Test Bulls Grinder 1: Based on the geometry of the noble Trail Machete, Bulls has created an aluminum Graveller that is available in many different models. Even the cheapest version can definitely please.
The geometry of the Bulls Trail Machete carbon gravel bike was developed with great effort, and one could now assume that the brand is paying dearly for the handy, innovative chassis with noble carbon models. But the Cologne-based company is taking a different approach: in addition to the carbon Gravelers in the medium to upper price range, Bulls also offers the aluminum bikes from the Grinder series, including the Bulls Grinder 1. And they adopt the geometry of the machete one-to-one.
Eyelets for straps on the top tube
The new gravel bike can be easily distinguished from the old grinder, which is continued in parallel: there are four threaded holes for a tensioning strap under the top tube, the seat stays run underneath the top tube into the seat tube and all cables and lines are routed through a port on the down tube into the frame .
Of course, the second generation Grinder frame is also well equipped with attachment options: mudguards, various bottle holders, fork mounts, a top tube bag and a luggage rack can be attached, and Bulls itself uses these options with various fully equipped models. Slots for special battery lights as well as a smartphone holder on the stem and a magnetic bottle holder are also typical of the brand.
Successful train laying
The fact that the gear and brake cables run completely through the chainstay is also not exactly normal for an aluminum gravel bike - especially not for one that is offered for comparatively little money. The cheapest grinder costs 1.299 euros, so it is quite affordable for gravel beginners, although not too much should be expected in terms of equipment: With the Shimano Claris 2×8 and mechanical disc brakes, fairly simple parts are installed; the simple 28-spoke wheels are attached in the classic manner with quick releases instead of thru axles.
Bulls Grinder 1 – Budget conscious features
However, all this does not detract from the functionality. The modern gear levers are easy to hold, braking maneuvers and gear changes are safe and precise. With 46/34 teeth at the front and an 11-34 eight-speed cassette, the gear range is large, and the gradation necessarily quite coarse. The disadvantage of the inexpensive gravel bike is that it weighs a good 12,5 kilos - this makes it around 50% heavier than some lightweight bikes, but of course it only costs a fraction of such a bike. Of course, if you invest a few hundred euros, you can already save a full kilo on the wheels.
The compact sitting position with minimal height difference between saddle and handlebars is pleasant - even beginners feel safe on this bike. With a short stem and a slack steering angle, Bulls strikes the golden mean between maneuverability and safe straight-line stability. An aluminum seat post that is not offset to the rear and the steep seat tube ensure that comfort is not far off.
Schwalbe's simple all-terrain tires don't roll quite as smoothly as current tubeless gravel tires; switching to models like the G-One Allround would noticeably improve the performance of the inexpensive Graveller. In any case, this is a bike that lends itself to subsequent upgrades, because the aluminum frame and fork are super stable and should last for years. So if you discover your passion for gravel on the Grinder 1, you don't necessarily have to be annoyed that you didn't start further up. Last but not least, the Bulls is an inexpensive bikepacking or touring bike that can be equipped with attachments according to your own taste. It's robust enough for that.