Road, Gravel, Cyclocross
Any bike on a road is a road bike, ..
.. here, we focus on light and swift drop bar, pavement oriented (but not pavement specific) bikes. They might be classified as road racing bikes or endurance bikes, but they’re intended for the traditional road riding experience: smoother roads and higher speeds with a premium put on low weight, high stiffness, and vertical compliance.
Adventure -or gravel bikes ..
.. are built to blur the lines between mountain bikes and road bikes. They love pavement, they love gravel, they love dirt, and that’s good because you might come across all of those surfaces during your ride. They typically have a drop bar, mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes, and wheel sizes with clearance for a variety of tire sizes. And many adventure touring bikes are equipped to handle a dropper post.
Cyclocross bikes ..
.. with tight geometry and gobs of mud clearance show manufacturers have returned to building race-specific machines. The 1x drivetrain eliminates at least one mechanical of the race equation. Practice your suitcase carry and sharpen your clip-in chops: Participating in the gritty, brilliant sport means muddied-up drivetrains and the occasional tumble, so you’ll want a bike that’s purpose-built to handle the abuse and put you on the podium.