Turbo Creo SL Comp carbon EVO vs Canyon Grail:ON CF 7 (this or that?)

mstepan44

New Member
Region
USA
City
Greenville
New to this forum but have been looking at pulling the trigger on an e-gravel bike for awhile; I have it down to the Specialized CREO SL Comp Carbon EVO vs Canyon Grail:ON Cf 7. Both have gotten great reviews via multiple venues and I've ridden the CREO at my local Specialized AD and was impressed. I plan to use this bike in a mountain town in Western NC, where the roads are steep and switch over to gravel frequently; there's also ample (steep) gravel roads that abut national forests. Here's my dilemma. Although I enjoyed the Creo, I have some hesitancy that the (smaller than avg) motor is up to the job of these 20 degree slopes, especially over a longer ride; and, the 38 mm tires seem underwhelming to handle substantial and sustained gravel; the shop guys do vouch for the bike for the type of riding I plan on doing, as currently equipped. For the Canyon, my only real hesitancy is getting support from bike shops if problems occur beyond something straightforward; for instance, my Specialized AD said explicitly they don't service Canyon bikes altogether. And, in reading through threads on the Canyon site, the customer support doesn't seem to consistently impress when issues arise.

So, reaching out to see if anyone else came down to these bikes on their shortlist, and, what won you over in the end? And, if you think I'm sleeping on a bike choice, throw that in as well. Lastly, from a budget standpoint, the CREO is my upper bound, call it 7k.
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
New to this forum but have been looking at pulling the trigger on an e-gravel bike for awhile; I have it down to the Specialized CREO SL Comp Carbon EVO vs Canyon Grail:ON Cf 7. Both have gotten great reviews via multiple venues and I've ridden the CREO at my local Specialized AD and was impressed. I plan to use this bike in a mountain town in Western NC, where the roads are steep and switch over to gravel frequently; there's also ample (steep) gravel roads that abut national forests. Here's my dilemma. Although I enjoyed the Creo, I have some hesitancy that the (smaller than avg) motor is up to the job of these 20 degree slopes, especially over a longer ride; and, the 38 mm tires seem underwhelming to handle substantial and sustained gravel; the shop guys do vouch for the bike for the type of riding I plan on doing, as currently equipped. For the Canyon, my only real hesitancy is getting support from bike shops if problems occur beyond something straightforward; for instance, my Specialized AD said explicitly they don't service Canyon bikes altogether. And, in reading through threads on the Canyon site, the customer support doesn't seem to consistently impress when issues arise.

So, reaching out to see if anyone else came down to these bikes on their shortlist, and, what won you over in the end? And, if you think I'm sleeping on a bike choice, throw that in as well. Lastly, from a budget standpoint, the CREO is my upper bound, call it 7k.

I have the Creo. I am overweight and OLD. I could use more umpphh on some of our paved hills here in Seattle. My main suggestion, applicable to the Creo, is can't you arrange a test ride and even test on nice clean paved roads with serious inclines. When I first tested the Creo, I was able to compare it with my road bike that has been converted to an electric front wheel hub. I was able to tell immediately that the Creo (oh, the heavy Aluminum version) did not have as much power on hills as the other bike. I actually returned for a second test ride, again, tackling some of our steeper hills. I decided that it would work for me but that I would definitely be pedaling harder in some situations. What I liked about the Creo over my other e-bike (custom titanium frame) was that the front hub motor made it more twitchy or squirrelly on hills and I preferred the control on the Creo. But it was definitely a tradeoff. But, again, I was able to compare the climbs.

The Canyon - well, there is no test ride potential, I suspect.

Good luck.
 

mstepan44

New Member
Region
USA
City
Greenville
Appreciate ur input. I did take the Creo for a spin, going up a fairly steep incline (20 degree slope) but the hill was only a 100 yards long; and, not surprisingly, the Creo didn't have any problem there. The hills I'll be doing in NC are a lot more serious. I have (and continue) to hear positve feedback on the Creo. Altho the guys at the Specialized shop were cool, I don't think they'll let me do a full day trial.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
i ride my creo from time to time on dirt, gravel, singletrack, etc. it's a lot of fun.

