Shimano's GRX gravel bike component series has been a definite hit thanks to its range of gearing options and tweaks to accommodate fatter tyres than you'll find on road bikes. But it was launched a little late so not every bike maker got on board for the 2020 model year. Here's a selection of Shimano GRX-equipped gravel bikes, cyclocross bikes and adventure bikes that we like.
Intended for gravel bikes, Shimano GRX is a not so much a single groupset as a series of components from which manufacturers can pick and mix
As well as gravel bikes, GRX is being used for cyclocross race bikes and for bikes that veer toward the 'touring bike' end of the touring-adventure-gravel spectrum.
GRX was announced surprisingly late in 2019, making it hard for the very largest manufacturers to choose it, but we expect to see GRX bikes from Trek, Specialized and Giant for the 2021 model year
Bikes with Shimano GRX start around £1,300
To recap, GRX is Shimano's first dedicated gravel bike groupset. It's available at three price levels — 800, 600 and 400 — that roughly correspond to the Ultegra, 105 and Tiagra road bike components respectively. There are 2X and 1X options, 800 and 600 are 11-speed and 400 is 10-speed. Cassettes come from existing road and mountain bike catalogues, and max out at a recommended 11-34t for 2X and 11-42t for 1X.
From compiling this list, it is clear manufacturers aren’t afraid of mixing the different levels of GRX. Some bikes have upgraded shifters, cranks and derailleurs, with some downgrading the crankset, shifters or cassettes, all in an effort to deliver a bike at a target price point.There is one limit to this interchangeability. You can’t mix and match GRX chainsets and front mechs though. To accommodate wide tyres, Shimano has pushed both outboard by 2.5mm.
The new groupset is dropper post friendly with a dedicated lever when using a 1X setup to control the seatpost. There are also in-line brake levers, so you can operate the brakes from the top of the handlebars. Shimano has also launched new wheels as part of the GRX range.
The Shand Stooshie is a comfortable and relaxed-handling all-road and occasional gravel bike with enough versatility to serve multiple uses.
This is a bike that feels right at home cruising along country lanes, with a big route planned that may or may not include some forays into the wilderness via forest tracks and abandoned byways.
It's a comfortable bike for going the distance, the skinny steel tubes and big tyres helping to soak up vibrations effortlessly. It still impresses us that despite modern material and technology advances, a really good steel frame can be so silky smooth.
Alongside the 'classic' Silex with 700C wheels, Merida now offers a version with 650B wheels, allowing for fatter tyres for more adventurous off-road shenanigans. The platform "offers quick handling, making it feel superbly controllable on demanding terrain," according to tester Mat Brett. "Quite an upright riding position helps here too. Rather than going into technical sections head first, you feel like you're sitting high, easily able to survey everything ahead of you and react accordingly."
With GRX 800 Di2, the Silex + 8000-E is the top model in the range. If you want something financially more conservative, check out the £1,400 aluminium-framed Silex 400 with GRX 400 components and 700C wheels.
Here’s Scott’s race-ready Addict cyclocross with a GRX800 Di2 2X groupset, using a 48/31t chainset and 11-34t cassette. Tyres are the excellent Schwalbe G-One 35mm tyres on Syncros Capital 1.0 carbon wheels. And that paint job — it's almost too pretty to get muddy.
The Speedster is a more versatile bike with a lower entry price, aimed as a versatile do-everything bike. The aluminium frame and carbon fork have mudguard eyelets and there’s plenty of space around the 35mm tyres. Groupset is a mix of GRX400 and GRX600 with a 46/30t chainset and 11-34t cassette.
Nuroad is German company Cube’s name for its versatile gravel bike. This model uses GRX400 with a 46/30t chainset and 11-34t cassette and voluminous Schwalbe G-One tyres.
Canyon’s radical Grail with the hover handlebar is now available in several GRX builds. The cheaper aluminium Grail isn’t yet available with the new GRX groupset.
This Grail CF SLX 8.0 Di2 here is a range-topping model with the GRX800 Di2 groupset, combining a 48/31t chainset with an 11-34t Ultegra cassette. Reynolds ATR carbon wheels and Schwalbe G-One Bite 40mm tubeless tyres complete the build on this bike.
The Grail CF SL has a frame that is near enough identical to the CF SLX, it’s just the carbon fibre layup that is different to save some money with a small weight penalty. This is the cheapest carbon fibre Grail with GRX; it has the GRX 600 mechanical shifters and crankset, and GRX 800 front and rear mechs.
