Test Canyon Grizl 8 1by Ekar: Using a high-quality aluminum frame and high-end component group, Canyon has put together a gravel bike that is very affordable considering what it offers. and despite its adventure orientation, it is not averse to sporty driving.
The Italian component manufacturer Campagnolo has long been a fixture in Canyon's range. This is not least because the Movistar team, which was equipped by Canyon, used components from Italy for a long time. But ultimately the people of Koblenz just want to offer their customers a lot of choice. With racing machines from the “Canyon x Campagnolo” series, which are equipped with the new Super Record WRL, Canyon finally underlines its connection to the traditional brand.
Canyon Grizl 8 1by Ekar: Inexpensive with Italian components
And this also extends to the numerous gravel bikes from Canyon - some of which are equipped with Campagnolo Ekar. The beginning of autumn 2020 featured 1×13 group continues to fascinate with its mix of innovative technology and classic mechanics. But its relatively high price (RRP around 1.600 euros) has made it quite exclusive so far, and gravel bikes that are built with it are usually quite expensive. But now Canyon has a real hit with the Grizl 8 1by Ekar: The aluminum model costs just 2.499 euros - and if you deduct the price for the group from that, you'll be surprised at how much gravel bike you get here for a manageable amount .
Bikepacking gravel with sporting facilities
In Canyon’s gravel cosmos, the Grizl represents the “adventure” category. The carbon and aluminum models are made for bikepacking tours with luggage as well as for rides on demanding terrain and come with numerous attachment options and plenty of tire clearance. The long top tube and the associated large reach indicate a modern “trail geometry”, although the head angle on the test bike in size L is quite steep at 72° and the stem is not overly short at 90 mm. With a height of 184 cm, the sitting position is quite comfortable - not very short, but, including the spacers under the stem, so upright that you can ride comfortably on the lower handlebars. Fun fact on the side: Ultimately, the Grizl is sportier than the Endurace all-road racer.
The frame geometry means that the aluminum Grizl rides much less sedately than it might seem. When you start, it starts off willingly, although the wheel set, which weighs almost 4,3 kilos when ready to drive, inhibits propulsion somewhat. Of course, as soon as the terrain is a little more demanding, you will be happy about the 45 mm wide tires, which prove to be significantly more absorbing than 40 mm tires over hill and dale. With their fine profile, the Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H roll easily on firmer surfaces; the powerfully pronounced shoulder lugs are there when cornering and on soft ground.
Diet recommendation: a lighter set of wheels
Saving 500 to 800 grams with a different set of wheels is no problem, even without investing too much, and should pay off with noticeably more dynamic driving behavior. The handling of the Grizl is meanwhile very lively - it can be turned in willingly and controlled with a light hand. In addition to the wide tires, the Canyon carbon seat post also ensures comfort.
Bikepacking isn't just due to the robust appearance of the Grizl, whose wide fork and rear end let 50 mm wide tires through. In terms of mounting options, the bike is exemplary with three bottle holders, mudguards, rear carrier, fork mounts and a small top tube bag.
Campagnolo Ekar: Noble group with very good functionality
However, when you stand in front of the canyon, you will first be amazed by the Campagnolo Ekar – a group that you still rarely see and that therefore arouses interest everywhere. Of course, the main feature of the group is its 1×13 gearbox – something completely new in the field of mechanical shifting and, in combination with the intelligent gear steps, a very interesting option. Canyon uses the 10-44 cassette, combined with a 40 chainring at the front - this stands for a high gear ratio and a super-light gear reduction for steep climbs. At the same time, the ring gear, in which the nine largest sprockets are milled out of a single block of steel, is surprisingly closely spaced: the first six gears have increments of one (10-15 teeth), then it goes in ever larger increments up to the mountain gears. At high speeds you can shift sensitively with it, and on hills at slow speeds it doesn't matter that the gear steps are up to six teeth.
The Italians’ Ergopower lever has two separate buttons for shifting gears: With the shift paddle behind the brake lever, you move the rear derailleur inwards onto the larger sprockets (whereby you can shift up to four gears at once), and you change gears with the button on the inside of the grip you can access the more difficult gears in single steps. This works precisely and reliably, although not quite as smoothly as usual from the competition. Since the thumb button has been extended in a hook shape, the gearshift can also be easily operated from the lower link.
When you pull on the curved brake levers, you can feel a certain amount of elasticity, but this proves to be an advantage when driving. The Campa stoppers can be dosed delicately and are very predictable, but they grip strongly when necessary.
The flat carbon crankset of the Ekar is beautiful and typically Campagnolo, practically the relaxation function of the rear derailleur, with which it is locked when changing wheels. With these details, too, the exotic gravel group can score points compared to the established competition, and with the Grizl 8 Canyon makes it easy for those who want to switch: No Ekar bike is so cheap; There is practically nothing to be found among the competition for less than 4.000 euros. Of course, at 10,3 kilos (incl. bottle holder, plus pedals), the aluminum Grizl is no lightweight. But the way it is, in addition to its great versatility, it can already offer a lot of driving pleasure, and if you retrofit a lighter wheel set when you get a chance, you will give the bike a lot of help.