stability when landing jumps.


The suspension of adventure bikes varies primarily based on their ideal use case. A typical gravel bike doesn’t have suspension, although some manufacturers have designed gravel bikes. However, gravel bikes with suspension have much lower travel at about 20-30mm compared to a mountain bike’s 100-170mm travel. 

Hardtail mountain bikes are MTB bikes with only front suspension. These bikes are cheaper and easier to maintain, and their lightweight frames make them one of the best short-track racing and cross-country bikes  

Riding Characteristics


Hardtail mountain bikes have a much lower center of gravity and larger wheels to cross enormous obstacles easily. This makes its ride much more balanced and stable compared to other bikes.

At the same time, a gravel bike provides a rider with a much more comfortable stance that is preferred for quickly getting on and off the bike. The ride preferences are always subjective and largely depend on what you want to do with the bike.


A hardtail bike gives a more responsive feel when pedaling than a dual-suspension bike. The lack of rear suspension results in you feeling the road more. Riding on various terrains gives you a better idea of what’s underneath the tires.

A gravel bike, with its much better suspension, is much better at providing you with a more comfortable riding experience. You can enjoy a much smoother and more comfortable ride with gravel bikes.


Visual inspection can be deceiving when comparing frames in a store. The most fundamental measurements on any structure are seat angle, head angle, bottom bracket, and wheelbase. The interplay of these angles and dimensions on a gravel bike frame are the main points to consider. If you are interested in a gravel or mountain bike, the best place to buy adventure bikes in Ireland is Cycle Centre.

The cross-country hardtails come with a frame without linkage, pivots, and a shock. This makes the hardtails far more lightweight than a gravel bike and provides the rider with a much more comfortable ride during long biking sessions.

Choosing between Mountain and Gravel Bikes

Ultimately, choosing between gravel or MTB bikes requires you to decide on various factors, including your ideal use case, comfort requirements, terrain, etc.

For example, if you’re used to road riding predominantly, your cross-country bike of choice could be a gravel bike. Similarly, MTB bikes are undoubtedly more capable on rougher and steeper off-road trails, so they are one of the best adventure bikes.

Gravel bikes are similar to cross-country bikes, designed to cover ground efficiently and pedal well while tackling more minor obstacles and trail features. When it comes to gravel riding, there’s no wrong or correct answer about which bike is best – you’ll often see a good mix of gravel and mountain bikes on group gravel rides.

Regardless of your preference, Cycle Centre is your one-stop solution for buying the best mountain, gravel, and adventure bikes in Ireland.

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