The Áspero is Cervelo’s first venture into the gravel bike market, and it brings all the company’s experience with building fast road race winning bikes to a gravel bike designed, naturally, for winning races. It’s got some interesting details, which you can read all about in our review. This model pairs GRX800 mechanical shifters and derailleurs with an Easton EA90 47/32t chainset and 11-34t cassette.
The Backroad is a bike that really impressed us, and it’s now available in four models with single-chainring GRX groupsets. The base-model Backroad GRX RX600 features — wait for it — the GRX600 version with a Shimano SLX 11-42t cassette.
Cannondale’s only current GRX-equipped bike is the SuperX cyclocross bike, but with wide tyre clearance it can be pushed into service as an adventure/gravel bike. It’s not a full GRX groupset though, you get the new GRX600 shifters but an Ultegra RX rear mech with an 11-34t cassette and a Cannondale 40t chainset.
The company’s Topstone Carbon gravel bike isn’t yet offered in a GRX build, but we’re sure that is coming soon and with a full GRX groupset.
British company Orro offers its carbon fibre Terra gravel bike with the GRX600 groupset in a 1x flavour, combining a a 40t chainrings with an 11-42t cassette.
Famous Italian brand has added two Impulso Allroad bikes with GRX groupsets to its latest range. Both models use aluminium frames with wide tyre clearance, up to 40mm, and mudguard and rack mounts.
The pictured bike wears a GRX800 groupset with a 48/31t chainset and 11-34t cassette. Other kit includes the company’s own Reparto Course CDX22 rims with Formula hubs and Kenda Flintridge 35mm tyres.
This bike gets the same frame, wheels and tyres, but Shimano’s GRX600 mechanical groupset with a 46/30t chainset and 11-34t cassette.
This carbon fibre gravel bike is a good looking number and is specced a mix of GRX800 single ring chainset and rear mech, paired to GRX600 shifters and a Shimano SLX 11-42t cassette. We’re going to see this mix-and-match approach with a lot of bikes in 2020.
British company Genesis has wasted no time in equipping its very lovely titanium Croix de Fer bike with the latest GRX groupset. It has chosen GRX800 mechanical with a 2x setup, using the 48/31t chainset paired to an 11-34t cassette. Tyres are 37mm wide WTB Riddlers.
The Fugio is a road plus bike suitable for road cycling, commuting, touring and gravel, and rolls on 650b wheels with WTB’s latest Venture 47mm wide tyres. The groupset is GRX800 with a single 40t chainring and 11-42t cassette.
Ribble offers its popular CGR bike, as suited to commuting as it is to gravel racing, with the new GRX groupset. Youcan choose from GRX600 1X for £1,499 or GRX800 1X for £1,899.
The most expensive GRX-equipped bike we’ve yet seen, this is the Bokeh titanium from Brit brand Mason Cycles. The company will let you choose 700c or 650b wheels and 1x or 2x drivetrains, based around the range-topping GRX800 Di2 groupset.
The regular aluminium Bokeh brings the price down a lot. This version, in a choice of three frame colours and again a choice of 1x or 2x, is equipped with GRX800 mechanical components.
It caused a shock when it launched, the 3T Exploro dared to be different, bringing aerodynamics to the gravel bike market. The range has now expanded to cover a range of prices, including this Pro GRX model. It’s equipped with a 1x drivetrain and 11-42t cassette. It rolls on WRB Riddler tyres on Fulcrum wheels.
The American company’s ‘ultra endurance’ bike has been fully updated for 2020 with a new frame, fork and extra cargo capacity. It’s also available with Shimano’s latest GRX groupset in a number of build options.
With Shimano GRX 810 Di2 components it'll set you back £5,800. With mechanical GRX 810 it's £4,200, and GRX 600 costs £3,300.
Enigma's updated Escape titanium gravel and adventure bike is now being offered with Shimano's new GRX groupset, and we've tested the bike pictured above.
Titanium gives a ride quality that is less muted and more alive than a steel frame, and is enough to justify the premium price tag for many people. In the Escape, it offers impeccable ride manners and performance that shines on any road or off-road surface, and the abundance of mounts ensures it's ready for any adventure, big or small, you might have planned.
If you prefer steel, then the brand new Endeavour from Enigma is a good choice. And damn look at that paint job!
The Enigma Endeavour is not only the prettiest looking bike I’ve seen in a while, it’s also one of the sweetest riding, with delightful smoothness and fine handling – on the road and in the woods. It isn’t exactly cheap, but it is handmade in the UK, which might just be enough to convince you it’s worth it.
Easily winning the award for the most daring paint job in this roundup of GRX-equipped bikes is the Cinelli Zydeco. It's a gravel bike that can be used for commuting and is made from Columbus Airplane 7005 aluminium tubing coupled to a carbon Futura fork.
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David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.