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Hi there,

I see lot's of people recently posting questions about which gravel bike to choose. So I'm coming up with my own dilemma  1

I have basically narrowed down the selection to these two very different models. Specifically:

- Secan with Shimano 105 group set, Hope 20Five 700C wheels and Praxis subcompact chainring

- Grail CF SL 7.0 (also with Shimano 105)

Up to this point I've been always riding on MTB (Grand Canyon recently) but after friend borrowed me his carbon GT Grade for a weekend I think that a gravel bike would suite my needs much better. Most of the time I ride this typical mix of terrain, with few tarmac as well rocky and steep sections. I also specifically like to climb steep hills, on various kinds of terain. Generally I can say that predominantly I use my bike for recreation/sport and I don't mind to venture for all day  rides (with significant elevation gain - which for me means 2000-3000 m). I don't plan to use the bike for any kind of racing, though.

With that in mind I wonder which of the above machines would be better for me? I've read reviews for both bikes on this site (as well as various others) but still it doesn't give me any clues about what are the decisive criteria. "Intuitively" (i.e. given my lack of experience with these kind of bikes) I would say that the Grail should suite me better but then I read the glowing reviews on Secan and also people say they are very satisfied with it.

I have to say that Secan visually appeals to me very much and if it was 500 GBP cheaper than Grail I wouldn't probably hesitate. But with my chosen setup and adding in the delivery cost (I don't live in UK) it's actually the other way around - Secan is 500 GBP more. Is it really so much better? If yes in what areas? Is this relevant to my riding style? I know it's kind of silly question but if anyone can provide some hints it would greatly help me in resolving my 1st world problem  1

 

12 comments

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CXR94Di2 [2510 posts] 3 months ago
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Its really down to looks and material of frame.  I would say the fair light does look a versatile steel bike with guards holes for rack/ mudguards.  Its also specced with nice choice features.   

 

The canyon does look very pretty and will be great bike off tbe shelf order.

 

Only 1kg in weight difference.

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sammutd88 [102 posts] 3 months ago
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Depends whether you want a steel bike or a carbon bike really. And......whether you are happy to spend the extra money on what's "the current trend". Steel bikes are commanding stupid prices, if you value your dollar, I'd go the Canyon.

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StraelGuy [1661 posts] 3 months ago
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I'm biased but I'd go Secan every time. Screw in bottom bracket so no creaks, mudguard and pannier bolt holes if you ever decide to do a bit of touring, bottle boss bolt holes that will never pull out of the frame and if it's anything like the Strael, superb geometry and a beautiful ride.

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kil0ran [1369 posts] 3 months ago
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Also bear in mind the Secan's proportional geometry option, if you're long bodied/short-legged or the other way around. If you have some bike fit data Fairlight will do a great job of matching your proportions to the frame.

In my experience Fairlight's customer service is excellent, whereas I hear mixed reports of Canyon's, particularly on delivery times.

You mention that you do a lot of climbing - is that on or off-road? I'd imagine that the Grail being carbon fibre will be significantly lighter than the Secan.

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gravel_david [4 posts] 3 months ago
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kil0ran wrote:

You mention that you do a lot of climbing - is that on or off-road? I'd imagine that the Grail being carbon fibre will be significantly lighter than the Secan.

I'm currently riding a MTB so most of the climbing is off-road. I intend to ride roughly 50/50 on and off the road with the gravel bike. In fact I mentioned this specifically because I have a suspicion that lighter bike (around 1.5 kilo in this case) might actually be better option for my use case. I can't assess, though, how important this factor will be compared to different things, e.g. geometry fit and overall ride smoothness which is the aspect in which most people praise Secan.

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gravel_david [4 posts] 3 months ago
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Meanwhile I have decided to go for preliminary bike fit so I hope that might help me with my decision making.

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kil0ran [1369 posts] 3 months ago
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gravel_david wrote:

Meanwhile I have decided to go for preliminary bike fit so I hope that might help me with my decision making.

If you've not done much road/drop-bar riding a full roadie position will feel very odd and probably uncomfortable. Will take a while for your thigh muscles and core to adjust to it. Ask your fitter for a touring/endurance position rather than a full-on race one.

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John_S [85 posts] 3 months ago
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Hi gravel_david,

Bikes are all personal & subjective in the eye of the beholder but that's fine with lots of choice available that's ok.

For me it would be the Secan everytime but that's just me and you have to make the right choice for you.

I note that you're getting a bike fit and Fairlight will then help you to find the right frame for you but as mentioned above the fact that they offer proportional geometry frames mean that you have a better chance of finding a frame to fit you.

https://vimeo.com/180866780

 

Good luck making your mind up.

John

 

 

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gravel_david [4 posts] 3 months ago
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John_S wrote:

For me it would be the Secan everytime but that's just me and you have to make the right choice for you.

Hi John_S,

apart from more flexible geometry choices what are the main factors which make you choose Secan "everytime"? Are there any particular advantages of the steel frame? Or is it that you trust the small manufacturer more then the big name? If I may ask what is (or would be) the typical track you would use your gravel bike for?

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CXR94Di2 [2510 posts] 3 months ago
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A well made steel frame has a lovely feel, with flex and stiffness where you need it.  Plus metal frames are more robust.  Best action would be to ride both if you can.

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bluemarina [11 posts] 3 months ago
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I'd choose secan, I'm not convinced by the Canyon.

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gravel_david [4 posts] 3 months ago
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Today I had the preliminary bike fit and although very helpful it didn't make the decision for me. But companies offer frame sizes which would fit me well.

But there's still a twist, namely that new model from Giant will be available in short time. It's in the same price range as Canyon and as a bonus it has  sub-compact Praxis chainset which is quite a big advantage for me being an avid amateur mountain climber. The only drawbacks so far seem to be the weight (probably not super important for recreation/sport use case) and some weird (please forgive my ignorance) custom Giant Conduct  semi-hydraulic brakes.

The biggest advantage, though, is that apart from the other bikes I can actually test ride this. So I will wait for couple of weeks once it becomes available and then make the final decision.

Thanks for all the advice so far. If anyone is familiar with the Giant I'm looking forward to hearing your opinion.