20% - if you really mean an actual sustained 20% - is pushing it, IMO, both in terms of traction and power. full power from the motor plus a lot of pedaling effort will get you a few mph up a grade that steep, which is fine intermittently but nothing you'll want to do for a long time. and if it's not perfectly smooth, at that point you want full suspension, big tires, and MTB gearing.

but, if you're not super heavy yourself, and the typical grades are more like 10-15 percent, the creo is very capable. you may want to consider a different chainring and cassette to get you a little more low end grunt, and maybe go to 42mm tires. for my gravel setup i run 42mm knobbies.

0061-gravelCreo.jpg
 

mstepan44

New Member
Region
USA
City
Greenville
Regarding the grade I'm concerned about, I tend to think the steepest bit where it hits 20 degrees isn't sustained, but, it is interspersed with 10-15, good to hear that the Creo can handle that. Funny, glad to hear that you incr your tire width to 42; I was questioning the Specialized AD staff on the 38s, and, he said they're fine for gravel riding, but, they seem more akin to what's typically given on simple hybrids that I see. Good input.
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
Another vote for the 42s, though mine are the Pathfinder Sports. Since my Toughroad e+ has been out of action the past month or so, I’m riding the Creo exclusively, and I’ll be damned if it’s not making me stronger - a nice benefit! Okay, the motor power is half the Toughroad’s, but that bike is so capable I never get tired of riding it.

All that said, the area you are riding in ain’t no joke, and that Grail would really be your best friend on a long hot day with a lot of elevation. It’s a tough call. Creo is way lighter, but that Grail is a pretty hot number for sure.

Like my friend Kahn, I’m a tad on the old side as well, but two or three hours a day out on these things is the best medicine in the world.

Like a couple of other folks here, I did drop my chainring from the stock 46 to a 42 tooth, giving me a 1 to 1 ration and a little more help when the road rises up to meet me.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Regarding the grade I'm concerned about, I tend to think the steepest bit where it hits 20 degrees isn't sustained, but, it is interspersed with 10-15, good to hear that the Creo can handle that. Funny, glad to hear that you incr your tire width to 42; I was questioning the Specialized AD staff on the 38s, and, he said they're fine for gravel riding, but, they seem more akin to what's typically given on simple hybrids that I see. Good input.
that’s likely. not too common to find sustained 20%+ grades on gravel in north america. looking at the map, i’d guess our coastal mountains/hills are somewhat similar to what you’ve got in western north carolina. if you’re a moderately strong rider, or a fairly light one, the creo will be perfect.

i haven’t ridden the grail : on, but the weird double decker handlebar and super integrated stem would have me thinking twice. i’d rather be able to customize the cockpit for my riding style, and i can’t see much benefit to the top bar position vs the excellent damping/suspension effect that the creo’s future shock provides.
 

mstepan44

New Member
Region
USA
City
Greenville
Another vote for the 42s, though mine are the Pathfinder Sports. Since my Toughroad e+ has been out of action the past month or so, I’m riding the Creo exclusively, and I’ll be damned if it’s not making me stronger - a nice benefit! Okay, the motor power is half the Toughroad’s, but that bike is so capable I never get tired of riding it.

All that said, the area you are riding in ain’t no joke, and that Grail would really be your best friend on a long hot day with a lot of elevation. It’s a tough call. Creo is way lighter, but that Grail is a pretty hot number for sure.

Like my friend Kahn, I’m a tad on the old side as well, but two or three hours a day out on these things is the best medicine in the world.

