The Bike List

Carrera Gryphon 2011–2012

Looking for the latest version of this bike?

Tested by Rob Mehmed

Review

The Gryphon is definitely aimed at the faster end of the hybrid market, combining relatively thin tyres and road bike gear ratios (50/34 compact front and 11-28 on the rear) with disc brakes to bring that speed in check. Weighing in at 12.13kg it's not a lightweight but it's fair for a bike with aluminium alloy frame and forks at this price point.

Swing your leg over it and you'll be rewarded with a solid-feeling bike which urges you to accelerate with every pedal stroke. A maximum speed of over 25 mph quickly became a regular occurrence on my 3.5 mile commute.

The Gryphon is a good looking beast and will draw many an admiring glace at the office bike shed. The tough but attractive tapered rims are mirrored in the shape of the down tube, with the rear brake and gear cables all running underneath. This lends a very clean look to the top tube. The paint scheme is a two-tone grey with orangey/yellow trim, which gives the bike the look of a really well engineered machine.

The saddle is comfortable and easy to adjust, although this comfort is quickly negated if you take the bike off the black stuff, with every bump transferred directly to wrists and spine. If much of your commute is on rougher surfaces such as gravel tracks and tow paths it would be well worth swapping for set of off road tyres and running them at lower pressures to help absorb some of the vibration.

The frame has been specifically designed for disc brakes, with flared chain stays on both sides to accommodate the disc and gear cassette. If your tendency is to tuck in your heels you'll find yourself catching them on the stays so it may be time to sort that technique out. The seat stays have a dog-leg in an attempt to introduce a little compliance to the frame. The roads and cycle paths I'm using must be really bumpy if this innovation is ironing the worst of them out.

On a practical front the Gryphon has mounting points for both mud guards and panniers but the taper on the handle bars makes fitting accessories difficult. I always carry a computer, a compact front light and a bell. Anything more and you might struggle for space, especially given the amount of handlebar space the shifters swallow up.

Probably the most outstanding feature on this bike is the value for money. At £350 RRP there are plenty of similarly priced hybrids to choose from, for example the Trek 7.1 FX, but if you want something that has disc brakes you'll find yourself with little change from £500 (Trek 7.2 FX Disc or Boardman Hybrid Comp). This puts the Gryphon in a league of its own, my only concern being it may be overlooked by people using a Cycle To Work scheme as it's too cheap!

If this saving comes at a cost, then I'm struggling to find it. Even though the Gryphon only has 16 gears the range is broad enough for normal commuter cycling and even Sheffield will struggle to find hills you can't get up. That said, you'll definitely be grinding rather than spinning your way up.

The only minor niggle for me is the shifters. They are Shimano SL-R440 trigger shifters and I don't find the top trigger on both very ergonomic, especially when changing down a number of gears at a time. The front shifter is clearly designed for three chain rings and seems to provide very little 'feel'. It's hard to tell if the derailleur has locked into position when changing up and the resultant down shift is on a hair-trigger.

In general the Gryphon is a good bike for a great price. If you crave speed but fear you'd break a road bike within a week then this is the bike for you. Keeping up with rush hour traffic will be no problem at all and you simply can't buy a bike this good looking, or so well specced for this price anywhere else.

At a glance

Verdict A great value commuter hybrid with disc brakes that encourages speed, looks great and rides well.
Value
Performance

Do you own this bike?

by adilmon  on 30 Jun 2020
Great value for money used. Not the lightest, but great hybrid if you know your off road experience is only going to be the wet leaves on your driveway. Mine had signs of being used as a workhorse, but a quick clean, new chain and minor service later good as new. Made it more versatile with a comfier saddle, adjustable stem, hydraulic brakes and excellent schwalbe marathon puncture proof tyres. Square taper bottom bracket is oldskool tech, but reliable and cheap. Type of bike much less likely to be stolen too!
by Arthur  on 8 May 2020
Wish I had never sold this bike. Pound for pound including very expensive bikes best I have bought.
by Nigel Few  on 16 Oct 2015
Excellent fast flat bar road bike as quick on my local 6.5 mile circuit as my old Carrera Valour road bike ,changed the rubbish tektro lyra brakes with a set of tektro hydraulic ones with new rotors and this has transformed the braking.
by Nigel Few  on 16 Oct 2015
Excellent fast flat bar road bike as quick on my local 6.5 mile circuit as my old Carrera Valour road bike ,changed the rubbish tektro lyra brakes with a set of tektro hydraulic ones with new rotors and this has transformed the braking.
by Craig Carter  on 30 Jan 2015
Great value bike for the price. Disk brakes would benefit from hydraulic assist and bars could be narrower but otherwise a nice ride. A little firm when running 700C X 23 tyres but that is to be expected.

Similar Carrera bikes

Spec
Value
Carrera Gryphon 2011–2012 £370
Spec
Value
Carrera Subway Limited Edition 2012 £375
  • Chainset Shimano M190/M191

Similar Carrera bikes from other years

Spec
Value
Spec
Value
  • Price £80 more expensive

Other similar bikes

Spec
Value
  • Price £80 more expensive
Spec
Value
  • Price £130 more expensive
  • Chainset Shimano 2300
Giant Rapid 4 2012
RRP £525
Spec
Value
  • Price £155 more expensive
Spec
Value
  • Price £90 cheaper
Spec
Value
  • Price £180 more expensive
Spec
Value
  • Price £180 more expensive
Giant Rapid 3 2012
RRP £599
Spec
Value
  • Price £229 more expensive
Spec
Value
  • Price £230 more expensive
  • Chainset Shimano 2300
Spec
Value
  • Price £280 more expensive
  • Chainset Shimano 2300

Used bikes for sale