How does a modern, unsprung gravel all-rounder compare directly with suspension-equipped gravel and mountain bikes? We wanted to find out and included the Canyon Grizl CF SL 8 1by in our concept comparison. You can find all details and our conclusions here.
Get an overview of the grouptest here: Gravel vs. mountain bike – 6 models on test
The Canyon Grizl CF SL 8 1by expands the gravel bike portfolio of the Koblenz-based bike brand and is ready to take on the five other concepts in our group test. To do so, the bike gets 50 mm of tire clearance and a modern carbon frameset. Do the numbers add up?
The Canyon Grizl CF SL 8 1by in detail
Canyon agree that the range of applications for gravel bikes is now so broad that they can no longer be covered by a single model, and so the Canyon Grail (read the review here) has got company. With its many bosses, mudguard mounts, dropper post compatibility and classic stem/handlebar setup, the € 2,699 Grizl CF SL 8 1by leaves plenty of room for aftermarket customisation. The uncluttered and non-polarising frame design reminds us of a VW Golf – doesn’t put off anyone and everyone can enjoy it.
Canyon Grizl CF SL 8 1by
Fork Canyon FK0087 CF Disc 0 mm
Seatpost Canyon S15 VCLS CF 2.0
Brakes Shimano GRX BR-RX810 160/160 mm
Drivetrain Shimano GRX RX800 1x11
Stem Canyon V13 80 mm
Handlebar Canyon HB50 Gravel AL 440 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss G1800
Tires Schwalbe G-One R 700 x 40C
Size XXS XS S M L XL XXL
Weight 9.12 kg
compatible with dropper post, mudguards and suspension fork
lots of mounting points on the frameset for bottles and luggage
lots of builds available to choose from
sizes 2XS and XS come with 650b wheels
Details like the asymmetrical chainstays or the integrated seat post clamp fit the overall picture and are only noticeable at a second glance. The former provides the freedom to install tires up to 700 x 50C. Our test bike rolls on 700 x 40C Schwalbe G-One R rubber – a very good gravel all-rounder, just like the bike itself. At 9.12 kg in size M, it’s the lightest bike in the comparison test and does without any active suspension, but aims to provide the necessary comfort with system compliance and the Canyon S15 VCLS CF 2.0 seatpost. Spoiler: it improves the ride comfort significantly, has sufficient damping for its “suspension travel”, and unlike the BMC Twostroke, has a much lower tendency to bounce. The 1×11 drivetrain mix based on the Shimano GRX RX800 groupset and Shimano SLX CS-M7000 cassette is tried, tested and robust. However, its performance pales in comparison to the test field and, together with the components on the Fustle Causeway TRAIL, it provides the vaguest feeling shifting in the test. The reason for this is the long lever travel and the comparatively spongy feedback.
The Grizl is a super versatile platform for custom gravel bike setups!
|Seat tube||432 mm||462 mm||492 mm||522 mm||552 mm||582 mm||612 mm|
|Top tube||532 mm||541 mm||562 mm||574 mm||588 mm||612 mm||627 mm|
|Head tube||121 mm||133 mm||118 mm||138 mm||164 mm||185 mm||204 mm|
|Chainstays||420 mm||420 mm||435 mm||435 mm||435 mm||435 mm||435 mm|
|BB Drop||60 mm||60 mm||75 mm||75 mm||75 mm||75 mm||75 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,007 mm||1,007 mm||1,036 mm||1,037 mm||1,050 mm||1,072 mm||1,086 mm|
|Reach||377 mm||382 mm||397 mm||402 mm||409 mm||427 mm||436 mm|
|Stack||522 mm||537 mm||556 mm||579 mm||605 mm||626 mm||644 mm|
The Canyon gravel bike on test: our impressions
In terms of lightfootedness and power, the Canyon leaves the test field behind on hard surfaces. On loose surfaces only two bikes offer more traction, the BMC Twostroke with its tire tread and the Trek Supercaliber due to its suspension, which makes them correspondingly easier to get up to speed. Like the Fustle, the gearing, with a 40 t chainring and an 11–42 t cassette, is too heavy for steep climbs – here you have to get out of the saddle early. On steep gravel ramps, the Canyon is the first one to lose traction compared to the competition. Despite its lively acceleration, it can’t outperform the BMC URS LT or the LAUF True Grit in terms of efficiency and speed on the flats on our test loop. However, on compact gravel roads, the bike rides great, handles very predictably and shines with a good balance of agility and smoothness. The comfort is also well-suited to long distances thanks to the carbon seat post and frameset compliance. However, as the ride gets rougher, you can feel a clear difference in the comfort of the front and rear while sitting. If you need more reserves, don’t be afraid to take full advantage of the Canyon’s roomy tire clearance. Sizing up to 700 x 45C Schwalbe G-One Rs would make for a great compromise between on- and off-road performance.
