Value competitors to Canyon Grail

My friend told me yesterday he wants to buy a Canyon Grizl, since we ride a lot of gravel and he only has an old school rim brake bike or a short travel mountain bike (Ibis Ripley).

I think he’d be best served with a Grail, since his use will be rides/races that include lots of pavement and fast dirt roads, rather than single track and adventure (that’s what the Ripley is for). I also think he should go 2x but that’s not as important, either will work fine.

He’s not at all into the Grail handlebar, and is enchanted by Canyon’s specs for the money. Do any other bikes come to mind that skew toward the fast/road side of gravel, and that offer great specs for the money? He’s definitely wanting carbon, and probably GRX if he goes 2x, GRX or Force if 1x, but hopes to keep it in the $3000 ballpark. Thanks in advance for the ideas.

I run 1x on two bikes with e*Thirteen’s 9-46 11 speed cassette, and the range is actually better than I can get with 2x. But I miss the smaller jumps, especially for pack riding and racing. My next gravel bike will be 2x for sure, but I think my friend could get away with either.

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Giant, Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, etc are going to be your true value competitors. THe problem with Canyon is that whatever you want is never in stock.

So he wants a bang for the buck gravel bike that can do proper road rides? 2x effectively gives you an extra gear lower and a gear higher than 1x. The 1x gears are good for 30mph pedaling.
If you limit how rowdy you want to get to gravel roads, the Domane SL5 is at the same price point, has slightly taller gearing, takes 38c gravel tires. That’s about the only mass market wide tire big gear road bike on the market right now. The Cervelo Aspero Áspero might work. The new 2022 Checkpoint might be worth a look, but it’s a Spring 2022 delivery.
The canyon has Checkpoint tire clearance, nicer stock tires, and a MUCH better seatpost suspension solution if he’s a middle weight guy. This might be a good place to skip the CF frame and get the AL Grail, saving $1000 and not really loosing anything - the AL is just as good as the CF.


A gear ratio of 4.8 is essentially the same as 53:11 = 4.82, i. e. overkill even for most fit road cyclists, much less a gravel bike.

I’m not sure how you relate gearing to speed, but you can easily reach 50 km/h with 1x gearing and a moderate chain ring size. I have a 42-tooth chainring on my road bike (1x), and I can pedal up until 60–65km/h. On the (false) flats, when I am able to go about 50 km/h (about 30 mph), I’m not in my top gear, but previously in 50:13 and now in 42:11 spinning at a comfortable 100 rpm.

Both, 1x and 2x work fine, it is simply a matter of preference at this point. The main question is what lowest gear you need, which depends on the terrain as well as the ratio of gravel to tarmac.

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Have a look at the 3T Exploro. They offer 1x and 2x builds (e. g. with GRX, Campag Erkar 1x13 or Rival AXS eTap, including the new gravel 1x setup), and you can e. g. upgrade wheels if you want. However, they are over your $3k budget.

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I’m in the market for a similar bike to my friend and researched Exploro vs Aspero: I’ll be getting an Aspero this fall. I can’t remember why but I nixed the Exploro pretty early on. Bad CyclingTips review if I recall?

But yeah, my friend doesn’t want to spend that much. Although now he’s talking about a Stigmata… I’ll give the Exploro another look.

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The Aspero is a great bike from what I hear, but @jfranci3 had suggested it earlier. So I just wanted to add the Exploro for completeness since it is similarly priced. What I like about the Exploro is its configurability, they offer Shimano GRX, SRAM and Campag builds.

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I quote about 95rpm. I run a 42t and can do about 33mph (53kph) sustained…

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rofl at the thought that these brands are considered “value”.


Even Canyon isn’t the best value out there. Many smaller brands have better spec for the money.

I assume which brands are best value depends on where you live? USA brands having the advantage there for instance.

Trek and Specialized are not close to the value of Canyon here in the UK… even after the Brexit shambles.

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As said above, it really depends on where you are. But with big brands, including Canyon, you pay for the brand name.

I have one, nothing came close for value.

Carbon frame and folk.
Force 1 - X1 Up front
Tubeless compatible rims
Good finishing kit

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I should say I got mine for £200 less than this price

Yep, I have a couple of PX bikes, and yes, nothing came close in value, but I bought mine before covid. There are a few other companies in the UK that offer great value bikes, I’m sure it’s not just a UK thing.

I was back and forth between a canyon inflite and giant Tcx. Basically same group sets and full carbon besides the crankset on both. I ended up with canyon mostly because it was a little cheaper and I can do pretty much all bike maintenance myself . If I didn’t have any skills working in a bike I’d go with a giant because then a shop would be more willing to do some free tune ups for me.
My Canyon has been great so far, new bike purchases are always tough.

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I think this is the answer for him. Thanks, good tip.

The german mags, Tour Int here, squish test the frames to try to measure stiffness and ride measurements…
federweg gabel = fork compliance
federweg sattelstütze = seat post compliance
These bikes were comparably equipped aside from the frame and stupid bars. Tour tests the rear stiffness with the post in the frame, measuring from the post top to the rear stays. Both these bike had the conventional cf post, not the two-piece one - the 2-piece one on the CF bike got 73 in a different test. The GRZL had the 2-piece post. Anything below 125 is going to ride really nice with proper road tires, let alone 38c tires. Note: how poor the Checkpoint ALR’s basic AL post is - I had this one on a different, stiffer CX bike and it was make-you-cry AWFUL with 23c tires.

The CF frame has a bit better rear ride here and the AL has a bit better lateral stiffness in the headtube.
. If he doesn’t like the AL’s rear ride quality, the fancy post is supposed to be really good.

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What makes the Grail faster than the Grizl?

I see a slight weight advantage on the higher end models, but only by a few hundred grams.

The Grizls all seem to be spec’d with 24mm internal width rims while the Grails have 22mm, so they can use skinnier tires, e.g. maybe 32mm road slicks. But if he’s planning to use gravel tires 35mm and up, perhaps not much of a difference either?

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This! If I hadn’t gotten a Ti bike this spring I’d have a Grizl. No issues with a proprietary handlebar and a super capable bike all around.