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Ridley Grifn Slots in All-Road Bike With Gravel & Road Capabilities – First Rides Review

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, road riding
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Don’t call the new carbon Ridley Grifn a gravel bike… instead, this versatile in-betweener creates an all-new for-Ridley ‘All-Road’ category. OK all-road isn’t really new, but for Ridley their new Grifn is a much quicker, more road-inspired mixed-surface bike that just happens to fit some pretty big tires, too.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike

The true evolution of the new Grifn gives a bit more explanation of why it gets a new all-road moniker instead of a gravel one. Ridley came to gravel around eight years back with their X-Trail blending cyclocross & road, so they already felt like they had plenty of in-between categories.

What makes it All-Road?

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, all-road surfaces

But even though this Grifn started out a Kanzo All-Road project – an all-road-leaning gravel bike – as the Grifn developed it became clear that it deserved to stand alone as another category. The all-road Grifn is a bike that reshapes the idea of an endurance road bike into one that can simply ride any road – smooth tarmac, broken asphalt, undeveloped dirt roads, and quite a bit of gravel too.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, road custom build with SRAM Rival AXS 2x

As modern road bike buyers begin to clearly dive themselves into either performance road racing style or more capable, more versatile road bikes, the endurance category seems to make less sense. Now All-Road can offer the same comfort & stable handling, but with larger tire clearance and accessory compatibility to be less limited to asphalt. Plus, you get the handling and fit benefits of more modern geometry with the promise of longer Reach and the option for lower Stack, as well.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, adventure ready?

All-Road Geometry Impressions

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, gravel ride

Ridley does still give the Grifn gravel-inspired Kanzo Optimized Geometry, just with an all-road twist. With a 72° headtube it’s quicker than their gravel race Kanzo Fast, but not quite as racy as the road Fenix or aero road Noah Fast. The all-road bike’s 420mm chainstays are also in-between, but it gets a low gravel-like 73mm of bottom bracket drop for extra stability.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, geometry

What’s a bit more curious about the geometry is that its overall wheelbase is almost the same as the Kanzo Fast (just 5mm shorter like the chainstays), but the bike feels quite a bit shorter with 1cm less frame Reach on my Medium, a few mm lower Stack, a long cockpit, and the slightly steeper head angle.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, road ride

It makes for a more natural all-around feeling riding on the road, but descending on gravel feels faster than ever. Plus, I was certainly reminded that this was an all-road not an adventure bike, when I started riding down a few steeper, more technical bits of gravel when I went out exploring on my own.

Tech details

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, frameset
frameset with custom paint job canvas

The new carbon Grifn all-road bike has a claimed frame weight of 990g (medium, unpainted) with a 445g fork (uncut).

A lot of the versatility of the new bike comes from the happy-medium tire clearance: a maximum of 40mm for a 1x gravel setup or 38mm for 2x gravel with a front derailleur. Or for a more road-focused build go with the fattest slicks you can find, and there’s still 32mm road tire clearance with full coverage fenders.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, cockpit detail

Like the Kanzo Adventure bikepacking bike launched earlier this year, this new all-road frame features the same recessed toptube bolt-on mount on the flat upper surface of the toptube for bag stability.

Ridley Kanzo Adventure carbon gravel bikepacking bike, dog bone mount
c. Ridley

Ridley also offers an optional accessory strap mount to quickly add a spare tube or tool like you might previously have strapped under the saddle. It also gets plenty of other accessory mounts, with three sets of 3-pack anything cage bolts on the downtube, seattube, and under the bottom bracket, plus stealthy full-coverage fender mounts, too.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, dynamo routing
c. Ridley

Again, it also includes internal dynamo wire routing in the fork & frame for self-powered front & rear lights for riders looking to either commute or get into ultra-distance riding.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, rear end detail

The Grifn gets a classic band clamp front derailleur for cleaner transition from 1x to 2x setups, a UDH universal derailleur hanger for future-proofing (read: new wide-range SRAM mullet mountain bike drivetrain spreads). It gets a PressFit BB86 bottom bracket, round 27.2mm seatpost, integrated internal wedge expander seatpost clamp, and Ridley’s F-Steerer D-shaped fork steerer tube for full internal routing with a relatively small 1.5-1.125″ tapered headset.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, conventional bar & stem
c. Ridley

That last bit means you can even route its cables internally with a traditional 2-piece 1 1/8″ stem & 31.8mm handlebar if they have internal channels. That would be my preferred setup, although it still will be key to dial-in fit first, since any stem length or bar swap would mean complete cable re-routing & brake bleeding. You can likely add or remove a steerer spacer if you swap with one above the stem, though.

