Sunday, March 17, 2024

Review: One Year With The Singular Cycles Gryphon M3

The current State of the Gryphon Mk3
Note: This review is of a bike that I paid for out of pocket. Singular Cycles has no idea that I am doing this and have no influence on my opinion. 

While I was piecing together the Honeman Flyer it dawned on me that I had been doing a similar thing almost exactly one year ago. That was when I was putting together the new Singular Cycles Gryphon Mk3.

The new Mk3 Gryphon was the culmination of years of searching for the bike with "plus" sized wheels that I could use for deep gravel, loose fluff, sand, light snow duties, and general off-road cycling. The wheels and the frame and fork clearance were key to my wanting this bike. The Mk3 Gryphon can clear up to a 29" X 3" tire. I decided on 2.8"ers from Teravail.  

A couple of notes on my particular build. First off, the Mk3 doesn't support a triple crank nor does it have cable routing for a front derailleur. I managed a workaround for that and mounted a 2000's era XT triple crankset with a bottom pull front derailleur. 

The build was supposed to be a gravel bike+ kind of idea, but when opportunities popped up with Old Man Mountain, the bike became a defacto off-road tourer/bikepacking platform for most of last year. So, with those two things in mind here, I will give you my one year take on this bike.

Before all the racks were installed, I did a gravel ride or two in on the Gryphon Mk3.

 The Gryphon was all I dreamt about from the standpoint of a fat tire gravel cruiser. It flattens deep, chunky gravel and soaks up vibrations pretty well. This makes for what would be normally be a tough ride on a 700c X 45mm tire a "no big deal" ride. 

Then all the racks came and I had the Gryphon loaded with a tent, sleep system, food, clothes, and spares. This is where the 9spd triple crankset came into its own. The Gryphon Mk3 handled "okay" with a load like I had on it. You could induce a fair amount of flex in the frame if you rode with a lack of skill and finesse. I think cycling requires a skill set, so this flex when loaded is no big deal in my opinion. 

The first loaded set up.

I have a trip planned over gravel for this bike but as of yet, I haven't been able to find time to get it done. This is still a trip on my radar for 2024 so perhaps, hopefully, I will get around to doing that. In the meantime I've done enough testing of the set up that I feel very confident in how the Gryphon will handle this. 

The final, and heavier, set up.

One thing about the Gryphon that I found was that those big, poofy 2.8" tires make for a nice, smooth ride if the bike is unloaded. So, you can kind of have your cake and eat it too with regard to ride quality. I don't doubt that this Gryphon is a lot stiffer overall than the original Gryphon model which I had as well. But that first Gryphon was limited to 2.4"ers and you could only squeeze so much compliance out of a tire set like that. Imagine a load like I was using, and the tube set of the original Gryphon probably wasn't stiff enough. So, unless all you wanted was a very niche, classic looking drop bar MTB, this Gryphon Mk3 is, in my opinion, a far better bike. And this version still carries over classic good looks. 

I could recommend this to anyone who rides off road mountain bike trails that don't require 140mm of suspension and are DH oriented. Double-track, XC-ish paths, primitive roads, buff single track, and more are right up this bikes alley. Obviously the Gryphon Mk3 is a gravel cruise ship you could while away the days on with its great ride quality. You probably are not going to win any races on the Gryphon, but in my opinion, that's not a bad thing. 

I believe the Gryphon is the bike for those who seek adventure at their own pace, unhindered by competitive barriers, and want to view the world at a "bicycle speed". Thanks to Sam Alison for making this machine a possibility for me to purchase. I highly recommend it as a drop bar MTB/gravel bike/bikepacking rig.


Pedro said...

One year already! This what impress me more :)
Funny apart, this Singular looks great and remember my Jones. Specially when you explain about how it runs loaded. For me, going well under that circunstances is a game changer.
Enjoy Mr. Guitar Ted.
Al the best from Spain.

MG said...

I’m so stoked you have that bike… If I had the funds laying around, I’d probably have one too, but for now my good old Gryphon Mk1 will have to do. I’m not sad… but I do look forward to riding with you, hopefully soon!!

Daniel said...

Speaking of Singular, I've been considering their Kite as my next bike purchase. Ti frame and fork. Its more road/gravel oriented than the Gryphon.