Like a couple of other folks here, I did drop my chainring from the stock 46 to a 42 tooth, giving me a 1 to 1 ration and a little more help when the road rises up to meet me.
If buying the Creo fr the AD’s existing inventory, do u know if they’re typically receptive to switch out the tires for a larger width, I.e., repl the 38 with 42, at no additional cost? I’m still scratching my head on why they’ve gone so narrow w a gravel bike? All the ones I’ve compared it to have at least 42 width.
 

mstepan44

New Member
Region
USA
City
Greenville
that’s likely. not too common to find sustained 20%+ grades on gravel in north america. looking at the map, i’d guess our coastal mountains/hills are somewhat similar to what you’ve got in western north carolina. if you’re a moderately strong rider, or a fairly light one, the creo will be perfect.

i haven’t ridden the grail : on, but the weird double decker handlebar and super integrated stem would have me thinking twice. i’d rather be able to customize the cockpit for my riding style, and i can’t see much benefit to the top bar position vs the excellent damping/suspension effect that the creo’s future shock provides.
No denying the dampening / suspension benefit on the Creo, must pay dividends on extended rides. However, I found that dbl handlebar on the Canyon grail appealing, out of the ordinary does tend to catch my eye. I’m still oscillating betw these two bikes, wanna get it right the first time. Appreciate ur input.
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
I got mine at a locally owned shop where I’ve already bought several bikes. I paid for the new tires but the owner of the shop sold the ones that came on it separately for me so it was pretty close to break even.

In your position, the more I think about it, the more I would probably go with the Grail, though. The Bosch system is not known for having a ton of problems, and there’s got to be plenty of shops in that region that could help you out if you need it. I just keep visualizing myself at the end of 30 or so miles in those mountains with some ghastly climb still standing between me and the end. I normally have a choice of the Creo and a super strong gravel bike, and therefore the luxury of choosing my conveyance based on the ride or how I feel. If I’ve got one bike and a lot of elevation lines on the maps around me, I might want to have that extra power available all the time, and the Grail is a hell of a nice bike anyhow. Still a tough choice, but first world problems!
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
If buying the Creo fr the AD’s existing inventory, do u know if they’re typically receptive to switch out the tires for a larger width, I.e., repl the 38 with 42, at no additional cost? I’m still scratching my head on why they’ve gone so narrow w a gravel bike? All the ones I’ve compared it to have at least 42 width.

the creo EVO is more an all-road bike than specifically a gravel bike. it has the same geometry and frame as the "road" creo non-evo.

both 38mm and 42mm are pretty common tire sizes for gravel bikes. the crux comes with 38s, the diverge 42s. trek goes with 40 on their new gravel e-bike, which is the max size it'll take. the creo will take 42 on 700c and 45 or even a little more on 650. plenty of tire for this kind of bike!

the shop might change the tires for free, but more likely they'll charge you at least for the parts. they can't really resell the tires... but $100 or so shouldn't be a factor compared to the overall cost of the bike, no?
 

mstepan44

New Member
Region
USA
City
Greenville
the creo EVO is more an all-road bike than specifically a gravel bike. it has the same geometry and frame as the "road" creo non-evo.

both 38mm and 42mm are pretty common tire sizes for gravel bikes. the crux comes with 38s, the diverge 42s. trek goes with 40 on their new gravel e-bike, which is the max size it'll take. the creo will take 42 on 700c and 45 or even a little more on 650. plenty of tire for this kind of bike!

the shop might change the tires for free, but more likely they'll charge you at least for the parts. they can't really resell the tires... but $100 or so shouldn't be a factor compared to the overall cost of the bike, no?
As u guessed, the tire cost not really a big factor. I like hearing feedback on how others handle these kinds of out of the box issues; want to be fair to the shop & myself.

Thx for ur input.
 

