Pinarello unveils the new Grevil F
More aero, more clearance, more upright, same Grevil looks.
More aero, more clearance, more upright, same Grevil looks.
When Pinarello launched its original Grevil carbon gravel bike back in 2018, it was unapologetically different to most other gravel bikes of the time. It was aero, it was weird-looking, and Pinarello made clear the intended use for the Grevil was to go fast. In many ways, it was the opposite of what we thought gravel was all about, and Pinarello likes to say that bike created an entirely new gravel offshoot: competitive gravel.
It was an unsurprising approach from a brand made famous by Tour de France-winning machines. Racing is in Pinarello’s DNA so it was unlikely to deliver a bike focused on anything else. One look at the original Grevil confirmed as much. With hardly a straight line in sight, truncated aero tubing, and that wavy fork, it was basically a slightly slacker Dogma F12 with space for wider tyres.
Now, Pinarello has unveiled its new “full gas everywhere” Grevil F, an even more aero, faster, stiffer, lighter, and unapologetically competitive gravel racer. If the original Grevil was like an older kid being a meanie at the play park, that kid is now four years older and looks even meaner with the new Grevil F. Pinarello is not about gravelling for fun; Pinarello is racing. But of course, competitive gravel is a much more crowded play park these days, so the new Grevil promises performance to match its bullyboy looks.
Besides the aero-trickery updates, which we will get to in a second, the new Grevil F is much like its older sibling. At the heart of the new frame is Pinarello’s Think Asymmetric construction philosophy, which Pinarello claims better accommodates the uneven drivetrain forces acting on the frame. It’s most obvious on the seat and chainstays, but also evident in the down tube. It’s a concept the Italian brand has leaned on for more than a decade already and is at least partly responsible for the instantly recognisable Pinarello frame design.
Pinarello again relies on T700 carbon from Japanese manufacturer Toray with a mix of high modulus and high tensile strength fibres used in different areas throughout the frame. Pinarello says this layup and construction provide “the ultimate balance of rigidity and vibration absorption.”
Unsurprisingly then, with the same carbon and more aero tweaks, the new bike doesn’t drop all that much weight, if any. The Campagnolo Ekar build is equipped with Fulcrum Rapid Red 500 wheels and has a claimed weight of 8.55 kg, while the complete bike with Princeton Carbon Grit 4540 wheels has the same weight.
Pinarello has once again gone all-in on aero, and the result is a remarkably familiar looking bike that is undeniably Pinarello. If the original Grevil looked like a chunky tyred Dogma F12, the new Grevil F bears an even closer resemblance to the latest skinny-tyre Dogma F.
While there are key differences to accommodate wider tyres and a gravel-specific geometry, the front half of both bikes feature very similar wavy Onda forks, aero profiled head tubes, kinked top tubes, and truncated down tubes. I guess aero is aero, and Pinarello seems to have settled on an aero design that works for both road and off-road riding.
Sticking with the familiar, the new Grevil retains a lot from the old one. The steerer spacers are aero-shaped. The seatpost is aero-shaped with a compliance-enhancing cutout. The flat-back down tube is designed to hide the bottle and improve aerodynamic efficiency. The seatstays are once again very similarly asymmetrical.
All the similarities aside, arguably the biggest aero update on the new Grevil F is the move to fully internal cable routing. Pinarello calls it the TICR system – Total Internal Cable Routing – and while it is certainly a risky strategy sure to upset more than a few, this one move alone accounts for the majority of the 5-watt aero savings the new bike is said to offer at 40 km/h.
Keeping with the aero theme, Pinarello has made the front derailleur mount removable for those happy to run a single chainring. Unfortunately, Pinarello didn’t provide any aero testing data – we did ask – but did say all the initial testing and frame design was created with CFD simulations and most of the aero savings over the previous Grevil were realised by routing the cables internally through the headset.
All in, it sounds like the Grevil F picks up where the old Grevil left off. A dedicated performance gravel bike with no concessions for slower travelling or talk of quiver killing. I have to admit, I like the sound of that. A go-fast bike only trying to go fast.
