This version of Canyon's Grizl came out about two years ago now and with the bike industry moving so rapidly, usually I would say it is a significantly outdated frame, but having ridden it you cannot gauge its age at all. Compared to the other gravel frame Canyon sells (the Canyon Grail, a faster, more race-specific build) the Grizl seems like a more laid-back option. Still providing ultimate sturdiness whilst maintaining speed, the Grizl offers a relaxed position, ideal for longer, rougher adventures in the saddle. Equipped with various frame bolts, this bike is perfectly designed to hold a range of the best bikepacking bags.
The bright pink frame is just one of a few colors it comes in but it is certainly the loudest; the unmissable Canyon. Have a read of our review of a similar version of this frame, the Canyon Grizl CF SL 8. With an untapered fork and a tire clearance most gravel cyclists would dream of, it's built for chunky tires and rolling over the roughest terrain. Considering the components and compatibility of the frame, it comes in at a very reasonable price tag at $2,299/£1,818. It's very tricky to find affordable gravel frames nowadays with the gravel industry taking off, but if the Canyon isn’t screaming your name you might find your perfect fit in our cheap gravel bikes feature.
Design and geometry
This frame has a significantly more relaxed fit than any of the other gravel bikes produced by Canyon. With no sharp or funky angles, as found on their Inflite CF SLX cyclocross frame, it may not be aero as such, but will allow a rider to go longer for further. It's designed around utility and robustness.
Two attachment bolts on the toptube and downtube provide the opportunity for a toptube bag or extra bottle cage. The forks are built to hold weight, with three bolt fixtures down each fork enabling the rider to attach the likes of bottle cages or ‘anything cages’ (as seen in the images). A chunky fork means the weight of extra bags does not compromise the integrity of the frame and connected to a thick headtube/steerer allows a larger space for internally routed cables to the shifters, to sit neatly without rattling too much. The frame has a slight shallow drop on the headtube down to the seatstay where a lot of the weight is held. This sturdy seatstay allows for more weight to be put through the saddle, meaning a more robust ride when the rider is sat down more. Although, the carbon Canyon SP0057 VCLS saddle post does allow for a little bit of flex, with a ‘vibration-absorbing’ design, creating a comfier ride over rough terrain.
The chainstay is built up with a rubber chain guard to reduce noise and help protect the frame from real damage, not just scratches. There's also a small metal guard on the chainside putting another layer of protection between chain and frame, if it all goes wrong. Canyon has cleverly designed the chainstays to kink outwards near where the tire sits, providing more tire clearance, up to 50mm.
Components and build
It is common sense to know that a bike with such a reasonable price will never come with the top spec groupset but Canyon has come pretty close with the Shimano RX600 series GRX 11-speed mechanical groupset. What's known to be the off-road version of Shimano 105, this groupset wouldn’t strike you as the best option. However, I will stand by the fact that sometimes a weighter, sturdier and simple (ish!) fix, is actually often the better choice, especially if out on the trails with no nearby easy help. Obviously, electronic gears nowadays are the go-to for many high-level cyclists, but actually for budget gravel cycling you really cannot go wrong with mechanical gears.
Fitted with Shimano RX400 hydraulic brakes, on 160mm centerlock disc rotors, the stopping power is unmatched – needed when fully loaded up with weight. The Selle Italia SLR Boost is one of Canyon's go-to saddles; weighing in at only 202g it's a seriously lightweight option. Countering this, the DT Swiss G1800 Spline wheels aren't the lightest in the game at 1,900g but this extra weight allows for a much more durable ride, meaning hitting rocks hard isn’t too much of an issue. With tubeless set up already, the Schwalbe G-One Bite 700 x 45mm tires are strong and reasonably fast rolling on road – as Schwalbe say, “Open tread design and strong outer blocks provide stability when cornering and provide this G-One with the perfect ‘Bite’".
