In the last year, competition gravels, Racing or for light gravel, have appeared in a cascade. Some even call them All Road. Call them what you will, but they certainly don’t give you the sturdiness that pure, hard gravel does.
Two of the light gravel/competition bikes we’ve liked the most at GravelBikes and featured in the last year are the Vitus Venon EVO and the Ridley Grifn. We already described them at the time, but now we present them to you face to face.
Light gravel or All Road or competition: A category that is here to stay
It is a fact that the emergence of the category of gravel cycling, the boom of which occurred from 2018, generated the emergence of the category of light gravel, All Road or competition. The reason is very simple: this category was born around 2021 and is being consolidated this year which is about to end with the presentation of numerous models by multiple brands.
You will probably be saying to yourself “listen, the Endurance category has existed for years”. That’s correct, but they didn’t offer a key benefit: tire widths between 32c and 40c. And this is a very important detail to drive on certain types of surfaces or to do so in a comfortable and less risky way.
In the cluster of light gravel, all road or competition gravel bikes there are two that we at GravelBikes really like, not to mention our current favourites. These are the Vitus Venon EVO and the Ridley Grifn, which we review in due course. Like other brands in their category, with both you can practice gravel cycling without sacrificing too much speed for asphalt.
Vitus Venon EVO or Ridley Grifn? you choose
The Vitus Venon EVO is offered in two versions; Venon EVO-GR and Venon EVO-RS. The picture is the same but the first comes equipped with a group and wheels/tires for gravel and the second for the route.
With the Ridley Grifn something similar happens but instead of choosing a model on the manufacturer’s website, you assemble your bike with the groupset and components of your preference. Grifn already armed are also sold, through distributors.
The two bikes offer more or less similar features, although the Venon has more aero lines. You can check it in the photo below.
Vitus Venon has a more aero profile. Image: Own.
As you can see in the image above, the thickness of their tubes is not as robust as in pure, hard gravel. The arms of its forks are slender and the front tubes are not bulky. These two points are crucial in the gravel as they are the ones that receive the vibrations caused by the irregularity of the surface.
The shape of the tubes is another very noticeable difference, as well as its finish. In the Ridley Grifn the bends and angles are clearly noticeable, while in the Vitus Venon it is not; they are crows In the next image it is more noticeable.
Two slim frames with piping differently. Image: Own.
Both brands use the dropped top tube design, meaning they are not flush with the top tube. However, notice how on the Venon these pods bend just before reaching the seat tube and on the Grifn they maintain straightness throughout their length. Add that in the latter there is greater reinforcement at the junction between upper pods and seat tube, visible with the carbon filling. In the Venon the pods are embedded in the seat tube.
As for the lower pods, the two brands opt for them to be symmetrical, with a straight line from beginning to end and pronounced. In the lower tube, both also have three holes for more options for accommodating the bottle holder.
Venon EVO-GR vineyards Image: Vitus Bikes
An important difference in both models is the allowed tire tread and here the debate becomes bigger. In the Grifn it tops out at 38c, very much in tune with the category of light gravel, competition or All Road. However in the Venon goes up to 45c“normal” gravel territory.
- YOU MAY NOT NEED A GRAVEL BIKE, AN ALL ROAD COULD BE ENOUGH
So is the Venon a gravel or light gravel type? It’s a matter of who you ask. In my opinion it remains in the category of light gravel. My argument is because of the slim frame that he mounts and because of a very particular detail; the union of upper pods with the seat tube is not as robust as on normal gravels, being a risk zone.
I add that Vitus catalogs it for light gravel or All Road. It will be for some reason and it is probably because it has the substancethis is his gravel bike and offered in multiple configurations and with an aluminum, steel and carbon frame.
By the way, Venon and Grifn are models only available in carbon frame and that’s a shame. If they were also sold in an aluminum frame, they would face Giant’s Contend AR or the Trek Domane, to name two examples, and would be more accessible options in terms of price.
Ridley Griffin. Image: Vitus Bikes.
Advantage with the Grifn: you can customize it
If you are one of those who want a gravel bike with very particular components and colors then the Grifn will surely suit you, because fully customizable with Ridley’s online configurator. You can choose from a wide variety of favorite colors and designs and select the groupset, components, wheels, tubulars, saddle and accessories.
On the Ridley website you can configure it to your liking. Image: Ridley
In the Grifn it will depend on the configuration you make. Start from US$3,360 or €3,199. Also check with your nearest distributor.
As for the Venon EVO, there are three options here and their specific name is defined by the make/model of the groupset it rides on. The one with the highest price is the Venon EVO-GR FORCE AXS and its price is €4,955/US$5,370 approx. The EVO-GR RIVAL AXS arrives costs €4,030 / US $4,370 approx. Finally the Venon EVO-GR RIVAL he has a price of €3,450 / US $3,750 approx.
Of the two, only the Venon EVO can be purchased as a frame/fork set, although it does not include handlebars or seat post. Her price is €2,050 / US $2,250 approx.
It is really very difficult to choose between the two bikes and you have to go into the details to do so. If you want a wheelbase of up to 45c then the Venon EVO is your choice. If you want a gravel with a more aerodynamic design like the ones on the road, the Venon EVO is still your choice.
If tread width is not your priority (with 38c tens) the balance is tipped towards the Grifn. Also, keep in mind that feelings matter a lot and it’s not the same to ride on gravel with a 38c tread and a 45c tread. With the first, the sensation will be of greater agility and speed when pedalling. This is what happens to me when I ride my Contend AR (38c) and my Giant Revolt Advanced (53c); with the first I feel that it “flies” when pedaling due to its slender frame, although it is a little heavier and is aluminum (the other is carbon).
Personally I have not opted for one. Both appeal to me a lot and I would have to see the Venon EVO in person to choose, as I have already seen the Grifn and it is beautiful; more with 38c tires.
Does EVO come from Grifn? you will fall
Official site Ridley
Official site Vitus bicycles
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The post VITUS VENON EVO VS RIDLEY GRIFN; DIFFICULT CHOICE first appeared on GravelBikes.
The entry VITUS VENON EVO VS RIDLEY GRIFN; DIFFICULT CHOICE was published first on totGravel.