[Updated July 8, 2021]
Titanium gravel and adventure bikes are ever-increasing in popularity these days, whether that be for the sleek good looks or compliant ride. We've rounded up all the Ti bikes you can buy for drop-bar off-road forays. Enjoy the premium bike goodness...
If you're more interested in pure mountain bikes, then make sure you check out our roundup of all the best titanium mountain bikes on the market too.
10 great titanium gravel bikes
- Ribble CGR Ti Gravel – £3,099
- Reilly Cycleworks Gradient – from £3,349.00
- J.Guillem Atalaya Gravel – ~£3,600
- Van Nicholas Rowtag — from £3,377.00
- Enigma Escape GRX – £4,000
- Enigma Excel GR – £3,685.99 (frame & fork)
- Sonder Camino Ti – from £1,899.00
- Knolly Cache – US$3,150.00 (frame & fork)
- Salsa Fargo Ti – £3,000 (frame & fork)
- J.Laverack GRiT — from £4,750.00
You can have Ribble's versatile CGR in just about any material you like, so here it is in titanium with a Shimano GRX groupset and 650B wheels with WTB's 47mm ByWay tyres for grip, control and cushioning.
Riding the Sport version — which has the same frame but comes with 700C wheels — tester Stu said: "Ribble has exploited the smooth ride quality of titanium alloy tubing. Regardless of how hard or soft you pump the tyres, the CGR smooths out the majority of high-frequency buzz, and has just enough 'give' that even the bigger jolts are reduced.
"Being designed as both a road and gravel/adventure machine, overall stiffness isn't as high a priority as a decent ride feel, and that is what Ribble has focused on. The frame is still plenty tight enough – especially at the front end and the bottom bracket junction – for any out of the saddle shenanigans, but Ribble hasn't overdone it.
"I've been able to explore new routes locally that I've never tried before. One mystery turning led to routes that are technically roads, but even most farmers would think twice about driving a tractor down them, so rough and covered in mud are they.
"This is where the versatility of the CGR highlights itself. One minute I'm bombing along on the smooth asphalt, and the next I'm riding over little more than a gravel track – and constantly switching between the two, with a bit of canal towpath chucked in for good measure.
"The ride quality really comes through on these mixed rides, as does just how good the geometry is. To work on different surfaces, you need to balance handling responses to make it enjoyable and fun on the road without it becoming a handful in the loose."
The Reilly Gradient provides a ride that is as lovely as the bike is to look at, with space for wide tyres for heading off into the wilderness or adding dirt and gravel roads to your route, and a high level of refinement, according to tester Dave Athur.
He went one: "The do-anything capabilities of the Gradient are served up by its ability to take tyres up to a 44mm wide, so you have a huge range of options from a fat slick tyre for road duties to one of the growing number of decent gravel tyres for tackling bridleways or a gravel events. There are also rack and mudguard eyelets on the frame and fork so you could transform it into a winter training or daily commuter workhorse, or slap on a rack and go touring for a week.
"The Gradient provides a lovely ride. It's composed and comfortable, the titanium frame providing a sublime balance of stiffness and comfort. The carbon fork and oversized head tube gives the handling a crispness and it changes direction quickly when you want it to.
"Switching from hard to loose surfaces shows the Gradient's handling to be well honed. It's fast and steady on the road, but plenty of fun if you throw it through corners at high speed. The Gradient is right at home negotiating narrow tree-lined singletrack with loose corners and steep climbs and would be a good choice if you're looking for a bike to tackle one of the growing number of gravel events like the Dirty Reiver."
It's a smooth ride, the titanium frame, despite the oversized tubes, provides a vibration-absorbing feel over any road or gravel surface. Ergo, it's a relaxing ride: it looks after you on longer rides or routes with lots of rough obstacles. There's no twitchiness to the handling at any speed, and that trait comes into its own when you're riding over a loose surface such as dirt or gravel where you want the bike to be predictable. As such it's adept on challenging terrain with lots of ups and downs and testing corners."
With exquisite attention to detail, understated looks and a cracking good ride on road, forest paths and gravel tracks, with space for wide tyres on 700C or 650B wheels, the J.Guillem Atalaya Gravel is an enticing choice in the premium titanium gravel bike market.
Tester Dave Arthur wrote: "Shaking down a rough bridleway, tyres scrabbling for grip on the dry dirt, before emerging back onto a country lane, all smiles and giggles, I'm won over by the J.Guillem Atalaya Gravel with its feeling of control and capability on a variety of terrain.
"That's the beauty of riding big tyre drop-bar bikes, of course, but not all gravel bikes are cut from the same cloth. With the Atalaya there's enough compliance to help it deal with everything from poorly surfaced country lanes to bridleways and forest tracks.
"The high-speed stability is very impressive, whether that's on the road or a fast gravel track, but it still turns into corners positively and the WTB Riddler tyres bite throughout the turns. It doesn't have a point-and-shoot responsiveness when you turn up the intensity, but I didn't feel any serious lack of agility when pressed harder.
