It seems there’s a new gravel bike launch every week this year, but the Canyon Grail launched today made me do a double take to make sure it’s not some early April’s fools joke.
While the frame is unmistakably Canyon with numerous design cues found on other Canyons, it’s the integrated handlebar, named the Hover Bar that’s getting all the buzz. At first glance, the bar looks like a drop bar frankensteined to a double car spoiler. But according to Canyon, as radical and bold as it looks, the Hover Bar provides for better comfort and control.
The addition of a lower bar which connects to the stem reminds me a whole lot of the engine bay strut bar in my car. Canyon engineers were able to selectively stiffen up the front end near the 7.5° flared ergonomic D-shaped drops while tuning the top bar (where your hands will go) for comfort as it goes uninterrupted from end to end with a bit of a wing shape in the middle. Despite its magically floating in midair look, the top bar is situated at about the same spot where an ordinary handlebar would be located. The lower bar will most likely open up more hand positions too.
But enough about the Hover Bar. The rest of the carbon frame is totally new too. Compared to their road counterparts, the Grail employs a longer wheelbase to go along with a 72.5° headtube plus room to run up to 42c tires. With the medium SLX frame tipping the scale at a claimed 830 grams and 1,040 grams for the lower-priced SL, it’s no slouch either.
Seven complete models in seven sizes, including two women’s specific models will be offered ranging from $2,299 to $4,899. The flagship Grail CF SLX will also available as a frameset for $2,499. The higher-end models will come with Canyon’s own proven VCLS 2.0 split carbon seatpost that uses a leaf spring design to soak up vibrations and bumps.
Interestingly enough, Canyon has decided to spec all models with 2x drivetrains to avoid large gear jumps and is partnering with fellow German firm Topeak to make custom bags for those who like to go bike camping. We can’t wait to try one out.