The new Canyon Grail:On electric gravel bike has a motor and that double-decker handlebar

Canyon's first e-gravel bike has a carbon frame, Bosch motor and 50mm tyres

Canyon Grail:On electric gravel bike

Gravel bike; check. Oversized tyres; check. 1x-only gearing; check. A motor; check. Space-age cockpit; check. Canyon has launched the Grail:On electric gravel bike and it’s a machine that leaves no trend behind.

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The German direct-sales brand’s first e-gravel bike comes hot on the heels of the Endurace:On e-road bike and has a carbon fibre frame, Bosch Performance Line CX motor, 50mm tyres and, of course, the distinctive – and divisive – double-decker handlebar found on the original Grail.

Four bikes are available at launch, including a women’s-specific model, with prices from £4,699 with Shimano GRX RX600, to £5,699 SRAM Force eTap AXS. We’ve got the flagship model in for test so watch out for our review in due course.

Six things you need to know about the Canyon Grail:On

  • Canyon’s first e-gravel bike
  • Fourth-generation Bosch Performance Line CX motor
  • Updated geometry to provide more upright riding position
  • Maximum 50mm tyre clearance (with mudguards)
  • 1x gearing only
  • Four bikes from £4,699 to £5,699

E-gravel is here

Canyon Grail:On electric gravel bike
The Grail:On is Canyon’s first electric gravel bike.
Canyon

Canyon is pitching the Grail:On as a bike for after-hours adventures: evening escapes or weekend rides, rather than multi-day or continent-spanning bikepacking trips.

“We wanted to create a bike that’s fundamentally fun to ride and enables people to experience more in a short amount of time,” Canyon’s global road brand and marketing manager, Matt Leake, told BikeRadar.

“We are all aware of the benefits of riding gravel – escaping busy roads, exploring new terrain, adding more variety into the riding routine. E-gravel is essentially an evolution of that, allowing people to get out further and see more thanks to the extra support.”

It was only a matter of time before e-gravel became a thing and this summer we’ve also seen Cannondale’s new Topstone Lefty arrive with non-motorised and electric versions, while Kinesis launched the Range e-gravel bike back in February.

“We expect the appeal [of the Grail:On] to be fairly broad,” says Leake.

“From current roadies, gravel riders or mountain bikers who can benefit from motor support to get more out of their riding, to those who want a versatile e-bike to commute with during the week and have fun with at the weekend, to the new wave of people we’re seeing, who are getting back on bikes for the first time in years.”

Long live the double-decker

Canyon Grail:On electric gravel bike
Canyon’s double-decker handlebar lives on.
Canyon

Even with the addition of a motor and 50mm tyres – both features that, just a few years ago, would be rare on a drop-bar bike, not least together – Canyon’s biplane handlebar is the Grail:On’s most eye-catching feature.

The double-decker cockpit is divisive, no doubt about it, but love or hate the looks of the handlebar, we’ve been impressed by the Grail since it launched in 2018.

Whether you’re looking at the carbon fibre Grail with the space-age handlebar or the more affordable Grail AL, with an aluminium frame and standard cockpit setup, it’s one of the best gravel bikes out there.

Canyon Grail:On electric gravel bike
Canyon is pitching the Grail:On for after-hours escapes and weekend adventures.
Canyon

We’ve covered the handlebar in detail before but, to briefly recap, it’s designed specifically to meet the demands of gravel riding, according to Canyon.

By creating an elevated section, Canyon has incorporated a comfort-enhancing ‘flex area’ into the middle of the tops. Hooking your thumb around the base bar also provides a little extra security when riding on the drops, which we’ve previously appreciated.

What the biplane handlebar may gain in comfort and hand positions, it loses in the ability to make easy fit adjustments, nor can it readily accept some common handlebar-mounted accessories.

As an aside, the layout of the handlebar means the Bosch display doesn’t take up valuable real estate on the top of the handlebar, but still remains accessible.

Bosch, bosh!

Canyon Grail:On electric gravel bike
The Grail:On uses a Bosch Performance Line CX motor.
Canyon

The Grail:On uses Bosch’s fourth-generation Performance Line CX motor.

“We decided fairly early on in the development that power is a big part of the experience when riding e-gravel, especially with that point-and-squirt responsiveness that allows you to take the fastest line to the highest point,” says Leake.

With that in mind, Canyon chose the Bosch system over the Fazua motor used on the Endurace:On road bike. Canyon says the high-torque Bosch motor provides the extra power required for e-gravel, whereas the low-torque Fazua motor provides smoother power delivery, better-suited to road riding.

The Performance Line CX motor can support up to 340 per cent of a rider’s own power and offers a maximum peak torque of 80Nm, compared to 60Nm for the Fazua motor.

In short, that means the Grail:On should have enough power on tap to handle steep, technical off-road climbs with ease. That’s been our experience so far on similar e-gravel bikes.

The Grail:On’s Bosch Performance Line CX is the same motor system as the new Cannondale Topstone Lefty Neo. BikeRadar’s senior technical editor, Warren Rossiter, has logged more than 700 miles on the Neo since its launch in May and has been impressed by the Bosch motor’s trail-taming performance.

