Find the right bike for me..! Gravel/backpacking

I ride a SW Tarmac SL6 and I recently discovered an interest for longer adventure rides. I completed a 400km ride in 24 hours last month and I find the Tarmac a tad too aggressive and it’s not really made to haul a bunch of bags.

I’m looking for a more relaxed bike with plenty of mounts for bags and fenders. It doesn’t need to be a full-on gravel bike as I don’t think I will use it in gnarly trails. The main use will be long distance solo rides and I need to haul my bags, to have fenders, and to allow the mounting of aero clip-ons. For the simplicity, I would prefer a 1x mechanical groupset.

I’m in Canada and there are only 2 bikes that came to mind. I looked at Cervelo, Specialized, Trek, etc. and I couldn’t find what I wanted in the 4-6k CAD range.

I’m considering the following bikes and I’m leaning towards the Grizl, but keen to read your experience and perhaps you can suggest a model I didn’t think of

  • Giant Revolt Advanced
  • Canyon Grizl CF SL
  • Rondo RUUT X

Pay attention to triangle space and standover height. The Revolt has a smaller triangle, making it harder to get a framebag and bottles in there. You probably also want an under mount bottle cage if you’re in rural areas in the summer. Is the checkpoint on your list? You’ll probably like the downtube storage for flat kit, tubes, and safety gear.

What cages are you using there? They look like too load road cages. Try Elite Cannibal XC cages. They are semi-side cages, making it easier to get the bottle out with the bags. They are light, cheap, hold bottles well, and come in every color. Do not get the Rocko carbon ones - they’re only slightly light and only do the slightly lighter thing well.

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If you want to be comfortable with lots of bag possibilities Salsa Cutthroat Wont win races but you’ll have fun.


Check out Surly bikes. See tons of them here in Kansas all decked out with bags and camping stuff.


For value, it’s tough to beat Canyon.


Lauf Anywhere?

Tons of reviews on Great resource for all things bikepacking.

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Two other natural options are Open’s UP (or its lightweight sibling, the UPPER) or the WIDE. The UP(PER) is essentially an endurance road bikes, which takes up to 2.1” or 2.2” 650b mountain bike tires (don’t remember), the WIDE has, as the name suggests, more clearance and a more relaxed geometry.

Thanks that’s a very good point you’re making and I didn’t even think of it. I would need size ML and, from looking at a few photos online, it looks tight but my Apidura bag would fit. I would definitively new bottle cages. It doesn’t look as easy as other bikes with a more standard double triangle design though.

I had a look at the Checkpoint, but the only models available here come with sram Rival, and I’m so done with sram. Perhaps if I find a frameset in my size it’d work…

I am in Canada as well. My first bike for long trips was a giant tcx cyclecross. Decent for gravel, terrible for long distance. I toured it from Red Deer to Kenora Ont. Not comfortable and sucked.

The next bike was a specialized roubaix. Loved it for what it was and I toured it from Red Deer AB to Kelowna BC and used it for all my gravel rides/races. I had to get different wheels for bikepacking as the standard 24 spoke were not up to the weight.

Now I have a Trek Domane sl5. I just rode it to kenora from red deer. Worked great. I put some giant bulletproof px-2 wheels on it and put a 3 liter apidura bladder in the frame pack. I also have a set of mavic rims with 40mm gravel tires for gravel. It certainly is heavier than the roubaix was but i am not a lightweight. Great bike and fits most of my needs.

For bikepacking backcountry races I have a salsa cutthroat 810 grx 1x with an 11-51 cassette. I mostly just ride it on the trainer until races.


That would be another good option, but the frameset is about 1,000$ over my budget. I can flex the budget, but at the same it’s for a 2nd bike that I won’t use as much as the Tarmac and I shouldn’t go all out :joy:

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I would recommend the domane if 38mm tires for gravel would be sufficient.

You’re spending a lot of $$$. Get a frame a build it up. That or pull what you don’t like.

The longer seat post/ smaller triangle bikes will ride better (forget about all the features), consider nice AL bikes too.

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Oh. I would also suggest the diverge. I had a diverge when I had the roubaix. Great bike!

Also I dont think you would go wrong with a revolt.

For our non-Canadian friends, the Red Deer to Kenora touring ride is >1,600 km. Any bike that works for that is likely good for bike packing!

From another gravel bike thread a user stated to get DI2 if your going to have multiple wheelsets for ease of use… I have 3 sets of wheels. Oh how I wish I had Di2 now.

Why would DI2 make a difference in the scenario? Probably need to shim your disc brake hub if the caliper is not perfectly centered.

I was thinking of going with GRX 810 1x11 mechanical for the simplicity and reliability. I have eTap on my Tarmac and I didn’t like having to take spare batteries or charger with me (wasn’t a problem for 400km tho)

Di2 makes it so easy so adjust the rear derailleur and you can see the offset in the app. You know wheelset A needs the derailleur to trim -2 and wheelset B +2 so it makes it easy peasy.

Not that barrel adjusters are inherently difficult or anything.

I am not sure. I think it would auto adjust for the gearing. I’ve never had an issue with brake rotor clearance but each of my cassettes line up differently than the other.

I try to support the company I bought my bike from whenever I can. They are a small canadian company and make some great bikes.

T-Lab Bikes | Titanium / Gravel bikes made in Montreal, Canada (

I ordered mine for gravel racing but also bikepacking. They can install all of the attachment points for bikepacking, including fenders, panniers, dynamo hubs, etc.

The titanium ride is really as good as its made out to be. I have carbon mountain and road bikes, I wanted something different for my gravel bike.

I dont know what your budget is but if you have an SWorks it must be pretty decent!

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