jodi2

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Southeast of Frankfurt
I don’t know why you are afraid that the Creo/the SL drive will not survive longer steep uphills? This is normally the case with small hub motors (so I’m quite surprised that khan preferred that motor over the Creo).
Most (all?) middle motors are able to climb almost unlimited strong uphills with high power (until the battery is empty…), as they benefit like the rider from the gears at the rear wheel. While hub motors don’t, especially small ones easily overheat on long&strong uphills and reduce (or even stop) motor power.
So yes, the Creo is capable of giving full motor power for a long time/on long uphills.
As others already said, the main problem on a gravel bike offroad uphill is to have enough grip on the rear wheel. If I need full motor&leg power uphill, only my grippiest tires (which are not that fast on tarmac, I only use them in winter) can provide the needed traction. Even with my allround tires for summer with quite some grip (Panaracer Gravelking SK 43mm) I often can’t use full motor+leg power offroad. And I still have quite long gears, the original ratio with 46:42 front:rear.
So I don’t see much need for a more powerful motor for a gravel bike. Overall you get about 2kg extra weight on the Grail for bigger motor&battery. While you don’t need the bigger motor nor the bigger battery, as less power of the smaller SL motor in the Creo chews less energy. Of course you can ride a little bit faster/higher average speeds with the Canyon, but you can climb almost any hill also with the Creo.

I use up to 43mm tires on the Creo, which is a big difference to 38mm. I would like to be able to go up to 45 or 47mm as many tires use these sizes. But 45mm is too much on the Creo if you like your frame…
With 27,5” you can go up to 48-50mm

I like the possibility for wider tires on the Canyon. Also the seat post is great and really offers some comfort (so great that I use it on my Creo.. ;-) ). But the front/front suspension is much better on the Creo with Futureshock. The strange “double bar” on the Grail is almost useless in my eyes, I tried i an a (short) test ride). If you really need front suspension on difficult tracks, you will never use the inner upper bar. Only if the track is easy and smooth and you want to relax and sit upright for a while. But on these parts you don’t need the front suspension. So even with smaller tires the Creo overall offers better font suspension. A suspension fork with 60-80mm travel and 180mm brake rotors would be great for the Grail and make it a real Monstergravel!
The big disadvantage of the cockpit (apart from look and weight) is that you can’t adjust anything with stem length or angle like usual for your needs. In 2018 the Grail (without motor) tempted me, as it’s a great bike with a very good price. The cockpit was the only reason, that I choose another gravel bike…

Canyon bikes are great for the money, but the Service in Germany is terrible (I don’t know about the US). I would take the risk with an “organic” bike without a motor, where I can maintain and repair many things myself. I wouldn’t for an ebike.

If you ask the shop to change tires, let them switch also to tubeless which is much better, especially offroad.
 

mstepan44

New Member
Region
USA
City
Greenville
I got some much appreciated feedback from this forum, v helpful for me to come to a final decision. It’s the Specialized Creo SL Comp Carbon EVO for me, pulled the trigger today; getting the tubes removed, pickup tomorrow! Can’t wait to get this on some hills, so stoked! Mucho Gracias for the gang weighing in.
 

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jodi2

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Southeast of Frankfurt
Nice color! But you should complain at your LBS about these black dirt dots on the frame, I've never seen something like that!!! ;-)
 

mstepan44

New Member
Region
USA
City
Greenville
Wow, ur right, you have a keen eye for speckles. I’m right on the height cutpoint betw M vs L frame, and, I spent quite some time going back & forth riding the two sizes today, all the while missing the black dots. I’ll get them to throw in a nice shop kit to me to make up for it😎
 

jodi2

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Southeast of Frankfurt
I'm between L and XL and chose XL (and your color...). On very difficult downhills I would prefer L, but rest of the time XL is great for me.
 

mstepan44

New Member
Region
USA
City
Greenville
I went the same route; I opted for the large, reduced my stem about an inch, and, feel the bike fits me very well. Altho, truth be told, I think the M would have also worked for me. Bike fit is such a big deal, given the number of hours we spend on our equipment, really want it to be ideal.
 

Rás Cnoic

Well-Known Member
Congrats on the Creo. If you do find you are struggling on the 20% hills then just swapping the front chainring for a smaller one will have a dramatic effect on motor performance. The SL motor likes a fast cadence and avoiding grinding gears on the steep stretches means the motor gives a lot more power - If you consider both the full suspension Levo SL & Kenevo SL use the same motor but have much lower gearing to get up crazy steep technical trails.

That plus 42/43 tyres which make a big difference on off-road downhills and climbing in gravel/mud/rocks and then it should do all you want. Good luck!