“The power and torque provided by the Bosch unit mean any slope or incline can be attacked, even on the poorest surfaces,” says Warren.

“Where on a standard bike you’d need to drop into a low gear and get out of the saddle to have the power to even attempt such inclines, running the risk of losing traction, dabbing a foot and having to hike with your bike, you can simply slam the system into turbo, select a light gear, sit on the bike to ensure rear wheel grip and scramble up to the top of the hill.” 

“The Bosch system was originally designed for heavier e-MTBs,” adds Leake. “The top-spec Grail:On weighs under 16kg – a good 5kg lighter than most e-MTBs – which results in a very fun power-to-weight ratio.”

Leake says the Bosch system also offers more range, thanks to the 500Wh battery, and while exact range varies significantly depending on terrain and riding style, Canyon apparently achieved 120km of supported riding from a full charge during testing.

The Grail:On has four assistance levels in all, operated from a handlebar-mounted unit: Tour and Eco modes are described as “cadence-neutral”, and intend to offer consistent assistance regardless of how quickly you are turning the pedals, while the Turbo and Sport settings are tuned to “deliver optimal power delivery at higher cadences for a more responsive feel.”

Canyon Grail:On electric gravel bike
The battery is located in the down tube.
Canyon

The 500Wh battery is located in the down tube and can be charged in situ or when removed (by key) from the bike. The Grail:On is shipped with a Bosch charger and Canyon says a full charge takes around eight hours, though a high-speed aftermarket charger could cut that to less than three hours, according to Canyon.

As with all ebikes, the Grail:On’s power assistance is limited to 25kph in Europe and Australia, and 32kph in the USA. Beyond those limits, you’re pedalling under your own steam.

Canyon Grail:On geometry

The Grail:On is offered in seven frame sizes (XXS to XXL), suitable for riders from 156cm (5ft 1in) to 200cm (6ft 7in), according to Canyon. Like the non-motorised Grail, 650b wheels are specced on XXS, XS and S bikes, with 700c wheels taking over thereafter.

The geometry is based on the Gravel Pro fit introduced for the original Grail, but with the stack-to-reach ratio increased to provide a more relaxed riding position. That gives the Grail:On a stack-to-reach ratio of 1.53 compared to 1.44 for the Grail, making this Canyon’s most relaxed road geometry.

 Grail:On Endurace Grail Ultimate Aeroad
Stack-to-reach ratio 1.53 1.47 1.44 1.38 1.33
Stack+ 686mm 670mm 660mm 653mm 637mm
Reach+ 449mm 457mm 457mm 473mm 479mm

Canyon has also extended the wheelbase by approximately 20mm to provide more stable handling and create clearance for 50mm tyres with mudguards.

The chainstays gain 15mm across all sizes, contributing to that increased wheelbase and, Canyon says, keeping handling rock-solid when putting the power down on rough surfaces.

If you’re poring over the geometry table, note that Canyon uses its own reach+ and stack+ figures, which takes the regular reach measurement and adds the length of the stem, and a stack measurement taken to the centre of the tops. The biplane shape of the handlebar, with the tops sitting above the stem, means Canyon also quotes the ‘effective’ length of the stem.

Anyway, like the original Grail, the Grail:On seeks inspiration from the mountain biking world by combining a short stem with a wide handlebar.

The former is to counteract the long wheelbase and bring a little more agility to the party, and the latter is to provide additional stability off-road. As an example, a medium Grail:On has a 75mm effective stem and 440mm handlebar.

 XXS XS S M L XL XXL
Seat tube length (mm) 432 462 492 522 552 582 612
Top tube length (mm) 534 561 569 577 585 610 620
Head tube length (mm) 110 119 137 122 143 166 189
Head tube angle (degrees) 70 70.75 70.75 71.5 71.75 72 72.25
Seat tube angle (degrees) 73.5 73.5 73.5 73.5 73.5 73.5 73.5
Chainstay length (mm) 425 425 425 440 440 440 440
Wheelbase (mm) 1,023 1,034 1,043 1,053 1,059 1,082 1,090
Stack (mm) 512 524 541 561 582 605 628
Reach (mm) 392 406 409 411 413 431 434
Stack-to-reach ratio 1.58 1.54 1.52 1.51 1.5 1.49 1.48
Stem length (mm) 45 45 60 75 90 90 105
Handlebar width (mm) 400 420 420 440 440 460 460
Crank length (mm) 165 170 170 172.5 172.5 175 175
Wheel size 650b 650b 650b 700c 700c 700c 700c

Wheels, tyres and brakes

Canyon Grail:On electric gravel bike
The Grail:On is specced with e-gravel wheels from DT Swiss.
Canyon

Adding a motor to a gravel bike opens up a far wider range of terrain, not least when the trail heads uphill, but that’s of little use if you’re running skinny tyres.

The Grail:On comes with 50mm Schwalbe G-One Bite tubeless tyres (10mm wider than the standard Grail) and the frame has clearance to add mudguards (Canyon sells a set of custom mudguards for the Grail:On).

