Bikepacking is undeniably having a moment, with every element—from bikes to bags, tents and apparel—not only improving, but also transitioning from fringe to the mainstream. Part of this mini revolution is Canyon’s new Grizl gravel bike, the second dedicated gravel bike offered by the German company. Their first was the Grail (released in 2018) which has a longer, lower, more race-geared geometry, whereas the Grizl has a tighter, higher geometry that gives the bike a beefier and more adventurous capability—not to mention a more sustained comfort level.
Equipped with three water bottle mounts on the triangle and two handy “anything” mounts on the forks, the carbon frame means the rider needn’t rely solely on velcro-fitted accessories. (Speaking of velcro-fitted accessories, bikepacking bag brand Apidura collaborated with Canyon to create sleek, lightweight and waterproof bags that fit perfectly on the frame.)
Since gravel rides and bikepacking bicycles are highly personal, the Grizl offers loads of versatility. The adjustable headset allows for a more comfortable upright position, while the seat post features a leaf-spring design that provides plenty of flex for riding over tech-y and bumpy trails. In North America, there’s also an option to add a dropper post. Even if you aren’t a bikepacker yet, the Grizl is a fantastic entry-point bike that’s well-suited to single tracks, fire roads or even a daily commute that has a little dirt.
While the Canadian Rockies might not be the first place people think of when it comes to gravel-riding, there’s some important bikepacking history associated with the area. Perhaps most significantly, Ryan Correy—a pioneer of the sport, who passed away in 2018—wrote about routes in the guide book Bikepacking in the Canadian Rockies and founded Bikepack Canada. With this in mind, we head out on this showstopper bike to the Canadian Rockies on Treaty 7 Territory—home to the start of the definitive bikepacking trail in North America, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.
On an easier trail around the iconic Lake Minnewanka, the bike handles beautifully and catches the attention of many. Other rides, like Kananaskis Country’s High Rockies Trail, which people may assume they need a mountain bike for, are no problem for the capable Grizl.
It also proves ideal for round-trip rides like the Goat Creek trail—from Canmore to Banff by way of a wide dirt trail on the backside of the iconic Mount Rundle, and back via the paved Legacy trail. On this ride, the bike handles the rough sections of the trail, but also offers a fast, comfortable ride on the paved return. Not only appealing in terms of function, Canyon’s Grizl is an eye-catching bike for gravel-riding enthusiasts.
Hero image by Sherri Castiglione