The XS frame was set up with 170mm crank length on a Token Ninja Lite bottom bracket with Thread-Fit Technology, reducing the chances of bearing misalignment. The 34T 11-speed cassette, coupled with a 30-46T is a gear ratio built for scaling mountains as well as the fast rolling road; it's the ideal gravel tourer. Slightly flared dropped handlebars go from 40mm width to 44mm at the end of the drops. Connected with a Canyon-specific V13 80mm stem, they allow for lots of bar bag space as well as maximum control.
Ride, handling and performance
First thing I would note is It took me a few rides to get used to the weight of the frame. Coming straight from riding on the road, learning how to 'throw about' a gravel bike and its heftiness felt unnatural for a while. I soon learnt there was no need to be so gentle and cautious with the frame as it is built sturdy and designed to be able to withstand the roughest trails. Aside from a few rattling cables due to it all being internally routed, the bike rode smoothly, changed gear cleanly and handled terrain efficiently. Despite a slightly lower spec groupset than some of the other Canyon gravel bikes, you really can't go wrong with the classically durable Shimano GRX. Although slightly heavier in weight, you really get your money's worth with the exceptionally low overall cost of the bike.
The relaxed fit of the frame is not something I am used to and I was concerned the setup would cause long-term injury over big distances. However, it was completely comfortable, especially on my back. If anything, I tailored it to an even further relaxed fit by twisting the handle bars up slightly higher so I could sit my weight further back on the bike. Obviously bar sizes are a personal preference; I would usually opt for 38cm width bars but actually on the off-road terrain having that slightly wider bar at 40cm width (44cm on the drops) made all the difference when handling over large rocks and sketchy corners. Canyon uses a slightly odd size guide compared to most bikes, in that they use XS, S, M, L as a way of measurements rather than your usual: 50cm, 52cm, 54cm. Initially it can be tricky to work out how to find the correct size bike for you but there are plenty of helpful guides provided. I already ride an XS Canyon Ultimate road bike (52cm roughly) so opted for the same size in the Grizl.
I rode the bike with and without loaded bags; to my surprise it rode just as cleanly with the bags fully loaded onto the bike as it did without. The fact I was riding with Canyon’s own brand bags meant they were a perfect fit for the bike and I could screw in certain bags to the frame bolts provided. The bolts were a game changer for reducing rattle with bags; once the bags were attached I had no means to adjust or remove them. Using a mid-frame bag caused a slight struggle when using the bottle cages but a simple solution was attaching another bottle cage to the underside of the downtube or using side mount bottle cages like the Specialized Zee Cage II.
On the whole, I would class this as the perfect entry-level frame for any bikepacking or touring gravel adventure. Being a slightly older frame, pricing is already a lot lower but even then, original release prices weren't expensive in the first place. For the components you get on the bike, it is a pretty sweet deal at $2,299 / £1,818. Not only this but being able to trust the frame on sketchier terrain is key for gravel bikes. It’s safe to say I put this bike through its paces at the Rapha Pennine Rally this year and I got round without ANY mechanical issues, punctures or annoying ticking sounds – doesn’t get better than that.
Tech specs: Canyon Grizl CF SL WMN 6
- Discipline: Gravel/adventure
- Price: $2,299 / £1,818 / €2,122
- Tire clearance: 50mm
- Material: Carbon (CF)
- Size: XS
- Weight: 9.5kg
- Wheel size: 700c
- Drivetrain: Shimano 11-speed
- Cranks: Shimano GRX 11s chainset with 46/30 front ring
- Bottom bracket: Token Ninja Lite BB4124 with Thread-Fit Technology
- Cassette: 11 speed 34-11T
- Brakes: Shimano GRX brakes with 160mm Centerlock rotors
- Handlebars: Canyon HB0063 with clamping diameter 31.8mm and width 400mm
- Wheelset: DT Swiss G1800 Spline wheels
- Tires: Schwalbe G-One Bite 700 x 45mm tires
- Seatpost: Canyon SP0057 VCLS
- Saddle: Selle Italia SLR boost WMN