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The Canyon Grail: Reinventing the handlebar

Joe Robinson
18 Mar 2018

Canyon's latest gravel bike, the Grail, has attempted to rethink how we see the humble handlebar

Following the trend of more people going off-road, German direct-to-market brand Canyon has launched its latest range of gravel bikes, the Canyon Grail. Designed as an all-road bike, the Canyon Grail looks to help riders combine dirt and tarmac in one ride while also debuting Canyon's innovative new approach to the handlebar, the Hover Bar.

This bike comes with the clear purpose of attracting itself to the ever-growing market or riders looking for adventure on and off-road, spending long days in the saddle simply enjoying the bike.

It does this while also trying to change our thoughts about the humble handlebars.

Talking point

Canyon, in a way, has attempted to reinvent the handlebar to help meet 'rider demands of a bar that is compliant on the tops for added comfort cruising across rough surfaces, and stiffer on the drops when sprinting or descending.'

The idea behind this double-decker approach is that the Flex Area across the top deflects vibrations from the bike away from the rider helping provide a more comfortable ride.

This is then balanced by the lower section of the bars that remain still, allowing for a more rigid platform when descending in the drops.

While this new design will no doubt raise a few eyebrows, Canyon's consistent drive to think outside of the box should be applauded.

Take the Canyon Inflite that was released last year. The kinked top tube was despised by purists but, from personal experience, made carrying a cyclocross bike so much easier.

The Hover Bar will also be wider than usual with a shorter stem in an attempt to emulate the stable feel of a mountain bike while only adding 120g in weight, less than more conventional suspension systems. 

Obviously all judgements on this 'no-holds-barred' approach to rethinking how handlebars should look will be reserved until ridden.

If it suddenly redefines the way our opinion of how handlebars should feel, no doubt it's 'unclean' look will be compromised.

Perfect fit

The Grail is not just about a set of handlebars, mind you. The 'Hover System' also stretches to the VClS 2.0 seat post and tyre and rim combination.

All Grail models will be fitted with 40mm Schwable G-ONE Bite tyres on a minimum of 22mm internal width tubeless-ready rims allowing for low pressures and added comfort.

The frame is light for an all-road bike tipping the scales at just 830 grams in a size medium weighing it at just 8.2kg for the highest-spec complete bike.

Bucking the 1x trend, Canyon has opted for a 2x Shimano drivetrain throughout the range fitting its Shimano Ultegra-equipped bikes with 50/34-11/34 to enable a low 1:1 gear ratio for the gnarliest of trails and steepest of gradients.

The lower-spec Shimano 105-equipped bikes will come with an 11/32 cassette.

Besides the women's specific frame which comes fitted with a Selle Italia X1 lady flow saddle, all options will come with the Fizik Aliante saddle.

Sizes will range from a 2XS to 2XL barring the women's option that ranges from 2XS to medium.

In all, six models will be released of which one will be a women's specific build. Prices will start at €2,199 for the Canyon Grail CF SL 7.0 built with Shimano 105 disc with DT Swiss C 1800 wheels. 

The highest spec Canyon Grail CF SLX 8.0 Di2 will come in at €4,599 fitted with Shimano Ultegra Di2 disc complete with Reynolds Assault ATR carbon disc wheels.

Across the range there will be the choice of four colours of frame meteor grey, carbon copper, copper red and storm green.

If you are not ready to fork out for the Grail, Canyon are now offering you the chance to win the quirky gravel bike at its GoFindIt Gravel Hunt at the Rapha store in Manchester from the 7th to 9th September. More information can be found here.