On the trail and down steep descents, the Canyon offers little freedom of movement. The reason for this is the lack of a dropper post and the handlebar ergonomics, which have almost 0° flare. When it gets steep, you are restricted in your riding position and can only make limited use of your “body travel”. You steer with the bars rather than actively moving the bike around underneath you through the corners. In addition to losing traction at times, riding roots also causes the internally routed cables to rattle. Unfortunately, that somewhat impacts confidence in the bike. The alloy rims of the DT Swiss G1800 wheelset are a consolation, as they can withstand the occasional puncture without terminal damage. All in all, you can push the Grizl surprisingly hard even in demanding terrain, in the finest underbiking style. However, compared to the other bike concepts in the group test, it becomes clear that you should bring decent riding skills and fitness due to the inherent limitations of the platform.
Tuning tips: handlebar with more compliance and a better shape | fit 700 x 45C Schwalbe G-One R when the G-One Bite TLE Evo is worn out
The perfect application for the Grizl
You can significantly expand the range of uses of the Grizl in the bat of an eye! That’s because the Koblenz-based company’s portfolio also includes a Grizl model with a RockShox Rudy Ultimate suspension fork. Together with larger volume tires and the RockShox Reverb AXS XPLR dropper post, this should significantly broaden the bike’s range of use and would make the bike significantly more competitive in this concept comparison! This shows that the Grizl platform is actually much more versatile than our test bike suggests. Nonetheless, it shines with predictable handling, plenty of speed and long distance comfort, especially on compact gravel as well as on paved roads. However, as the terrain gets rougher or the slopes get steeper, the bike reaches its limits.
Grizl CF SL 8 1by conclusion
All those looking for a good-natured bike for use on asphalt and gravel in undulating terrain will be happy with the Canyon Grizl CF SL 8 1by. For this application, it offers great value for money! For steep landscapes or rougher terrain, Canyon offers better builds based on the Grizl platform. Despite the enormous versatility of the frame itself, with its specification our test bike cannot keep up with the competition in this test.
- bwilling acceleration and high speed on hardpack
- very good value for money
- plenty of mounts
- high versatility of the frame platform
- cockpit ergonomics and compliance
- noisy due to rattling cables
- range of use limited by build compared to the competition
You can find out more about at canyon.com
The test field
Get an overview of the grouptest here: Gravel vs. mountain bike – 6 models on test
All bikes in test: BMC Twostroke 01 ONE (Click for review) | BMC URS LT ONE (Click for review) | Canyon Grizl CF SL 8 1by | Fustle Causeway TRAIL Lite (Click for review) | Lauf True Grit SRAM XPLR Edition (Click for review) | Trek Supercaliber 9.8 GX (Click for review)
No, it’s not about perfect race tracks, it’s about efficiency. Fast, fleet-footed and efficient – those who want to speed along high-speed passages need a defined and spritely bike that accelerates with ease and efficiency. Nevertheless, reliable components are important too. We interpret “Smooth tarmac” bikes as follows: Hard efforts at high speeds with a maximum efficient bike on a consistently well-paved road. Effort-joy ratio: 80:30 (not everything has to be 100%!)↩
… also known as bike riding. Broken-up roads in the hinterland, deadlocked gravel roads, loose surfaces – sometimes muddy, sometimes bone-dry. For this, it takes bikes with super all-round, handling and wearing qualities uphill and downhill. Effort-joy ratio: 50:50↩
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Words: Photos: Benjamin Topf