Gravel Comfortably Fast With The New Pivot Vault

Pivot Cycles Vault Gravel Bike

Improved comfort seems to be a reoccurring theme for the recent crop of gravel bikes, and the latest redesigned Vault from the Tempe, Arizona-based Pivot Cycle aims to make those rough rides better with its tunable ISO FLEX technology that uses a rubberized sleeve to isolate vibration from the seat post.

Pivot Cycles Vault Gravel Bike Iso Flex
Pivot Cycles Vault Gravel Bike Iso Flex

Don’t fret because you can still run a dropper in there. 1x/2x friendly with space for crank arm-based power meters, clearance for 700x45C and 650b x 2.0″ tires in a lightweight carbon chassis utilizing their cutting-edge hollow-core molding technology.

Pivot Cycles Vault Gravel Bike BB386

Welp, we are also having a rough time choosing between the slate blue and the sandstorm paint job. Available today.


Allied Able Is Ready For All The Gnar

As radical as that elevated chain stay might look, I am excited the new Allied Cycle Work’s ABLE still has that 420mm chain stay for most frame sizes with enough room to accommodate 700x47c/650×55 and 700x43c/650×47 rear tires.

But before you call it just an updated Allroad with a new chain stay, its geometry has been reworked with a slightly taller stack, a 71° head tube with a 66mm trail for the increasingly more technical gravel, or just your hard all-day gnar grind. Still handmade in Little Rock, Arkansas and I love the music video!


Hitting The Gravel With The Pinarello Grevil

Pinarello Grevil gravel bike first impression review
Photo: Jered Gruber

You probably know Jered Gruber for his photography. But what you might not know is that he’s a map wizard. Give him a location, tell him what you want to do, and in no time at all he’ll have created a great loop that typically combines the best of the local scenery with a selection of roads most people don’t even know exist. So I couldn’t have been happier to see my cartographer friend when he showed up just in time for my maiden ride on the new Pinarello Grevil+. But more on that anon.

About the bike

Rumours about the Grevil had been trickling out of Pinarello’s HQ in Treviso for some time, and I was excited to see it. The more enthusiastic dirt riders that I knew were all skeptical, however. The Italian brand’s last gravel offering, the Gan GRS Disk, had limited tyre clearance and was overweight, and there were concerns that the new model would continue that theme.

Happily, that isn’t the case. The new bike can take up to 42mm rubber on a 700c wheel, or 2.1″ mountain bike tyres on a 650b. It’s a lot lighter as well, to the point that it didn’t feel noticeably heavier than the road bike I’d spent the morning riding. The Grevil also does away with the DSS1.0 elastomer suspension that Pinarello used on the Gan GRS and its Dogma K8S classics machine, allowing the bigger volume tyres to smooth out the ride.

The Grevil stays true to Pinarello’s racing heritage and plenty of attention was paid to aerodynamics. That’s not going to be important to a lot of gravel riders, but my take is that you might as well incorporate aero features wherever possible. The frame borrows from the Dogma F10’s concave downtube shape, including the recessed space for the bottle cage. They’ve also included a fork flap, which reduces drag around the front disc’s calliper. It also looks like it should provide extra protection for the brakes, which can’t be a bad thing on rough roads. The frame uses a 12×100mm through axle on the front and a 12×142mm one in the back.

Pinarello Grevil gravel bike first impression review
Photo: Jered Gruber

It’s unlikely that the Grevil is going to appeal to hardcore bike-packers because there are no bosses for pannier racks, but there are attachments for up to three bottles and with the right kind of frame bags, I’d be happy to take it on some excursions into the wilderness. To the other end of the spectrum, there’s also space for a front derailleur hanger if you want to fit a traditional 2x groupset and use the Grevil as a conventional road bike but with big fat tyres. I’ve never been a believer in the idea of a “Quiver Killer” bike, but with some slick thread tyres and the right gearing, the Grevil could be a fine road bike for most casual riders.

Pinarello Grevil gravel bike first impression review
Photo: Jered Gruber

The first few rides

Girona is famous for road riding. Plenty of pros live there, and considering that it was around 25ºC all week in late October, it’s easy to see why. The terrain is stunning, with a nice mix between coastal and mountainous options. I knew nothing about the gravel scene though, which is why I was so happy to see Gruber, because it turned out that there was an amazing little dirt loop that started a stone’s throw from the hotel front door. And another one, that went right out the back. And another, that… well, you get the picture.

It’s hard to offer a really meaningful review of any gravel bike, in my opinion, because it’s hard to know what to compare it to. Especially when you only have a few days to ride it on unfamiliar roads. As a category, it’s still relatively new. So new, in fact, that we can’t even agree on what to call it. Adventure, allroad, roadplus and enduroad are all being used interchangeably at the moment. And while some features – big clearances and disc brakes – are universal, the current crop of gravel machines are all pleasingly different. That’s a welcome divergence in an industry that can be overly homogeneous, and I hope it continues.

It’s also true that ultimately, it’s what you do with a bike that matters. The roads I took with the Grevil during my time with it in Catalonia were amazing: Technical, varied, scenic, utterly devoid of traffic, and fun. Or put another way, everything that a gravel ride should be. So it’s not surprising that I had a great time. The most honest compliment that I can pay to Pinarello’s new bike is that I didn’t come across anything that it couldn’t handle. Or rather, there’s nowhere that another gravel bike could go that the Grevil couldn’t follow. If you really go into the wild (or get lost like we did), you’re going to end up walking some sections, but that’s just part of the experience.

Back on tarmac, the Grevil doesn’t feel like too much of a compromise either, which is another big compliment. Some adventure bikes are amazing on dirt, but feel heavy and sluggish on smooth roads, probably because they are heavy and sluggish.

The Grevil feels like the perfect trade-off. If you’re used to riding a super-light race machine, you won’t set any records on long climbs, but with a set of slick tyres and the right gearing, it’s more than capable of sticking with a reasonably paced group ride. Bigger rubber and relaxed geometry makes for a comfortable ride, but with its classically Pinarello DNA, the Grevil is still a fast bike. It’s light, nimble, and begging to be ridden hard. It just happens to be a little tougher than its Tour de France-winning cousins. To me, it’s a racer that hasn’t been house-trained. And I want one. So bad.

Pinarello Grevil Gravel bike first impression review
Photo: Jered Gruber

Big thanks to the mechanics at inGamba Tours for setting up the bike, and for being amazing in general.