So what’s the deal with Canyon’s unique new Hover bar?

A closer look at the most unique cockpit on the market

The Hover bar is Canyon’s totally unique integrated carbon cockpit that the new Grail gravel bike was designed around. 

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The Hover bar (otherwise known as the ‘Canyon CP01 Gravel Carbon) was developed in a bid to improve front end comfort and control without the added complication and weight of a Future Shock-style system or a suspension fork.

So… explain to me what’s going on here

The bar looks totally bizarre at first glance
The bar looks totally bizarre at first glance
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

Unlike every other drop bar in existence — where the stem attaches to a clamping area in the middle of the tops of the bar — the Hover bar places the tops of the bar above a stem that connects to an additional bar that in turn connects the apex of the hooks.

If that sounds confusing, that’s because it is, and I highly recommend you closely examine the included photos to actually begin to understand what’s going on.

Why is it that shape?

Early prototypes focussed on making an area for thumbs to hook around
Early prototypes focussed on making an area for thumbs to hook around
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

Canyon developed the Hover bar for two reasons: to provide a long-distance friendly upright riding position without resorting to using a super-long head tube or high-rise stem, and in a bid to improve front end compliance.

Hooking your thumbs around the extra bar is very comfortable when descending
Hooking your thumbs around the extra bar is very comfortable when descending
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

This unsupported ‘floating’ section of the bar allows the tops and hoods to flex far more than a regular cockpit. According to Canyon, this setup makes the Hover bar seven times more compliant than the brand’s H31 Ergocockpit — as used on brand’s Inflite cyclocross bike — with only a 120g weight penalty over the same bar.

Why did Canyon not use suspension to improve comfort?

This super thin flattened area in the centre of the tops is what allows the bars to flex so much
This super thin flattened area in the centre of the tops is what allows the bars to flex so much
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

Canyon claims that it explored the possibility of developing an ‘active’ suspension system like Specialized’s Future Shock — as used on the Roubaix and the Diverge — or using one of the increasing number of gravel suspension forks on the market, but in the end it decided that a simpler passive system would meet its needs while keeping weight low.

Will Canyon sell the Hover bar separately?  

For the time being, no.

Do I have to use this handlebar on the Grail?

Canyon’s official line is that although it would be possible to swap out the Hover bar for something else, it strongly cautions against doing so.

The primary issue is the incredible stack/rise of the Hover bar (81mm to the centre of the tops!). The Grail is designed around the upright riding position afforded by the shape of the bars, which means that using anything but the highest rise stem on the Grail would result in an insanely aggressive position.

Aero gravel might be a thing now, but I think taking track bike geometry to the world of gravé might be a step too far. The non-standard 1 ¼ steerer also massively reduces the number of stems available.

The Hover bar is designed to look best in its highest position
The Hoverbar is designed to look best in its highest position
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

Using anything but the Hover bar would also ruin any of the nice integration at the front of the bike. Whether or not this matters to you comes down to how much value you place on aesthetics.

Canyon did point out that it would be possible to run any of its H-series integrated cockpits on the Grail — such as the aforementioned the H31 Ergocockpit — which would nicely integrate with the front of the bike, but again, this would still result in an insanely aggressive position for a gravel bike.

What about mounting a GPS or lights?

The bar ships with a proprietary Garmin mount that bolts onto the underside of the stem
The bar ships with a proprietary Garmin mount that bolts onto the underside of the stem
Jack Luke / Immediate Media

Mounting a GPS is no problem as the Hover bar ships with a proprietary out-front mount that attaches to the bottom of the stem.

However, if you use a bag on the bars, this will be obscured, so you will have to resort to using a band-on mount.

As for lights, the answer isn’t so clear — as there’s no round section of the bar, you won’t be able to fit anything that doesn’t use a band-on mount. There is also no eyelet on the front of the crown of the Grail, so you won’t be able to fit the vast majority of dynamo lights.

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What is it like to ride with the Hover bar?

You’ll have to read my first ride review of the new Grail to find out!

Canyon Hoverbar CP01 gravel carbon cockpit specs

Canyon Hover bar specs
Canyon Hoverbar specs
Jack Luke / Immediate Media
Size S Size M Size L Size XL
Effective stem length 60mm 75mm 90mm 105mm
Width 400mm 420mm 440mm 460mm
Stem angle -15° -15° -15° -15°
Flare angle -7.5° -7.5° -7.5° -7.5°
Stack / height 81mm 81mm 81mm 81m
Reach 70mm 70mm 70mm 70mm