Canyon looks set to release what could be a new version of the Grail, with Carolin Schiff and Tiffany Cromwell, winners of this weekend’s Unbound 200 and 100 races respectively, spotted on a revamped gravel bike.
Key changes include a D-shaped seatpost, down-tube storage compartment, integrated cable routing, compatibility with SRAM’s Universal Derailleur Hanger and increased mounting points.
The new machine also has a one-piece cockpit, with Canyon appearing, from the bikes we’ve seen so far, to have dropped the existing Grail’s unique double-decker handlebar, if this is its replacement.
We haven’t had any official news from Canyon yet, but we suspect this is a new Grail, the brand’s race-focused gravel bike. The Grail was originally launched in 2018, so is due for an overhaul, and was joined in 2021 by the Grizl, Canyon’s burlier, adventure-focussed bike with 50mm of tyre clearance.
While it may be unreleased at this stage, Canyon is making no secret of the new Grail (we’ll call it the Grail from here on in), with Schiff, Cromwell, Peter Stetina (seventh in the men’s Unbound 200) and Jasper Ockeloen (tenth in the men’s Unbound 200) all on the bike.
Here’s what we know so far.
One-piece cockpit and integrated cable routing
Canyon appears to have dispensed with its signature ‘double-decker’ handlebar on the new Grail.
The bars have broad, aero tops, with a slightly bowed, swept shape from the stem to the flared drops.
Another key change is that the brake cables are now internally routed.
They enter the frame through the top of the head tube, with the top bearing cover guiding the hoses down.
This follows a trend that started on road bikes, and which is now spreading to many gravel and mountain bikes.
It keeps everything clean at the front end – a far cry from the existing Grail’s external routing and double-decker handlebar.
But, as ever with internal routing, the arrangement opens up questions around ongoing maintenance.
Update frame shape
The frame shape has been updated.The new top tube is straighter than on the existing Grail, which has a distinctive kink towards the head tube, while the seatpost and seat tube layout has changed, too.
Canyon appears to have updated the fork, too. It looks to be deeper and more angular than the existing Grail’s fork.
What else has changed?
Well, the current Canyon Grail CF SLX incorporates a little suspension through the Canyon S15 VCLS 2.0 CF seatpost.
The brand claims the round, leafspring seatpost flexes to provide up to 20mm of travel.
However, the new bike has a Kammtail seatpost, matching the D-shaped seat tube.
Will Canyon make any aero claims about this bike? Given the subtle tube tweaks and integrated front end, it seems likely.
That said, D-shaped seatposts are also often used by bike brands to add a little more comfort compared to a rigid round post, with Giant popularising the design through its D-Fuse technology.
At the very back of the bike, the frame is compatible with SRAM’s Universal Derailleur Hanger, though this doesn’t limit riders to SRAM groupsets.
Peter Stetina used Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, showing, in turn, that 2x double-chainring drivetrains remain an option.
However, UDH compatibility also opens up the use of SRAM’s new T-Type Transmission components, most notably the direct-mount rear derailleur.
Jasper Ockeloen did just that, with a mullet drivetrain that combines a SRAM XX Eagle AXS direct-mount derailleur and 10-52t mountain bike cassette, with an aero 48t 1x chainring.
The new bike also appears to offer down-tube storage, with what looks like a rubber cover opening to house ride essentials within the frame itself.
We don’t know how much space there is, but we’ve seen similar storage compartments on frames including the Trek Checkpoint.
Additional mounting points
Along with tyre clearance, the number of mounting points for bags has previously been one of the key distinguishing features between Canyon’s Grail and Grizl bikes, with the latter having more places to hang bags.
That looks to be changing, though, with new eyelets to attach frame bags visible on the top and underside of the top tube.
There’s also a mounting point for a third bottle cage under the down tube, at the bottom bracket area.
While the Grail may remain as Canyon’s go-fast gravel bike, with gravel races played out over long distances (up to 350 miles in the case of the Unbound XL), this makes the new bike more at home on big days out.
What about tyre clearance?
As we’ve already mentioned, the Grizl has more tyre clearance than the existing Grail – 50mm compared to 42mm.
From what we can see at Unbound, it doesn’t look like the updated Grail is in 50mm+ territory when it comes to room for rubber, but we wouldn’t be surprised for the maximum official clearance to go up by a few millimetres.