Those tyres are paired with DT Swiss HG-series wheels, exclusive to Canyon, with stainless steel spokes and steel hubs said to better withstand the torque put out by a motor.

The gravel wheels also have a 24mm rim width and Boost rear hub, whereby the hub flanges are set wider apart to increase the stiffness of the wheel and, more relevant here, compensate for the increased Q factor – the distance between crank arms – that comes as a result of the bottom bracket-mounted motor.

Finally, a note on brakes: the Grail:On is specced with hydraulic disc brakes and 160mm rotors as standard, but 180mm rotors can also be fitted with an adaptor.

Floating points

Canyon Grail:On electric gravel bike
The Grail:On’s double-decker handlebar, seatpost and tyres all intend to improve comfort.
Canyon

Comfort is key to any gravel bike. While a growing number of gravel bikes have suspension, the Grail:On relies on what Canyon describes as “floating points” to provide cushioning.

  • 50mm tubeless tyres allow for low pressures (down to 30psi / 2-bar, according to Canyon)
  • Canyon’s VCLS 2.0 seatpost has a leaf-spring to offer more flex; we’ve previously been very impressed by the design
  • The top of the double-decker handlebar is designed to add flex over rough terrain

Canyon Grail:On 2021 range

The Canyon Grail:On is available in four builds, including one women’s-specific option. All bikes have the same carbon fibre frame, Bosch Performance Line CX motor, double-decker cockpit and Schwalbe G-One bite tyres.

Canyon Grail:On CF 7 WMN

Canyon Grail:On electric gravel bike
Canyon Grail:On CF 7 WMN.
Canyon
  • Frame: Canyon Grail:ON CF R068
  • Fork: Canyon FK064 (700C) / FK067 (650b)
  • Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX Gen. 4
  • Battery capacity: 500Wh
  • Brakes: Shimano GRX RX600
  • Wheels: DT Swiss HG 1800 Spline DB
  • Rim width: 24mm
  • Tyres: Schwalbe G-One Bite 50mm
  • Chainset: FSA Carbon 44
  • Rear derailleur and cassette: Shimano GRX 600 (11-42t)
  • Cockpit: Canyon CP0007 Double Decker
  • Saddle: Fizik Argo Tempo R5 150mm
  • Seatpost: Canyon S15 VCLS 2.0
  • Colours: Rosewood Red
  • Sizes: 2XS–2XL
  • Weight: 17.1kg
  • Price: £4,699 / $5,149 / €4,999

Canyon Grail:On CF 7

  • Frame: Canyon Grail:ON CF R068
  • Fork: Canyon FK064 (700C) / FK067 (650b)
  • Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX Gen. 4
  • Battery capacity: 500Wh
  • Brakes: Shimano GRX RX600
  • Wheels: DT Swiss HG 1800 Spline DB
  • Rim width: 24mm
  • Tyres: Schwalbe G-One Bite 50mm
  • Chainset: FSA Carbon 44
  • Rear derailleur and cassette: Shimano GRX 600 (11-42t)
  • Cockpit: Canyon CP0007 Double Decker
  • Saddle: Fizik Argo Tempo R5 150mm
  • Seatpost: Canyon S15 VCLS 2.0
  • Colours: Cloud Grey, Discovery Blue
  • Sizes: 2XS–2XL
  • Weight: 17.1kg
  • Price: £4,699 / $5,149 / €4,999

Canyon Grail:On CF 8

  • Frame: Canyon Grail:ON CF R068
  • Fork: Canyon FK064 (700C) / FK067 (650b)
  • Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX Gen. 4
  • Battery capacity: 500Wh
  • Brakes: Shimano GRX RX800
  • Wheels: DT Swiss HG 1800 Spline DB
  • Rim width: 24mm
  • Tyres: Schwalbe G-One Bite 50mm
  • Chainset: FSA Carbon 44
  • Rear derailleur and cassette: Shimano GRX 800 (11-42t)
  • Cockpit: Canyon CP0007 Double Decker
  • Saddle: Fizik Argo Tempo R5 150mm
  • Seatpost:  Canyon S15 VCLS 2.0
  • Colours: Cloud Grey, Discovery Blue
  • Sizes: 2XS–2XL
  • Weight: 16.7kg
  • Price: £4,999 / $5,449 / €5,299

Canyon Grail:On CF 8 eTap

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  • Frame: Canyon Grail:ON CF R068
  • Fork: Canyon FK064 (700C) / FK067 (650b)
  • Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX Gen. 4
  • Battery capacity: 500Wh
  • Brakes: SRAM Force eTap AXS HRD
  • Wheels: DT Swiss HGRC 1400 Spline DB
  • Rim width: 24mm
  • Tyres: Schwalbe G-One Bite 50mm
  • Chainset: FSA Carbon 44
  • Rear derailleur and cassette: SRAM Force eTap AXS (10-36t)
  • Cockpit: Canyon CP0007 Double Decker
  • Saddle: Fizik Argo Tempo R3 150mm
  • Seatpost: Canyon S15 VCLS 2.0
  • Colours: Cloud Grey, Discovery Blue
  • Sizes: 2XS–2XL
  • Weight: 15.9kg
  • Price: £5,699 / $6,149 / €5,999