"The ride quality is highly impressive, as good as any of the best titanium frames I've tested. It's compliant but still transmits a little feel through the contact points, and the steering is light and easy. Ride down a bumpy track and the Atalaya won't jolt and buck you about as if you were riding a wild bronco. It's composed and controlled."
The Van Nicholas Rowtag is a titanium bike that's capable of fast gravel blasts and multi-day adventure rides. It isn't the quickest off the line, but if you want stability, versatility and durability, you really can't go wrong here.
Tester Mat writes: "Van Nicholas bills the Rowtag as a 'crossover gravel racer' and it offers a stable ride whatever the terrain you're tackling. It's one of those bikes that holds its line well over pothole-strewn tracks and fast, bumpy descents, giving you loads of confidence to push the speed.
"It doesn't offer the sharpest acceleration ever in this particular guise – pure gravel racers might outgun it to the first turn – but if you're out for a quick blast on bridleways and forest roads you can wind it up and enjoy the ride with a superb level of comfort and control.
"If you want to load the Rowtag up for an overnight – or longer – adventure, there are plenty of options for mounting racks and bags, and you get mudguard mounts for all-weather riding on the road too. All in all, it's a highly versatile bike, and a lot of fun in a whole load of different scenarios."
Enigma has a deservedly good reputation for high-quality, UK made titanium frames and the Escape is their do-it-all bike for un-made roads, gravel and off-road. It's a bike that can take on a serious amount of terrain, and miles, either loaded or light.
Tester Dave Arthur writes: "The Escape is a compliant, capable and versatile road, gravel and adventure bike that offers all the magic ride quality and durability titanium is renowned for. It's a good choice in a crowded market.
"If you want to escape into the countryside and ride over everything that comes your way, the Enigma Escape is a grand choice. It offers all the compliant and fluid smoothness that titanium has become highly regarded for over the last couple of decades, and combined with the 38mm wide tyres, it feels planted and calm on any sort of surface, be it rough country lanes or gravel tracks.
"Smoothness is a key attraction of a titanium frame – but steel frames are also silky smooth. There is a difference, though, as I found by riding the Enigma Endeavour steel bike at the same time as the Escape: the Escape feels more flighty than its steel sibling, more agile and responsive.
"The steering is well judged and a delight, neither too fast nor too slow, and the Escape is right at home carving corners, mixing tight switchback turns in the woods with quick corners on the road. When you get on the pedals it shows a proper turn of speed."
Enigma Bikes added this UK made titanium gravel bike to their lineup last year and the show sample we saw was sporting some bold, blue Hope Tech bling. It's made from super-strong but super-difficult-to-work-with 6Al/4V titanium alloy. The frame can be built up with whatever components you choose.
The Sonder Camino Ti is the sparkly brother of the regular alloy Sonder Camino, such as this one we tested a year or so ago. The Ti version comes in at two different prices, there's a cheaper SRAM Rival equipped bike for £1,899 and then there's the choice of a SRAM Apex bike or a Shimano GRX specced bike for £2,149. All bikes are sold with 700c wheels but can, of course, fit 650B ones too. There are four sizes (Small to XL) and the geometry looks very similar to the alloy Camino, if not identical.
Knolly might be best known for its many-linkaged full-suspension machines, but it's surprised us with the launch of a new, titanium-framed gravel bike. It's called the Cache and the brand is making some bold claims for comfort thanks to a custom tubeset.
Knolly has aimed to push towards an ultra-modern off-road geometry, designing the bike to be used with a short stem while featuring a longer front centre. It’s claimed that there will be enough clearance for a 45mm tyre on 700c rims and the frame is designed to run with either a rigid or a suspension fork. Ok, so we're not totally sure you'll be able to buy one of these in the UK but we kind of hope that they do decide to sell them here too!
The Salsa Fargo Ti, a bike that treads that narrowing line between road and mountain bikes, it appeared back in the brand's range in 2017. It is pitched firmly into the growing adventure and bikepacking market but with a mountain bike DNA, there is a lot to like if you're coming from a mountain bike background.
First introduced in 2009 the Fargo was ahead of its time, a mountain bike with drop handlebars built around 29in wheels. Since then the whole gravel and adventure category has exploded, and the rise in popularity of bikepacking leading to many bikes capable of tackling all sorts of terrain, from smooth to wild. Tyres are getting wider and there's a growing interest in 650b (27.5in) wheels to allow even more voluminous tyres.
Here is another new gravel and adventure bike to add to your wishlist. British titanium specialist J.Laverack has added a gravel bike to its range called the GRiT which can take up to 700x48 or 650x52 wheels and tyres and costs £2,500 for the frame, with complete bikes priced from £4,455. The GRiT builds on the popularity of its original J.ACK allroad bike with bigger tyre clearance and a few geometry changes to ensure it can tackle challenging off-road terrain. The new fork has an increased rake and the chainstays are longer to provide a more stable ride on loose and rough trails at high speed.
What have we missed? There must be other Ti gravel bikes out there that have been missed by even our eagle eyes! Let us know in the comments.
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