It turns out that bullhorn bars and stiff front forks are no barrier to heading trail-side. Fitted out with wider tyres and a sturdier frame, the road bike aesthetic morphs into what the bike industry calls 'The Gravel Bike'. In truth, gravel bikes bear a lot of similarities with their pannier-slung touring bike cousins. Where they differ though is in their approach: a gravel bike is generally a little bit meaner, tighter, and arguably sexier. Think bigger tyres in order to better handle the scrappy stuff, disc brakes, and a shorter wheelbase to allow for more nimble handling (gravel bikes tend to use frame-mounted bike packing bags to carry kit rather than panniers!).