Let's start at the very beginning of the story. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... Stop, stop! Not so far at the beginning. So... Our "old" Gravel Bikes accompanied us now since the middle of 2020 on the most different undergrounds and some short and a few longer tours.

The reasons for choosing our bikes was "then", as I'm sure it was for many of you: availability. To be precise: the availability in the right frame size and in the right budget. Getting a suitable bike was really a challenge in the summer of 2020 (not that it isn't just as difficult now). Björn was able to secure his Canyon Grail CF SL as a job bike, while I rattled off various stores in Hamburg and online stores for the right bike for me. In the end, it was then a Specialized Diverge Base Carbon, which was slightly above my budget and actually could have been a frame size larger. Except for a few criteria, we had little idea of what we really needed when it came to bikes. We just wanted to make us outside a nice time for two on the bike.

Something we didn't know at the time? How our ideas about cycling would change in two years.

Bikepacking was in any case in the year for us no topic at all and therefore we have not paid attention to whether this would be possible with the bikes at all. After our first bikepacking experience, where we were on the road without tent, sleeping bag and Co, but only with clothes for a few days, it was clear to us: for tours where we want to be completely independent, our bikes are not optimal. Well, especially Björn's not. The Diverge fits there quite well, but that's another topic.

In our search for suitable bikes and / or possible bike partners, we finally came across Ribble Cycles from England or instead were made attentive. So one thing led to another, and we could acquire Ribble as a partner. We are very excited about this.

After a few impatient weeks of waiting, our new bikes finally arrived.

Since we will never be super sporty cyclists and don't intend to be, we chose the bikes according to our needs and purpose. Fortunately, Ribble offers a massive selection of bikes that can be built according to your wishes. The Bike Builder on Ribble's website makes it easy, and in the end, you don't get a bike off the rack as everyone else might have.

The bike of our choice: The Ribble CGR SL

Due to difficult availability, the Ribble CGR (Cross. Gravel. Road) SL is currently the best alternative to the Ribble Gravel (Explore. Race. Escape.) SL, which would be the dream bike for us to bike pack. The frame of the Gravel SL offers more possible bolt-on locations than that of the CGR.

We have opted for 650B tires in a 47 wide. The wide tires are suitable for a variety of surfaces and give us a safe feeling even with a lot of luggage.

Of course, the WTB tires are tubeless-ready, and one of our next steps will be to put this to use. There is still plenty of clearance in the frame of the CGR SL - which means we could even fit wider tires if we wanted to. The carbon frame of the CGR SL has a sporty geometry, so 28-inch wheels and narrower tires could be installed as well. This definitely makes this bike a perfect "all-rounder" for us.

A stable aluminum LEVEL handlebar with plenty of room for bags through a nice flare, a Shimano GRX Di2 shift group 1×11 speed and a Shimano GRX hydraulic disc brake complete the whole.

Especially the electronic groupset impressed us directly on the first ride. We no longer want to do without it. The difference to mechanical shifting (especially the Sram Apex 1 on my Diverge) is gigantic.

Visually, the Ribble CGR SL is also very nice to look at. As soon as we are back home after a ride, we can hardly wait to go again with the new Ribble bikes.

The bike and its components are a lot of fun. Next, we test the bikes for their bikepacking capabilities. We suspect that this experience will also be really good!

Technical facts


Toray T1000/T800 full carbon monocoque


Shimano GRX Di2 RX815 1×11 speed


Shimano GRX Hydraulic Disc


Level Gravel light alloy 6061 31.8 Flared handlebar // Level 1 light alloy stem


Mavic ALLROAD SL DISC CL Road+ wheelset


WTB Byway Road Plus TCS Tires Tan 650 x 47c


Check out our NEW BIKE DAY vlog on YouTube.