Roadies love gravel riding, and more and more are finding out about the delights to be found in exploring lanes, byways, and bridleways on their gravel bikes that they would never dare to tackle on their road bikes. In the beginning, however, it can be a bit stressful and nerve-wracking if you do not have any previous off-road experience.

You can improve your gravel skills by following these 10 tips.

Gravel Riding Tips 2023

Keep a loose grip

Although it can be tricky to stay relaxed when you are riding, don’t panic if the bike moves under you. You will experience more unpredictable handling if there is tension in your body. Whenever you become tense during an activity, pause and breathe deeply. After that, take a step back and wait for yourself to relax.

Elbows and knees that feel soft

Knees and elbows are the two main parts of your suspension system. The bike will move and absorb bumps more easily if you keep your knees apart and keep them soft when descending.

Mountain bikers and cross-country riders are good resources for learning

When you look at other disciplines, you can gain a lot of insight into off-road riding techniques. Trail Smart, as well as our Cyclo-Cross skill videos, are a great place to start.

Lean forward as you ride your bike

Leaning your body when cornering on a road is easier than leaning your bike on a loose off-road surface. Put your elbows on the outer edge of the seat, up to your hips. Sit on the seat with your back upright, but do not put your bum over the seat. However, your bike is leaned into the corner while your upper body and head remain upright.

Tops and drops

As with your road bike, you can ride on your brake hoods on smooth trails with less technical terrain. However, when it gets steep and rough, hoods are easily bounced off the trail. It is imperative that your hands touch the drop as you descend. For descending, gravel bikes have flared drops, making them more stable and wider. Flats and climbs where direct brake access is not required are well suited for the tops.

Choose a direction you would like to travel

Do not focus on your negatives but on your positives. By looking at that log or rock, you’re guaranteed to hit it. Looking down the trail, pay attention to the direction you plan to take. Look ahead while riding even on non-technical trails to find smoother, faster lines.

Unweight the bike

By decoupling the bike from the ground and using weight shifts to help it skim over rough sections of the trail, one can increase the bike’s grip.

You should never underestimate the power of speed

Over time you will gain more confidence and become more comfortable with your gravel bike. The more you let your bike roll forward and remain relaxed, the better your chances of getting out of sketchy situations are. The brakes rarely work when you squeeze them and hold on to them.

How to set up your bike

You might not need to do a lot of changes to your road riding position on your gravel bike, but you might want to consider running a shorter stem and reducing the saddle to bar drop. Tyre pressure and quality have an impact on your off-road experience, which is especially important. Low pressure is especially important if you are running tubeless tires.

Put it into practice

The road or turbo can make it easy to become distracted while riding, but when you are riding off-road, it is crucial to remain attentive and focused as well. When you make some mistakes or have trouble, you don’t necessarily need to loop back and attempt the sections again in the same way mountain bikers “session” trails.