The tech is upgraded continually, but road bikes—from a form perspective—have looked pretty similar for over a decade. The Canyon Grail, however, forces a double take. The German maker, which recently started selling high-quality bikes directly to U.S. consumers, re-engineered the bike’s handlebars by adding a second “floating” bar across the top of the standard setup. It helps reduce road chatter, increases overall performance, and, yes, looks a little funky.
There’s lots of innovation loaded in this go-anywhere gravel bike, but the handlebars are the prominent feature. The added bar in the all-carbon cockpit makes less contact with the frame and therefore transmits less vibration to the rider’s hands. The result is reduced fatigue on long, bumpy rides.
THE WHEEL DEAL
The extra-wide 40mm tires are nearly double the size of those of standard road bikes. Translation? This rolls over nearly anything. But unlike most fatter-tire bikes, the ride is not plodding thanks to the ultralight carbon frame. True off-road enthusiasts can swap for even wider tires—there’s clearance for up to 42mm.
The handlebars get all the praise, but the Grail’s seatpost deserves attention, too. Designed in-house by Canyon, it features what the maker calls a “leaf spring design.” The result is a post that actually flexes to absorb vibration. In our tests, this helped create an unusually smooth ride feel, even on trails.
The Grail comes in a range of models starting at $2,299, but the top-of-the-line CF SLX 8.0 Di2 is worth the splurge ($4,899; canyon.com). Carbon wheels come with that light frame, and a flawless Shimano Di2 electronic shifting system dials in gears quickly and perfectly with the flick of a finger.