Ah, gotta love modern integrated setups.

First 3 Rides – Riding Impressions

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, gravel on road climbing

My first ride on the Grifn mixed unrelenting switchback road climbing, gravel hike-a-bikes both up and down, and a mix of rolling gravel & broken asphalt roads. The Grifn clearly showed itself as a solid all-rounder, but it’s not a true gravel bike for sure. I first felt limited by the off-road capabilities of the 38mm Vittoria Terreno Dry semi-slick tires, but then combining the shorter Reach, lower Stack & long 110mm cockpit it was clear that this bike would prefer less technical off-road riding – at least going down.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, too much gravel

I’ll admit that before learning too much about the new bike, I was lured in a bit by its original gravel inspiration – my personal test bikes still had the old Kanzo-ALL name, while others rode bikes with the newer correct Grifn graphics.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, gravel riding

My next ride was almost entirely gravel, but more proper gravel roads (vs. gravel singletrack), and the bike felt more at home. On smooth gravel roads, the Grifn rides like a fast and capable road bike, rewarding the rider who tucks down into the drops, hammers away in the pedals, and is happy to drift through soft turns. Climbing gravel its only real limitation is grip from whatever 35-40mm tires you fit to suit your local terrain and legs to get it up any steeper climbs.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, gravel groupset detail

The 46/33T chainset paired to a max 36T cog on the cassette is fine for me without any bags on the bike, but I would want to go XPLR or even Eagle for any loaded off-road adventure.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, road climbing

Finally, I ended up on a ride almost exclusively on asphalt, with the road gearing setup and 32mm Vittoria Corsa NEXT slicks. After riding a good mix of terrain on pretty fast-rolling gravel tires, here the Grifn felt much more like a road bike. Lighter and less effort up the climbs, stable handling, and superb grip through twisting descents.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, gravel all-road riding

It also felt totally in control over mostly hard-packed gravel sections.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, road ride

Higher-speed road riding noticeably required a bit more effort than a proper aero road bike, longer climbs either highlighted my tired legs or a bit more extra weight, and faster descents were stable but did require a bit more steering input.

My complete medium Grifn all-road test bike with Rival AXS 2x weighed 8.78kg with pedals, two bottle cages, a GPS mount, and tires in the 32mm road tires.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, 8.78kg actual weight

All around the Grifn felt most comfortable and capable on rides that leaned more road than gravel.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, gravel on road ride

I personally might set it up with something like a 36mm wide slick like the Challenge Strada Bianca, or maybe the biggest Schwalbe Pro One you can find. Oh, and I would actually size up to a large and make sure to get a build with a separate bar & stem, with something like a 80 or 90mm sized-down stem.

Ridley Grifn – Pricing, Options & Availability

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, frameset
stock paint scheme in Ridley customizer

The new carbon Grifn is officially available from today as Ridley’s only All-Road model, but we expect there will be others to follow as they seem to see this as a perfect do-it-all dropbar bike for recreational cyclists not looking for a road racing feel or to go the full off-road adventure route.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, road Rival AXS
c. Ridley

Ridley offers the Grifn in several, both road-leaning and gravel-leaning complete bike builds. Road builds offer more traditional 2x compact gearing with Shimano 105 mechanical from 3200€ with alloy cockpits/wheels or 105 Di2 electronic from 4700€ complete.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, GRX Di2
c. Ridley

Gravel builds get GRX 600 2x from 3200€ as well, or GRX 800 2x from 4200€, both with lower gear ratios. Stock bikes are already making their way around to Ridley dealers, so real in-store availability will be within 1 or 2 weeks from now.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, gravel bike build

And of course one of the nicest things about buying a Ridley is their customization possibilities. The frames are made overseas bikes but all painted in Europe (Belgium & Moldova) & assembled in Belgium. So it’s easy, affordable, and relatively quick to get a custom color scheme to make your bike unique – from just 100€ extra. And you can fully customize the build kit too.

2023 Ridley Grifn carbon All-Road bike review, gravel riding

Customization adds just 6-8 weeks of total lead time, depending on real-world component availability, which can be tricky these days.

Ridley-bikes.com

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DefRyder
DefRyder
2 months ago

Rebadged BMC?

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