By Luke Friend
German direct-sales brand Canyon has added the Grizl AL to its expanding gravel range, a bike designed to ‘do-it-all’, from rugged trails to loaded touring and plenty inbetween.
The Grizl AL shares many of the same attributes of its popular carbon-framed cousin, the Grizl CF, just in a more affordable aluminium package. This means it still boasts the extremely generous tyre clearance of 700 x 50mm that was at the heart of the CF’s appeal, ensuring that it’s well-equipped to handle pretty much any off-road scenario you can think of.
It also shares the same Gravel Pro geometry that’s used across both the Grizl and the Grail family. (NB. Grail is Canyon’s performance-minded range that launched its move into the gravel sector with a bang, largely thanks to its unique ‘double-decker’ bar). The Grizl CF’s combination of a relatively low bottom bracket - a 75mm BB drop - and long-ish chainstays - 435mm - means it provides plenty of stability, just what’s required for most off-road bikepacking adventures. With the same numbers, the AL should deliver an equally sure-footed ride.
But the biggest difference between the AL and CF might also be one its strongest selling points. Whereas the Grizl CF comes equipped with a vast array of bikepacking-friendly bosses and mounts, Canyon have taken the Grizl AL a step further and made it the brand’s first pannier-compatible drop-bar bike. With the addition of rear rack mounts (and specifically-designed full-coverage mudguards), the Grizl AL extends its uses beyond bikepacking and into loaded touring. The ability of the AL to handle both long and short expeditions point to it being a truly functional machine that should appeal to those who like to enjoy the path less travelled over a greater distance.
This appeal is likely to be extended further thanks to the option of a RockShox Rudy XPLR gravel fork with 30mm of travel. Offered alongside a carbon Grizl fork with extra mounts, Canyon is seemingly positioning the AL as the most versatile offering in its gravel range, designed to reach a diverse collection of riders.
While the Grail caters for gravel racers and all-road enthusiasts and the Grizl CF is well-suited to weight-conscious bikepackers, the Grizl AL could well develop the broadest following. Its aluminium construction not only means a lower price point but also makes it a good fit for longer distance, or more rugged trips where carbon frames are sometimes viewed as being less practical. Coupled with its extra carrying capacity and mudguard option and you conceivably have a gravel bike that can pull duty as both a loaded tourer and an all-weather commuter as well as shred trails.
The versatility theme is also carried through into the bike’s sizing, with an additional 3XS size offered at the smaller end of the spectrum. As with the Grizl CF taller riders are equally well catered for with frame sizing up to 2XL. And like all Canyon bikes, the Grizl AL is offered in both mens and womens specific models.
The Grizl AL range starts with the competitively priced Grizl 6. Here shifting comes courtesy of Shimano’s reliable GRX 400 while DT Swiss Gravel LN wheels are offered to make the most of the bike’s ability to run high volume tyres - the Grizl AL comes equipped with 45mm rubber. Other noteworthy details include the inclusion of Canyon’s proprietary SP007 seatpost. It’s designed to offer plenty of compliance and should be a solid addition to the aluminium frameset, helping to reduce chatter.
At the top end of the Grizl AL price bracket sits the Grizl 7 Suspension. As the name suggests it features the RockShox Rudy XPLR fork as well as a Shimano GRX 600 and 810 drivechain and brakes.
Both the Grizl 6 and 7 models come specced with 2x11 gearing, perhaps furthering their appeal as a loaded tourer. Fans of 1x may not have to wait long though, as the Grizl SL and SLX model are offered with single chainring set-ups from Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo and the AL could well follow suit in the near future.
All models are available in three colours; Matcha and Earl Grey continue the trend of gravel bikes in earthy colours while Grape will catch the eye of those looking for something a little brighter.
The Grizl AL 6 costs €1,499 while the Grizl 7 Suspension is priced at €1,499. As with all Canyon products, the Grizl AL range is only available direct from canyon.com
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