Bianchi Grizzly 9.2 review

Does it fly as fast as its Eagle transmission shifts?

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £1,299.00 RRP

Our review

Smooth, with balanced climb-friendly handling, but let down by its weight and wet-hating tyres
Pros: Smooth but fast frame; race-balanced handling; excellent transmission for the price
Cons: Heavy fork and wheels; treacherous tyres; no easy dropper seatpost compatibility
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Bianchi’s Grizzly boasts a fast, smooth chassis with a bang-up-to-date 12-speed transmission to match. The handling works well for climbing and less taxing trails, but the lack of dropper post compatibility, heavy fork and treacherous tyres let it down.

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Bianchi Grizzly 9.2 frame

The 6000-series alloy frame is triple butted to put metal only where it’s needed, not where it isn’t. A fat tapered head tube syncs with a six-sided down tube and tapered top tube. These are joined by a skinny seat tube with a slight kink above the press-fit bottom bracket (BB) to give tyre clearance.

The rear stays have pocketed/hollow-back dropouts with diagonal weld junctions, for a neat looped look. While these are open dropouts for a quick-release (QR) hub, rather than closed versions for a bolt-thru axle, they use the new, wider (141mm) ‘Boost QR’ spacing for extra clearance.

You get two bottle mounts, and the gear cable and rear brake hose are routed internally through the down tube. There’s no obvious way to fit an internally-routed dropper post, and no cable guides for an external version either. The 27.2mm-diameter rigid seatpost does play a fundamental role in reducing the trail shock that reaches the saddle and rider though.

Bianchi Grizzly 9.2 kit

The Grizzly boasts a fast, smooth chassis with a bang-up-to-date 12-speed transmission to match
The Grizzly boasts a fast, smooth chassis with a bang-up-to-date 12-speed transmission to match
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media

Under the ‘Fast Black’ stanchion coating are steel legs that make the RockShox Recon Silver a heavy fork, but you do get a 15mm bolt-thru axle to keep it on track.

The tyres are the cheapest, wire-ringed (rather than Kevlar) ‘Sport’ version of a smaller-treaded variant of Kenda’s already pretty much slick Honey Badger tyre. You get practically zero grip if there’s even a hint of moisture or you lean the bike over (there’s no tread at all on the shoulders).

The Truvativ Descendant cranks make the SRAM NX Eagle transmission the most power-efficient drivetrain compared with the Trek Procaliber 6, Specialized Chisel Comp X1 and Cube Reaction C:62 also on test, and the Shimano MT400 brakes are reliably controlled.

Bianchi Grizzly 9.2 ride impressions

There are two significant things to get used to about the Bianchi. The first is the combination of a fairly steep seat tube with a short reach, which puts the steering emphasis slightly further forward. The 69.5-degree head angle is more stable than you’ll find on traditional European race bikes though. Teamed with a 90mm stem and 720mm bar, this means the Grizzly actually feels comfortably balanced, particularly on climbs.

Once you’re dialled into it, it weaves between trees and flows through turns well too, although you need to commit more to offset the lack of bar leverage.

The Grizzly feels comfortably balanced, particularly on climbs
The Grizzly feels comfortably balanced, particularly on climbs
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media

Unsurprisingly, it’s not quite as fast to react if things get sketchy and slippery, which is where the second significant characteristic becomes an issue. The plasticky, minimally-treaded tyres meant my winter test riding period was spent in a generally random, rather than even vaguely directional, micro drift. But a fresh set of rubber won’t break the bank on a bike that’s reasonably good value, plus it’ll let you take advantage of the tubeless-ready WTB rims.

The Kendas are worth keeping for summer, because they’re fat enough (56mm) to be surprisingly smooth despite their economical 60TPI carcass.

The fork and wheels make the Grizzly a little heavy at 13.13kg, which is noticeable when climbing or accelerating. That’s a shame, because if you’re unlikely to hit more technical trails at much above a tepid pace, the fork action is pretty smooth and the lack of dropper post compatibility won’t bother you.

The triple-butted frame also shrugs off a lot of shocks while still putting down power well, so this bike is a proper racer at heart.

This all means the Bianchi is worth considering, particularly if you’re partial to a bit of Italian class and don’t mind upgrading your way towards its full potential.

Bianchi Grizzly 9.2 specifications

The 6000-series alloy frame is triple butted to put metal only where it’s needed, not where it isn’t
The 6000-series alloy frame is triple butted to put metal only where it’s needed, not where it isn’t
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media
  • Sizes (*tested): 15, 17, 19*, 21in
  • Weight: 13.13kg
  • Frame: Triple-butted 6000 series aluminium alloy
  • Fork: RockShox Recon RL Solo Air w/ OneLoc remote, 100mm / 3.9in travel
  • Chainset: SRAM Descendant 6K Eagle DUB, 32t
  • Bottom bracket: DUB PF92
  • Cassette: SRAM XG-1230, 11-50t
  • Chain: SRAM NX Eagle
  • Mech: SRAM NX Eagle
  • Shifters: SRAM NX Eagle (1×12)
  • Hubs: Formula
  • Axles: 9x100mm (f), 10x141mm QR (r)
  • Rims: WTB XC25 TCS
  • Spokes: 32 stainless
  • Tyres: Kenda Honey Badger XC Sport 29×2.2in (56mm measured)
  • Wheel weight: 2.1kg (f), 3.06kg (r), inc tyres
  • Stem: Tec Obvius, 90mm
  • Bar: Tec Obvius, 720mm
  • Grips: T-One wire-on
  • Headset: FSA Orbit I-t, integrated
  • Saddle: Tec Obvius
  • Seatpost: Tec Obvius rigid
  • Brakes: Shimano MT400, 180/160mm rotors
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Bianchi Grizzly 9.2 geometry

  • Seat angle: 74 degrees
  • Head angle: 69.5 degrees
  • Chainstay: 43cm / 16.93in
  • Seat tube: 48cm / 18.9in
  • Top tube: 61.5cm /  24.21in
  • Bottom bracket height: 31cm / 12.2in
  • Wheelbase: 1,115mm / 43.9in
  • Reach: 43cm / 16.93in

Product Specifications

Product

Name Grizzly 9.2
Brand Bianchi

Grips/Tape T-One wire-on
Chainstays (in) 16.93
Front Tyre Kenda Honey Badger XC Sport 29x2.2in (56mm measured)
Front Hub Formula
Frame Material Triple-butted 6000 series aluminium alloy
Fork RockShox Recon RL Solo Air w/ OneLoc remote, 100mm (3.9in) travel
Cranks SRAM Descendant 6K Eagle DUB, 32t
Chain SRAM NX Eagle
Cassette SRAM XG-1230, 11-50t
Brakes Shimano MT400, 180/160mm rotors
Bottom Bracket DUB PF92
Available Sizes 15in 17in 19in 21in
Frame size tested 19in
Wheelbase (in) 43.9
Top Tube (in) 24.21
Seat Tube (in) 18.9
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12.2
Handlebar Tec Obvius, 720mm
Spoke Type 32 stainless
Weight (kg) 13.13
Stem Tec Obvius, 90mm
Shifters SRAM NX Eagle (1x12)
Seatpost Tec Obvius rigid
Seat Angle 74
Saddle Tec Obvius
Rims WTB XC25 TCS
Rear Wheel Weight 3060
Rear Tyre Kenda Honey Badger XC Sport 29x2.2in (56mm measured)
Rear Hub Formula
Rear Derailleur SRAM NX Eagle
Headset Type FSA Orbit I-t, integrated
Head Angle 69.5
Front Wheel Weight 2100