Canyon Grail CF SLX 8.0 DI2
The recently released Canyon Grail CF SLX was Erik Kleinhans' eye-catching steed for this edition of Tour de Braai. The Hover bar is a unique design and the bike's most noticeable feature. It is a completely integrated carbon cockpit with a double bar system designed to offer front-end damping without the additional weight of a suspension fork or active suspension system. Canyon claim that the hover bar adds only 120 grams to a conventional cockpit setup. The thin flattened portion of the top bar allows flex, absorbing gravel chatter particularly when the rider has their hands on the tops or the hoods. The bottom bar is integrated with the stem and mounts to the steerer tube.
The Grail also features Canyon's S15 VCLS 2.0 CF seatpost which has a leaf spring design to absorb vibrations and improve rider comfort. This model comes with the Shimano Ultegra DI2 11 speed drive train, disc brakes, and Reynolds Assault ATR Disc carbon wheels wrapped in Schwalbe G-One Bite tyres.
Specialized Diverge Expert
The Specialized Diverge Expert was the bike of choice for braaimaster Jan Braai (although he did also spend some time testing the S-Works model as well). The Diverge Expert is the second from the top in the Diverge range, and features a full carbon Fact9r frame, SWAT box tool storage, and the FutureShock front suspension system with 20 mm of travel for vibration damping and rider comfort.
The Diverge Expert is specced with SRAM's Force hydraulic disc brakes, and the Force 1 drive train, with a 42T chainring and 10-42T cassette. Jan has chosen to wrap his Roval SLX 24 Aluminium wheelset in Specialized Sawtooth tyres instead, of the stock Trigger Pros.
Giant TCX Advanced Pro 2
The Giant TCX SLR 2 was piloted by Leonardo van Onselen of Flandria Cycles, Stellenbosch. This model has an Advanced-grade Composite frame and fork in a striking orange colour scheme.
The TXC Advanced Pro 2 is specced with the SRAM Rival 1 eleven speed drive train, with 11- 32T cassette and a 40T chain ring. Stopping power is supplied by Rival 1 HRD Hydraulic Disc brakes. Leonardo swapped out the stock Schwalbe X-One tyres for 38c Panaracer GravelKing SK's on the stock Giant P-X2 aluminium wheelset.
Custom Niner BSB 9 RDO
This was my steed for the five-day adventure, and the Swartberg 100 Gran Fondo the weekend before, courtesy of the legends at Bike Mob.
The stock carbon fork was replaced with a Lauf Trail Racer, for extra comfort and compliance at the front, while the stock Niner CX Alloy front wheel was swapped out for a Stan's ZTR Crest rim laced to a Chris King hub to accommodate the fork. A SRAM Red 2x mechanical groupset with 11- 36T Shimano XTR cassette and 50/34T chainrings provided much-needed gear range for climbing. The Vittoria Terreno tyres were chosen for durability and were bomb proof throughout both events.