As a young athlete competing in basketball, triathlons, and running, Australian-born Tiffany Cromwell grudgingly took up cycling. She was lukewarm about the sport because her small stature made her feel at a disadvantage. Then she started winning.
Placing third in her first road race motivated her to keep riding, which led to numerous podium finishes at both the amateur and professional levels in Australia and Europe. In 2021, Cromwell competed in the Tokyo Olympics and finished a respectable 26th in women’s road cycling.
Building on her success on smooth surfaces, Cromwell added gravel riding to her repertoire in 2019 and quickly distinguished herself in the sport’s most demanding events, including a 102-mile race notorious for its steep bergs, long climbs, brutal headwinds, and creek crossings.
Being able to tackle both roads and gravel single tracks requires a breadth of riding options. That’s why, in the garage at her home in the small sovereign country of Monaco, Cromwell maintains an impressive collection of Canyon bikes for training, racing, and the occasional trip to town. Here's a look at what’s inside.
Canyon Aeroad CFR
The lightest aero bike Canyon has ever produced, this is what Cromwell uses for most of her road races and training sessions. The Aeroad CFR has Toray M40X carbon fibers across the frame, contributing to its featherweight feel. Canyon even figured out how to make the seat post lighter than previous versions.
“This is a fantastic bike,” says Cromwell. “Truly, it’s built for speed in every way. It would take something extraordinary to knock this off the top of my list for racing.”
Also built for the road, the Ultimate is Cromwell’s alternate choice for speed. She likes this one slightly better for courses with more climbs, since she finds it easier to pedal when standing on an uphill.
“I’m not a pure power rider,” she says. “I like to get out of the seat a lot when I’m climbing, so even a small difference in bike handling matters for that. The Aeroad CFR and Ultimate are pretty similar in allowing for explosive power on the flatter sections, but if it’s hilly, I’m grabbing this one.”
Next in the quiver is the Grail, a bike designed for gravel with a biplane handlebar that Cromwell appreciates for its shorter drop. Being able to switch positions quickly during a ride also helps navigate through different types of terrain on a gravel race, she explains.
The seat post is another bonus. With a curved design and lightweight construction, Cromwell believes it’s a good choice for a smaller rider like herself. “It feels softer and more stable, which is so much better than bouncing everywhere when you're on rocky terrain,” she says.
Although she’s only used the Grizl a handful of times, Cromwell looks forward to bringing the gravel bike into a more frequent rotation, particularly because its higher clearance makes her feel more confident on trails with bigger rocks.
“The geometry of this bike is a bit different than the Grail—it’s longer and maybe a little stiffer,” she says. “That makes it better for harsher terrain, which I haven’t had the chance to do as much. But knowing I have the Grizl for trails like that inspires me to think about finding those routes more often.”
Benefits of the Bike Quiver
Given the range of races and activities Cromwell takes on, having a diverse assortment of bikes gives her ultimate flexibility. “With different types of bikes, you’re not always stuck with one type of terrain when it comes to riding,” she says. “Even though I’m primarily a road rider, it’s fun to mix up my skills. There isn’t one bike that's going to fit every ride I want to take. If I want to ride for speed, get better at gravel, enjoy a forest trail, or even just run out for some milk without taking the car, I know I have the best bike for every one of those situations.”