Or is it? Pinarello claims the new Grevil F boasts plenty of new performance and aerodynamic gains aerodynamic while also increasing the bike’s versatility. It’s the next couple of updates that leave me questioning exactly what the new Grevil F is offering.
Pinarello points to the increased tyre clearance, up from 700 x 42 mm to 700 x 50 mm, or 650b x 2.1″, along with the increased versatility this clearance offers. As great as the option to run 50 mm tyres is on almost any gravel bike, it definitely feels at odds with the speed demon soul the Grevil has portrayed so far. As much as I welcome the option, part of me wishes they had just said no, as they did with the Dogma F. If this bike is designed to go fast and if you need bigger tyres, you need a different bike, no? It’s perhaps an indication Pinarello hasn’t been as ruthless in the pursuit of performance as they were with its new road flagship model.
I typically lean towards the more aggressive end of the gravel geometry spectrum and can sometimes struggle to get along with more upright and slacker go-anywhere, carry-anything bikes. But, as with the tyre clearance, Pinarello has also adjusted the geometry to be more accommodating, a similarly un-Pinarello thing to do.
The new frame features a steeper seat tube for increased tyre clearance, and no bad thing considering the setback seatpost spec’d on all Grevils. But up front, in stark contrast to everything the Grevil is, Pinarello has significantly increased the stack and shortened the reach for a more upright, definitely not racy, riding position. Furthermore, the head tube is ever so slightly slacker and the bottom bracket is high-ish for a speed-focused racer. But yet Pinarello retains the relatively extended rake and shorter chainstays for snappier handling. It’s a geometry chart, and increasingly so a bike, that has me scratching my head.
On the face of it, it seems Pinarello has tried to fix some of the geometry complaints of the original Grevil but has gone too far to the opposite end of the gravel stack and reach scale to be a racy performance gravel bike.
Pinarello explains that the geometry is the result of a single goal to keep the trail and handling the same for every size. “The differentiated rake and geometry offer the ability able to keep the same trail, handling, and comfort for all six sizes, which is the main feature of the Grevil F geometry.”
The mention of comfort is perhaps most interesting in that quote. On the face of it, the Grevil F doesn’t seem overly bothered with comfort with its claim of being 8% stiffer, and all the talk of racing and “full gas everywhere” speed. But Pinarello claims its flex stay chainstays, wavy Onda fork, and cutout seatpost all incorporate a level of comfort “without the inevitable power losses that are caused by the insertion of shock-absorbing elements”.
Presumably due to ongoing supply chain issues, the new Grevil F is initially only available in a very short run and with Campagnolo Ekar groupsets, with more options coming online in the fall. As much money as €6,290 is for a bike and €3,500 is for a frame kit, I have to say I was expecting something much steeper.
Despite the competitive and aero tendencies this bike clearly has in spades, it’s improved versatility that Pinarello repeatedly comes back to.
“One frame, three different bicycles,” Pinarello suggests. “Grevil is total freedom! With 25 mm tires on 700c wheels, it flies like a road bike. With 32 mm up to 50 mm, it can overcome any obstacle on every terrain.” Sounds great, but then I think back to that stack and reach and how un-fast that might feel on the road.
“MTB tyres up to 2.1″ with 650b wheels.” Again, it sounds great, but again I think back to all those aero and performance gains lost on 650b tyres, tyres equally lost on an aero frame.
The new Grevil F might cop a hard time in the comments for its looks, its competitive instinct, its price, and its aero. All bar the price I can get behind, but it’s the sprinkle of versatility that has me curious as to how this bike performs on the dirt.
Pinarello always takes a no-concessions, one-bike approach to its flagship road offering, refusing to differentiate between light and fast. Rightly or wrongly, the original Grevil did the same. It was unapologetic in offering performance over versatility with none of the concessions for multi-purpose gravelling. The new Grevil F is now just a few bag mounts from being a so-called “do-it-all bike”. Only time will tell if the new Pinarello is actually a little more apologetic and tries to sit somewhere in the middle, which is not something Pinarello is renowned for.