Trying to keep up with my friends on road bikes

Having ridden a 3x mtb for quite a while (well over 5 years....) I'm on the market for a gravel/cx one.

I tried some and, while I'm definitely after a light carbon frame bike, the biggest difference I noticed came from the gears. And here's the point: as I understand it, many a road bike have a 52-36 crankset and 11-28 cassette. This gives you a ratio of 4.72/1.28 which in gear/inches translates as 35.8-132.16 ({Gear/Inches} =wheel diameter in inches X n° of teeth in front chainring divided by n° of teeth in rear sprocket}}...if I understand it right. Great for speeding, not so when climbing (I live in the South of France and climbing cannot be avoided).

I noticed that, for example (similar price bracket):

1)The lovely White Essex One has a: 44 (1x) & 10-42cassette= 4.4/1.04 , i.e. gear/inches:  29.2 - 123.2

2)The new Giant Revolt Advanced2: 48-32   & 11-34cassette = 4.36/0.94, i.e. gear/inches: 26.3- 122.1

3)The new Orro Terra C Adventure:   48-32       11-30                  = 4.36/1.06                                    29.7- 122.1

and so on...

Am I doing it right? Because from this it appears that, for ex, the n°2 climbs more easily and it is not that much "slower" when speeding..

Basically: can anyone advise on a carbon frame bike, in this price bracket, that I can (also) take offroad on steep paths but that would allow me to keep up with my friends on road bikes....?

For reference, my old Giant 3x mtb: 42-22         11-30                 = 3.81/0.73                                    19 - 99.1 (insanely easy for climbing but makes me pedal like crazy when speeding on flat asphalt road...!!).

Any comment would be appreciated!

Huck.

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